Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy H'ween

Here's a little fall color for you to enjoy, hope everyone has a fun and healthy Halloween ;)
This was in a neighbor's front yard - whatever it is I want some in my yard by next spring! Seriously, it was growing like a weed but looks like a cross between a tomatillo and a fritillary. And spellcheck doesn't like either of those words.

Here's a little creepiness for your holiday via some old-school Disney:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lazy Lazy Lazy

Since I am too lazy to fill everybody in on my exciting life since getting back from Vegas (which should have included WAY more in the nap dept.) instead, here is my Halloween costume rundown:

I haven't found a suitably tiny toy gun yet, but the hat is even more awesome and has a veil (and a tiny brooch from my grandma in the shape of a gold spider) and the stockings have cuban heels and a back seam just to look retro. The rest is basically a skirt suit with a fluffy blouse so the hat and stockings kind of do the work for me (the shoes and bag are placeholders/daydreams).
That is the goal hairdo. I think it is doable. So what do you think? Will I achieve my aims of looking charmingly attractive without a. freezing my ass off or b. falling into the trap of the sexy/ slutty fill-in-the-blank costume? The goal is more this instead of this. What would be perfect would be to top it off with some little gloves and a cigarette in a holder but I am on a time crunch here and now I need to find a fedora and some suspenders for Matt...

Monday, October 26, 2009

I Made It Back Alive!

Here's the full story, in relatively quick format. We've got a couple of friends who had tickets to see U2 in Vegas Friday night. Their flight left Thursday night. He ran into some work issues that he couldn't skip out on and she didn't want to go alone. So that's where I come in the picture... I got to be her surrogate date for the weekend and man was it fun!

We stayed at a time share that was selling off rooms for cheap, the place was super nice but it wasn't quite warm enough for the pool (sigh). So we went to the outlet malls (I questioned this, and had her original date accompanied her she would not have gotten to shop but would have hit every roller coaster on the strip. Needless to say, shopping was her idea. Although I would have been ok with roller coasters too) and had a lot of fun farting around in fancy stores. I ended up getting a couple of practical clothing items that I had been looking for and one totally impractical buttery-yellow leather clutch purse. It is adorable. Because clearly I adore it.

The concert was at Sam Boyd Stadium, which is not the one on the strip but the one 20 minutes outside of town. We were off of the end of the strip right by the airport so we had a bit of a head start. We got there right before doors opened (6pm) for a decent parking spot, then found out we had to go get wristbands since we were on the floor - general admission for fan club members, woot! There was a main stage and a ramp that went around (picture one of Saturn's rings) and the seats between the ring and the stage were the super pricey ones but we were right outside the ring so the view was still epic.

The Black Eyed Peas started around 7:30 and were a good warm-up act. I don't really mind their stuff and was thoroughly entertained by the costuming, they looked like a marching band getting ready to perform their medieval dominatrix-themed Dune field show. However, the highlight was their four dancers (that were not onstage nearly enough), they looked like refugees from a Daft Punk video. They first came out dressed as speakers. Seriously. They had 1/4 speaker attached to each forearm and each thigh so when they stood straight with their arms in front of their faces they just looked like big speaker boxes. If that doesn't make sense it's their fault, not mine. And they danced. They were totally the best part. Fergie Ferg has a perfectly good voice but I don't know why these guys are such a hit. Especially after their wonderfully tactful song about the Now Generation that starts with a Yes We Can-style Obama-related tribute that segues into a chorus of Gimme The Cash or something to that effect. I believe crass is the word I am looking for. And I am so tired of people who can't sing without AutoTune (not Fergie but the dude singer). Also their spare dude singer/rapper/I forget what he did looked just like a Bond villain. Major cheekbones and a black leather jumpsuit with red stripes. This website has pictures of the speaker people among other things, and seems to be run by the guy from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Am I the only one who thought he was dead?

But anyways. The whole stage/ring complex is overshadowed by a giant thing that looks like bug legs. The legs are full of lighting guys (we counted 14) and the center (the bug torso?) comes down in a big circular screen made of a bunch of little diamond-shaped screens. The giant screen thing starts showing a bunch of clocks and then a world map with the international dateline scrolling around the world like crazy and flashing What Time Is It over and over. It then flashes 9:06 and I just have to crack up. Kind of anticlimactic.

Finally they all come out and play a couple of tracks from their new album (only one of which I am excited about) and then start getting into some of the bigger hits. By the time they play Elevation my "date" and I have pissed off the neighboring drunks enough so we're getting a little bit of space. Everybody sings along to every song and it is fun as heck. Bono is a goober, and I love the Edge even more after seeing him up there totally deadpan in a BeDazzled plaid flannel shirt and his standard beanie. He also sings the shit out of a lot of the songs so Bono can do the shout-with-the-crowd bits. And changes guitars possibly every song. Also at one point the drummer (Larry?) comes out with a djembe and jams out on the ramp like 25 feet away from us and damn if I can remember the song (it's gonna bug me now) but he was great! That is one tight band and they put on a great, high-energy show.

Here's the list according to these guys:
Get On Your Boots (I think this is my favorite off the new album, better live than on the album though, of course)
Mysterious Ways
Beautiful Day (YES)
In God's Country
Fix You
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
Viva Las Vegas (this was funny)
Stuck In A Moment
No Line On The Horizon
In A Little While (this was cool as they had footage from the space shuttle playing during this and at the end they had one of the astronauts quoting the verse about "man takes a rocket ship into the sky"
Unknown Caller
Until the End of the World
The Unforgettable Fire
City of Blinding Lights - this was cute, he pulled a kid up out of the crowd and they were running around the ramp and the kid was wearing Bono's shades.
Go YouTube, whoever shot this was pretty close to where we were, oddly enough.
Vertigo + a hint of All These Things That I've Done (the Killers are from Vegas, meh) you can also see how the screen expanded here, it was pretty nifty.
I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight - Ha! This was the djembe song.
Sunday Bloody Sunday (this was rad)

Thanks again YouTubers (I want to breed a new kind of potato and name it the YouTuber), I hated all the people holding up their cameras every time Bono walked close to us but this sure is convenient. And that is the bug looking set I was trying to describe.
Walk On
You'll Never Walk Alone

They bailed but the lights didn't go up so of course they did encores.

One - I think it was during this they talked about Aung San Suu Kyi and had a bunch of volunteers walk around the ramp holding up masks of her face which was kind of unintentionally creepy. Not bad preachy-wise though compared to past footage I've seen.
Amazing Grace
Where the Streets Have No Name

And then they bailed again so we did too. We knew they were going to encore again but it was getting progressively mellower and it took us over an hour to get out anyways so I can't imagine if we had waited that extra ~20 mins. just to leave with the whole crowd. They were starting the whole "get out your cell phone and make this stadium like the night sky" BS and I just don't care enough.

So overall, BEP's were doofy but entertaining and U2 puts on a fantastic show. And I am still tired.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Signing Off For Now.

After seeing that movie I am really excited to see the Edge live. Bono is kind of a goober but he seems to mean well in general. Even though I've decided he could be Robin Williams' little brother. Anyways, first I'm gonna rock, then I'm gonna roll! See everybody when I get back (metaphorically speaking, that is)!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ho Lee $#!t.

I just got a call from Matt. A friend of his and his girl got tickets to go see U2 in Vegas Friday night. Now he can't go. So I am going to keep Christine company. At U2. In Vegas. We leave tomorrow night.

Ho. Lee. Shit.

Not A Cure? *Warning* MORE Brick*

Since Alana is posting kitchen pictures, I might as well join in! I am having ~20 people here for Thanksgiving. Most of them will be milling about the living room, as there will be big tables everywhere else. So I finally decided to bite the bullet and get it under control. This is a very loose definition of "under control". The living/dining areas are connected and I have already started "Curing" the dining area with a new neutral tablecloth, equally neutral paint job, tiny vase from my sister's wedding that is perfect for keeping full of nice herby greenery from the yard, and a light fixture that doesn't fight with anything. The dining area is going to be considered under control, for now (I promise it's not boring with all that neutral, it still has the purple couch Matt bought from a tattoo parlor).

So here are the living room goals:
- Move furniture away from walls.
- Vacuum and dust EVERYWHERE (this is big as there are CD racks and stereo equipment to deal with and they are HEAVY).
- Paint walls.
- Store some guitars and amps somewhere else. There was a big step made here when I actually removed ALL the amps to clean and vacuum around them and Matt agreed that I could store elsewhere the ones that weren't used regularly since they are big fat dust collectors. So the huge Peavey is headed for the garage in a nice overcoat of dropcloths and we are down to three amps in the living room. Guitars are next...
- Store some CDs somewhere else so the extant guitars can be more efficiently organized. I already moved a crate of mine to the garage after backing them all up onto the lappy, now I just need to get Matt to do the same with his...
- Obtain (buy/make) new pillow covers for the throw pillows on the couch/loveseat. This would be easier if I wasn't so darn picky. Where do people get throw pillows that aren't $100? We actually put our faces on these during naps so the fancy ones with buttons and beads just leave weird marks.
- Create and maintain space around the couch so when my dad shows up with a pair of end tables (Have I mentioned my dad is rad? My Dad. Is Awesome.) they can be put in their respective spots without having to rearrange everything right then.
This is the view to your immediate left when you walk in the front door. I am going to try and eliminate the short CD rack so we can line up guitar cases against the wall by the window. Then we can get to CDs and guitars both. Right now the corner rack is the dumbest storage idea ever. It would be more accessible if I just put the whole rack in the garage. Hmm...

I have about a month on this. What do you think? I am going to try and get the wall by the windows painted this weekend. Or maybe next weekend. I'll take whatever I can get.
Direct view of the front wall that will be painted first (no CD racks to move). If you click you can see the lovely fireplace wall with stacks of amps. Those are mostly no longer there. It's a start. I have many other dreams of how to make this a nicer space but this is my trying-to-be-realistic phase right now. We'll see how it works out.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Musical Interlude/ Movie Review Time!

Matt and I went to a fascinating documentary last night, called It Might Get Loud. It was about The Edge (of U2), Jimmy Page (of The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin, among others) and Jack White (of the White Stripes and the Raconteurs). It was a combination of them talking to eachother about music, interviews with each of them about their influences and them sitting in a room talking music and jamming. It was SO well done.

It was an odd format, because it would switch back and forth between the three of them, and they had interviews with Jimmy Page and the Edge in their old recording studios where they had recorded iconic albums and in their current abodes talking about their influences and (especially in the case of Jimmy Page) past musical experiences. In Jimmy Page's this was particularly interesting as he started out pre-rock and roll and learned to play in a skiffle band and spent so long as a studio musician playing written-out music (he's the guitarist on Goldfinger, among other totally random things). He talks about the point where he was sitting in a session and realized he was playing muzak, and he just had to leave. He then goes into how much time he spent trying to innovate and do different things with the guitar just to get away from the rigid structure of his past studio gigs (playing guitar with a violin bow, for example). It was a little sad actually, they show a clip from Spinal Tap which came out a couple of years after Bonham's death and the breakup of the band, and you realize that it wasn't that over-the-top, and he just looks so sad about that. Although he does explain the double-necked guitar, too. The top half was a twelve-string and the bottom was a regular electric because it was the only way he could play all of Stairway to Heaven live in concert without switching instruments - he played all the solos on the regular side and everything else was on the twelve-string.

The Edge was actually really interesting as well, it goes a lot more into his influences from the political climate in Dublin when they were starting out and how that influenced his writing music. Songs like Sunday Bloody Sunday for example - I for one forget how much singing and songwriting he does for that band. It was also fascinating to watch him talk about his gear, how much time he spends getting just the right sound and effects for each song and each lick - he sits down at one point and plays a catchy lick on an unplugged electric guitar and then he plugs in and it turns into this huge memorable song and it is so interesting to watch.

Jack White was kind of the "which of these things is not like the other" factor. I know he was kind of the contrivance to get the other two together in the first place but it just felt a little forced when they would have old footage of the others and them talking about their experience and they've both got 20-30 more years of stories to tell than he does. I know it's kind of to get the younger crowd in and it is interesting to hear him talk about his influences as well but he just seems kind of out of his league, especially in the jam sessions. That was kind of my other little peeve - they hardly showed them jamming at all! The preview kind of implies that the whole thing is about the jam and it is really a minor component. Although it was pretty cute watching him just look on in awe when Jimmy Page is showing them how to play Heartbreaker.

Overall, I highly recommend it if you like rock music (or are married to a guitarist). I've got some residual interest as a non-guitarist who lives with a serious guitarist but also as a moderate U2 fan and a huge fan of both Zep and the Raconteurs. And I thought it was very interesting and extremely well done. So there ya go.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Flakey McFlakerson

So I have spent an excessive amount of time trying to convince people to dress up with me for Halloween as the cast of Mad Men (or at least a couple of them). I was going to be the redhead and I had a friend who could pull off the main blonde and the boys could just wear suits (fedoras optional). And now I totally don't want to. Waah.

It's the updo. I just don't care enough. I've even been practicing. And I can't find a wig anywhere. Some people make the retro hairdos look so easy. But my hair is apparently super slippery or something. Because it will not stay up. And I just don't want to try any more. I want to be a generic femme fatale with my hair in my eyes and a tidy little suit so I don't have to spend more money on a Halloween costume. So waah for me.And off topic, I have to say thanks for all the comments on my kitchen, it is SO on the chopping block as soon as we save up some dough but until then, new hardware is tempting me. But I have to say, 40 hinges and 25 pulls is still not a small investment. Le sigh.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

On Habit (And AT {kind of a rant}) *plus, bricky-kitchen warning*

(I meant to post this a while ago but it got lost in the ether - the picture is also from a period when I had just cleaned and rearranged the whole kitchen. Needless to say it doesn't look like that right now)

I still get emails from Apartment Therapy. I was an enthusiastic participant in the website when I first found it a couple of years ago, but my enthusiasm waned as I sent in pictures of stuff I wanted advice on and got snotty responses ("get rid of the rug" was my favorite. Let it be known, the question in question had nothing to do with the rug). But the community and helpful people were addicting so I kept going back. I participated in at least two Cures and one Color contest and have learned quite a bit. One of the bigger things I learned was that I would rather share my projects with a select audience (a.k.a. you lovely readers who care enough to click on my blog) instead of tossing them to the lions commenters at AT, even though I have gotten good advice there in the past.

But like I said, I still get emails from them. Not AT, technically, but The Kitchn, the affiliated cooking blog. I still hate the spelling, but enjoy the (much less negative) commenters (although don't get them started on ground turkey, apparently it is the hot dog of the poultry world and no respectable cook goes near it. F you all, foodie snobs. You don't know where my ground poultry comes from). Anyways, my point is, they're starting the Kitchen Cure and looking for participants. And I realized, my kitchen doesn't need Curing. Maybe a quick mop and scrub, but not a Cure. This is big, people.
I am happy with my ridiculous "retro" kitchen, as far as I can be (I will say, whoever thinks a 3-D backsplash is a good idea anywhere, especially behind a stovetop, STOP NOW. Unless you want to spend your weekends cleaning it with a toothbrush). Yes, it was designed for people who don't cook, yes it is nearly impossible to clean, yes the wacky dropped ceilings mean I can't put much of anything in the upper cabinets. Yes it is the first thing you see when you walk in the door so party guests immediately settle Right Where I Am Working unless they prefer Right In Front Of The Oven When I Need To Get In There Right Now So Pick Up Your Drink And Get Out Of The Way.

But I can make Thanksgiving dinner for 30 when it comes down to it, and I can tell you it will be TASTY. I love having my electric kettle next to Matt's wacky double-decker bus shaped tea tin and my grandmother's rad old flour and sugar canisters next to the huge cutting board my dad made me that totally needs oiling right now (be right back). This is MY kitchen. Someday I will gut it and it will not be retro any more. But all my things will still be there, and then there will just be no more little undercurrent of Hate when I talk about it with people (esp. those who call it cute, retro or classic Avocado 70's, as these are inevitably people who don't cook).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Can I Get A Hmmm? (Plus Quick Recipe)

Hmm. I had a very busy weekend but need to really quickly share a recipe. We went and visited family in Woodland, Colusa (this was a LOT of driving) and Grass Valley (new baby to visit) before the weather gets crappy. And they ALL sent me home with produce. I now have a stack of tomatoes (even some green ones to fry), a pile of pomegranates and a passel of peppers (in both hot and bell varieties) that all need some love. So last night when we got back, I...

quartered and seeded a pile of tomatoes (enough to cover a sheet pan),
shucked a head and a half of garlic,
tossed them in olive oil and italian spices,
and stuck them in the oven at 275F for two hours (three might have been even better).

Then I tossed it all in the food processor (I am way too lazy to peel tomatoes and this makes the peel a non-issue) and tonight we are having fresh tomato sauce on our pasta. People put in onion, carrot, all sorts of fancy things but if you slow-roast 'em you really don't need much else other than tomatoes.

That said, I also stuck a couple of paint swatches up in the living room. I think my paint choices were too dark as my "light" color has become my go-to choice for my accent wall color. So I think I am going to have to go up the swatch for my lighter color now. Which is fine. Right now my walls look like they have patches of milky coffee all over them. And I think I am going to go with it. It's a tiny bit weird with the warm wood but I am not working around the colors of my hated kitchen just in case we never change it (if we never change it, suffice to say I will be at the very least refinishing some nasty cabinets so I can deal with that). It works with the furniture and the carpet so everything else can just fight a little bit less now.

And for my Halloween costume, suffice to say I am not hard core enough to be Lady Gaga this year (also, it's gonna be cold!) nor am I able to afford a makeup artist! So here is your clue...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Best Halloween Costume Idea Ever.

So Matt is, bizarrely enough, a big fan of Lady Gaga. He hates club music but LOVES that she writes her own stuff and he has found a bunch of videos of her doing acoustic versions of her big hits and she really has a voice and plays the piano, as opposed to so many starlets who sing via AutoTune and don't play anything. So he has kind of won me over on her behalf (I have a soft spot for small amounts of techno-ish stuff and an even bigger soft spot for those who don't lip sync on SNL). Seriously, the song is catchy but the video is amazingly well crafted. Watch the whole thing, it's a mini-movie in like seven minutes.

If I was willing to spend the $$$, we could go as the couple from this video. And that would be AMAZING. Maybe if I was Gala Darling. Not for the party I'm going to though. It should be fun, it's a lot of cool people who love special effects so the decor should be great and costumes should veer away from the slutty fill-in-the-blank.

And Matt is totally getting a Lady Gaga t-shirt for Christmas.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Holy Crap (or Things That Are Only Exciting To Me)

The electrician finally made it by today. And oh my dear lord am I happy he did. Now my house is a busy, cluttered place. This is not really my style. I have decided the best way to describe it is that I find it visually stressful. This light, while you may think it too West Elm-catalog-looking, is another little oasis of calm in a sea of clutter character. We have a lot of stuff, I think it's unavoidable living with a packrat musician who needs gear for every possible musical situation (which is fair on some level as it is his job). But it makes for a busy house when most of the front of the house has no walls so you can see every part of every room from every other room (well, living room, dining room, kitchen and bar, at least).

Every time I see the new fixture I smile (or sigh with relief). Go figure. Matt's first response was "It's boring. Is that canvas? Can I paint it?" My response to him, "That's linen, and NO". The band clarified for me though, it's not BORING, it's simple. And that's awesome, thankyouverymuch.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Brandied Pumpkin Pie Recipe (I know it's too late for Emma, but maybe somebody else can still get some use out of it)

I figured I should post something less complicated than last weekend's recipe just to balance it out. This one is simple but you do get bang for your buck! I'm not a big crust person so I have no problems making this in a premade crust. Let me know if you need a crust recipe.

2 eggs
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
2/3 c. brown sugar
2 T. cognac or other brandy
1/4 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/4 t. cloves
1/4 t. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375F. Whisk together all of above ingredients until combined. Pour into pie shell. Cover edge of pie crust with foil so it doesn't burn. Bake 25 mins. and remove foil, then bake 25 more mins. or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool and eat. Whipped cream is a nice addition...

Easy stuff is nice to cook too. No picture, because I won't be making this until I have people over to eat it or I will eat it all by myself!

Edit: I still want more answers for the question in my last post... help me out here people!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Halloween Question

Hello all, I have another question for everyone. What do you folks all do on Halloween? Do you dress up? Scare little Trick-or-Treaters? Stay home with the lights off? Go on a bar crawl dressed as a zombie?

See, there are many options available in a town like Reno, and most of them involve dressing sluttily in very cold weather (you'd never think zombies could be so, um, sexy). In recent memory I have gone as a 1940s Girl Reporter (excuse to wear a fedora + suit coat = pretty darn warm) and a Mildly Irritated Scientist (too lazy for Mad Scientist + excuse to wear glasses + a lab coat = those things are warmer than they look). Not that I have photo evidence of any of these, of course. Anyways, this year some friends are throwing a Halloween party. And they are thorough. Heck, invitations are already out and it's barely October. So I want a rad costume.

My question is, does anyone have any reasonably priced and not slutty clever costume ideas they'd care to share? I have been hooked on a certain blog that makes dressing all 1940's style look super easy and I kind of want to go with that (make Matt grow a pencil thin mustache and go with me as Django, he's already got the guitar), but I have no idea who I'd be, character-wise. I can't just go as "from the 40's" (or at least I have decided I can't).

Any help? Ideas? People who are better at this than I am?

Edit: I forgot - Zack took pictures one year. Very artistically, too. Matt stayed home that year and he was my "date" and then got in trouble with some girl who didn't bother to notice I had a WEDDING RING ON that was not part of the costume. Sorry, Z.