Category Archives: Blather

Life Is Better (So Far) Without Facebook

The Facebook hiatus is going well.  At first I felt like I was missing people and news, but now any minimal contact I have with it just feels like I’m walking into a cloud of disease.  Maybe that’s not the right way to put it, but it bums me out.  That is definitely not what I need.

There is probably some method for me to interact with Facebook in a small, selective way.  I think that’s where I’ll end up, once I figure it out.

Now off to do better things!

Coming soon…

I haven’t been posting lately, and I really should.  There’s been so much going on!  My parents moved out of their home in State College at the end of June, and I’ve been to four Interpol concerts in the last month or so where I’ve seen a bunch of friends (old and new) and had lots of adventures.  So… updates (and photos!) coming soon.  Stay tuned!

In vegetarian news…

Most weekends Ez and I try to cook something yummy and fun that will provide good leftovers. Last weekend I thought, “Let’s make a veggie pot pie!” We explored our various cookbooks and couldn’t find the one perfect recipe, but we used one as a jumping off point and made a vegetable pot pie that totally hit the spot.

veggie pot pie

Chef Ezra is always looking for an opportunity to prepare mushrooms like he does in his mushroom empanadas. So he employed that method for the pot pie. We wanted to use good fall veggies, so we included potato, carrot, garlic, leek, butternut squash, and parsnip. We ended up with a pot pie that was A) piping hot–a must for pot pie (part of the point, right?), and B) had just a hint of sweetness, courtesy of the mushroom prep and the squash. It is (and I say is because we’re still enjoying the leftovers) SOOOOO GOOOOOD. Hooray for fall veggies and weekends and team work!

black bean mango

I also bring you another vegetarian chow recommendation. I’ve lately purchased a few ready-made microwavable veggie meals for quick lunches. I’ve tried two of Kashi’s offerings, the Pasta Primavera (okay) and the Black Bean Mango. I was a little wary of the latter, but it is so tasty. I could live off of Kashi products (I practically do).

Some Things I Love

Kim did a post like this, and I’ve been wanting to do one myself. Mine will be sillier than hers because some of the things I love are pretty silly.

Kashi Heart to Heart Oat Flakes and Wild Blueberry Clusters


So yummy–tastes like a really good blueberry muffin.

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Guru: The Indian Caterer


Oh my, this is incredibly good Indian food–fresh and delicious, not run of the mill. And so cheap!!! And it’s practically around the corner from our house.

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The Strand Bookstore



It’s sprawling, it’s packed with books, it’s a Manhattan classic right in Union Square.
They’ve kept up with the times–they have an excellent web site on which I’ve discovered a bunch of books–and at the same time they’ve maintained a sort of old school presence in their main store. The last few times I’ve been in New York, I’ve spent hours there–sometimes over multiple visits. The last time I was at the main store, I went to collect some books I’d ordered online. Of course, I had to browse, and ended up adding a few to my pre-ordered stack. They sell new and used, remainders, review copies, and rare books. They have a great art section on the second floor, and there’s a sizable children’s section that I’ve never really properly investigated. Their prices are generally very good. Their book bags are awesome, too. If their onesies came in slightly more appealing patterns, Rainey would already have one.

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Arrested Development



Ez and I don’t watch a lot of television, but we do watch a lot of DVDs. Like many people, we missed Arrested Development when it first aired. That was our loss. We just finished watching the whole series on DVD and we love it! Funny stuff. I’m sure we’ll see the film, though I’m a LITTLE worried that it won’t live up to the series.

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Casa Silva Sauvignon Gris 2006



We tasted this wine at Dave’s Fresh Pasta and we really like it. It’s got this sort of tangy, almost effervescent quality.
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My computer has been unreliable of late–hardware problem, we think–so I’ll end this post here. I’ll have to make this a series as I think of other things I like enough to blog about them.

Overanalyzing Pretty in Pink–beware!

Most people have a favorite teen movie from their youth. Mine would have to be Pretty in Pink. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it. I saw it with a bunch of school friends (all girls–many of us were teary-eyed as we exited the theater) when it was first released in 1986. I’ve owned the video (VHS) for at least 16 years. It’s been a little while since I last watched it, but it was on AMC the other day–slightly and amusingly butchered–and watching it again I was reminded of some of the enduring reasons that I like it, even now. I also noticed–in some cases for the first time–some of the ways in which it doesn’t work. When you’ve seen a movie countless times, it’s hard not to pick up on editing gaffes, plot inconsistencies, and the quality of the acting–both when it’s bad and when it’s, maybe surprisingly, pretty decent.

The set designer must have had a lot of fun doing this movie. Even now, even with the overabundance of pink, I still like Andie’s bedroom. This time around, I noticed that she has at least one–maybe two–Mondrian prints on her walls. I can’t say whether that influenced me as a teenager, even subconsciously, to check out Mondrian myself, but it’s entirely possible. Iona’s Chinatown apartment is fun, too–though the kooky retro 50s/early 60s black and white stuff isn’t really my taste.

Andy's bedroom
Andie in her bedroom with her dog, Ace. Sadly, this is one of the best pictures I could find of her room–doesn’t show much, but you can see one of the Mondrian prints on the wall in the background.

Iona's apartment
Iona (Annie Potts) and Andie (Molly Ringwald) in the kooky 50s/60s room in Iona’s apartment. Andie is wearing a pretty nice Chinese jacket.

Trax, the record store where Andie and Iona work, makes me all nostalgic! I mean, did we all know someone who had that Smiths poster, or is it just me?
Iona at Trax
Iona at Trax

Of course Andie’s outfits are fun. That’s a little part of the point, right? She makes a lot of her own clothes… the film is even called Pretty in Pink. Some of it probably looks a bit goofy to someone watching the movie for the first time today, but I still like some of the pieces and combinations. Some of the colors are great. I like the vintage blue cardigan she wears at the record shop, and I especially love that lace top (can’t find a good picture of it, of course).

I’ve always liked John Cryer in this movie, and this time around I spotted some specific places–besides the classic Otis Redding scene, of course–where his acting really is pretty good. When he realizes Andie is going on a date with Blane (the major appliance), the hurt look on his face is perfect. Most of his acting in that part of the film really works, keeping in mind that he’s supposed to be in high school…

Andy and Duckie
Andie and Duckie at the record store, when Duckie realizes that Andie is going on a date with Blane

James Spader is just great as Blane’s ridiculously snotty friend Steff. His affected voice, the way he saunters around like he owns the place, his thick sleepy eyelids… he totally nails it. The bit at the end where Blane tells him off is classic. “You couldn’t buy her, though, that’s what’s killing you, isn’t it? Steff? That’s it, Steff. She thinks you’re shit. And deep down, you know she’s right.” Melodramatic? Yeah, perhaps. But for a John Hughes movie, that’s a pretty good zinger. James Spader as Steff
James Spader as Steff

Even Andrew McCarthy, who turned out to be rather less of an actor than he might have been, has a couple pretty good moments here and there. Possibly the best scene in a lot of ways is the one where Andie confronts Blane in the hallway at school. McCarthy’s character is doing a lot here–he’s squirming, for sure. He ends up doing the wimpy thing–but he’s crying. It’s not easy for him. (I’ve watched this scene many times, of course, and I think it’s really pivotal for how the film was supposed to end–but I’ll get to that in a second.) Duckie watches this whole scene unfold, and sees the aftermath of their exchange, where Steff tells Blane that Andie “was, is, and will always be nada.” I think Cryer again does a pretty good job here, and of course there’s some good John Hughes movie triumph involved when Duckie tackles Steff and they scuffle in the hall, with Duckie tearing down the prom banner after a few teachers come out of their classrooms to break it up. Steff’s reaction to the whole thing is great, too. It’s largely physical–refluffing his fluffy hair, spitting on the floor, dripping smooth disdain.

The filmmakers have been pretty open about the fact that they changed the movie’s ending after test audiences were disappointed that Andie and Blane did not end up together. In the original, Andie and Duckie end up together. I can see why test audiences felt the way they did. You want the film’s message to be that love conquers all–that class differences are superficial and don’t matter, and you want the characters to be strong enough to get past them. Andie and Blane’s romance gets built up, and even though the viewer sees just how much Duckie likes Andie, there’s not enough (at least, not that made it into the final cut) to show that Andie could see Duckie as much more than a friend, though there is one very purposeful shot at the prom where they take each other’s hands. That got left in, and I can’t help thinking that the filmmakers hoped it would serve a different purpose in the final cut than it did in the test version. To me, it looks like it’s supposed to show that they’re growing closer–maybe romantically. Perhaps the filmmakers decided to leave it in to signify that Duckie and Andie had reconciled and to show their unity as they confront Blane together.

Andie and Blane
Andie and Blane, selling BMW.

The ending that did make it into the film is almost too John Hughes-y. It’s too easy, too quickly thrown together. Of course, when I saw it in 1986 (I was 12, I think), I thought it was perfect. Heck, it made me want a BMW. But watching it now–not so much. There’s this whole thing between Andie and Blane earlier in the film where she tells Blane that she can’t believe in anyone who doesn’t believe in her. At the prom he tells her that he always believed in her but she just didn’t believe in him. Well, duh Blane… you wimped out on her! You started out all brave, taking her to your friend’s party and saying you were above it all, but then you caved! You didn’t return her calls! You backed out on the prom! Something there just doesn’t compute. And pairing Duckie up with some random girl at the prom is just silly. It reduces his role in the film.

I could probably go on, if anyone else is freakish enough to want to continue the discussion…

EDIT: Ah! But YouTube saves the day. Pretty vintage blue beaded sweater is at the beginning of this clip. And oh look–she’s wearing the lacy top thing under it. Around 2:20 she closes a door and we see the aforementioned Smiths poster, and then the scene shifts to her bedroom–Mondrian prints, pretty kimono on the wall, etc. Unfortunately, John Cryer’s good expression when he finds out that Andie is going out with Blane is split over two clips. Most of it is at the beginning of this one. It’s better when you see his initial reaction, though. Molly Ringwald is really kinda so-so compared to Cryer in that scene. Sorry, Molly.

The confrontation scene mentioned above starts around 4:45 here. Great stuff from Spader and Cryer… at least, great for a John Hughes movie.

For now I’ll save the rest for when I’m asked to provide commentary for a special edition of the DVD. (Hyuck hyuck.)

Why we love Suki, part 3876559

Suki

There’s nothing like the ways of a cat to make you stop what you’re doing, forget about stress and tasks, and just say “tee hee!” and be happy. I recently went through a lot of papers and files in my office and produced 5+ bags of recycling. In the midst of moving furniture out of the office, we discovered Suki as you see her here. Never to be deterred from perching in the sun’s rays, and as much a fan of little nesting places as the next cat, she found that this particular bag of recycling would do quite nicely, thank you.

Friday timestamp

It’s a pretty cold day, but it’s supposed to warm up this weekend. It should be a good weekend for walking around, which I am very much looking forward to doing. Ezra’s birthday was Monday, and though we grabbed a bite to eat, I’m hoping to properly celebrate my sweetie’s birthday this weekend. So we’ll have reasonable weather for that–in February, no less!

Moments ago I was the lucky recipient of a fishy cat bath. Thank you, Suki. I love you, too.

I don’t have much to do for work today. I’m waiting for a lot of things to come in from authors and clients. I did get a new project recently, and I have a feeling a bunch of work will be arriving on my doorstep all at once. Typical!


A Mercy I’m reading Toni Morrison’s latest novel, A Mercy. I like it, but I’m already almost 75% of the way done with the book and I feel as though it’s just getting started. I guess it’s sort of a novella. It feels a bit like a very long short story. I’ll have to see how it goes before I give a final verdict. I am enjoying it. It definitely pulls in a lot of Morrison’s typical themes and devices–a triad of women, female friendship, a woman’s (potentially–we’ll see what happens>) destructive love/attraction to a man, naming and identity, the creation of a self and an identity (especially after slavery strips away an existing past/identity), etc. That makes it fun for me, with all of the bits and pieces from my thesis still bumping around in my head. I have a feeling this book won’t be as satisfying as a book like Song of Solomon. It just doesn’t seem like it’s going to go that far–it hasn’t engrossed me that much yet. But I still think it’s pretty good and maybe easier to get into than any of Morrison’s novels since Jazz.

If you want to have a look at what I’ve read and am reading, my little home at Goodreads is a good place to start (a lot of you probably already know about it). You can find me and my books there, and I update it pretty frequently. Everybody should join, methinks! It’s easy (I swear) and free and I enjoy seeing what people are reading!