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Mad Men musings [Dec. 2nd, 2010|04:12 pm]
Idle musings about Mad Men after the cut.Collapse )
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you who were born with the sun above your shoulder [Nov. 1st, 2010|04:46 pm]
I hit the ground running as soon as I got home from California on Thursday. Lise kindly picked me up at the airport, and after quickly unpacking and settling in for a couple of hours, I drove down the street to Shellie's birthday party. While I had a great time singing and playing Rock Band keytar with my friends, I was so tired, that I left around 9PM. I hit the bed with a great sense of relief, but even so, I didn't sleep well at all.

I still felt pretty good the next morning, though, and after a lazy morning uploading vacation pictures and catching up on the internet, I packed up and drove to Dallas. Even though I left at 2PM, that did nothing to prevent me from encountering three wrecks on IH-35 that slowed my progress substantially. I was ready for a beer and good times by the time I finally rolled into Jane's place. We chatted for a while before we joined some of her friends at Sherlock's Pub. Much later, Jason came by just in time to see a ridiculous cover band called Miss Used. They were a total riot--each member looked like they'd fallen into a Hot Topic and clawed their way out. The female lead was a decent singer though, and the rest of the band rocked appropriately on a typical collection of rock/karaoke greatest hits: "Crazy Train," "Don't Stop Believin," etc. Jason and Jane amused themselves by constantly cheering on the lead guitarist, who called himself Delicious. I, meanwhile, got my serious dance jams on when they played a triple threat of "Beat It," "Song 2" by Blur, and "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World.

We stayed until the bar closed, and once home, I slept like the proverbial dead. Jane and I woke up in time to have a delicious Japanese lunch at Tampopo with Jason and Meg. After that, I drove to Bedford (a suburb of Fort Worth) to see James and his fiance Sarah get married.

I don't know James super well--I'm much closer to his brother, Robert--but James and I had hung out a bit back in college and some time thereafter, so I was very pleased to hear that he was to get married to his longtime girlfriend. The service itself was held in a huge Episcopalian cathedral, and the homily and rituals were all very serious and super-churchy (they even had a communion service). I could have done without one of the ministers making a thinly veiled crack against gay marriage, but overall it was a nice service, and it was interesting from an anthropological standpoint to sing along to the old hymns.

I had a few hours to kill before the reception, so after I found the winery where it was to occur, I parked my car and wandered around Bess & Evie's, a vintage clothing shop nearby. I found so many gorgeous dresses, all of them in amazing condition, and nearly all of them fit me! I only bought one, though, because I also found the fiercest pair of cowboy boots in the universe: knee high, grey, and made of PYTHON! They were expensive, but because I've a) been wanting a good pair of tall boots and b) a pair of cowboy boots too, I figured they were a good investment. They also went perfectly with the dress I picked out, so much so that I decided to change clothes and wear my new duds to the reception. Man, I looked hot!

The reception was much more fun-filled and relaxed than the wedding ceremony, to my relief. Robert and I caught up for a while before we picked a table and started chowing down on the amazing food and drinking the excellent wines. James and Sarah joined us, and even though Sarah was of course super busy with being the center of attention, she kindly refreshed my drink for me. Though I only met her for a few minutes, she seems like an amazing lady, and I hope I can get to know her better someday. The toasts were heartfelt--I nearly shed a tear when Robert gave his brotherly blessings to James, and I couldn't help but smile when James and Sarah had their first dance to Rufus Wainwright's "Greek Song." I'm so glad I attended, as it was a truly perfect end to my vacation week.

Back in Dallas on Sunday, I got some tacos with Jason, his beau, and Jane before I saddled Penny up and drove home. I made it straight through to my mailbox in Austin, but after I got out to check my mail and then back in the car, I discovered that my battery had died. Luckily for me, Shellie and John were in the neighborhood, and they drove by not only to jump my car, but also to drive me back home after I dropped the car off at my mechanic's down the road. I feel so thankful to have so many generous friends! By that time, I was exhausted indeed, and I fell into a deep sleep at 9PM.
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nearing the end of California [Oct. 27th, 2010|04:55 pm]
Mom and I have finally checked into our last stop, a Best Western in Woodland, which is a quick 10 minute drive to the Sacrameno Airport. We leave first thing tomorrow morning. It's been a wonderful trip; I'm so very lucky to have such an easy-going and generous travel partner.

It poured down rain during our second day in Point Reyes, but we didn't let that stop us from exploring the area. We spent a quiet morning reading and putting a jigsaw puzzle togeter in the lodge before we got bored and decided to drive to nearby Petaluma. On the way, we went to the Point Reyes Vineyard for a quick tasting, our first on this wine-soaked trip. We also stopped by a small creamery and bought some fresh cheese spreads, which served as several picnic lunches on the rest of ou trip. From there, I steered us to the Lagunitas Brewery so we could try their IPA (and maybe get a souvenir glass), but the place was packed for some kind of benefit show, and after wrestling with a billion people at their bar, we gave up that plan and went to downtown Petaluma. We'd passed two gigantic Art Deco-style banks on the road in, and I had to check them out. One of them had been converted to an heirloom seed store, where I bought some fun vegetable seeds for some of my gardening friends. The other was a huge antique shop filled with insane art and knickknacks. I took a few trippy pictures and drooled over some Japanese woodblock prints that I couldn't afford.

Back in Point Reyes Station, we had a drink in the Western Saloon and took over the jukebox for eight songs, which was fun. Dinner was had at a little cafe across the street, where I had polenta with portobello mushrooms, yummy yum. Of all the towns we visited, I liked Point Reyes Station the best, which was much more hippie and laid back than the incredibly yuppie Yountville.

Monday morning dawned bright and clear, and we took advantage of the break in the weather to finally explore the park. We took a short half-mile hike through the woods, and we saw tons of animals: squirrels, deer (even a white one!), quail, ravens, and lots of other birds. We drove to the lighthouse, and the view of the pounding breakers was awesome. It was so unbelievably beautiful. My favorite part of the day was when we went to an overlook to eat our cheese and crackers while watching elephant seals bark at each other on a beach across a bay. On the way out of the park, we stopped at an oyster farm to see how oysters are raised, and the proprietor there let me shuck and eat two whoppers for free! I've ever eaten such big oysters!

After lunch, we took a long scenic drive through the hills to Yountville, aka the Thomas Keller EPCOT Center Pavilion. The extreme yuppiness of the town was a bit of a shock to me after gorgeous and natural Point Reyes, and it took me most of the afternoon to get over my grumpiness. Having dinner at Ad Hoc helped--oh my GOD was it good. We started with a salad consisting of tiny boiled carrots, cucumbers, and itty bitty Romaine lettuce heads in a blue cheese dressing. We also picked a wonderful Sauvignon Blanc, which has turned into my new favorite wine (we had good luck with that kind for the rest of the trip). The meat course was insanely massive: pork tenderloin, pork rillette, broccoli rapini with roasted sunchokes, and what appeared to be a gigantic bowl of plain old spaghetti with a beefy ragu sauce. I turned my nose up at the pasta for a while until I tried a bit and discovered that OH HOLY SHIT this was the best ragu I would ever eat IN MY LIFE EVER. I'm still going crazy trying to figure out what was in it. It was spicy, meaty, and complex, so much so that I thought there was some kind of citrus ingredient in it, though the waiter told me I was wrong. Even though I was already full, I ate as much of that stuff as I could. I'm still dreaming about it.

I could have done without the cheese course, which was melted cheddar on top of fried onion cakes (kind of like latkes), all of which was too greasy for my taste. Dessert, however, was lovely: apple fritters with cinnamon ice cream and caramel sauce. We staggered home and flopped into bed like two overstuffed pythons.

The next morning, I had somehow managed to digest that insane amount of food, so I went back for some croissants at Bouchon Bakery. While I walked back to the hotel with our treats, I watched two hot air balloons inflate and take off right behind our hotel. Soon, we went to Napa Valley Bikes to start our biking tour of various wineries. The first winery, Sequoia Grove, turned out to be the best; their Sauvignon Blanc was wonderful, and Mom bought a bottle to take home. We stopped next at a place that sold local olive oils and bath products. I really wanted to get some of the local oil, but since I didn't want to check a bag, I was out of luck (I did buy some nice soap though). The bike ride was reasonably easy until the guide lead us up a gigantic hill that was so steep, I had to get out and walk (poor Mom waited for the bike tour van to come and pick her up). Our reward was lunch on top of a hill overlooking the vastly fertile farmlands of Napa.

Mom stuck it out for one more winery, but by then she was bushed, and rode the van home. I biked the rest of the way--the whole trip was about 22 miles. I felt pretty good after it was over (save for a sore butt from the bike seat), but man, I was sick of wine. Our antidote to wine and fine food was dinner at Yountville's singular taco truck and a bottle of beer for me from the local deli.

Our last day of vacation started with a hot air balloon ride. It was magical. We met the tour company at the Domain Chandon hotel and winery, and after some coffee and pastries, they drove us to a nearby field. Watching them inflate the rainbow-colored balloons was so exciting! The ascent was gentle, and once the sun peaked over the hills, we had an amazing view all the way to Mt. Tamalpais and San Francisco. Mom and I couldn't stop smiling the whole time. It was so much fun! What a perfect end to our trip.

We flew for about an hour, and then had some breakfast before we drove up to Calistoga to see some silly tourist trappy sights. The Petrified Forest was educational, and provided a nice walk through some woods, but the "Old Faithful of California" Geyser was kind of ridiculous. The geyser in question was real, but it only spurted maybe six feet high. We did get to feed some cute goats and sheep, though. The final journey of our day was a long and lonely drive through the mountains past Lake Berryessa; then it was goodbye to wine country as we wound into the flat farmlands around Sacramento. We may go into the old town tonight to have dinner, but we're both pretty wine and fooded out. I miss Austin and my Penny dog, and I'll be happy to see both tomorrow afternoon.
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Sonoma/Marin/Napa thus far [Oct. 23rd, 2010|03:44 pm]
Mom and I are having a very restful vacation thus far. The weather could be a little better--the normally dry Northern California wine country has been totally drenched in storms for the past couple of days, and tomorrow promises a true deluge. Luckily things will clear up in time for us to tour parts of Napa on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

My flight went smoothly, despite being a little late in arriving in Sacramento. I met Mom at the Avis checkin, and after we grabbed our violet-colored Nissan, she drove us to our nearby hotel, where we promptly crashed at 11PM. Bright and early the next morning, we drove through suburbs and dun-colored hills to Santa Rosa. We each had soup and sandwich in front of a lovely fire inside the Warm Puppy Cafe, which was housed inside Snoopy's Home Ice, a skating rink that Charles Schulz had built in the 80s. It was a charming place made to look like a big Swiss chalet. We bought a few souvenirs and then toured the Charles Schulz Museum, which had a really cute exhibit about nature as viewed through Peanuts, as well as a recreation of Schulz' original drawing studio. He used the same drawing table for the 50 years he drew Peanuts, and it was really cool getting to see that.

Once we got our fill of all things Snoopy, we drove north to Geyserville to have a glass of wine and a snack at Rustic, the restaurant contained within the popular Francis Coppola Winery. I had his Archimedes red, which was really nice. I had a really good time checking out the movie memoribilia, particularly the gorgeous Eiko Ishioka costumes from Bram Stoker's Drakula. From there, we took a scenic route along the Russian River to Route 1 on the coast, where we saw lots of gorgeous fir trees and mysterious mist-shrouded hills. The fog became deeply thick by the time we reached the coast, and for most of the drive to Bodega Bay, I felt that the right side of the car (the ocean side) was but a blank, white, creepy void. We found our inn with no troubles. It was too misty and rainy to do much of anything, so we went to a nearby deli for some crackers, cheese, cookies and wine, which served as our dinner while we watched cheesy television.

After eating the rest of our cheese for breakfast, we drove to Bodega proper so we could see the famed schoolhouse that was featured in The Birds. We stuck to the offroads, and we had a relaxing time just cruising through rolling farmland (there are tons of dairies around here) and listening to my iPod. At Point Reyes Station, we managed to visit their really neat farmer's market, where I had some cardamom-flavored kombucha (I also bought some intriguing loose tea containing herbs and pine needles.) We bought a bunch of fresh pita bread, hummus, olives, and fresh cherry tomatoes for our lunch. Sadly, the rain continued unabated, so we had to eat our picnic in the car as we drove around Point Reyes National Park. Despite the rain, we had gorgeous views of hills, marshes, and cliffs. We tried driving up to the lighthouse in the park, but it was so windy and foggy, that we turned back after walking only five minutes.

Now we're at our hotel, the Point Reyes Lodge. It's a beautiful place, but our room has no TV or internet, which goes to show how all activities here are centered around the park or surrounding wineries. It's too bad that the bad weather hit us during the time I wished to hike, hike, hike, but oh well. We'll have time to do a little bit on Monday morning when it clears up. In the meantime, I plan to catch up on some reading. We'll probably do indoor stuff tomorrow like visiting the nearby Cowgirl Creamery to watch cheese being made, and maybe having dinner at the Lodge's restaurant, which was where a scene from John Carpenter's The Fog was filmed, to my utter film nerd excitement.

Mom likes it here so much, that I think we might return again someday (hopefully when the weather is nicer). We shall see.
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it's all deep fried [Oct. 10th, 2010|09:34 pm]
My week's been a good one--very good.

I went to see a gorgeously cleaned-up print of Aguirre: The Wrath of God at the Alamo Ritz on Wednesday night. I'm so thankful I was able to see this amazing movie on the big screen at long last. It says something significant about me that when my mom and dad mentioned possibly going to Machu Picchu with our Ecuadorean friends in 2012, all I could think of was, "Wow, I could see where Aguirre was filmed!!"

Michael, Ginger, Rachel, Sassy, Karin, and I all met at the Highball on Thursday to sing at their karaoke room happy hour; despite ACL traffic, we had an awesome time. I sang a ton of stuff, notably "Nobody Does It Better" and "Earth Song," the latter of which was requested by Sassy, who is a huge masochist for wanting to listen to me wail and thrash around. (Or maybe that makes her a sadist. I'm not sure.)

I drove up to Dallas right after work on Friday, which took me nearly four and a half hours due to shitty traffic from Austin rush hour and a couple of rural football games. Nevertheless, I managed to pick up some tasty kolaches for Jane and myself before I unceremoniously crashed into the inflatable bed provided for me. I must be getting old, as inflatable beds no longer provide much comfort for me; my joints ached after each night of sleep. C'est la vie.

Jane and I woke bright and early Saturday morning, only to discover that her beloved bicycle had been stolen in the night, lifted right from her back patio. We tried searching online for a number or website to report the theft before we drove off to pick up Erin for our State Fair festivities. Poor Jane was really distraught, as she loved that bike. At any rate, once we met up with Jason and Meg and bought our Fair tickets, we were all ready to help her drown her sorrows in booze and fried food. A new feature this year were "adult Capri-Sun" pouches (as Meg called them), which were various daquiris/margaritas in a big plastic throwaway pouch. The instructions indicated that we were to "massage gently before serving," which applies to many situations in life, as Jason so noted. (I myself drank only Shiner, since the sweet stuff tends to give me a headache.)

We were soon laughing and dancing around Fair Park like nobody's business, and we managed to try all of the featured fried foods at the Fair before the huge lines developed, which was a new record for us. Here's some of what we ate:

Fried beer: This was the "most creative" winner this year, and while I can understand that designation, it was far from the tastiest food at the Fair--in fact, it was one of the most disgusting. After biting into the ravioli-like pillow of dough, it took a few seconds before a wash of disgusting, lukewarm, cheap beer flooded into my mouth, tinged with a hint of salt and the bland doughiness of the wrapping. It was like dipping a pretzel into a warm beer, which is actually way grosser than it sounds. FAIL.

Deep fried chocolate-covered strawberry waffle balls: These were featured at a booth right next to the fried beer, which provided us a handy, tasty chaser to that disgusting bite. This was a taste winner in a previous year for good reason, as it was rich, yet light, fruity, and delightful.

Deep fried Frito pie: This was basically chunks of chilli and cheese coated in a Frito-inspired corny batter and fried, and the result was greasy and absolutely delicious. Jason liked it so much that he bought another order, which we all scarfed down as quickly as the first. It's no wonder it won this year's "Most Delicious" award.

Deep fried Texas caviar: Texas caviar is actually a salady-mixture of black-eyed peas and corn, while this was simply fried black-eyed peas mixed with spices. The result was a lot like Corn Nuts, and was surprisingly tasty as well as the best bang for your buck at the Fair--8 tickets got you about a cup's worth of crunchy, spicy beans. They were a wonderful beer snack.

Deep fried Cobb salad: I couldn't think of anything that sounded more unpalatable than fried salad, but the fried Cobb was unexpectedly delicious; in fact, Meg and Jane thought it was the tastiest bite at the Fair. The vendor basically threw a Cobb salad (heavy on the ham and cheese, not so heavy on the lettuce and other vegetables) in a tortilla wrap before briefly deep frying it and serving it with a side of salad dressing (we had a choice between Ranch, vinaigrette, and Italian, and I of course chose the vinaigrette). We each had a bite, and it was so good that we all agreed that we'd eat something like that in a regular restaurant or lunch joint.

Deep fried S'more Pop Tart: The sweet stuff tends to upset my stomach at the Fair, so I only had a few bites of this, but everyone agreed that it was incredibly sweet and delicious. The vendor just fried the sucker and then covered it in whipped cream and chocolate syrup. Jason, again, liked it so much that he got two orders to share. Too sweet for me!

Deep fried butter: This was last year's creative winner, and it should have won for most delicious as well, as it was hands down one of my favorite bites at the Fair. I got us two orders, one flavored with garlic and another with cinnamon sugar, and everyone agreed the garlic was the best. It sounds disgusting on paper, but eating it was akin to biting into a dinner roll slathered in fresh melted butter. Wonderful!

Deep fried chocolate: A runner-up this year, this dessert was chocolaty and fried, and that's about all I remember. (I was four beers to the wind at this point.)

Deep friend margarita: Jason brought me the remnants of this one while I was in line for the deep fried butter, and while he tried his best to save the crunchy fried bits from the margarita mix at the bottom of the dish, it was all a soggy, disgusting mess by the time I got to sample it. Yuck.

Deep fried pizza: The award for the most depraved dish of the day goes to the deep fried pizza, which Jason sampled with total aplomb. Unlike the fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich I had a couple of years ago, this was quite edible; it was a natural evolution from fried cheese sticks served with marinara sauce. Still, I'm glad I didn't eat a whole one all by myself. Oy.

We all wore ourselves out with beer and junk food by the time we wandered into the Natural History Museum to cool our heels. While everyone else rested in the stairwell, Meg and I took a gander at the nature dioramas, minerals, and dinosaur bones. I rest assured in the fact that the Dallas Museum of Natural History is about as badly funded as my own little workplace (if not more so--I think our stuff looks way better). We also hit up the Planetarium for a little 20 minute nap in the dark before we went back to the food stalls for more sustenance. This time we got more pedestrian stuff, namely a delicious Cuban pressed sandwich, which was my personal favorite bite at the Fair, as well as a turkey leg. Totally stuffed and tired, we all hobbled back to the Dart so we could go home.

Jane and I watched True Stories on her Netflix Instant after we got home, and I was so worn out that I went to bed at 9PM. Predictably, we both got up super early on Sunday, and we enjoyed some tea and a long chat before I packed up and went home. I had hoped to go to the bit Hoop Day event at the Vortex in the afternoon when I got home, but I was so knackered that I decided to simply stay home. I've been soaking up the alone time like a greedy little sponge. I'm looking forward to the week ahead.
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the gunman that wasn't [Sep. 29th, 2010|09:12 am]
Yesterday was a scary day, though not exactly for me personally.

Not long after I arrived at my desk, I received a text message from UTPD's safety alert service that there was a gunman on campus near the Perry-Castaneda Library, which is a ten minute walk from the museum. Immediately after that, my boss came out to tell the guard to lock down the building and for no one to go outside. Meanwhile, I checked and rechecked Facebook and the internet for whatever updates I could glean; reports varied wildly, saying that the gunman had been shot, that he'd shot himself, and that there were one or possibly even two accomplices. Margaret told me to go watch in the foyer to see if anyone needed to be let into the building, since it was locked. I let in a couple of students who heard the sirens and alerts to find shelter as the morning wore on.

My morning in the foyer was slightly creepy. I felt calm and a little bored, since I had nothing to do but to sit there using the crappy computer to search for news and updates on Facebook. If some gunman with an AK47 had come wandering up in front of me, I would have been creamed if he'd decided to shoot at me through the glass door. I couldn't help thinking about that, but of course, absolutely nothing happened. Eventually, my coworker Louise came to relieve me of foyer duty, and I went back to my cube to do some paperwork. Eventually, at around 11:45, UTPD gave the all clear, and not long after that, the decision was made to close campus for the day.

I thought about staying just so I could go to the gym and then catch up on some busywork, but instead I just went home (especially once I realized that the gym would be closed).

This morning, I read what little was known about the gunman, who turned out to be a 19 year old math major who had lived in Austin all of his short life before he shot himself on the sixth floor of the PCL library. Everyone who was interviewed who knew him expressed total shock at his behavior, saying they had no clue that such a smart, polite, and quiet kid would do this to himself, much less attempt (and thankfully fail) at shooting other people. My theory is that this kid kept a lot inside, to himself, so much so that his emotions reached a boiling point of pain. It makes me want to cry out to everyone I know: please! Tell us if you're hurting! Don't hold it inside until it makes you rot and go crazy! Tell us, and we will listen! You can survive whatever terrible thing you think might happen to you if you spill the emotional beans. You can, and you will! I know, because I have!

It's weird. I felt so blase about the whole incident yesterday. It could have been so much worse; I could have been witness to the next Columbine, Virginia Tech, or Charles Whitman massacre. But I wasn't. I thank whatever small mercies the rampaging student may have had when he ended up shooting only cars and buildings and not people. Still, it didn't sink in what an ordeal this was until I checked my Facebook, and saw I had dozens of comments from friends and family asking if I was ok, and then relief when my updates indicated that everything was safe. On my way to my dance class later that night, my former therapy group all called me on Jeanne's speakerphone to check in with me. It was humbling, and just a little overwhelming, to know that so many people were thinking of me, especially when I felt like the whole thing was no big deal, at least for me personally.

That said, though, the fact that I got a half day off from work because someone shot himself in the library weighed upon me, so I dedicated the rest of the day to doing things that brought me joy. I hugged and cuddled with Penny, I played dance music and taught myself new hoop tricks in my backyard, I baked a Mexican chocolate cake, and I read more of Jaime Hernandez' Locas. Then I went to my hoop dance class and learned some really fun choreography in preparation for World Hoop Day on October 10th. I went to bed smiling, and I woke up feeling happy and rested, with the choreographed dance's song stuck in my head. This is the first day of the rest of my life, and I have no complaints.
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togas and hoops [Sep. 27th, 2010|02:44 pm]
After such a busy week, I was ready to take it easy this weekend, and that's what I did for the most part.

Friday, I rented part of David Attenborough's new Life series from I Luv Video, and I had a lovely time playing couch potato at home whilst watching awesome footage of Antarctic marine invertebrates. I'm pretty much a sucker for any trippy time-lapse photography (the episode on plants was awesome too). Then I went to bed and slept, slept, slept. I woke up late Saturday, made biscuits, and then slept even more.

Saturday evening, I went to Whitney's birthday party, which was a frat-themed toga party. I managed to throw together a relatively stylish "toga" (the former Latin scholar in me would like to add, "Women did not wear togas, as they were reserved only for male citizens of the Roman Empire!") out of Christy's old bedsheets, a sash, and some leftover Mardi Gras beads. The party itself featured different rooms, each with a themed drink and activity: one room featured cheap Canadian whiskey and was thus deemed "Canada," "Mexico" was the kitchen, which featured taquitos and margaritas, etc. I played beer pong for the first time in my life, and didn't do too badly at it. I hung out and chatted with Amy and various karaoke league peeps before calling it an early night.

I spent late Sunday morning at Shellie and John's, who held a lovely brunch party to celebrate moving into their totally amazing new house. I was curious to finally see it, as I remember when that portion of my neighborhood was a bracken-filled lot populated by deer alone. I had a very pleasant time hanging out with them and Bruce, Colin, Ginger, Michael, and Karin, who (as is now typical) was playing bartender (she made some yummy French 75s). After noshing on brunchy food, I went back home to rest a bit and finish my Life DVD before peeps came over for an impromptu hooping party.

I'd successfully addicted Karin to hooping, and because Shellie and Ginger were curious, I invited them and fellow hoopers Adam, Heather, and Sassy to my place to hang out, have a few beers, and try hooping tricks. I couldn't have asked for better weather, and we all had a relaxing time chatting, listening to music, and learning new skills. I managed to teach myself how to hoop with my feet, which made me feel a little better about skipping my last hooping class to see the Pixies. Everyone left right about when it got dark, so I spent the remaining hours of the day listening to music and playing with the LED hoop.
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you can gouge away, stay all day [Sep. 23rd, 2010|09:30 am]
This has been an exciting week thus far, filled with fun stuff. I'm tired, but at least work's been quiet.

My friend Amy had an extra ticket to the Pixies show Tuesday night, and she was kind enough to offer it out on Facebook--and I jumped on it. Lucky lucky me! I'm not the hugest Pixies fan, but I've liked their music for a long time, and I knew I wouldn't get many chances at seeing such a famous and influential band for free. We met at the Austin Music Hall, and I plied her with many vodka tonics in thanks for letting me be her date. We found a spot up on the balcony with an excellent view.

The opening band was an electronic ravey duo called Fuck Buttons. While they were an incongruous choice as an opener, both Amy and I enjoyed their music--I could easily imagine myself jamming to it at Flipside with hoop in hand. As for the Pixies...goddamn. I was surprised at how excited I was when they finally took the stage, and my excitement only mounted as they started into a few b-sides from the Doolittle era. The band was extraordinarily tight, and both Kim Deal and Frank Black's voices were nearly perfect. I could have done without the douches standing next to us who kept bitching about how Deal got fat, and who kept yelling really mean and sexist things at any girl who stood in front of us. Eventually, though, the magical power of "Debaser" rocked the meanness out of everybody, and soon we were all laughing and dancing along together.

Their stage setup was pretty awesome; they had some really great projected films and animations going on behind the band. I especially liked the sequence during "La La Love You," which is secretly my favorite Pixies song due to its sweet silliness. All of my favorite moments, though, belonged to Kim Deal; her harmonies with Black on "Silver" were gorgeous, and I a happy monkey indeed when they fogged up the entire stage with smoke machines for "Into the White." It was also enormously gratifying to be at a show where the entire crowd begged, begged, and begged for encores, instead of lamely clapping and expecting them to happen. The four song second encore was amazing, particularly because they ran out of Doolittle songs and did the two most famous songs from Surfer Rosa, "Where Is My Mind?" and "Gigantic." I'll never forget the eerie sound of a thousand or so people singing along to the "Ooooo-ooooh!" parts of "Mind." That and "Gigantic" pretty much made my fucking month. I was so happy after that concert that the next morning, sleeping through my alarm and not having any hot water for my shower couldn't dispell my jazzy mood. Hurray for the Pixies!

Yesterday, Karin and I met up at the Drafthouse for a screening of Salo: 120 Days of Sodom, the infamous De Sade-influenced film by Pier Pasolini. I'd read so much about this sick, sick movie that I felt like a little kid entering a haunted house, all full of fear, excitement, and trepidation. The film was hosted by the fabulous drag queen Rebecca Havemeyer, who curates and runs the monthly Celluloid Handbag series at the Drafthouse, which I'll have to pay more attention to in the future. To warm us up for the on-screen degradation, Havemeyer showed a music video by another Austin drag queen, Christeene, who was really less of a drag queen and more of a...a...uh...words fail me. The video was for a song called "Bustin' Brown," and there was a lot of hairy asses, humping, and singing from directly inside a giant anal cavity. I think Karin summed it up best: "Wow. I just discovered that I can still be shocked."

Turns out that music video was way trashier than Salo turned out to be. There was some pretty sick shit in that film (literally), and both Karin and I had to keep reminding ourselves during the poop-eating section that the poop was made out of chocolate and orange marmalade. I think the most disturbing thing about the film was how beautifully it was shot, and how it also made no moral concessions--the bad guys weren't punished, the victims weren't saved, the whole thing just ENDED. I could see Pasolini's point, though--fascists are EEEEEVIL. I'm glad I finally saw it, and I'm also glad that it didn't freak me out as much as I feared it would (Pink Flamingos still stands as the sickest and most depraved film I've ever seen). The film was pretty stout stuff, though, so much so that I felt the need of a whiskey and two of Karin's clove cigarettes once it was over. We had both at the Jackalope, where we joined Mark and chased our sick cinematic experience with cute nerdy talk about Dr. Who.

Sleep's been a rare commodity this week, so I'm looking forward to a quiet night tonight watching Mad Men with Hez at home. I'm taking tomorrow night off to rest and do laundry, as the rest of the weekend will be filled with activities.
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maybe the owls are just owls [Sep. 19th, 2010|02:43 pm]
Good things:

Finally getting over myself and starting Mad Men with a bunch of friends (namely Heather, Adam, Vanessa, Chika, and Jennifer). I hope we can make it a weekly thing.

Hooping class is going well, though I jacked up my back something fierce this week trying to do angled hooping. My lower back does not like barrel rolls at all. Next week is isolations! I plan on getting a little silver hoop from Laura to start playing with those.

Amy taking me out to dinner at Sao Paulo's--nothing better than delicious food and the company of an interesting friend. I hope I see more of her in the future.

Went to Sarovar for the first time on Friday night, where I had super tasty goat biryani and tandoori chicken. Nom nom.

Part two of the Twin Peaks marathon went well, though we had some attrition due to the relative quality of season two and the length of the marathon. Jennifer T, Dimitri, Alice, and I were the true marathoners, and stayed for 11 full hours of madness. I didn't get home until 4AM. I still feel like it's morning even though it's 2PM.

I promised myself a day to hang out at home and chill with Penny, though I'm feeling kind of restless. I am making pizza though, and I'm excited about eating it. I'll probably watch one of my Netflix movies and start the massive Hernandez brothers comic book I borrowed from Heather (Locas to me more exact).
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of noodles and figs and dances [Aug. 23rd, 2010|02:14 pm]
Good things:

Delicious noodles at Chen's and watching Queen: Live at Wembly Stadium.

Finally getting off my ass and buying a picnic table at Lowe's, and having said table picked up and delivered to me personally by Jen, as it wouldn't fit into my car. Thanks Jen!

Cooking wonderful fresh pasta and zucchini and caramelizing some figs for dinner on Saturday, which I shared with my new neighbors, Shellie and John.

Dancing with my LED hoop at The Action Pack's glow party at The Highball, where I avoided getting hit on by drunk assholes and danced with a ridiculously beautiful girl.

Spending Sunday morning baking muffins and turnovers.

Having a friend like Adam, who came over in the sweltering heat with his cordless drill to help me construct the picnic table. You rock dude!

Hanging out at the David Lynchian US Art Authority with Sean and the Weird Weeds band members, and rocking out to an awesome set of music from their new album, Help Me Name Melody. ACID RAWK!

Midnight samosas from Ken's Donuts. Yarm.
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