Art

Philip Seymour Hoffman


He will always be Philip Seymour Hoffman to me.

My various dashboards are currently filled with Tweets and excerpts from interviews with people who worked with the man, who knew him personally, who called him Phil.

Phil Hoffman.

And I don’t know what to do with that.

Phil Hoffman sounds like he should be a branch manager for an inter-state credit union. He should be the person in charge of scheduling equipment deliveries to construction sites. He should be the consulting accountant brought in by the local zoo as a temporary addition during tax season, his final paycheck mailed in an envelope thick with parking passes and free admittance lanyards for his kids.

A guy named Phil Hoffman would definitely have kids.

Philip Seymour Hoffman had kids. Three of them. Had a long time partner, a woman named Mimi O’Donnell. He was an actor, a director. He was loved, he was respected. He seemed happy, excited about his work. He was passionate about what he’d found to do with his life. He was an artist. He won awards. It was inspiring.

I hope eventually I will remember him only for those things. They are worth remembering. They are worth lauding. They hold up to the status and the weight of being an all-three-names celebrity.

But I’m not there yet. I acknowledge those things, I am in awe of them, but I cannot divorce them from the subject of today’s tweets and interviews: Today, February 2, 2014, Philip Seymour Hoffman died alone in the bathroom of his Manhattan apartment of a heroin overdose; a partner, a father, and an artist known to his fans by all three names.

I can’t believe he’s really gone.

And I don’t know what to do.

Paraguay Blog #8: Maybe it’s something in the (ice) water


Paging Dr. Freud. Paging Dr. Freud. Your assistance is requested in the F Wing…

Last night I dreamed I was watching a football game on TV.

Good grief…

© Jeff Zelevansky, Getty Images North America

So anyway, I was watching this football game being played in Wisconsin during the dead of winter, so I suppose it would be safe to assume it was a Packer game. The field was covered in ice and several feet of packing snow, and was surrounded by tens of thousands of spectators filling the stands while two balding announcers  in outdated neckties commented on every last detail from their overhead vantage point in their special booth.

I was ready to “change channels” on this waste of a dream when the announcers began shouting excitedly about a football player who, upon being run out of bounds during a play, had fallen into a frozen pit at the edge of the field. Overhead cameras zoomed in, filming straight down into the abyss. The pit went down a good thirty feet before curving slightly, keeping the floor of the hole just out of view. There was a flimsy red, metal ladder hanging down into the hole, but it only reached down ten feet or so. Beyond that, anyone in that hole would be on their own.

Cheers erupted suddenly from the crowd as the football player, using nothing but adrenaline and pure strength, climbed up out of the pit and ran right back into the game. That is a person who knows the terrain. That is a person who belongs there. That, friends, is a hero we can count on.

Cue the National Anthem.

Click the image to read about a group of scientists who climbed into ice pits ON PURPOSE.

I had begun wondering what the point of this dream was when the announcers started snickering into their lapel mics, laughing and joking as the crowd pointed and hooted, rolling their eyes. It seems another man, a man working in some capacity along the sidelines, a man whose other job was as some sort of art teacher, had also slipped into the pit of snow and ice after being told by one of his superiors to jump across it.

“He’ll never get out of there!” The first announcer’s tone was shocked but gleeful.

“You’ve got that right,” responded the second. “So ah- what would you say those temperatures are like down in the pit there?”

“Oh I’d say it’s gotta be at least below zero, eh?”

“Oh you betcha. At least below zero. Maybe even less than that, eh?”

“Oh yeah. Yeah, at least. Or more. Yeah?”

“Yeah. Probably more. I just hope he can get out in time!”

More chuckling.

“Yeah, I hope so too. ‘Cause there’s no way they can get a rescue crew down there fast enough to save him before he dies from that cold. He’ll die down there in that ice pit, wouldn’cha say?”

“Oh yeah. Definitely. He’ll definitely die if he stays down in that snow too long. And all that ice? Yeah. I’d say he’ll probably be trapped down there too long and there’ll be no saving him.”

I wanted to wake up. It was all too uncomfortable and my brain was getting all squirmy. But I couldn’t. Not yet. I had to know if the man would ever escape the ice pit, so I carried on dreaming, refusing to let things go lucid and shuttering my conscious mind from whatever my subconscious mind was trying to work through.

Though God only knows that by this point I was pretty sure I had a lock on that “great mystery”…

The crew of the Endurance playing football out on the ice (© Frank Hurley)

The crowd was beginning to give up on the man in the ice pit, the man who was a mind finding its way in a world of muscle in an attempt to make ends meet, trapped in ice and snow so foreign and so lethal that it was already taken as a given he would not- could not- survive. The cameras were zooming out, and retreating. The players were lining back up to resume the game. The announcers were laughing their way back to more interesting banter about subjects like how far someone had thrown a thing, or how someone else had failed to catch it.

And then we saw him. Me, the crowd, the announcers– we saw an arm from the man in the pit as it clawed its way into view before the last camera finished moving away. The crowd held its breath. The man’s other arm inched higher up the wall of the narrow pit. He swung a leg out as he gained on the narrowest part of the pit near the top, pushing his back against one side and his feet against the other. Rescuers could have helped him at that point, but they didn’t even try. He had been as good as dead in their eyes. All this was just a bonus, just something to watch, his struggle mere filler before a commercial break during which he would be forgotten.

His hand flew up over the top of the pit, ice melting under his fingers before refreezing to his skin. Another moment’s struggle and he was free. Above ground. Safe.

But the crowd did not respond.

I wanted to tell the man to run, to get away from the pit, from the field, from that world where he did not belong, but of course I couldn’t. I was just a spectator myself, as guiltily silent as the tens of thousands watching these events take place in person. Maybe the people in the stands were holding back because they, too, felt powerless in their position as spectators? Or was it because for them it was all simply something unexpected they were only casually trying to figure out?

Whatever the reason it soon didn’t matter, because just as I reached that moment of wanting to warn the man to leave, someone on the sidelines pushed him back into the pit. The announcers resumed their babbling. The crowd returned their attention to the field. The players locked their eyes back on the ball.

He would be forgotten.

But not by me. Not even after I woke up.

***************

Incidentally, when Googling the phrase “ice pit” the first result was for a place in Wisconsin where one can intentionally climb ice

1,830 Days Late: Thoughts on Fiona Apple


On June 16, 2006, cheekypinky and the 24 year old version of myself met up outside the back lot of the Jimmy Kimmel show to watch Fiona Apple tape the music portion of that night’s show. Several warm hours and one $40 parking ticket later I wrote down an un-edited version of the following first-response thoughts on her performance.

Which I then lost for five years and five days.

I do do things, you see, it just takes me a while to finish them sometimes.

************************************

Fiona Apple wasn’t the only one getting kind of freaked out during her show that night.

There was also, well– everybody else.

Fiona Apple on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, 6/16/06

Packed into a heavily accessorized crowd of sweating 20-somethings — inhaling, exhaling, pontificating — we waited for the giggling brunette from the projection screen to come outside to tape the music portion of that evening’s episode of the Jimmy Kimmel Show. In the meantime there was talk of Rob Zombie, the heat, and the location of the uvula, interrupted only by a stocky white boy in thick glasses and an emo beard shrugging his shoulders at his own guesses of what song titles he thought he might’ve glimpsed on the set list.

For the record: None of his guesses were correct.

About a minute and a half before the crowd got uglier, Magic Johnson appeared off stage right, waved, and seated himself on a couch on stage. Cue: A collective intake of breath from the crowd, at which point this tiny woman tip-toed out to receive a tide of love and laughter that threatened to drown her in the spit of two hundred smiles.

We were here together, all of us, and we knew the music– the music we’d braved the parking, the crowd, and the heat to hear– was on its way. Cue: A collective exhale.

And perhaps I was alone in this, but I didn’t know what to expect of the receptacle for that music, only that each isolated spark of it shook me like the tears you don’t let yourself cry because it doesn’t fit to break down weeping in the ordering line at Panda Express.

Before her fear and music, there was her dress: floor length, sky blue gauze, straps like suggestions, and a sash on loan from the Anti-Sex League. There was the way she clutched at it while rocking, creating wrinkles in its fine flies and shimmers. There was the way she pulled it up past her knee before flinging it back into place. There was the swaying as she hit herself in the chest like a child reluctantly killing a bird, before holding her breastbone in place so it would not slide out between ribs installed akimbo.

Between verses she turned her face from the mic, with an expression fit for cursing out demons; yelling, pounding, creating poetry in some dark language of self flagellation, until the next verse demanded her attention. She vexed her soul at the top of her lungs. And were it not for the music- who knows? Perhaps we would have heard her cursing us, too.

And every time she’d jump up and down, or beat her fists against herself, or scream or grunt or cry, the crowd would cheer like she had swallowed swords of fire. We were applauding a gladiator unaware the lion wasn’t dead after all.

She covered her mouth as she sang, covered her face, let her hair fall across it. And the way she’d huddle around her mug on the piano, you hoped there was alcohol in it so maybe her nerves would relax. After one song she ducked behind the piano to drink from the mug. Squatting low she looked out from behind the bars of the foot peddles at the crowd now at eye level. I silently prayed no one had caught her eye and spooked her.  I silently prayed she would not decide to stay there.

"I'll be sure to stay wary of you, love/ To save the pain of once my flame and twice my burn." (Shadowboxer)

The next song began. She approached the mic like an aging dog fearing physical reproach after years of perfect behavior followed by a sudden, unexpected swat. And then, every now and again, she’d laugh and shout and raise her arms high in the air like a toddler begging to be picked up.

She said during the interview inside the studio that she has amazingly strong hands, and that she worries tremendously about everything, that she’s starting a tour soon, and that the only thing she knows about it is that the first stop is in Vegas. She said she has to pretend she’s not performing or she can’t go through with it. Seeing her on stage then– with the wilting heat and the waving crowd– my heart sank for her, sure her words were no exaggeration.

And my fear? My fear was that she would be amazing. That she would outshine old greats, current greats, greats to come. That the dress would be every dress, that the nerves would be her soul, that the woman would be a phenom. And when she dropped to her first growl I knew my fear was well founded. And when that growl soared higher than the whirling pink lights overhead could ever reach, well– what is life without a little fear, right?

Fiona Apple is this real… thing, you know? She’s got the magic that’s in paint that makes canvas stretch its fibers to make room for more picture. She’s the wink in the angel tarnished by circumstance. And she abandons her hands to the sky because it’s the only way she knows how to beg to be picked up.

Mural, mural on the wall


Welcome to My Abstract

And so the walls of Waukesha became kickass, arts in the community flourished, and everyone was reminded there’s more to life than function.

Welcome to My Actual Post

Photo swiped from the "mural's" blog. Nice folks. Check 'em out.

First there was Chris Vincent’s mural that went up on the side of Discount Liquor. There was crud, then there was nothing, then there was this giant thing paying homage to all the quaint, homey stuff that makes our town quaint and homey.

I realize there was a process involved in getting it up there, and that the whole thing took some time, but am I the only one who doesn’t remember much in between there being nothing and there being lots of stuff?

I wonder if the artist was ticked about having to incorporate the Discount Liquor parking sign into the painting. I’d’a been a little annoyed, personally. She doesn’t look too mad in the picture, but it’s hard to tell from this distance. Maybe DL paid her off with some sort of Free-Wine-A-Month deal? She should take that. I’d take that.

Today on my way to the library I noticed another mural going up in Ye Olde Historic Towne of Waukesha, this time over in the fashionable “West End.”

Side note: Did you know we had a West End here in Waukesha? I didn’t know we had a West End. We always just referred to it as “the part of town by Planned Parenthood a  couple blocks past the House of Guinness right before the road curves at the war memorial that’s always covered in spiders…”

The Waukesha Tattoo Company's new mural

So anyway, I happened to drive past this new mural as the artist (whose name I didn’t get because I’m a doofus and forgot to ask) was taking a break from his work, presumably to bask in its coolness. Being the sort of adult who doesn’t get into the whole “responsibilities” thing, I had plenty of time in the middle of a work day to stop over and ask Mr. Umm… about the piece.

Apparently Mr. Umm does stuff like this all over the darn place. He gets commissioned out for everything from palatable-corporate-pb&j stuff, to crazy-sledge-hammer-tree-trompe-l’œil stuff like this piece here on the side of the Waukesha Tattoo Company.

You: The Waukesha Tattoo Company in Waukesha’s hip West End?

Me: Yes, that Waukesha Tattoo Company.

If you live around here it’s worth checking out. May as well check out the inside too, while you’re at it. This shop won 1st place (out of a whopping 35 entrants) in the “Best Tattoo and Piercing” category on this year’s WISN A-List. The pics on their blog of the interior are incredible. What a gorgeous shop. No joke. I’d office here. I wonder if they rent out space to non-tattoo/piercing artists… Oh my God. Can you imagine setting up a writing table in a place like this?! *sighs dreamily*

ETA: Facebook to the rescue! The WTC mural artist is Adam Nilson. Check out his website and tell me the rest of his trompe-l’œil stuff didn’t totally blow you away.

Welcome to My Conclusion

The sledge hammer in the picture isn’t real, and I apologize for the corny title of this post.

Tuesday v2.0



The Not-so-bad-looking-from-here Lands

The Badlands

Our next Tuesday adventure was a drive through the Badlands National Park. If you’re planning a trip, entrance to the park is $15 (cash or credit) and your receipt (your only proof of payment so don’t toss it out!) allows you to enter the park for 7 days from the date of purchase. This works out great if you’re driving through the state and want to pass through the park on your way back to wherever you came from.

The landscape is pretty amazing, but saying so seems almost pointless so I’ll let it go at this: If you love seeing beautiful things, different things, quiet things, windy things, wild things: Plan a trip through the Badlands, and get out of your car and walk around every time you see a trail marker. I found this so much more enjoyable a place to see than the Grand Canyon. It’s worth a visit.

Badlands tote and ferret poster in hand, I prepare to take on the remainder of the park. (Click the pic to read about Ben Reifel.)

During our drive we stopped at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center to watch a documentary on the Badlands and to buy black-footed ferret related items from the gift shop. Or at least– that’s why I went there. I left with a 12″ x 24″ print of a Badlands wilderness scene with a black-footed ferret in the foreground. Best purchase of the trip! They also had some black-footed ferret postcards and a few children’s books about ferrets, but like an idiot I didn’t buy any of them. I will never know how or why I reasoned myself out of those purchases. I may be a bigger idiot than previously believed.

Wall Drug

Mom discovering my wagon train.

Our drive through the Badlands National Park completed, we hit the road for Wall, SD, home of the 76,000 square foot Wall Drug.

You have zero good reasons to skip Wall Drug. Anybody who tells you “it’s just a tourist trap” is out to rob you of an interesting time. Yeah there’s a lot of shopping there. Yeah a lot of it is kind of silly. But it’s got such an interesting history, and is chock full of neat things to see, read, enjoy– and eat!– that you simply can’t afford to miss out on this classic family vacation spot.

Our first stop once inside Wall Drug was the Western Art Gallery Restaurant for lunch. After taking a picture of my mom beneath some paintings, and then shooting video of the room’s walls to show just how much they have on display there, I realized the walls were covered in signs telling people not to take pictures or video of the artwork. Not quite sure how I missed those… So in the interest of not being a jerk I will not post any of those images here. Quite a collection there, though. Take a peek if you ever stop out.

Yee-haw!

After lunch we toured the various shops inside the complex, picking up a t-shirt or two, as well as our complimentary Wall Drug bumper sticker. (They’re free (one per family) and additional stickers set you back $0.10 a pop.) Amidst the shelves of Badlands mugs and Mount Rushmore key chains there’s also a sizable collection of gorgeous wall art and home goods fashioned by local artists. And any place that sells $10 Harvey Dunn poster prints is worth a stop in my book.

Hitting it off-season as we did I’m sure we missed out on a lot of the hustle-and-bustle charm of the place. I have to say, though, that it sure was nice not having to wait in line behind a bunch of seven year olds to have one’s picture taken atop jackalopes, or talking with stuffed buffalo.

Mount Rushmore

George, Tom, Ted, and Abe

Back on the road after a pick me up of $0.05 coffee and a slice of blackberry pie at Wall Drug, mom and I decided there was no good reason not to make it all the way through Rapid City, SD that night and on up to Mount Rushmore. If it was light enough, we reasoned, we could see it well enough to not have to make it part of our Wednesday “To-See” schedule.

Not only did we get there when it was still plenty light outside, but apparently after 5 pm (or was it 6pm?) there’s no one at the front gate so you don’t have to pay to get in, and parking is free.

Mom and I walked about a mile’s worth of trails around the base of the mountain, snapping some pretty sweet pics of The Fellas, and exercising our car-cramped leg muscles. I did wish we’d been able to get into the visitor center and artist’s studio there to read more about the history and construction of the monument, but I’m over it. I mean– there’s always Wikipedia

Honduras Blog #10: Of Sandals and Bloggers


How am I so behind on blogging?? We leave Honduras in TWO DAYS!! Time to get crack a’lackin.

Squee-worthy sandals from Naranja Virtual.

Tuesday 8/17/10
Last Tuesday Mimi and I went to Arte Giancarlo with Ana and Melissa. It’s this lovely, high-ceilinged store across from the Universidad Católica about 10 minutes away from the mission. Toward the latter part of our trip I’ve gotten pretty bad about not taking as many pictures of the places we visit, which is particularly a shame in the case of this place because it was truly a beautiful shop. 30’+ high ceilings painted a rich blue, sunflower yellow walls, golden orange accent beams in the corners, dark wood shelves to display their wares, and pewter.

Pewter everywhere.

Pewter for purchase, pewter for decor on every flat surface in the shop…

There were also separate sections for painted pottery, wood art, homemade decorative candles, jewelry, and shoes from Naranja Virtual‘s Colección Madera. (I would like to apologize to Becca Rea for not purchasing any of the aforementioned shoes, in spite of their awesomeness. They started around $95…) Bought a few presents there for the fam. Had to cut myself off from shopping any further, though, as Continental Airlines doesn’t consider “it was pretty!” to be an adequate argument for not having to pay extra for overweight luggage.

Next stop: Espresso Americano with the girls for a mocaccino and a chocolate chip cookie. You know how we do.

Later that evening Brenda returned to the mission with her friend Jennifer, and Jennifer’s daughter Megan, in tow. Jennifer and her husband have a farm-based mission out in the country. They’re building a house out there right now, and working with their new neighbors to see what can be done to improve their current farming methods.

A quarter-eaten papaya bigger than my head.

So much of the land here isn’t ideal for agriculture, but when you’ve got to eat you’ve got to eat! Ergo: Corn stalks growing straight out the sides of mountains.

And with all of the additional labor that comes from that type of farming, and given that this is how it’s been done for generations, there’s often not much impetus (or financial freedom) to explore alternative methods. Enter: Folks who can try to help you get ahead.

Or at least catch up.

For now there’s no electricity in their village, nor do they have running water, so bathing is done with a bucket “in front of God and everybody” as Mimi would say, food is eaten or thrown out as there’s no way to preserve it, and if you want to charge anything up (batteries, etc.)– plan on an hour long drive down the mountain into the nearest town.

Dear Lord,
Feel free not to give me that particular kind of strength.
Thanks,
Ruth

Wednesday 8/18/10

Mimi, Megan, El Capitan, Brenda, Megan

Jennifer and Megan needed to run a few errands in the city before heading back into the mountains, so Mimi and I joined in on the fun with them and Brenda.

By afternoon’s end we’d hit the hardware store, PriceSmart (like Sam’s Club), Mall Multiplaza, and El Patio, where we didn’t even need the 2-4-1 pinchos we’d ordered by the time we finished our appetizer-style first course. Each of our meals came with an order of platanos maduros, beans and cheese with tortilla chips, various salsas, and some kind of pickled cucumber with beets or something, among other things.

Shortly after arriving back at the mission house I got a call from one of my favorite bloggers, Madame Gumbeaux (aka Laurie) over at Honduras Gumbo. Deniss from the mission dropped Mimi and I off at an Espresso Americano (there it is again) just past the airport so we could meet her in person at long last.

That woman is a walking powerhouse. I don’t know how else to describe her. You get the impression there’s nothing she can’t tackle, and that it’d be fun to watch her do so, no matter what the project.

Laurie and me at Mision Caribe

And don’t believe what she says about her Spanish! After reading her blog I was expecting heavily “h”ed “holas” and a few “very gracias”es, but ended up hearing nothing of the sort.

Too bad, too. “Very gracias” is a fun one. ;)

After coffee we hopped into Pepe Burro (her truck) to hit up El Hogar, a bakery a few blocks away, for bread, bottled water, and a bit more chit-chat before the AC there froze us out. We drove back to the mission where I handed off the children’s books I’d purchased for her in the States.

And just like that the day was over. So soon? So soon. But they have to end some time or I’ll never be able to write about them all. Not even the dull ones.

Honduras Blog #3: At A Glance


Life in the Mission House

Staying at the mission house at Mision Caribe in Tegucigalpa, HN is a far cry from what I’m used to back in Waukesha, WI. There I have a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment all to myself (the ferrets don’t count). Here I live with a big ol’ group of folks, only one of whom I’m related to, where everyone shares a room with at least one other person and a bathroom with at least two. (This is when there isn’t a regular team here. When that’s the case you’re living 6+ to a room/bathroom.)

The People Who Live Here

Krystelle, me, Mariela, Mimi. Taken as Mimi and I prepped for the pharmacy in town to buy more med's for the afternoon's clinic. Just realized I'm the "tall one"...

First there’s the college intern, Krystelle, who I like more and more every time I talk to her. One o’ them smart-and-sweet-and-awesome types. She’s here for a 42 day stint. I’ll be sad to see her go. (Does she look a little like Rachael J. in this photo?)

Then there’s Michael, an early 20-something fella here for about 2 months to conduct surveys on “health behavior” under a university grant. Cool guy. Bakes his own bread.

Then there’s Melissa, who started out as an intern here three years ago and who still lives here at the house, assisting the folks who actually run the place.

Then we’ve got Mark, a guy who’s been here about 6 years helping with anything and everything that comes up.

The People Who’re Staying Here

Mim and I have a room to ourselves, which is awesome and kind of a luxury. There’s a bunk bed in the room which we use to hold our stuff while we sort medicine on the bed we sleep in. Our shared bed is king sized, but it feels like what we’re using are actually two, 3″ deep twin mattresses held together by a king sheet on a metal, king frame.

Melissa, Alan, Phil, and Beth on "the climbing hill" in La Victoria

Then there’s a group of three 1-week visitors from the church sponsoring Melissa; Phil, Alan, and Beth. They got here on Sunday and they’re here to… um… observe stuff. I think. Not really sure so I’ll just leave it at: They’re here to see what the mission does and what it needs.

Finally we have Awesome Donna Pharmacy Queen and her son Stephen. She’s been here several times before for and thought it’d be great for her and her son to spend a month working here at the mission while she’s on summer break from Bible school. Sounds like a good plan to me!

Next up: a friend of Mimi’s named Brenda who will be coming in on Saturday. She and her husband lived here for years and years, and her’s and Mimi’s friendship goes way back to some of Mim’s earliest days here back in the late 90s.

Security

The men loading the supply truck for our trip to La Victoria. You can kind of see the barbed wire on the wall on the right.

The compound (for lack of a less cult-ish sounding word) is surrounded by 7′ high cement walls, topped with three lines of barbed wire, with a security guard manning the office by the front gate during the night. We’re not supposed to leave the compound (there’s that word again…) without a Honduran escort, preferably male.

Apparently there’s a decent chance of getting accosted, mugged, whatever; gringo or not. I imagine it’s a money thing? Honduras is the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere after Haiti. I guess I don’t really need to tempt that reality with afternoon strolls all by my lonesome. Still and all, though: It’d be nice to get out of here just Mimi and me for a change. She said we might be able to go out on our own in a week or two if we take a taxi…

Bathrooms
Honduras is one of those “don’t flush your toilet paper” countries. But don’t worry! There’s a trash can right next to the toilet where you can toss it when you’re done! Kindly wrap it in more t.p. first though, please… We can’t drink the water here (it’s not a weenie American thing; the water has parasites in it and the most common thing we treat are the resultant stomach worms) so every bathroom has a covered water pitcher next to the sink for us to use when we brush our teeth.

We have city water twice a week here, and for the rest of the days we have a water tank we use for showers and cleaning and things. Melissa said she’s not sure how much water is in the tank, but that it’s fairly large and costs about 600 Lps ($31.71) to fill. To conserve the tank water the pump is turned off for a large portion of the day, so before using the toilet you always want to check the tap first to make sure the water’s on so you’ll know if you’ll be following up with a flush or not. And there’s no widow-maker in our particular shower, thank goodness. Though with the constant heat and humidity the idea of a cold shower is rarely an unwelcome one.

Food

There are a couple of ladies who work here at the mission when there are teams staying here and they are all amazing cooks.

Evening meal in La Victoria

Marina fields most of the meals here at the house. Mimi told me before we got here she hoped we’d get to enjoy Marina’s arroz y pollo and there it was our 2nd night in. This is a meal Mimi’s remembered and wanted for the past 5 years and now I know why. Delicious.

Another one of the women, Oneyda, was in charge of cooking the meals while we worked at the clinic out of town. That girl performs miracles. The picture above is of dinner she prepared in La Victoria with Melissa and the lady of the house. (Oneyda’s the one in the blue shirt.) Carne asada cooked on a metal grate over coals on the ground, a pot of refried beans, and juice I didn’t want to drink.

Not because it wasn’t good, or refreshing, or oh so welcome, but because an outhouse in the pitch blackness of Hondurans mountains at night is not a fun place to be any more than absolutely necessary…

Transportation

Traffic leaving Tegucigalpa, HN

So far every time we’ve gone somewhere down here it’s been in the mission’s big white van. One o’ them 15 passenger types. The traffic here is incredible, not because of the density so much as the insanity. Traffic related deaths are sky high, but that doesn’t seem to be enough to get drivers to stay on their own side of the road, use turn signals, or wait until after blind curves (of which there are many as there are mountains EVERYWHERE) to pass another vehicle on the road. Security comes into play here, too, as we are under no circumstances permitted to ride the city buses without a guide– period!

This section wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the airport, which is about 3/4 of a mile from the mission house. You’d think this’d interrupt things more than it does, but with only a few planes landing per day during times we’re actually around (and none at night that I’ve ever heard), it’s really not bad. Still– it’s a little weird opening the front gate and watching planes taxi down the runway…

Church

So far we’ve only been here for one Sunday morning church service, but every day starts with devotions, with a different person sharing something each time.

Playing after service. Abigail, Aileen, Angela, me, David.

I’m dreading my turn. I have zero idea what to talk about. Lots of ideas, sure, but among the many reasons I got out of secondary education in college was that I’m a bit of a dud at preparing stuff like this to share and then, y’know, sharing it. We’ll see how it goes…

Regular church was pretty cool. Lots of songs I recognized so I could hum along until they sang them through enough times for me to pick up the words. One of the guys at the church is retired army so he got up and spoke for a little bit in full military dress. Neat to see the different patches and pins and things. The person who was going to preach that morning was unable to attend so they asked Mim to preach. She was awesome.

After service I was putting away chairs and had my camera with me. I took it out to take a picture of two little girls who’d been sitting with me during service, when one of them asked if she could take my picture with it. Why not? It’s only a digital camera… my baby… eep!

So for the next half hour this 7 year old cutie pie named Rocio ran around the church snapping pics of everything and everyone that caught her eye, including me and the other girl who sat with us, 6 year old Aileen.

Shopping

Frogs for sale in Valle de Angeles

No trips to the grocery store or anything like that for me just yet. Soon hopefully, though. We did get to spend a few hours in Valle de Angeles on Sunday 8/1, however, which was pretty cool. Mimi and I only went into a couple of stores; not really anything different from one to the next and it all costs about the same from one vendor to the next. Lots of cute things, but the kind of stuff that does two things for the person you buy it for back home:

1) It shows them you were thinking of them (which can also be accomplished by emailing them while you’re away), and

2) It takes up storage space in that unused shelf in the hall closet. Not that one; the one you can’t get to because the vacuum’s always in the way and it’s down that hallway nobody ever walks down.

Plaza at Valle de Angeles

Mostly we just strolled about enjoying the sunshine and the fact that we could walk without an escort because of the greater police presence there versus where the mission house is located. Sweet sweet freedom!

We went to a nice little coffee place called Espresso Americano and Mim bought us each a granita de cafe con crema (frozen coffee drinks with whipped cream; only $1.74 a piece!) which we drank while enjoying the breeze and people watching. And boy were there some people to watch… People and dogs.

Across the street from us during our coffee break was a photo op grizzled old man in a cowboy hat, faded pants, and a vest covered in pins, seated at a wooden table nursing a handful of beers. Mimi asked him if she could take his picture and gave him 50 Lps. He said “Of course!” and handed back the money. She took the pic, gave the money back to him, and returned to me.

The Aviator, Valle de Angeles

A moment later he walked over, gave the money back, and told us about himself. Said he used to be a pilot and that now he’s a “newspaper man” living a short way up the street. As he turned to leave I saw one of his tinier pins bore a swastika. Hrm?

Three minutes later he was back again to give Mimi a shot glass with flashing lights in the bottom that turn on when you press against them underneath. You know: For all those shots my grandmother drinks. *hee hee* Maybe she can use it to hold toothpicks…

By far the coolest thing that happened in Valle de Angeles for me, though, was when Mimi and I stepped into Galería Sixtina and found ourselves surrounded by, wow, just the most luscious, extravagantly sensual paintings I’ve ever seen, all by an artist I’d never heard of, Julio Visquerra. I was struck stupid at the sight. I said to Mim it was a shame there weren’t any postcards or something you could buy with any of the paintings on them because they were so lovely and taking photos in the gallery wasn’t allowed.

As we took in the largest of the paintings I noticed a man standing next to me, sort of overseeing the room. I asked if it was his gallery.

Me with Julio Visquerra at Galeria Sixtina

“Yes,” he said. “But just this room. The paintings in the other room are by another artist.”

“Wait– you painted these? These are your paintings?!”

“Yes, yes. All of these here,” he said quietly, motioning toward the beautiful brightness on the walls all around us. The man was Visquerra. I cried!

I hugged this strange, mustachioed man in the middle of an art gallery in Honduras and cried. Not the *big weepy mess* kind of cry, mind you, but definitely the *red cheeked, watery eyed, sniffly* kind of cry. He responded by hugging me back and laughing.

“Do you have anything I can buy? A print? A book? Anything??”

He walked me over to a table with a book on it containing prints of all of his work. I opened the wrapper on the spot and said I was buying it (I had no idea how much it would be) and asked if he’d sign it for me, which he did. Mim even got a picture of us together in front of one of the paintings. He was just so lovely. (You’d love his work, Old Dave. You’d just love it.)

Cheap coffee, amazing art, *leather* frogs… I’d go back to Valle de Angeles. :)

Medical Brigades (aka Clinics) and Visiting Churches

A painting hanging on the wall at the pharmacy. I don't know who it's by but I just loved it. Please leave a comment if you know what this is!

We had our first clinic on Monday afternoon in the village of La Victoria. I believe it’s only about 60 miles outside the city, but it’s up in the mountains on roads that actually merit Hummer ownership, so it took about three and a half hours to get there. But first things first.

For our initial clinic we hit up the pharmacy first to stock up on children’s vitamins (2,000), worm medicine (2,000), and antibiotics (200) for a grand total of 2520 Lps. That’s right, folks. All that medicine for only $133.21. Just incredible.

By the time we got back from the pharmacy everybody was pretty much ready to make the drive out to La Victoria, a mountain village where Mision Caribe established a church. We were told the village (dirt roads connecting one room houses sprinkled across a mountain with no electricity) is only about 60 miles away from the mission house, but the roads we take to get there track back and forth across and around mountains almost the entire distance, and aside from the first 20 miles or so it’s all unpaved and deeply ridged by mudslides, so it took us about three and a half hours to get there.

Mimi and I working at the "clinic" at the church in La Victoria, HN.

Five minutes after we pulled up at the church and unloaded our mattresses and the generator: the sky opened. Great timing! We took advantage of the rain time to get our gear stowed in a corner in the one room church building (cement walls and floor, windows covered by shutters, tin and tile roof) and to begin setting up the clinic. This involved organizing the medicine (all either donated or paid for with donations) on wooden benches, bagging and labeling the de-worming medicine we’d picked up that morning, and arranging chairs and tables for the different stations. (ie. Blood pressure station, Mimi’s visitation table, etc.) And as soon as we opened the doors when the rain stopped: There was our day, waiting for us in a line 200+ people long. Some of them had walked for hours to get there. Lots of mothers with children. All told we saw about 150 people before we ran out of medicine and daylight. (The generator operated lightbulb hanging from the ceiling just wasn’t cutting it.)

Bedding down for the night. L to R: Mimi, Oneyda, Donna, Melissa, Stephen

We closed up shop and walked in complete darkness at 6:30 pm through mud and horse… piles… to a nearby house for dinner (see pic above in the “Food” section), stretched it out as long as we could, and finally made the dark, muddy walk back to the church to get ready for bed. We laid our mattresses out on the floor, covered them in bath towels and throw blankets for warmth, and tried to find ways to keep ourselves occupied until it was late enough to go to sleep.

Around 7:45 the Coleman lantern started to dim, so that put an end to playing cards. The last time I looked at my watch it was 8:22 pm. I think I fell asleep out of sheer boredom and an intense desire to will myself into the next day. I had to go to the bathroom sooooo badly, but nothing could induce me to leave my chilly mattress and brave the muddy path to the pitch black outhouse with it’s seat-less toilet, 1″ of standing water on the floor, and unsee-able mosquitoes in a country plagued with dengue fever.

We were up the next morning at 6 or so, breakfasted around 6:30 next door, hiked up a nearby hill (I didn’t die, but I did need a hand a couple times), had our morning devotions around 7:30, said goodbye to the folks who’d gathered to watch the goings on, and hit the road for San Lorenzo.

Jose Cecilia del Valle in San Lorenzo, HN

We didn’t stay in San Lorenzo very long, maybe 3 or 4 hours. We stopped at the school, Jose Cecilia del Valle, to give the kids some school supplies donated by one of the other missionary’s church. They sang some songs with us (yes there were motions and yes I totally learned the words and sang along and did all the motions!) and the teacher, Olinda, told us a little about herself and the school. She’s got 35 years of teaching under her belt (33 of them at this mountain village school) and is retiring next month.

We were walking out the door to do some home visits of church members when I asked if it was okay if I stayed behind to sit in for the rest of the school day. It’s a one room school house catering to 1st – 6th grades in a mountain village in southern Honduras. How many chances to you get to do something like that, you know?

The 4th and 6th grade boys playing soccer at recess

I think Olinda thought I was a teacher sent to observe how she managed the classroom because whenever a child acted out or answered a question incorrectly her face pleaded with me to understand.

She’d explain “I have so many classes in one room and they are all learning something different at the same time…” Of one first grade girl she said: “This one’s mother had a thyroid problem when she was pregnant with her so I think it’s made her a little, you know *touches her head and frowns* so that’s why she gets so many things wrong.” She said this to me out loud in front of the entire school (17 students) but no one seemed to think anything of it. As for the little girl: Expect her to get some things wrong. It happens when you’re six. No worries! :)

Olinda was great, though; truly. It takes a special kind of person to dedicate themselves to 35 years of service in a country classroom when the money is almost exclusively in the city.

We had lunch (hot dogs with refried beans) at the church around 12:30 and then hit the ol’ road. But not before I got some fun footage of the church there. Maybe I’ll insert that video into this post once I’m back in the States. (The connection here’s a bit slow so upload times aren’t too video friendly.)

Sightseeing

Jesus statue at El Picacho

I don’t know that there are too many things we’ll do with the mission that are exclusively “sightseeing” related activities, though spending a month in a foreign country means everything is sightseeing in one way or another. We did spend a couple hours this afternoon taking a break at Picacho Hill (aka El Picacho), though, and that was pretty cool. El Picacho is home to the zoo (which I’ve been told is a horribly depressing place and by all rights should be closed immediately), a beautiful state park, and an enormous statue of Jesus. The hill overlooks the entire city of Tegucigalpa, so it made for some pretty neat photo opportunities as well. If we’re friends on Facebook you can find a few such pics in my “Honduras 2010” album.

America

You can’t get away from it, even in Honduras. Since arriving we’ve seen the following businesses: True Value Hardware, Sherwin Williams, Midas, Burger King, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Dunkin Donuts, Wendy’s, Quizno’s, Subway, Applebees, KFC, Popeye’s, Baskin-Robbins, Church’s Chicken, TCBY, Domino’s, Little Caesar’s, and TGI Friday’s.

*****

It has taken me four days to write this post. A mission house is a busy, busy place sometimes! I realize I’ve probably made this thing a nightmare in terms of loading times what with all these photos. Sorry ’bout that. :S Hopefully the next one won’t share the same burden of having to cram four days’ worth of activities into a single post!

The Jello Covered Grapes Annual Volunteer Choice Awards


Sunset Playhouse‘s Annual Volunteer Choice Awards were last night and everything about them made me feel so proud, so utterly delighted, to be connected with such a fabulous network of people. But before I begin delivering my run-down of the evening’s events I must first share my amazing new culinary discovery from the reception for those of you who can’t abide reading more than a paragraph or two of blogs: Tim Gensler’s much discussed and highly sought after…

Jell-o Powder Covered Grapes

grapesAccording to Gensler, one of Sunset’s resident Jacques-of-All-Trades and chef extraordinaire for the evening’s appetizers, you take the grapes, right? And you get ’em a little wet– not too wet or they get all clumpy– and dust them with Jell-o powder; cherry for the red grapes, lime for the green. Pop ’em in the fridge or the freezer for about an hour to get them to firm up a little, and voilà: A tasty summertime snack guaranteed to get a hundred+ people asking “what those little grape looking things are” and then coming back for seconds, and thirds, of “whatever the heck they are.”

“Let’s go out to the lobby…”

Sunset’s special night officially began at 6pm with a wine/ beer/ soda bar in the lobby, catering to some of the choicest mingling this actress is likely to experience until next year’s awards show. Everywhere you turned was a person, a conversation, a memory which served as a brilliant reminder of why this room was filled with all these people in the first place: We love creating theatre together.

What a place!

(And thank you thank you thank you to Jean J. and Chuck U. for the wonderful conversation and the extremely kind words. You warmed my heart more than you can possibly know!)

The Awards Ceremony…

…got rolling at 7pm with a song from Vasiliki Fafalios, an area high school student participating in Sunset’s “Rising Stars” program. It sounded like no one in the audience realized she was so young until we were told as much after her delightful rendition of “You’re the Top,” at which time the audience was filled with whispers of “She’s in high school?!” I’m fairly certain it’s a good sign when you leave an entire audience shocked by your age in the wake of your obvious talent.

Next on the stage was MC Ken Smith, presumably given the honor because he has the best beard on the Board of Directors. Hey: When you’ve got it, you’ve got it. He introduced Inge Adams who was to present the award for Best Supporting Actor. It went to David Kaye for his performance as Tim Allgood in Noises Off, but unfortunately dude wasn’t there to receive it. I made sure to give him what for on Facebook as soon as I got home, though, so that’s all taken care of.

Cindy Zauner then floated onto the stage in a lovely… in a colorful… in… in– well in just a joltingly godawful mess of a bridesmaid’s dress to sing “Always A Bridesmaid” from I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change! As though I didn’t have enough reasons for being terribly disappointed in myself for not seeing that show, I can now add this little number to my list of reasons to kick myself for missing it. Cindy was too stinkin’ funny. The audience ate her up.

The only award one can give when dressed in something so, so, so terribly unattractive is, naturally, the award for Best Costume Design, which went to Sue Fromm for her work on Escanaba in da Moonlight. Rock on, Sue! Besides being one of the sweetest people on Sunset’s volunteer roster, she’s also quite the talented hand at dressin’ folks it would seem. She certainly got my vote.

Social Security: S. Loveridge, B. Krah

Social Security: S. Loveridge, B. Krah

Bryce Lord, director of this Spring’s Social Security, had the opportunity to present the award for Best Supporting Actress to one of his own: Bonnie Krah. I could fill an entire blog entry with praise for Bonnie, but I would no doubt lose the few of you still reading due to the length of it, so I’ll leave it at this: Bonnie Krah was hands down the best choice for this award. She gave a fantastic performance and the voting could not possibly have gone any other way. Bonnie was also not in attendance, much to my dismay, so I shall have to rib her good naturedly for it the next time I see her before proceeding with my usual Bonnie Accolades.

Another musical number to keep things hoppin’? Don’t mind if I do! Kyle Breitzman performed “Luck Be A Lady” because he figured, as Ken Smith shared with us, “It’s short, easy, and relevant.” Smart fellow, that Breitzman. Smart indeed.

Brenda Gravelle, last year’s recipient of the Unsung Hero Award, presented this year’s to Sue Fromm, who you may remember from such awards as Best Costume Design. Way to rake ’em in, Sue. There’s a lot of heart and a lot of drive in that woman. An asset to any company and dearly appreciated by Sunset.

Best Lighting Design went to Marty Wallner for Escanaba, presented via a flip tablet by Erika Navin, winner of the Ruth Arnell’s Annual Best Glasses Award. Marty really pulled off some pretty neat effects in this one that were hopefully as much fun for him to put together as they were for us in the audience to watch.

Escanaba: R. Zimmerman, A. Lien, J. Bloomingdale, M. Patten, G. Villa

Escanaba in da Moonlight: R. Zimmerman, A. Lien, J. Bloomingdale, M. Patten, G. Villa

Mark Salentine’s remarks on the importance of sound design in theatre, a fun little giggle-inducer to remind us all how much we truly depend on ringing phones and Jan Pritzl, was delightfully punctuated by Matthew Patten, the presenter of the Old-Timer Award to Inge Tiberius Adams. Wait- scratch that. Make that the Newcomer Award to Andy Lien. Lien swears up and down he hasn’t acted since high school, but his spot on comic timing and delivery in Escanaba sure do make a body wonder. Terrific actor, friendly guy, can grow a decent beard; Lien’s a gem and Sunset’s all the better for having found him.

More music? Bring it on! The fourth song of the evening was from next season’s Mid-life! The Crisis Musical, with Mark Salentine and Doug Jarecki as Mary DeBattista’s hapless, helpless would-be lovers. There’s something so charming about a woman who can maintain artistic composure and powerful breath support while straddling a park bench…

Jacquelyn Ranallo and Lena Tomaszek went home with the No Small Parts Award from Anne Gorski for their contributions in I Love You… It was kind of a cute award to see given as the adorable Tomaszek had been the one actually handing out all of the evening’s awards. It was nice seeing her finally get to hang on to one!

Doug Jarecki and Jason Powell were up next with a little improv game (the Alphabet Game, for the curious among you) to entertain the troops, who were duly entertained. Incidentally, JASON POWELL’S HILARIOUS ORIGINAL MUSICAL COMEDY INVADER? I HARDLY KNOW HER! OPENS AT THE ALCHEMIST THEATER ON SEPTEMBER 10, 2009, which is cool.

Same Time...: C. Gamino, S. Hughes

Same Time…: C. Gamino, S. Hughes

Doug was also there to present this year’s Best Actress Award to a very talented young woman, Sarah Laak Hughes, for her performance in Same Time Next Year. This was another show I did not get to see, but having seen Sarah’s work elsewhere I can only agree wholeheartedly with the vote on this one as I’m sure she was teriffic in the role. Not to mention the mad props you’re almost duty-bound to give to any actor who survives a two person show with their sanity so graciously intact.

The Best Actor Award, presented by Mary DeBattista, went to Matthew Patten for his performance in Escanaba and I figure there’d’ve been a bona fide mutiny had he not won for his work in that show. You want a brilliant character actor? This guy’s the real deal, and he works flatullance-joke-loving audiences like a charm. And no, they did not let him keep the red long underwear.

An Awards Night tradition I was glad to see continue was that of Mark Salentine delivering a review of the season as a whole to the tune of a well known song from a musical. This year’s review, to the tune of “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music, allowed us to reminisce together about the joys of Sarah Laak Hughes, and the pain of patrons who are shocked at the idea that infidelity might make its way into a plot. Ah theatre.

A Sunset original, the Rudy Award, is presented every year by Rudy Miskowitch to a volunteer who goes above and beyond the call of duty to bring the season’s productions to a whole new level of quality through their hard work and dedication. This year’s recipient was Marty Wallner, a man who embodies the phrase “to know ‘im is to love ‘im.” Congratulations Marty!

Escanaba: J. Bloomingdale, A. Lien, M. Patten, R. Zimmerman

Escanaba in da Moonlight: J. Bloomingdale, A. Lien, M. Patten, R. Zimmerman

The biggest award of the night, Best Show, was presented by Sunset’s new Managing Director Jonathan West, he of bow-ties-and-blogging fame. The top three nominees were Those Crazy Ladies in the House on the Corner, Escanaba in da Moonlight, and Noises Off. And the award goes to: ESCANABA IN DA MOONLIGHT!

I couldn’t see this award going anywhere else. If Sunset could remount one production to present year after year with the same direction, actors, and set, it would have to be this one. Featuring an absolute dream cast under the delightful direction of Mark Salentine (and my God do you see the costumes and the set in these pictures?! Gorgeous!), this was far and away my favorite show of the year and a true testament to the professional quality theatre one finds at Sunset Playhouse.

Another “Rising Star” at Sunset, high school student Allie Babich, brought the awards ceremony to a close with a performance of “Stars and Moon” which I heard one audience member say brought tears to his eyes. When people tell this young lady “You’ll go places, kid!” I sure hope she knows they aren’t just whistlin’ Dixie. Beautiful voice, lovely presentation. Thank you Allie.

Reception

Tosa Jazz, directed by Donna Kummer, serenaded the audience into the studio theatre for a swingin’ reception. One thing for which you can always count on Sunset Playhouse is a delicious, buffet style spread at every event they host. Last night’s was no exception, and yes I went back for thirds. Oh and happy anniversary to Jim and Susan Loveridge! Y’all were so cute out there on the dance floor.

Music, dancing, food, wine, art, friends, laughter. We who had the opportunity to enjoy such things together on a warm, summer night should be thanking our lucky stars. And for those still looking for such a place of their own, well it’s real easy…

You take 94 West from Milwaukee and get off at the Mooreland Rd. North exit over by Brookfield Square Mall. Hang a right on Bluemound, a left on Elm Grove Rd., and a right on Wall St. Sunset Playhouse will be on your right. Shouldn’t miss it. ;)

A Sexy, Star-Studded Wordle


WordPress keeps tabs for you on what terms people search for in Google that bring them to your blog.

I am a big fan of Wordle.net.

Slap those two together and: Ta-Da…

sex-and-celebrities-wordle1

Above is a word art image I created by pasting in every celebrity and “blue”  search term that has brought people to my blog into the “Create” box at Wordle.net. It’s interesting to me to see what people are looking for, and who they’re looking for, from the seeming privacy of their home computers. It’s a strange thing being able to take a peek at that. For reference’s sake I’ve included a copy of the “pasted searches” in list format below. Fascinating.

And not just a little creepy.

And for those of you wondering: The bulk of the search terms (647 total as of the date of this post) that bring people to my blog have to do with ferrets, dunlap syndrome, theatre, names of people I’ve acted with, and quotes from Carrie, Death at a Funeral, Hellboy 2, and Waiting For Guffman.

Yep. My blog’s a veritable treasure trove of information on the tippiest toppiest of intellectual pursuits.

Without further ado, the list I used to create the above image:

aishwarya rai
beer girl images
belly flab (exact search appears 3 times)
boob growth videos
flat chest
flat chest girl
forgi sex
girl belly flab
girl naked outside
heavy legs
hot hot body image
itchy pantyhose (exact search appears 5 times)
jake gyllenhaal
jennifer aniston (exact search appears 2 times)
jessica alba exposed
jessica alba my space
jessica alba naked
jessica alba sex
jessica alba sex wallpapers
jessica alba wallpaper
jessica alba xxx (exact search appears 5 times)
jessica aniston bare arms
jessica de alba
karen kay 3rd shift
karen kay third shift
karen kay third shift pictures
kyra sedgwick
megan fox (exact search appears 2 times)
megan fox acne scars (exact search appears 7 times)
megan fox has bad acne scars
megan fox peoplepost
megan fox unclothed
megan fox’s picseries
nude flat chested females
nude photos karen kay third shift
omg jessica alba
pantyhose (exact search appears 7 times)
pantyhose and boots
pantyhose in the shower
pantyhose itchy
pantyhose or tights or stockings or nylons
pantyhose required
pantyhose zoey
porn page
porn_y
rape
see through shirt jessica alba
sex xxx jessica alba
sexualviolence.tv
show free clips of women wearing jeans so tight a guy can hardly put his hand inside them
skinny actresses (exact search appears 2 times)
street harassment
super-skinny naked lesbians
third shift karen kay
tori spelling (exact search appears 5 times)
totally nude girls
undressed women porn pics
xxx wallpapers
xxx wallpapers of actress
zoey deschanel (exact search appears 8 times)

For a total of: 1 search a piece for Aishwarya Rai, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Kyra Sedgwick; 2 for Jennifer Aniston (+ 1 for “Jessica” Aniston); 4 for Karen Kay (the sports radio announcer, I’m assuming, and not the romance novel author); 5 for Tori Spelling; 9 for Zoey Deschanel; 13 for Megan Fox; 15 for Jessica Alba; and 18 for pantyhose

I think it’s interesting to note that when searching for Megan Fox, arguably to many the most attractive person on this list, people are searching for her in conjunction with alleged physical blemishes (ie. acne scars) more than half the time (8 out of 13 searches). What does this say about “we the searchers”? Thoughts? Opinions?

“I’m not a baby. I’m a tumor.”


Hellgirl

I’m home alone watching Hellboy II: The Golden Army and it just doesn’t feel right. This is the kind of movie you watch with friends! Not shivering by yourself on your couch with a walrus of few words. :S

Ooh– what’s this? A bag of Sun Chips from the old man? Nevermind! All is well! :D

selma_blair1I have to say that as much as I love Ron Perlman in these Hellboy movies, the real surprise to me is how much I like Selma Blair in them. And no, Mr. or Ms. Snarkypants, it is not just because in these movies she’s often on fire.

For the most part I could take her or leave her as an actress. I don’t think she’s bad, I just don’t think she’s often very… interesting. Not in the pictures she generally chooses, anyhow. But I really like her in these movies. I don’t know what it is that she’s doing differently here, but I dig it.

Wait wait wait– So I just Googled her and– is her web site really called “Spunky”?!? Oh and seriously? Skip Feast of Love. It sucks. Hard core. Really really bad. And predictable. And boring. And played out. Just awful. Something in the trailer- God only knows what, at this point- caught my eye so I added it to my Blockbuster queue and oh God. No. Just so bad.

I saw her in a short film on YouTube this summer and enjoyed her performance in it. Kind of an odd one. Worth a watch if you have the time.

Art… Almost

I recently engaged in an extremely (to me, anyway!) thought-provoking conversation about art, theatre, acting, where I think theatre is headed, why I enjoy acting, why I’m into doing community productions, etc. etc. etc. Very interesting conversation. I’d like to have conversations like that more often. A lot more often. I need to talk these things through. I need to hear what other people think in as specific of words as possible, and I need to hear myself say what I think because until I hear it myself say my thoughts out loud I often don’t realize how stupid some of the things I’m thinking really are. ;P

But I have to say that as much fun as I had, I left the conversation feeling like all I’d done was prove myself to be an over-confident cad, and a fool with no real opinions grounded in anything more than my own closed minded view of performing. Though I’d been listened to, engaged with, and spoken to as though I might actually have something to say that was worth hearing, I left feeling like I needed more time so I could defend myself and my kiddie opinions. So I could justify my immature responses. So I could clarify my aimless ramblings by perhaps rambling aimlessly a bit longer.

So many things I hadn’t thought of before. So many things I don’t have any real responses for, or don’t know what my opinion is on them, because I haven’t ever been asked for my opinion before. The whole time it was like just discovering what I really thought, even though surely I must’ve thought it all along.

I could get into some of it here, but to be totally honest I’m just too bloody distracted by Hellboy and its use of The Eels to say anything of substance about the arts so I’m leaving it alone for now.

But I’ll come back to it! Eventually! I promise!

All in the Family

winter-walrusGetting Alfred- it counts; he’s family- all geared up for winter. We’re supposed to get a foot or more of snow in the next couple days, and when you’re only 7″ tall, that’s a heck of a lot of white, fluffy stuff to have to learn to navigate. I’m trying to teach him about heat loss through the head, but I get this feeling like he’s just not listening to me. I’m bigger than him, though, so when I say it’s hat time, it’s hat time.

Watched an episode of “The Closer” with my folks tonight. Made me want to shoot the TV. I was stopped only by the adorable weight of a sleeping dog in my lap which I could not bear to disturb, and my lack of a gun. I’ve seen episodes of this show before and been able to handle it, but tonight? Tonight everything every character did either made no sense or was just so flat out obnoxious to witness that it made the show utterly unwatchable. I think that show may’ve just run its course with me. Kyra Sedgwick’s annoying lips, the frustrating writing, the intolerable characters… I’m sorry, TNT. But it’s over.

Xmas

And now? A new, must-watch Christmas classic:

My family is celebrating Christmas this Saturday. Mimi’s coming to town tomorrow afternoon, hopefully arriving before the snow really starts to fall. Don’t know what our plans are specifically aside from a turkey dinner on Saturday evening, followed by… um… Geez. Really just don’t know. Wish I had some good board games or something to bring over. Or a good movie. Or– or a bottle of Tanqueray.

*gurgle*

I’m only still writing because the movie is still playing and I can’t just sit and watch. But I also can’t subject you to any more of this… this. My apologies, dudes.

In conclusion: I have a new remote control and can now go back to watching DVD special features.

Songs from the Depths of Queen Beer Girl von Shadenfreude the 525th


12/8/08

Do you ever feel simultaneously great and like total crap about… um… stuff. Hmmmm. Blogs are awfully public places, non? Perhaps we shall not discuss precisely what it is we are feeling simultaneously great and like total crap about just now, oui?

Class, your word for the day is “schadenfreude.” It is a noun meaning “satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.” Please leave a comment using “schadenfreude” in a sentence…

Just finished a bowl of reheated spaghetti with a glass of 1% milk (Walmart was out of Skim that late in the day). My body chilled, my belly filled, I *think* I’m finally ready to write about all the goings on of my past week which I keep promising to tell certain people about but then keep neglecting to write about because I’m lazy.

And kind of a goofus…

And the stories aren’t really that interesting…

But I tell them anyway. Why? BECAUSE IT’S MY F-ING BLOG AND I MAKE THE RULES HERE! THAT’S WHY!!

Chapter the First: Monday, 12/1

beer-girl-costumeI had an audition last Monday afternoon at a Talent Agency* that signed me up a couple weeks ago.  The audition was for a promotional video to be used in-house by a Beer Company*. My instructions? Show up any time between 9 and 4, be memorized, and look flirty.

Rock on?

So due to computer issues outside their control they can’t get me the script until the night before the audition, I end up showing up closer to 2 pm, my memorization’s out the window because they’ve added a few re-writes I was too dense to incorporate smoothly, and I look… well… You might chat me up at the church picnic, but I’m gonna have to start showing a little leg if I’m going to get you to buy a beer from me.

So it goes.

The read felt like it went pretty well, though, considering it was my first time ever in my life doing something so simple yet UTTERLY NERVE WRACKING. I was one of 8 “be memorized and look flirty”s called by this agency, so it’s nice to know I’m not totally lost in a numbers game, but at the same time: 1) I have no idea how many other agencies read people for it, and 2) I do know that one of the other girls who read for it from mine has totally got this one in the bag because I worked with her at another agency gig the next day and she was talented and adorable and way too cool for anyone to be bummed about her getting the part instead.

I don’t know when we’ll find out for sure how it all played out- it shoots in early January- but I’m already writing this one off as a wash. I mean, it felt fine, but man those would just be some kinda crazy odds I’d have to beat for it to work out, and I’ve never much been favored by lesser likelihoods. (Except those likelihoods dealing with things like breaking out the day before college graduation. I was all over that.)

While I was at the agency for Monday’s aud they found they needed an additional person to work an event that Wednesday night. Talk about great timing, man. If I hadn’t been there I have no doubt it wouldn’t have gone to me. (Especially after seeing who all else it did go to.) They said it was for a Hunting/Conservation* organization’s annual banquet and “Can you show up at 5 to sell raffle tickets?” You’d better believe I can! But I’ll save that for Chapter the Third…

Chapter the Second: Tuesday, 12/2

B-Roll?

B-Roll?

Tuesday morning, 8 am, I’m out in Glen-something or Green-something. Some -field or -dale. I don’t remember. Point is: I was there. At 8 in the morning. I’m not anywhere at 8 in the morning that’s not my bed these days, so this job? This job was painful. Add to this the fact that I was on Skype until past 2 am the night before while frantically scrambling through my closet looking for Big Girl Clothes to bring to the next day’s shoot.

That’s right. A shoot.

It sounds so cool when you don’t know what it’s really like. And actually– I got to eat a delicious bagel, they treated us to lunch at Noodles where I got to eat my favorite noodle dish (their Pad Thai is EXCELLENT!), and I got to see my friend Libby, so I guess it was kinda cool. :)

The day’s efforts were devoted to filming B roll footage for a Pharmacy’s* version of a televised blog on health related topics. They brought in two other girls, a guy, and me, and we basically spent our day driving around to be filmed having thrilling conversations about our current health insurance plans, talking about what groceries we just picked up, and driving under the influence of distracting elements like cell phones, lipstick, and the aforementioned delicious bagel.

We were the Queens of the B-Roll that day, my friends. The Queen B’s. (BTW: The image accompanying “Chapter the Second” is the top result from Image Googling “b roll.” No kidding.)

And then we all went home.

Chapter the Third: Wednesday, 12/3

browning-citori-525-feather1Drove through crazy amounts of falling and fallen snow to get to a cool German themed restaurant in the middle of nowhere (read: Mequon) to sell raffle tickets for, drum roll please: GUNS GUNS GUNS.

Yup. A huge part of the Hunting/Conservation group’s annual banquet is devoted to fund raising through raffle prizes and auctions and I got to be a part of it, looking every bit the sexy librarian– which would be great if we’d been asked to look like that. As it stands we were actually asked to come looking “glam,” but the only “glam” thing I own is a tin of extravagantly priced pure maple syrup and somehow I didn’t think it’d be appropriate to come just wearing that. It was just too cold.

Got there right at 5 (gave myself an hour for a 25 minute drive and still barely made it with that danged snow :P) and was promptly greeted by a Hottie in a tight-fitting, off the shoulder, sparkly gold dress.

Uh-oh.

Out of the corner of my eye I see Hottie #2 in a tight-fitting black dress with a leopard print top, Hottie #3 in a slim white sweater dress over boots, and Hottie #4 in a tight-fitting green dress with open toed pumps.

Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh.

Suddenly my black skirt, long sleeved purple top, and black vest felt woefully Mission Barrel. That is– until a bunch of jovial dudes from their 20s to their 70s started snapping up raffle tickets at a hundred bucks a pop from me and Hottie #4. Boy if that doesn’t make you feel charming as hell I don’t know what will. Especially when you get to do it for four and a half hours while wearing super cute shoes, with a break in the middle for a duck dinner with a side of the sweetest, craziest cranberry dish I’ve ever tasted.

And then we all went home.

*I’m not sure if I can publish some of these company names, and I’m not sure if I should publish the others, so for the time being I’m playing any and all identity cards close to the vest…

12/9/08

In Other News…

songs-from-the-depths-of-hell-coverI’m typing all of this up at my desk with Alfred by my side and suddenly feeling quite sad. Almost abandoned.

It’s a gross feeling. An empty feeling. I don’t like it, and I don’t want it.

And it strikes me now that I don’t have any clue how people who suffer great and genuine losses are able to channel their emotions into poetry, dance, plays, films, paintings… How do you do that? When even just the sting of the unknown is impossible to parse, how do you open real heartache to reveal a sonnet, a song, a story?

I find it remarkable. Utterly remarkable.

And I find I’d perhaps better stick to just blogging about what kind of milk I’m buying and what my stuffed walrus is or is not up to. If you can’t write about something, write about nothing. Write? Right.

And In Yet Other News…

I’m starting a new blog entry in about 20 minutes because this is about to get terribly long and awkwardly disjointed.

“Sorry. Forgi– Cold.”


“Virtue is its own punishment”
Aneurin Bevan

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BBC Art and Personality Quiz

Your results

Your favourite type of art is

Japanese ukiyo-e.

In the personality profile you had a high agreeableness score, which suggests you are keen to understand others’ feelings and put people at ease.

Find out more about your personality test results

People who are the same age and sex as you are most likely to prefer Impressionism. People who also score highly in your dominant personality trait are most likely to prefer

Impressionism.

See the art in the experiment and find out more

Experiment results

Scientists are interested in whether there is a connection between your personality type and the kind of art you prefer. Other factors such as your age and sex might affect your art preference.

Over 100,000 people took this test, and we passed the data on to psychologists. Find out what they discovered.

Read about the experiment results

Does the art you enjoy match your personality?

We designed the experiment to look at whether people with different personality types like different forms of art. In previous studies researchers have found that:

  • People who prefer abstract art tend to be more conservative, dogmatic, and are often sensation seekers.
  • People who are open to new experiences are less likely to enjoy looking at realistic paintings. They seek something more atypical and challenging.
  • People with low emotional stability tend to prefer abstract and pop-art paintings.
  • People who score high in agreeableness like paintings and tend to dislike forms like pop-art.
  • People who like representational paintings may also be more conscientious than average.

It’s less clear how extraversion ties in with painting preference. Some researchers have found that extraverts like modern art more than introverts, but others have found exactly the opposite pattern.

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A “poetry free-for-all” from EveryPoet.com:

David Mascellani

Yeah,
I ate
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for yourself

They were off
and made me sick
expect to hear
from my lawyers

weatheringdaleson

“I’m Just Saying”
by David Mamet

I’m just saying.
I ate the plums
the freezer.
For breakfast,
saving for, listen,
no, list– oh fuck
me…. I’m… I…
forgive me, for breakfast.
Sorry. Forgi– Cold.
Yeah, cold.
And delicious.