Archive for January, 2014

A few things I like and one thing I do not like.

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Let’s begin with the not-like: I was watching television the other day and I saw a commercial for the truly impressive Grand Prospect Hall. Have you seen this commercial? It is terrific.

First of all, I immediately thought of the “Marble Columns” skit from SNL with Scarlett Johansson (you can watch the whole thing if you want, but her part is at about 1:17). Secondly, you may or may not notice that when the web address is up on the screen, the “s” in the middle is bigger for no reason. I took a photo of my TV in case you can’t watch the video.


…Why? Why is it bigger? Was that a design choice? I don’t understand. It may not bother you at all, but to me it looks like this:


And I can’t look away. I guess it’s because I do this for a living and it’s top-of-mind for me. I need to try and let that stuff go. And get invited to a party at the Grand Prospect Hall because that place looks super-fun.

Now, things I like! I saw these while trawling the web for treasures and I thought they were cool.

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Also, there’s this artist named Myriam Dion and she does papercuts with newspapers that are ethereal and delicate and very creative.

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Diametric opposites.

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

I haven’t had a chance to post about these things, but I went to two rather different events recently. First, I went to see Mythbusters: Behind the Scenes Tour.


Even though it was clearly geared towards their primary audience (11-year-old boys) I enjoyed myself quite a bit. Cricket came with me and I don’t think he liked it nearly as much due to the fact that he actually took adult-type science classes in high school like chemistry and physics. I did none of that. My senior year of high school I was assigned to Biology for Football Players and Poets where all we did was watch National Geographic videos. The school had given up on us at that point, probably for the best. My classmates and I were not going to be working in a lab anytime soon. But, due to my child-like knowledge of science, I found many of the experiments Jamie and Adam did on stage fascinating. They did this thing where a small boy from the audience lifted a chubby man simply by altering the pivot point of a lever and I was all, “Magic!” Cricket turned to me with a dumbfounded expression and said, “Yeah, it’s basic physics. It’s a lever. You didn’t know that would happen? Have you never lifted anything?” and I responded that I had not and Cricket was disappointed in me, the Rye school system and humanity in general. I learned what a “Bleve” is, and I learned that Adam grew up in Sleepy Hollow and his mom was in the audience (she stood up and we all cheered, it was very nice). During the audience Q&A, someone asked Adam what the scariest myth he worked on and he refused to answer because his mother is not allowed to watch that episode. The finale was taking an audience member, dressing him up in a medieval suit of armor and firing paintballs at him with one of those giant guns that you see in war footage. I found a video online and while you can’t see much, you can hear it.

Great finale. If it comes to your town and you know a kid around the age of 11, take them because they will love it.

The other thing I went to was NOT geared towards children and while informative, it was not educational in nature. I went to see Nutcracker Rouge.


I saw online that Shelly Watson was performing in it, and I loved her so much at Gotham Burlesque that I decided to go and check it out. It is a rough retelling of the Nutcracker ballet with elements of circus arts, burlesque and cabaret and it was, without a doubt, THE GAYEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN. I don’t mean “gay” in that unacceptable derogatory way meaning “lame” or “less than,” I mean “gay” like “The Logo Channel would explode from this.” Shelly did an operatic version of Madonna’s “Material Girl” in French. That gay. Look, see for yourself.


I had a jolly good time. The audience was comprised of 75% meticulously groomed gay male couples and 25% other. There was a bunch of elderly foreign tourists in line with me at the ticket-taker’s station, I suspect they saw the sign and thought, “Huh, I guess we’ll go see this performance of The Nutcracker,” and I really wish I could have seen their faces when, near the end, the entire cast forms a can-can line where everyone is humping everyone else. Is this what you expected, Nana and Pop-Pop? Is it? I don’t want to tell you too much in case you go to see it next year, but my two favorite people was the woman who played the peppermint candy cane, Courtney Giannone. I found a picture of her online.


She performed in that gigantic hula hoop that spins and I always expect their fingers to get crushed but they don’t. Here, a video of one in action. She did it all topless and smiling, and her back muscles were intense. I wanted to chew on them. Here’s another pic I found of Courtney.


The other person I loved was a woman named Katrina Cunningham. She was a lovely dancer and singer and I found out later she is a graduate of SUNY Purchase’s Dance Conservatory! Hooray alma mater!* Katrina was beautiful and she helped answer a question that has been plaguing me for years: who the hell buys that crazy giant sparkle-encrusted jewelry and the dresses so covered in rhinestones and sequins they weigh eighty pounds? These people do. This cast does. Katrina wore several.

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So if you’re looking for a sexy opulent good time held together by a threadbare plot, this is what you need. There are chandeliers as stage lights. People do ballet wearing stag horns. Cannons shoot glitter all over the audience. Cross-dressing flamenco dancing. Drag queens. Whips and leather. Absolutely delightful.


*I didn’t graduate from the Dance Conservatory. I was in the Theater Arts Conservatory, but I still like to look out for my fellow conservatory graduates because hooo boy does being in a conservatory suck.


Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Ugh, this week. My job wanted me to make a book for a upscale hard liquor and the exact note I got was, “Make it nightclub, lounge, cityscapes, hot girls dancing. Think glamorous sluts.” I was like, “Uhhhhh, have you met me? My idea of a perfect evening involves Japanese takeout, lying in bed wearing a housedress and watching a marathon of Lockup/Lockdown/Jail. I am not your target audience.” But as an arteeste, I must step out of the confines of my life in order to appeal to a brand that appeals to…people who like glamorous sluts. Sigh. Anyway, I stayed up a couple of nights and I think I did a pretty good job. Way to explore my non-demographic. I smudged any information I thought would get me in trouble if I shared publicly.

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Charty chart charts.

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

While I work on a bunch of projects to get finished before I leave for Japan (OMG HOLY BADGER-CRAPS I’M GOING TO JAPAN IN THREE WEEKS) I wanted to enjoy some charts while I’m being a busy beaver.

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And Buzzfeed had a marvelous article that I wanted to share here:

Kitchen evolution.

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

I’m so happy, my kitchen is gettin’ done! What makes it even better is if there’s one thing I dislike, it’s complicated instructions and manual labor. Neenernator’s honey-booboo and his friend the carpenter are working on it for me, which makes it as close to magic as I’ll ever get. I leave for work, kitchen unfinished. I return home, kitchen more finished. That’s my Harry Potter experience, people. See, look:

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(The blue is a protective coating. The cabinets are actually white.)

I’ve started working on the backsplash design. It’s going to be a mosaic with goldfish. Over the goldfish will be the pattern of the water ripples. The ripples will be silver tile, but when a ripple crosses over a fish, it turns gold. Here’s the rough sketch I came up with for the oven ‘n’ cooktop wall. You can get an idea.


I’m not going to fuss with that until the boys finish doing whatever they’re doing, hooking up sinks and putting on door handles. But there’s nothing wrong with getting a head-start.

Addendum 1/23/2014: I’ve worked a bit harder on a look for my backsplash. Now there are drop shadows. The fish are smaller. I think it’s better.


Japan is going to take all my money, and I’m okay with it.

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Let’s add another fantastic Japanese craft to my long list of stuff I’m gonna buy whilst visiting the Japanese isles, shall we? Temari. Balls covered with embroidery thread. No big whoop, right? Wrong. Look at this collection of temari.

I’m going to need about ten or fifteen of those, thanks. Perhaps if I just hand Japan my debit card and pin code, this will all go much faster.

Addendum 1/9/14: Two things. One, my friend Moss and I were texting the other night. She just came back from Japan and I asked her for any tips and she said there was an utterly amazing ramen place in Kyoto. I like the description the gave for what their ramen is like.


Two, I bought my tickets for my flight here at work on Delta, and ever since then I’ve been getting Delta ads in Japanese. Now, whenever I bought tickets to Costa Rica or Belgium I never got ads in Spanish or Flemish or French, so why am I getting Japanese ads?

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It makes me think that Japan does not have a booming tourist industry. Or most people who go there have a grasp on the language already. I want to tell Delta not to waste their time because I cannot understand what the ads are saying, but that would require effort and therefore it will never happen.

Pacific Rim and The Hobbit.

Monday, January 6th, 2014

I am SO COLD. I can’t feel my feet. It was -4 degrees Friday and my poor heater was chugging away, but it couldn’t compete with the chill. I went out to a bar to say goodbye to Nessa (she’s moving to San Francisco to become a cop) and I spent the entire time in the bar like this:


I may never feel warmth again. I shall miss you, toes. You served me well.

Anyway, I saw Pacific Rim the other night! Oh, Pacific Rim. I had such high hopes for you. You were full of ‘splosions! Alien on robot warfare! Idris Elba bein’ all awesome like he do! And then, lameness. It started so well, too. The opening bit was totally engrossing and then from that point on it was a slow smooth descent into Pooptown. I can suspend my disbelief to a point, but some things didn’t, like, you know… make sense. The non-sequiturs were so depressingly meh that I don’t want to even discuss them here, but here are a couple distinctive things:

  • Do you like nosebleeds? Then you’re gonna love this film! Everyone’s rockin’ a delicate sanguous trickle from one nostril.
    The machine fried my brain! Nosebleed.
    I was exposed to too much radiation! Nosebleed.
    Kleenex should have done some product placement. “Is something leaking out of your face because your brain is overloaded controlling a machine the size of the Empire State Building? Mop up that spinal fluid with Kleenex. It can hold your entire medulla oblongata without ripping. That’s Kleenex, the facial tissue that will help tamp the vital ooze until your eyeball explodes from the inside and you collapse to the ground and die. Kleenex.”
  • There’s a scene where the only female in the whole film, a super-dope Japanese girl:
    She has a disturbing flashback to her childhood where her family is killed by a giant crab godzilla monster she is running down the street crying. The little girl playing her as a child was an AMAZING actor. It was creepy how much she looked like that famous picture from Vietnam where the girl is running down the street naked. I’m sure that was intentional.
  • The main theme music is HAWSOME. Every time I walk into a room, I want this playing in the background. I’m going to have this put in my work contracts from now on. This is non-negotiable.
  • Speaking of music, Idris Elba makes a rally-the-troops speech at one point, you may remember from the commercials (“Today we are cancelling the apocalypse!!!!”) and it’s a total ripoff of the Independence Day speech ( I really want someone to make a mashup of the two with an unch-unch-unch dance beat behind it. Could someone get on that, please? Thank you.

If you want to hear all the things good and bad (mostly bad, it’s not a great film) about Pacific Rim, I recommend listening to this podcast. It was pretty spot-on.

And then today I saw The Hobbit 2: Electric Boogaloo with Benadryl Claritin playing the voice of Smaug. Here’s an unusual occurrence: I saw a website that said this as the review.

“Skip the first half, the only part that matters is the dragon. He’s in the second half and he is amazing. Everything before that is boring.”

Then I spoke to a friend of mine who’s opinion matters to me and what she said.

“I loved everything until the dragon. There was lots of action and excitement and then the dumb dragon basically talks for forty-five minutes about how great and scary he is, it’s boring.”

Now, I thought the first movie (The Hobbit: Let’s Eat Dinner For Fifteen Minutes) was boring and drawn-out and could have been condensed down quite a bit, so I didn’t have big expectations for this film, but I liked it! All of it! The beginning, the middle, the end, it was all good. So that’s… three diametrically opposite feelings about the movie. You need to find someone who hated the whole movie and you would have all the boxes checked. I say go check it out, preferably in IMAX, not necessarily in 3D, and maybe you will like it. Or maybe you will feel like any of these other people who sorta liked parts of it. I can’t guarantee anything.