Happy Birthday to my last crush. I love you, Will. xoxo.
Happy Birthday to my last crush. I love you, Will. xoxo.
Nice to know they care about fashion in DC. Makes me wonder how my wardrobe and fashion tastes will change when I go from west to east....
I held an iPhone last night. It was so sexy I almost wanted to lick it.
Pictures and video don't do it justice.
If you don't listen to This American Life on NPR, you should. It's a deliciously addictive radio show that airs every week, or, you can download podcasts on iTunes or at audible.com.
Anyway, I wonder if they have a show about riding the bus. I take the bus to work everyday and while riding the No. 13 downtown on Thursday morning, I was feeling a lot of sympathy for the bus driver. People were giving him attitude right and left. The worst incident was on lower Queen Anne at the corner of Queen Anne Ave and Denny, right near the Shell station. This teenage boy was trying to get on the bus after the driver had already pulled away from the stop but was stalled because of traffic. The kid pulled the bike rack down and started racking his bike. The driver started waving his hands, saying "No! No!". He got up to go stop him. As he did this, the kid then took his bike out of the rack and threw it about 10 feet onto the sidewalk, almost hitting a pedestrian. The pedestrian then confronted the teenager. It was fascinating! Who needs a video iPod when you can watch live, spontaneous acts of dysfunctional human behavior for the small price of a bus fare??
Gotta love public transportation.
Oy. It's been a while. The reason it's been a while is because Will's getting ready for his move, I'm working and teaching full-time, and we went to San Francisco this weekend.
It was great – the weather was MAGNIFICENT! Like summer. I must say, I fucking love San Francisco. LOVE IT. I wish Gridpoint was headquartered there instead of DC.
But anyway, we're wandering around Union Square on Saturday night, looking for a place to eat. A cop around the corner suggested The Cheesecake Factory. We said no thanks, we can eat that crap in Seattle. Where do the locals go? So we ended up at this restaurant near the Westin. As we're crossing the street to get to the place, I see who I now know to be Vivian and Marian Brown coming down the avenue. I do a 180 in the crosswalk, hot on their fake leopard skins, asking if I may take their picture. They were more than happy to oblige. Vivian (on the right) started telling me that she's the eldest, by eight minutes, thankyouverymuch. She also made sure I knew that Vivian means vivacious. Like I couldn't tell by her outfit! And then Marian, who was art directing our mini photo shoot, went on to say how she was named Marian after her mother (I think) and that they were "The San Francisco Twins"! And then proceeded to give me a business card. If you could actually call it that. It's just their names and "The San Francisco Twins" with their contact info on a regular piece of paper, cut into business card size. They both made me promise to send them a print.
Apparently, they're officially famous. Next time you're in SF, watch for them! And maybe, rather than just a print, I'll send them some Moo cards instead.
I'd heard of him before he died last week, but had never read any of his stuff. But since his death was highly publicized, now I have. That's the bright side of famous writers dying; they're so eloquently eulogized on NPR that I am inspired to immediately read their books.
Anyway, I really like what he had to say about the War on Drugs. Claiming alcohol and fossil fuels as "the two most [legal], widely abused and addictive and destructive substances", he writes:
When you got here, even when I got here, the industrialized world was already hopelessly hooked on fossil fuels, and very soon now, there won't be any left. Cold turkey.
Can I tell you the truth? I mean, this isn't the TV news, is it? Here's what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial. And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we're hooked on."
I've been fascinated by the news coming out of Virginia about the mass murder there. While viewing profiles of the victims on the New York Times online, I noticed that they are listing links to the Myspace and/or Facebook pages of the deceased.
It's downright eerie – macabre even – to go to these highly personalized sites post-mortem. All the digital artifacts, carefully chosen to represent the essence of the person who "lived" there. The posts from other friends after they'd heard about the shootings but before they'd been notified that their friend was one of the unlucky ones.
The closest I can think of as a physical analogy would be if you went to the family's house and lined up to see the deceased's bedroom. Very, very strange.... And an interesting, unpredicted use of technology. Facebook and Myspace didn't exist when Columbine happened. Even Flickr has pages and groups set up to aid the grieving.
I guess though, that in ways, leaving these sites up is therapeutic. Kind of like a digital Wailing Wall or a Vietnam Memorial. A gates of Kensington Palace of sorts, where tributes can be left by the grieving to those whose lives, like Princess Diana's, ended far too short.
It's also fascinating to see how video has played a role in this incident. The footage one student caught of the shootings with his cell phone video camera while outside Norris Hall. And then the video clips sent by the killer to NBC. New cinema, to be sure. I wondered if the gunman had watched Zodiac and decided to do a remake, 21st century style....
Gotta love these: Cuss Cards. When saying the f-word in only one language just won't do!
Uuuuuuhhhh, okay. From an article in the Seattle Times:
Some Coffee Stands Get Steamier
by AMY ROE
Seattle Times Eastside Bureau
Published: January 22, 2007
SEATTLE - In a short, sheer, baby-doll negligee and coordinated pink panties, Candice Law is dressed to work at a drive-through espresso stand in Tukwila, and she is working it.
Customers pull their trucks up to the window, where Law greets each with an affectionate nickname, blows kisses, and vamps about as she steams milk for a mocha. "You want whipped cream?" she asks, a sly smile playing on her pierced lip.
The next customer rolls up, and Law throws a long leg onto the window sill, like an indie-rock ballerina at the barre.
"Do you like my leg warmers?" she asks. "Aren't they hot?"
My friend Rocky and I were laughing about how all the stands mentioned in this article are in the tackiest of Seattle's suburbs.
Okay, so, do I really look that much like Allison Janney??? Because the next time somebody tells me I do, I'm going to bite their fucking head off. You know why? Because I think she's ugly. And if I do in fact look like her, then that means I think I'm ugly, too. Which I don't, actually. Or didn't. Not until people started telling me I look like her.
Sadly, I'm thinking I must, because I've had numerous people – people I don't know from Adam, for chrissake – stop me in elevators, on the street, and just yesterday, while I was waiting in the lobby for my interview at Hornall Anderson. And, one of my former bosses used to tell me almost every other day for over a goddamn year that , "God! You look just like that woman on the West Wing!" It was all I could do not to kick her! Except that...well, she was my boss and I wanted to keep my job.
So, this is probably the most narcissistic post I've ever written on what's already a narcissistic medium. But I digress.
It's not that I mind looking like someone else, but why can't that someone else be Cate Blanchett? Or Nicole Kidman? Katharine Hepburn, maybe? She was a redhead, too. Hmmmmph. I just think Allison Janney's face looks like a melting candle and I don't want any part of it.
"No matter how much I try to be plain, people don't accept me, so I might as well be fabulous." - Austin Scarlett
Michaela and I have recently become addicted to Project Runway, so now I'm on a fashion design kick.
This article is talking about fashion design, but I think it's also very relevant to industrial design and to a lesser extent, graphic design:
Shifts of taste and style are trivialities, of course, without any serious meaning. But they do perform one important function, as Proust pointed out: they notch our hours and moments and decades and leave us with visual mnemonics, clues by which to remember where and in which dress and what jeans (and wearing what cologne) one was at a particular time. Tracking the way styles evolve gives us insight, too, into the forms of beauty we choose to idealize.
Oh, and here's an interesting word for the day: atavism. n. The return of a trait or recurrence of previous behavior after a period of absence.
An excerpt from the NY Times (full article):
Woman's Best Friend, or Accessory?
By RUTH LA FERLA
Published: December 7, 2006
Paige, Ms. Lewis’s dog, owns 40 outfits, among them an Hermès coat. Part of Ms. Lewis’s closet is designated for the dog. Like her mistress, she likes to make a fashion statement. “With the two of us it’s an equal opportunity thing,” Ms. Lewis said. “I sit up at wee hours of the night online to find that one store in, like, Canada or Switzerland, so Paige can have that one sweater that no New Yorker will ever have.”
Okay, I love my dogs. Am a little bit crazy about them, actually, but this is bullshit, plain and simple. These poor dogs. At least Oslo and Mies get to romp around in the woods on a regular basis. They're spoiled to be sure, but at least they're allowed to be dogs.
I'm sorry, but I CANNOT STAND it when I see a woman carrying around a worthless little frou-frou dog like it's a designer handbag. It's all I can do most of the time not to go up and say something I shouldn't. I'd love to see some of them let loose at the dog park sometime....
Okay, I'm starting a new category for neat products I see that I really want. I was raised as a capitalist after all and despite my admonitions to try and be greener and less consumeristic...well, I'll unashamedly admit it: I'm a sucker for well-designed products that I don't really need. I don't always buy everything I want, but I do drool.
The first one is this, the "Jimi", touted as the wallet for "people who hate wallets". I don't hate wallets, but I really like the Jimi.
Every year, I make a trip to the dermatologist. This year, I couldn't get in to see my regular doctor who had just left for a two-month vacation. So, not wanting to wait until October, I decided to see one of the other physicians. My main concerns were having an overall skin check and asking about a skin-care regimen. I'm in my thirties, afterall, and I've never paid much attention to skin-care regimens, other than never sleeping with my make-up on and never, ever leaving the house without SPF 15 or higher on my face. My pale Irish skin precludes me from doing otherwise.
The appointment started out well. I had my skin check, the doctor took care of a few things, and it was almost over. She asked me if I had any other concerns which was when I remembered that I wanted advice on a skin-care regimen, something that would help minimize my pores. So, I asked her about it: "What kind of skin care products would you recommend for someone with my skin type? I would specifically like something to help minimize my pores."
She initially began addressing my question, talking about minimizing pores, saying how skin type is hereditary, blah blah blah. Then all of a sudden, she walked over to me and pulling back my bangs to reveal my forehead said, "Well, what I would do is start with a little Botox here and here," pointing to my forehead and the space between my brows. Moving her hand down toward my eyes, she continued, "Now, I wouldn't do anything with your crow's feet; they're cute." (Cute? Cute??!! Gee, thanks.) Sliding her fingers to my cheeks, she casually mentioned how she would take care of this area with a little filler", e.g., Restylane.
I sat there, more than a little dumb-founded. I'm in my thirties, yes, but people often guess my age as mid- to late- twenties. I've always been told I look younger than I am, I feel lucky to say. So, her unsolicited recommendations for Botox and fillers injected all over my face were a bit surprising. Furthermore, what did Botox have to do with minimizing pores? Was this a doctor's office at Virginia Mason or had I somehow ended up at the Nordstrom make-up counter? I had never heard of her proposed remedies and asked, "So, how exactly does Botox help minimize pores?" She jumped off her injected gel sales pitch as soon as she'd jumped on it and told me I should talk to the women in the "spa", Virginia Mason's skin care counter.
I left the office feeling a little stunned and then numb, plagued by the following questions: Why is there so much pressure on women to alter their appearance? Could Botox be considered – like marijuana – a gateway drug? Leading to "hard drugs", like facelifts and liposuction? The effects of these injectable fillers only last for about six months. Once you start, you'd feel compelled to maintain. Would it lead to a more permanent design solution? How far will some women go to design their looks? What is the difference between women who are compelled to continuously alter their appearance and those who aren't? Does getting Botox equal aging gracefully? And what does this have to do with design, if anything?
To be continued....
More on President Hu's visit from the Seattle Weekly. And cute culture, ala Chang-Ling's thesis.
The best example of the new faces of the police state are Jingjing (not to be confused with the Olympics' Jingjing) and Chacha, two animated police officers that pop up on Chinese computers. When you combine their names—Jingcha—it spells "police." Introduced in the booming southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, the two cartoon cop icons float around on computer screens to remind Internet users that they are being monitored by the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau's Internet Surveillance Center. The icons are there to make people think twice before posting messages or visiting any Web sites that might be questionable, illegal, or subversive. Not only are the Chinese working with Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo to censor the Internet, they've got virtual cybercops as backup intimidators.
Computer users can also click on the Jingjing and Chacha icons to report crimes—a handy way to inform on your fellow netizens. Chen Minli, director of the surveillance center, told the Financial Times, "All around the world there are Internet police, but they always operate backstage. . . . No other Internet police have stepped to the front of the stage. We really feel that this is a historic breakthrough." If only the National Security Agency were so thoughtful.
As the Chinese diplomatic juggernaut leaves Seattle for the nation's capital, its carry-on bags bulging with new software and Boeing jets, one shudders to think what might happen if Karl Rove picks up any ideas from Hu and company. With George W. Bush's popularity at an all-time low, we might end up with a new White House spokescharacter: a lovable, bespectacled panda named "Dick-Dick" telling us that candy and garlands await us in Iran after we drop a nuke-nuke there.
A little bit of sugar does make the medicine go down.
How sickening is it that Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo! are more than willing to administer this medicine just for their piece of the market share? It disgusts me. Another reason to never work for MS.
Ha! Given my involvement with trying to get the drug laws changed in Washington state, I found this website dark, funny, and caustically sarcastic. I just sent some to Laura....
From an article in this Sunday's NY Times (I know, I know; I need to expand my source list):
They are not just any sandals, but boxy buckled Birkenstocks, the footwear that has become synonymous with a certain type of noodge. Or in the senator's case, worse. In his rabid desire for citizens never to inhale, he is portrayed in the satiric movie as mercilessly berating an employee, manipulating consumer sympathies and seeking to slap a skull and crossbones on every package of cigarettes in the land.
"Nothing says, 'I want to tell you how to live your life' more than Birkenstocks," said Jason Reitman, the director of the film, which is to open in New York, Los Angeles and Washington on Friday. "The visual registers immediately. There's something about the shoe that is universally understood that makes it so funny." The sandals are emblems of liberal do-gooderness, he said, and the senator — a villain in the movie — wants to "regulate the world."
Interpretant, interpretamen. Could this be why women crave shoes? Why we need different styles on our feet depending what mood we're in or what we want to say to the world about ourselves at a particular given moment? I'm intrigued. Methinks you could almost do an entire thesis on the semiotics of shoes.
I want the ones pictured, by the way. They were big in Rome when I was there last summer....
So, we were at dinner with some friends recently, and Will and I were both a little shocked when one of the people at the table stated that on a recent visit to Wal-Mart, "everybody there was white trash." (I wondered if he included himself in that assessment? and how could anyone – let alone someone educated and politically astute – shop there in good conscious in the first place??) Normally, the use of this term has never bothered me that much, but in the context of our conversation, it really struck a nerve. I've used the term lots of times myself, but after this incident, I question the ethics of using a derogatory term like this in reference to people whose only crime in life is to be poor and disadvantaged (as I most definitely was as a child and into adulthood).
I did a little research and found an interesting summary of the history of the term and how people classified as "white trash" have historically been unfairly stereotyped and used as convenient scapegoats for the middle- and upper-classes. Below are excerpts from the source that I found particularly compelling:
The hatred and condescension of the poor seems to be the last available method of prejudice in our society. Just as Americans have made an effort to educate, understand and alter the treatment of marginalized groups and alternate cultures within our society, we have held on to poor whites as a group to demean. Making assumptions about groups of any sort on societal and biased definitions is flawed in any situation. As with other groups, there must be an effort taken to use an open mind and individual code to ascribe merit to those in our world.
One option is to take the worst historical attributes of whites and placing them on those whites who are most powerless and isolated in society. Then you can blame and hate them for their crimes against humanity and your own. Upper class whites can join with blacks and other minorities, thereby alleviating their guilt, taking attention off themselves and bonding with minorities against poor whites. Uppers are still pitting the two groups against each other; they have merely switched sides. For proof, just take a look at recent voting patterns. The liberal, well educated white votes alongside minorities against politically conservative working class whites.
Think of the difference between the treatment of a black executive or politician who does not support gangsta rappers singing about rape and murder -- he is considered a sellout to his race. But if a white doctor is embarrassed by a television interview after a bout of domestic violence at the local trailer park, the world joins in throwing stones at the ignorant rednecks. Treason to whiteness has become a battle cry of devotion to humankind.
But the truth is, working class whites have no choice but to work, and to work in thankless, physically demanding jobs which society's habits necessitate, but no one wants to perform. These jobs are looked down upon because they require little education and they place one in the lower level of social hierarchy. The job complaints of these men do not center around board meetings, not making junior partner, who got the nicest company car, or even paying off college loans. Their problems are on the job injuries and deaths, explosions, shift work year after year, no opportunity to ever receive a promotion, protecting their seniority, and providing health care for their families....not to mention paying the bills.
This class should theoretically be distinguishable for economic reasons. But our capitalist society teaches that we all get what we deserve -- the rich and the poor. This is further complicated if one is white. The cultural baggage of white skin includes the myths of power, education, wealth and opportunity.
At any rate, I find elitist disdain for the poor and under-privileged far more repulsive than the term "white trash" and all that it implies.
So, one of my most heartfelt pet peeves is the use of the word "like" as a filler. As a graduate student who's often around a lot of people in their early twenties, I can't tell you how much this bugs me and how inarticulate and unintellectual the overuse of this filler makes users of it sound. But what's really bad is when you meet someone highly educated and in their mid-thirties who uses the word "like", on average, about three times per sentence. I know someone like this. Listening to said person talk drives me INSANE!!! No matter how interesting the topic we're on, or what bright things she may have to say between "likes", I'm so focused on when she's going to say it again and wondering whether or not I should do her a favor and point out how distracting it is that she says it so much, that what she says in between is totally irrelevant, no matter how potentially thought-provoking.
It's one thing when you're in your teens and early twenties, but for people in their thirties who possess a graduate education??? No way. It's inexcusable.