Friday, October 31, 2008


Happy Halloween! No big plans for this creepiest of holidays. I'm at work now. Later, am going to the career center for some job hunt ideas (uh...trick or treat?). E. and I are going to Paradise City for dinner tonight, and we carved some pumpkins yesterday...but that's about it. October somehow blew past me this year, and here it is, the very last day of the month, and I do not have a costume! C'est la vie. At least we will have Jack O' Lanterns in the window.

The best news: I finally got my cowboy boots fixed(!) The boots, which I bought at a vintage shoe store in Berlin, had needed new heels since I purchased them. Mostly due to laziness (but also owing to the fear I had that the heels might be irreplaceable), I never took them to a shoe shop. Last week, I caved and brought them to Shu-Fix, a tiny, family-owned shop right across the street from my old apartment. I was skeptical about the potential outcome of this venture - the heels were really jacked. But, the people at Shu-Fix are magic. The boots look practically new! (I am serious: the guy polished the hell out of them, so they're not only shiny but have a reddish hue.) I am the happiest, since I have a deep appreciation for these cowboy boots. The end!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Overcoming Sarah Marshall

I haven't been too good about watching my Netflix selections lately (and by "lately" I'm referring to the last two months); I've had "Scenes From a Marriage" and "The 400 Blows" just chilling in my living room for a good month or so. But this weekend, E. and I ended the movie drought and rented "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" (in honor of Halloween) and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." As many of you know, I'm [legit] afraid of the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," and the sequel seemed pretty promising, being that Dennis Hopper is billed as the main character - a revenge-driven Texas lawman who plans to confront the cannibalistic family with his own "high octane saws." Yeah! Sadly, the movie was a total bust, for a few reasons:

1) Rather than remaining in their isolated, meat-thermometer-ridden farmhouse, Leatherface & co. had set up shop in an abandoned theme park ("Texas Battleland"). Admittedly, abandoned theme parks are creepy, but this one was so large - had so many distinct chambers/nooks/crannies - that is was hard to visualize as a whole. Consequently, when Stretch was running from Leatherface et. al., her escape seemed more probable: more tunnels/dark corners = more places to hide, right?
Contributing to the failure of the theme park setting were the hokey decorations everywhere: strings and strings of Xmas lights (wtf??), skeletons set up in weird displays (i.e., two skeletons in swimsuits, sitting in folding chairs beneath a beach umbrella). Part of what made the original Chainsaw Massacre so creepy was the unstructured, unstudied feel of the family's farmhouse: yes, there were chairs made out of bones, but mostly there were weird butcher's tools and meat hooks everywhere. Xmas lights just aren't that scary.

2) In this incarnation of the TCM, Leatherface is a little in love with Stretch, the woman he is supposed to slaughter. His warm feelings toward his would-be victim cause him to help stretch hide from his crazy-ass family and ultimately escape. I'm not promoting needless chainsaw violence, here, but this is a horror movie, right? Right?

3) Dennis Hopper was barely in the movie, despite his billing as a main character. I was pretty psyched for DH's performance, acknowledging his potential for creepiness, made evident in "Blue Velvet." Inexplicably, Hopper features in all of three scenes, though he's made out to be the focus of the film. Again: wtf?

"Forgetting Sarah Marshall," on the other hand, was a lot better than I expected. Sure, I thought it would be funny, but funny in a "Superbad," inundation of penis-jokes sort of way. The script was pretty good, the characters were more nuanced than the previews made them out to be, and the Dracula musical was badass. All of these things couldn't help me remember the movie's title, though, which I've alternately referred to as "Getting Over Sarah Marshall," "Overcoming Sarah Marshall," and "Losing Sarah Marshall." Oooops.

Friday, October 24, 2008


My engine light came back on. D'oh.
Another week, another dollar, or something like that. I've been meaning to update since last weekend, was just another of those crazy weeks. I'm surprised I had time for acupuncture.

Last weekend, Eric and I went to Concord. We only spent a day there (I being eternally tethered to Noho by thesis duties & therefore unable to spend more than 24 hours away from my computer: dramz), but managed to see most of the things we wanted: The Old Manse, the Old North Bridge, Author's Ridge (in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery), The Orchard House (L.M Alcott's adult home), Walden Pond, and The Wayside (where L.M. Alcott lived as a child). Of these, my favorite was the Wayside, where the Hawthornes and the Lothrops also lived at various points in history. I guess Nat Hawthorne was "obsessed" (tour guide's words) with Gothic architecture, so he added a three-story Gothic-style tower in the middle of the house. A son of one of the home's subsequent owners then painted a mural on the ceiling of this tower: pastoral scenes dedicated to Hawthorne. Another high point was visiting Walden Pond at dusk: the air held a nice chill, the water lost its reflection, the pines were dark. We got some great pictures - which, of course, I haven't yet gotten around to posting. Sigh.

The only downside of the trip (besides not being able to stay longer) was lunch. E. and I went to the Walden Grille, which we'd read about online & which looked like a decent place. WRONG! This was the worst food I've had in a restaurant in maybe three years. E. ordered his burger medium and got a hockey puck; I ordered a chicken wrap, and both the wrap and the chicken had the consistency of leather. (Well, I guess the wrap's consistency was more like parchment, but anyway...) Our fries had clearly been "re-fried" - having worked as a short order cook in college, I know these things. And on top of this all, our waitress was rude!
Just a warning: if you find yourself in Concord at lunchtime, avoid this place at all costs.

This weekend doesn't promise to be as exciting, though I guess I shouldn't nay-say before it happens. Last night, Lisha hosted a knitting/YouTube viewing session, which was excellent and relaxing. I couldn't believe how long it had been since I'd knit, but I got back into the swing of it [fairly] easily and made some progress on a scarf that I started back in '05. Heh.Who knows? This might be the year that I actually finish a scarf...

Friday, October 17, 2008

The miracle need not be explained:

My life has taken a turn for the miraculous: my car's engine light unprecipitatedly went off. For those not familiar with this mechanical mini-saga, my car's engine light went on in early August and stayed on, even after a diagnostic at the dealership and my purchase of a new gas cap. I was freaked out at first, not wanting to inadvertently wreck my not-quite-paid-off car, but this anxiety waned as friends and friends told me that, really, this glitch is nothing to worry about.

I hadn't thought about the light in a long time. As I was driving to campus yesterday, something seemed amiss with my dash panel. It took me a minute to realize that the engine light was absent (so used to looking at it I had become!), and that chances of imminent mechanical failure had just decreased like, tenfold.


Sys and I are having a "harvest potluck" tonight, in appreciation of 1) Autumn! 2) Friday 3) Delicious fall cooking. On the menu are:

Country style pork ribs
Stuffed mushrooms (vegetarian and non)
Ali's famous cheesy, oniony mashed potatoes
Pumpkin cake
[Possibly] Corn bake
Spiced cider

Perhaps the only thing I like as much as walking in the fall is cooking in the fall. Lovely, the warm home and aromatic sage and onions, cinnamon and cloves.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


So I lied: Target did have one Domo left, and I got it(!) This li'l guy has Devil horns, a red tail, and a cape. Adorable! Yesterday, Ali was at the video store returning some movies, and she found a Domo poster for $4, which she then purchased for me. The poster now hangs in the kitchen right behind the table. Niiiice.

So much Domo. But there can never be too much Domo.

In other, non-cartoon-related news, Ali and I signed up to run a 5K (the Hot Chocolate Run) in December. The run is being held to benefit a local women's shelter, and though Ali and I are not the most confident in our running skillz, the event is for a good cause. Plus, we both felt that if we have a goal/defined deadline for meeting said goal, we might become more serious about running. Hence, the impulsive sign up. I will admit: I'm nervous about this, but if this nervousness propels me to train (as I predict it will), then everything will be fine.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Lately, I am obsessed with this little guy: Domo-Kun. I don't know much about his origins (or backstory, to toss around fiction lingo), but Target was carrying adorable Halloween-themed Domo stuffed toys, and I really wanted one, and now they're sold out and not available online. A dorky plight, to be sure, but this morning's internet (in)activity is going to involve rooting around for Domo-themed goods.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

There's a frenzy a'brewin'

For the past few days, none other than Mel Gibson has been shooting scenes in Northampton for his new movie. I haven't seen him, but traces of him are everywhere: in the cops positioned on the street corners, in the crooked signs pointing the way to extras' parking. People are buzzing. This morning, on the corner across from my apartment, four or five cops stood in a huddle, guarding what appeared to be some sort of DJ tent. (You know, those tarp-sided tents used to house DJs at outdoor festivals?) Some sort of early-morning party? I wondered. Or audio equipment, being preemptively protected from rain that has not yet fallen? I don't think today is capable of rain, it being the most gorgeous, sharp-edged sort of October day. But you never know.

It's getting cold here. Evidently, our heat has been turned on, and I shouldn't' say "evidently" because it would be a hell of a lot colder if there were no heat. But, Ali has been keeping track of the temp. in her room & it hasn't gotten above 68. What's going to happen in the winter? she wonders. I wonder, too, because 68 is not warm enough for lizard blooded people like myself. Incidentally, 68 is the minimum temperature at which rental properties must be kept during the winter months (according to the Board of Health, whom I contacted last winter).

Alice is in town! For yesterday and today. We're going to bum around the downtown this afternoon, maybe get ourselves some pastries, check out the foliage, & so on. Friends!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I am exhausted, sitting here on the couch, slowly grading papers while E. watches the Wisconsin game. Stayed up much later last night than intended, dancing with D. and S. and E. to Eminem (around the kitchen table, oh yes) and drinking champagne. Random? Roast turned out well: better than well. The four of us ate all of it, and kept wishing another roast would regenerate from the coagulated drippings. For real. Today, I am still wishing there were another roast, though there are plenty of leftover sweet potatoes.
Dishes stacked in the drainer, dark kitchen. A very physical football game. Woodsmoke smell wafting from another direction. A goal of three more papers tonight. A goal.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The windiest month.

I'm, uh, back from Madison, though if I'd stayed, would anyone have found it surprising? Wisconsin remains as awesome as in my memory: rolling green and wide, faintly cow-smelling, the September sky muted. Sunday, Eric and I bummed for a few hours in Madison, getting lunch at State Street Brats (cheese curds!), browsing the bookstore, just walking. Janesville, too made me homesick: for apple picking, Sunday dinners, backyards.

Nostalgiafest 2008, it's true. This week, I even browsed Madison real estate...

In other news, Darren and Sara are coming over for dinner tonight, and here's what's on the menu:

Roast pork loin (with carrots and onions)
Mashed sweet potatoes
Salad with apple-walnut dressing
Bread (to be purchased from the Hungry Ghost)
Sweet potato pie (not homemade, admittedly...)

A little sweet potato heavy, I admit, but I'd already planned to make the mashed 'taters when I saw the pie and I thought, "What the hell! I love sweet potatoes!" And therefore, so must everyone else. I may have misplaced the recipe for the dressing, but I should be able to find it before dinnertime. Fingers crossed.
But, I'm pretty excited to cook this roast: roasts are the perfect indicator of fall and all the excellent cold-weather cooking to come.