February 2004 Archives

Nothing beats free food.

I'm kind of wierd that way. As much as I like free stuff, I can totally pass on free calandars, pens, t-shirts, stickers etc if I don't like them or can't use them. With free food or beverages, I will take as much as I can. Even if I'm not very hungry. Even if it isn't great food. Except for coffee. I can totally pass on free coffee.

Today I was working the Planned Parenthood table at a Boys and Girls Club community heath fair. They had free bagels and fruit for the attendees, plus extra free fruit and baked goodies for the volunteers. Let's hear it for the cranberry scones!

I also got a Mr. Yuck sticker. I love Mr. Yuck! When I was a kid I stuck Mr, Yuck stickers and damn near everything in the house. The medicine cabinet was full of him. Rubbing alcohol? Mr. Yuck. Calamine lotion? Mr. Yuck. Shoe polish? Mr. Yuck. A light switch? Mr. Yuck. I'm wearing Mr. Yuck on my shirt right now, and I'm king of giddy about it.

The Neilds at Luther's

Hurray! Time for another Neild's show. Though I do wish they would play at another venue. Luther's is just not the place for them. Every show I have been to at Luther's has had a constant background rumble of people talking non-stop through the show. You know it's bad when the concert promoter gets on stage before the show to tell the bar patrons to shut the hell up or leave. Plus the cocktail waitresses are kind of distracting. Anywho...

The name of the opening band was oddly familiar, but I just couldn't place it. When they took the stage to start their short set, I fell in love--with the band and with the lead singer. After a bit, it dawned on me that the singer was also oddly familiar. It wasn't until halfway through that first song when it hit me that Common Rotation is Adam Busch's band, and has been mentioned occasionally on Whedonesque. I must say, they were fantastic, and I truly hope they comeback to Madison again (soonish). Go to their site and check out their mp3s if you don't believe me. (Loving the cover of Don't Lets' Start.)

The ladies were also in fine form as they sang old familiar songs as well as new stuff from This Town is Wrong, their most recent release. I am looking forward to getting ahold of Nerissa's young adult novel Plastic Angels. They actually had some of the glow-in-the-dark plastic angels that inspired the title for sale. They are "Computer Goddesses" and are supposed to keep away bugs and crashes, etc. They have little wind-up wings that are supposed to flap. I thought they were cute enough to get one for myself, though alas, the wind-up mechanism seems to have been smashed before I got it, so my angel will not flap. :( Still, she is small and cute and glows in the dark, and with my computer she will stay.




Last Sunday I saw Miracle and found it to be quite enjoyable. I don't watch much hockey (I don't watch much sports in general) but I respect it as an exciting sport.

As far as the Disney underdog sports team genre goes, this was above average. For one thing, there were no heart warming and scrappy misfit children (the fat kid, the nerdy smart kids with glasses, the black kid, the tomboyish girl, the troubled kid, and the sweet average kid), no washed up has-been trying to make a comeback and win the love of a good woman, no court-ordered rehabilitation of a jerk who comes to see the true meaning of sports, and no wicked rich team/team owner/real estate developer who must be defeated. Instead of the cliches we get something a little closer to reality. Certainly to film bears the warm glow of Hollywood, but we never get beaten into submission by the sentiment.

Most of the film is spent on the ice, and the game is the real star of the movie. It really was gorgeous to see the game on the big screen. It is a shame that real hockey games could never be filmed like that (obviously) since I've always thought that it really doesn't translate very well to television. (You either need to see it live or not at all.) The cinematography really works, and by the time we get to see The Big Game, even hockey novices should be able to follow the gist of the action.

I give Miracle my tiny little recommendation. Also, as a little hint: of you stay to the end of the credits, you will get a small extra.

The movie's website, on the other hand, earns the designer time in the penalty box for excessive and gratitous use of Flash. Plus, the little hockey plaer that follows the mouse is cute for the first five secings, and gets progessively more annoying after that.



Further notes on LOTR

Having seen the movies a bit more, these questions have come to mind:

1. Why the hell do none of the people of Rohan braid their hair? Not only it is mentioned in the books, but it really would have fit in with the design aesthetic developed for the films.

2. When the forces of the King show up at the Black Gate, before the fighting has started, what the heck is on Aragorn's sword? It looks like blood, but he hasn't been fighting for a bit. You'd think that a swordsman like him would have taken the time to clean his blade after the battle at Pelennor and before he rode out.

3. The Rohirrim and Gondorians ride horses to the gates of Mordor, yet when the gates open and the forces of evil come out, there isn't a single good guy on horseback. In fact, there isn't a horse in sight. Where they hell did all the horses go, and why?

Todd Snider at the Club Tavern

Ever the lucky girl, I won two free tickets to see Todd Snider at the Club Tavern in Middleton this past Saturday, courtesy of The Onion. From where I sat (on the edge of the stage) it seemed that a good time was had by all.

Todd performed a long solo and acoustic set. Some songs were sing-along favorites (I still can't get Beer Run out of my head) while others were new. Best of all were the stories that accomplanied the songs. At times, the stories were longer than the songs they explained or introduced, but as they were such gems, I doubt that anyone minded.

The room was full, but not overly crowded. The crowd was lubricated, but not overly intoxicated. The bar staff was friendly, and as always Moose was a gruffly genial host.

It was an evening I'd gladly repeat.


Let It Go


I couldn't have said it better myself.

Something funny/sad at school today.

The teacher showed film strip (!) on the French explorers for social studies. There was a section on Verrazano, and she had a kid go up to the screen and point out the mouth of the Hudson River...except that the place she very specifically directed him to was the opening of Chesapeake Bay.

I was torn between pointing it out and keeping my mouth shut, but in the end I chose to keep my mouth shut. As much as I wanted to say, "Um, actually the Hudson is up there." I didn't want to correct her in front of her class.

Laundry Day

Ever wonder where all those missing socks go? Of course you do! Everyone does. It is one of lifes great mysteries.

Check out The Bureau of Missing Socks, which is "solely devoted to solving the question of what happens to missing single socks". Thank goodness!


I've been giving it a bit of thought, and I've decided to turn of the commenting feature for a while. Very few people have ever used it, and lately most of what I've gotten has been spam. I could install blacklist, but it hardly seems worth the trouble to the tiny number of comments I get. Kinda bummed about it, but I'll get over it.


I'm not quite sure what I saw today. It was only my second day with this particular class (as a substitute Special Ed ) and my first day while they were studying this subject. In addition, the regular teacher was out, leaving a sub to do the lesson.

They all had small books about the geography/culture of the Persian Gulf, that seem to have been published in the mid-90's. The sub wrote the following essay topic on the board:

Compare and Contrast the way women were treated in Iraq before Saddam [which he misspelled] Hussein was captured.

After reading this three times, I asked if he had forgotten a word, as that makes no sense. However, it was what was in the teacher's notes. We took a chance an added "and now" to the end.

Still, I was very uncomfortable with the topic. These were 5th graders, and the way the sentence was worded seemed leading. I asked some of the kids what they knew about Iraqi women:

"They have to cover up everything except their eyes."

"They can't leave the house by themselves."

"They can't have jobs."

Their tiny little textbooks offered no information on Iraqi women at any point in history. I wasn't sure if this was what their teacher (or parents) had told them, or if they had heard and misunderstood different things. It seemed possible that they had mixed up the plight of the women of Afghanistan and the general downtrodden state of the people of Iraq. It also seemed possible that someone had given them a live of false propaganda. I wasn't certain, but I was terribly uncomfortable about the whole thing.

I really wanted to tell them all to go read Baghdad Burning to see Riverbend's take (as an Iraqi woman) on what it has been like to be a woman in Iraq.

Unfortunately the fact that I wasn't quite sure what was going on and the fact that I wasn't the classroom teacher was combined with the fact that we suddenly had a fire drill to deal with and that by the time we got back into the classroom, it was pretty much time to go home.

I'm still feeling frustrated about that.

Musical Note

I have to say, the more I hear Howard Shore's Rohan theme from The Two Towers the more I love it. I'm trying to decide if I want to go back to my undergrad musicology roots and get into the nitty gritty of it, or if I just want to stay at the level of "it sounds right". But in truth, it really does sound right.


Tonight I went as planned to see Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues for V-Day. It was in turns funny, poingant, and occasionally quite silly. There were a couple of check-your-watch moments, but they were in the minority and quite overshadowed by the rest of it.

The two audience favorites were "My Angry Vagina" and "The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy", the second being an all-out showstopper.

Twas a very good way to spend a Hallmark holiday.



I have eaten at Ella's Deli on State Street. I have eaten at Cafelli's, which took its place when the deli closed. Now I have eaten at the newest restaurant to occupy the space, Hawk's Bar and Grill. Honestly, it rates a solidly apathetic "eh". Nothing was bad, but neither was anything all that great. I ordered a grilled portobella sandwich with rice pilaf. When my order came...after a long wait...there were curly fries on the plate instead of the pilaf. When I mentioned the mistake they happily scooped a small bowl of rice pilaf for me on the side.

The rice was servicable but bland. No noticable seasoning, and the only thing that seemed to seperate it from ordinary rice were the small mushroom slices scattered throughout the dish. The curly fries were fairly standard as far as curly fries go, neither too greasy nor spicy as many of that kind tend to be. The sandwich was the biggest disappointment. "A huge portabella mushroom cap, marinated and baked with provolone cheese, sliced tomato, fresh spinach and roasted red pepper purée." Huge it was not, and though it had been marinated before baking, it managed to be a bit on the dry side. The spinach was somewhat lifeless, but still of the pleasant side of the green spectrum. If the mushroom cap was dry, the cheese and the red pepper purée made up for the fact by draining sloppily out of the bun and onto the plate (and the table). Fortunately, the roll it was served upon was crusty and chewy, and the sum total was a sandwich that was pleasant but difficult to eat and otherwise forgettable.

The atmosphere was comfortable and the staff friendly. Please note that while the grill area accepts credit and debit cards (no checks), the bar area is cash only. Also, neither of the front doors are seperated from the rest of the restaurant by any sort of divider. In the summer this wouldn't be a problem, but at this time of year every time the door opened the place would be filled with a blast of chilly air.




Coming up on *That Day*

Blah. Tomorrow is Valentines Day. I have to say, I have had some remarkably awful Valentine's Days...from the oh-so mortifying grade school parties to the travesty that was last year. This year I am back to being a Singleton, so it won't be a surprise when I don't receive flowers or chocolates from a special someone. However, instead of pointless boo-hooing and other assorted pity-party activites, I'm going to see The Vagina Monologues at the Union Theater as part of the V-Day celebration on campus. I'm looking forward to it.

It was either that or go to the "quirkyalone" party at Mickey's, and at the moment I just find that label to be precious and annoying.


Ya know, maybe with Ken and Barbie breaking up (isn't it just before Valentine's Day?) the lil sonnavabitch has a chance.

Seriously, I loved the interactive Dishonest Dubya doll action figure. And so heroic in that flight suit!

20 Past 8

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Twenty years ago today I turned 8. If I remember correctly, that was the year of the Holly Hobby birthday cake, which me dad and his friend ate while I was on the phone with my grandmother.

Ten years ago today I turned 18. It wasn't much of a night. It was cold, as usual, and I had to stay late at school for a Sound of Music rehersal, and then take the bus home to the family with which I was staying. It seemed that nothing had changed. I wasn't interested in lottery tickets or smoking, and there was no vote coming up. I didn't need to register for SS. As I was to discover in a month, the school still wanted me to bring in permission slips signed by my parents (even though the people who had been signing most of my permission slips for the past three years hadn't been my parents or even guardians). Needless to say I laughed in their faces and signed my own slips anyway. Yet the day itself was pleasant. I had a dear group of friends that made certain to celebrate the day in the usual high school ways. It made me smile.

Today I plan to meet with a small group of good friends, and possibly attend Kites on Ice, and get my Nitty Gritty Birthday mug.

All and all, it been just an eyeblink in time, but it has been great. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next.

An open letter to Mutant Enemy

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Fuck you, Joss Whedon. You've lost my trust. By removing Charisma Carpenter from the cast of Angel and killing the character of Cordelia Chase so that she is pretty much guaranteed never to return, you've pretty much ruined your show.

"You know, it’s been a lot of years. Same thing, it’s like with Buffy, it had been seven years, it was just sort of time to move on. We wrapped up the character and it’s kind of a new paradigm and we just wanted to shake it up some. Actually [Cordelia] had basically been through what Buffy went through in the movie. That journey was over, at this point. It’s not over completely, obviously, because she’s in a coma, and we do want to have her back, but it felt like I was starting to have too many [regular characters] to service. (My note - interesting how earlier he was attributing being able to tell stand-alones because the cast was larger). I felt like her story had resonated and I really want to do more episodes with her. I know exactly what I want to do whenever she’s available, obviously that’s what we want, depending on [Charisma Carpenter’s schedule], but for 22 [episodes], it just didn’t feel right."


The journey was over? The hell you say. Who's journey is ever over? There is always something new to develop. Cordelia was an essential part of the balance of the show and you have given us nothing to replace what is now missing. By bringing her back before killing her off, you only serve to rub it in as to exactly what we will be missing.

This season has been mind-bogglingly awful, with only a few bright spots (mos of them involving James Marsters and Mercedes McNab, and none involving the writing). Last season was also pretty disappointing as well. I have to admit, now that there will be no more Cordelia, I couldn't care less as to whether the show has another season, this will be the last that I watch. I've lost my faith in you. Jackass.

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