Friday, August 29, 2008

You Know You're a Coupla of Geeks When

you hear a noise coming from somewhere in the apartment in the middle of the night and your first thought is, "which one of the toys is yapping now?"

My second thought was, "hey, this is like that alternate version of Spiderman where Aunt May is killed by the burglars instead of Uncle Ben (or whateverthehell his name is)."

I turned off the fan so I could hear the sound more clearly--I wasn't going to just blunder out of the bedroom unless I was sure it was electronic in nature. The first suspect was HA's talking Dalek lunchbox, but it didn't sound like, "Exterminate!" I stopped to listen before opening the door and it sounded like "Boba Fett" over and over again.

So I thought, "what the hell does he own that says, 'Boba Fett'?" because I'm well aware of my inventory of Star Wars toys and although they include a Boba Fett pez dispenser, they do not include anything that speaks his name, not even the Yoda Furbie that has been without batteries since the thing refused to go into sleep mode and instead chastised me about how disrespectful it is to turn a Jedi Master upside down.

Thus, I bravely stepped forth to confront the electronic beast, whatever and wherever it may be, to discover that the g-d answering machine was saying "No messages" over and over and over again. I had pressed the button to listen to a message around 9 pm and it had stuck. Only the damn thing waited until 4:30 in the morning to start acting like its button was stuck.

Since HA brought this item into the marriage, I blame him entirely. That I didn't wake him up to yell at him about replacing the effing thing at 4:30 in the morning shows that I'm growing as a person, because he really did kinda deserve it. Plus, he only lost about 10 minutes of sleep, where it took me about an hour to go back to sleep. That I am not currently plotting revenge shows that I'm too freaking tired. Though I have demanded the purchase of a new answering machine and may hold his talking Dalek lunchbox hostage if that doesn't happen soon.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I.O.U # 2

Remember way the hell back in December when I was writing all about my honeymoon in Paris? Remember how I detailed every day in, well, detail, and then stopped because, well, because I was having psychological issues related to a swan. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Paris Monday
Paris Tuesday
Paris Wednesday
Paris Thursday
Paris Friday

Paris Saturday and Sunday

Apparently we took very few pictures on Saturday in Paris. It was drizzling out and we didn't do too many photogenic things, I guess.

We breakfasted again at La Croissanterie. I had a cappuccino and pain aux raisin and HA had a Choc'Amande, which was a big, honking pain au chocolat covered in almonds. Mmmmm.

Then we went to the Marche aux Puces (flea market) at Porte de Vanves. We bought many cool things, mostly as gifts. I can't believe I didn't take any pictures of this awesome market, but I was more focused on haggling and not freezing to death. I actually talked down the price of a pin and pendant by 15 euros. I was very proud of that. The pin was a christmas gift for my brother's fiancee and the pendant is for me. I just need to make a cord to wear it on. (8 months on, I still haven't--procrastinate much?) We got some pictures for the moms and a doorknocker made of a big old antique key for my brother.

One thing we didn't buy has been nagging at me and is why I delayed posting this for so long. It was a chrome swan with a dozen cocktail picks (fancy hors d'oeuvre picks, you know what I mean) rising out of its back. It was funny and hilarious and just all around awesome. But it was also way too expensive (over $50, I think). So I passed it by. I kept thinking about it as we went through the market and if it had still been there on our way back, I would've brought HA over for a consultation. And then brainwashed him into agreeing to buy it.

But it was very cold out, so many of the sellers were closing up early and I don't think it was sold, but just packed away. I've been kicking myself because it would've been so nice to have something that we could say, "Oh, yes, we bought that on our honeymoon." We did buy a tin of hot cocoa mix and once we used it up, I put the tin to use holding kitchen utensils on the counter, so there is that.

The reason I balked at the price at first, even though people tend not to worry about money on their honeymoon is because I'd gotten laid off right before the wedding. Considering the vacation time they owed me and the pathetic excuse for severance they gave me, it only would've cost them a few days' pay if they had waited to can me after I got back. Worse, the added stress may have been a factor in me getting sick and losing my voice on my wedding day. So that from now on, when I see the wedding video and hear my voice, I think of those jerks. (I'd already known they were jerks and had been considering looking for a new job after the wedding, but my former employers really sank to new low, there.)

So when we got back, I decided that we couldn't continue living without some ridiculous cocktail picks. We've bought several sets on eBay and are picking up more when we find the really interesting ones. I'll show pictures when we get them.

I even found the swan eventually and swiped the pictures from the auction.



You totally want it now too, don't you?

It may even have been the same exact one I saw in Paris, since this one was in France and the dealer could've bought it at the Marche aux Puces. It turns out that it's French Art Deco from the 1920s. The swan is chrome and the red balls are Bakelite. So it's doubly collectible. So it sold for over $130. The price at the Marche aux Puces is probably the lowest price I will ever see this thing going for and now that I don't have it, it's my Moby Dick. I WILL find an excuse to justify the expense next time.

But on the bright side, I now have a vast collection of hilarious cocktail picks. I'll take pictures and share the next time we have people over and take them all out.

After the flea market, we took the Metro to Bon Marche, the oldest department store in Paris. I visited the floor with all the yarn, but the exorbitant prices made it easy to resist buying souvenir yarn. We went in search of a place to have lunch and settled on a Brasserie nearby. We were sat right next to a smoker, which set my allergies in an uproar.

Oh, and we finally have proof that cigarette smoke is worse than smog. I understand when smokers are puzzled that someone would object to cigarette smoke when Manhattan traffic is 5 feet away. But the smog doesn't give me a big sinus headache the way cigarettes do. I don't know the exact component(s) in cigarettes that cause this, but that demo they did in LA proves that it's not in my mind. I try not to be an obnoxious nonsmoker, but people need not to wreck my day by making me sick.

Anyway, this being France, and the restaurant being packed there was no point in asking for a different table. I just sucked it up and we ate as quickly as we could so we could leave. I had a salade poulet, which contained no chicken (poulet) and HA had a Plat Italienne, which was a salad. They are strange and mysterious, the French.

We bought more presents and went to l'Orangerie to see Monet's waterlilles and the rest of the art. After a rest at the hotel, we had dinner at Polidor, which had been recommended to us by the man at the front desk. I hesitate to call him a concierge since a concierge wouldn't have suggested such an unpleasant restaurant. The traditional French food was adequate, but it was so crowded and noisy and smoky that we didn't stay for dessert. (A ban on smoking in restaurants went into effect a month or so after we left.)

HA had pumpkin soup and boeuf borginon and I had lentil soup and veal in cream sauce. And then we discovered that they only took cash and had to go straight to an ATM after we left because they'd cleaned us out. Then, since I hadn't used the bathroom as the restaurant in my haste to get the hell out of there, I ended up using one of the many pay toilets on the streets in Paris. It was my first time in all the weeks and months I've spent there and it was a lot less disgusting than I'd expected.

Anywho, we had dessert at La Luxemburg, where we'd eaten before and had ice cream sundaes. My diligent notes say, "sooo good."

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and packed and went to the airport. We spent the last of our Euro coins on a pencil case shaped like a purple cow filled with Milka chocolate bars. It is currently holding my tape measures because that's how knitters roll.

Fin

Monday, August 25, 2008

I.O.U.

Remember way the hell back in February when HA and I hosted an all Star Star Wars Marathon? I took notes all day and yet fell down on the job and failed to blog the last of the 6 films we saw that day (plus the Star Wars episode of the Muppet Show). Actually a bit fitting, since we also failed to finish watching that last film. Six months later and we still haven't.

In case you want to refresh your memory (although I can't imagine why the hell you'd want to):
The Phantom Menace
Attack of the Clones
Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars
The Empire Strikes Back

and finally....Return of the Jedi!

10:01 Jedi starts. After 10 hours of his music, I want to strangle John Williams.

10:10 I love how everyone is in on the rescue plan except Threepio.

10:14 Somebody's getting et by the rancor.

10:16 Leia pulls out the thermal detonator. There are a lot of dangerous orb shaped things in this series.

10:19 I only just realized that they never expected Han and Leia to be able to escape on their own after she thaws him out. How else would they have been planning to get chewie and the driods out? The plan succeeds because they planned to fail. Well played young Skywalker.

10:25 You know, you would think that when Threepio warns luke that he’s standing on a… that Luke would step off of the trap door. Jedis are still stupid.

10:41 I feel like I've been watching these films forever. Not in the sense that I've been watching them since I was 6 (which I have), but in the sense that this session has been going on forever.

10:44 Yoda death scene. I even hate yoda now.

10:46 Dead Kenobi is back. I hate this "certain point of view" bs. Kenobi lied to spare Luke’s sanity. He wasn’t ready to hear that info. Just admit you lied Kenobi. He was a punk ass kid--you had a good reason to lie.

10:51 Hi Wedge!

10:57 Why do they insist on bringing Threepio along on stealth missions when he won't shut up? Why?

10:59 Speeder bike chase! Cool crashes coming soon!

11:02 Hi Wicket!!!

11:12 I love how its against Threepio's programming to impersonate a deity. Like someone thought he might do this way back in the designing stages. I can just picture the meeting--"you know, one of the last models tried to impersonate a diety, so we should build in some safeties."

11:23 The last of our guests surrenders. One or two of the three of us has been dozing since we hit Endor.

11:29 We surrender. We’ll watch the rest tomorrow if we dare.

We considered watching it for about a week or so, but just couldn't bring ourselves to try. I'm even a little scared of the new Clone Wars series. I just hope it's not like when you catch your kid smoking, so you make them chain smoke a whole pack so they get sick and never touch another cigarette again. I'd hate to discover that I've developed Star Wars phobia or something equally horrifying.

May the Force Be With You.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Kansas City, Here I Come!

Actually, that was back in June. I'm so behind that I'd skip it, but we got to see the house where Jesse James was shot! We even got to see the bullet hole in the wall! Which as been enlarged by people picking away at it so they can have a piece of the hole. Only they dug him up in the 90s for DNA testing to make sure it was really him and he hadn't faked his death and there was no exit wound. And the stories (and the film) have only one shot being fired. So that hole is not a bullet hole.

So, here it is. An apocryphal hole.
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And in case you missed the film, which we rented when we got back home, here's an artist's rendering of the dirty deed:
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The house being from old timey days, there were some nice examples of embroidery:
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And some nice examples of how ungentlemanly those gentlemen were.

I'll let this speak for itself:
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On a somewhat more wholesome note, this is a loveseat where the woman's side has no back support, so she has to lean on her beau.
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And then we went to Maid Rite, because His Awesomeness loves a good loose meat snadwich.
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Oh, and HA's cousin got married and we got to see some family and friends, but mostly, it was all about the world famous hole.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Further Proof That I Suck

So apparently, I went to see the Hyperbolic Coral Reef at the World Financial Center, took pictures, uploaded them to Flickr, but completely neglected to blog about it.

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And as a bonus, here's a water taxi:
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Monday, August 18, 2008

The Frugal Crafter is Moving!

I haven't done a Frugal Crafter post in a while, but I've been stockpiling ideas and I want to know about other people's frugal crafting adventures.

So I created a separate blog--The Frugal Crafters! You smart types will have noticed that that's plural. I'm hoping to get guest bloggers who have their own projects to share, or who just want to show off their own versions.

So far, I've just copied over the existing Frugal Crafter posts, but more are coming. Come on over and let's make some stuff for little or no money while keeping things out of the landfill. If you have an idea for a guest post, or have already blogged about a frugal craft that I can link to, send me an e-mail at the address in the sidebar.

The Frugal Crafter Mission Statement
A Frugal Crafter is anyone who likes to make stuff and wants to save money by using things they already have. For me, that includes turning to my closet o' yarn and drawers of craft supplies that I've been amassing for years. Bonus points for find creative uses for things that aren't recyclable, but have fulfilled their original purpose. People with less vision call these things "Garbage". I call them "Free Art Supplies".

You can be a Frugal Crafter too. If you make a project you see on this blog, let me know. I'll post about it here or link to your own blog post about it. If you have an idea for a frugal craft, let me know and you can do a guest post, or I'll link to you, if you prefer.

Let's make some stuff!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fire!



My brother made this.

Details on Gizmodo.

Yes, he's cooler than I am. I've learned to accept it.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

American Teen

These kids these days. Not a helluva lot different from kids back in the John Hughes dark ages when I was a teenager. They want to fall in love, get into college and figure out who they are and who they want to be. Except now there's Instant Messenger, e-mail, text messages and cameras recording and broadcasting it all. Thanks to You Tube, I doubt documentary subjects are the only adolescents having their petty and not-so-petty dramas recorded for posterity.

American Teen, which follows 5 teenagers for their senior year of high school, has been getting a lot of buzz, not only for it's resemblance to The Breakfast Club, but for the satisfaction it provides us ex-teens. We get to look down on the popular, but unlikeable, mean girl Megan and admire the artsy outsider Hannah, the most vulnerable and strongest teen captured on film in years. We know that Jake, the band geek, doesn't need to change, but only needs to wait a few years to meet a woman who'll love him because of his action figure collection, and not in spite of it. Basketball star Colin evokes more sympathy than any of the sportos at my school ever did. If he can't get a basketball scholarship, then he'll have to join the army. The guy actually is playing for his life.

But, as in life, there are always more layers. As determined as Hannah is not to live her parents' life, Megan is equally dead set on following in her father's footsteps. Megan is horrified to think that she might not get into Notre Dame, but it never even occurs to her or anyone around her that she could get in, but decide to go somewhere else. The rich girl with the world at her feet actually chooses to limit her options. I found it hard to feel for the 17-year-old Megan, but my heart goes out to the older Megan who will someday who will wonder what the hell she was thinking, just as all of us do.

The teen's hopes and dreams are rendered in animation, and this only really works for Jake's video game fantasies, probably because he really does think like that. For the others, it falls flat, but that's just a small misstep in an otherwise honest and insightful film.

3 out of 4 stars/cupcakes/boots/whatevers.

You can read my profile of director Nanette Burstein in The Villager (sister publication to Chelsea Now, which also ran the article, as I mentioned last week.