Thursday, April 28, 2005


Why do I get the feeling that the author of this Daily Texan article wrote it ahead of time and then attended Mailer's lecture just waiting for him to say something controversial. Because, come on, its Norman Mailer right? He is historically controversial.

I imagine the author was disappointed when the only hint of controversy was an anti-Bush comment that made one woman in the audience (who identified herself as the only Republican in the room) mad. Reeeeaaaal controversial there Norm. The other part of the speech cited as controversial was a section Mailer read from an upcoming article on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Jean Paul Sartre's birth:

"Sartre was a kind of genius, with an exceptionally fine mind, but he had one serious flaw," Mailer read. "He gave too wide a berth to the work of Heideker, which sat somewhere in the crack of humanity's buttocks."

I bet that got the underclassmen really riled up. "Dude, Mailer just totally dissed Heideker! Or Sartre! Or something! Or... I'm not sure what, but I know its controversial!"

According to the article, the only other controversial thing Mailer has done in the past few years was appear on The Gilmore Girls. Maybe he is losing his touch.

No wonder he sold his papers to the HRC for 2.5 million dollars -- he had to cash in those controversy points while he still could.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Pretty Good Plug

I love my mom, and I always get her a birthday present and a Mother's Day present, even though her birthday is in April and Mother's Day is in May, and she is really really hard to buy a present for. Really hard. I usually end up getting her a CD or a book, but its hard to know what she already has, being as we live in different states, and its even more hard to know what she would like. Even if I come up with something good in April, it is impossible to duplicate that luck and find something equally as good when May rolls around.

This year my problem was solved for me at Pretty Good Things. Yes, this may be a blatant plug for a friend's business, but seriously, go look at this stuff. Its awesome. And not so expensive. And I guarantee your mom won't already have it. Plus she will love it.

So, if your mom is as hard to buy gifts for as mine is, let Mary P. take care of business and craft it up in honor of yo mama.

Monday, April 25, 2005


To shake things up this weekend, Josh and I went to a new (to us) park -- the Mayfield Preserve out off West 35th street by the Laguna Gloria Art Museum here in Austin. We spent the afternoon there, and there are still spots we didn't get to check out. What follows is a little photo essay of our journey.

A shadowy self-portrait, with a sliver of Josh to spice things up.Posted by Hello

Me heading down some steps towards the creek. [photo courtesy of Mr. Krauter.]Posted by Hello

I'm kind of going for the reflection of the trees here. The water was shallow, but relatively fast moving, with lots of cool algae.Posted by Hello

Algae-encrusted stepping stones, which I didn't even fall off of.Posted by Hello

An enticing cave-type overhang.Posted by Hello

I didn't take as many pictures on the grounds of the house as I would have liked -- my camera was almost out of batteries. This shot of Josh by this old stone arch is one of my favorites. I love how all the old things in Texas are made out of stones.Posted by Hello

A lovely pink flower in the pond. There were actually four or five interlocking ponds all surrounded by this stone patio.Posted by Hello

This peacock can make a really scary noise. Also he was all puffed up right before I took his picture.Posted by Hello

There's a small picture of the house and ponds on this city of Austin site (second one down) and some nice pictures and hiking information on the Austin Explorer site. I love that this park is totally free, there is plenty of parking, and there was no one there jogging or riding their bike. Its hard to relax around people who are exercising.

Saturday, April 23, 2005


I was reading the Oxford American special food issue yesterday, when I came across some barbeque dish called Burgoo. Josh hadn't heard of it either. After a bit of online research, I discovered that it is some kind of stew thing that can have a combination of mutton, beef, pork, chicken, veal or opossum, potatoes, corn, lima beans, tomatoes, or okra and a bunch of spices and you cook it for like 30 hours. Plus it is most famously found in Kentucky.

It is apparantly also the name of a punk album released by a band called Antietam in 1990. I'm not sure what kind of spicy meat/veggie mixture their music consists of...

[Update: Josh reminds me that we actually saw Antietam when they reuninted and opened for Yo La Tengo back last year. I don't remember Burgoo being mentioned during their set.]

Have any of my faithful readers ever had Burgoo? It actually sounds pretty awesome.


In other news, I'm listening to "The Lounge Show" on KOOP right now [I'm not always a huge lounge fan, it kind of gets old fast, but this is a really nice Saturday morning mix], and they are playing some song off William Shatner's new album where he does a duet with Henry Rollins (called "I Can't Get Behind That"). I have no qualms about listening to Shatner, but fucking Henry Rollins. I hate that dude. Even just listening to his stupid spoken word voice on this song makes me mad. I like pretty much everything in the entire universe except Henry Rollins (sorry tjd). Thanks for telling us all how to live, asshole. I'm glad you have it all figured out, and how nice of you to pummel us with your advice. I don't mind him in some Black Flag stuff, but jesus. What a cocksucker.

Friday, April 22, 2005


I am filled with ennui and (as Roget's Thesaurus would have it) a "vexation of spirit" this week. Somebody do something to perk me up before I break out into a heartfelt version of "Is That All There Is?"

Perhaps a little dose of weekend will help me out...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Turk

Yesterday I finished reading The Turk: The Life and Times of the Famous Eighteenth-Century Chess-Playing Machine by Tom Standage. This is the true story of an automaton built in Austria in 1769 that could play chess against a human and almost always win. The machine consisted of a wooden cabinet filled with gears and mechanical bits with doors that opened and closed, and the upper part of a mechanical man dressed up with a turban and robes. The mechanical man could pick up pieces and put them down, would move your piece back if you made an illegal move, and could say Check (in French) at the appropriate point in the game. It played games against such notorious folk as Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon (Napoleon's son actually owned it for awhile). Dozens of people published pamphlets and articles guessing how the machine might work, including Edgar Allan Poe (whose article poses a solution to how the Turk works, including some adorable diagrams and 17 points of evidence). It had brief periods of sitting in storage, but pretty much captivated people for 80 years straight until it ended up in a museum that burned down, taking the Turk with it in 1854. The secret of its operation was not revealed until three years later.

What is extra strange is that the day after I finished the book, I see a blurb for the movie "Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine," which is playing at the Drafthouse downtown. The whole last chapter of The Turk is devoted to the series of games played by Kasparov, the soviet chess champion, against IBM's Deep Blue computer. The last chapter of the book is all about this very match, including Kasparov's insistence that IBM cheated and a human was behind Deep Blue's chess playing.

The book ties together all these seemingly unconnected bits of history, and raises some really interesting questions about artificial intelligence and human nature. Plus its kind of about robots. It gets seven Kristy thumbs up.

[This article explains the whole story of the Turk, with lovely illustrations, including a working replica of the automaton built in the 80s (with a dude dressed up like the inventor in the most awesome green 17th century reproduction jacket I've ever seen). Its kind of fun to read the book without knowing how the guy actually works, but I think it would still be enjoyable after looking at this page, which kind of reveals the secret, but doesn't really explain it.]

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Label must tell the truth, so always read carefully the label.

Nothing gets me all excited quite like old ads – that is why the Emergence of Advertising in America site at Duke University is providing me with hours of entertainment. And research. Totally applicable to my job. Totally.

My favorite category by far is the ephemera section where you can find gems like this Centennial Marble Shooter [“Something new for the boys!”], and this educational whiskey ad. I also like the R. C. Maxwell Company Outdoor Advertising Collection, and the Tobacco Cards.

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Harry Potter Obsession

On Saturday I finished reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire -- in case you are keeping track, that is the fourth book in the Harry Potter series. A. was right, this is absolutely the best one of the series (at least so far). It is gigantic, like 750 pages long. Like if I dropped it on my foot, my foot would be broken. Its also a lot darker and more complicated than the earlier books.


In other news, there is a mosquito flying around my office right now and I’m too sleepy to aim right and smack it. It is totally taunting me about this.

Also, I have to go to the dentist for a check-up this afternoon and I'm totally not happy about it.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

More Saturday Morning Feet

Another fantastic foot shot! This one is from the lobby of the Menger Hotel in San Antonio, which was part of a fabulous San Antonio Ghost Tour Josh and I attended last year. Not only do I like our feet in this picture, I also love the tile on the floor. Posted by Hello

Friday, April 15, 2005


If anyone is in Austin right now, and is awake at 7:00 am, check out the sky. Its an awesome array of exciting purples and pinks.


And, if you want more Kristy ramblings, I just wrote a really long comment on Mr. Krauter's new movie blog, "Film-Watching Robot".

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Super Samples

I am kicking myself this month because I let my subscription to The Sampler run out, and that subscription is one hot item. In case you have not heard of it, this is an awesome grab bag of crafty things, zines, jewelry, stickers, CDs and what not that comes to your house once a month [look under the "Sneak Peaks" link to check out the goodies]. Some of the stuff is kind of goofy, or not my style, but over half of it is always really worth it. The other stuff can be saved and stuck into cards or given away as Halloween treats or something. Plus who doesn't like getting suprise packages in the mail? If it sounds interesting, keep checking the website and hurry to subscribe when the June subscriptions open up.

Or, if you are crafty yourself (I'm talking to you PGT), you can make a minimum of 25 little deals to fill the grab bags and you will get a free one month subscription (plus free advertising) of your very own! Honestly, the competition is so high for these subscriptions that I might have to figure out something to make and sell just so I can get a damn grab bag....

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Media Madness

To continue the Black Dahlia conversation, Josh pointed out to me yesterday afternoon that Brian De Palma is in pre-production on a movie version of the book. I'm not sure how I feel about Josh Hartnett in the lead -- I've only seen him in Black Hawk Down, which I didn't like that much. He kind of reminds me of a bunch of guys I went to high school with. I do like Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, and Scarlet Johansson, though.


I've been meaning to note for a few days how happy I am that the local Fox station has decided to pair Seinfeld with the Simpsons in the after-the-news, before-prime-time, when-I'm-eating slot. That was the line-up when we first moved here, but then they switched it to Simpsons and That Seventies Show and later, Simpsons and Malcolm in the Middle. I've got a rather neutral feeling for both of these shows. I certainly don't want to watch them every day (although I did), and neither one had enough episodes in syndication every single weekday. So, lets hear it for Fox, everybody, the only station that comes in on my TV.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Monday reading update

Yesterday I finished reading The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy, a noiry kind of mystery novel based on the true "Black Dahlia" case, the unsolved, gruesome murder of a young woman in Hollywood in the 1940s.

This book was really engrossing, and made me want to read more James Ellroy (Ellroy also wrote LA Confidential, among others). I've always really liked older mystery stuff, but hadn't found any modern writers that I could really get into. Ellroy is more gritty and character based that who-done-it Sherlock Holmesy, and that is the kind of mystery writing that I like. It also made me want to read some of the many true-crime books about the real Black Dahlia case. I can be a sucker for a good true crime book...

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Invisible Sounds

The Brown Bunny Soundtrack is the best thing to listen to first thing in the morning. Although it is a little strange to look through ones cds and pick out the one with a picture of oral sex on the cover and say, yeah, this should be just right for my early morning listening pleasure.

Almost half the album is made up of John Frusciante songs that aren't actually in the movie, but that Vincent Gallo listened to constantly as he was making it. Since soundtracks aren't usually written/chosen until after the movie is made, I bet a lot of directors have an invisible personal soundtrack for their movies. It would be interesting to release a whole series of invisible soundtracks for movies and even for books and paintings and things. You could even go to a restaurant and get something really tasty, and then request a tape of what the chef was listening to when he made it... I really think I'm on to something here.

[Also, if you haven't seen Brown Bunny I would really recommend it. If you have seen it, let me know what you thought of it. I don't think I know anyone that has seen it except me and Josh. Plus the four dudes in front of us at the movie theatre that apparently only came there for the blow job at the end of the film and were cracking up and sneaking pulls from a whiskey bottle during the first 3/4ths of the movie. The oral sex is impressive, but there is a lot more going on in the film. Really.]

Friday, April 08, 2005

Forever and ever and ever

This week the Library of Congress announced the addition of fifty sound recordings to the National Recording Registry -- including "Nevermind," "Pet Sounds," and "Fear of a Black Planet", as well as "Girl from Ipanema" and a recording of Neil Armstrong on the moon. This registry was just started back in 2000, and the plan is that all the titles named to the registry will get state of the art archival preservation to be saved forever and ever and ever. If you can think of a recording that you think should be preserved forever and ever, you can even let the LOC know about it.

There is also a national film registry, which has been around since 1989, that does the same thing for film. You can see their 2004 list, and the complete list.

It may seem kind of arbitrary to pick X number of films or recordings a year for special preservation, but I kind of like the idea. Lists like this get people talking about film and music and archives and what is important and what isn't, and I think that's a good thing. Plus I love lists, and I think their choices are for the most part intriguing and well-considered.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Buy one coffin, get two free!

So the other day I was half-listening to yet another newscast about the dead pope, and I heard the reporter say "three coffin burial." I was instantly intrigued -- which parts do they put in which coffin? Brain in one, liver in another, everything else in the last one? Two fake coffins to elude terrorists that might want to steal the pope's body with the real coffin in a secret location? A separate coffin for the funny hat? The possibilities were endless, hilarious, and hugely more interesting than the real answer:

Its just three coffins set one inside the other, with the pope-body (obviously) in the center one.

And I was looking forward to the cardinals busting out the chainsaws and dividing up the pope...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I Love Judy

Last night Josh and I watched the Woody Allen movie, Husbands and Wives, which I really liked. I find my reaction to Allen's body of work to be about 50% great, 40% neutral, and 10% bad. This was in the great category.

Part of what made this movie great was Judy Davis. I really really like her. I loved her in Naked Lunch, Barton Fink, and My Brilliant Career. I also just noticed that she played Nancy Reagan in that TV movie about the Reagans that caused so much controversy a couple of years ago.

But, what I'm really writing this all about is the insane amount of trivia availabe about Davis on her IMDB page. Its crazy. I don't think I've ever seen this much trivia for any actor before. Do you think there is like some rabid fan out there who keeps adding trivia tidbits or something? Also, one of the "trivia" items is that her eyes are blue. Is this really trivia? No. Perhaps I should also add the trivia that her hair is dark and she is a woman.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Super Comics Week

When we were back in Bridgeport for the wedding festivities, Josh and I brought back as many of his old comics as we could fit into my carry-on bag for the plane ride home. We ended up with 19 gems. Well, less gems and more like a mini-snapshot of what was going on in the mind of young Josh in the late 1980s and early 1990s. And what was available in the comic store in Scottsbluff and Fort Collins.

So, I made a project for myself: read all the comics. This was not hard (well except for one of them) as I love to read comics. Here is a semi-pictorial journey through my week of comic reading:

First, American Splendour (#15, #16 and part 2 of "Windfall") and Duplex Planet Illustrated (#5-#8).

These were the extra fun ones, as I've read some of each series before and really liked them. You can't go wrong with these guys. Thank you early 90s Josh for purchasing them.
Posted by Hello

Next were three items from the "Hard Rock Comics" series: little bio-comics on Janes Addiction, Nirvana, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, all from 1992.

These were very entertaining to read, although naturally a little fan-boyish and silly. But in a good way.

This outfit apparantly put out a whole bunch of bio-comics series, including "Rock n' Roll Comics" (Guns n' Roses, Quennsryche, REM, The Fall of the New Kids, etc.), "Star Jam Comics" (Hammer, Janet Jackson), "Sports Superstars Comics" (Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzkey, and Magic Johnson), and "Contemporary Biographics" (my favorite: Stan Lee, Boris Yeltsin, Gene Roddenberry, and Pee Wee Herman). Posted by Hello

Four older comics, probably picked up at a garage sale or something [sorry for the crappy picture, I was too lazy to retake it]:

1. "Billy the Kid Adventure Magazine" [from 1951, simultaneously aimed at young boys and grown men, back page features ads for a "Loyal Wedding Set" of rings with "3 giant pseudo diamonds!," a Veteran's honorable discharge ring ("Wear yours always!"), and an intial ring for men with "Genuine Zircons!" -- the inside of the back cover has an add for The Children's Digest, "... a gold-mine of intriguing things for you to do to while away many happy hours."]

2. "Fightin' Army: General Patton's Fantastic 3-Man Bazooka Team Faces the Impossible When... They Sting That Tiger" [from 1971, boring army stories from WWII, targets young boys at home as well as those who are actually fighting (it is 1971 after all). Ads for engagement rings, black light posters, and a "Hypo-phony" fake hypodermic needle ("Every fun-loving person will want one!"), plus you can send away for a live Squirrel Monkey ($13.95, "Will amuse children and adults for hours.) or a Pet Baby Raccoon ($29.95, "Has always been, and still is ... America's favorite pet.). That claim is, I think, dubious at best. Plus, why are the Raccoons twice as expensive as the monkeys? That doesn't seem right. ]

3."The Twilight Zone" [from 1962. I'm a sucker for Twilight Zone type stories, and this comic did not dissapoint.]

4. "Secret Hearts: Featuring 'A Walk Through the Park!'" [from 1962, a romance comic, includes wonderful "Ann Martin, Counselor-at-Love" advice column.]

Posted by Hello

And the rest:

1."Fly in my Eye," Arcane Comics Number 2 [from 1988 -- way too long, unless you really like looking at a lot of pictures of skulls with rats crawling on them and Clive Barker horror drawings. Plus poorly written horror stores that are more geeky than scary. A little of that is fine, but this was over 200 pages long...]

2."Shriek," issue number one [from 1989 -- I was worried, because this is another horror comic and the other one was so boring. This one had a sense of humor and variety, and the stories weren't bad. Restores my belief in the horror comic genre.]

3."Centrifugal Bumblepuppy," Number 2 [from 1987 -- humor magazine/comic book. Not super awesome, but not bad either.]

4."Ground Pound Comix," [from 1987 -- a collection of comics by John Pound. I liked this one -- lots of cute cuddly animals doing strange things.]

5.And finally, that Complete Crumb collection I wrote about last week.

Posted by Hello

So there you have it, a week's worth of reading and a super long post. It actually made me want to go out and buy a ton of comics, which I haven't done for awhile. So, if you have old piles of comics hanging around your home or office, I suggest you start reading them right away. Go on. Do it. And report back.

That is all.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

And you can punctuate it, ooh!

I love the West Side Story. I hadn't seen it for at least 10 years, and when we watched it last night it still made me cry. And yet, in watching it last night, something became clear to me that I had never noticed before.

Did you know that Russ Tamblyn, who plays Riff (leader of the Jets) in the West Side Story is the same guy who plays Dr. Jacoby in Twin Peaks?


Richard Beymer, who plays Tony (the lead) in the West Side Story, also played the hilarious and complicated Benajamin Horne on Twin Peaks?

It totally blows my mind...

Saturday, April 02, 2005

I can't get enough Green-ahol!

Was anyone else totally excited by the return of A Current Affair to FOX? I have been watching it every single day (Josh has too, so I'm not a total loser), and I highly recommend it. A Current Affair was always kind of low-budget and schlocky, but now it is exceedingly so, in a wonderfully fabulous way. The best part of the come-back?: Host Tim Green.

I didn't know anything about this dude when he first popped up on my TV screen. Apparantly I've been living under a rock, because he is an ex-football player (which I guessed, based on his thick neck), sports commentator, author (of suspense novels), columnist, and practicing lawyer (!). Plus he is the goofiest anchor I have ever seen. He has awesome reaction shots, and his ability to ad lib dialogue is incomparably silly.

So, if you are sitting at home at 4:30 on a weekday afternoon here in Austin and wondering what to do with yourself, consider spending half an hour with Tim Green and the incomparable journalism of A Current Affair.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Feed Your Brain

So, this is short notice, but if you happen to be in the area of MLK and Red River (in the Collections Deposit Library) this afternoon from 2-4, check out the Edible Book Festival, an annual event put on by the Presevation-Conservation Studies program at UT.

I went a couple years ago and it was totally fun. Plus you can bid on tasty edible book-like creations!

If you can't make it to CDL (or Austin) in the next couple of hours, at least check out the cool pictures from last year.

David Byrne's Ears

I have been to a lot of concerts since we moved down here to Austin. Most have them have been very good, and some of them have been totally awesome, but I would say that the number one most awesome concert of them all was David Byrne out at the Backyard. I am usually really bad at concerts. My feet hurt, I'm tired, I hate all the people surrounding me and their dancing and talking makes me want to kill. Sometimes I faint at concerts, and I almost always complain a little or make faces that induce Josh into saying "Are you okay?" and "How are you holding up?" I like live music, but sometimes even the artist I came to see can't make me forget the uncomfortable conditions that surround me. David Byrne, on the other hand, made me love my neighbor, forget about my feet, not faint, and just be totally into him the whole time he was on stage. He even came out before his opening band and talked a little bit about how much he liked them and that he hoped we would like them too. What an awesome guy.

And wouldn't you want to know what is on this guy's personal listening list right now? Of course you would. If you check out Radio David Byrne, you can listen to a looped three hours or so of his current selections. Its an interesting mix, and I don't necessariliy like all of it (Bob Schnieder?), but I do like that it is there and that I can be one step closer to the mind of David Byrne.