Tuesday, October 31, 2006


It probably would have been more appropriate to post about my Halloween costume today and a book I read last week yesterday, but I'm not always the most appropriate of people. Or at least, I don't always plan ahead. So happy Halloween even though this isn't quite a Halloween-themed post.

Josh recently bought photographer Nan Goldin's book The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (1986). These photos document about ten years in the lives of Goldin and her friends, who mostly happened to be heroin addicts. Goldin calls the work "the diary I let people read," and the photos are all very intimate and personal -- and also engaging and somewhat universal.

I don't have much of a vocabulary for talking about visual art, but I liked this. Shortly after the book was published, Goldin went into rehab, and later established herself as a successful professional photographer. And if Wikipedia is to be believed, Ally Sheedy's character in High Art (which I never actually saw) is supposed to be based on Goldin.

Monday, October 30, 2006


I love Halloween parties, even though I can hardly ever think of a good costume. I think I did pretty good with "Devil Woman" here. At least I made an effort, and didn't pick anything that was uncomfortable to wear, kept a mask on my face all night, or required some kind of prop that had to be lugged around. I also got to wear a tail. Maybe I'll just keep going with Devil Woman for all the Halloweens from now on. Something to consider.

Dr. M, on the other hand, may have come up with the best costume ever. As long as he doesn't die this year, in which case the irony would be too much for me. But, hey, at least I would have something to wear to the funeral.

Some more pictures here.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Happy Fallback!

I love the day when the clocks are set back and you get a whole extra hour of your Sunday. It is, in fact, potentially my favorite day of the entire year.

I always wait until late in the day to actually set the clocks back so that I can constantly surprise myself. Oh, its not actually 10:24, its 9:24. Excellent. I'll just keep doing this all day. Eventually I'll set my watch back, but not the other clocks in the house. Slowly I'll change everything to new time. Then I will have an extra drink, get some reading in, and enjoy my damn hour.

[The worst day of the year is when you lose that hour, but lets not think of that on this special day.]

Thursday, October 26, 2006


After conquering the 1000 page Biographical Dictionary of Film, I am happily back on my regular reading schedule. I picked up the next book in my gradually shrinking pile of mystery and science fiction novels that I bought at the Literacy Austin book sale this year (and which I hope to actually finish before the next book sale...). I'm reading them in alphabetical order by author's last name (yes, I went to library school), so next we have another foray into the world of Agatha Christie: A Murder is Announced (1950).

When I read Witness for the Prosecution oh-so-many months ago, it was the first Agatha Christie I'd ever tried. She always seemed so old-ladyish and PBSified. Could I really get into a full length mystery? And a Miss Marple mystery to boot? Well, yes, folks. Yes I could.

At the beginning of this book, an ad appears in the local gazette of a small British village announcing that a murder will take place that afternoon at a certain home. Naturally, all the curious people in the village turn up there to see what it all means -- most are expecting it to be some kind of game, and the people whose house it is believe it is some kind of practical joke. But when the lights go out and shots are fired, a body of a man no one knows is found in the middle of the floor. Pretty strange, eh? There are about one-thousand twists and turns in this book, and I was very satisfied to have figured out the mystery just a few pages before the detectives did, and not right away. And Miss Marple rules -- how did I not know that before?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

SBW: Billy Bobified

You wouldn't think that a man whose name is Billy Bob could really make it into the Secret Boyfriend pantheon. And yet, here we are.

And apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so, since the lovely Angelina Jolie (who would totally be my secret girlfriend if the pendulum swung the other way) married him and had had three years of crazy fun antics.

Although the movie had some flaws, Billy Bob Thornton's Bad News Bears performance held up to Walter Matthau's. Maybe part of the cuteness there is the role, though, because Matthau was pretty hot in the original...

And of course, who wouldn't love a drunken, dirty, criminal Santa.

All this and, if you can believe Wikipedia, he is also the cousin of wrestler Terry Funk.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Family fun

We have survived and enjoyed another visit from my parents and my youngest sister, who should be driving along somewhere in Northern Kansas or Southern Nebraska by now.

Since we have lived here for six years, and they have also been visiting my cousin in Austin for about 25 years, it is sometimes challenging to find new things to do with my parents when they come to town. This time we came up with: checking out the Blanton, watching The Departed at the Alamo Village, showing my sister off to some friends, going to the Dog and Duck, driving to San Antonio to see my aunts and cousins up there, hiking around at the Hamilton Preserve (where I took this tree shot -- but not swimming in the pool because it was too chilly), and going to Barton Creek Mall. And also drinking a thousand beers and eating out a bunch (including Tony's Vineyard, Sao Paulo's, Central Market Cafe, my aunt's house, my cousin's house, the Salt Lick and Jorge's). I now weigh about 10 pounds more and am completely worn out.

And my sister helped me figure out a costume. Thank god for sisters and their shopping advice.

Complete photographic evidence available here.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Zip it

Don't be sad about no posts -- my parents and my youngest sister are visiting, and wouldn't you rather I talk to them than type to you? Of course you would. You are so understanding...

If you live in Austin and you possibly want to get drinks with us and my sister on Saturday night, let me know. Or else we might call you and bug you to come if we get lonely. My sister is nice and I swear you would like her.

P.S. What should I be for Halloween? I've got no ideas.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Air Head

I am in the middle of cleaning my tub and the mixture of chemicals has taken away my ability to post. Why do mildew and soap scum need different chemicals to go away? Why don't I clean my shower more often so that it wasn't such an undertaking when I do? Will my mother even look in my shower while my family is visiting this weekend? (My folks get a hotel room, which probably has a really clean shower.) My sister will shower here, but she probably doesn't mind a little soap scum. Why is cleaning so hard? Why?

Back to scrubbing.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

SBW: Gallo-rific

Secret Boyfriend Wednesday proudly presents our next entry in the Secret Boyfriend pantheon: Vincent Gallo.

Cute from the side.

Cute with a guitar.

If you didn't like Buffalo 66 or The Brown Bunny, you should seriously reevaluate your aesthetic sensibilities. And although he doesn't always pick awesome acting roles, try out Trouble Every Day for some super-awesome Gallo action.

And his music, even though I don't really want to like it because it is kind of irritating when other people are super great at more than one thing, is also very good.

And the end of Brown Bunny? Was it real or not real? I'm not sure I really care -- either way, I was impressed.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Archival Argento

How many horror/mystery movies have you seen where the climax takes place in an archives? Not many, eh? Well, why don't you start with Dario Argento's Profondo Rosso [or Deep Red if you speak English] (1975). Not only will you get people alternating from English to Italian for no real reason, a cool soundtrack by Goblin, lots of really awesome deaths (death by hot bathwater! death by elevator!), creepy drawings, abandoned houses, and David Hemmings (the dude from Blow Up). You also get a little girl saying "One day I was bad at school and as punishment I had to clean up the archives" AND an extended archives scene.

The documents, however, are not handled properly.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Ta da!

After nearly two months of reading, I have finally finished the most recent book decreed from my random book list generator, The New Biographical Dictionary of Film by David Thomson (2002). All 963 pages of it, baby.

This book is much more like a book of short essays on directors, actors, producers, screenwriters, and other people involved in film than a strict reference book. This made it a very engaging and occasionally infuriating read. I don't always agree with Thomson -- there are people he doesn't like that I like quite a bit (John Cassavetes, Lars von Trier, Billy Wilder), and people he loves that I just can't explain (Taylor Hackford? Zuh?). And yet, even if I violently disagree with his opinions, I like that he has them, and it is fun to read them. This book ends up being more of a biography of Thomson as a filmwatcher than a set of facts about people in the movie business.

Plus it introduced me to my new favorite film title and the possible name of my band if I ever had a band (which I never will, so feel free to steal it): Tillie's Punctured Romance (Mack Sennett, 1914). The movie sounds pretty great too.

And I had to wait till the very end, but I did get a little biographical taste of Darryl F. Zanuck, the mogul behind 20th Century Fox who just happened to be born in the small town of Wahoo, Nebraska, where my mother was born and where my grandparents live. Zanuck seems like a real jerk, but its still cool that he was born in Wahoo.

And now that I've plowed through all 963 pages, I am filled with trivial information such as this that qualifies me for the label of: movie genius. Watch out world!

Friday, October 13, 2006


Has anyone else seen a bunch of cute little butterflies flying around town? Like hundreds of them? I swear they were all around the parking lot at my work, and at the HEB. Or maybe I'm having some kind of Friday-induced hallucination...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Strange bedfellows

This recipe may sound odd, but I swear it will be your new favorite salad:

Take a pound of strawberries (one of the regular-sized containers full), wash them, hull them, and cut them into quarters.

Thinly slice (or chiffonade, which is one of my favorite words) some fresh basil until you have a couple tablespoons worth.

Put the strawberries and basil together in a bowl with a teaspoon of sugar and two teaspoons of balsamic vinegar. Toss them all up gently till the strawberries are coated with the vinegar. Put that stuff in the fridge for an hour.

After a bit, take two cucumbers, peel them, slice them lengthwise, scoop out all the seeds, and thinly slice them.

Mix that cucumber up with a teaspoon or so of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Take the strawberries out of the fridge, mix the cucumbers in with the strawberries, and throw some salt and pepper in there until it tastes just right.

Now eat it. And tell me what you think.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Secret Boyfriend Wednesday: Archival Edition

You can not deny that the young to middle-aged Sam Shepard is secret boyfriend material. More recently he is still a very handsome man, but like many SBs, his secret boyfriend status has a time limit. He has been discussed a lot recently around my work since the UT Fine Arts Library recently acquired his archive but never hired an archivist. It makes archivists sad when librarians process collections. And archivists in Austin need jobs! Hire an archivist! Sam Shepard would want it that way...

But we will always have the movies like Days of Heaven and The Right Stuff. Plus all those plays, where you can't actually look at him, but you can imagine him writing and being all boyfriendy.

And somehow, having a long-term relationship and a couple of kids with Jessica Lange gives Shepard extra SB points. There must be a formula in there somewhere.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I Love You Guys

We happened to watch the movies Sherman's March by Ross McElwee (1986) and 49 Up by Michael Apted (2005 - at the Dobie right now for you Austin-types) this weekend. If you watch either one of these films, they will probably make you like people a little bit better. If you watch both of them in the same weekend, it will leave you with a residual fascination with humanity that may never wear off...

Sherman's March begins with the idea that the filmmaker is going to retrace Sherman's route of destruction through the south and document its legacy. Instead he gets distracted by a recent breakup with his girlfriend and ends up documenting his journey through the south as various family members and friends try to set him up with "nice southern girls" and as he locates some southern girls of his own. McElwee's film is more of a personal narrative than a documentary, and it is hard to imagine that people in our current time of reality TV and constant disclosure would be as interesting, open, and unconsciously revealing as the people in this film. Go rent this right now. It is long, but I swear you will love it.

49 Up is the next is a series of documentaries made for British TV that explore the lives of a group of British people every seven years since the age of seven. This is the seventh of these films, and mixes footage from the previous editions with new interviews to update us on the lives of the participants. I think this edition is unique in the series as the subjects tell us more blatantly how this series has affected their lives. None of them was able to make the decision to do it or not when they were seven, and now their entire life is opened up every seven years and shown to an international audience. But, all except one are still participating. And I hope they continue to do so, just to see such an unusual document of humanity through to the end.

So: if I see you in the next week or so, I'll probably think you are very very interesting. At least until the afterglow of well-done documentary wears off.

Friday, October 06, 2006


In the new version of Blogger you can put little keywords to your posts
to link similar topics together. Naturally I edited all my SB posts so
that you can now see them in one gigantic loop. SB overload, y'all.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Favorite Movie Quiz

Here are some lines from one of my favorite movies. Can you guess the movie without resorting to cheating on the Internets?

Dr. Mystery is automatically disqualified from entering since I say these lines around the house all the dam time.

"There go the goddamn brownies."

"It came with the frame."

"Take me to the hospital, I'm sick."

I could watch this movie every day and not get bored. I swear it is actually more funny than my favorite lines from it make it seem. Is this one of your favorite movies too?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Secret Boyfriend Wednesday: The Sweet Transvestite Edition

Stare for a moment into Tim Curry's dreamy young eyes. Let your mind wander over his unruly hair. Pretty nice, right?

Now ease it forward a few years -- still good boyfriend material, right? Boys: You can't go wrong with a beard. They will always increase SB potential by 34%.

But wait, this guy has been in some movies! And although I would be a little confused if Dr. Mystery came home in this get-up, I don't mind a little ambiguity in my secret boyfriends. Tim Curry makes the lipstick work.

And if that wasn't enough: Annie! Curry plays the delightfully devilish Rooster who tries to claim Annie from Daddy Warbucks and take the award. He is thwarted, of course, but manages to look damn dapper while scheming.

Perhaps some of his musical efforts were misguided, but I don't see how anything could be bad that results a smoky cover like this.

Tim Curry: ten thumbs up!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

New Theory

Drinking margaritas with a cute baby across the table from you will make the margaritas 29% more effective in shaking off your work day.

More experiments will need to be made in order to adequately test the theory.

My new favorite place for discount margaritas is Jorge's Restaurant off Burnet, where you can get on the rocks margaritas for $3 all day on Monday. As a gal who prefers rocks and looks upon frozen margaritas with disdain (unless they are the only cheap happy hour margaritas, which is usually the case), this is a wonderful discovery. Also the patio and the waitresses are very nice. Food's good too. Let's meet there! You know, for science.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Happy Scrabbleversary

If Dr. Mystery and I had broken a mirror on our first date (man, that would have been a great first date), we would just start having good luck now. That's right, its been seven years of togetherness, and to celebrate we had a weekend full of fun. This fun manifested itself in some people coming over and drawing on napkins, two delicious mexican lunches (here and here), a good movie, a horror tape, and some good wine and a nice scrabble game. And I actually won the scrabble game, which never happens. Actual board above, and winning proof here!

It must have been that seven year good luck kicking in...