Monday, December 18, 2006

expensive tastes

Check out the amazing wallpaper! I'm dreaming in green and white now. This would be so perfect for my dining room but so unfortunate for my bank account. Thanks to Chloƫ Sevigny, the image of lovely wallpaper haunts my white dining room now.

Friday, December 15, 2006


How scrumptious does this look?! Looks like I've found a new favorite website! The recipe for this and other cupcakes can be found at Cupcake Bakeshop:

Monday, December 11, 2006

Spinning Zone

boy oh boy. It's been a fast couple o' weeks! Around Calvin it's finals time. whew! I really didn't know if I would make it through this first semester here on staff, but I think I'm almost there. So, instead of recounting the craziness of the last few weeks, I'll share a few new favorites for fun...

First, I've been listening to my new CD Veneer by Jose Gonzalez. This is a great musician, if you've not discovered him yet. Very melodic and quiet music but very beautiful. And has GREAT prices on used CDs! Wow. If you're looking for a Christmas present for someone you love, this CD is a good choice. If you're looking for a Christmas present for THIS someone you love, I'm a big fan of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and looking to start a Tori Amos CD collection.

Second, it was a Jack Black weekend; Nacho Libre finally found it's way to my DVD player, and we went to see The Holiday on Friday night. Both great movies in their own way. Warning: you may think singing the "Encarnacion" song from Libre is funny, but the only person who can sing that song and be funny at the same time is Jack Black (that's for you, Katy and Laura!). The Holiday was a really fun movie. Those cheesy rom-com Christmas movies get me every time! So, now I'm ready to move to the British countryside and live in a little Jane Austinesque cottage. Sigh.

Third, Do It Yourself (DIY) magazines! Check out the latest Martha Stewart Living... SO many fun craft and Christmas ideas. But the best is ReadyMade Magazine. Sometimes the projects range more on the really difficult side, but there are some great simple ideas in there this month. Actually, don't check it out because the majority of my Christmas presents will be made from those ideas. Speaking of magazines, I caught up on 3 New Yorkers this weekend... and now I'm chock-full of knowledge. Ask me anything about the Somali refugees living in Maine, Barbie vs. Bratz, Nintendo's place in the market, or caustic movie reviews. Quick- before I forget it all!

Okay... I had better get back to going over evaluations for Student Orgs. For a "moment of zen" Daily Show style, check out my friend Chris's podcast in which he becomes a "Christmas Light". It's good stuff.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saturday's Finds

Last night I was supposed to go see the new Bond movie with Daniel and a group of people, but instead I let him go with the crowd and I crashed at home to watch "What Not to Wear". It was so wonderful to just rest (and I guess the movie isn't all that wonderful, according to strict Bond fans) and dream about having $5,000 to spend on clothes. I have ALL of next week off!!! So, it was a good night to turn-in early and start vacation off on the right foot.

Seeing as I'm now used to fewer and fewer hours of sleep, I awoke at 7:30 (note to self: next time taking a vacation, should come into work at least 20 minutes late each day so I can actually sleep-in once week is over). So I made fancy oatmeal - the kind that takes 30 minutes... any food that take longer than 30 min to make qualifies as fancy - and drove Daniel to a meeting downtown. Then I went to the farmers market, but it was slim-pickin's. Maybe I've been spoiled living in a more rural community for a while, but $25 seemed like too much for a medium sized wreath. Anyone agree with me? A big bag of late apples made it all worth it though, as did these dirt-cheap branches that supplied my imagination with this decorating idea.

But the find of the day goes to Daniel. Earlier this week, Adem (with an "e"), a director of photography Daniel's been working with, told him about a dog park near his house in Eastown that he and his dog frequent nearly everyday. Now, we've both spent a lot of time here in GR, but neither of us has ever heard mention of such a park. Still, we stowed Conrad in the Element and took off in search of this fabled park where canines run free as the wind. It took some searching, but the dog park can be found and it's like Disney World for puppies! Conrad didn't know what to do at first, but he soon caught on and spent a good hour playing with his new friends there. The park was all fenced in, and there were two sides: a huge side for big dogs, and smaller side for little dogs and puppies. Plastic bags and trash cans were provided. What a place! The puppy side was fine and all, except for a couple of annoying little fuzzy dogs who were more like popcorn than dogs, but I could tell Conrad knew he truly belongs with the big dogs... you'll get there someday, we kept telling him.

After a long nap, he and Daniel are happy campers. And I'm enjoying my cup of coffee and some Joni Mitchell. Like Krystal, I need a sign-off (I guess Katie C. has her "notebook" now).

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I've been hearing that the "comments" are not working. I just changed some settings, so I hope that they work now. Everyone keep trying! This is a learning experience for me, so bear with me as I figure out this whole blog thing. Dan Rather and I struggle with the blogs sometimes, but we'll get through it!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Isolation of Luxury

Sunday night Daniel and I went to see Marie Antoinette, Soffia Coppola's new film. I'd read online from several reviewers that they found it "boring" and "slow" and "not true to history", but after seeing it, I agree with Ebert's comment: "Every criticism I have read of this film would alter is fragile magic and reduce its romantic and tragic poignancy to the level of an instructional film." So, be warned: this is not a film chonicling the French Revolution.

This is a film about Marie's world, and it remains in her point of view, as childish and restless as that may be. So far, Coppola's films are centered on lonely, isolated women, but what struck me about this one is the role extravagance plays as a buffer. The decadent swirling scenes of fittings, deserts, parties, flowing champagne, etc. Are dizzying. And the modern music brings a confusing twist to this period-piece. It kept me from disassociating myself from this "other" world. Lost in Translation's and The Virgin Suicides isolation was in the midst of a collision of two worlds. But in this film, instead of living in the tension, Marie's world does not collide until her beheading; she has the luxury of being completely removed from society - so much so, she has no curiosity for things outside from Versailles except the opera and parties in Paris.

Daniel walked away a little annoyed (and yet, craving sweets) by the glut of sugar - both the literal and the pretty shots for filmmaker's eye candy. But I cannot dismiss this as "having fun with a camera and daddy's money" *unlike many reviewers. Why, this time, did Coppola decide to make a film about a woman who can live a life isolated from total reality without ever choosing it? A woman who was the most powerful in the land, but didn't know her options, eager to please whomever gave her time and attention? A king who does not understand what he's doing when he sends money to a foreign war?

Anyways, see the movie for yourself and tell me what you think of it. Although often her plots are murky at best, Coppola's films each strike a cord making them tellingly relevant.

Monday, November 06, 2006

This past Saturday we showed Daniel's film, "Drawings and War" at Calvin. We weren't sure about who would come, but the Bytwerk Theatre was packed! The event started with a bit of background from Daniel about the history of the war in Northern Uganda. Then he showed the film (it's about 30 min), and Dr. Chris Smit led a discussion afterwards. Via a video conference call, everyone got to talk with Grace Akallo (pictured above w/ Daniel) who just finished lobbying in DC a couple weeks ago. The event ended with some yucca and computers available for anyone to send a form letter to their senators and reps to encourage the peace talks.

What amazed me about this event was how powerful the film was in a theatre and the reactions it invoked. I mean, I've seen it lots of times on a computer screen and on our little TV, and it's powerful, but on the big screen the stories and images are riveting. And no one left after the film. Instead we stayed and discussed reactions and asked questions. It was SO encouraging and inspiring to hear people begin to think through where to begin addressing the issue of child soldiers in a country that is destroyed by war while the leaders are benefitting financially from the same war.

Heavy stuff for a Saturday night... or any time. But these kinds of discussions and reactions bring a lot of hope because they are why Daniel and other people make activism films - to get people thinking and questioning.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Some Wedding Pictures...

Here's what I can post for now...

A Night On the Town

When Daniel and I go out, we really like to go all out. But if you think I look great as a redhead, you should see my mom! I'm not allowed to release those pictures yet though... negotiations have been initiated.

a slightly normal new family

ah, a weekend in Stevensville, by the fireside with Conrad... Conrad is our baby and we love him! He's a mix of Australian Shepherd and Beagle and maybe Jack-Russell Terrier. Although it's a pain to coordinate coming home every few hours to let him out (and usually we're too late to prevent "accidents" which have earned him the nickname of "pooper"), and he has put a damper on our going-out at night (which is always good on the wallet), he is just the sweetest most beautiful puppy ever. In fact, he's sleeping on my arm right now causing typos gallore. But it's worth it!

In Krystal's footsteps...

Well, I've been reading my wonderful cousin's blog and thought, why not give it a try? Granted, the lovely city of Grand Rapids, MI is no NYC, but it has it's charm(er)s. And, I need a handy place to share my wedding photos since it looks like my .mac free 3-months ran out this month.

So... I feel that I should begin my blogging legacy with something profound to undergird my plans for fame and fortune... or at least my plans to share discerning thoughts of my own. But this time, I will refer to the great Homer when he said, "Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen."

So read carefully.
testing... testing... 1, 2, 3...