Thursday, February 28

This is how we did Palm Springs

Turistas checking out the vistas.

Tuesday, February 19

derailing the cringe

Embarrasing moments happen regularly. There are foot in mouth incidences. Public actions & reactions that you would like to keep private occur and you find yourself mulling over the witness list to your vulnerabilities. For me it is experienced almost like a headache. I want to touch my temple over and over to provide some relief. So, too, my mind longs to revisit embarrassments.

But what about the growing allure of cringe in popular culture? "Trainwreck Television" is more popular than ever and not the sort that refers to mechanical catastrophes. More like Flavor Flav looking for love on MTV or any one of the number of unreality programs currently thriving on their cringe factor.

What is the appeal and where does it end?

Thursday, February 14

From the New Yorker, THE CHOICE

George Packer writes: The Clinton-Obama battle reveals two very different ideas of the Presidency.

Click this link to read the full story

Packer describes their primary differentiation as being in their conceptions of the Presidency. Working towards change through good governance is Clinton's approach. Obama, on the other hand, "offers himself as a catalyst by which disenchanted Americans can overcome...partisanship, energize our democracy and restore faith in government."

Clinton's dismissal of Obama's message as optimistic naiveté reflects a belief in incremental change through compromise and the necessity of being armed for battle. The article suggests that Obama has a quality that Clinton lacks: comfortable self-possession. Clinton's inability to be authentic continues to be her primary handicap. Especially as, the article demonstrates, she possesses political experience, intelligence, humanity and kindness in good measure. It is her self-protective manner, honed from years in the often harsh spotlight, that inhibits her ability to connect in a positive or optimistic way.

Packer quotes Greg Craig, long-time Clinton friend, past attorney and now advisor to Barack Obama's campaign. "I don't discount the possibility of her being able to inspire me. But she hasn't in the past, and Obama has."

Further on in the article Dee Dee Meyers is quoted "Hillary needs to connect two things. What's in her heart and what she wants to accomplish and why...It comes down to your ability to get people to follow you, to inspire."

Is there a candidate who inspires you?

Obey/Obama Poster that sold out in two weeks

Monday, February 11

On my radar

Transistor radios keep popping up.
Atomic Ranch magazine features a collection in their current issue.
Made to Stick uses the transistor radio 's genesis story to illustrate the power of the unexpected.
Transistor radio is also the title of M. Ward's 2005 release, recently incorporated into my playlist of choice.
What is the significance?

Sunday, February 10

Marginal notes

The cook book came to me from my friend. She was going to sell it for a quarter at her yard sale. I brought it home and, feeling inspired to prepare a hot dish, I perused the pages. In addition to recipes, I found cautions, reviews and raves written in pencil.

Next to the Eggplant Rollatini with Corn Bread Stuffing "Two hours? Try four!"

Peach Crisp "Cut the butter next time, too rich."

White Bean and Vegetable Stew in Red Wine Sauce "The Best."

Essentially I had stumbled unto a treasure trove of information. All the lame guesswork of a recipe could be avoided with the simple help of my friend's notations. This wasn't some foreign cook show host, this was someone with a skill set similar to my own, providing insight. I had to wonder, is this cheating?

Marginal Notes. For some of us it is instinctive. But, thinking back, I have my 9th grade English teacher to thank. Mrs. Hawkins assigned us the task of selecting sentences that resonated with our adolescent minds. She called them "purple passages". She instructed us to copy and compile sentences and engage with them. Over the course of the year, purple passages became a habit. They were everywhere! Transcribing key points in a text became a favorite study tool. Along the way I learned that I had something to say.

Purchasing hundred dollar text books in college entitled me to the thrill of writing notes in the margins. This 5th edition of Human Physiology book was mine and I could do with it what I pleased! However, many of those comments, jotted hastily years ago are now cryptic and unintelligible. Doodles were a sad display of underdeveloped illustration skills and were best when kept to flowers. Seriously.

I now find myself compelled to respond to articles I read, or things I hear in the so-called news. I take notes. A lyric, turn of phrase that I fancy, or inspirational quote may be found scrawled in my work notebook or elsewhere, on the back of an envelope or receipt. For whom? Nobody. Until this blog.

Welcome to my cookbook pages.

Style report: hand-made bike show

Portland, Oregon played host to the 4th annual handmade bike show this past weekend. Racks galore, one-speeds, and funky commuter bikes were well represented. Bikes fabricated with bamboo & wood provided some innovative eye candy but there were also plenty of steel frames bearing names in retro fonts. In fact, nostalgia seems to be infused into many of the designs though integration of technology and/or materials provide new-school functionality.

I see tap handle potential in those bars

Legitimate craftsmanship was certainly on display. Consider the titanium sofa. 300 hours were given to the design reflected in the comfort of the seat as well as the $16,000 price tag.

On a smaller scale, there were racks artfully designed with contrasting wood patterns for the crafty commuter types that populate the Northwest.

rack it up in style

MAS was all about due diligence, trolling the aisles and checking out what's on the minds of industry influencers. I was his eager companion, and try as I may to stay focused on cable routing & disk brakes, my interest waned after awhile, and I couldn't help but notice the crowd. I can confidently report that beards, tatts, and cut-off denim have taken hold of the indie bike scene. Now, that's style.

bike & rack photos by MAS, ti sofa photo courtesy of kw @ good problem

Thursday, February 7

Happy Chinese New Year

Bring on the year of the Rat! Let go of any baggage you may carry regarding the rodent's reputation. Beloved in the Chinese Zodiac, rats are known for their good luck and this year is somewhat auspicious. You all probably know a rat or two, a quick reflection on my own circle includes: Aimee, MAS, Ron, Nancy, Staci, Melissa, Brook, Eric, Shawn, my pops and I'm sure many more turning 12, 24, 36, 48, & 60 between now and next February.

A Rat year is a time of hard work, activity, and renewal. This is a good year to begin a new job, get married, launch a product or make a fresh start. Ventures begun now may not yield fast returns, but opportunities will come for people who are well prepared and resourceful. The best way for you to succeed is to be patient, let things develop slowly, and make the most of every opening you can find.


Wednesday, February 6

Will you be your Valentine?

Reuters reports that millions buy Valentine gifts for themselves. Rather than feel lonely and unloved on February 14, 8 million Americans admit to sending themselves gifts, according to a new survey. The article continues shattering illusions about the romantic nature of the day by pointing out that a telephone poll of a 1,000 Americans found rampant discrepancies between the gifts women would like to receive and what men are buying them. Editorial note: It doesn't mention any figures regarding unfulfilled male expectations. The article does point out that 6 million people have broken up on Valentine's Day (there was no citation of survey methodology here either).

All that aside, I have been fantasizing about gifts I might give myself: that Nelson Sunflower Clock I've wanted for the past three years would make an awfully sweet present.

I've also been thinking about a note I may like to read. It wouldn't be too sappy, just some simple thoughts on all of my appreciation of me. What would you give you? You have a week to decide.

Monday, February 4

answer me this one

Why do we hate secrets but love surprises?

An eventful life

Perhaps it's just me, perhaps not. Have you noticed all the events happening around us?

SALES EVENTS: I used to sit up and take notice of Sales Events. Car lots have them often. Department stores even more. But, the term has been abused and now it registers on par with the old Bon Marche's one-day sale. How can it be one-day when the tune is so familiar it's like a bad audio pop-up? "One day sa-a-a-ale, one day only at the Bon Marche".

WINTER STORM EVENTS: If you live in Central Oregon (like I do) you are becoming familiar with these events. These days, Christian Boris provides this oft-delivered news with glee and a smirk. Winter Storm Events still have some impact as word of them is reality-based. Unlike:

TELEVISION EVENT OF THE SEASON: Forgive me if I sound a little stodgy here but NBC's The Biggest Loser is not a television event. News of John Lennon's death, The Challenger Space Shuttle, the '00 Election Confusion, those are television events. Last night's Super Bowl XLII approached the event of the season but not because of any inherent merit.

I wonder how Event gained momentum to be used with such generosity? Is it the outcome of an event-planner plot?

Eventually, it will have to end.

Sunday, February 3

The Diving Bell & The Butterfly

Following a stroke at age 42 Jean-Dominique Bauby, editor of Frech Elle magazine, is victim to locked-in syndrome, paralyzed from head to toe. Julian Schnabel deftly directs this bio-pic and together, with Jean-Do, the viewer reconciles the meaning of a life spent wholly, senses engaged.

Mercifully, Bauby has the use of one eye to communicate. With the extreme commitment of Claude, a publisher's assistant taking dictation via eye blinks, Bauby's reflections on being a self realized man not without his flaws are shared. And as much as this film (based on Bauby's novel) captures the longing and frustration of his imprisonment, it is also a celebration of imagination.

Patience is integral to his story as are the beauty and trappings of consciousness. Max Von Syndow, as Bauby's aged father, conveys the visceral misery of a parent who must witness his child's suffering expertly, yet the familiar American recipe of hyper-sentimentalism is forgone. There is comedy, cruelty and incredible humanity within this film. I recommend it.

Saturday, February 2

Mac Guy, Just Like Us?

Advertising Age shares study revealing that mac users are similar to the mac guy. The research was independently conducted by Mindset Media. They surveyed 7,500 Nielsen online consumers to create a composite psychographic profile.

Among their findings: mac users tend to be open (check), creative (heck yes), arrogant (huh?) and avid sneaker consumers.

So it seems that Justin Long is working out pretty good as the face of "mac guy". In the spirit of gender equality, who would you nominate for "mac gal"?

Ellen Page gets my vote.

Yes, she's my celebrity girl-crush and current personification of cool. But, she also has the sneaker thing down, as mentioned in a December All Things Considered interview with Neta Ulaby:

"She's a devotee of Converse sneakers and flannel, so she was shocked when Vanity Fair asked her to model for a magazine spread featuring a gaggle of young actresses."

And, further on in the NPR segment, additional insight:

"Ellen Page has another movie coming out in the spring — Smart People — in which she stars opposite Sarah Jessica Parker. After that, she hopes to start shooting a Canadian indie film about teenage lesbian werewolves."

Friday, February 1

The Comeback Kid

Consider this blog re-funked. So much more soon...