MARCH 2004
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Uh oh: It would seem that some people around town now know me as "the fiesta lady." I know they mean it nicely, and I don't expect people to remember my name, but "the fiesta lady" makes me sound like I should be wearing a fruit basket on my head. A fruit basket!

Good news: Good Eats will soon be on at 7 pm every day instead of 11:30 pm. Since I get up for work at the crack of insanity (that comes before dawn), I have a hard time staying awake for my favorite show. So, I've seen the first five minutes of most of the episodes before falling asleep on the couch, inevitably waking up while the credits roll to stumble into bed. But now I can watch it every night! Early! And I'll be able to stay awake! This is indeed happy news. Big ups to Food Network for rearranging their programming schedule to better suit my life. (Holla at ya specialty cable network.)

Monday, March 29, 2004
It may still be a few days away, but my mind is already on spring break. So are the minds of my students, which isn't making it easier, seeing as how I still have some stuff to do before I take off. Unfortuantely, I'm not going to a warmer location. I'm going home for some quality family time (family time!), job stuff, and more kosher for Passover food than you can shake a matzoball at. Not that you should be shaking matzoballs, but you get the idea.

My stupid addiction to stupid tv has reminded me that I used to have a total crush on Timmy from Road Rules. (What kind of grown man goes by "Timmy"? Who cares? He's cute.)

Sunday, March 28, 2004
I went to the video store last night, but everything I wanted to see was out, so I rented Raising Victor Vargas, and it was surprisingly good. Not great, and not groundbreaking or life changing or one of those movies that makes you want to go out and do something big and cool and special, but definitely good. It was a coming-of-age movie (if it were a novel, the word bildungsroman would be in every review) of a teenager in New York with no parents and a somewhat off kilter grandmother. It was good in that it gave you this very flawed main character that was really likeable. I should also mention that everyone in the movie was Latino, which you really don't see much. Actually, you don't really see it at all. Anyway, definitely worth a rent, especially if everything you want to see is out.

Friday, March 26, 2004
At long last, the week is over. I thought my neck was going to snap off from all the stress, but everything worked out well, and I'm glad and relieved that it's over. Everything came up right: people said I actually looked good on the local news, I had damn near close to a full house at my screening last night, everyone seemed to like my documentary, and two of my friends even sent me flowers. I love getting flowers!

Some friends from out of town came in for moral support, and it's really great to have them here. I'm exhausted, but everything seems okay. Now I need a massage, a warm blanket, and a few weeks off.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004
A crazy week already, and I'm so tense that you could bounce stuff off my shoulders. Yesterday there was a goofy article about me in the local paper, and I actually weaseled my way into a quick spot on tomorrow morning's local news. I feel like such a dork promoting my own stuff, which is maybe why I didn't do so well in PR. Either way, my show is Thursday night, and then I'm done for a while.

I don't know why I feel the need to apologize for this, but I'm sorry, I really like Pimp My Ride on MTV. My car is in pretty good shape, but now I kind of want to pick up a junked out Chevy Citation or some equally crappy car, just so Xzibit can come to my house, drive it away and return with a truly righteous whip painted shiny seafoam green, sitting on 19s, upholstered in charcoal ultrasuede, XM Radio in the dash, and with two LCD screens hanging from the roof so my backseat passengers can watch DVDs (in 5.1 surround sound, let's not forget). But no chrome on the wheels -- I'm a grown up for real.

Oh, and a big happy birthday to fellow RSHS victim Andrea, who by the time she reads this will probably be quite hung over. But if you can't feel hung over the day after your birthday, then I don't know when you can.

Monday, March 22, 2004
All in all, it was a good weekend. My project won best documentary at the East Lansing Film Festival, despite the nasty comments of the local paper's reviewer, who can, with all due respect, kiss my well-toned ass. My brother drove in to hang out with me, and it was nice to have some family there when I won. Aside from that, I had some really good sushi, met some nice people, saw a cool documentary about Lustron houses, and bought a tshirt that reads, "Everyone loves a Jewish girl." Does it get any better?

Thursday, March 18, 2004
Went up to East Lansing last night to catch a screening of The Corporation. It's a documentary analyzing the make-up and habits of large corporations, and it got into things like privatization, environmental responsibilities, and media messages. It was a lot of the same side of the issue all at once, kind of like a lot of Michael Moore's work, and they did a good job of making the guys on the opposing side look like bumbling idiots, but ultimately, the film was really effective in getting across the message that large corporations are not accountable and, essentially, psychopaths. A lot of food for thought, at any rate. It's expected to have a somewhat wider release, and I'd recommend watching it.

In other news, I once heard someone say something like you haven't really arrived until you've gotten your first bad review. Well, I got mine today! The reviewers for the festival I'm in, however, managed to say something negative about every piece showing. So we've either all arrived, or the show really is crap. Either way, I guess I'll take the publicity.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Cups on the rack. A big reason for our trip to the Pittsburgh area was to visit the Homer Laughlin China outlet, which is about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh in Newell, WV. Homer Laughlin makes Fiesta dinnerware, and we wanted to do some shopping in the outlet's seconds room, where they put all the slightly imperfect pieces and sell them for really cheap prices. It's also related to my side project, and I had a little bit of business to take care of. We probably spent around three hours digging through crates and crates of dishes in the seconds room looking for stuff that was in relatively good shape, and we each managed to spend a decent amount of money and get all dusty and covered in dish dirt. But it was fun, and I took some snaps of the first quality ware in the outlet, like these teacups on the peg rack.

Monday, March 15, 2004
Iron city original. When we were in Pittsburgh, I insisted that we head over to the Strip district to the somewhat famous Primanti Brothers. You may have seen this place on the Food Network. They make these huge sloppy sandwiches with coleslaw and tomatoes and french fries all on the sandwich. It's kind of a mess to eat, and the fries could use more salt, if you ask me, but overall, the food is awesome. When I was in Pittsburgh over the summer, I had a Primanti's sandwich at PNC Park during a Pirates game, but the sandwiches at the location we went to were significantly bigger, sloppier, and all in all better.

After we gorged ourselves on fried cappicola and cheese sandwiches (with all that other stuff on top, remember), we decided that we needed to get some exercise, because my friend and I don't usually eat fried cappicola sandwiches, and they were kind of weighing us down. So we wandered around our labyrinth of a hotel until we found the pool and the hot tub. We did a few laps and then decided that swimming with a stomach full of fried cappicola was maybe not such a good idea. So we sat in the hot tub until we felt ready to pass out, found our way back to the room, and slept for a long long time.

Sunday, March 14, 2004
Pitt U. After working my ass off all winter, it was definitely time for a springtime road trip. Never mind that it was snowing and freezing outside -- I needed to go somewhere for a day or two. So, my friend and I took a fast trip to the Pittsburgh area, and I even got to drive a big ol' Excursion. We saw some people, did some shopping, ate some greasy food, stayed in a hotel with a square swimming pool and a kidney-shaped hot tub, and did a quick walk around my dad's old stomping grounds, the University of Pittsburgh. This is the Cathedral of Learning. It has a religious look to it (which is probably why it's the Cathedral of Learning, rather than University Building 9A), but apparently there are classrooms inside. Kind of a disappointment. More photos to follow this week.

Tuesday, March 9, 2004
Everything kind of slid into place today. I got a lot done, caught up on some phone calls that I've been putting off (I have a tendency to put off phone calls), and just generally felt pretty okay. Maybe it's all the dried fruit?

Monday, March 8, 2004
I bought a food dehydrator yesterday. I didn't get one of those overpriced Ronco jobs, opting instead for a generic model that was half as much. I decided I needed one because I've been eating a lot of dried fruit lately (for some reason, I'm concerned about my fiber intake as of late), but I don't like all the sulfur that it's preserved with. So I figured I could just dry my own. Now I'm in my "I have a new toy" mode, and every piece of produce in my house has dehydration potential. I did apples yesterday and they were really good! Now I've got a pineapple in there, and tomorrow I'm doing banana chips. And after that? Who knows! Peaches, maybe, or pears, or maybe I'll make my own raisins!

I also got a nice little set of Tupperware, of all things, in the mail from my favorite college pal. She's been having Tupperware parties, and I made fun of her for having Tupperware parties, and then she sent me some Tupperware. Usually I don't get presents when I make fun of people. But it's actually really nice Tupperware! For some reason, I remember Tupperware as nasty warped plastic with tomato sauce stains, so I never wanted to spend money on any. But they must have updated everything, because this is really solid, and I'll bet if you put some macaroni in one and pop it in the microwave, the tomato sauce wouldn't stain the container. Hell, maybe I'll have a Tupperware party one of these days. I wouldn't count on it, but you never know.

Sunday, March 7, 2004
So the other night I was at an Indian restaurant, and I wanted a drink. I was going to get a beer, but I glanced at the drink menu, and the words "Sloe Gin Fizz" stood out. For whatever reason, sloe gin fizzes always seemed kind of cool to me, in a glamorous '50s movie star on speed kind of way, and a few years ago a friend of a friend told me he thought they were cool too, so I had backup. And sloe gin fizzes just taste good, and I hadn't had one in a while, so I ordered one.

Now: I never thought sloe gin fizzes were a complicated drink. It's basically sloe gin, soda water, and some lemony stuff. So we were waiting for our drinks, and I looked over at the bar area of the restaurant, and I got an uneasy feeling when I saw the waiter open up a bartending guide (!) and then ask two of the other waiters something. After he studied the book for a few minutes and examined every bottle on the bar, he grabbed a bottle of Tanqueray. As you know, regular gin is not the same as sloe gin, and regular gin mixed with soda water and lemony stuff isn't nearly as glamorous. I didn't want to walk over and stop him from pouring out some Tanqueray, because I actually wasn't sure that it was my drink he was mixing. But, sure enough, it was. And you know, it wasn't bad with regular gin, but it sure as hell wasn't what I wanted.

In other news, our man Alton Brown (currently atop the list of favorite persons) was rushed to the hospital earlier this week from the set of Iron Chef America: Battle of the Masters with a nasty arrhythmia. We here at were very saddened by this news and are glad that Mr. Brown is now okay.

Saturday, March 6, 2004
I just got back from meeting with my accountant. I feel kind of silly saying that: "my accountant." But I decided that rather than stress over my taxes this year and try to figure out what I can and can't write off, I should just pay someone who knows what they're doing to take care of it for me. Anyway, he told me about all kinds of stuff to keep track of for future tax write-offs. Who knew I could write off movie tickets? How cool is that? And just driving around town, and maybe some of my utilities, and all kinds of other stuff. I should have found me an accountant a while ago!

I forgot to mention the other day that The Postal Service is on Sub Pop records. Sub Pop! Remember when that was cool? Now it's probably so uncool that it's kind of cool again in an indierock sort of way. Or maybe it's still uncool and their album is good anyway. See, these kinds of things confuse me.

Thursday, March 4, 2004
I know I'm catching on to them late, but over the weekend I picked up Give Up by The Postal Service, and it's been a while since I've enjoyed a new CD as much as I'm enjoying this one.

Tuesday, March 2, 2004
I dropped my car off this morning to have my hood replaced. (You may remember that a week or so ago, a big chunk of ice fell on my car and dented it up pretty good.) I've only had a car for three years, but I'm realizing how dependent I am on it. I used to walk to work every day, but now the idea kind of scares me, and I'm arranging rides for the next three days. I feel like such a wuss.

After I dropped off my car, I walked back to work and realized that I had two things on my back seat. Not important things, but things nonetheless. They were a roll of black duct tape and a lavender feather boa. The reasons I had these things in the back seat of my car were innocent: the tape, which is actually gaffer's tape, was for taping down cables for a presentation I had on Friday night, and the boa was from the same presentation; all of the women there got one. Still, I tried to imagine the laughs that the guys in the auto shop must have had from seeing these two items in the back of a young female's car.

Monday, March 1, 2004
Had a fairly relaxing weekend with my brother in the endless big box and concrete sprawl of the Chicago suburbs. Highlights included getting a chiropractic adjustment (crackin' good!), lots of shopping, eating a lobster, and sleeping late.

I also saw The Passion of the Christ, and it was fucking disgusting. For the life of me, I can't understand why this level of violence was necessary. I was completely horrified, and about halfway through I really thought I was going to puke up my dinner. I walked out of the theatre to find the bathroom, and everything went kind of dark and liquid, like suddenly the floor and popcorn counter and stuffed animal cranes were under a giant lake. I sat down on the nasty carpeting to keep myself from passing out, and collected myself for fifteen minutes before I went back in and kept my head lowered for the rest of the movie.

I usually don't mind the typical Hollywood violent movies (see anything directed by Tarrantino), but the violence in this movie was just so obscene and excessive and gratuitous that I couldn't stomach it. There was almost nothing in the way of narrative or background story either -- boiled down, it's a guy getting the very life flogged out of him for over two hours. And the more I think about it, what really bothers me about the movie is that the people who cry out against violence in movies and television and who clamor for more family-oriented entertainment are the same people who are embracing The Passion of the Christ, violence and all. I'm not Christian, so I can't directly relate to the religious aspect, but I do know that I wouldn't want to watch a movie about the Holocaust that was all slaughter and no story.

My recommendation is that you not see this movie and for the love of all things you think are holy, do not take kids to see it. I don't think I'm emotionally mature enough to handle it -- I can only imagine the years of therapy that the nine-year-olds in the theatre with us will need as a result of seeing this kind of brutality. No, I didn't really get any of the anti-Semitism feelings that the media has been hyping, but I do think that if you tend to have a bad reaction to seeing realistic pain and violence (which is, in my opinion healthy), that you'll maybe want to go see something else.

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