Friday, October 20, 2006

I Heart NY

i had a handful of days i had to take off by october 1st, lest i lose them to the rolling cogs and cranks of the paid vacation machine. i could afford a couple of discount plane tickets, but not hotel accomadations, so... i went a-visiting. trips are always cheaper when you couch surf! i actually spent 4 days in san francisco first, but i don't have any pictures from that trip yet (eric promises they're in the mail), so new york gets to be immortalized in blog-form before the foggy city. unfortunately, i wasn't feeling very trigger-happy in the big apple, and the pictures i did take came out weird and blurry for the most part. (note to self: must re-aquaint self with camera. read self's camera manual.) anyway, i'll incude the ones i messed around in photoshop enough to satisfy my need to attempt to fix unfixable images.


by the time i got in, my jet-setting german friends bianca and gerrit had already been seeing the sights for a few days, so i didn't end up getting in much touristy-type action. we did walk through central park, however. we also partook in lots and lots of delicious junk food. here they are, sharing a yummy central park hot dog (with a dash of cliché). and here they are again, soaking in the ambiance at a divey cafe near the park in madison square (after we ate amazing burgers at the shake shack):


jen was nice enough to put me up in her tiny but welcoming studio. she's attending columbia medical, but still managed to find time to play soccer on a women's league (her team is associated with an irish pub. quite the bunch of heavily-accented characters), as well as other athletic-type activities. honestly, she puts me to shame. i got to accompany her to a game. i got tired just watching her run around.

i also managed to meet up with an old face from my year in bordeaux, jason chau. speaking of friends who put me to shame, this guy not only spent a few years in niger with the peace corps, but also went on to work in pakistan with amnesty international. he acted as an adviser to PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF. that's right, this guy. jason also, bizarrely, acted as ben kingsley's guide while he was in the area (doing research for a documentary... i think?). here's a surreal photo of jason with musharraf, kingsley, and some other various important people i don't recognize:



coincidentally, jen and i watched the good general's interview with jon stewart on the daily show website the night before i hung out with jason. it's pretty hilarious. in any case, it was great to see him again. he's done a lot of learning, etc, but he's still got the same sarcastic charm he always had. we went to see "The science of sleep," which i highly recommend. it left me in an otherworldly state of mind, which became all the more magnified as i watched the fraggle-like underground construction in the subway tunnels on the way back to jen's place. here's a couple more shots of jason and i hanging out in the subway. we are SO new york:



here's to the hope that my next visit will be longer. as it was, i had just enough time to really understand what the term "new york minute" means. alas.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Soapbox Antics


i had the pleasure of witnessing the spectacle of the pdx soapbox derby this year. my coworker zach helps organize the event, and he was nice enough to hire me to do the above logo. i can steal design with the best of them!

and, speaking of the best of them, some of my portland nearest and dearest turned out for the fun as well. they were all wearing their most ecstatic facial expressions. can i hear a roll call??

ruth!

isaac!

demo!

brody!

etta!

lyndsay and brandon!

allen and girl i only met once!

david hasslehoff!

rude skater kids!

random goth punk guy!

and me!

yes. i am one of my own nearest and dearest. shut up.

ahem.

the excitement was palpable. who would win?? would it be...

satan claus?

the crazy engineer?

the mail order brides?

batman?

chariot guy?

or perhaps, my personal favorite... the cubicle workers?? (they had a functioning drinking fountain!!)

... or could it be one of the many soapbox teams we missed seeing because we slept in too late and showed up in the middle of the second round???!!

i actually have no idea. we left early. but not before we got to witness the gory after effects of the bath tub betties' full-speed crash:


ouch. not to worry. they were supplied with plenty of alcohol to disinfect their wounds (and numb the pain). good times. good times.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Serious Sex Stuff

hello gentle reader. so, it's been a long time since the good head came back. i won't make excuses. i have a handful of posts i want to get to in the next few days, but to get the ball rolling, i'm going to copy and paste a response i wrote to a bulletin my sister posted on myspace. the article it refers to is pasted at the end of my response, so it might make more sense to read that first. i realize this is more serious than i usually get on here, but i thought a lot about what i wrote, and i figured i may as well record it for posterity. (and maybe start some sort of dialogue?) i promise to go back to being ridiculous in my next post. i realize some of my opinions are far from popular, and i welcome the input of anyone who cares to share how they feel about the subjects brought up. i may be more in the dark than i realize. anyway, here you go:

this is an interesting article, eva, with a lot of thought-provoking points, but i think (particularly in the particular case it is referring to), it is rather misguided. from what the media has told us (which, admittedly, is rarely enough to form an educated opinion) it would seem that the man who attacked the amish school was not so much suffering from issues of misogyny as issues of pedophilia. he made the adult female teachers leave the building (along with the male students), and kept only the female children hostage. he is said to have been wracked with guilt for his previous act of molesting young girls, among other traumatic issues. this case could be more accurately compared to the tragic and numerous cover-ups of child molestation in the catholic church than it could be to hate crimes towards (adult) women. just as a man molesting a young boy should not be compared to homosexuality (wherein both partners are consenting adults), a man molesting young girls should not be equated with issues dealing with heterosexual sexuality. pedophilia is it's own issue, and should be treated as such.

i believe that we, as a society, need to take a hard look at how we handle the issue of pedophilia. there are no childhood/adolescent programs to teach young people what to do if they are worried that they may be experiencing signs of this type of behavior. we have programs for anger management, we talk openly about the problems of violence, drugs, gangs, cigarettes, alcoholism, etc with our youth... and we have (albeit, substandard) sex education classes in public schools, but the only advice we ever give kids about pedophilia is "if a grown-up touches you, tell a teacher or your parents."

the sad truth is, pedophiles start out as kids themselves. they start having sexual urges towards younger children when they go through adolescence. by the time they are adults who have been fighting (or, even worse, giving in to) these urges for years and years, it is very likely too late for therapy to effectively change their behavior. sexual urges are among the strongest of human impulses, and become hardwired in the brain at an early age. from what we've been told, the man who committed the amish school slayings was wracked with guilt about what he had done years before, and he knew what he was going to do was also terrible thing, but he felt he was helpless to stop himself. maybe, if he had gotten therapy immediately after (or even better, before) the first time he acted on his urges (when he was 12 years old), his life and the lives of his victims could have been dramatically different. instead, pedophilia is so demonized that people who have these feelings have no where to go, and no one to tell. their lives would be instantly ruined if they confessed the mental issues they were struggling with. i'm certainly not saying that pedophiles should be treated lightly. as i said, i think it is very unlikely that a person who has had sexual urges towards children their whole life can be effectively "cured" of these issues and thus he/she poses a real threat to society. but i do believe that we are doing almost nothing to deal with the root of the problem.

as for lumping sexually suggestive commercials, hard-core porn, gangsa rap, video games, and fashion into the same the-world-against-women industry... well, i've got to take issue with that, too. i'm not saying that i haven't been offended by a small portion of each of these categories, but what is this article suggesting? that we should censor all of these things? there are other countries that do censor these things, and very strictly so. they don't show sexualized images of women on tv. they don't allow porn or lots of kinds of music. they ban sexually suggestive games and clothing. they also make women wear burkas and don't let them leave the house without a male family member as an escort. they kill women who are raped (and yes, they are still raped) because of the shame it brings on the family. women aren't allowed to be educated or independent or hold important jobs. i don't see how censorship is going to help the situation in the U.S.

i'd like to add (although many feminists would probably disagree with me) that i don't believe pornography and prostitution are inherently misogynistic. sexuality is a complex, crazy thing. some people (women too) like to fantasize about things they wouldn't want to experience in real life. i've talked to girls who have rape/bdsm fantasies that they are ashamed of, because they think that playing a submissive role in their sex lives is inherently antifeminist, when in fact lots of independent/strong people – men too – tend to like this kind of role reversal in bed. it's a role they don't play in their everyday lives, which can make it exciting and taboo to explore with a dominant partner. the fact is, there's all kinds of porn. there's porn for every sexual taste out there. now, i'm not saying that snuff films or porn in which people are actually being hurt against their will (or they are too young to legally consent) should be tolerated... but for the most part, it's fantasy. maybe some of the women who appear in porn would have chosen to do something else as a career if they had higher self esteems and better education, but i've read interviews with some porn stars (and escorts/strippers/other sex industry workers) who say they love their jobs. for some, it's the best means they have to support their families and have a flexible enough schedule to spend time with their kids. if we're really concerned with the welfare of women (and men) in the sex industry, then prostitution should be legalized and regulated. if we don't like "pimp culture," we should provide a safe and healthy environment for prostitution to occur, so that women wouldn't need to depend on men that may take advantage of them and treat them unfairly for protection... because just like abortion, it's not a choice as to whether prostitution exists or not. it is only a choice of how it exists.

i do, of course, agree that there is rampant sexism and misogyny in the u.s. media and in society as a whole, but i think the real answer is education. women need to be shown, from childhood, that they are worthy of respect and love from men and from each other, and men need to be taught that women are their social and sexual equals. people need to be taught that sexuality isn't something to be ashamed of, as long as it's between consenting adults. well educated people will recognize unfair and unhealthy images of women (and men) in the media, and they will reject them.

oh, and the "it's hard out here for a pimp" song is a personal favorite. in context of the film (hustle and flow), it works to emphasize the culture and experience of the character who writes it, and the film goes on to paint some of the most realistic, sympathetic and human portraits of female prostitute characters i have seen in modern film.

love. yer sis

* * * * *

Why Aren't We Shocked?
By BOB HERBERT
October 16th, 2006
NY Times Select

"Who needs a brain when you have these?"
--message on an Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt for young women


In the recent shootings at an Amish schoolhouse in rural Pennsylvania and a large public high school in Colorado, the killers went out of their way to separate the girls from the boys, and then deliberately attacked only the girls.

Ten girls were shot and five killed at the Amish school. One girl was killed and a number of others were molested in the Colorado attack.

In the widespread coverage that followed these crimes, very little was made of the fact that only girls were targeted. Imagine if a gunman had gone into a school, separated the kids up on the basis of race or religion, and then shot only the black kids. Or only the white kids. Or only the Jews.

There would have been thunderous outrage. The country would have first recoiled in horror, and then mobilized in an effort to eradicate that kind of murderous bigotry. There would have been calls for action and reflection. And the attack would have been seen for what it really was: a hate crime.

None of that occurred because these were just girls, and we have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that violence against females is more or less to be expected. Stories about the rape, murder and mutilation of women and girls are staples of the news, as familiar to us as weather forecasts. The startling aspect of the Pennsylvania attack was that this terrible thing happened at a school in Amish country, not that it happened to girls.

The disrespectful, degrading, contemptuous treatment of women is so pervasive and so mainstream that it has just about lost its ability to shock. Guys at sporting events and other public venues have shown no qualms about raising an insistent chant to nearby women to show their breasts. An ad for a major long-distance telephone carrier shows three apparently naked women holding a billing statement from a competitor. The text asks, "When was the last time you got screwed?"

An ad for Clinique moisturizing lotion shows a woman's face with the lotion spattered across it to simulate the climactic shot of a porn video.

We have a problem. Staggering amounts of violence are unleashed on women every day, and there is no escaping the fact that in the most sensational stories, large segments of the population are titillated by that violence. We've been watching the sexualized image of the murdered 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey for 10 years. JonBenet is dead. Her mother is dead. And we're still watching the video of this poor child prancing in lipstick and high heels.

What have we learned since then? That there's big money to be made from thongs, spandex tops and sexy makeovers for little girls. In a misogynistic culture, it's never too early to drill into the minds of girls that what really matters is their appearance and their ability to please men sexually.

A girl or woman is sexually assaulted every couple of minutes or so in the U.S. The number of seriously battered wives and girlfriends is far beyond the ability of any agency to count. We're all implicated in this carnage because the relentless violence against women and girls is linked at its core to the wider society's casual willingness to dehumanize women and girls, to see them first and foremost as sexual vessels - objects - and never, ever as the equals of men.

"Once you dehumanize somebody, everything is possible," said Taina Bien-Aimé, executive director of the women's advocacy group Equality Now.

That was never clearer than in some of the extreme forms of pornography that have spread like nuclear waste across mainstream America. Forget the embarrassed, inhibited raincoat crowd of the old days. Now Mr. Solid Citizen can come home, log on to this $7 billion mega-industry and get his kicks watching real women being beaten and sexually assaulted on Web sites with names like "Ravished Bride" and "Rough Sex: Where Whores Get Owned."

Then, of course, there's gangsta rap, and the video games where the players themselves get to maul and molest women, the rise of pimp culture (the Academy Award-winning song this year was "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp"), and on and on.

You're deluded if you think this is all about fun and games. It's all part of a devastating continuum of misogyny that at its farthest extreme touches down in places like the one-room Amish schoolhouse in normally quiet Nickel Mines, Pa.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Good Head is Back

as evidenced by this lovely set of pictures, i am feeling better about the world and my place in it. (they were only 20 cents... and worth every penny.) brody and i made them with a machine at the nickel arcade sunday evening. we went out for some late-night (open until midnight!) video game action with mike shelley and luke (in town from san francisco for a conference – yay!). i blasted a whole lot of endangered sea creatures into oblivion, thus gaining piles of treasure, and then crashed some cars. it was very therapeutic. plus, brody and i combined our skee-ball and nickel-bowling ticket winnings and got a sweet keyboard-with-microphone-attached. i think we should start a band wherein i play/yell into that, and he plays his upright bass. it will be wicked awesome. we will be called "Stand Up and Shout," and Dio will sue us when we make wads of cash.


thanks, guys, for cheering me up. particularly my main squeeze, who is so nice that he only kind of pretends not to know me when it looks like i peed my pants:

Friday, August 18, 2006

Two-Headed Monster: The Bad Head


ok, so i'm in a crummy mood. i've sort of been in a funk since tuesday and i thought it was because i had been drinking more caffeine than i should, but i cut that out, and i'm still in a funk. so this is going to be a grumpy, complainy post. so there.

here are the things my lame-o brain has decided i'm grumpy about:
• i didn't want to go to work today.
• when i got there, it turned out half of editorial was going to see snakes on a plane, and ezra was going with them, but i couldn't because my boss was coming in late and i could, thus, not ask her if it was cool if i bailed.
• then there was nothing to do all morning.
• we went to beulaland for lunch, and it turns out they are under the impression that bleu cheese dressing consists of nothing but mayonnaise with the occasional giant bleu cheese chunk. plus, they didn't have bbq sauce, which is a pub-food cardinal sin.
• ok, so mike shelley came over to watch some buffy with me wednesday night, and the musical episode was on (once more with feeling), and 3 of my housemates sat down to watch it with us, and then proceeded to comment very loudly about how much it sucked. now, i don't particularly care if people like the same shows/movies i like, but i certainly don't want to hear about it while they're watching them (uninvited) with me. especially since i've witnessed changes of heart in so many shit-talkers who now consider themselves fans. i told them to shut up for get out, of which they did neither. i should evict them on those grounds alone.
• fences cost too much.
• zach kind of hates me.
• a coworker is trying to low-ball me with a freelance job i'm doing for him... and he's trying to be sly about it. but i'm not dumb, and it annoys me more that he would assume i am than the whole money thing does.
• ezra and some guy talked about the softball team, and the guy kept talking about "having" to play girls on the field, and he's a sexist jerk.
• i hate being in a bad mood. it makes me feel ugly.

did you see that?? my brain thinks i'm in a bad mood because i hate being in a bad mood! that is illogical reasoning! i need to crawl into bed with a cup of cocoa and a copy of bust magazine.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Get a Room



brody and i made out in the background at a photo shoot (at demo's request) for the cover of the mercury this week. i was under the impression that we were going for a seedy, passionate look, but it turned out pretty cutesy instead. it's supposed to be taking place at three in the morning, but was really taken at 5pm, when the sun was still in full effect. the photographer (Angela Cash) did a great job with the lighting, etc. now i'm just waiting for all the modeling agents to start calling. don't worry - i won't forget the little people when i'm a strung-out fashion icon.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Surrounded by Family


as little jessiah here (one of 11 siblings, soon to be 12) knows all too well, it can be trying at times to be surrounded by one's relatives. unlike our friends and partners, we don't get to choose our family. they just are who they are... it's the luck of the draw. i am happy to say that i am luckier than most, and much much luckier than some. despite differences the size and depth of the grand canyon, the majority of my extended family manages to get along well enough to enjoy the time we share together. while it would be easy to take a joking jab or two at a cousin here or there, i decided instead to just say thanks. thanks for the foundation of tolerance and understanding the "grand" and "great-grand" generations built for us, and thanks for all the effort the subsequent generations have made to keep that spirit alive.

that's me, in the dumb hat. trust me, no one wants to see my hair after 3 days of camping:


and yes, people really do make those silly family reunion t-shirts.

ruthie and thya discover that sharing dirt-covered stuffed animals is, apparently, pretty fun:



babies, babies, babies. brody thinks they're contagious. if they are, we're in a big tub of trouble. meanwhile, molly learns to drive a car:


caden learns to drive a boat:


...and thya attempts to escape the paparazzi:



my cousin serapio has posted some images that captured the reunion spirit quite well, i think. here are a couple of my favorites:

the camp fire:


the sunset cruise:


and look! proof that brody kicked with the carrolls... and got terrifyingly close to a baby.


ok, i'm really ending this post now. really. for real.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Farkles Family Reunion


tonight i pack for the family reunion. i'll be in tahoe enjoying the company of my dad's side of the family from wednesday night until sunday. they're quite the eclectic mix of religious/social/moral beliefs, so at the least it should be interesting to eaves drop on random conversations. brody has (bravely) agreed to come along. mike filtz and his family are, coincidentally, going to be there at the same time. if all goes well, hilarity will ensue.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I Smell a Rat


it smells mildly of dead rat by my desk. my subsequent displeasure is compounded by the fact that most of my coworkers lack a quality sense of smell, and think i am making it up. thus, nothing is being done. i already tore apart my area looking for the moldering culprit (more likely a mouse, actually), but to no avail. so the odor remains. gross.

while we're on the subject of rats, i was surprised to see this on the cover of the *other* portland weekly paper, the willmette week:


apparently, the photographer (riding by on a boat, equipped with a telephoto lens) has declared my friends vanj (background), brian (left), and corey (center) to be the poster children of river rat-dom. now granted, to the untrained eye, one may think they fit the stereotype – but these are no gresham hillbillies out to drunkenly hit on teenage girls and idiotically jump off of bridges head-first into the shallow waters of the sandy river. if one only takes the time to look closely (much like one of those "what's different about this picture" comparisons in highlights magazine), it is easy to observe the subtle contradictions.

note:
1) they are drinking sparks (admittedly un-classy, but in a self-consciously hip way – unlike, say, smirnoff ice, or bartles and james).
2) brian is sticking out his belly to create the semblance of beer gut (being a bike-riding militant vegan who works on an organic farm, he is lacking in this department).
3) corey is trying not to laugh through his defiant facial expression. (although it would appear that he does, quite literally, possess a red neck.)
4) brian is wearing vanj's pink short-shorts under his pants (not exactly standard garb for a testosterone-drenched, redneck youth).
5) vanj is not a teenage girl... and doesn't drink, although i guess said photographer couldn't have known either of those things just by looking.
6) corey's board shorts are the epitome of chic, mature swim wear.

did you notice the ironic tone of that last one? that's what they're going for here. ironic tastelessness. and may i say, they wear it well. another thing of which the photographer failed to take note was that whole law about asking one's permission to print one's photo on the cover of a widely distributed newspaper. who's lacking in social graces now, big shot?? vanj has decided to sue immediately, seeking restitution in the form of 400 ham tubes and a lifetime supply of soynog. good luck finding soynog in the middle of summer, bucko!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Multiple Potentials


recent developments have made me realize that the trip i hoped to take to recife, brazil (to visit my fabulous cousin caedmonstia) in february may not be able to happen. aside from the lingering fact that said cuz may not be able to hold onto her visa until then, there is now the problem of super high airfare prices (a ticket to recife currently goes for about $3000), caused by the projected leap in gas prices, in turn caused by the worsening turmoil in the middle east (namely israel bombing the hell out of lebanon). thus, i am saddened by these developments for many reasons.

but enough about being bummed. i am beginning to brainstorm some options for other, more plausible, epic journeys. i still plan to take about ten days off of work in february, and i want to make the most of my vacation, somehow, even if recife proves to be out of reach. it will be during the last stretch of a long, cold, dreary portland winter, so i want to go somewhere i can get a sunburn to flaunt in front of my pasty-faced friends when i get home. here are some ideas i've come up with, trying to keep in mind that gas prices could make driving hard on the budget as well:

• backpacking trip (maybe a train ride there?)
• epic (for me) biking journey (ditto on the train)
• camping (in mexico, maybe?)
• motorcycle trip (hey - this is brainstorming, anything goes)
• going to a tanning booth every day for ten days and coming home to crank up the heater to 85 degrees so i can don my bikini and sit in a wading pool in the living room and sip mai tais while watching the second season of "lost."
• buying a donkey and riding it around to visit everyone in california.

ok, i can probably rule that last one out. i hear even donkeys run on gas in california. but seriously, i wanted to ask if anyone has done any of these things, or has any advice about trying to do any of these things, or has any better ideas about what i should do on my vacation. i know it's not happening for a while, but if i do decide to do something that requires some major planning ahead (training on my bike, getting a motorcycle license, etc), i want to be prepared.

speaking of sunburns, it's supposed to be 105 degrees in portland this sunday. wtf?? didn't us fresnans move here to get away from that ridiculousness? so... who wants to go to the river? i've got floatation devices, if you wanna help pitch in for gas. (le sigh.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Happy Stuff

apparently no one liked my last post (i was told it was depressing old news), so here are some pictures that are happy old news instead. back to the subject of... ME. and MY BIRTHDAY. which happened THREE MONTHS AGO. so there.


this is johnny punchclock. they played songs in my dining room. they were fabulous. and they sang about happy things like alcoholism and heartbreak. also pictured is the back of vanj. she has a helluva back.


someone was so excited about the band that they etchaskethed their name. nice.


here are ruth and will at my birthday party. ruth and will are my housemates. i am happy they are my housemates. they are happy people. sometimes ruth tells you not to worry about trivial things, because in the end, you are going to die alone. she helps put things in perspective like that.


...and this is a puppy shopping for bones. it has nothing to do with my birthday, but it is happy. because, you know, puppies like shopping.

and they lived happily ever after.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Feeling Testy


i don't get it.

how does *not* giving money to public education make public education better? wasn't the whole problem that public education wasn't getting enough money? aren't teachers terribly underpaid, and resources outdated? aren't schools crowded? that's how i remember it, and i went to a well-funded high school. it won all kinds of "best-test-takers-ever" awards, and we were still out hocking candy bars door to door to pay for field trips and band uniforms. maybe that's why i hear stories about members of the military being stranded in some highly volatile war zone without proper body armor. maybe, even though all these public funds are being diverted toward the war, and the prez keeps asking for a bigger budget, maybe they've been giving the army personnel standardized tests on scantron sheets, and their scores just aren't measuring up. maybe the federal government thinks that having to hold a few desert bake sales in order to buy those bullets they're running out of will teach them not to take their oval-coloring-inning duties so lightly. just like, maybe those inner-city teachers in LA should quit worrying so much about their students getting stabbed on the playground or being sent to school without the means to eat lunch. they should quit worrying about the lack of art and music programs, or any after school activities that might inspire kids to do great things with their lives, and maybe even get interested in their educations. they should concentrate, instead, on teaching their students the importance of using only a number 2 pencil. i know my standardized test-taking skills have served me well throughout the years. i use them every day. when my coworker asks me where we should go for lunch, and lists off several choices, i say "choice B"... and i am always right.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Food for Thought


while making art in college, i harbored a strong affinity for the concept of sculpture. it is so open. so undefined. what i'm saying is, when someone tells you they're a painter or a photographer your brain immediately pictures what that means. you know what a painting looks like. no matter how big or small, sloppy or precise, all paintings fit into a basic general description. your brain has no trouble wrapping itself around the concept of a painting. same for a photograph. but a sculpture... sculpture could be *anything.* all that defines it is its three-dimentionality, and even that line can be blurred at times. any "thing" you decide should exist, you make it - and it is art. and it can really EXIST, too. it is not necessarily just a representation (although it can be, if you want). a urinal turned on its back? art. a dead shark in a tank of formaldehyde? art. a four story chia pet dog? little breathing machines under a blanket that look like cute things sleeping? a box of matches on which there are written instructions to use the matches it contains to burn all the art you can, and then use the last one to burn the matchbox itself? art! not that it is guaranteed to be good art, but it is art nonetheless. the sky is the limit, as they say. this was a very freeing idea for a 19-year-old who was already feeling stifled by the words "Cliche" and "Imitation" – two words frequently wielded (like cruel samurai swords of doom) by art class TAs. the breezy concept of sculpture made breaking out of the box much more intuitive.

why am i writing about this now, you ask? because i concluded today (while chowing down on vanj's mouth-watering french toast and slurping contentedly on a mix of orange juice and sparkling cider... at half past noon), that brunch is the equivalent of sculpture in the meal spectrum. now stay with me. the basic definition of brunch is "a meal which acts as both breakfast and lunch." but through my experience, even that line can be blurred. you can serve anything you want! everything you want, in fact. you want a burrito and a pancake and a peanut butter and banana sandwich and some chili fried with eggs and a yogurt parfait? brunch! you can drink anything you want, too. juice, coffee, soda, water, beer, mixed cocktails... brunch says go for it! and you can start eating at seven in the morning or three in the afternoon. i say, as long as it's the first official meal of the day, it fits in the definition. and that doesn't even have to be true for everyone at the table! brunch is an event. it is recognized by everyone as a reason to rejoice, if not - dare i say it - a raison d'etre. it is the meal outside of the box. it is the only good reason to get up on a sunday... but if you sleep in, don't worry! brunch is waiting!

brunch, i salute you.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Sweet Abandon

these pictures are a tad old now, but i was looking at them in iphoto and thought the comparison was worth noting.


here is my fabulous housemate ruth, pictured with (and gesturing enthusiastically toward) the cake she made for my birthday. it is impeccably decorated. if you're having trouble reading the tastefully flowing lasso cursive, it reads "Have a Wonderful Birthday"... and then there's WONDER WOMAN on it. get it?! brilliant. she is a diamond in the rough that is our household.

well, brody's birthday came along not long after, and i told him i would bake him a cake, but i am a sad excuse for a girlfriend, as he ended up sort of baking his own cake... but it was at my house! AND i decorated it. ruth helped, as did baker man brody. here he is adding some sugary touches:


and here is the final product:


what, you may ask, happened to the quality control?? i mean, the concept (a frenzied shark, swimming amongst disembodied limbs, with blood spelling out "Brody Ahhh...") is, admittedly, genius. only wonder woman is a better idea. this cake speaks volumes about the finer points of brody's personality. but the execution is, well, let's be honest... drunken chimps could have drawn a better shark (i take full responsibility). i think i may need to practice my cake decorating skills. and to that end, i must demand that brody makes me several cakes a week until they are honed to my satisfaction.

that is all.