Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lovely day

If memory serves, that's the title of a Front 242 song... anyway, it has been a nice weekend for me here in Santa Monica. Went to an outstanding yoga class this morning with a long meditation at the end - I don't know what she did, but it was amazing. I walked out feeling like I did after my reiki session last year. Picked up some necessities at the garden center (everyone needs hyssop!) and walked over to the farmers market. Bought some peaches, green beans and asparagus; went into Old Navy to use the bathroom and walked out with a couple of cheap dresses. Went to the library and got "Song of Kali" by Dan Simmons and "The Warden" by Anthony Trollope. They were the two I was looking for, they were both checked in, and they both turned out to be much smaller than I expected, which was great news for my increasingly heavy shopping bag.

Then walked home, got in the car and drove to Malibu Lagoon State Park, which was just beautiful. I missed the turn-in and ended up parking by Surfrider Beach, a fairly nifty sight as well. You cannot swim or even wade in the ocean at Surfrider. It is all for the surfers. Although there were plenty of people on the sand as well. I walked from there to the lagoon and back, and had a lovely time. More pictures on my Flickr page.

On the way home I got a flat tire and called Triple A. When does my membership expire? Tomorrow. They were there in 20 minutes - I had it mostly done but they helped me get the lug nuts off and busted out their much nicer jack. And they recommended a place to get a new tire. Where is it? Two blocks from my house.

The day felt rather charmed, I must say. Art Boy did not particularly care for the green beans, but one cannot have everything. Settling down with "Song of Kali" and a belly full of asparagus.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Cloudy morning/afternoon. Art Boy home and off to work. On today's list: Fix seat of beautiful new bike, make chicken curry, go to flamenco. Short list. Time for a nap perhaps? Mmph.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Thanks, Bettie!

My summer swimsuit arrived today from the lovely people at It is always a long shot mail-ordering swimwear, especially from a company that designs vintage-style clothes for, ah, curvy ladies. But the Bettie One Piece fits my surfboard body like a glove. It's super comfortable and meets my exacting coverage standards, so I feel comfortable in it. Is there anything Bettie Page can't do, even extremely indirectly?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Art Boy out

As he has mentioned over at his site, Art Boy is going home to eat some horrible food and see some lovely people. I will be working over the holiday weekend, and probably also watching unimproving movies, eating avocadoes with a spoon, and biting my toenails. Am looking forward to it.

Not much else to report. Couple of sundews are putting up flower stalks. I was going to take pictures this morning, but wouldn't you know, the sun went and came out on me.


Art Boy and I have taken to addressing all the cats as "Mumbles." For some reason I find this endlessly hilarious. It has a nice cumulative effect - I'll say "Hi, Mumbles" without thinking when Stasia jumps on the couch, and then look to see her giving me a withering glare. Some friends pointed out that it also makes the cats sound like gangsters. Try it on your pet today.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Postcards from Fangoria

My weekend (or what is a weekend to normal people; my Saturday and Sunday afternoons before work, and my Friday night after work) was largely spent at the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors convention in scenic Burbank. Oh gosh, people, it was neat. Fetching goths, beautiful makeup, random freebies, a T-shirt for sale with the face of Tom Atkins, models pretending to reenact scenes from "Hostel Part II" and "Fido" ... it was neat.

Some of the booths I patronized...
Haunted House Productions: Some lovely gothic/gory figurines. The usual stuff - bats, skulls - but nicely done.

Curioddities: Crafty goth, with many products based on cute/creepy black-and-white line drawings. I bought a T-shirt of the tiny Dracula with a big head. Adorable.

Lurker Films: Some nice Lovecraft people, responsible for the HPL Film Festival and also the new Zompire - The Undead Film Festival. If Prombie happens I may have to invite them.

Got to see Eli Roth do a panel on Hostel II. I'm not particularly interested in the movie but it was nice to see Eli and hear his great David Lynch imitation. He promises more Rotten Fruit cartoons in the future. Art Boy and I also saw Neil Marshall, director of The Descent, talk about his new movie, Doomsday. It sounds very 28 Days Later, which is probably not a bad thing. Someone in the audience asked him a great question about the role of gender in his movies - Dog Soldiers is a very guy movie; The Descent is all female - but he just sounded confused and said something like "I didn't set out to make a gender statement." Whatever. He was probably just being all delicate and politic, afraid of being misquoted; I bet if you asked him about it over beers he'd say something smart.

I also accidentally elbowed Voltaire in the ribs; shook hands with original Michael Myers actor Tony Moran (my God, does everyone but me have a MySpace page?); and stared shyly at the Ladies of the Evil Dead from across the room, unable to speak, but they were beautiful.

I also reprimanded a stocky male goth for surreptitiously photographing the posterior of a woman in a zombie-stripper costume with thong. And finally, while walking past a booth labeled "AUTOPSY," I was told by its proprietor: "It's so nice to see a normal person."

Friday, May 18, 2007

RIP Lloyd Alexander, 1924-2007

Alas. I'm afraid I did not even know he was still alive, but he was still writing children's books at 83. Lloyd Alexander wrote "The Chronicles of Prydain," a series of five* books following young farm boy Taran, who goes from Assistant Pig-Keeper to High King. Based in Welsh mythology, they feel epic and down to earth at the same time - the characters have swordfights and cope with magic, but they also bicker among themselves and complain about having to sleep on the ground. They hold up beautifully for adult readers, so I highly recommend trying them out. (Start with "The Book of Three.") Prydain was mapped out in my head before Narnia, before Middle-earth. I wish Mr. Alexander a safe journey to the Summer Country.

His publisher's obit is here.

*There's a sixth book, "The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain," but I feel this is more of a glorified appendix.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Borage martini

I promised myself one of these when the borage finally bloomed, which happened this week. And the damn thing is gigantic: it towers over the tomato it shares a pot with. I'm transplanting it out tomorrow.

The martini is just Hendricks gin with the usual splash of vermouth and borage flowers floated on top. They're just pretty. They're also edible so you can eat gin-soaked slightly cucumbery flowers. It's all kind of pointless but fun, a nice complement to the martini's ruthless qualities.

And of course it is gripped in my red floor-scrubbing soil-loading nail-bitten paw. Dr. Brian, we need some new hand models pronto...

'Jericho' update

The show has been CANCELED! HA! Take that, Art Boy!

No word on "Blind Justice." We're something like three weeks behind on "Lost." This may necessitate a marathon tonight, although Art Boy thoughtfully Netflicked "The Notorious Bettie Page" for me and I really want to watch that.

Right. Farmers market. I'm off.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Iron & Bone Tour

Yesterday I went tromping off in my car in the extreme heat to find Mystery Bookstore in Westwood Village, where authors Cassandra Clare and Holly Black were doing a joint signing. (And if those are their real names, my name is Emma Blackwood.)

Anyway, my expectations were fairly low based on my previous book-signing adventures. Readers may remember my three-hour adventure waiting for Lemony Snicket and finally giving up, and my entirely unsuccessful attempt to meet Bruce Campbell on my dinner break. I got there an hour early, and the bookstore was empty except for a gentleman (who turned out to be Cassandra's dad) talking to the proprietor. "Do you expect a big crowd?" I asked the proprietor, and she grinned and said "No." So I went across the street, had a drink and talked to Robin. An hour later I came back and found a respectable little crowd of maybe two dozen, all of whom were much younger than I am, bless their darling little hearts. Holly and Cassandra were introducing each other - their give and take was very cute. They took an audience poll: "Zombies or unicorns?" Of course I went with zombies, but the overwhelmingly female crowd went with unicorns. "They have a giant sword right on their heads!" enthused Holly. Cassandra gave her a look.

After their talk, they read, and then they signed, writing beautiful notes to Emma inside my copies of "Ironside" and "City of Bones." I had not expected to get to talk to them, so I had thought of nothing to say except to tell Cassandra how much I loved the Very Secret Diaries. She was very gracious. I probably looked like somebody's mom to her.

If any Cincinnatians are interested -- oh, hell, Kelly, they'll be at Joseph-Beth a week from Thursday at 7 p.m. You'd love them; they're hilarious. And they attract fun people: I was complimented on my "Save Ginny!" shirt by a cute girl who said she & her friends used to sing "Save Ginny Weasley From The Basilisk" in their high school cafeteria. She actually poked her friend and said "Look at that shirt!" when she saw it, which was enormously gratifying to this tired old nerd.

And "City of Bones" is pretty damn good. I just started "Ironside" last night.

Monday, May 07, 2007

What now? Looking back at Sassy

Actually, I was going to write a nice nostalgic post about Sassy today and how there's a new book out about it, but today it is smashingly gorgeous out, I'm just back from the garden center, and I have two hours to put these plants in & enjoy the day before heading to work. So, in sum: Sassy kicked ass. Here is a business article about it. Here is its Wikipedia page. Here is Marjorie Ingall's parenting column in the Forward, which I love even though I am a childless shiksa. I may fill this out later, but the lobelia is calling me. Sassy would want it this way, I feel sure.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Happy Cinco de Mayo, Elvis

It is a fiesta today in our neighbor's window.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Take me down to your dance floor

Went out dancing after work last night, this time visiting Perversion at the Ruby. Another Hollywood club, this place also does not have a sign, but it has a large smoking patio that was full of goths so it was very easy to spot.

The Ruby is quite large, with three impressively separate areas where three different DJs were playing. In the main room was your large, traditional dance floor with platforms, strobe lights and many people wearing white shirts and grinding. The music there was mostly industrial. Off to one side, by the smoking patio, is a very nice little bar area where a DJ was playing what the club calls "indie, electro and dark 80s." In short, The Cure. The back room was closed for a private party but opened sometime after midnight; it seems to be the room of making out and dancing to Cocteau Twins using your best we're-in-the-forest moves.

I tried out the first two rooms and found them agreeable. My favorite was the Cure room; the music was my preferred variety for dancing, and the floor was marvelously slippery so I could practice my turns. Despite the people in white shirts, the main room was good too. Everyone on the floors of both rooms was very courteous and made room for people moving in and out. Neither dance space was ideal; one had strobe lights and the other was full of constant traffic to and from the smoking patio. But it was nice to be able to switch music styles at one's own whim rather than the DJ's. As a lady dancing alone, I also felt much less conspicuous in such a large venue. The bartender was agreeable as well, and although a gin and tonic was $7, he added enough gin that it did not seem too criminal.

The best thing about going out though is just watching the people. They are adorable. Last night there was a tall willowy woman in black trousers who looked exactly like a female Joey Ramone; a woman in pirate blouse and corset close-dancing with a gentleman in a top hat; and a girl in a vintage dress with pillbox hat that miraculously stayed in place all night. I love watching these people skulk around being all badass, then see their friends and start yelling "Squeeee!" and embracing. And then I went home and got in the tub, which was pretty nice too.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Because the South hasn't suffered enough

The Groovy Age of Horror reports with just alarm that Quentin Tarantino has gotten the idea of setting a movie in the South. Its author quotes Britain's Daily Telegraph:

Having already paid homage to martial arts, revenge, slasher, Japanese and road-rage movies, Tarantino is also planning a new genre, a form of spaghetti western set in America's Deep South which he calls "a southern".

"I want to explore something that really hasn't been done," he says. "I want to do movies that deal with America's horrible past with slavery and stuff but do them like spaghetti westerns, not like big issue movies. I want to do them like they're genre films, but they deal with everything that America has never dealt with because it's ashamed of it, and other countries don't really deal with because they don't feel they have the right to.

"But I can deal with it all right, and I'm the guy to do it. So maybe that's the next mountain waiting for me."

(Full Telegraph interview here. Can I just say I love that headline? I would get in piles of trouble if I tried to write a headline like that! British papers are so ballsy sometimes, I swear, it makes me dizzy.)

Anyway, I agree with GAoH that this is a rotten idea. Tarantino may have been born in Tennessee, but he cannot actually believe America, and the South in particular, haven't explored their "horrible past with slavery and stuff." I'm imagining a horrible fusion of "Borat" and the "Kill Bill" movies - which were fine, but were exactly like being buttonholed at a party by a guy who's got good anecdotes but never stops to ask for your opinion. The South has to deal with outsiders' stupid preconceptions all the time. Tarantino is the last thing it needs.