Archive for January, 2008

Trend Update

It’s time to once again list off the stuff I’ve been into lately.

  • Vampire Weekend: I’ve totally fallen for another New York band, something I usually avoid. All the hype is true — their look, their sound…it’s all so fresh and new. The lyrics could use a little help, but hopefully that will come with time.
  • Magnetic Fields – “Distortion”: Another fine album by Stephin Merritt and gang. I like it just as much as “i” and even more than any of the “69 Love Songs” because it brings a totally new texture to Merritt’s gloomy lyrics. The irony is gone.
  • “American Experience” on PBS: Every episode is crafted like a full-blown documentary. Nothing is spared in terms of technical or research achievement. Often the subject is a person who touched American history in the 20th century, but sometimes it’s an event or thing. No matter what, you’ll be glued to your set for an hour.
  • “Pioneers of Television” on PBS: I am incredibly interested in pop culture history, so this special series is like a goldmine for me. Unlike many lesser tributes to old TV stars, this series has new interviews with the old stars themselves or industry insiders. The analysis by way of the narrator about the impact of “Your Show of Shows” or “The Dick Van Dyke Show” got me really excited about really old TV. The series also focused on minorities in early TV, something I’ve never heard much about until now.
  • “Jeopardy!”: Of course I’ve always loved the show, but I started Tivoing it lately. Turns out it’s actually on twice a day here in the Twin Cities, so I’m twice as happy to spurt out phrases at my TV during 10 half-hour segments per week. They were advertising for Jeopardy try-outs online, so I signed up and took the test tonight. I’m pretty sure I completely failed. It was annoying because you had 15 seconds to read the category, the answer, then type in an answer (no “what/who is” at least) and click submit. I missed quiet a few just because I wasn’t done typing in time. Which leads me to my final trend:
  • White Whining: This blog has haunted my conscience for a couple days now. It’s really brought everything into perspective for me. I know it’s a joke, but it’s one of those sad jokes where you go “Damn, I’m totally the punch line here”. A story about Haitians staying alive by eating dirt a friend called to my attention really brought the point home. Will I stop whining about stupid, privileged stuff? I highly doubt it. But hopefully a moment of clarity will hit me more often than not. Here’s my fave white whine:

“I really wish the Wings DVD’s would get here… I’m almost done with Mad About You.”

The Times They Are A-Somethin

There’s tons of stuff going on in the world right now. Of course there’s the ubiquitous wars and famines and poverty, but we are in the middle of a very important time in history.

The United States is in dire straits–the economy is in a downward spiral while we are faced with a stupid, expensive war. To top it off, every citizen is faced with the challenge of picking a new president this year, the person who will hopefully make some much needed improvements. Between the early mudslinging between the top Democrats and a group of Republicans who seem to each be from a different party, this will be a difficult choice for everyone. Or at least I think it should be difficult.

I listen to the news and feel concerned for the future. How long will America as we know it last? The threat of terrorists or war isn’t what concerns me–it’s what we do to ourselves that worries me the most. We are still so backwards in so many ways. The sexism that Hillary Clinton faces is astounding. The lack of any discussion by our government, both current and potential, of climate change is humiliating. Everyone’s talking about bailing out the middle class, but what about the poor people here? The people who can’t afford to buy even a sub-prime house?

Greed has taken over our country as the leading cause of sickness, pain and death here, and possibly around the world. I’ve heard that in Germany businesses one does not discuss how to make more profits. Sure, you shoot for making a big profit, but it’s not something you talk about as the primary goal. America used to be like that, to some extent. The writers want more money for internet sales of the stuff they wrote, but the producers won’t give it to them because it would mean they’d make less than the millions they currently make. I know the world has never been fair, but it’s also never been this unfair since the time of serfs and monarchies. What brought this on?

Speaking of the writer’s strike, today brought some interesting news in the entertainment world. “Juno” was nominated for the best film Oscar and its star, Ellen Page, for best leading actress. This is important not only because it’s an “indie” film, but also because it’s a comedy. Sure, there are poignant bits, but you’d find it listed under comedy in any store. Although not unprecedented, comedies nominated for best picture are rare, but even more rare are comedic performances. Well done, “Juno” crowd–it’s time for comedies to get the props they deserve.

Also, Heath Ledger died today. It’s been a while since a young, promising example of the good end of pop culture died. And like the others, he died unexpectedly from something to do with drugs. Let’s hope nobody else goes the same way.

Come on 2008, you can do better than this.

P.S. This is my final post as a 29-year old. Next time, I’ll be a 30-year old blogger. I expect more of us will cross this threshold soon enough, changing the perspective of the Interwebs once again.

One little kitten lost her mitten

I lost a mitten over my Christmas break. So what, you may ask?

Well, I’ll tell you.

It was a great mitten. Leather on the outside, plushness on the inside, with finger compartments for added warmth and comfort.

I prefer mittens because they are proven to be warmer than gloves (despite possible gayness, according to the link). So, I went looking for some new mittens. First I wound up with some stupid knitted Target ones, which I wore with stupid knitted gloves from Target. The combo proved to be warm, but the mittens were falling apart after only a couple of weeks.

The search resumed. Kohl’s. Dick’s. Sears. Land’s End. JC Penny. Even the Gap. No mittens. That’s right no mittens were available. WTF? Gloves galore, in all fabrics and colors. Signs indicated “Gloves and mittens,” but there would be no mittens. Sure, the occasional wimpy knitted ones would turn up, but I knew they’d be a repeat of my cheap-ass Target ones.

So what’s the deal? I totally understand the need for dexterity, and the gloves fit (ha) that need. But even with my mittens, I’ve been able to get my keys out of my coat pocket, drive, and change radio stations. I don’t need to do much more with them on.

I ended up buying some Columbia gloves at Dick’s. They aren’t even as warm as my cheap knitted combo, and cost more than them combined. The more expensive and not-too-bulky North Face gloves may have been worth it. But I don’t want to look like a snobby cross-country skier, either.

Any ideas?

The person in Hillary

I made up my mind about a month ago that I was an Obama fan. It wasn’t anything he said or did that convinced me. It wasn’t him leading polls, or anyone I knew supporting him that convinced me either.

hill.jpg

Prior to backing Obama, I was pro-Hillary. I thought she was the most qualified. And maybe she is, in resume terms. But sometimes the person with the longest, most interesting, resume isn’t the best fit for the job.

Since changing my mind, I’ve felt guilty as a woman for not backing Hillary any more. What she has gone through, both in front of her and behind her back, has been one sexist remark after another. I want to help her. I want to stand up for powerful women.

But she constantly appears so (and I know this is becoming cliche) calculating and cold, almost robotic. She continues to prove Obama and Edwards’s insistence that we need an outsider in the White House. She appears to be too deep in the game. And that’s not what I want.

But then just before Iowa I starting liking Edwards. I may still go to my caucus (assuming I get the nerve to go) and call for him first, just to make it interesting. But a video I saw today brought me back to Hillary. Or at least it made me feel even more guilty.

Many of you may have already seen this, but I hadn’t until today. It shows Hillary at her most human, almost shattered. Maybe she opened up because she was in a room of women. Maybe she spoke her heart because she was really fucking tired. I don’t care. It’s an enlightening look at the person in Hillary.

Watch the video here.