Well, I now know what I’m doing in March 2011.
I’ve always had a thing for the California State Fair. Even as a jaded teenager I’d go, not to the midway, but to the farm exhibits and all of that. We’ve been every year since we moved back, and so headed there last Wednesday night, and I was left with a few impressions.
Point, the first: Judges. Please do not judge the art after you’ve judged the wine. Judging, no pun intended, from the awards, you were drunk when you handed them out. As per usual, I saw some amazing work at the state fair this year. Also as per usual, it was all in the school-age categories. You want real art? Head for the kids work (and by “kids” I mean from 10-19). It’s always stunning and shows an originality completely lacking in the crap most adults, yours truly included, put out. I love Jackson Pollock, but not enough to have to see another artist present what amounts to a copy of Lavender Mist. And this person got an award? Really?
Point, the second: Rick Springfield. Now,having spent 42 years on this planet, and having those formative years occurring in that vortex that we now know as “the 80’s”, I love me some Rick Springfield. Crush in junior high and all that. Would’ve killed to go to a concert back then. Would kill to avoid one now. We saw him four years ago at the fair, when I was pregnant, and sadly couldn’t use alcohol to erase the night from my memory. Let’s just say that somethings are better with the haze filter of youth.
Point, the third: I loved the animation exhibit, but why do I always feel like those exhibits in particular are just advertising? Granted, you could say that the fair in general is advertising for the state. But in this case I almost felt like Weiden & Kennedy had me on a collar. Still, I was excited to see the process for the new Disney flick “Tangled”, which I’m looking forward to. And, hello?, there was a display about anime that had J and I remembering Battle of the Planets and how much we both loved that show as kids.
Lest you think I didn’t have a good time, let me reassure you. It was wonderful! We walked, we talked, we ate corndogs and drank lemonade. We looked at the county displays and admired the student art. We wiggled our fingers at cute chicks and day old pigs and cooed at newborn goats. It was everything the fair should be and the weather was even perfect and not too hot (which is so rare I’m awaiting the four horsemen to show up on my doorstep any minute now).
Of course we’ll be back next year. And I really hope Foreigner’s playing.
Post Script, Ok, I thought I could let it go, but I can’t. Judges, were you drunk when you judged the wine? I’m bitter – I admit it. Bad Astronaut’s Dark Matter Zin only got a Silver and I’m peeved as all hell. Really, I should understand. It’s too good to be a zin! They probably thought he cheated, because nothing could taste that good and still call itself a zinfandel! Where was the vague manischevitz taste? But again, really?
Book trailers. I’ve noticed that several authors are using them…and I’m still not quite sure what to make of them. For most of my favorite authors I don’t even bother to look at them because, well, I’m already anxiously awaiting your book, and I’m afraid the trailer will just make me question that. When it comes to movies husband J’s assertion is that the better, bigger and louder the trailer, the worse the movie will be. But what about with books?
I understand the need to self-promote, particularly in a market that is increasingly tough (and with publishers who are increasingly miserly). I don’t really have an opinion on them one way or another…they just make that space between my eyes crease as I mumble, “Huh? Book trailers?”
(Don’t know what one looks like? See here for C.S. Graham’s latest. That said, I love her books written as C.S. Harris, but haven’t read the Graham ones, so the trailer has pushed me in that direction.)
God I love bookstores. Not just the looking at books, the smelling of books (because, you know, used books have that great, bordering on mildew smell), the glancing through books to see if it appeals to you, the sitting-down-and-actually-reading-a-chapter of books, or even the, gasp!, pulling out the credit card and not even blanching at the total of books. Bookstores. Having lived in Portland for 15 years there was, of course, Powell’s Books, which I still miss terribly. (Once, when I was in college in Spokane Wasington, J, L and I made the road trip there, just to visit Powell’s. Parked and slept in the car up in Northwest, brushed our teeth at the McDonald’s on Burnside and had coffee and breakfast at the Anne Hughes Coffee Room, which, sadly, is no more. Of the many great memories from college, this is a favorite. And I still have all of the books I purchased on that trip.) I have very fond memories of Elliot Bay Book Company in Seattle, which my friend E introduced me to. Here in town we have Beers Books (at which I’ve furtively purchased really bad paranormal romance novels, and ashamedly at that, but I’ve also gotten some great books on ancient Greek, so that should balance out the trash) and Time Tested Books (which has a great military history section). But I’m always on the lookout for great bookstores. This website lets me live vicariously. I’m seriously thinking of heading to S.F. to check out the sci-fi bookstore, but those hairless cats scare me.
Oh, and not to be outdone, there’s also this site about libraries. Although my favorite is still the Reed College Library (Central Library in Portland runs a close second, but it doesn’t have an operating nuclear reactor a couple of hundred yards away.)
Got my annual review at work yesterday and…I still had a job today. (But after I snarked at my manager…I may not have one tomorrow.) I’m that idiot who actually likes reviews. I like to know where I stand, and will ask for feedback fairly regularly, whether you want to give it to me or not.
And that got me thinking: why don’t we get reviews in our real (non-work) life? I mean, really, what am I doing well and where am I falling short as a mother, wife or friend? Wouldn’t it be better to find out ahead of time instead of when the cops show up holding son J by the scruff of his neck, husband J lists “can’t stand any more fucking gumbo” as his reason for divorce, or my friends all mysteriously block my cell number? Who couldn’t use a little constructive criticism? And what would the review form look like?
From the July 2010 issue of Vogue (which you should go out and get just for the feature on Marion Cotillard):
I am woman. Hear me roar. Hear me issue stock-purchse orders from the Wall Street trading floor. I am not a girl. I do not emulate the pop-burlesque fashion stylings of Kesha or Katy Perry. I do not aspire to passe morning-after chic, with bird’s nest hair and shredded leather leggings. No. Of Lana Turner and Barbara Stanwyck – and Lena Horne – I sing.
Oh thank God, I’m not the only one.
…that’s my super-hero name, according to my husband, J. Several years ago, pre-kid, we were sitting with some friends at the Bon Lair and decided to come up with our super-hero names. J came up with mine, partially out of snarkiness. He can’t stand the fact that I always talk in superlatives. Everything is always “the best ever” or a day was “the absolute worst ever”, but that’s just the way I am.
Last night we were at Temple for desert and ordered the chocolate chip cookies, which we’d had earlier in the week. The woman at the counter mentioned they were particularly good this week, to which I replied, “I had one a couple of days ago and it was THE BEST COOKIE I’VE EVER HAD.” J then rolled his eyes at me.
Jen, who works the coffee bar at the Nugget Market in Elk Grove, makes what is undoubtably THE BEST LATTE EVER. I think I’ve actually gone back and told her that, which in hindsight is probably creepy and I should refrain. The espresso is perfect, not that sharp burnt taste, or, even worse, the weird sweetness. Just perfect espresso that makes life so much better. I love walking in and seeing her there, because I know, automatically, that while everything else might go wrong that day, at least I’m going to start it with a damn good latte.
Mulvaney’s once made me the BEST DIRTY MARTINI EVER. Seriously. It was the Platonic form of martini. (Despite my friend S whining that martinis should be made from gin – I still prefer vodka). I don’t know what they used, but it tasted like vodka, not water (which is why I hate Grey Goose, if I want to drink water, I’ll drink water), had the appropriate number of olives, and just enough, but not too much, olive juice. I also remember that night I had a salad with house-cured bacon and soft boiled egg, and then a carbonara with sage. So it was eggs and bacon and vodka all around. Basically a perfect evening that started off with a bang. Oh, and here’s the thing…the martini was SO perfect that I only had one, and so got to taste and enjoy my eggs and bacon later. And remember them the next morning.
Yes life has shades of gray, and no, I don’t always see it in black and white, best and worst. And while my husband might snarkily refer to me as “Superlativa”, I prefer “Enthusiastica”. The difference is really in how each of us see the world. If I enjoy something, damn I’m going to enjoy it. And if something makes me miserable, well, in a way, I’m going to wallow in that too. (One of my favorite memories from college was getting my heart broken, sitting and smoking clove cigarettes and drinking coffee while listening to depressing music. Really, everyone should have their heart broken like that at least once in their lifetime. And enjoy it.) But whatever it is, I’m not going to be blase about it.
So I’m enthusiastic. So sue me.
I named my Betta fish, ill-gotten from a company work party “secret-santa gift exchange”, Aries. Not after my zodiac sign, which appropriately enough is Aries, but after the God of War. I will say right off the bat that when C approached me with said gift, I’m pretty sure my expression gave away every thought in my head, none of which are printable. It took me about two days, and if it’s possible to fall in love with a fish with a life expectancy of precisely two hours before you took him home, then I did.
Unfortunately, human beings need vacations. Worried about Aries, I asked M at work to take care of him while I was gone, which she did admirably well. She even talked to him (although she was probably just giving him a list of people he could make hay out of). But that office got pretty hot, and when I returned Aries was sluggish, not his usual full-of-fight self, and had what looked like a nasty scale infection. It’s been a while, and try as I might Aries got worse, and one morning I found him floating on his side. As soon as I turned the kitchen light one he righted himself, but with difficulty. And then one morning he jumped right out of his bowl and I had to scramble to get him back in. I was convinced every morning that I’d come out to find him dead, and actually broken down crying at work (and poor M from corporate was there at the time and still doesn’t know what to think).
But two days ago he started gobbling down his food again, and the infection started going away. And he started swimming around again, and coming to the edge of the bowl whenever I’d peer in at him. This morning the infection is almost completely gone and his scales are back to their beautiful dark blue color. It’s ridiculous how happy this makes me.
The Care and Feeding of Aries, the Greek God of War.
Contrary to public opinion, the Greek God of War is not hard to handle. All he really requires is a small pinch of food two or three times a day. He should be given as much as he can eat in five minutes. How’s that for random? Just give him a pinch and see how he does. The bag of food provided with said God of War has lasted me since that fated Christmas party where I took home a strange guy (he was small and blue and liked to fight), so that should give you an idea of how little he really needs. Feed him when you come in the morning and right before you leave for the day.
If you can manage it, you’re welcome to start a small war, just to make him feel at home. “Police actions” also work, but “conflicts” do not (they’re the equivalent of fat free milk to a God of War).
Any affection you choose to dispense is, of course, at your discretion. I like to wriggle my fingers at him and coo, “Who’s a good little God of War?”, although I’m not completely sure he’s not planning my demise every time I do.