Saturday, November 29, 2008

International Dance Party

This is totally great. I'm going to now document my travels by dancing spasmodically on film. Extra points if I can get locals to join in.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Paint a Vulgar Picture

Dear No One in Particular,

This article about a woman who sold an original painting by Adolf Hitler yesterday reminds me of a story a classmate once told me. Her family was Austrian (she was a first-gen American) and her grandfather was a young man when the Nazis invaded. He eventually acquired a copy of Mein Kampf, and placed it in a prominent place on his bookshelf. Whenever a snoopy guest mentioned it, he would respond "Oh yes. It's signed by the author."*


*I have no idea if this is true. It's a nice conversation-stopper, though!

Monday, November 24, 2008

It still hurts, American Girl. Still hurts.

Dear No One in Particular,

Last month I blogged about my distress over American Girl's decision to retire beloved Samantha Parkington. Apparently, I wasn't the only outraged doll owner: I received an email today linking to a story about equally bereft bloggers taking to the internet to express their grief.

It's an interesting read (the PB&J metaphor pretty much encapsulates how I feel about this move) and it's really good to know that while the doll might be pushing daisies, the books are still available. The books, at least for me, were the foundation -- the whole point, really -- of the American Girl franchise. The lovely dolls were simply icing on the cake: pretty figures to aid in acting out the events of the book, tools to nurture the imagination.

I'll miss Samantha, and will continue to believe that she was one of the best characters in the American Girl pantheon. She was one of the most fully realised, and most true to life: she could be a total spoiled brat, but she was really kind at heart, with wide open eyes and an open mind.
While young ladies today might not have a Samantha Parkington to cuddle and play dress-up with, her world is still available to them in her books.


T-Day minus 4 Days

Dear No One in Particular,

Thanksgiving is bearing down upon us and I couldn't be more excited. Which is weird for me, since I normally hate this particular holiday. I've come to realise that I'm super-juiced about Thanksgiving this year because it's all mine -- no cooking for people I don't like, no cooking foods I won't eat. I'm calling the shots this year, and damn it feels good.

I'm also really looking forward to the cooking itself. I love to cook, but I've been so busy recently I haven't had much time to really experiment with new dishes. I'm looking at Thursday not just as another food-laden holiday, but as a chance to get back in my element and whip up some tasty eats. I have a ton of work bearing down on me right now, and I'm trying desperately to finish the majority of it before the holiday, but all I can think of is brined poultry and mulled wine. Obviously, this train of thought does not translate well when writing about Fatimeh and Ali Shariati.

The Boy and I finally put together a finished menu for our Thanksgiving dinner, and we're going grocery shopping tonight. Normally, I hate grocery shopping, especially here in Hawaii. It's pretty depressing, really -- everything has to be shipped from either Asia or the mainland, so what we get is usually half-rotted/beaten to hell and expensive. Milk is $8 a gallon! Lemons are $1.50 EACH. It's ridiculous.
But! Whole Foods has arrived! And it is glorious. Yes, it's expensive, but it's quality organic food -- something Honolulu is severely lacking. Something about wandering the aisles of a Whole Foods is soothing to me, knowing that there is no ingredient I won't be able to find. Having such a store is invaluable, and it seriously eases the tedium of grocery shopping.

Anyhow, here's the final menu for our Thanksgiving dinner:

  • Spinach salad with cranberries and goat cheese
  • Mulled wine
Entree and Sides:
  • Chicken, roasted and brined
  • Bourbon-glazed sweet potatoes
  • Rosemary and sage stuffing
  • Spiced cranberry relish
  • Pumpkin gooey butter cakes
  • Maple apple crisp with vanilla ice cream
Good Lord I'm excited. How about you? Any fabulous Thanksgiving plans? Or perhaps you would just like to talk food. Let's chat!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Beauty Misadventures: Scents for the Streetwalker in Your Life!

Dear No One in Particular,

I've been wanting to blog for a while now, but I'm currently wrapped up with a ton of school work, specifically a 15 page/4,000 word (whichever comes first) essay on the role of women in the Islamic Revolution. Fascinating stuff, no doubt, but not fun to write about -- at least not to that length. I have a couple of features all lined up, but they'll have to wait for a bit longer.

I'm taking a quick break from my marathon writing session* and browsing my new favourite website, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. I'm a bit obsessed with perfume right now, and am trying to find a signature scent. BPAL's names really tread the line between quirky and obnoxious (a little too OMG so goth! for me), but themes are cute, and the selection is bananas -- almost to the point where I overload and want to lie down for a bit before looking at the lists and lists of oils available.
But lo! They have "imps' ears": 32 oz sample vials of their perfumes for the low price of $3.50 each or $20 for a selection of 6 scents. Fabulosity for ficklehearts like me. So, utilising my best friends, the search box and, I begin to seek out 6 possible perfumes.

Sounds like fun, no? Um, kind of. Here's a list of the scents I've shortlisted for my shopping cart:
  • French Love
  • Sacred Whore of Babylon
  • Loralei
  • Delight
  • Rapture
  • Old Venice
  • Phantasm
  • Cheshire Cat
  • Succubus
  • 51

Apparently, I want to smell like a French bordello. **
Or at least like a whore. With a predilection for Alice in Wonderland and alien-based conspiracy theories.

I guess ladies of the night really like jasmine and neroli? Because that's what I was searching for. I'm looking mostly for a complex white floral, but what comes up are skanky scents christened with the names of floozies.

Has anyone else out there tried BPAL? Have a signature scent you just can't live without? Do tell! The next time I'm out and about, I don't want to be solicited when all I'm doing is waiting for the light to change.


*My sincerest apologies if this update makes little-to-no sense. I'm already half a bottle of red to the wind, and I'm a bit of a lightweight.
**Not true. Very much not true.

Friday, November 14, 2008

La Petite Amelie

Dear No One in Particular,

I, like just about everyone else on the internet, am utterly entranced by Capucine, the wee French girl people are calling "Amelie Jr." Adorable to the bone, and ridiculously charming, I want to move to France to babysit. (Ignore the fact that I don't speak French -- Capucine can teach me!)

My favourite video involves her telling an wonderful story about a hippo who dies and goes to heaven against his will and a crocodile and a lion who becomes king, among other things:

Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.

I would kill to possess 1/10 the amount of imagination and joy she has!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

El Perro sin Pelo

Dear No One in Particular,

I have a 6 page paper due tomorrow, exactly 1/6th of which is complete. Naturally, I am procrastinating as hard as I possibly can, specifically by researching the differences between viringos and xolos.*

I justify this by saying that it's actually an educational experience, since most articles on the dogs are in Spanish and it helps me working on my Spanish language skills.

...yeah, I didn't buy it either.


Friday, November 7, 2008

An (Early) Christmas Letter

Dear Santa,

I know I've spent the last few years asking you for a doggy and/or pony for Christmas, and I would get pissy when you didn't deliver (really sorry about tipping off the IRS and UN on you re: elf-slaves and back taxes. Really sorry), but I really had my heart set on a new pet.

I'm more mature this year, and I've been a very good girl. So this year, I'm asking you for a baby pygmy hippo.


You can't deny me the adorbs.

Thanks and hope Mrs Claus and the slaves elves are doing well. Give the reindeer hugs and sugar cookies for me!


No. Way.

Completely drawn on Facebook's Graffiti application. Photo-realistic, no?

I'll admit: I really didn't believe that this could be done in Facebook with a mouse. If you're like me, you need to click on replay to see the proof that it was, indeed, hand-drawn.

One question: how does one learn to do this? Is there a class I can take? Because seriously, sign me up.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ho'omaika'i 'Ana

Some more Obama lovin' to spread around:

Stephen Colbert reminds us of the historical importance of a Hawaiian President. (Close on the pronunciation of Queen Lili'uokalani and ukulele, Colbert, but no cigar.)

And a wicked awesome mix tape dedicated to President-elect Obama.

My President

I didn't want to sleep last night, for fear that I would wake up to a harsher reality than than the euphoric one I closed my eyes on. I was terrified that I would wake to the news that it was all a dream, a wonderful, painful dream and that we, the American people, resigned ourselves to a fate far worse than "more of the same".

I have to tell you, waking up to hear President-elect Obama's voice on the radio and the headlines of "Hawai'i's Own Makes History" is somehow even more incredible than the announcements of last night.

I mention this worry, this deep-seated cynicism, comes from my first election. I waxed in-eloquent last night about my father's first election; mine was the Bush-Kerry Presidential Election of 2004. I went to bed that November night, only to wake to the news that Kerry could have won the election, and instead, conceded without disputing the Ohio votes. The raw anger and disappointment I felt that morning raged throughout the day, making me slightly regret voting for such a man. That election was ours to win -- and we should have taken it.

Four years after swallowing that bitter pill, I found hope in Barack Obama. It moves me so deeply to know that I was not the only one.

Congratulations again, President-elect Obama. For the first time in eight years, I can say with pride "I am an American, and Barack Obama is my President."

"This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Congratulations, President Obama. Congratulations, America.

I'm not the least bit ashamed: I cried like a fucking baby when Charles Gibson announced Barack Obama has been elected the 44th President of the United States of America.

For this first time in history, the American dream that anybody can be elected president has come true. My sexagenarian father never believed that a black man could be elected President. The excitement and pure emotion in his voice when he called me tonight nearly brought me to tears again. We spoke after the DNC, and I remember him making the inevitable comparisons between Obama and Kennedy. To hear my father, the man whose first vote was cast for Kennedy in 1960, talk about how, not in over 40 years, had he been inspired by a Presidential nominee was incredible. My father cast his vote 48 years ago in Kennedy's historic election, and a few days ago, he cast his vote in yet another historic election.

As I am blogging this, President-elect Obama just walked out with his beautiful family, ready to give his acceptance speech, and I can't keep from crying again. Never has a politician inspired me so, and never before have I felt such hope and love for my country before, not even after 9/11/2001. Change is coming, and it is a much-needed change. Barack Obama is just the man to bring about that change, and I believe in him. He has inspired millions of Americans to believe that yes, my voice is important, and the multitudes have reciprocated, announcing that we believe in America, and we believe that Barack Obama is the man to lead us.

Yes We Can.

Yes We Did.

Yes We Will.


[images via 24 Free Dinners]

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"I am French! Why do you think I have this outrageous accent?"

Today's lesson is brought to you by the letter "v". "V" for "vet", as in: vet your vice presidential candidates, and vet your phone calls.

No doubt that most have already seen/heard about this, but Sarah Palin being "pranked" by a Quebecois comedy duo pretending to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy is pretty, well, ridiculous. It's insanely cringe-inducing, especially given that Palin sounds like a crazed Sarkozy fan girl. The interview quickly devolves into obnoxious-territory, becoming increasingly awkward.

Honestly, I had hard time believing that Sarah Palin could be so damn gullible. Faux-Sarkozy's "French" accent devolves into Quebecois after about 10 seconds; he calls Johnny Hallyday a "close American advisor"; discloses that his wife is "so hot in bed"; and refers to "Nailin Palin" as a biopic -- all signs that someone's fucking with your head.
But what really gets my goat is how unbelievably ignorant Palin comes across. She falls all over herself when presented with the opportunity to talk with "President Sarkozy"; her greeting is far from professional, and she can barely handle the conversation. Just like in the debates, she has a hard time moving past simple talking points -- she actually injects them into her small talk!
Additionally, her "foreign policy" pitfalls are disgustingly apparent here. She doesn't catch the fact that the Candian PM is Stephen Harper, not, as Faux-Sarkozy mentions, Stef Carse. This woman is running for higher office, and not only does she not know what Nicolas Sarkozy sounds like, she doesn't even know who the Candian Prime Minister is! Moreover, she should know that Sarkozy recently entertained Obama as a visiting dignitary, and therefore would be unlikely to call her up out of the blue to commiserate about her faltering campaign and chit-chat about hunting baby seals. Let me reiterate: she's running for higher office, and she's this willfully ignorant.

Schadenfreude, the Masked Avengers haz it.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Feliz Dia de Los Muertos!

*click to view full image*
taken at the Museum of Popular (Folk) Arts in Mexico City (2006)

El Dia de los Muertos is one of my favourite holidays. I've written a bit about it before, but I'd like to reinforce the fact that this, like Halloween, is not a day of fear or morbidity. It's a celebration of life as much as it is a celebration of death.
People visit the graves of their deceased family members not just to mourn their death, but to celebrate their lives. It's a way of remembering that while they might be gone, they made an indelible impact while still alive.

El Dia de los Muertos reminds us that, so far as we know, we only have one life -- make it a good one. Surround yourself with good friends, good food, and good drink; make laughter the soundtrack of your days; see the world through rainbow lenses. Life is too short to be bland.