Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

So yesterday I actually got dressed up for Halloween. It is my friend "Miss Post"'s birthday today, and she invited me to be a part of a group going out to dinner last night. The catch was, you had to wear a costume. No excuses.

Now I love Halloween, but I don't like wearing a costume. It was too late to go out and buy something so I had to come up with an outfit that I could wear made from things I already had. I didn't want to be anything scary, and I had remembered seeing something on line earlier in the week about pulling together Halloween costumes from stuff you already had. So I decided to go as Rosie the Riveter. I cut up a red tee shirt I had and sewed on white polka dots to make the hair kerchief and rolled up the sleeves on one of my blue button downs, cuffed a pair of black trousers, and finished off with my Doc Marten boots.

Then I made a name tag out of card stock and calligraphy pens, and I curled my hair with hot rollers to make it look more 1940s. (My hair has never been so curly, and I loaded it up with hairspray to keep it that way.) Finished off the look with some true red lipstick (Smashbox in Legendary blended with MAC Russian Red, blotted and powdered so that it wouldn't rub off), which I think of as such a WWII-era thing. As I don't own a rivet gun, I used an adjustable wrench (spanner) as my prop.

Considering the last minute nature of the costume, I think that it turned out pretty well!!
Rosie the Riveter, costume   Rosie the Riveter, original

Rosie the Riveter, costume      Rosie the Riveter, original

Friday, October 29, 2010

"Mama, don't take my Kodachrome away"*

Having fun with the Photoshop "Action Sets" that I picked up from The Pioneer Woman. Action sets are like action figures for photographers!!! I cropped down these photos I took over Columbus Day and then hit them with a dose of "the Seventies"! I love the result!! (They really do look the photos my mom took back when I was a the Seventies.)

Farm Sale Today Farm Sale

* lyrics from "Kodachrome" by Simon & Garfunkel. True fact: my mom cannot stand this song.
Another true fact: Kodachrome looks nothing like this Seventies effect.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Weekend in New England

These photos were taken over Columbus Day weekend out in Litchfield County, Connecticut. I love autumn in New England.

The Old Barn Litchfield County, CT By the lake
Autumn in Connecticut New England church Litchfield, CT
The Wandering Moose Housatonic River, West Cornwall, CT

"Living in Allston, Mass; Broken Dreams Strewn Among the Broken Glass"*

As an Allstonian for the last ten+ years, I like to read the blog, Allston City Limits, to keep up to speed on what is going on in the 'hood. (It is MUCH better than reading the police blotter.) ANYHOW, a recent post joked that Ben Affleck's next movie set in Boston would be called Allston. I passed the story on to a few of my fellow Allstonians for a bit of a laugh, and my friend AD (who recently decamped to the 'burbs) wrote back asking if the plot of the "film" would be people driving around for two hours looking for a parking space. I am still laughing at that one.

In all seriousness, this actually wouldn't be a half bad idea. There could be three sets of people in three cars: preppy college students going "out on the town" (ie. Brighton Ave.), some hipsters with their band gear on their way to a gig, and some young yuppy types carpooling home from a networking event. As they drive around, they could be having conversations about life, work, music, etc. (As you do, when you have to drive around for an hour looking for a parking spot.) We would naturally need to get a rockin' soundtrack to tie the whole thing together. I am thinking a cross between Garden State and Reality Bites.

While driving around and around Allston, the characters can encounter people riding bikes the wrong way down a one way street (dressed in black with no light), people jaywalking in the road, delivery trucks illegally double parked, and, of course, the Green Line trains. The climax of the movie would be all three cars having a stand-off for one empty parking space. Who will get the spot?!? Oh, the humanity!!

So Ben Affleck, what do you think? Have we got a story here? I am thinking that this would be perfect on the independent film circuit.

* lyrics from "Allston, MA" by the Allstonians; graphic from Allston Village Main Streets

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Halloween

My favorite holiday!! What is not to love about a holiday that combines the wonderful fall weather, horror movies, and candy!?!? Mmm, apple cider and candy corns! And of course, the pumpkins.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dorm Room Karma

One of the few things in college that I seriously dreaded was the annual Housing Lottery. Held at the end of the academic year, you and your roommate were subjected to the anxious anticipation of having your housing for the following year be determined at the whim of fate. I never knew where the number came from. Was it pulled out of a hat, the roll of the dice, or one of those ping pong balls being suctioned out of those air machines? It was a mystery. And, unfortunately, for two years running, my friends and I had the bad luck of having bad (high) housing lottery numbers, which meant living on the far end of campus. We desperately wanted to get a 6 person suite for our senior year, but there weren't a lot of them to go around, and a lot of our fellow juniors also had entered the lottery for those rooms.

I was taking an introduction to Buddhism class that semester. I was extremely interested in the religion, and I had become fascinated by karma and its different properties; in particular, the fact that good actions can draw good karma towards you for future goals or intentions. So, with that in mind, I came up with this plan that I would go around making good karma (by holding open doors for people, letting people go ahead of me in line, and just being a generally positive person) and would focus the intention of this good karma I was "accumulating" on getting a good (low) number in the housing lottery. My friend RECK went along with this plan, quite possibly to humor me, but it really couldn't hurt our changes. We didn't broadcast that we were doing this; we just went along our way, trying to incorporate this behavior into our routines.

The morning that the results of the housing lottery were posted, I was in the student center doing my Latin homework while having my usual late breakfast of coffee and a bagel. I anxiously ran through the translation exercise halfheartedly, checking my watch at regular intervals. I wanted desperately to see the results, but at the same time, if we drew a high number, I really didn't want to face the disappointment of not getting a suite. The time of the posting came and went, and I reluctantly picked up my backpack and headed down to the floor where the list would be.

There weren't many people there at the time, so I was able to look at the list without an audience. The list was split into men's and women's, and starting from the bottom of the list, I scrolled my eyes up. Well, we weren't at the very bottom; that was a good thing. That meant we had a strong chance at actually getting a suite; maybe not the best suite, but a suite all the same.

But where were we? We weren't in the middle either. Huh. Well, maybe we would get one of the better suites. When my eyes finally hit the first entry, number one on the list, with the first choice for a six person suite (because girls go before boys), I finally came across the names of the people in our group. Not only were we actually going to get a suite, WE HAD WON THE HOUSING LOTTERY!!

There may have been a shriek and some jumping up and down, but my memory is a little cloudy on the details after that. I know that I ran to one of the campus phones (in the pre-cell phone era) and started calling all of my future suitemates to tell them of our good fortune. Most of them were in class so I left voice mail messages for them, and when we got together at lunch, we celebrated the success. JeGilde went to the housing office and got floor plans for us to make our selection, and we did end up checking out a couple rooms in person before making our pick.

In the end, we picked a corner suite on the first floor of Alumni Hall, which became our senior year home, not just for ourselves but for a lot of our friends as well. I have so many memories of fun in that room: watching "Days of Our Lives" or the OJ Simpson trial at lunchtime, dancing on the industrial/indestructible furniture, playing cards, Jesuit "roasts", Sauce & Frank's ongoing B.F. Skinner debate, post-party debriefs, the contraband Christmas tree, the "Egg & Sugar" boys, the freezing cold study room/the blasting of the heat, B.Ricca's top ten voice mail lists, mac and cheese in the hot pot, 100 "screaming lemons", listening to music, talking about life and always having the door open to anyone who wanted to pop their head in. In the end, was it karma, or was it just luck? I prefer to think that it was karma, good karma that we built on and carried through that year in that room with our friends.

Friday, October 15, 2010


While I do not have any tattoos, I am a great admirer of them. (I just can't commit to something that permanent. The fact that my ears are pierced is a bit of an anomoly.) My friend Stacie sent me a link to this cool story in New York Magazine about an anthology of tattoos inspired by literature that came out this week. The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide is a full-color photo-and-text anthology edited by Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor, from Harper Perennial.

I think that if I were to ever get a tattoo, it would have to be a literary tattoo. It wouldn't be something from Jane Austen though. I consider tattoos such a cool and rebellious thing that it would have to be something from a book that inspired me when I was young, like The Catcher in the Rye. Maybe something like: I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. If I'm on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera. It's terrible. Or my favorite line from Auntie Mame: Live, Live, Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!

Do you a literary tattoo already? If not, what would you pick?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bel Canto

The only problem with three day weekends is that I tend not to pay as close attention to the news. So I missed that one of the great Bel Canto singers of this era, Joan Sutherland, passed away this weekend at the age of 83. What a voice this woman had!

I hope that she and her close friend and colleague, Luciano Pavarotti, are holding a reunion concert in heaven.

Her recording of Delibes' "Flower Duet" with Marilyn Horne is, in my opinion, the definitive interpretation of the piece.

Rest in peace, La Stupenda. Thank you for your art.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"Ring out with your Hoiah and a Chu! Chu! Rah! Rah! "*

This past weekend, I did something I haven't done in a really long time - went to a football game and tailgating at my alma mater, the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. It was great to catch up with many of my dear friends from school, and it was really nice to be back on campus. I have so many wonderful memories of that special place.

The sun came out and the weather warmed up just in time for this Homecoming Weekend. We had a great time tailgating; I don't ever remember going to such a fancy tailgate when we were in school. It was like Martha Stewart's version of tailgating!! And I got to meet my friends M&A's three kiddos, who are simply adorable, friendly, imaginative, and delightful. The game was a lot of fun too, especially since we beat Sister B's alma mater, Fordham University, 36-31!

I wasn't particularly looking forward to our 15 year reunion this spring (how can it be 15 years since we got out of school??), but, if this was just a taste of what is to come, I can't wait!!!

Holy Cross tailgating Holy Cross Football

* from the Holy Cross fight song

Sunday, October 3, 2010

"Missus, Will ya Make me tea? Make love to me? Put on the telly? To the BBC!"*

One of the interesting and ironic things about me is that I use an internet "handle" of BBCAmericanGirl on both Flickr and Twitter, but, in all actuality, I am highly disappointed with the programming on BBC America.

First thing, despite the fact it costs extra to get BBC America, they run commercials, and they run a LOT of them. An English friend of mine who was visiting my house and watched some BBC America couldn't get over the volume of commercials the channel runs. They also edit down their own television shows so that they can accommodate the volume of commercials that we show in America. They cut a lot of "Doctor Who", so much so that my friend MEM had no idea how the episode of "Forest of the Dead" really ended until it came out on dvd. We were reduced to watching the second series of "Ashes to Ashes" on YouTube because PLOT POINTS were edited out. Also, the channel is supposed to be available in HD - well, not on Comcast in Boston!

Next, the programming is not what it used to be. They run a lot of repeats, and for some unknown reason, they are showing "Star Trek: the Next Generation" like it is a first run series. I am tired of seeing the same episodes of Gordon Ramsey and Top Gear. They used to show some wonderful "Sunday night" television like "Monarch of the Glen" and "Wild at Heart" and had fantastic mysteries on Monday nights, but that's all gone now. There are some really great shows on the BBC that we NEVER get to see here. I feel like the best of BBC (and ITV) programming gets picked up by PBS; BBC America doesn't even try to get them. There are costume dramas that we only get on dvd over here ("Desperate Romantics"), and there are comedies that American audiences would appreciate that they don't air either. However, they sell them on DVD and BluRay in the BBCAmerica Shop.

The sad thing is that I am not alone on this. It is disappointing to read the BBCAmerica Facebook page where fans routinely make this same point about the programming, yet nothing is changed. With the technology of this day and age, there are other ways of getting BBC programming without watching BBCAmerica. I really think that the channel would do better to notice these criticisms and see where there is room for improvement. I certainly don't watch it the way I used to, and my mom canceled it a while back.

The good thing is that when I was in Ireland, I was reminded of how great the programming is on the REAL BBC . I just wish that BBCAmerica could be even 75% as good.

* from "BBC" by Ming Tea (Austin Powers soundtrack)

PS. In a recent commercial, BBC America implies that the MIT TARDIS hack was somehow related to them, and the TARDIS was going to show up in other localities. NICE TRY. (not!)


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