things I like this week, vol. 22.2

We appear to have a book theme going, still.

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If Famous Writers Had Written Twilight

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It's an art installation called The Obliteration Room by Yayoi Kusama. It was originally white; they gave stickers to kids who visited until the whole thing was covered. (This photo is about halfway through the process.)

I'm sure there's some sort of pattern analysis one could make.

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This map won best in show at the annual competition of the Cartography and Geographic Information Society, and it was done by one man. The article includes a lengthy analysis of why his map is so impressive - and you'll understand, after reading it.

Am contemplating buying it for Joley.

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Steve McCurry's blog continues to impress.

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Backstage at the New York City Ballet, from their facebook page.

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I have linked at least three people to this blog post with hot toddy recipes. I made the first one with Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey (since I just happened to have the ingredients at hand), and it was delicious. I highly recommend them.

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All I have is the image address.

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Fascinating and horrifying pictures of abandoned theatres. I'm always interested in shots like these, but somehow the idea that someone would abandon a theatre never occurred to me (despite having taken J to see the recent Muppets movie). It's as though, in my head, theatres were like that joke the Player makes in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead:

Player: You know what happens to old actors?
Ros: What?
Player: Nothing. They're still acting.

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I have a strong disdain for Louis Vuitton, but I want this. A lot. Even though it would be really heavy. But then, if one can afford Louis Vuitton, especially vintage, one can afford to hire someone to carry it for you.

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25 Things I Learned From Opening a Bookstore
. Number 19 is particularly relatable.


things I like this week, vol. 22

So many things to share. Have been saving up a long time. (More like "things I like this month.")

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Like a picture frame for nature.

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“The story of writing in the digital age is every bit as messy as the ink-stained rags that would have littered Gutenberg’s print shop or the hot molten lead of the Linotype machine,” Mr. Kirschenbaum said, before asking a question he hopes he can answer: “Who were the early adopters, the first mainstream authors to trade in their typewriters for WordStar and WordPerfect?”

From A Literary History of Word Processing. Worth reading the entire article (assuming you're a book nerd, and I'm going to make a blanket assumption that most of my readers are).

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Speaking of book nerds . . . who wouldn't want a book the size of a box of cigarettes? Heart of Darkness is particularly appropriate, I think.

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Photo of the day
, several days ago.

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Haven't been terribly pleased with 20x200's recent price hike (the name is obsolete, now!) or their taste in goofy prints, but I love, love this photo.

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So pretty.

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Neil and Amanda (you should know who these people are!) had a tango lesson the day they got married. She has this to say:

and during the lesson, when she talked about how the art of tango was to relinquish control to your dance-partner and trust that he would bravely carry you across the floor, i cried.

Tango is a good metaphor for many things, on many levels.

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I bought my full-access ticket to the Tucson Tango Festival at the early bird price. So excited. There is a beginner's option, if you're interested . . .

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Reminiscences and resolutions from a friend:

When I was about 7 I began reading Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. I was allowed to read as late as I wanted. There was no "lights out" rule in my home. One night my mother awoke to hear me sobbing hysterically in the next room. Running in to check on me, worried, she asked what happened.

"Oh, momma!" I hiccuped, "Beth died."

She laughed at me, then folded her 6 foot frame into the tiny bottom bunk I slept in and cuddled me while I cried.

Mommas are good for that.

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How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd . . .

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A post from a woman in Cuba about the tradition of throwing water out the door on New Year's to wash away the bad of the previous year:

The child is bathed in a basin because the suds must then be used to clean the floor, and the bent-backed retiree drags a water cart from the hydrant to the shack where he lives. The jacuzzi jets in some hotel, the stillness of of the blue waves of one of those swimming pools that can only be seen on Google Earth, so hidden are they behind the hibiscus hedges and watchdogs of certain residences. It is not the same water.

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Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

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More to come.


how to host a party, t&c style

We've hosted several parties at our house, now, and though we're by no means experts, people seem to have a good time, so I thought I'd share what we've learned. (note: learning it doesn't mean we've got the execution down, but I think we're at least headed in the right direction.)

1. Invite everyone you know. (Only half of them will show up anyway.) Presumably you have cool friends, right? And they have you in common, right? Good enough. Inviting only a couple crowds will result in divisions and cliques - if everyone only knows a few people, things seem to mix more.

2. Buy more than you think you'll need (but only of things you'll use later). Why yes, I do have two big jugs of rum and a 1.5L bottle of champagne left over from New Year's, but it's not going to go to waste.

3. Don't fight the crowd. A fairly large group is sort of its own entity. People are going to gather in places you won't necessarily anticipate, and they have a tendency to entertain themselves. Best to let them go where they want to rather than risk losing momentum.

4. Clean thoroughly, but not to the point that it's going to break your heart to have to do it again 24 hrs later. No use scrubbing the grout before people come over.

4b. Accept beforehand that someone is going to spill and/or break something. It will probably be whatever is most likely to stain, on the worst possible place, in the most expensive glassware you have available. Accept this, and when it happens, you can cheerfully hand the guilty party the broom they're asking for.

4c. Don't invite people who wouldn't ask for a broom after shattering glass all over your floor.

4d. Don't have any closets/areas/rooms you'd be ashamed to have people see. Inevitably, someone will see it. It's more welcoming and much less stressful to be able to show people all around your house anyway.

5. Ask people to bring something. Pick either drinks or food, or let guests pick between the two and see what happens. People like having something to contribute. (Unless of course you're rich enough that you can afford to drop several hundred dollars on one evening, in which case, these suggestions are probably useless to you.) The other benefit to this is that, assuming most people bring something, you'll have enough no matter how many people end up attending.

6. Find something simple to decorate with that you can stick in all corners of the house. For the Pirate New Year's, it was predominately hemp rope (which we got two spools of and wrapped around everything) and tapered candles stuffed into old wine bottles. For the last Fourth of July, I got a couple of bouquets of white flowers and put them into every clear glass vase I had.

7. People are probably going to get in drunken debates about religion; as the host, try to avoid getting involved. We've yet to accomplish this one, but it's a good plan.

8. If people are going to be intoxicated, have a pile of pillows and blankets ready. At some point in the night, people are going to be intoxicated enough that they'll spend a few hours passed out somewhere. If you have a pillow to hand them, they'll be very grateful, and you'll feel better about letting someone sleep on your floor.

9. Themes can be fun, but make them simple. If whatever you pick is too complex, it'll be difficult to get people to participate.

10. Enjoy yourself. Parties take their color from the host. If you have fun, other people can't help but have fun, too.


breakfast in tucson: bobo's restaurant

A good friend of mine, knowing how much we love breakfast diners, recommended Bobo's to us awhile ago. We finally got around to going this past weekend.

It's in a low-traffic area of midtown, in a white brick building that's seen better days. When we arrived at 1:20 in the afternoon, the place was still packed, which seemed to us like a good sign.

The serving area is tiny, with the griddles immediately behind the counter and fully visible. A couple of taped up articles on the wall - along with the reviews online - had mentioned the pancakes, so that's what I was planning on trying.

Our waiter showed up, asking if we wanted coffee, with two beat-up mugs and the pot in his hand - another good sign. One of Colin's and my requirements for a breakfast place is the immediate availability of coffee and swift refills; Bobo's was right on the money the entire time we were there, and the coffee was strong without being overpowering.

The menu was typical diner food, except for the multiple varieties of pancakes: banana, apple, blueberry. I asked our waiter (who looked vaguely like Dave Chapelle, without acting at all like him) what his favorite was, and he said "apple" so cheerfully and with such certainty that I wouldn't have ordered anything else (though I did add eggs over medium, bacon, and sausage). Colin got the pork chop and eggs, and J had the kid's eggs, home fries, and sausage.

This is what arrived a few minutes later:

the ugliest, most delicious pancake you'll ever meet.

There were fresh apple rounds embedded in the top. The pancake was just sweet enough that I could eat it without syrup, though a little bit was a nice touch. There were places where the sugar had caramelized, and though it was wonderful, Colin and I didn't even finish it off - I had to ask for a take-home box (and it was still delicious the next day).

The eggs were cooked just right (some places have difficulty with over medium, I guess because it's ordered less often), and the sausage was a hand-formed patty of goodness.

The place won't earn any points for prettiness - the vents run visibly along the ceiling, and the cheesy window scenes painted on the wall don't add much - but the food was great and the prices quite reasonable. The crowd was everything from old people to homies to college kids, and even more remarkably, every single employee we talked to was in a genuinely good mood, though it was the end of what had to have been a long, busy day.

Even though it's a bit of a drive for us, Bobo's has definitely earned a spot on the breakfast rotation.


the perfect pajamas

I have a vision of what the perfect pajamas look like. It comes from the summer after I graduated college, when I was in California doing an acting internship with a Shakespeare company. My friend Kendra spent many of our evenings in a pair of pajamas she had appropriated from some man or other she'd dated in Flagstaff the year before.

They were green and just baggy enough; she looked feminine but comfortable in them. She'd wear the top open with a cami underneath. In my head they're a light flannel - warm but not bulky - though in reality they might just have been cotton.

I have been looking for a nice pair of pjs, lately. Our house is cold enough that a shirt and lounge pants doesn't quite cover it, and I'd like something a bit more put together looking than just wearing a robe around constantly (I tend to change out of my dressier work clothes as soon as I'm home for the night). Alas, I can't find anything worth getting; the pattern is gaudy, they're cheaply made, they're incredibly bulky or too thin, or they're cut for someone who's 5'3".

Perhaps the solution is to buy Colin a set of pjs for Valentine's and then steal them.


john mayer, photo editor

You're going to have to full view the image. This was posted on John Mayer's tumblr; it has since been deleted. Luckily, Google Reader has a good memory, so Mayer's folly can be exposed for all the world to see.

And here's the lesson, boys and girls: just because you're famous doesn't mean you have valid opinions.


new year's benediction, à la neil gaiman

He says it much better than I could.

Hope your New Year's was as lovely as mine has been. <3