Month: May 2006

Recital is getting close

We’re down to the last week of rehearsals for the ballet. I’ve been taking more classes (sometimes 3 a week) and helping with rehearsals Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. This school has amazing volunteers. The sets and costumes are so detailed and well designed. It’s such a nice alternative to the typical scratchy spandex costumes ordered from catelogs and reused for years on end. The sets are designed and made by parents who work in carpentry and design. I should get a DVD of the show, but also I plan to video tape dress rehearsal and post clips online.

Brian premiered his film The Unwritten Rule, and it sparked interest in making films again. We’ve recorded commentary tracks for that film, some Movie Saturdays, and the Red King. We were watching the Red King for the first time in 5 years. We were so much skinnier back then! Surprisingly, the movie wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was a lot funnier and campier than I remembered. It was sort of what you’d call good!

We in discussion for shooting a film this July. One project to the next. That’s how I like it 🙂

Blue = Clean

While getting some toilet necessities – lotion, cotton balls, midol – at Target, I noticed they were all sky blue. Then I got home. Whoa. All my toiletries are sky blue. Including my walls. Freaky.

Stew and Pasta

Ben raved about this beef stew all week. I started by browning the beef chunks after dredging in flour. Then I sauted onion and carrots with thyme and a bay leaf. Add mushrooms. After a few minutes deglaze with red wine, add cubed potatoes, and browned beef. Add water and let simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours.

I prefer this sort of meal in warm weather: spaghetti with sundried tomatoes, asparagus, onion, and goat cheese.


Last year I learned about Eurovision, a continental song contest with finalists representing each European country. Since the contest is not broadcast at all in America, I worried that I’m missing out on something great.

Now my fears have been confirmed: I am totally missing out on much awesomeness.

Courtesy of Go Fug Yourself:

Every year at about this time, all of Europe goes insane for the Eurovision song contest, cheering for each country’s entry into what could be termed a one-night international American Idol marathon with more language barriers, loud and drunken reveling, culture clashes, crazy clothes, and camp value.

…Famous past winners: ABBA with “Waterloo,” and Celine Dion, singing for Switzerland for some reason. Although the genius of the contest is better examplified by the Belgian act that came in second in 2003 by singing a song in an imaginary language. It’s awesome. Just try and imagine Katharine McPhee getting anywhere by standing before Simon Cowell and crooning in tongues.

The reason for my rambling: I am devastated that nobody in the U.S., not even BBC America, televises any of Eurovision. Because that is why I missed the live display — as opposed to the welcome yet not-quite-the-same blurry YouTube version — from this year’s Finnish winner, Lordi:

Lordi dresses itself — primarily with the aid of reindeer fur — as different monsters from different eras. Although presumably even the undead have an enduring sense of patriotic pride, as evidenced by the zombie whose face is rotting off, yet whose head is adorned with a kicky little Finland top hat, as if he is threatening here to break into a series of cabaret-style high kicks before he flosses his teeth with your intestines. And Mummy Of The Bride over there just seems so endearingly thrilled to be clutching that bouquet of spring life in his decaying arms. Fantastic.

(Rachel again)
I gotta sit down and watch that Youtube video. Click here for the original post, with pictures of other contestants and the winners with a fireworks-shooting axe.

And from the Eurovision website, here’s some choice quotes describing the performances from the semi-finals:

Armenia is in the contest for the first time … ‘Without Your Love’ is a high-energy dance track in which Andre is surrounded and eventually tied up by four dancers with black ribbons and tons of attitude. A great debut.

Slovenia is next. And Anžej Dežan, dressed in a white suit jacket that’s pure ‘Miami Vice’, starts to deliver a moving ballad. Within a minute, this has transformed into classic Eurodance and Anžej and his five dancers face the wind machine and strut their stuff, giving a really pumped-up performance.

Time for some punk rock. Polina Smolova from Belarus injects the show with some snarling attitude – in a song about mothers.

Next, it’s Poland with a stage show that looks like punk rock transported to the court of Louis XIV. As Ich Troje’s lead singer Michał Wiśniewski – complete with bright green hair – sings directly to his wife, sparks fly, at first metaphorically and then literally as Catherine Wheels shoot out spirals of flame. It’s all very dramatic and ends with Michał kneeling by his pregnant wife, his head against her stomach.

Dima of Russia sings about “flesh on my flesh”, and displays plenty of his own in a tight-fitting white vest. With his hair fashioned long at the back, in what can only be described as a ‘mullet’, he sings his infectious pop song, ‘Never Let You Go’ while ballerinas twirl around him and red rose petals are thrown onto the stage. Very romantic.

Finally, Iceland’s self-styled megastar Silvia Night brings us firmly back to the world of pop. This is kitsch with a capital ‘K’, with Silvia dancing round enormous candy canes and sliding down a giant stiletto. Even crazier than her country-mate Björk, Silvia sports a huge feathered headpiece and dances like a broken doll before stripping off to reveal a very daring costume. Utterly bonkers and highly entertaining. The crowd love it.

Why can’t America be this cool?


Back in February a company was moving office furniture into our building. I have a view of the building entrance from my desk and had a nice chuckle watching 5 people struggle to get an object larger than a fridge up our front step. They were at it for at least 20 minutes. The next day I noticed they had chipped the brick walkway. The single step was damaged just 4 inches across and only one inch deep from the edge.

That afternoon our on-the-ball management placed four large orange cones surrounding the chipped area. The message being that they’re very concerned about our safety. Over the next three months, I saw management come inspect the spot several times. Often with clipboards, making notes.

Recently I saw two men from management on the step, fiddling with the cones. Good, I thought. They’re finally fixing it and getting rid of the rediculous over-the-top warning. Right? Wrong.

Let’s add caution tape!

Three weeks have passed since this photo, and nothing has changed. Amazing.

In GJ for the weekend

I went to Grand Junction for Kristin’s baby shower. Andy came home since he had a break from school. Not wanting to be left out, Amanda made it too! I was thrilled to spend lots of time with . . .

The newest cat in our family – Roman!

This blur is most typical of her behavior. She makes my cat look like a statue.

She obviously loves her owner.

And is good at finding others in the mood for a nap.

We make a classy pair.

Roman and dad are modeling the hats I made for Kristin’s baby.

Andy caved and bought Guitar Hero. Even mom was rockin out.

Final gratuitous kitten photo.

When I got back home, my own cat looked FAT!

Yeah, so what? Feed me, slave!

Cooking update

More leftover pork loin in my famous baked sandwich. This time with a balsamic onion and cream cheese filling, with kosher salt and herbs with butter brushed on the top.

Peanut butter/chocolate swirl chip cookies. These chips were unimpressive. Next time I’ll opt for plain chocolate chips in peanut butter batter.

Mac and cheese from scratch with steamed broccoli.

Spring is here! Rosemary balsamic chicken is accompanied by sauteed vidalia onions, asparagus, and corn.

Movie Saturday, revisited

Saturday night we were talking with a new friend about MS and tried to search the internet to find the official website (here, by the way). To our surprise, all of our movies were playing on Google Video! So now everyone can easily and speedily stream all of Movie Saturday productions anytime they want. Just search for “Movie Saturday” including quotes.

Watching a few films reminded Brian that he intended to make commentary tracks for a future DVD release. Sunday afternoon I went to his place and we started. We have three commentary tracks done. They were really quick and easy to record. Now we just need to find a day for other participants to provide insight for their works.

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