Category Archives: Uncategorized

Please Join Your Party In The Gold Room

I saw The Shining for the first time ever last night (except for the parts where I hid my face behind a comforter). I slept well last night and woke up feeling refreshed and with a new appreciation for Shelley Duval’s face.

I think there’s been a lot written about Shelley Duval’s acting in this movie, as in it was less than stellar. But if she was cast purely for her face, I say well played Kubrick.

Happy Halloween!

collage of shelley duval's faces in The Shining

Smash Notes: “Chemistry,” Episode 6

Title for NBC show "Smash."

Hmm… I can’t decide. Should I begin this week’s Smash recap with Ivy’s Pred Shakes or Karen’s Bar Mitzvah triumph?

Oh, who am I kidding? Let’s talk about Julia’s scarves.

Scarves, Symbol of Conflict: Did you notice that as soon as hubby came back from wherever he was – a conference? – the scarves came back out? Yep, hubby was back and that neck was swaddled tighter than a newborn. But it didn’t take.

Continue reading Smash Notes: “Chemistry,” Episode 6

My Minneapolis Apartment, 1999-2001

In January, I posted about finding my notes from apartment hunting in Minneapolis. Since then, I’ve been thinking about some of the high(low) lights of living in the apartment that was the result of that search.

The apartment was located above an establishment called Bryant Lake Bowl. Establishing shot:

Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis.
Usual reaction from people: “You lived above a bowling alley? Wow, that must have been noisy.” Yes! But not because of the obvious reason. There is a small theater space connected to the restaurant/bowling lanes and, when I lived there, the person who booked the space had a predilection for hip hop.

Continue reading My Minneapolis Apartment, 1999-2001

Oscar Fashion: A Battle Between Good/Evil

Luke Skywalker battles Darth Vader.My major revelation about last night’s Oscar fashions didn’t hit me until I woke up this morning. What we saw, played out in very expensive designer gowns, was a battle between good and evil. Fashion was wrestling with itself, forcing the actresses/starlets who paraded down that red carpet to choose sides.

Let me explain.

Without a doubt, the most popular color spectrum for gowns was white/flesh/champagne/silver. Put some beads on it, cut one arm off, don a cape, have a cascading train, it was still that same color palette. A wide shot of the red carpet revealed men in black tuxes and then blurs of women who appeared to be naked, so close was the color of their gown to their skin tone.

The leader of the white pack was Gwyneth Paltrow, wearing a gown Princess Leia herself might choose for her big day. The white, strapless Tom Ford gown was complemented with a cape that draped regally from her shoulders and fell in a strict, straight line down her pilates-enhanced back.

Continue reading Oscar Fashion: A Battle Between Good/Evil

Apartment Hunting, 1999

I came across some notes I made in 1999, when I was still fairly new to Minneapolis and looking for an apartment to live in on my own. I’d spent the first 6 months in town living with my sister and brother-in-law, and patience on all of our parts was wearing thin, so I was looking for some Single Gal Freedom.

Here is a transcript of my notes. If you live at any of the addresses I insult below, I’m sorry you have to live in such a terrible place.

Oh, I almost forgot a very important detail. These notes are in a spiral-bound notebook with a black-and-white photo of a cat on the front. Well, rather than describing it, I’ll show it to you:

The only thing worse than using this notebook then is that I recently found it in a drawer, realized it had a lot of paper left  in it and started using it again.

The notes:

$10 month/cat [Note: I had a cat named Ella. A very bad cat.]
$30 application fee
$510 security dep. (one month rent)
Alarm systems installed.
Grand Lake Apt.

[Note: Interestingly enough, I drove by this building with my sister and she forbade me to actually look at the apartment, declaring it unfit for a single woman living alone. She meant that it seemed sketchy. About eight years later some friends of ours moved in to this same building and my husband helped them move a piano up two flights of stairs. They did not seem to be aware that people are in the business of moving musical instruments of this size professionally.]

2 1/2 story, 10 unit    $460
1828 Columbus Ave S
All-brick building
Secured entrance
Extra large 800 sq. feet
Maple floors
3 arched openings, 2 china hutches
panel mahogany doors
floor to ceiling
shower (!!?)

[Note from 2012 self: when can I move in?]

Grand Avenue 1 block
323 W 31st Street
1/2 mile to Lake Calhoun [might as well be 20 miles]
$700 1BR
sewer, water, trash, heat, laundry

[Yes, again with this apartment. I don’t know why it is written down twice. It must have been like forbidden fruit to me.]

3404 Emerson $500 MAYBE
3236 Garfield $559 NASTY
2621 Pleasant $535 BRICK BUILDING NOT BAD

2621 Pillsbury *** OK
19xx Ridgewood Ave South $550 ADDRESS??? COULDN’T FIND
Aldrich & Franklin 1 BR $475 NO SHOWER
James & 31st small 1 BR NICE STREET/HOUSES/LAKE

Final note: I did not live in any of these places. No, I opted to move into an apartment directly above Bryant Lake Bowl. Yes, this was a huge mistake. Yes, I thought I was being incredibly urban and hip.

I may be urban (but the older I get the more I suspect I’m not; I was raised in the country and it seems that, at some point, I will make my return) but I have never been hip.

To give you an idea of my lameness: there was a video store on the corner of Lake & Bryant at the time, which I  also lived directly above. I rented videos there. I would have to pass their door everyday in order to go anywhere and yet I racked up so steep a late fee on rented videos that I was no longer able to rent there unless I paid it off. I felt I could not afford to do so. I was no longer able to rent videos at the store right beneath me.

This was before Netflix.

Just The Way It Is: Thoughts On Deer Hunting

This past weekend was the opening of deer hunting (gun) season in Minnesota. As a vegetarian with 10+ years of meat-free smugness under my belt, you’d think I’d be against such an activity, but I’m not. The main reason for this is my dad, a lifelong deer hunter.

I’ve never been hunting. I was the girl who cried during Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom whenever an animal (usually something of the deer-ish variety) got attacked and eaten by a predator.

“That’s the way nature is,” my dad would say, but I wasn’t having it.

One Christmas, my dad wrapped up a rifle and put it under the tree. He played it off as a big joke when I opened it but part of him wanted me to unwrap it, hug its cold barrel to my chest and then jump up and down yelling, “When can we go shoot? Huh, Dad? When can we go out and kill things?”

What actually happened: I think I looked at him and rolled my eyes.

Still, I grew up in deer hunting culture. Every November, kids (boys) in my class were excused from school to go off deer hunting with their dads. This strikes me now as a big injustice to those of us (girls) who had to attend school but at the time it didn’t faze me. On Thanksgiving morning, my dad would be getting back from hunting with my uncles and cousins by the time my sister and I were up watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

My dad, who owned a produce store, had the space and facilities to process deer for other people. For several years, it was normal for me to walk over to our store, go in the back door and see several deer strung up by their hindquarters, tongues hanging out, dark eyes like marbles. More would be stowed in the walk-in cooler. My dad and grandfather worked at cutting the deer up, their cover-alls coated in blood. There were barrels filled with the discarded deer parts and sometimes one of our dogs would be brave enough to jump up and grab a discarded leg, running back to our yard with the furry spindle, capped by a hoof, in its mouth.

Last week, I was watching the local evening news and they had a story on about hunters getting ready for the big weekend. The first part of the story was about how much hunting costs (apparently, too damn much). This had never occurred to me because it’s not a complaint my father would ever make. You went to Fleet Farm and bought what you needed and it lasted you for 10 years (more like 25+ years).

You didn’t need fancy equipment or an ATV; you carried your deer out on your back if you had to. My dad hunted on his own land and much of the best hunting took place in a  swamp. Carrying a deer out on your back while struggling through crotch-high swamp water can give guys a heart attack if they’re not healthy and strong and I believe this is one reason both of my grandfathers were eventually persuaded they should no longer go out.

The second part of the news story talked about how, despite the cost, hunting is rewarding. The people interviewed talked about how they couldn’t wait to get out to their tree stand – and take naps. Or sit and contemplate life. Or enjoy nature. This made me sad. It seemed as if all these people really needed was time at a secluded B&B or a wilderness resort but they thought it would make them less macho or maybe just strange, so they waited until deer season for an excuse to sit out in the woods and get their heads together.

I wanted to tell them that the woods is always there and one doesn’t need an excuse to go to it.

It might be that growing up on a farm is what made me a vegetarian – I took it in the opposite direction than a lot of people would. I grew up eating my fair share of hunted meat (deer, goose, duck, pheasant, rabbit, perch, walleye and, once, I think, squirrel) and I saw death. I watched my grandfather chop the heads off chickens and let them run for a few seconds before collapsing. I found dead cats in our barn. I poked at dismembered rabbits, killed by our dogs, with sticks. Sometimes my dad would help another farmer butcher pigs and, while I was never present when the killing took place, I did find the maggot-filled cesspool where the discarded parts were buried.

My dad and I do have disagreements about when and how often animals have to meet their death at the hands of humans. For example, I don’t think the squirrels that ravage his bird feeder need to die. He does. And the last time I went home for a visit, he was luring deer to a spot in the woods with apples, then going out in the evening, climbing up a tree with his bow and waiting for them to show up for the delicious treats.

One rainy evening while sitting out in the stand he hit a deer with an arrow and it ran off into the mist. He was certain it was hurt enough to die but he couldn’t find it, not that night or the next morning.

“That’s a waste,” I said. “You killed it and now it’s going to rot in a field somewhere.”

“I can’t help it,” my dad said. “That’s just the way it is.” Sort of a “you win some/you lose some” attitude.

I found this drawing that sort of illustrates what happened except imagine that the arrow is sticking into the deer and then imagine it running away. And imagine it being dark and rainy and impossible to see all this:

But I could tell he felt a bit bad about it. If he kills something he does it mostly within the rules (as far as I know – ever since I found out in college that he used to burn old tires to get rid of them I guess I shouldn’t put anything past him) and wants to use the animal as food. I’m not such a bleeding heart that I don’t realize this has literally been going on since the beginning of humanity and will never stop until we run out of wild animals to hunt.

But then we’ll probably start in on the cows, if only we can teach them to walk through the woods and run away when they see us in order to make it feel like something of a fair(er) fight.

You Should Totally Go: Found vs. Found Film Fest

If you’re a pop culture aficionado (I think that’s all of us under the age of 50 at least) you are aware of the zine called Found Magazine, started by Davy Rothbart and Jason Bitner. It’s a collection of, well, found notes and photos and heart-rending love notes, etc., much of it user submitted. Praise for naming the mag exactly what it is instead of going with something more enigmatic, like Ephemera Magazine, or something twee like Flotsam & Jetsam Magazine (which is a relief because that’s totally going to be MY magazine).

[BTW, if you want to know more about Davy Rothbart, there’s this article or you could watch this movie but if you don’t have time for all that tedious clicking and reading I can say that he’s very open about the sexual side of his life but I prefer to think of him as the Found Mag dude because I’m Midwestern like that.]

Others of you may be aware of the Found Footage Film Festival, started by Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher. It’s a fest of, well, found footage – mainly VHS tapes found at thrift stores and garage sales, etc. One of their rules is NO YouTube, meaning they’re not just out there trolling YouTube to find their stuff.

Hurry and go to the website to watch a woman who knows how to fill out a bodysuit dance to “Thriller” on a cable access show and you’ll get what I’m talking about.

And now Found and Found are engaging in hand-to-hand Found Combat on tour together and they are coming to the Twin Cities.

Our date is Monday, November 14, doors at 7-ish at the Heights Theater in Columbia Heights. You can go here to get your advance tix (which I did and strongly suggest you do rather than foolishly believing you can laze about and still get some at the door – remember you are up against A LOT of pop culture buffs here). Tickets are $13, (plus some bogus-y $1 service fee but pop culture ain’t always cheap) with one dollar from every ticket sold benefiting IFP-MN, where people learn to do cool stuff with film/video and photography.

Who am I putting my money on? Found Footage. Notes are hilarious but it will be hard to top stuff like this.

How Dare You?

I was messing around with my camera this morning, learning how to take a photo using the timer option. This one went off while I was trying to figure out what to do with my face and kind of showcases one of my natural expressions:

"You think you can mess with me? Huh?"


I like to call it the How Dare You! photo. “How dare you go off, camera, before I’m ready? I am disgusted with you.”

I think I could use this photo to get a job on a soap opera, if they weren’t all disappearing. Maybe a show like Ringer? BTW, they should have called that show Dead Ringer for more pizzazz. CSI? “Really, criminal? You really think you can fool us, the detective people?” I look as though I’m staring into the eyes of a worthless piece of scum, someone who lures children off playgrounds with the promise of Tootsie Rolls and photos of puppies.

I don’t think this is going on LinkedIn.

Also, through this process I re-discovered that one of my eyes is bigger than the other but if I have my head slightly tilted, it is harder to tell. I think this is valuable information.