Friday, June 30, 2006

Favorite flicks in June

Film of the month:
An Inconvenient Truth - go see it!

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Disappointed in

The White Countess

Thursday, June 22, 2006

New stuff

The pots may be veering off into ugliness, but I was hoping for ugly-cute, like Mick Jagger. OK, Mick Jagger when he was 25.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Calvin Trillin's new book

Here's an excerpt from Heckuva Job...

This one is based on Bush's speech of 10-05 to "Brownie."

A qualified guy, I wish I had added.
Your resume's super, even if padded.
We wanted the best to lead FEMA's forces,
And who would know more than a man who knows horses?
You saw that the storm was more than some showers,
And sent off a memo in four or five hours.
You found out that life in the Dome was not Super —
And only a day after Anderson Cooper.
A heckuva job! You know how to lead'em.
We hope to award you the Medal of Freedom.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Sedona fire

I spent the weekend in Jerome, and on Sunday Greg and I decided to go hang out in Sedona for a few hours. We strolled around Tlaquepaque, which is an artsy, open-air shopping place modeled after old-style Mexican markets. Greg and I both used to sell jewelry there, and it's always fun to see what kind of stuff is popular now. I was taking a picture of this tower when I looked to the right and saw smoke billowing overhead.

I went running into Cocopah to get Greg. (Cocopah is a bead store that sells kits to the designed-challenged, but every once in awhile they have some great prices on individual beads. Like yesterday, big pieces of cinnabar for $3.) I calmly stammered, ummm, there's a big fire. And the store owner goes, oh no, that's like miles away. !!!! Ok, to me, "miles" is not a huge distance to cover, and I think fires agree.

So we kept shopping. About an hour later we headed out b/c it was just too hot. Even 7 degrees makes a difference when it's over 100, so we were heading back up the hill to cooler Jerome. Suddenly we could see the source of the fire - behind the hills, looking like it was out in the middle of nowhere.
We pulled over to take pictures and get a better look. So did about 10 other carloads.

Later, after dinner (the Haunted Hamburger - props to Matthew for the best burger and service ever), we sat and watched the smoke, at this point, way out in the distance, and started seeing bright orange flames. By the time it was very dark, the flames covered the entire side of a hill. It was very disconcerting.

This morning I headed back into the valley. Apparently the fire raged on, although all I could see was a small bit of smoke and the haze that covered the red rocks.

Here is the CNN link.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

100 Most Inspirational Films

OK, just to show you how little I pay attention sometimes, I was channel flipping last night when my hands were too cut up to do any more mosaics... and I stumbled upon the AFI list of inspirational movies. I kept thinking, where are all the foreign films... so... considering that perspective on the AMERICAN Film Institute, let me just ask some questions.

First, what are YOUR five most inspirational flicks? Seen any that changed your life? And just to really mess with you, it doesn't have to be 5. And if you're not too shy, tell me a little about why they are inspirational.

But first, I just have to ask these other questions.

What is inspirational about Thelma and Louise? Don't get me wrong, I loved it. But when women finally break free of whatever oppressive rut they were in, why do they have to die? Who exactly is inspired by this? The oppressors? Is it about girl power? I don't get it.

I get most of them on the list, even the ones I haven't seen, because you don't have to actually SEE Rocky - it's an icon for the American Dream, which I'm guessing, they assume inspires most people. I don't get why 2001 is inspirational. Can someone explain that? Considering it is open-ended, essentially modern art upon which we place our own meaning, wouldn't it depend on the person watching it to decide if it's inspirational? Is there some objective standard for "inspirational?" Isn't a source of inspiration completely subjective?

Why is Harold and Maude 72? Harold and Maude is 72 and Hoosiers is 13. Perhaps because Harold and Maude doesn't just retell the American Dream? I just need to make my own list.

But you guys first.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

This Al Gore film is one that everyone should see. It doesn't matter what your politics are. The issue of global warming is above politics - how to get to a solution may not be, but its effects and the things that individuals have within their power to change is unrelated to one's political position. Participation in a solution is a moral, not political, issue.

The film has a measured tone, not at all preachy or histrionic, like Michael Moore can get. (Ok, Michael Moore LIVES in histrionic town.) It's broken up with a bit of history (a certain election) and humor. Gore CAN be funny. No, seriously. The facts are easy to digest, and suggestions for what individuals can and should do are not presented until the credits.

Yet I could not sleep the night I saw it. While the message was not "We are doomed," we definitely are "in deep doo doo." And the images of all the glaciers melting, and the fact that as we speak, animals are DROWNING because they have no ice floes to camp on - that is a fact that does not need much digestion to understand. Polar bears cannot swim far enough to reach new ice floes as their habitats melt.

And yes, that does affect more than the polar bears and penguins. If the melting continues at this rate or increases, the shorelines of every continent will be affected by rising ocean levels. It would place lower Manhattan and at least 1/3 of FL and California underwater. And that is just one problem. The tsunami of 2004? That's nuthin. The film does not even address rising temperatures in places like Phoenix, where even a degree or two per decade could make the entire valley uninhabitable in our lifetimes.

So as you watch the coverage of yet another horrible hurricane season, do yourself a favor and pay attention to the things you can do to avert total global disaster. Do research or go see the flick. Don't stick your head in the sand. Without your participation in a solution, doo doo becomes doomed. Especially those with children, or those who expect to have grandchildren. There's more you can do than just trade in your SUV. Although if you don't do it soon, you won't be able to. Once the masses catch on, we will catch up with Europe and Asia and all be driving teeny tiny cars, or at least, hybrids.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Do the Evolution

Dedicated to Bush, and his clones

I'm ahead, I'm a man
I'm the first mammal to wear pants, yeah
I'm at peace with my lust
I can kill 'cause in God I trust, yeah
It's evolution, baby

I'm at peace, I'm the man
Buying stocks on the day of the crash
On the loose, I'm a truck
All the rolling hills, I'll flatten 'em out, yeah
It's herd behavior, uh huh
It's evolution, baby

Admire me, admire my home
Admire my son, he's my clone
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
This land is mine, this land is free
I'll do what I want but irresponsibly
It's evolution, baby

I'm a thief, I'm a liar
There's my church, I sing in the choir:
(hallelujah, hallelujah)

Admire me, admire my home
Admire my son, admire my clones
'Cause we know, appetite for a nightly feast
Those ignorant Indians got nothin' on me
Nothin', why?
Because... it's evolution, baby!

I am ahead, I am advanced
I am the first mammal to make plans, yeah
I crawled the earth, but now I'm higher
2010, watch it go to fire
It's evolution, baby
Do the evolution

Eddie Vedder and Stone Gossard

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Class act

Dave and Yvonne (from D&D Tile) were teaching a class out at Desert Botanical Gardens, which is a fabulous setting for art/craft classes. Early in the morning, while it's still relatively cool, you see and hear creatures scurrying under the mesquite and cacti, and everything looks so crisp and clear. And then when you are into the class and starting the physical work, it's blissfully air conditioned while you look out the window at the exotic plant life. And the cafe there has great food - and if you're there at the right time of day you have hummingbirds buzzing around you while you eat.

So I volunteered to help with the class, and didn't realize the volunteer got to make a piece too. It is really amazing to see what first-timers can come up with - to see people working out their designs and color with no previous experience, and just diving in - it's incredibly fun. It's even a little intimidating to see all the talent and feel all the energy in the room.

But holy cow- it's physical labor! I had no idea... To load multiple concrete tabletops, the tile, the tools, in the heat. And then Dave individually grouts and starts the clean-up on each piece. So for 16 people that is a TON of labor. Dave and Yvonne never stop working because there is always something to be done. And they are also super friendly and spirited - it's just a really good experience all around. I want to volunteer once a month because it is just such a different thing to do from the every day, and it is just so positive.

Check out their website - you have to sign up very early for classes because they sell out quickly.

Here's the setting:

Here's my piece:

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Apocalypse Wow

Now, I'm not going to get up on a soapbox and start talking about global warming, b/c this here is Entertainment Cartridges, not Scientific Cartridges, or Beware Cartridges. But we are having some weird ass weather in Phoenix.

Yesterday, on 6-6-06, we were revisited by the dreaded haboob. That's right, haboob. At least the morning disc jockeys had something to talk about besides American Idol. Haboobs are dust storms that kill an average of five people on Arizona roads every year. They can be miles-wide, and the dirt and debris can travel up to 50 mph and choke highways and blind motorists. Now, I'm not a believer in any kind of omen-y special dates, but I don't know what the haboob believes.

And now Sky Harbor International Airport has issued a full ground stop for the next 60 to 90 minutes, meaning no planes are landing or taking off. The National Weather Service says "this storm contains damaging winds, destructive hail and potentially deadly cloud-to-ground lightning". They suggest seeking shelter.

!!!! Ok, there are many things wrong with this.

1. It doesn't usually rain in June. The monsoons don't start til July.
2. HAIL? It's like 1200 degrees out there.
3. Telling Arizonans to take cover - this is the weirdest part, because these fricking people JOG when it's 115 degrees, ok? So this is some serious shit.

I was sitting here checking email when it became as dark as night. Things started blowing around like during Dorothy's entrance into Oz. I've only seen this one other time, when huge metal trash cans blew through the air. Take shelter? I'll go one better and become a Catholic.

Please, do not let the haboob blow my house away.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Mural installation

So I finally got to help Yvonne and Dave install a mural... Dave runs a great speciality tile shop in Phoenix with an equally-named guy (Dave) and Yvonne is the intrepid help and general, all-around wonder woman. The Daves run the kind of shop that you don't visit so much as slip into when your friends aren't looking, b/c didn't you just go there last week? and didn't you buy stuff you haven't even used yet and now it is piling up on your back porch? and you bought more?

Yes and yes and shut up.

So Dave #2 let me tag along to help and learn. You can learn a lot in class (see website - gratuitous plug!) but you learn even more on a job. We installed a huge mural with a sea theme, including a mermaid and some awesomely crabby, what are they called - crabs. Dave put the mural together on tile backing board at the studio and installed it in panels at the site, which was the backyard of a lovely home in north central Phoenix. Genius. I pictured laboring for hours and hours in the hot sun, placing tile upon wall like I do on the porch. But no. This is so much better, working at your own pace at your own place, in air conditioning, and then installing in one swoop. Well, three swoops but it was hot.

So check out the website and see if you think YOU could resist the fabulous designs and the great tile.

Here are the mural pics.

This one has two main panels up

This one has all the panels up, pre-grout

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Concert week, 2006

What started as a lock on a front row situation in DC for the Bruce show ended in chaos, confusion, and blisters, but we still were right up close, about 5 feet away. Doesn't do any good to be the first there or to know the others that are first there if the venue ignores the list... But after not trying at all, I ended up in the same spot, one more row back, in Phoenix last night. Landau management must have heard the complaints from last Sunday, because in Phoenix there was a very well-run lottery system, which ended with everyone forming a line and being escorted in.

They needed to do something, b/c it was 112 when we were outside waiting for the drawing. I went with Fran and we did not get there until shortly before 5, which was great... We spent only about 10 minutes in the direct sun while they were creating the line to go in. The lottery number drawn was 766 and we were 892 and 893, so out of 450 let into the pit we did very well. Like DC they let us in and then bottlenecked us for 1/2 hour while Bruce did the soundcheck. Fortunately, it was inside, and the air was killer. Unlike Sunday, Bruce could not hear us when we yelled to be let in...

Out of the three shows I saw this week (don't ask!) last night's was definitely the winner. Sure, it helps to be up close, in a real pit, inside, with air, but the show just kicked ass. Our Pearl Jam seats Tuesday were nosebleeds, which doesn't matter usually with Pearl Jam, because it's so intense and so loud that it fills the place. But we were not surrounded by the biggest fans and not only were they not into it, a few were following some season playoff and were incredibly rude with their glowing white cell phones (when I protested the constant checking and yelling about the score I was answered with a string of screamed profanities and told I could leave if I didn't like it - it was a free country - ???? - so you get the neanderthal-ness of our row. When they played Better Man I told profane boy's girlfriend -this one's for you). Note to self: get better seats. But anyway, didn't ruin it.

Perhaps Bruce was trying harder last night to convince the 3/4 full house that they should have brought more friends, but for whatever reason this show was at least 50% better than Sunday's. The setlist was better, the reworked versions of old songs were amazing - this is definitely the way to hear Johnny 99 and Atlantic City. Don't even get me started on Open All Night. Still not crazy about Ramrod but I realize I am alone on this. After a haunting version of City of Ruins I could have left happy, but there were still 4 songs to go, including a great, extended version of The Band's Rag Mama Rag, which I don't think I'd heard since the 70s.

About halfway through the show I left the front and went to the back of the pit because I was surrounded by tall white guys who danced, well, like tall white guys. It was almost dangerous. I ran into my old friend Diane and hung out with her and her friends in the huge, wide open space that was the pit in front of the regular GA crowd. Nils Lofgren was there and joined Bruce for Pay Me My Money Down. About 5 minutes later, Diane nudged me and told me to look to my left, and Nils was standing right next to me, and then he and his wife started dancing to You Can Look (again - GREAT) - I mean, dancing, like swing, with arms flailing and all. It was great. People left them alone too, except to stare a little, because these are some seriously short people, dancing like crazy. :-)

So all in all, I'm in a shirt-eating situation with this side project, as in, if I like it I'll eat my shirt. Don't get me wrong, they were NOT e-street shows, but great nevertheless, and I may even buy a tour t-shirt to replace the one I had to eat.

Has anyone heard if you can still get PJ tickets for Vegas?? ;-)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Friday, June 02, 2006

What I'm Loving Right Now

Got tagged by I Digress and Lara Goes Blogging to do a list. Don't you guys know I hate lists unless I create them? :-)

Would it be too lame to say I'm loving everything right now? Probably, huh.

OK. Here's the short list:

1. Pearl Jam provides downloads of shows 24-48 hours after they're through. You can even get them in loss-less files for a scant $5 more. Every band should do this. As soon as I'm finished here I will go download the show I saw Tuesday night. So for that reason, I'm also loving the internet right now besides loving Pearl Jam. I used to get excited about set lists being posted. Now shows are posted. When they post Eddie as a hologram that I can project in the house, I think the internet will top the best invention ever on the planet at any time. Or wait! when we can DOWNLOAD ACTUAL EDDIE. See, I'm never all the way happy. If we downloaded Eddie, would that be a virtual eddie, a clone, or a transported through time and space Eddie? (Ryan, this is an example of stream of consciousness writing, ha.)

2. I'm loving my David Foster Wallace list. Where else can you post a weird question like, can novels exist without a protagonist, and have a list of said novels within an hour. By the way, they can, and probably only in the postmodern sub genre of modern fiction.

3. Also, I'm loving that I have a co-worker that would bet me that a novel couldn't exist without a protagonist, and would even argue that point during a work meeting, and will probably continue arguing that point even after reading said list. Ryan is the best.

4. Am loving that 4 days after the worst cluster ever, commonly known as General Admission, the Springsteen staff has come up with a new method that does not encourage waiting outside for hours, and yet does reward the die hard fans. Kudos for listening to the complaints from Sunday's show in Virginia. Too bad it wasn't done in time to save Columbus, but it is not 110 degrees in Columbus.

5. Am loving the fact that despite having to wait for Bush again on the tarmac ( I think he's following me, or perhaps he is following someone who is following me, or perhaps he was lost, because it was BWI ) I only had to wait 1/2 hour this time.

6. Am loving loving loving the fact that despite being out $6900 in two months, the plumbing and electricity will be finished tomorrow. And that I could save up that money no matter how long it took, because I ain't no saver.

7. Am loving movie club and movie club buds.

8. Am loving the psychedelic mexican bird of paradise flowers that line the freeways every summer. Orange and yellow blasting your eyes while the heat blasts your skin. Can it get any hotter? Oh yes, it can. 102? 102 is for wusses. One time when Zoe was trying to find something she liked about Phoenix, she mentioned those plants.

9. Did I mention going to see Bruce again Saturday? Really, it's an embarrassment of riches. I'm saving up memories for my inevitable unemployment.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Update, no foul play

Apparently the electricians left a note that blew away - they are finishing tomorrow. The plumbers are there today. It's all good...