29 July 2006

An ironic celebration

Like many American cities in the 1970s, Raleigh, NC decided to close off its main downtown thoroughfare and create a "pedestrian mall." And, like those in other cities, it failed miserably. No one went downtown except to go to the courthouse or to buy Krispy Kremes (not that the latter is not a noble pursuit...), and downtown was lame. Finally, people began to see the light. Roads were made to be driven on! Now, Raleigh, like so many others, has begun a downtown revitalization project. Key to this plan has been the reopening of the pedestrian mall, in our case, Fayetteville Street.

Today, the street will reopen with a big civic hoo-hah, called "Raleigh Wide Open." I just hope the street lives up to the hype.

ironically, the city is celebrating the reopening of the street by blocking it off and holding a street party on it. I'll check it out when we are actually allowed to drive on it.

26 July 2006

I heart Project Runway

Oh, how I love Wednesday nights at 10pm. Finally, something worth watching! I agree with what Tim Gun has said, this year's group of designers is far better, on balance, than the previous two seasons. However, I do miss some people terribly, like sweet, adorable Uncle Nick.

I have even sort of begun to miss Evil Santino, who doesn't seem nearly so bad in this pic as he normally did.

I am totally loving Tim and Michael Kors (though having Vera Wang guest these past 2 week has been cool too).

A blog I read has described Vincent as "if Fozzy the Bear and Woody Allen's superego mated." LOL So, what on earth is THIS MAN and his basket/hat doing still on the show when Malan of Fakeaccentia is gone?

Now will we ever get confirmation that, indeed, Malan is a character played by Tim Curry?

If only we had an Alan Cumming lookalike as well, I'd be in heaven. On second thought, perhaps the real Alan could go on the show, to save him from fates like this:

Back to PR now, two things that are really irking me now, one totally trivial, the other not so much:
1 - Does anyone really walk the way Heidi Klum does across the opening titles? The skirt is waaay too short, the heels look ridiculous with it, and she picks her feet up in such a way as to make us thinks she's walking through mud.

2 - Why oh WHY hasn't Andrea taken her bubble skirts and gone back off the grid to Ohio? Will someone PLEASE put us out of our misery?

I'm ready for Jepoardy!

This week has been slow, in terms of fun things going on. I had a great time at our last dance class at the old studio last night, we did a Morris 8-Hand that's super cool, but alas, now I'm afraid it's back to editing, editing, and more editing.

So, whenever Jeopardy! knocks on my door - I'm ready! I can tell you all about the iron absorption via infant formulas in rats, which health insurance companies are the best and worst about paying claims in Florida, and can provide an endless supply of "the couch was a former fright attendant" type stuff for "translation." Surely all this seemingly useless info will pay off sometime?

I've got some cool pics I need to post soon- I've been recreating the Pottery Barn catalog here at the house. After I've done some more work, maybe I'll get around to posting the pics for "comparing and contrasting" purposes.

24 July 2006

Four questions for the President

A friend of mine sent me this, and it's too good not to share. (Thanks, Tammy!)

The President went to a primary school to talk to the kids to get a little PR. After his talk he offers question time. One little boy puts up his hand and the President asks him his name.

"Stanley," responds the little boy.

"And what is your question, Stanley?"

"I have 4 questions:

First, why did the USA invade Iraq without the support of the UN?

Second, why are you President when Al Gore got more votes?

Third, whatever happened to Osama Bin Laden?"

Fourth, why are we so worried about gay-marriage when one-half of all Americans don't have health insurance?

Just then, the bell rings for recess. The President informs the kiddies that they will continue after recess.

When they resume the President says, "OK, where were we? Oh, that's right, question time. Who has a question?"

Another little boy puts up his hand. The President points him out and asks him his name.

"Steve," he responds.

"And what is your question, Steve?"

"Actually, I have 6 questions.

First, why did the USA invade Iraq without the support of the UN?

Second, why are you President when Al Gore got more votes?

Third, whatever happened to Osama Bin Laden?

Fourth, why are we so worried about gay marriage when one-half of all Americans don't have health insurance?

Fifth, why did the recess bell go off 20 minutes early?

And sixth, what the hell happened to Stanley?"

22 July 2006

Ethan update

Today Ethan asked my mom if she knows "how to make a hat out of a newspaper." She tells me that, when they're done, they'll be making sow's ears out of purses.

Ethan has been pretending to be Bono for quite some time now. He loves stealing my sunglasses,which look like flyshades on him, and running around the house playing air guitar. Now, however, he seems to be branching out. over the past few days, he's been playing air bass (shoulder-held, not upright). He's even switched from holding a pretend guitar pick to plucking strings with his right hand. How does he know this stuff? All I can say is, I hope he ends up more like Sting or Geddy Lee than The Cheese. ;-) He continues composing his own songs - today's was called "Deep (Down in the Ocean)," and is mainly the word deep repeated rhythmically with occasional other lyrics thrown in to spice things up. (When in the car, he still Vogues up a storm, though, thanks to Mitch's careful instruction during our roadtrip last May, LOL.)

He's getting VERY into the notion of kindergarten. His first day is 30 August, and he's ready. He's got the personalized backpack and Cars lunchbox with Lightning McQueen, Mater, and Doc Hudson. The last was harder to come by than I'd thought - we had to have Mater and Doc, and this one seems to be the only one not totally devoted to that limelight hog McQueen...

What else? Let's see...
He still loves all things having to do with maps, and likes to count off all the states he's been to so far (25 + Canada). He told me the other day that he plans to work at "Pixar Animation Studios" when he grows up. He's not going to work "at Pixar," you have to say the whole company name. What does he plan to do there? Be the voices for Mater and Doc Hudson in future Cars releases. (I've not told him they won't make a zillion versions.)

The couch was an ex-fright attendant

Ah yes, it's another exciting weekend here, full of editing. I've leaned more than I ever wanted (or needed) two know about two major healthcare organizations in Florida, and am now working on some of my Japanese clients' things.

I have, however, had moments of fun. I finally got current (ha!) on some TV I'd had piling up and know how season 2 of LOST ended (when will season 3 begin?!?), and am also enjoying catching up with old episodes of The Office that I missed the first time around.

We've been promised rain, but no such luck so far, so I'm off to the deck to try and keep my plants alive...

21 July 2006


I am nerdier than 82% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

On some level, this surprises me, on others, not at all.

Dreaming of other places

It's hot here. It's been hot, and will continue being hot. Oh, and muggy too. When it gets like this, I can't help but with I was someplace else, like one of the places we've been earlier this year.

The first picture you see was taken on the California coast, at Mandalay Beach. This was taken from our terrace. Interestingly, I think this view, away from the beach, is more interesting than the standard "beach shots" I took looking out over the ocean.

As some may recognize, this was taken on Divisidero, in San Francisco. Each time we go there, Mitch has to drive up and down its hills - I'll tell ya though, it's a view I never get tired of!

I'm thinking it would be supercool to have my very own icehouse, like this one at Sagamore HIll.

Or maybe just a dip in the Pacific would cure me (this was taken just outside of Santa Barbara).

20 July 2006

Happy Anniversary

On this day...

514 - St Hormisdas began his reign as Catholic Pope
1810 - Colombia declared its independence from Spain
1881 - Sitting Bull surrendered to US Federal troops
1919 - Sir Edmund Hillary was born
1949 - Israel's 19 month war for independence ended
1960 - Sirima Bandaranaike became the world's first female Prime Minister (in Sri Lanka)
1968 - Jane Asher broke her engagement to Paul McCartney on live TV (what was she thinking?!?)
1969 - Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon
1996 - Nanci and Mitch got married

Happy Anniversary, Mitch!

19 July 2006

Wholesome what?!?

The other day I posted a few pics from paris Fashion Week about really impractical, comical garments. Now, I'm thinking they are looking a bit better. It's summer after all, the US is plagued by record high temps, and those pieces are loads better than these "wholesome" swimsuits. "What is it?" you ask, why, it's WholesomeWear!

It reminds me of the dress Maria wears when she's still a novice and is singing about the hills being alive with the sound of music, only not quite so cute.

17 July 2006

Math doesn't suck

...and Winnie Cooper proves it here!

Wow, and all Paul Pfeiffer ever did was turn into Marilyn Manson ;-)

Wormest regards

I've not posted in the past few days because a) I've not been doing much - it's been in the 90s with high 90s humidity as well, and b) I've been editing loads.

Most of my clients are Japanese, and so are ESL speakers/writers. I love these people - they're loyal to me, and send me good stuff all the time - all of which is much better English than I'd ever hope to do in japanese - but sometimes, i can't help but relate to Bill Murray in "Lost in Translation."

There are only so many instances of "lip my stockings" a person can deal with. My favorite puzzler remains "a diet of centering fish." Looking back on this, the meaning seems totally obvious to me, but at the time, I was beyond confused. I thought perhaps this was some zen-inspired species of fish and wondered what we call it in English. Then, after a loooong time, it occurred to me that the person has a diet centered around fish. Oh - that makes sense!

14 July 2006

Frightening fashions

Everyone reading this knows I'm a medievalist, but even I won't go so far as some of the stuff being show at Paris Fashion Week now.

The "wedding gown" is from Jean-Paul Gaultier, the others here are Galliano for Dior. Yikes!

This red is a bit Elizabethan, but no less scary. The others, well, sorta make me think this is what drag shows might have looked like ca. 1450.

New music (sort of)

If you're like me, you end up listening to the same things over and over (and over and over) again in the car. It's all stuff you like, but does tend to become boring after a while. So, this morning I'm forcing myself out of my music rut and making a new CD for the car. (I've been putting this off in favor of listening to NPR for ages now, but there's a particular DJ on in the mornings here whose voice I simply cannot stand, so, needs must...

The playlist so far is:

No Myth - Michael Penn
Wrapped Around Your Finger - The Police
The Crying Scene - The Lightning Seeds
What Am I To You - Norah Jones
Express Yourself - Madonna
Fields of Gold - Sting
Creep - Marty Casey (yes, it's a cover, but an excellent one)
So Cruel - U2
Nothing Compares 2 U - Sinéad O'Connor
You Got It - Roy Orbison
No Woman, No Cry - Ty Taylor (another excellent cover, a bit peppier than the original)
Don't Dream It's Over (acoustic) - Crowded House
Just Like Heaven - The Cure
Limelight - Rush
Head Over Heels - Tears for Fears
Hawkmoon 269 - U2
Don't Change - INXS

I have a few other songs I'd like o add, but they've not yet been ripped from my CDs and I'm too lazy to go rooting around for them now (and won't buy a duplicate from iTunes just to save myself the trouble).

Looking back on the list, it seems a bit ballad-heavy - if anyone has some brilliant ideas of lost gems that should be added, let me know!

13 July 2006

Surgery went well

Thanks for the emails and comments about my mom. The surgery went well, and she's resting comfortably on my couch as I type. I'm off now for a big bottle o' Vicodin. For her, not me! ;-)

A big honking goodbye, says the Washington Post

Finally! the worst part of the commute this summer between NC and NJ has been the HORRIBLE traffic at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge outside of DC> It once took me a bit over an hour to go not quite 5 miles there. And this is typical.

But now, the end is in sight! i was thrilled to come across this article just now.

This will cut at least an hour off the trip :-)

Black helicopters explained

Yesterday afternoon I noticed quote a few helicopters hovering very near our house. The weather was good, we're not in a high crime area, etc, so I had no idea what was happening.

Watch this to find out. Our house is about a mile from here.

Ethan just wishes we'd been able to see it in person ourselves.

12 July 2006

See a movie & do some good

I just heard from my favorite uncle (hi, Dale!) that the Urban Ministry Center in Charlotte, NC is going to be the beneficiary of a charity hoo-hah and local premier of "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" on 2 August. The film's director, Judd Apatow, will even be on hand.

If you're in the area and want to do a lot to help this great center (an inter-faith organization that serves the poor, needy and homeless with basic needs), give the UMC a call (704.347.0278). I have no idea how many tickets are still available, but I am sure they would be thrilled to hear from you.

Free at last

I know I tend to proclaim lots of work "the worst writing I've ever seen," but truly, today I saw the back of one of the most daunting projects I've undertaken in a while. That bad writing excerpt I posted a few days ago (about the expression wearing a blue suit and reading a newspaper) came from this manuscript, so you know what I'm talking about here.

Anyhow, it's gone, out the door, never to be seen or read by another human being outside of the "writer's" family. I'm free of it at last!

Now, as a reward to myself for finishing the damn thing without going completely crazy, I'm taking in some seriously mindless web surfing. My first stop was here to marvel not only at the absurdity of TomKat, but also to wonder who are these people who analyze everything, and how do they have so much time on their hands? (Don't get me wrong, I love reading it all, but still...)

OK, off to surf some more now, and perhaps tackle those camera phone pics I mentioned yesterday.

BTW, my mom's having surgery on both her feet tomorrow afternoon, so any and all good healing and recovery vibes are more than welcome.

Juicy Tim Gunn

Project Runway is back! And what better way to start off a morning than with this juicy interview with Tim Gunn?

11 July 2006

That’s one loquacious burrito

The “winners” of the Bulwer-Lytton Literary Prize were announced today.

Here’s the winner, by Jim Guigli of California.

Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean.

The runner up, Stuart Vasepuru from Scotland, paid homage to Dirty Harry with the following, which warms my cold editor’s heart ;-)

"I know what you're thinking, punk," hissed Wordy Harry to his new editor, "you're thinking, 'Did he use six superfluous adjectives or only five?' -- and to tell the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement; but being as this is English, the most powerful language in the world, whose subtle nuances will blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel loquacious?' -- well do you, punk?"

Someone remind me to enter this thing next year. Surely between exposure to my editing work and teaching I’ll be able to pick up this ”skill” through osmosis?

BTW, there's a great blog article about the contest, including some published very, very bad writing samples here.

Mitch and I killed Syd Barrett

We've done it again.

Any time Mitch and I take a car trip, we kill a famous person. Sure, it all appears random, what with our being hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from the scenes of death, but coincidence can't explain everything, can it? ;-)

Our "victim list" includes (in somewhat chronological order, and only those I can remember off the top of my head):

Chris Farley
The guy from Milli Vanilli
Princess Diana
Michael Hutchence
Ronald Reagan
Billy Preston
June Allyson

and now, Syd Barrett

The giraffe didn't lick us!

When I last posted here, I was in DC, about to head out for a day of who knows what. Well, here's what's what :-)

We head first to the National Air & Space Museum, where, despite the fact that we'd just been there last October, we still had a great time looking at all the exhibits, seeing a show at the Einstein Planetarium, and generally letting Mitch be the fabulously geeky tour guide to All Things Space that he is (but in a good way!) We saw Infinity Express" at the planetarium, which was a nice, classical planetarium show, better suited for kids than the one currently running at the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC. It was a bit too loud and "showy" for Ethan, whereas the one in DC was just right. Sure, he still sat there with his hands over his eyes and ears, but he made certain to keep his fingers spread far enough apart that he wasn't missing anything happening on the screen!

After a few hours there, we wandered around the Mall, looking at the Smithsonian's Folklife Festival. We happened to be there the weekend Alberta, Canada and Chicago's Latino community were featured. An odd combination, that. Needless to say, we didn't' spend much time there, but it was a great day to just be outside enjoying the sunshine.

After that, we headed back up to NJ.

Sunday came and we decided to take Ethan to the Wild Safari at Six Flags. It was incredible! They have all kinds of animals there: elephants, giraffes, zebras, peacocks, bears, lions, tigers, oryxes, wildebeests, camels, bison, ostriches, emus, rhinos, you name it. What makes this place different from zoos, however, is that you drive in your own car through the habitats. The truly dangerous animals (elephants, lions, tigers) are all in fenced areas so as not to charge the cars, but the rest are allowed to roam free within their given areas. This, of course, means they are free to wander right up to your car, look in the windows, etc. If a group gives you trouble, you're to honk your horn and wait for help. We only came close to doing this once :-)

The giraffes are a curious lot. They pretty much surrounded a car in front of us and then proceeded to lick the car's windows. Ethan was devastated that they only sniffed at ours. When we got to the oryx area, though, we were the ones surrounded. They are some large animals! I've posted a picture at the top of this posting. I thought these were oryx, but now, I'm not so sure. If anyone out there can ID this animal, please let me know!

I am sad to say I went off without my camera this weekend, so I only have pics from my camera phone, which I've not yet had a peek at. I'll look at them this evening and post anything of value later.

I've got some editing I need to take care of now, and Blogger tells me there's a planned outage coming up soon, so I'll be back with more this evening, after Big Brother and the Project Runway casting show.

08 July 2006

In DC . . . for now

Well, we've left Raleigh behind for a long weekend with Mitch. We're in DC (without my camera...grrrr..) and will hang out here today, then head up to NJ this afternoon or evening. It's so good to be together again. I hate us being spread out all over the place!

As I was driving up yesterday, I noticed some odd things, listed here in no particular order:

    There is only one McDonald's between our house and the Virginia border. Why is this?
    Some people put odd things on the back of their vehicles. For example, a dump truck we passed with the slogan "How do you like me now?" emblazoned on the back. WTF? That's almost as bad as the RV we saw driving out West with "Intruder" painted proudly across the back door. Hmm....
    Is the Ni River in southern Virginia guarded by knights?
    Am I the only one who's mysteriously driven to stop at the same places on road trips, even when i don't intend it? I have found that, no matter what time of day it is, I tend to stop at Exit 121 in VA, the exit trying to lure drivers to the Stonewall Jackson Shrine (which, if you ever need to know, is open daily and 5 miles to the right when you exit off of I-95 north). This is just odd. I can be driving early in the day, at noon, or late, yet each time I will need to stop for a drink, gas, or whatever just as I reach this exit. Other exits I'm drawn to for reasons unknown are for the Strawberry Plains Pike outside of Knoxville, TN, and the McDonald's in Lonoke, AR and Tucumcari, NM (all of these off of I-40).

06 July 2006

Colin Dunne, part 3 or, I made it!

Dancing less than a foot away from Colin Dunne is not a bad way to spend an afternoon. Today was the final day of the masterclass, and it was AMAZING. I had such fun, learned a lot, and enjoyed just soaking up the Colinness of it all ;-) I'll say it again: Colin Dunne is a dance god. I was lucky enough to be placed in the middle of the row that was most often the front one, and so Colin spent most of his time dancing with us *right* next to me in the line, maybe 6-8 inches from me. Now I know how (a much less competent) Jean Butler must have felt ;-)

We spent today focused on hard shoe work, and hornpipes in particular. Given that hornpipes are my best hard shoe dance at present, this thrilled me. I love the swing of the music, and the combination Colin taught us today was great fun. Lots of quick footwork, toes and heels, and nifty leap to kick it all off, etc. This set had it all! I'd love to pull this out for a feis someday, but have a sinking suspicion that it's not only waaay too long for competition, but also has a few steps that are too non-traditional to get away with. Sure, if you're Colin Dunne you can get away with it, but random me in a feis? I don't think so.

I was pleased to get my picture taken with the man himself, though wish it hadn't been after 3 hrs of hard dancing! He, of course, looks great. I'm kicking myself for not thinking to take my Riverdance DVD for him to sign, but oh well. I will just consider myself one of the many who helped balance out (name omitted here) who brought everything she owns it seemed to be signed. "Oh Colin, could you sign my box of mac and cheese?" I half expected to hear. If the man wasn't a professional athlete (and let's face it, Irish dance choreographers and teachers are), I'm sure his wrist would have fallen off after finishing with this silly fangirl.

BTW, the pics here are of me and Colin (top) and then Colin, my dance teacher Meighan, and the other local Irish dance teacher.


I feel like the "step" part of stepdancing refers to every muscle in the lower half of my body having been stepped upon. Will i survive three more hours of the same today? Calgon, take me away! On a happy note, my toes themselves no longer hurt, now it's just the rest of me.

If you're reading this Mitch, prepare to push me in a wheelchair all weekend ;-)

05 July 2006

Colin Dunne, part 2 or, Oh my aching toes!


So, Colin Dunne is a dance god. Of course, we already knew that, didn't we? Still though, spending several hours working with him has just been amazing! The workshop began today and, though my big toes are KILLING me, it's all worth it. There are 18 of us in my class, 2/3 adults (yay!), and I think everyone is really enjoying themselves. We spent the first 2 hrs today on really nit-picky technique stuff, like how high one should lift and how much one should extend a leg when doing a back-2-3, how to place your feet during a plié or relévé (which then translates into foot placement during actual dancing), etc. It was nice to spend some time being made to think consciously about this sort of stuff. We do it all the time in regular classes, but there we're also trying to learn new steps, and so, I must admit, some of these finer points can get pushed aside. After the warm-up and technique sections of the class, we began working on a dance combination. i like it - it's got some turning, that sideways dancing Colin is so famous for developing, etc. It'll be fun to see what we do tomorrow.

Of course, this glowing review of the workshop has nothing to do with the fact that I got some good eye contact and nice comments from him on my dancing today. Nope, not at all... ;-)

Until my toes feel better or it's time to go to class tomorrow, I'm planning to stay parked on the couch with my feet up. LOST is on right now, and I have West Wing DVDs at my side, so all is right with the world.

BTW, for those of you out there thinking, "Just who is this Colin person, anyway?" read this.

04 July 2006

Colin Dunne, part 1

I’m home from the Colin Dunne thing at Tir Na nOg, which was great fun. Liz and I went, got there much earlier than needed (as usual), and scored free drinks for our trouble. If only we’d managed free refills as well...

Anyhow, Colin seems like a great guy - funny, articulate, and interesting. Also, thank God, really well versed on dance and all that’s going on with Irish dance today. He had some interesting comments on the insane focus on competition to the exclusion of musicianship in some schools, and wasn’t shy about saying how much he dislikes that approach. I’m pleased to say that my school, Inis Cairde, has a great balance between dancing for dancing’s sake and preparing us for competitions.

In addition to talking and answering questions, he also showed us a really fun program he did for ITV (I think it was) in the UK, “Dancing at the Depot.” In it, he had 2 weeks to teach six bus drivers how to do Irish dancing. Think “The Full Monty” with clothes. Some were great, some OK, and others (poor Dean!) were just lucky to get through it. If you ever have a chance to see the show, do.

Liz and I got silly with the camera - below you can see Colin’s beer, which he switched to after declaring the Guinness you see in the picture above “awful.”

We need an editor, stat!

Dressed in a blue suit and reading a financial newspaper, his facial expression did not appear to indicate he was having a bad hair day.

This, folks, is the stuff I have to deal with every day. Thank God they pay me the big bucks ;-)

Happy Feet

Tonight I’m hanging out at home, waiting for tomorrow. For the first time ever, perhaps, I am looking forward to the Fourth of July. Will I be watching fireworks, eating something from the grill and doing those “all-American” things the media would have us believe that everyone else out there is doing? In a word, no. I’ll be spending the evening in an Irish pub with an Englishman. One of the highlights of my summer is about to begin - the Colin Dunne Masterclass!

Colin will be in Raleigh this week, and my friend Liz and I are taking his afternoon masterclass. It’s 3 hours both days, so, assuming we aren’t dead from overexertion, we should be happy dancers. Tomorrow night we get to ease into things, though, with an orientation session held at Tir Na nOg.

The Blog Begins!

So, I’ve finally done it. The blog has begun! I’ve been wanting to start a blog for some time now, but always put it off. I have nothing to say. I have too much to say. I’ll do it later. I have to go play trains with Ethan. Always, it seemed, I had an excuse to put it off. Now, however, with Mitch out of town and an excruciatingly bad manuscript waiting for me to edit it into oblivion, the time is perfect! (The posts for July 4 are all reposts from my .Mac blog.)

Why “Permanent Record” for the title? Well, all through school we were told we had one, and I’d like, finally, to be in control of mine. The name may not be permanent, but for now, it’ll do.

Tonight i’ll be messing with this, setting up how I want things to look, and then debating when it’s ready to be seen. Watch this space!