30 November 2006

All I Want (and Do Not) Want for Christmas

I know that people can be hard to shop for around the holidays. So, as a public service, I present here a list of things I do not want for Christmas (and a few I'd be happy to accept).

FELT TREES to decorate the table and hide bottles of things like wine and ketchup

A CERAMIC STAND for umbrellas in the shape of a Roman gladiator’s foot, by Fornasetti, for $625 from Bergdorf Goodman

Painted WOODEN CUTOUTS – weird, weird, weird

A FLOOR LAMP made of resin is as large as, well, a horse. By Front Design for Moooi, in the Netherlands, for $4,100. Paging Joey Tribbiani... For that price, I will buy a real horse and strap a miner’s lamp to his head.

THE 16-INCH CUBE TABLE by Mario Marsicano, a New York designer, is made of Plexiglas, though it would be worth considering if the thing could be turned a la Rubik

MOROCCAN POUFS, 22 inches in diameter, that come in a variety of colors, for $225, or silver and gold for $285; from John Derian Company in NYC. Just WTF are these, anyhow?

Actually, I kind of like these SILVER BELLS, 14 inches high, with masklike faces, but doubt I will ever own them.

I also like this GLASS VASE from a new collection of 10 designed by Michele De Lucchi, a member of the Memphis design group in the 1980s, but not its price: $3,150

I would also enjoy this juicy price of property at 19 Avenue Kléber in the 16th Arrondissement, Paris.

Oklahoma is not OK

THANK GOD we don't live in OK anymore. Here's what's happening in Tulsa, as I sit here in NC, 75 degrees, with my office window open:

Winter Storm Warnings Continue. Ice, Sleet, and Snow will be likely across much of the area today with significant accumulations likely. Cold air will remain for the next 6 days.

TODAY: Periods of ice and sleet, then becoming all snow by midday. Total accumulations from 4 to 10 inches possible for some locations along and northwest of I-44. Sleet,Ice, and Snow from 3 to 5 inches may occur in southeastern OK. Temperatures in the mid 20s to upper 20s northern OK to near 30 in southeastern OK. North wind 20 to 35 mph.

(Props go to KOTV 6 weather for the copy and picture of the airport.)

More wisdom from my students

A lot of the majority of folks that want marijuana to be legalized are folks that use it for their personal entertainment.

The term “medically prescribed” is simply a way to stop a means to an end.

I've got 8 more papers to grade, so watch this space!

The issue will bring a lot of diverse opinions that the students in the U.S. do not have a need to learn a foreign language since in the U. S. English is the national language.

29 November 2006

Continuing the theme...

This article is fun for the Worst Band Names Ever. Glad to see U2 was given a pass ;-)

28 November 2006

I Love Covers

Anyone reading this should stop and immediately click on this link to discover some fabulous tunes. Be sure to check out the "Better Than the Originals" section! Who knew a Paula Abdul song could rock? LOL

27 November 2006

Small world

I had a weird little moment in the car today. I'd dropped Mitch off at the airport, the headed around town to do some mundane errands (buy gas, pay bills, etc). I am an NPR junkie, and was listening to one of the popular shows on WUNC, The Story, With Dick Gordon. It's an hour-long interview show that features an in-depth "story" each day. All kinds of topics are covered, you never know what will be on. Today's show was about a guy from Kansas City who'd been sent to Iraq as a JAG last year and his perceptions of what is happening there. After his story was done (45 mins or so), Dick had a "Your Story" segment, wherein a listener who'd had some sort of revelatory moment could contact him with their own story and he would air it. I rarely hear the end of this show, so this Your Story section was, essentially, new to me. I was expecting something OK, but not compelling, good enough to drive to, but not one of those sit-in-the-garage-with-the-car-still-running sorts of things.

As my mind began to wander, however, I was instantly pulled back. I heard the name "Calin Buiya" and knew I had to listen. As it turns out, Calin is a friend of mine, and his story was on the air! Calin is a physicist studying at UNC who I know because he is also a member of my stepdancing group. I think he is, most likely, the only Romanian immigrant stepdancer in America. He's a cool guy and loads of fun to be around - he's terribly enthusiastic about nearly everything, and just fun to listen to and watch dance. His story was very cool, all about the smallness of the world amid apparent (and literal) isolation. You can listen to it (all 5 mins or so) if you click the link in this paragraph. I had a similar experience once, in Paris. I was with friends waiting in line to enter the Louvre when who did I spot across the crowded lobby (it was a Sunday, the free day at the museum, so crowds were extra heavy)? None other than my 9th grade history teacher, Ms. Loper. I'd not seen her in years, but she looked exactly the same. I think we were all just mystified to run into each other - who'd a thunk it? Calin's experience was like this, only weirder. And mine, today, seemed like a demi version.

22 November 2006

Christmas is coming!

With tomorrow being Thanksgiving, Christmas is basically starting now, in our family. My mom and I took Ethan to the Raleigh Christmas Parade last weekend, and we had a great time. It was Ethan's first Christmas parade, and he really enjoyed himself.

Here he is waiting for it to begin:

He loved the floats (Esp. the train, quelle surprise!), balloons, and marching bands. Some of the other more unorthodox groups also caught his eye. He was very impressed by Winnie the Pooh and the Star Wars cast appearing (not together), but didn't quite know what to make of an outlawed Chinese cult (who says Christmas parades are all the same?!?). I found the marching librarians with the Christmasy book carts particularly fun. We all enjoyed the giant food bank shopping cart too.

Santa, of course, was a great hit as well. We'll be visiting him in the next few days, I am sure of it.

16 November 2006

Rain & the Weekly Reader

I'm killing time in a major way this morning. I've got two new sections of Intro to Research and the first assignments pertaining to the students' research papers are killing me. I die a little bit inside every time I have to send a note to yet another student telling them that, even though the Weekly Reader's articles do come up in search engine results, they are college students and therefore it's not an appropriate source for their work. So, in an effort to hide from these people, I'm finally pulling he artwork together for my office. I now have an inspirational view to gaze upon whenever the classes are just driving me crazy. If these guys can't make me feel better, I'm stuck. ;-)

When not putting holes in the wall, I've been monitoring the creek behind the house. Normally the creek is about 4 inches deep, with banks about 4 ft high. Today, it's nearly full. I've not seen it this busy down there since Ernesto this summer. Here's the view from my office window.

14 November 2006


How could I pass up chance to post this glorious photo of Kazakh hero Borat, fresh arrival into Oz with pet wallaby, animal not found in U S and A? High five!

I have nothing else to say - I'm home after nearly 2 straight hours of treble reels. They're great fun, but my treble reel muscles are aching now... For any dancers reading this, if you don't already have Ouch Pouches, get some. Then get yourself a Really Big Tip so that, if Colin Dunne &/or his masterclass causes your big toenail to die a horrible death, you can still wear your hardshoes.

12 November 2006

Pining for Pepper's

It's a cold and rainy day here today (after a record high of sun and 80 yesterday!), and Mitch is in Tulsa on business. Although I know he's working his non-butt off, I still can't help harboring some jealousy that he is within mere miles of Pepper's and all that is Good and Holy about the place, namely, their salsa.

06 November 2006

I am the treble reel queen, I can do anything

Apologies to Lizard King Jim Morrison, but it feels true :-)

Yesterday the adult dance company performed at Raleigh's International Festival, a gig we've done for several years that, while nice, is not really a big deal. This year we were all willing to do it, of course, but not over the moon with excitement. We'd initially planned a hornpipe number, followed by a new choreographed reel we learned in September. Then, about a month ago, our teacher decided we were ready to be brought into the crown jewel of the school's show numbers, a big treble reel featuring all the prizewinner dancers. We've known this reel for ages now, but never really felt ready - and certainly not as a group - to do it publicly. We've been messing around with it a lot lately though, and so Meighan (our teacher) decided to take a leap of faith and turn a good portion of the number over to us. We knew we could do it in practice at the studio, but could we do it in front of people?

Everything went as planned, and even better. No one one freaked out on the hornpipes (which tend to be one of those numbers where we all know it so well we're prone to just blanking out. thinking "this can't be so easy," and then flubbing), and the reel went beautifully. The treble reel loomed, however.

So, we got onto the stage, all 40 or so of us (adults plus older teen prizewinners), and got into position. We were dancing in the Dorton Arena, at the fairgrounds, which, for those who've not been there, is a large, ugly building, but one that can hold a decent amount of people. The International Festival people had dozens of booths set up around the outside of the floor area, with a large stage abotu 5 ft off the ground and seating in the front (there's also seating all along the walls of the area, of course). As we danced, most people there were paying attention (from what i could tell), but it was still a typical festival atmosphere - people wandered around a bit, talk to their neighbors, etc. As we began the treble reel, this was what was going on. What no one in the audience (maybe 350 people or so) knew though, was that the dance begins with a huge, simultaneous STAMP from all the dancers, as we do this really dramatic turn to the left. It goes something like STAMP (long pause) very fast step, STAMP (long pause) very fast step, and then the dance begins in earnest. I can tell you, when we did that first giant STAMP, the arena echoed with the sound of our shoes, the stage literally shook, and everyone stopped talking, milling about, etc. We had their full attention from that point on, and each of us nailed our parts. It was SUCH fun! The dance begins with a group of call and answer type sets of steps, between the adult company and prizewinner company, then breaks down into solos and duets, then ends with a big group section, a big jump/kick combo thing, and hands in the air. I wish I had a video of this I could put here - must see what I can do about that. It was just THE MOST FUN I've ever had dancing - the crowd was into it, lots of clapping along and stuff from them, and those of us on the stage knew we were doing a great job.

As soon as it was over (which was all too quickly, if you ask me), we were all ready to go back out and do it again. What a sense of relief! Knowing now that we can do treble reel solos and 2 Hands in public and not make fools of ourselves is quite a feat ;-) Now I'm just anxious for the next event to come along.