Showing posts from November, 2009

arts and crafts and cars

My last few posts have been awfully wordy, so I'm telling the story of Thanksgiving weekend in pictures (mostly). After stuffing ourselves with turkey, potatoes, salsa and three kinds of pie at the Ybarras , we busted out the arts and crafts. AK and I recently learned how to make our own rubber stamps, which are like the impatient man's linoleum block. AK's sister Lori was a natural (hence the grin), and her mom was a natural at convincing AK to do most of the rubber-carving for her. This is a stamp of a long-legged bird walking in a winter wonderland, of course. AK had a Christmas-in-the-desert theme, complete with coyote and rare desert pine. Tree by Lori, landscape-architect-in-training. If you get one of these in the mail, forget you saw this. If you don't...well, you'll know I ran out not too far into the alphabet. Friday night my high school friends and I had our annual- ish reunion . Angie, Jenessa , Amy, Bonnie, Heather and I met at a Cleveland Brow

complicating thankfulness (as if the whole pilgirms-and-indians thing hadn't already)

1. blessed are the pie eaters, for they have endured my experimental baking The sweet potato pie is in the oven, and if the licking of the mixing bowl is any indication, it's awesome. But I know a lot can happen between mixing bowl and oven. That's the sneaky thing about baking. AK has just settled down for a long winter's nap, having been temporarily felled by the cold that I probably gave her, which someone on a plane to Sacramento probably gave me. It's a season of giving. At dinner, when AK was only mildly glassy-eyed, I mused on the bible passage my group was given in Sunday's how-to-hang-with-evangelicals class . The assignment was SAT/reading comprehension- ish : to decide what the mission of a church that used such a passage as its core philosophy might be. But I got hung up on the passage itself: Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.... Blessed are the

tis the season

I was halfway through a second helping of pumpkin ice cream at my sister’s pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving party this weekend when it occurred to me: The holidays have begun. Eating season has begun. (For me, eating, like sunshine in Southern California, is perennial, but sometimes the sun is extra bright, you know?) This week I will attempt to bake sweet potato pie, which might sound like a respectably heady undertaking if I were going to make the crust. But Vons already took care of that for me, so I just have the filling to worry about. And I’m still worried. But not worried enough to actually make a practice pie before inflicting it on AK’s family. This way I’ll know for sure that they like me for me , not just for my baking skills. Also, there’s a reason that grocery stores are open and stocked with pre-made pies on Thursday morning, right? While we’re on the subject of American holiday pastimes: It’s not just eating season but shopping season. Apparently I am into practice shopp

mallrat poetics

I’ll let you in on a secret (which is maybe not so secret). No matter how much you like poetry (some people do, you know), if you go to a reading with four featured readers, chances are there will be a weak link. During one of the readings, you will be thinking about what you will eat when you get home or what you will wear tomorrow or how to make your own work the non-weak link, if such things are in your control. Not so with last night’s Light the Sky reading at Eagle Rock Plaza. I went to see Jamie, but William Archila , Lory Bedikian and Rachelle Cruz were icing on the cake, or foam on the cappuccino, since the new series takes place in a coffee shop. Which is in a mall. Which blasts muzak from all orifices. Isn’t the whole point of muzak to be unobtrusive? But while the poets had their work cut out for them, I didn’t have to fight to concentrate at any point. Jamie read a bunch of new stuff—including a poem called “My Lover’s Ex-Lovers” that she sweetly blushed her way throug

fantastic is right!

Sometimes I think I'm the only indie movie fan in the world who did not love Rushmore . And I was annoyed with at least 46 percent of The Darjeeling Limited , a movie whose bright colors I remember better than its name, which I always have to look up on IMDb . But apparently The Royal Tenenbaums wasn't a fluke and Wes Anderson and I do get along well after all, because Fantastic Mr. Fox may very well end up being my favorite movie this year (to speak in movie critic terms for a minute there). Like Coraline , another stop-motion animated movie I loved, Mr. Fox creates a complete world of whimsical details, from genetically engineered apples speckled with gold stars to the tighty -whitey underpants worn by Mr. Fox's 12-fox-years-old son. It appears to take place in the late seventies, a palette of earth tones , corduroy and chunky technology. The latter fits perfectly with the movie's celebration of the idiosyncratic . This is a world where foxes wear corduroy jacket

warning: this will get stuck in your head

Thoughts upon seeing this old school Sesame Street video (thanks, Max, for posting it on Facebook!): God, those faces are so familiar. I had Fisher Price Little People action figures of them. If you can call a small plastic person with no arms and no legs an “action figure.” Damn, they’re young. I thought they were my parents’ age. Oh, wait, I guess my parents were young then too. Sesame Street practically invented diversity on TV. Thanks to Sesame Street , I understood multicultural harmony on some gut level long before I actually experienced it (which, since I grew up in Manhattan Beach, was when I went away to college). I guess Mr. Hooper was Jewish? Do you think Bob was gay? I was talking to a girl at a party a few nights ago who said that her parents never let her watch any TV besides Sesame Street when she was a kid. When she was old enough to stay home alone, she would binge on TV and then ice down the set, which her parents would touch when they got home to see if it was

what would jesus boil alive?

1. out of the box, into the soup pot Saturday we saw The Box , a strange, fascinating and confusing movie that I wish Hollywood would make more of. Since trying to decipher the mythology, ideology and/or plot of the movie kind of makes my head hurt (do aliens equal God? Is free will a lie? A curse? Would it help if I brushed up on my Sartre?), I will leave it at that. Sunday I reprised two thirds of the meal we learned to make in our Hipcooks class . Since I couldn’t be bothered to hunt down saffron for the Portuguese seafood stew, it’s probably best that I didn’t even attempt the soufflé. Soufflées are not for the lazy. But even sans saffron—and sans turmeric, which is what came up when I Googled “saffron substitutes,” but all that was in the T section of my spice shelf was thyme—the stew came out pretty good. It marked my first experience buying live seafood: clams and black mussels. Carrying them home from Fish King , feeling cool for having gone to a real fish market, I explain

what else i read in october...

…besides those circus books (not that I’m done with the circus—I saw Cirque du Soleil ’s Kooza last night and am wondering if it’s possible to become a contortionist when you’re 32 with a bad back. If not, I’d settle for becoming a stilt tumbler , because apparently such things exist. That’s right: tumbling on stilts . Like the Olympics but more bad-ass and with cooler costumes). Oh, right. Back to books: Normal People Don’t Live Like This by Dylan Landis: I tore through this book in the same manner I devoured Prep --something about my apparent hunger to see an angsty female adolescence given literary weight. Landis shines her considerable literary light on moments and images: for example, the care her bisexual protagonist devotes to touching a pregnant friend's wrist rather than her stomach. It's a book of rooms (the mother character is a designer, so this is both literal and figurative); there's sturdy architecture here, but it's often masked by a beautiful set

come as you aren't

The pics I promised: Real commitment to Halloween means a) wearing creepy zombie eyeball contacts over your regular contacts, b) biting little old ladies in the neck or c) letting a bunch of people spew candy wrappers and bits of peanut brittle all over your house. If you are JP, the answer is d) all of the above. The Beales of Highland Park. Unfortunately this picture doesn't show off my too-short skirt over shorts and stockings. Classy stuff. Roller derby pros Christine (a.k.a. Ida Mann) and Jody (Mr. Ref). Meehan and Christy as Samantha Ronson and Lindsay Lohan . Earlier in the evening, a West Hollywood club owner almost let Meehan cut to the front of the line. Christy tried to hide because she thought her wig would give them away. But what's more LiLo than hiding from the paparazzi? Case in point. On the dance floor/roller rink. Jennifer as cloud princess. The hills of Echo Park do afford a nice view, even if they suck to park on. And no, we were not the onl


1. haunting the hill house It was a weekend that involved goat cheese-stuffed figs, plentiful Halloween candy and an Oprah sighting, so I don’t really need to tell you it was good, do I? Friday night, AK and I took our long-delayed cooking class at Hipcooks East , where a whole world opened up to me in a small Brewery loft—a world of sea salt, live clams, candying one’s own cashews and not cutting one’s finger off with a dull knife. All new notions. Then I opened my mouth and ate the global proportions of figs, Portuguese seafood stew and chocolate soufflé that we made with the help of a friendly, ebullient chef named Kiersten. On Halloween night we passed out peanut butter cups to exactly three trick-or-treaters, meaning we officially ate more candy than we gave away. Then it was on to JP’s legendary annual Gothtober party in Echo Park. Dressed as Little Edie , I practiced for my future as an eccentric old lady by making AK park illegally rather than find a spot on the crazy-s