Friday, November 18, 2011

(p.s. I post this not as a Tumblr-like nod to my mood or a hint at some unspoken breakup, but because I LOVE THIS STILL--the top one. The note. The last time I saw it was in college, when I saw The Tramp, and just found that bit of writing the coolest thing ever. I wrote the words out on a little sheet of mauve linen laid stationary and had it taped to my wall for years. It's kind of amazing to me [still] that I could find it in 5 minutes on the internet when I finally decided to look for it. Anyhow, it's just gorgeous, I think. And has quite an impact in a silent film, which, despite the interstitials, is a very image-driven world. Remember it just leaping off the screen.)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

once every couple years I wonder anew

What the hell is up with this?

That is Maxim de Winter to the second Mrs. de Winter, ramping up to the denouement of Rebecca, confessing his killing of his first wife (Rebecca).

It's so bald and discrete, that sentence--referenced by nothing in the book before or after. It's dropped like a tidy little grenade, pin in, in the middle of a confession so shocking that it distracts you from what's being said. "I'd forgotten"…forgotten? Maxim has shot people before?

Because of a perennial mystery novel mindset and a love of discordance, I have generally chosen to see the comment as meaningful and mysterious--once I noticed it. However, chances are really good DuMaurier was telling us, more "prosaically," that Maxim had shot people in World War I.

I've decided that makes it no less shocking, though. There is no context for Maxim's comment at all. I don't think there is any talk anywhere in the book of his military service (rather the opposite--all Maxim does is run Manderley; he has no 'job'). Or anybody's. (Am I wrong? Does Frank Crawley talk about it?)

But if the comment is indeed a casual reference to the horrors of World War I, and not a hint at further lurid personal history from Maxim, it's still rather shocking as an assumption of experience, by a certain kind of person and/or DuMaurier's readers. It's sad.

I admire her for dropping it in those last chapters, which (I'm such a middle class dilettante lady) I admire themselves so much for their plotting. I think they're just beautiful. I love that Rebecca is smarter than every character, that the secret revealed by Dr. Baker at the end isn't the one we expected, but makes things clear nonetheless and in fact opens things up even more. It's all just cool.

I have made an effort at other DuMaurier--Jamaica Inn and Frenchman's Creek. No go. I don't think I like gothic/horror books very much, or perhaps I am too impatient. Who knows. I'll try again.

And whom did Maxim shoot?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I fell in love with this beautiful little train station last month. It's the Beverly Shores stop on the South Shore line, a Spanish-style building constructed in 1929 and renovated about 10 years ago. Note the living space for the ticket agent built into it, seen in this link. You can't quite tell in the photos, but the lettering on the "Beverly Shores" sign--and coloring of the lettering in the various outlines--even when the neon isn't lit, is extremely bold and flamboyant. Personality-filled. There is a font based on it!

now with more air!

It's a bit macabre, but I love that there are some salty snacks out there now whose prices reflect exactly what's (not) in them. In the case of Munchos and Chester's Puffcorn: there is a lot of AIR--for which you are not paying. A big bag of these extruded, puffy thnackth is only $2, which, really, makes sense. Maybe we don't want to know what ingredients really are in things, but still. Something about it pleases me.


The thing I enjoy most about this man's work, I think, is how it recreates/puts you in touch with the energetic joy of letters coming alive under your hands. Very very happy feeling. Can taste it. I have to say it: kinetic. KIIIINEEETTTTIC.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

great quotes out of context

"Always distrust the man who looks you straight in the eyes. He wants to prevent you from seeing something. Look for it."
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
Political blah-blah--especially coverage of possible GOP presidential candidates--makes me think of this line. The real problems are where they don't want you to look.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

souply, bookly, posterly promotion

The Soup & Bread Cookbook, written by Martha Bayne, designed by Sheila Sachs, and illustrated by Paul Dolan, is having a release party at the Hideout on November 2. The book has gotten amazing reviews and shoutouts already- The Onion - TOC - Grub Street Chicago - - leaving me unsurprised but so heartened and excited. I drew a poster for the release party--click the fragment below to see the whole thing.
C O M E   O N   O U T ! ! !
(click image to embiggen)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

solid proof of a leak between two movie continuums

Annie Savoy's house - Bull Durham:
"Thorny" Ramathorn's house - Super Troopers:

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

lucky me

Every once in a while the world's greatest male houseguest to whom I'm not related shows up on my doorstep with flour and yeast--quite literally, bag in hand--and he bakes bread and we cook and he does the occasional chore around the house that can only be done by someone who is his height. He is a Gem.

The last time he did this we made beef stroganoff. Notice the homemade bread. WGMHWINR bought for the creation of said dish tenderloin roast. I don't know about you, but the cuts of meat in my life these days aren't ever that swanky, when I have them at all. I am pretty sure I gasped when he pulled it out of the bag; gasped like I had just won the Showcase Showdown, gasped like a British housewife opening a packet of sausages during rationing, clucking in astonished matronly you-shouldn't-haves.

It made a spectacular stroganoff, then two delicious little stir-fry things from slices sawed off the hunk left in the freezer. Tonight I used up the remaining hunklet of roast beast and it turned out so well I thought I'd memorialize it so I wouldn't forget it, should such a succulent cut of meat ever enter my life again.

Rice: Grate one large shallot into 2 T. melted butter and stir, cooking, for a couple minutes. Add 2 c. of brown rice and toast and stir for some minutes more. Add 4 c. of chicken stock and a dash of salt. Cook the full time, covered, making sure you let the rice rest after you fluff it after cooking.

Roast Beast: Pat the meat dry and pepper it. Sear it on all sides in an oven-safe pan that has been heating well over medium heat for a while (I used vegetable oil to do this). Once it's seared, take meat out of the pan and brush it with Dijon mustard and sprinkle it with dried thyme. Put it in 450ยบ oven and cook until internal temp is 120-ish. (I overcooked mine by some people's tenderloin standards--just slightly pink in the middle--but I thought it was delicious and the burneded, crisp bits on the edges were great.)

When the meat is done, put it on a plate, sprinkle lightly with kosher salt (which will melt into the meat), and tent with aluminum foil. Pour off any remaining vegetable oil from cooking the meat, then return pan to burner over medium-high heat. Deglaze pan well with leftover red wine in your fridge door and when that's done and it's thickened a little bit, add a knob of butter and stir to combine. Slice the rested meat, lay it on the rice, then pour the sauce over all.

Sometimes I get close to being a vegetarian, then stuff like this happens.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

From a French trade publication c. 1990.
I used it as my letterhead for a long time.

Friday, September 30, 2011

more hints from Lizoise

I don't know about you, but I have a particularly hard time paying retail for shampoo. There's just something about how expensive it is that makes me feel used as a consumer to the point of fighting back.

One way I've managed this for a long time is to only buy shampoo on sale/discounted/from clearance/with tons of coupons. I try to have more than one bottle "going" at any given time.

The other thing I do is make sure I have an old, wide-mouthed shampoo bottle on hand in the shower. When a current bottle of shampoo gets down to the bottom and I begin wrestling with it to squeeze that last 1/4" out, I just flip it over onto the old bottle and let gravity do the work. I let the shampoo drain for a day or so, then just cap the old wide-mouthed shampoo bottle and shake it up. You end up with a fruity melange of shampoos that works well, but mostly it's satisfying knowing you've gotten all of it out of the bottle. I am determined to get that last $.03 worth, you know? Especially when most of what I'm paying for is packaging and shipping.

With this technique you never are too dependent on one bottle of shampoo, or on having to pay full price for a bottle of shampoo, or on struggling with the last dregs to get enough to wash your hair. I've had my "drainage" bottle for a long time. It's like those legendary sourdough starters from the 19th century: never runs out.

Yours in nerdery, frugality, etc.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Where, Bredon asked himself, did the money come from that was to be spent so variously and so lavishly? If this hell's-dance of spending and saving were to stop for a moment, what would happen? If all the advertising in the world were to shut down tomorrow, would people still go on buying more soap, eating more apples, giving their children more vitamins, roughage, milk, olive oil, scooters and laxatives, learning more languages by gramophone, hearing more virtuosos by radio, re-decorating their houses, refreshing themselves with more non-alcoholic thirst-quenchers, cooking more new, appetizing dishes, affording themselves that little extra touch which means so much? Or would the whole desperate whirligig slow down, and the exhausted public relapse upon plain grub and elbow-grease? He did not know. Like all rich men, he had never before paid any attention to advertisements. He had never realized the enormous commercial importance of the comparatively poor. Not on the wealthy, who buy only what they want when they want it, was the vast superstructure of industry founded and built up, but on those who, aching for a luxury beyond their reach and for a leisure forever denied them, could be bullied or wheedled into spending their few hardly won shillings on whatever might give them, if only for a moment, a leisured and luxurious illusion.
Dorothy L. Sayers, Murder Must Advertise (1933)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

pieces by Arthur Watts

A Modern Christmas
"And there's a nice little book on Picasso for you Laura."

Courtesy, Then and Now (from Punch)

From the website The Art of Arthur Watts

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mona looked away. "He made me feel like such a damned fool."

"Oh, Mona, we're all damned fools! Some of us just have more fun with it than others. Loosen up, dear! Don't be so afraid to cry...or laugh, for that matter. Laugh all you want and cry all you want and whistle at pretty men in the street and to hell with anybody who thinks you're a damned fool!" She lifted the wineglass in a toast to the younger woman. "I love you, dear. And that makes you free to do anything."
Armistead Maupin, More Tales of the City

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

40 Favorite Amazing Moments From Roseanne (+ 1 extra)

These are not chosen to be the Best-Of in any comprehensive sense, but as part of a (necessarily incomplete) list of small moments in the show -- acting, writing, stage business -- for which I still watch and in which I still revel, many years and viewings later. They are not meant to describe everything that was great about Roseanne, but point to it; when this show was good, it was really really good. I could write thousands of words about each of these moments, but I will try to let them speak for themselves. [Note: I am not a fan of mid-season 5 and later, so that's where this chronological list stops.]

1. Season 1, Episode 9
There weren't that many really good episodes in the first season, but this is a great one. Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) stops Dan (John Goodman) from fighting at his birthday party at the Lobo Lounge, and later at home he takes out his lingering frustration in a realistically frightening way on a piece of drywall as daughter Darlene (Sara Gilbert) looks on, scared and saying nothing.

2. Season 2, Episode 2
Roseanne suddenly ends a goofy physical fight with Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) about her new career choice by grimly pantomiming what could happen if she decides to become a police officer.

3. Season 2, Episode 4
During the end credits Dan and Roseanne try to move a refrigerator out of the house and cuss constantly in an out of nowhere, over the top, bleeped barrage.

4. Season 2, Episode 9
Dan, warming up for a Thanksgiving day football game, moves the couch in one huge charge. Goodman was willing to be very physical on Roseanne.

5. Season 2, Episode 10
From the first really great episode (written by Joss Whedon). Darlene is rebelling against reading her prize poem in public, and Roseanne opens up the discussion about it while cutting coupons by silently extending her hand with the scissors in them in a way that's both welcoming and scary.

6. Season 2, Episode 10
Darlene reads her poem, which reveals unsuspected vulnerability. The frozen look on Gilbert's face is perfect.

7. Season 2, Episode 13
Roseanne was always great at depicting weaselly bosses (I could never vote for Fred Thompson after seeing him play Roseanne's evil factory boss in season one). Brian (Peter Smith) was really well-written: young, tyrannical, insecure, clueless, sad. Roseanne has him over to dinner to ask for better hours, only to have him fire her anyhow as her family watches and freaks out.

8. Season 3, Episode 1
DJ (Michael Fishman) fills his cereal bowl by adding some, swiping some off, adding some more, and swiping again. From a great real-time episode that shows whole family waiting for results of Roseanne's pregnancy test.

9. Season 3, Episode 3
The whole family walks in on Darlene making out with a friend, only Dan has no idea what's going on. The show uses the device of Dan's occasional cluelessness really well.

10. Season 3, Episode 4
"I've got a Salisbury steak and a Swiss steak. Who gets the Salisbury steak? Okay then, you'd be the person to ask: which one is it? [Puts plate down] Enjoy your, uh, thing."

-- Roseanne's first day as a waitress at Rodbell's.

11. Season 3, Episode 5
Becky (Alicia Goranson) and Darlene find unexplained evidence of DJ's weirdness.

12. Season 3, Episode 6
"What was once the cradle of our love is now landfill."

-- Roseanne and Dan toast their old mattress at the Lobo.

13. Season 3, Episode 9
Roseanne confronts Becky's principal (another great weasel, played by Dann Florek) about her kid's behavior in an inspired little speech about parenting:
"No matter how much we try to control what our kids do, at some point they are just gonna do what they're gonna do. They are like people that way."

14. Season 3, Episode 10
The woman Dan has been having erotic dreams about (played by Patrika Darbo) is revealed. The fact that she a chubby little thing shocked me to the bone the first time I saw this episode; Roseanne in these seasons still seems ahead of its time with regard to size by letting its large main characters just be, most of the time.

15. Season 3, Episode 11
Dan and Roseanne go out to dinner to celebrate the first time they had sex, and tell each other what they first noticed about each other.

16. Season 3, Episode 13
"I'm making your dad's favorite tuna casserole. I know. It's god-awful, isn't it? And especially the way I make it."

17. Season 3, Episode 13
"How could he do anything like that, he's not even home. So, where'd you find it? All right, so just put it in a bag, and I'll bury it when I get there."

-- More never-explained weird behavior from DJ.

18. Season 3, Episode 14
The sped-up bunnyhop from the video of Dan's father's wedding.

19. Season 3, Episode 15
Becky is staying at Jackie's after a fight with Roseanne, and Roseanne, missing her, starts crying when she sees Becky's copy of AC/DC's Highway to Hell.

20. Season 3, Episode 17
"Guilt is a many-splendored thing."

-- Roseanne to Jackie, after Dan comes home with a late Valentine's Day present.

21. Season 3, Episode 18
"Why are your words. So. Halting."

-- Jackie, doing community theater, prompted by Roseanne from behind the scenes.

22. Season 3, Episode 19

-- Jackie to Darlene, suddenly dropping her chaperone persona, after breaking up a fight between two boys fighting over Darlene.

23. Season 3, Episode 20
Dan: Too thick, Beck?
Becky: I think I just broke a rib.

-- Dan and Becky make up after a fight by having milkshakes.

24. Season 3, Episode 21
From the episode in which we first meet Roseanne's snooty neighbor, Kathy Bowman (Meagan Fay). After a fight Roseanne goes over to Kathy's house to eat crow so that their boys can still play together.
Kathy: Well, so long as you are admitting that you are wrong.
[Barr takes takes almost 10 amazing seconds to respond, bobbing her head to keep from lashing out, eating her words.]
Roseanne: Fine.

25. Season 3, Episode 22
Roseanne: It's Saturday night, it's 2:00 a.m. and Becky's not home from her date yet...what do you do?
Jackie: Okay. Am I home from my date yet--where am I?

-- Jackie and Roseanne are going over theoretical questions about what to do if Jackie inherits the kids. Metcalf has so many amazing moments like this, when she does a huge amount with her lines.

26. Season 3, Episode 24
Bonnie (Bonnie Bramlett), a fellow Rodbell's waitress, breaks out in a great version of "You Really Got a Hold on Me" at a barbecue (In real life Bramlett is a singer, half of Delaney & Bonnie on Stax Records).

27. Season 4, Episode 2
Dan: I remember when I first found that bike. Just a rusted-out piece of junk. But I saw the potential. I took it back to the shop--pounded out the dents--chromed it--repainted it--
Roseanne: Boring, boring, boring, boring, boring. Get to the part where I smoked the guy into buying it.

-- Roseanne and Dan gloat over a check after finally selling a cycle.

28. Season 4, Episode 3
"I'm 36 years old. I've got flabby arm and pelican neck, and all my houseplants are dead and no one loves me, but what difference does that make anyway, because everything in my life sucks!"

-- Jackie, flailing to explain a dumb decision to sleep with Arnie (Tom Arnold).

29. Season 4, Episode 4
From the first episode in which Darlene starts to become depressed, a plot development that the show, contrary to every sitcom rule, lets simmer unresolved over the course of the season.
[the phone rings]
Roseanne: Darlene, it's for you.
Darlene: Who is it?
Roseanne: It's Marcy.
Darlene: What's she want?
Roseanne: I don't know what she--[getting mad, throwing phone across floor] She wants you to pick up the phone.

30. Season 4, Episode 10
Depressed Darlene comes downstairs after avoiding Thanksgiving dinner to find her mother in the kitchen drinking beer and recovering from the chaos.

31. Season 4, Episode 13
From a great episode in which Roseanne makes fun of Crystal (Natalie West) for taking her to bingo then gets addicted to it. It suddenly gets serious when Crystal, who already has a nine-month-old baby, explains her bitchy mood by revealing that she's pregnant again. West manages to convey how cornered her character feels by this unplanned pregnancy in a powerful and fairly short scene.

32. Season 4, Episode 15
"You look like that Fonzie fellow who's so popular."

-- Becky's grandmother (Estelle Parsons) to Becky's boyfriend, Mark (Glenn Quinn). Great episode, with extremely realistic, territorial conflict between Dan and his mother-in-law.

33. Season 4, Episode 16
"I'm nervous, honey."

-- Dan, worried about having sex with Roseanne after her breast reduction surgery.

34. Season 4, Episode 19
"Is that so."

-- Dan, smirking at Jackie, who worries that he won't be able to eat on camera for a Rodbell's commercial if he's eating now too.

35. Season 4, Episode 21
"Listen, Darlene. What I would do, or Mr. X. would do, is not the point. You're asking me what you should do, right? Well, let me put it this way: You have never in your life done anything just to please somebody else. Why start now?"

-- Dan's advice to Darlene, who is asking him how to handle a boy who's interested in her.

36. Season 4, Episode 25
Dan and Roseanne beam when DJ gets the word FORECLOSURE in a spelling bee, after a bitter fight in which Becky realizes they have no money for her for college.

37. Season 5, Episode 3
Another virtuoso scene from Metcalf, who runs around Dan and Roseanne's kitchen making breakfast, not realizing that their power's been cut off until a few minutes have passed.

38. Season 5, Episode 8
Jackie laughs at Roseanne's description of lesbians wearing plaid shirts and being truckers before noticing her own outfit (Barr loses it).

39. Season 5, Episode 13
Roseanne: I would never have moved in with no guy so damn fast.
Jackie: Maybe you wouldn't, but this isn't you, it's me, and there's a real easy way to tell us apart. [Gesturing] You -- me. YOU -- ME.

40. Season 5, Episode 13 (part 2)
An amazing wordless little moment, after Roseanne tells Dan that Jackie's boyfriend has beaten her up. Roseanne looks at Dan, who says nothing but immediately walks out, leaning back in to grab his jacket as he goes. We know from this -- without anyone saying anything -- that Dan is going to beat him up.
41. Season 5, Episode 10
The little swooping impatient "cmon-let's-get-this-over-with" gesture Ty Tilden (Wings Hauser), tired from working the night shift, makes with his right hand, standing in the doorway, as he forces his daughter Molly (Danielle Harris) to apologize to the Conners for ditching Darlene at a concert. It's really good.