Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saucy Sommilier

Hi, folks! Miss Kitty here. Jennifer finds herself indisposed after two Christmas day meals that involved ham, and a Boxing Day breakfast of Eggs Benedict, which also involved, um, ham. As she has frequently pointed out over the past few days, ham is the most difficult meat for humans to digest.
As you can see, our handcrafted Pissed Squirrel Red 2007 Barolo made all that ham go down a little more easily, perhaps too easily. Yes, we indulged in the holiday feasting with family. In theory, two big holiday meals would seem like a dream come true, and when you're in the moment, it certainly is. But then there is the day after of reckoning. ...Or sometimes the night after of reckoning.
Remember the Alka-Seltzer commercials where the guy sits there saying, "I can't believe I ate the whoooole thing"? I can remember sometimes being judgmental of that guy, thinking, "You fool." Well, this time of year I'm a little more understanding. It keeps you humble. We've all been that guy, and despite our better judgment, we'll probably all be that guy again next year. Yes, self-inflicted gastrointestinal distress can happen to the best of us. That's why we all have to learn to be compassionate toward our gassy brethren, while avoiding becoming an enabler.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Fending off boredom

Christmas is a time where we're forced to endure our families. Yes, family is a precious gift, and they're just one baby step better than being alone with a bottle of vodka and a knotted length of rope. And just a little planning can keep those get togethers from turning into ancient sibling rivalries dredged up and trotted out anew. What better way to fend off being stabbed in the arm with a salad fork than to play a friendly board game? Especially if the board game has such convoluted rules that it's almost impossible to figure out who's won? To that end I recommend the Buffy the Vampire Slayer board game. It has a zillion pieces, a bunch of cards and comes in a graphically pleasing box.
At all costs avoid Scrabble. Especially if my mother shows up on your doorstep toting the deluxe version of the game and the official Scrabble Dictionary. You'll soon regret taking pity on her when she screws up the entire board by making 'adz' and 'qat'. Remember; you don't have to let her in...we do.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Sparkle Season!

I just love how the feeding frenzy of sales has to be called something other than what it is in Pittsburgh.

Merry sparkle seasOn, all! I prefer the winter solstice anyway. At least that has meaning.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Pissed Red

After an exhaustive search, Miss Kitty and I have settled on this graphic as the figurehead for our 2007 Barolo vintage, dubbed Pissed Red. Believe it or not, she, not I, came up with the name. I was much too distracted with the methodology behind the nebbiolo grape used to create a fine Barolo wine to fetter my mind with name calling.
That didn't come out right. Regardless, Barolo wine originated in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy bordering France and Switzerland. Barolo is made from the nebbiolo grape, with 'nebbiolo' being derived from the local dialect root word 'nebbia', translating in English to: Fog.
The juice concentrate that we used to craft this fine wine was from the piedmont region of the Cascade Mountains in Washington state, an area that closely mimics the Italian area of the original grape, both in weather and soil composition.
So far we've sampled the Pissed Red and it's a perfect accompaniment to any meat. It's at best, only gently tannin-y, mildly fruity, and washes off the palate immediately, while still providing an enjoyable wine experience.
Overall I have to say that we'll probably barrel another batch as soon as possible!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Comic Chaos

Anyone need proof that Joss Whedon doesn't walk on water? Pick yourself up a copy of the Angel -After the Fall - comic and you can easily disabuse yourself of any deified delusions. This doesn't mean that I'll have the 'Joss is God' tattoo on my ass lasered off anytime soon...just what was he thinking? Comparisons between the Buffy and Angel comic are unavoidable, but one is particularly glaring: Joss's hands on approach with Buffy and his loose association with Angel (primarily involved only in rough plot outlines and allowing writer Brian Lynch to draft the script).
This is an interesting point since Joss is intimately involved in the upcoming Serenity comic. Which begs the question: Why the laissez faire attitude toward his sulking undead hero? And why are both Buffy and Serenity housed at Dark Horse comics and Angel is camped out at IDW comics? One being a premier publisher and the other, well, not awful but not running with the big guns either.
I guess I'll just get another cup of coffee and ponder all of the reasons there's a parallel Whedonverse.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Wonder, Woman

Preparing for battle...or getting their groove on? You know, I have no idea what men think women do when we're together. Obviously there is that certain element that thinks we have pillow fights and semi nude wrestling. I wish! But sadly, this is seldom - if ever - the case. No, usually when you've got a group of women gathered together it's usually something hellish like a baby shower or a pool league.
Now, back to the panel at hand, or left, as it were, this is from a Wonder Woman comic from 1978 and written and drawn by men (Jack Harris and Steve Ditko). Hey, I remember the 70s, and even though I was stoned from 1977-1979 I don't recall the locker room erupting into sextastic fringe porn of lesbian goodness. Yes, I would remember that, and probably still have the shaky polaroids.
Perhaps I have now hit upon the reason why the WW comic never appealed to me: It's geared toward the male ideal of hot woman on woman action that comes across as some spontaneous explosion of uncontrollable get it on-ness. See, in the real world all of the women portrayed here would actually be exes with each other and barely contained simmering jealousies would be more apt to surface and cause mayhem than this quasi pastoral sapphic wrestling scene.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Advisory - Road and Otherwise

Nothing says 'Christmas Season' like weather and travel advisories. And to herald the closing of the infamous Pennsylvania Turnpike due to traffic accidents, I thought I'd tell my scariest treacherous driving conditions story.
After I quit college I was forced to work for my grandmother in the family business. My grandmother shall I say...mean. As far as I could tell she liked three people; my father, my oldest brother, and me. To us she was generally less vicious. I saw her reduce a Bobby Brooks salesman to tears over their 1982 spring line.
Anyway, one of my main functions while working for grandma was to drive her back and forth to work. She'd quit driving for some unknown reason and wanted to be chauffeured around like some kind of dignitary. So, one inky black December night, after a busy day at the store, we were trying to traverse the winding snow covered roads home from town. This part of western Pennsylvania is geologically referred to as the Upper Allegheny Plateau, which means that we're not mountainous, but we're not flat. It's nothing but endless foothills rolling into and over each other until you descend into one of the river valleys. As we crept up one and hill and down another, grandma kept barking at me from the backseat to slow down, to not hit a tree. And when we started sliding sideways down one of the hills she insisted that I stop and let her out. Stop? I couldn't stop. Then, when we got to the last major hill that we had to go up, she got so hysterical that we'd never make it up the hill and that we'd slide over the hillside that I did actually stop and let her out. I figured that I'd wait for her at the top while she walked up. Turns out that she just waited for me at the bottom.
I almost made it up that hill. Almost. Right before the crest of that damn hill (locally known as Cooper's Hill, all of the hills have names so that we can differentiate between them) sure enough I started sliding toward the ditch and the guardrail. I kept the car on the road though and ended up backing down the hill, where I picked grandma up and we had to take the long way home.
Gee, I thought that story was going to be more interesting.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

End of Faith, for now

Unlike a rainbow, there is no pot of gold at the end of the Buffy comic four issue Faith arc. For the brave and spoilerific among you, here's a link to a five page preview of issue 9 that comes out tomorrow.
I'm debating whether to make a special trip to the comic book store tomorrow or simply wait until I have to go out there on Thursday anyway to drop Riechter Von Sanchez at his 'dream' job at a nearby video game store. I curse you, high gas prices!

From the preview pages it's abundantly clear that Faith still possesses the most mean-ass fighting skills since she and Buffy went toe-to-toe. You know, I've argued the fine points of Faith versus Buffy in a battle royale type setting...and the thing is Buffy always seemed so much more impassioned about what she was fighting for. faith knew what she was fighting for, but I think she had lingering doubts and that undermined her superior fighting prowess and left her on the bloody end of a knife.
Now, I don't believe that Faith harbors any doubts about her purpose and mission. She's resolved, one way or the other to see this mission through. I don't think that Gigi has much more going for her than an over inflated sense of entitlement that, I suspect, is about to be pierced.
Oh, and Gigi, big mistake to think that Faith was from NYC instead of Boston. Big. Mistake. It's like confusing Pittsburgh with Philadelphia, only worse.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Yinz Deers

Most of you would not be aware that the first day of rifle deer season is a holiday throughout much of Pennsylvania. The kids get the day off school and most people can take the day off work without penalty. Crazy, aint it?
I didn't take my hunter's safety course until I was 30 years old, and then I hunted for only a few years before I gave up the miserable cold and stinky field dressing mess. Yet, my youngest son, Riechter Von Sanchez, has besieged me with entreaties to accompany him hunting this year. Thus and verily have I dusted off the blaze orange duds to sally forth into the woods predawn tomorrow morning.
Why am I sharing all of this? To announce that there will be no webisode Monday post. No, I'll be in the Pennsylvania sylvania, drinking coffee from a vintage Alladin thermos, smoking organically grown cigarettes, and reading "Zombie-ism For Dummies" by a headband flashlight. Oh, and I'll have a loaded 30-30 Winchester lever action rifle.
Watch out, yinz deers! I'm prepared!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Webisode Monday

I've never allowed myself to get immersed in any sort of role playing game (RPG) because, simply, I lack self control and I have an addictive personality. It's a dangerous cocktail, trust me on this.
Yet, this is not to say that I cannot uniquely revel in the obsessive RPG compulsion that is "The Guild".
The webisode show is the brain bairn of writer/actress Felicia Day (Vi on BtVS, season 7, 8 episodes). In "The Guild" she plays 'Codex', a young woman who lives and breathes all things World of Warcraft, and who ends up being stalked by one of her fellow WoW guild members. Hilarity ensues. Really. It's a very clever and witty show, one that Day tried to pitch to the networks who shot her down with the knee jerk reaction that it's 'too niche'. Oh, I beg to differ, Powers That Be. The niche of this show is its kitch, its hook. The characters are all fully realized and I look forward to every new episode that gets posted!
If NBC can pick up that yawner, "Quarterlife" then somebody oughtta give "The Guild" a shot at the big-time.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cover Girl

As I slouch toward the weekend, and the first snow flurries of the season cascade idly from a steely sky, I can't help but be warmed by this bit of artistic genius rendered by the incomparable Jo Chen. I've loved each and every Buffy comic season 8 cover painted by Chen. Sadly, it's been reported that Chen is stepping aside from her duties, at least for the time being. Why? Who knows. Artist Jon Foster is going to replace her, at least for the time being.
I dunno. Chen's covers on issues 1-9 are nothing short of inspired, and inspiring. She lends an authenticity to her character portrayals that never slips into comic bookland of ridiculous female forms or stances. Yes, Supergirl, I'm looking at the clowns who pencil you. So even though Faith is nude on the cover of Issue 9, she doesn't look as if she's posing for a posse of losers at some strip club.

I for one will miss Chen's brilliant work and hope we get her back soon.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


I was foolish enough to ask Miss Kitty what she'd really like for dinner. I thought she'd say something easy like baked mac and cheese or burritos. No. She said ribollita.

Now, for the uninitiated, ribollita is a Tuscan bread soup that starts off as minestrone and then evolves in the following days. Yes, that's right, days. So, if you just happen to have a pot of minestrone lying around your kitchen, then you're in luck! But if you have to make the minestrone first, sharpen your knives because that baby spinach isn't going to chop itself. So, yesterday I spent much of the afternoon making minestrone soup, which was then served for supper along with some garlic bread. Now today I get to try out one of two recipes for the ribollita: One by Giada De Laurentiis or one I got off of The latter looks more promising and more appetizing to me, so despite my sister's straight girl crush on Giada, I think I'm going with divinacucina. God only knows how this is going to turn out because even though I've made minestrone soup many times before, I've never made ribollita and I'm a little concerned that it'll come out too clumpy, if that's even possible.
Ah well. I'm sure that if I just serve it with a big enough glass of chianti everything will be fine.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Bastards!

Friday evening, after fortifying ourselves on meatloaf, Amish egg noodles, and green beans - all washed down with Three Thieves Cabernet Sauvignon (comfort foodie perfection!) - Miss Kitty and I walked down the street to Club Cafe to catch the Heartless Bastards show. The joint was packed and when the Bastards took the stage the crowd erupted wildly (including me).
For years, yes years, Miss Kitty and I have been waiting for the Bastards to come to Pittsburgh. They're not a well known band, but they should be. Fronted by lead singer/lead guitarist Erika Wennerstrom the Bastards employ a fusion of punk and garage grunge that is irresistible and as infectious as pink eye in a day care.
When midway through their set Wennerstrom asked the crowd if Pittsburgh was considered the midwest, one smart ass piped up and said, "Technically we're the western edge of the east coast." Go back to your dorm, CMU nerd! Technically we're the mid-Atlantic, but why get hung up on labels?
When the Bastards launched into 'New Resolution' the girl at the table next to ours went absolutely nuts! The march-like staccato of the drum beat underlying Wennerstrom's power chords just make you want to jump up and down. And her voice! Her voice is deep and smokey so that when she starts screaming the lyrics you just want to hug her, or slam into someone standing close by.
Good times, good times. Hopefully since the Heartless Bastards received such an enthusiastic welcome on their first return to the city in four years, they won't wait so long to perform here again. Personally I'd love it if they came back in the summer and jammed at one of the outdoor festivals!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Half Century of HiJinx

Today is quite auspicious. It's my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. At left is not a picture of them. In fact, who are these people?
Anyway, to celebrate and get them out of town for a few days, we, my siblings and I, pooled our funds and sent them to New Jersey. Nothing says 'We care' like two bus tickets to the Garden State.
The tickets were roundtrip. Give me a break. Mom and Dad are retirees. And like all retirees they like to go to casinos and gamble. There's just something about slot machines that's irresistible to old people. That's how they ended up in Atlantic City.
They're back now, which means that we have to have a huge dinner party and everyone is forced to attend. Reichter Von Sanchez is planning on wearing his black cape, as the weather has sufficiently chilled enough to warrant donning such outerwear. I was thinking about wearing my black leather pants, but as I've gotten older something terrifying has happened to my ass and the pants just don't have the same effect they used to. Fortunately Miss Kitty likes my ass no matter what it does, otherwise...bedlam.
Ah well. So, to Mom and Dad, I say congrats! None of us thought you'd make it this far, not after that unfortunate fork stabbing incident over the last lamb chop.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Dollhouse, yeah

The biggest news to hit Joss Whedon fans since the premier of the Buffy Season 8 comic...Joss and Eliza Dushku are reteaming for the new Fox series, "Dollhouse".

If Miss Kitty were here instead of at work I would demand that she pinch me. Pinch me, sweetie, pinch me!

Ahem and anyway. You can read more about the show and it's concept at the afforementioned link, which takes you to a lengthy Q&A with both Whedon and Dushku. I just adore the way Joss unfolds a story, especially ones with long and demanding story arcs that never feel long and demanding and the second it gets resolved you already miss it. Kind of like the exact opposite of "Lost"which demands every crumb of attention and then takes the crumb away from you and you wish more of the main cast had died.

If the writer's strike can be averted the show will go into production in February, but that seems unlikely so we'll hopefully at least get a Fall '08 premier date on this puppy.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


The boxed DVD set for all five seasons of Angel was released this week. Cleverly timed, I'm sure, to coincide with Halloween and all. And no offense, but I only ever watched Angel when Eliza Dushku was on workin' the Faith role. I just adore Dushku, and Faith was the most exciting, problematic, fucked up mess of a hero ever conceived. Oh Faith, many misunderstand you, but not I, darling. Not I. Or me, either.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

BigFoot for Halloween

The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization has several images posted taken by R. Jacobs' remote camera positioned in the Allegheny National Forest in Northwestern Pennsylvania.

Excuse me while I have my' what the fuck moment' here.

At first I thought, oh, it's a mangy bear, but then I started talking to my sister, Junior, and we decided that yeah, it's Bigfoot.

So that settles that.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Itty Bitty Lives Down To Its Name

Miss Kitty insisted that we had to attend at least one movie at the Pittsburgh Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and since I didn't have a counter argument, we picked the closing night's screening of 'Itty Bitty Titty Committee'.
Where to begin? This movie is so flawed that it shouldn't be shown anywhere that alcohol isn't being served. To call it directionless is too kind. Too call it a disaster of epic proportions is unfair to the word epic.
Given how much we loved director Jamie Babbitt's previous effort, 'But I'm A Cheerleader' we had high hopes for 'Itty Bitty'. But those hopes were seriously compromised once we learned that the movie would cost 15 bucks a pop. Call me crass and cheap, but if you are going to charge twice the going rate for a movie, that movie better deliver in spades. This movie was more like Old Maid. Every tired cliche about feminism, lesbianism, and feminist/lesbian activism is lamely trotted out. It's nothing more than an exercise in recycling. The only remotely fresh aspect in the movie was that none of the characters had any heart and all of the relationships were emotionally vapid and devastating. The only thing I can think to liken the way that the characters lied and bed jumped to was that Babbitt directed this hodge podge like a five year old playing with dolls, manipulating the characters actions in the most famously Mary Sue fashion that she could muster.
Not a single aspect of this film worked. It was shot on the cheap and it showed, clunky acting, horrid script, bizarre dystopic direction, and other stuff too.
Do yourself a favor and skip this film. Instead, write your own and retrieve your My Little Pony collection from your parents' cellar to enact the action.


This was the fortune that George W. Bush pulled from his cookie over the past weekend when he ordered Mei Fun and spring rolls take out from Number 1 China House while watching the boxed DVD set of 'Dallas' season two with Whiskey Jane Taylor and Pervy McNulty. Afterwards they styled each others hair and played pin the bomb on Iran. Though this information is highly classified, Whiskey Jane has a loose tongue after a few shots of George Dickel.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Today I'm trying once again to make vegetable chowder, a soup I often leave on the burner too long and it gets scorched. So, wondered my brain, what lurks in my subconscious that wants to sabotage the chowder? I looked deep, deep into the core of my being, turning over a myriad of buried disarticulated skeletons and you know what I found? The Timex Cinderella watch I had as a kid!
Whew. Glad I solved that mystery. Soup success is surely guaranteed now.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Bad Spidey Tingling

My life, at times, is beset by ironies. Just the other day I was obsessing about how my basement is the spider kingdom and how I'm phobic about spiders and he whole nine yards...and now the hot water tank has taken a bath and I'm down in the cellar, dodging the cobwebs and shutting off the water and the gas. Sheesh. Surely spiders realize that we're terrified of them, they've got to understand that they're hideous creatures. All those legs and eyes. And the eyes are heaped up on top of each other like pustules or something! *shudder*

Well, all I know is that The Snake Doctor (tm) better get here pretty quick and replace the hot water tank because I'm not going down there again. Spiders can smell fear.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday Randomness

I really should be doing something productive, like posting more of my collection of the curious and really weird on ebay. Maybe later.
For now I'm still thinking about the awful loss the Steelers suffered last night in Denver. And what is up with Faith Hill singing that bizarre Sunday Night Football song? It's set to the tune of Joan Jett's recentish classic, "I Hate Myself For Loving You", but the SNF version lacks all of the self mocking snarkiness. Meaning, it lacks the in your face beauty and spirit of the original and comes across as a lame mashy rip-off with silly football hype lyrics. And I use the term 'lyrics' loosely. Whoever penned those words should be spanked, and not in the fun way. Plus, I thought Ms. Hill had more sense than this! Isn't this the kind of gig Toby Keith would take?

Also, I'm sorry that the Cleveland Indians lost the ALCS. I'm kind of fond of the Tribe by proxy because our own Pittsburgh Pirates are cellar dwellers, so I have to pick somebody else to root for (a non NL team). Since I'd picked up an Indians shirt at the thrift store I figured it was kismet. And now we're stuck with the Red Sox, and I'm so sick of them. Yes, a few years ago I wanted them to win the world series, and now I just want them to slink back into frustration and bitter disappointment and leave the rest of us alone. Like the Cubs.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Duck, Duck, Pigeons

FYI, the 2 female mallard ducks represent me and Miss Kitty. The pigeons, loathesome creatures that they are, represent the cluttered thought process of D-Man, the aforementioned (in an earlier blog) boyfriend of my sister. The pizza crust at the center of the picture is a metaphor for the birthday party we were all at last night.

Now, within this scenario, duck and pigeon imperatives are entirely at odds and at the mercy of cruel fate to resolve themselves within a framework of bird brained reasoning. Which means that nothing got resolved, D-Man misconstrued a conversation that he wasn't a part of, and he ended up storming off and then driving through the party host's yard in a huff. First, though, he called me an asshole numerous times, especially once I started laughing. I couldn't help but laugh because D-Man thought we were talking about something different than what we were, and when we tried to disabuse him of this wrong thinking, well, then he got really angry.

Miss Kitty, WASP that she is, was properly mortified. Her number one rule is to avoid conflict at all costs. I told her that we honor her rules around her friends and family, and we go by survival of the fittest around mine. So far, it seems to work! I'm sure today, after sobering up some, D-Man has calmed down, but really, what a fool. My mother said that I'm just as bad for engaging him in his misdirected malcontent, but Miss Kitty said that it was all ok, but that I shouldn't bait someone who is obviously upset and clueless. Dang. Where's the sport in that?

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Life is just one big ass mystery, and then you find a cat mummy under the porch. Last summer when the porch was torn up, so that the decking could be replaced, we discovered a mummified cat. I snatched up the curiosity and carefully dusted it off with a paint brush.

I just don't know what to do with this thing. Miss Kitty won't let me keep it in the house, so it's in a box in the garage. I should probably just post it on ebay. I mean, it would make a great Christmas gift for that ghoul in the family.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Wine, Oh

It's that time of year! The grapes are in and they long to yield their precious juice to the fermenting tank.

Miss Kitty has put me in charge of making the wine, mostly because I'm fairly fearless when it comes to alcohol induced explosions. Oh, I like the way that sounds!

Currently we've got five gallons of something similar to a Bordeaux in the carboy, having racked it from the fermenting tank over the last weekend. I have to admit that I'm a bit nervous because we added roasted oak chips to the mix and who knows how that'll turn out, with the added tannin and all.

Still, even if it's just this side of poison, I'll drink it once it's ready to be corked, and then uncorked!

Friday, October 12, 2007

More or Lessing

Yesterday morning I awoke to discover via my trusty email that every Doris Lessing book I have in my online store inventory had sold. I had a colossal WTF moment because typically her books are slow movers, selling primarily to lit majors who are required to read her oeuvre. Then I was listening to NPR and learned that Lessing had won the Nobel prize for literature and I got to have my ah-ha moment.

I have to admit that I'm not very well acquainted with Lessing's works. I've only ever read "The Fifth Child", while on vacation at a beach house in North Carolina two years ago, and remember turning to Miss Kitty when I finished it and saying something along the lines of, "What was the point of this?" To the best of my recollection she replied, "It's considered an important work." And I said back, "My who? Dr. Caligari's closet?" The last reference proved too arcane because Miss Kitty doesn't watch seminal horror movies, and the rest of my argument suffered because of it. Damn me! Still, "The Fifth Child" did leave me wondering what alternative to applied anthropology Lessing studied.

Then a few months ago a friend (thanks Glaurung!) sent a link to Ursula K. LeGuin's review of Lessing's most recent book, "The Cleft". Despite being scathing, I also think after reading other's thoughts on "The Cleft", that LeGuin was being a tad kind in her assessment that reads in part: "If we are offered the story as an origin myth of human sexuality and gender, I can't accept it. It's incomplete; it is deeply arbitrary; and I see in it little but a reworking of a tiresome science-fiction cliche - a hive of mindless females awakened by the shock of masculinity. A tale of Sleeping Beauties - only they aren't even beautiful. They're a lot of slobbering walruses, till the Prince comes a long." And yes, in Lessing's imagining of human origins females are indeed walrus-like creatures who only evolve and advance once they stop reproducing through parthenogensis and instead mate with the few male mutants (called, 'squirts') that they've birthed. Hmmmm, a premise such as this goes a long way in explaining why critic Harold Bloom called Lessing's work of the last fifteen years, "...unreadable, fourth rate science fiction." While I agree that Lessing is unreadable, I don't agree with Bloom when he says that the Nobel award was "...pure political correctness..."

Huh? Because of the feminist underpinnings of "The Golden Notebook"? That book is older than I am! Ok, it's the same age as I am, but the point is that Lessing hasn't written anything vaguely PC for decades. In fact, it could very well be argued now that she's the antithesis of PCness with her obsession of portraying sex within the conservative constraints of procreation.

Anyway, there's always controversy when a woman wins anything, but in this instance, I think there are a lot more women more deserving, starting with Margaret Atwood.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

the Goober

On the side of a condemned building someone had glued newspaper cut outs that they'd thickly outlined and half drew human characteristics. I loved it! I found it engaging and curious. Simplistic, yet I cannot turn away.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Good Eats

A week or two ago Anthony Bourdain mentioned something in his Bravo Top Chef blog about the foodie methodology of Vietnamese cooking that piqued my interest. I immediately started researching recipes and discovered one for Pork Riblets Simmered in Caramel Sauce that turned out to be absolutely delicious. The dish is a bit time intensive, but it's so worth it, especially if you're new, like me, to preparing Vietnamese cuisine.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Not Insane

Miss Kitty and I were driving past one of Pennsylvania's fine mental institutions and we stopped to properly document the moment. You'd think that being that close to court ordered confinement would have me nervous, but I laugh in the face of psychological observation! Hahahahaha!!!1!

Ahem. We drove off quickly and didn't look back.

Be Prepared

My son, Riechter Von Sanchez, is considering studying photography. My only advice to him was to start carrying a camera with him at all times because you never know what you're going to stumble upon. Lord knows there's stuff everywhere, the world is cluttered with any manner of wonder. So, I said, oozing wisdom like an infected wound, get accustomed to having a camera attached to your person. Walk with it, eat with it, sleep with it, zip-loc seal it if you take it in the shower.

After all that, he shot a roll of pictures of the cat, sleeping. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I mean, I've seen worse, and more boring, at the Warhol.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Pinch Me

I spent the day with my mostly crazy sister. She's more fun than a monkey butler on meth. Thank God she doesn't read blogs, or I'd have to censor my observations, out of shame or caring or love or whatever. But, she's gleefully off the grid, pretty much, which frees me up to use this space as my confessor.
Anyway, my sister, let's call her Junior, and her boyfriend, let's call him D-Man, have this wild plan to script a reality series that's part Seinfeld and part Real World. They want my kid, Riechter Von Sanchez (talk about a sucky fake name, but he picked it himself), to film the whole thing and me and Miss Kitty to be the token lesbians. Plus they've cast themselves. Then, to round out the roll call they've got an alcoholic half retired dentist and his seventy year old urine (and more) stained drinking buddy, Doc and Doody, respectively.
I was all like, yeah, this is gonna work. It has youtube fame written all over it! Everybody thinks that they're so fucking special and the world just hasn't noticed. Uh huh. I'm on that page, seething, chuckling, clipping my nails.
If any of this ever sees the light of day, I'll give all three of my regular readers a heads up on the youtube link ;)

Friday, October 5, 2007


I realize that this is neither here nor there, but I've been working on this zombie novel for three and half years. Well, truth be told, for the last two years I've been actively avoiding finishing it. It's a sick dance. I look at it, it looks at me, and then I move away slowly, but not without a certain elegance.

But then, all of the sudden last night I realized what my problem was: I lacked a proper metaphor in which to frame my tale of blind brain eating. So I wisely chose to not look for the metaphor, nor wait for the universe to give me one. Instead, I thought I'd do what has become a time honored tradition in my family. Give up.

Then, just as I was getting used to the idea of finally not shooting suspicious glances at the pile of notebooks (I old fashioned), the ideal metaphor crept on spider legs into the forefront of my consciousness. Damn! Now I have to finish the cursed thing! My hand is already cramping up in anticipation.

After it's done, I guess I get to explore the exciting world of self publishing. Miss Kitty? Do we have room for crates of books in the basement?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Evidence of the Apocalypse

It's official. The world has come to an end and only fans of "Top Chef" are aware of that fact. Casey, darlin', muffin...what the hell happened? Did you panic and try too hard? Did you lose your laser pointer, I mean, focus?

I have to admit, I'm in a bit of a shock. A big ass state of shock, big as your beloved Texas, Casey dear. While Miss Kitty and I were out on a power walk last night along the Monongahela River we were scrutinizing every shred of minutiae imaginable concerning the last five challenges and surmised that the finale was win or lose. And woe! You lost.

Still, you did yourself proud throughout the competition and you helped make Top Chef 3 the best one to date. I just really, really wish you'd won!

Update: Now that my sour grapes have had a chance to ferment, what ghoul from planet X threw Howie into the mix as a sous chef? That is just cruel, unjust, and sweaty. Yes, other than Brian coming back, Howie was next in line...but Howie!?! All I know is that I'd rather have a drunken sock puppet helping me in the kitchen than him.
Yes, Hung deserved to win, and I'm grasping at straws, but damn. Of all times to get teamed up with that Howie Blockhead...

Monday, October 1, 2007

I'm Such a Boar

I was diligently planning out this evening's menu, waffling between chicken marsala and veal scallopini, deciding to go with the veal because who doesn't want to masticate the tender flesh of traumatized baby cows? When it hit me: I have an overdue library book!

Yes, it's nonstop action around here. I can barely contain myself, despite the hermetically sealed bubble I seem to dwell in, or on.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Pre-Weekend Doodlefest

I gots a whole lotta nothing today. No random musings, no psuedo philosophical expositions, no coupons for a free Big Mac at the golden arches. Just this doodle, which I found on the kitchen table. Clearly the work of doodle elves who, I suspect, live under the stairs and enjoy an egalitarian society masterminded by a former megalomaniacal despot who got his/her comeuppance one fateful day after being outbid on ebay in the final seconds of an auction for a collection of rare Hello Kitty figurines not manufactured in China. After that, the clouds parted, the sun shone, and angels sang, you know the drill.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 8

My fondness for comic books borders on the obsessive and I'm ok with that. And when it was first announced that Joss Whedon was resurrecting Buffy and the Scoobies for a season 8 comic book series I took notice, and heart. Of course I'm a HUGE BtVS fan. I don't trust anyone who isn't. It's the finest show ever conceptualized and rendered, perfectly structured and brilliantly written. The manner in which the characters were fleshed out and fully realized, while at the same time remaining true to their own mythologies (think Anya, and of course Faith) and still remaining infinitely complex and embodying any myriad of human failings (even Spike the vampire), rivals Shakespeare. Yes, I really did just say that. And mean it.

When the show ended after season 7 and the gang slouched toward an uncertain future, a part of me fell into the blackhole that was Sunnydale. Apparently I wasn't alone, either literally or figuratively, as the Buffy comic can attest. It's impossible to heap enough praise on the comic. You absolutely have to read it for yourself. But be forewarned, it demands a lot from you. What might otherwise seem like a throw away line, in typical Whedon fashion, isn't. And now with the Brian K. Vaughn-penned Faith arc hitting it's stride, BKV proves to be an apt pupil of all things Buffy. He perfectly grasps the inherent problematic nature of Faith, Faith easily being the most complex *hero* ever imagined, and writes her dialog with an eye, and an ear, toward the pragmatic smarty pants that Faith has always been. But more importantly, BKV delves into the Buffy-Faith dynamic from Faith's perspective. In the upcoming issue #7 Faith muses about finally meeting someone (Buffy) that she digs. Wha? Huh? Are we getting subtexty here? I believe so, yes indeedy. Legions of B/F fan fiction writers the blogoshpere over are tattooing "I told you so" on their foreheads. I'm not entirely convinced that Faith does have a sexual crush on Buffy, it could just be idle idol worship, but how exciting is it to entertain the possibilities? Very. Way very exciting!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I wanted a Leica, but while perusing cameras on ebay I got seduced (self deluded) into thinking that a Soviet-era Russian Fed-5 was just as good at a fraction of the price. Tiny wee insane fraction. So, I bid on it and was lucky enough to win. I sent off a money order for $40 to (the) Ukraine and waited by the mailbox with the cat and a can of Schlitz.
All things not being equal, and my cheapness being the bane of my existence, I soon discovered what legions of former Soviets must've already known. The camera is, how shall I say, lacking. It is just this side of junk. But me, being stubborn beyond all reason, decided to make the best of it. What you see in this image is actually one of the 'good' quality pics taken with that demon camera. Notice how the frames overlap on the negative, how the colors are less than sharp, and how the subjects bleed into the background. Is it genius or bullshit? Both! Say I, trying desperately to hold onto the tattered vestiges of my self esteem and credibility.

Ah well. At least I've resisted the urge to buy Chinese farm raised fish on sale at Bi-Lo.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Reflections in a Mud Puddle

This morning I found myself driving through a pre-dawn fog. Traffic was light leaving the city and heading north, NPR was on, but I wasn't listening. Resting on the passenger seat was a camera and I started thinking about how things, images, photographs, are defined, how the meaning is ascribed to it by whatever response it elicits from the viewer. Which is as it should be. Meaning should come all on its own.

Aesthetic and form are what they are, regardless of intention. But then I thought of the New Leipzig School of painting, a painstaking method blending the figurative with the narrative on a usually mute-hued canvas. Haven't they taken aesthetic and form and redefined them? Perhaps. Either way, I thought that I would try and apply the techniques of the NLS to photography. Or, the reworked print since the image included here differs vastly from the original photograph and negative.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation...

Look! It's the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in beautiful downtown Jamestown, NY (below)! Yes, Miss Kitty and I spent our vacation on the fringe of civilization in a cabin in the wilderness that is the western NY/PA border. We hiked, we kayaked, we collected fossils along the shoreline of the Kinzua Reservoir (Kinzua Dam, above) (elevation 1332'), and we made a pilgrimage to Jamestown to pay homage to the first lady of comedy, Lucy. Jamestown is Lucy's hometown, and she's buried there in the family plot at Lakeside Cemetery, which we visited.

Apart from the disasterous kayaking trip we took down the Allegheny River (and thereby had to paddle back up) , it was the most relaxing vacation imaginable. No running through airports in my socks because I didn't have time to put my boots back on. Here's a good traveling tip: Avoid wearing steel-toe boots when flying. Live and learn, brave little toaster, live and learn.