30 October 2007

I Feel Like I'm Dating A Rock Star

So just in case you hadn't heard, my boyfriend is famous.

Well...Internet famous. His face is ALL. OVER. THE. INTERNET. This is because he is super awesome and creative.

Here's the photo that started it all.

19 October 2007

Our Love of Pizza...and Not Wearing Pants

J and I had a hankering for pizza last night (okay, in all reality, we had a hankering for "food," and as I had started to pull pajama pants on, I no longer had any desire to wear real pants just to go to a restaurant), and so we sauntered over to the Papa John's website to order pizza without any human interaction at all! Or pants! (Just how I like my pizza!) There was a special involving free cheese sticks with an order of any large 3 topping pizza. We usually get the cheese sticks, anyway, with a bacon pizza, but with this deal we could spent the same amount of money and get two extra toppings. What a steal! I was feeling creative, and so our three toppings were bacon, extra cheese...and bacon.

Also, we may like Papa John's a little too much...Sometimes we order pizza through my account and request it be delivered to J's apartment. We've done this a few times too many, it seems, because he's started getting Papa John's coupons sent to his apartment, all addressed to me.

18 October 2007

Yarn I stole doesn't count towards the budget, right?

I bought some knitpicks yarn recently; I sincerely needed one more skein of the Iris Alpaca Cloud to finish Muir, and while I was there...

knitpicks alpaca cloud in peppermint

So last night, due to my recent (just prior to this order, but I want to point out that I qualified this order!) promise to J not to buy any more yarn, at least until all of the projects currently on my needles have been completed:
"Look at this yarn! I want to sleep in a bed of this yarn. Isn't it beautiful?"
"...Did you buy that yarn in the past few days?"
"Well, yes, but...

...No, I stole it."

15 October 2007

Loving Frank

I went to Western Pennsylvania this weekend because two of J's childhood friends were getting married. Going on plane rides means that I need a new book or two, and this trip was no exception. I picked up Loving Frank and The Boleyn Inheritance.

I haven't started reading the Boleyn Inheritance, but I finished Loving Frank this morning. I am a sucker for historical fiction; this trip felt like the perfect time to indulge that urge. Plus, the other book I had really wanted to bring was the Half Blood Prince, but I could hear J groaning when I picked it up, and he wasn't even there.

Loving Frank follows the life of Martha "Mamah" Borthwick, Frank Lloyd Wright's mistress, from around 1903 until her death in 1914. This oft overlooked woman is usually "a footnote in the life of America's greatest architect," but in this book she shines. We finally learn a little bit more about Mamah (pronounced 'May-mah') Borthwick Cheney and her role in the American feminist movement (which is slight but notable), and the book even seems to treat her as Wright's first real love. The book ends with the tragic and untimely death of Mamah and her children in Taliesin, the house Wright designed for Mamah and himself after he deserted his first wife, Catherine, and their six children.

I have always wanted to know more about this mistress that Frank Lloyd Wright had, mostly because I crave details about tragic and clandestine love affairs of most famous people, especially ones that I admire. It's hard to find information about Mamah, aside from summaries of her murder which are usually just in the details about the demise of Taliesin. She obviously meant a lot to Wright, but on the other hand they only knew each other for a grand total of nine years, and the affair coincides suspiciously with a huge artistic/mid-life crisis on Wright's part. Even Mamah, through the voice of Nancy Horan admits that Frank was already and always a shining star in this world, and would have been even without her in his life. This is not to discount her, but she certainly wasn't his first mistress, and even though it's very possible that they may have been happy together if she had survived, he didn't seem to have a habit of staying faithful to any one woman (which reminds me of Roman Polanski in some ways).

I was angered throughout the book by Frank and Mamah, two incredibly selfish people who destroyed the lives of their families in the pursuit of their own happiness, but I have a soft spot for FLW's architecture, which helps me overlook his shortcomings as a father. In Mamah's case, the destruction was quite literal, since both of her children died with her that day at Taliesin, but many other accounts seem to say that Frank Lloyd Wright's children did not appreciate their father's desertion very much. While I tend to agree with most of Mamah's feminist views, on principle, she seemed to be living a social experiment with Wright simply to push her own feminist agenda -- one that seems sad when you take into account her children.

In the end, it was a beautifully written book, even though I felt that it romanticizes the relationship to the point of making it seem silly. Mamah's obsession with Frank sounded very much like my high school crushes: childish fantasies where I could not see anything outside of my desire. The biggest difference is that I was a child, myself, and she was a woman with children. I have some sympathy for her because she grew up in a different time, but much of her relationship with Frank seemed unstable to me, and if she hadn't perished in that fire, I sincerely doubt they would have made it to the end. Still, this is conjecture based on pure (albeit thoroughly researched) fiction since much of her correspondence was burned with her in Taliesin. The book was thoughtfully written and felt true to the characters, but it was pieced together using Frank's life and a meager ten letters from Mamah to Ellen Key.

If your things are architecture, feminism, and historical fiction, I highly recommend this book, although I would also recommend it if you like Cosmo, Glamour, or Chick-lit. There's a lot more "Bridges of Madison County" in this book than there are accounts of Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural influence on anyone but Mamah Borthwick Cheney.

11 October 2007

America's Next Top Model: The Girl Who Goes Bald

Last night the girls on America's Next Top Model were dressed as flowers, and Tyra took the flower metaphor waaay to far. Tyra's crazy, and I love her for it, but sometimes she just needs to quit it -- last night was one of those times. Get ready to be "deflowered"??? Are you serious, Tyra? And then the girls who all thought deflowered --> being nude? Jesus God, people. Mary and I looked at each other and immediately burst into laughter.

Last week I told someone I was having trouble doing these ANTM recaps without using the word "bitch," so this week I'm going to try really hard to keep the use of the word bitch to this paragraph explaining how, no matter how much I may want to, I can't use...that word. (One more time to get it out of my system: ...bitch)

This week was the most glorious week in ANTM: Makeover week! Mostly, I like to see girls cry when Tyra hacks off all their hair or gives them weaves. It's so predictable. Also, as a professional who uses rendering software to get that photo-realistic look for important presentations, I especially appreciated the digitized photos of the girls' makeovers. Way to use MS Paint, guys! Can I outsource my next presentation board to you all?

Most of the makeovers were not good. Saleisha got this bob that...might be cute? In certain lighting? The other makeovers were drastic, yet tired. Bianca's hair was so fried they had to shave it all off. She was a good sport about it, and I get why she was crying, but I have very little sympathy for someone who fries their hair out so badly it needs to be shaved off. It was pink for crying out loud. She should have known better -- this is high fashion, as Tyra pointed out, not Queens. Heather got the best makeover of all: a trim and some highlights.

This week's challenge was "the Cover Girl challenge" (the tables of make-up, etc). Sarah won, and the other girls were just glad it wasn't Saleisha again. I just remembered a tiny unrelated detail that blew my mind...When Niles introduced his wife?! I never thought, with all the womanizing he clearly does, that Niles might be married! Wow. Just wow.

The photo shoot, as previously mentioned, was flower themed. The girls were dressed up as follows:
Ambreal - Rose
Bianca - Sunflower
Chantal - Baby's Breath
Ebony - Bird of Paradise
Heather - Weeds
Janet - Hydrangea
Jenah - Moss
Lisa - Bamboo
Saleisha - Tulip
Sarah - Ivy
Victoria - Cactus
I liked the concept, and the look on Heather's face when she found out she was a weed was priceless. Victoria simply doesn't get it -- being a flower?...Is dumb. She comes at it from the perspective of a student, though. She weighs the pros and cons and seems to come to the visible conclusion that her heart is not in it. To the cameras, though, she states that she's going to try harder because she can win this; probably because she's never gotten less than an A- in her life, and like all other things she must not fail at this (I have a bad habit of projecting, but something in that last sentence makes so much sense that I feel like I get Victoria).

The elimination round: Victoria and Saleisha are in the bottom. Victoria totally got that she was a cactus because she has a prickly personality, but she mouths off to Twiggy during the panel, and Tyra tells her that top models are gracious and sans attitude. Saleisha is told that she isn't photographing as well as she should, and that her eyes have no emotion - there's nothing behind them (like a brain).

Eventually the chip on Victoria's shoulder does her in, and she is eliminated. As she leaves the house, she admits that it's better this way so that she doesn't steal some girl's dream. Ultimately, I did like Victoria, even though she came off as very condescending -- probably because I can relate. I think the cutting room floor was not kind to her, so maybe her clips were...manipulated - and if anyone's going to be okay after elimination, it's her. Now that Victoria's gone, though, I can focus all of my attention on Heather. Beautiful, wonderful, unaffected Heather -- who is very much going to be America's Next Top Model unless she completely blows the commercial competition..

10 October 2007

Dashing to the finish line

Last night, I finally finished J's pair of Dashing fingerless mitts. A few months ago, I started making him socks, which any knitter in a "new" relationship will tell you, is a big gamble (he seemed "excited" about my knitting...but how far does the boyfriend sweater curse extend?...and by "excited" I mean teases me mercilessly and continuously about what he refers to as my yarn "problem," and conjecturing that every time he goes out of town, I find ways to hide yarn under the floorboards and in the attic. I would never hide yarn in the attic).

In the end my concerns were moot because he was excited! And then the first sock didn't fit! So, mostly out of frustration and disappointment, I decided to put the socks on the shelf for a bit. As a consolation prize for being such a Rockstar Boyfriend, I decided I would make these fingerless mitts since mine turned out so well (ha!). I ended up tearing his back a few times because they had to be absolutely perfect, but it was worth it in the end. Two perfect fingerless mitts. The first project I've ever taken off the needles without worrying where I would find those hidden mistakes I didn't catch the first time.

Besides, with some manipulation (like J losing five pounds in one of his legs), the first sock may fit - albeit tightly. I made the second sock bigger by six more stitches a round, so that should fix things, right?

Swatch? What's that?

Anyway...Without further ado, here they are!

08 October 2007

MIT Glass Pumpkin Sale

For the past three years, I have vowed that I was going to wake up extra early on the day of the MIT Glass Pumpkin sale so that I could document the pumpkins and the madness with my camera.

This year I finally made it to the sale. It wasn't at the break of dawn, though, and instead of merely documenting the madness, I became part of it. A friend of ours had asked us to buy a pumpkin for her because she would be unable to make it, and once I was in there, it was hard not to adopt every pumpkin in sight.

I had finally settled on a blue one that was a little more pricey than intended, when another woman started setting down a pretty green flecked pumpkin -- my eyes zoned in on the price tag, and it was exactly in the budget! I practically snatched the pumpkin from this poor woman's hands. Even J left with some gift pumpkins.

It was a good haul this year. Just in time for autumn.

06 October 2007

It may come to a point where this should just be called "Briar's Tokyo Police Club Blog"

I am a card carrying member of the FNX (101.7 Boston) radio station network. The theory is that there are a bunch of privileges that come with this card -- pre-sale concert tickets, free FNX events, and the FNX Card Concert series, but in reality, I only got the card because TOKYO POLICE CLUB were playing. And it was free.

Sapporo sponsored this crazy awesome concert, so on top of being at a Super Intimate Show, I got all sorts of tacky Sapporo swag (I mean...I ♥ you Sapporo! Not tacky! Awesome!) (No, but seriously...there were (XL) T-shirts with kanji characters and a written English translation of "Yankee Haters." My roommate, who is semi-fluent in Japanese laughed when I brought the shirt home because apparently it says something closer to "Fuck the Yankees."). I got a few of those paper fans...you know the ones you can buy for $0.50, but I can never seem to find them, and I want one to carry on the T. Yeah, so I grabbed about four of them.

But what I really got that night was the chance to finally meet the band without making a total ass out of myself. Sure, we didn't have intimate conversations about life or anything, but we talked about my shirt, and even though I know they do say it to everyone, they personally thanked me for coming out to see them and since I was the only one there at the time, I like to pretend that they'll remember me forever. Graham, the keyboardist, was jealous because he'd actually tried to buy the shirt I was wearing from Threadless, but they were out of his size. I got a picture with (bassist) Dave Monks and (keyboardist) Graham Wright:

It was brief and fleeting, but it was also supremely awesome, and I didn't even volunteer to have their babies or anything. I also got some pretty good rocking out shots, because I was in the front row and about three feet away from the band:

The rest of the shots from that night are Here, in a flickr set.

03 October 2007

Little Mountain Sherpas

Every time I have to write a work related e-mail, I work myself into a "state," and every fear I have of being fired comes out from hiding in the dark corners of my mind. I don't know why I do this. It's something I'm aware of, and it's something I've worked on, but while I've mostly gotten it cornered in my personal relationships and sometimes when I'm out in a group, I cannot get a handle on it when work is involved. (And yes, I have talked at length about this with my therapist)

Today, I was an absolute mess for about five minutes while I deliberated with a coworker how I should address an email to a team of consultants, who happen to work out of India. I had only one of their names and didn't want to address the email to one person and ignore the rest. I eventually settled on "hello [name] and team," but not before having this gem of a conversation:
I have no idea who to address it to. [company] team? That sounds so impersonal!

I'm sure they don't care how you address them, as long as it's not how Heather does it. 'Dear mountain sherpas...'
As per usual, my PA found a potential problem (this is why I rarely CC people I work for. Bad habit? Yes. Keeps me from passing out? Yes.), but it was nowhere near as bad as her referring to our consultants as "little mountain sherpas who get the work done while we sleep." And I have to admit, I did feel a little bit better about myself when I thought about it.

02 October 2007

Lazy Sunday

This is one of my favorite pictures of J in the whole world.

For the same reason that I love it when he wears his glasses, I love how this picture makes me feel comfortable and safe in our relationship. He also has a pair of slippers that made me want to date him a year ago, because they remind me of feeling warm and content, the way a cup of hot cocoa and a fire can make me feel. I know -- I'm the world's biggest nerd, but those slippers...

It's this kind of lazy Sunday afternoon, where the sunlight kisses the room while he hacks his own computer and I sit next to him and knit, that I wish I could bottle up and save for later, when our lives get hectic again.

It's pictures like this that make me miss him. Even when he's just two miles away.

01 October 2007

"Why would you pay for candy porn when you can download it for free on the Internet?"

Every year around this time, candy corn hits the aisles again, and it's about at this time every year that I eat myself sick of candy corn. Thankfully, most supermarkets don't stock candy corn year round, and this saves me from eating it until I truly never want to eat it again. J also likes candy corn, which is just another sign from the universe that we were meant to be together, because I have a hard time meeting people who will eat candy corn with me.

The other day, we were in his car after a day of shopping, and we passed a pet grooming store called "Doggie Styles." I was laughing so hard I couldn't get the story out in one breath.J laughed, but also told me I was "terrible."

Later, I heard him say something about "Candy Porn," but he insisted that he had said "Candy corn," and I started to develop a complex. It wasn't until much later, when I was in hysterics about the doggie styles salon yet again, that he admitted he'd said candy porn, after all.

So while I may not be crazy or hard of hearing, we've established that I do have a dirty mind. But so does J. And he also likes candy porn corn. I think he could be the one.