Thursday, August 28, 2008

54. Regarding Democracy and the Coming Election Day

I've just finished watching Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton and Joe Biden's speeches from the democratic convention. If you did not get a chance to see Bill Clinton's speech, I encourage you to do so.

In fact, here you go:

While I thought all of the speeches were good, I feel like this is the one everyone should see. If you can get through this and still choose a crusty old stuttering warmonger as our president, I sincerely have to wonder about you and what you imagine this country can be.

I'm not usually a person who follows politics, or feels particularly strongly about any given election. But this campaign has done it for me. I am officially swept up. I wish election day weren't on a work night, because I would feel compelled to host a Super Bowl style election party to watch the coverage with snacks and all the play by play action. I am sick to death of Republican bullshit, and I am excited that happier times could be around the corner. I am also terrified that McCain will lead us straight for WW3 without a second's hesitation.

I don't care that we could be electing the first black president of America, though it's amazing that the civil rights movement has come so far. And I don't care that Obama is young for a president, because age is not equivalent to experience or wisdom. What I do care about is that Barack Obama has the intelligence to try and find a balance between extremes, in which everyone can exist harmoniously. Like the one Jedi who brings balance to the force...

It is obvious that he puts a lot of thought into his words and actions, and I feel confident that he will make wise decisions. I don't feel I am voting for a puppet, or that he is lying to my face. For the first time ever, I feel good about a politician, and I am hopeful that things will start to get better.

Fingers crossed that my fellow Americans will agree.
mX (O__o) Xm

Friday, August 22, 2008

53. Truly Fearsome.

"They are vengeful!"

I feel like this director has seen Best in Show a few too many times. If the entire documentary *pardon*...dogumentary, is as hysterical as this trailer makes out, I have to see it. Dog show people are crazy.

Wiener Takes All

Thursday, August 21, 2008

52. Cheesie Pleasied-ness

I had a really good lesson today. It feels pretty awesome.

Friday, August 15, 2008

51. In Search of Lost Treasure

This is quite possibly the most thrilling image I have ever stumbled upon in my internetly wanderings. It was taken at Steel Pier in Atlantic City, though I don't know the date or who the rider is.

The movie "Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken" was sort of a secret indulgence of mine some time ago. I've always had an obsession with horses beyond any hope of recovery, but even if I didn't, it was still amazing. I knew that it was based on a true story, but until I began reading everything I could find on horse diving this morning (prompted by the photo above), I hadn't realized the film was based on Sonora Webster-Carver's autobiography.

Sonora was the first woman ever to high dive with a horse. Even after being blinded in a diving accident, she continued. She is the poster girl for getting back on the horse and trying again, literally and figuratively speaking. I find her infinitely inspiring.

I immediately went Barnes & Noble's website to snag a copy of "A Girl and Five Brave Horses", but they didn't have any. And apparently neither does anyone else. After checking, Ebay and countless used book resellers, I have only been able to find a handful of old library copies priced in the $395-500 range. I even searched the online card catalogs for libraries in my area, to no avail.

I am so sad. The book hasn't been printed since the first edition came out in 1961. The copyright is still owned by Doubleday & Company, and I can't understand why it wouldn't have been reprinted for the film's release in 1991, exactly thirty years later. It would have been perfect.

Soren found one website where you can read books online, but it turned out that in order to purchase a membership, you had to prove you were either a) immobile, or b) in possession of a qualifying learning disability. And if you made it that far, the membership itself cost $75.


I finally just emailed Doubleday asking why they haven't ever reprinted. It was a sad little last ditch effort; I don't honestly expect any reply...

I suppose the moral of this story is that books, like rare photographs, are precious things, not to be taken for granted or tossed aside. Because once they're gone, it may be forever. If anyone out there has a copy I could borrow, I promise I'll bring it right back when I'm done.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

50. Well.

Riding is way harder than I remember. There are so many things to keep track of and so many body parts to try and coordinate at once, all while maintaining your balance so as not to fly off. It is much more complicated than ambling along on a western trail ride.

I am sweaty, dirty, I smell like a barn, and my thighs are going to be way sore tomorrow. Also, a random instructor yelled at me for squeezing my horse past another horse cross-tied in the stable corridor, because apparently they don't like each other.

I do not know the rules or who likes and doesn't like who. It was my first day.

My horse is an ex-racing Thoroughbred named Louie. He's dark bay and really pretty, but not terribly responsive to my kicking him in the sides repeatedly to get him to move. To be fair, it was pretty hot out, but I think he's somewhat on the lazy side. He has a pretty comical personality though. I definitely like him. He's very willing to hand me each of his feet while I pick them out, he likes attention, and after our ride he seemed pretty ecstatic that I hosed him down and squeegeed him. He stood in the shower area vigorously throwing his head up and down while I ran the water over him, just to let me know he was pleased.

It's going to be a really long time before I cease being embarrassingly awful. Also, I am older than my instructor, which was fairly awkward. But she's not bitchy and mean like the girl who yelled at me, and I think we get along well enough, so hopefully things will be more comfortable soon. I was feeling pretty disappointed with how much I suck on my way home, but now that I've had dinner I'm feeling a bit better. I think I look forward to next week.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

49. Ballad of an average Joe

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a wine party at Genève Café on Fremont Ave. For $18 a person we enjoyed all sorts of delicious little appetizers and seemingly unlimited pours on several African selections. And if that wasn't enticing enough, the cover included an intimate patio performance by local indie rockers Conservative Dad.

I am an enormous sucker for the small venue situation, and this band did not disappoint. The four of them are incredibly approachable people who seem to enjoy the actual connection with their audience as much as they love to play. There is not a hint pretension or self-absorbed snobbery among them, as can often be the case among musicians possessing this much talent. They even handed out gratis copies of their LP, which I now have on repeat. Yay!

While far from an acoustic set (these kids rocked out), they performed somewhat toned down versions of their songs in order to accommodate the close proximity of their patio stage. The set up was uncomplicated; no microphone, just a few guitar amps and pedals strewn about. One of which did delightful analogue-ish things that entertained me more than it probably should have...

Matt Batey's vocals are bright and endearing, the lyrics thoughtful and easy to relate to, and the rest of the band's backing vocals harmonized perfectly. I think my favorite tracks are currently the blue-collar ballad "Mighty Dollar" and the heartfelt "Full Time", but I kind of want to (and just may) make a ring tone out of "Too Late". It's the perfect sort of punkish temper-tantrum to roll out of bed to at 3:15 in the morning on a Monday, when the last thing in the world you want to do is drag your ass to work.

Con Dad's set was surprisingly longer than I would have expected to see from a band playing at a cafe. As the evening wore on and the stars came out, everyone was invited to move even closer and sit at their feet while they played. I frequently found myself utterly fascinated by the performance of a particular someone or other, yet there was never a moment where any one member's piece swallowed or overpowered another.

It was a perfectly rad way to spend a Friday evening. Surrounded in good company, good wine, and good music. I think the only thing missing was a campfire, but just as I found myself wishing for one, the scent of someone in the neighborhood grilling on their deck drifted past my nose.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

48. Regarding elusive birds

This morning I came across a soundtrack that has piqued my interest so much I want to go and see the film itself.

Woodpecker is described as being an "existential tragicomedy", co-written and directed by Alex Karpovsky. The film score is composed by James Lavino, along with Colin Greenwood, bass player for Radiohead, and the Sargent twins of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

You can listen to six of the tracks on James Lavino's Myspace page. The arrangements are quietly beautiful, acoustic guitar based pieces, with soft orchestral instruments and synthesizer swirling through the background.

Picture sunlight flickering through the leaves of trees in slow motion.

Or just go listen. That would probably give you a better idea.

Monday, August 4, 2008

47. I heart Ikea

A completely unexpected refund from our Escrow account this week has allowed us to FINALLY begin decorating our bedroom. But after 2 days and about 5-6 hours of shopping for a new comforter at every department store in town, we still hadn't found anything suitable. Everything was either too expensive, poor quality, lacking any sense of design, or not terribly comfortable. Or a combination of any of the above. Frustrating is an understatement.

Thankfully, there is Ikea!

The spoils of yesterday's shopping trip include...
A new Duvet cover and comforter:

In real life, the colors are much more vibrant, but you get the idea. It matches the world map I found at Office Max perfectly, and is remniscent of sleeping on a pile of marshmallows.

A bedside lamp:

I was especially excited to find this. I had removed a glass globe from our bedroom hall ceiling to replace with something a little less dated, and had planned to make a sort of moderny/futuristic sort of table lamp with it. It ended up getting broken before I had the chance, and I was very sad.
Fortunately for me, someone else already had the same idea.

And an adorable desk lamp:

All I can say is yay for the Swedes.