Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Great Light Has Gone Out

Douglas E. Curran/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images

Today former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated during a rally in Rawalpindi, Islamabad. The assassin shot at her several times before blowing himself up.

I saw Bhutto speak at American University when I was there, and she showed that there might someday be change in Pakistan. She was amazingly inspiring not only as a torch-bearer for diplomacy and peace, but as a woman in political life. Remarkably, one of my co-workers went to AU and saw the same speech, and we agreed that she truly gave you hope that things could get better, and things could change. She was a powerful force for good.

It's hard to say where Pakistan will go from here. I worry very much about the fallout from this and the effect on the upcoming "elections." It's time for America to start seeing the world with new eyes and telescopes, observing ALL the world and standing up for those oppressed by human rights violations, and facilitating DIPLOMATIC DISCUSSION where none exists.
A great light has gone out.

Monday, December 24, 2007


This is an old picture and the stone is just kind of resting on the setting (we were shopping at the time, not buying), but that's the gist, and I'll post a new picture when I have time and/or stop peeing my pants, but everything was perfect and I love Speed and WOOOOO!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

January 20, 2009

If for NO OTHER REASON but this fucked up, utterly gross, and completely telling statement from George W. Bush, January 20, 2009 cannot fucking come fast enough.

Q: Tell us about your future son-in-law, Henry Hager. Did he do right and
ask for Jenna’s hand?

The President: “He kind of sidled up to me and said, ‘Can I come and see you?’ We were sitting outside the presidential cabin here, and he professed his love for Jenna and said, would I mind if he married her? And I said, ‘Got a deal.’ [Laughter] And I’m of the school, once you make the sale, move on. But he had some other points he wanted [to make]. He wanted to talk about how he would be financially responsible.”

Via Feministing, who declared this their "Sexist Quote of the Year."

Point of clarification: it's not the asking that is so problematic, because I would like Speed to check in with my fam and make sure they are down with the whole marriage thing. I know that many feminists take huge issue with men asking womens' parents about marriage, but that is a department of the feminist movement that I am not 100% on board with. I agree that a lot of traditions, particularly wedding traditions, have their roots in sexist and oppressive meaning, but I believe that a lot of that inherent sexism has sort of worn off over time. I don't want to get married in a white dress because I want to advertise my highly valued virginity (heeeeeeeeeeh), I want to get married in a white dress because my Mom and my grandmothers got married in white dresses, and THAT is the tradition I care about. I don't want Speed to give me a ring or ask my parents for permission as part of a business transaction, I want the ring because a.) we found one I like, and b.) I like the idea of advertising that I am with someone who I plan to hunker down with forever. I want him to ask my parents so he and I both know that they are on board with the plan, and so that THEY know that we care about their opinion. My negative reaction to this quote isn't about the actual action, it's about Bush actually clinging TO the negative connotation from which the action sprung.

Seriously, how is this douchebag in charge of ANYTHING, much less a country?

Thank You, Galliano.

I would get married in this dress tomorrow and be the happiest, clothing-wise (and, you know, Marrying the Man of My Dreams wise), I've ever been in my life. I suppose it should be in some kind of white or ivory or whatever, but honestly, I could care less.

Perhaps different makeup and hair, however.

On Where To Write Well

I have been reading Linda Grant's blog, The Thoughtful Dresser, with great enthusiasm since it was mentioned on Manolo the Shoeblogger's page, and of particular interest was her very brief and certainly incomplete c.v. listed on the site, to wit:

Linda Grant is a novelist and journalist. She won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2000 and the Lettre Ulysses Prize for Literary Reportage in 2006. She writes for the Guardian, Telegraph and Vogue. Her latest novel, The Clothes on Their Backs will be published by Virago in February 2008. For further information see her website at

It got me thinking about when we would reach a point where a successful blogger could transition easily to print media without being The Blogger of the organization. Right now, I feel like when a blogger snags a job writing for print media, it's a Big Deal, and bloggers are still seen to some extent as wild cowboys and girls of the Internet. It's understandable that this idea would persist - after the Howard Dean rise and fall and the Snakes on a Plane phenomenon and resulting crash landing in the box office, supplemented with hundreds of other examples, there is still no proof that "popular on the Internet" necessarily translates to "popular in real life." Either marketing folks worldwide are not translating between the two circles, or it doesn't work and never will.

I hope that in time, people in marketing and in general will see that the reason you can't narrow down the Internet and pigeonhole its users or content into traditional categories is not that Internet users are strange, alien beings, but that they are everyone, and that has serious implications. Since time immemorial, we've all been marketed to in little for boys, toys for girls, gifts for women who like fashion, gifts for the accepted picture of a feminist, gifts for men always involving tools or sports. I, however, know not one single person who fits only one category or picture, so why these typings persist is beyond me. I can be a feminist (don't get me started on the stereotype of THAT term), love fashion, spike my blood pressure repeatedly with sports, knit, change a tire and most of the fluids on my car, AND hang my own pictures. Obviously, as a woman interested in sports and unafraid of tools, I feel particular hostility towards those marketing powers that be who have decreed both as the exclusive purview of men. I do not want a pink tool set featuring cheap tools that break.

In any case, I hope that marketing folk start seeing the Internet Revolution as it truly is - free expression from every corner of the globe and all walks of life - and adjust accordingly, and also hope that the often snooty print media begin to realize that good writing is good writing, regardless of where it is. I grew up with the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and by the time it made it to my front door, it STILL was awash in typos. It appears to be on an upswing now, but it's still not devoid of issues. I briefly wrote for one of their projects, the Wicked Cool Music site, which showed great potential, had the main page been sustained, and I believe that my writing there was much better, typo-wise, than a large portion of what I've seen published in the T&G's print pages. It's not just me and my ego, either...I feel like the bulk of the things I read online are better written and less typographically problematic than newspapers and sometimes even books and magazines. This does not mean that ALL Internet production is better than print media - I think that's obvious - but the snobbery that seems to abound between bloggers and print media folks seems greatly exaggerated.

I hope that in the nearby future, some editor, maybe late at night after a frenzied day resulting in the rolling of many a head, hops online to read his or her favorite ______________ blog, and suddenly, in a flash of light with the sound of singing angels all around, it comes to them: "These people write just as well as my staff."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Snow, Snow, Snow

Today I am wearing:

A red, cable knit sweater from Target that is semi-like this one, except it's a v-neck...

...a pinstriped pant from Kohl's (Apt. 9) in charcoal grey...

...these flats, also from Kohl's (the only good part of the Vera Wang collection, IMO), but in raisin with smoky colored sparklies on the toes.

I am carrying this bag, which SORT of matches via red stripe but let's not fool happened to be where all my junk was. I am also wearing a black, kind of ironwork looking necklace that is long with open flat beads and open round beads, which also came from Target, any my usual claddaugh ring and earrings.

In other news, I had started another blog, in which I talked about fashion, and I have since realized that this is a stupid idea and thus I should just combine the two and talk more about fashion if I want to talk about fashion. So, I'll be adding some back posts...if you hit the fashion label, you'll find them. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

In Which I Go To The Grocery Store

Minor note on a DIFFERENT grocery store: My diatribe in the direction of Shaw's parking lot and their STUPID SPEEDBUMPS OF TRANNY DOOM was successful and the SSoTD have been removed. TAKE THAT!!! FEEL THE WRATH OF MY POISON PEN!

Regrettably, the funky little Honey Farms/Pet Barn/Sheep Shack/nail place that I like because it shares my sister's name plaza in HOLDEN/PLEASANTVILLE, MA has installed one of the SSoTDs. FEEL MY WRATH, FUNKY PLAZA!

I have to say, I DO understand the impulse to put these things in...more than once, I have nearly been mowed down by some douchebag driving his very own Shaws 500 with my arms full of groceries, or hauling a bag of cat litter out of the Pet Barn, but I think that the choice of installing speed bumps that REMOVE THE UNDERSIDE OF YOUR VEHICLE is a little self defeating, since NO ONE will be coming to your store. There is a way to go over a standard issue speed bump without feeling like you are causing massive damage to your undercarriage...there's no way to go over these without doing so. I tried going so slowly I actually came to a stop at the bump and had to gas it to go up and over, and STILL...kaCHUNKTHUD.

So anyway we went to the grocery store yesterday and I have some observations.

1. It takes a long time to put $600 of coins through a Coinstar machine, will make you feel like a weirdo, and will probably make people hate you.

2. Halls Ginger Ale cough drops...sound fun, are not. They are just different flavored cough drops, and not even particularly ginger-ale-y. Sad, really, although in retrospect, I realize that what's so happy-making about ginger ale itself is the crispness and fizziness of it, which you're not going to get out of a cough drop. DAMN YOU MARKETING!!

3. Polar Pomegranate Dry...EXACTLY as awesome as it sounds. Oh my god. I love those Polar people.

4. Silk Pumpkin Spice soy milk...made of delicious. I like soy milk anyway, but if you're not a soy milk person, this is the kind of thing to start with. It's got a texture between milk and eggnog (more towards the eggnog end), and comes in all kinds of flavors including vanilla, chocolate, chai latte, and this pumpkin spice, which I highly recommend.

5. Sabra hummus is seriously proof that God loves us. It is so creamy and fabulous and the Sabra people specialize in "hummus with stuff in it" which is MAGIC, so I usually get the "Supremely Spicy" variety, although they also have a jalapeno one which is on my list. Other flavors that I can remember include tahini, eggplant, garlic-like-whoa, and many other things that look delicious but I can't recall.

Thank me later.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

In Other News: Tiki Barber is Still Hot.

Time for episode 3 of Project Runway with Josie and The Lucy! Refresher course: Josie in black, The Lucy in blue, winner in purple, loser in red.

The Challenge: Make a menswear outfit suitable for hosting the Today Show for this guy:

I realize as I get older that one of the things I would like to leave as my legacy is some good old fashioned hilarity. A period of great respectability and power, then some awesomely dippy behavior. Not the Britney Spears variety of Bad Choices or anything, but just some nice zany middle-aged-to-old person behavior. And let me tell you, if there is a picture of me HALF as demented and awesome as this one of Our Close Personal Friend Tiki Barber on the Internet, my mission will be considered accomplished. That man is playing football in his skivvies while apparently playing a leading role in some kind of energetic musical in his head. Awesome.

Side Note: I think Tiki Barber is hot beyond all reason...The Lucy? Does not. TWO FRIENDS, ONE BESHINY-TOOTHED FOOTBALL PLAYER, NO DECISION!

So...menswear! Here we go.
Steven...when someone's previous outfit who I can't remember right now came down the runway, my immediate reaction was "that is a WHITE BOY outfit." When this arrived, my reaction was "that is a POLO PLAYING white boy's outfit." There are not enough concussions in the world to make Tiki Barber wear something that's this intended for someone from Connecticut. I also fucking HATE it and think it's so...snobby. I see this outfit and immediately want to punch whoever is in it. Ahahahahaha! Total white boy outfit indeed. I mean, this is the kind of outfit that can get your ass kicked by the guys playing polo. It is also very snobbish. I can't imagine anyone but Steven wanting to wear this outfit either. I think it fits his personality very well.
Sweet P...boy, did she dodge a bullet. I think this was one of the "we know you can do better" mercy in-ings. I actually like the IDEA of this...the black pant with the soft shirt and the REALLY NICE fabric on the too-long tie. I just think she was overwhelmed, and I have to tell you, I'm not surprised...with women's clothing, you can make a dress, you know? Eeesh. Menswear...not where I'd jump into fashion design, I tell ya. It's an okay effort in Advanced Make It Work Studies...okay, you screwed up the collar, so adopt a rumpled overall look, but there wasn't really any getting away from that collar. I liked that she was up front about it. Ah...the flaccid penis collar. I'm in agreement with you about the fact that they feel as though she can really do much better, and menswear is very hard so yeah, she totally got the benefit of the doubt. I know it wasn't her intention but this is just so clownish that it's unreal. The sleeves are all jacked up, as is the collar and the tie. Oh Sweet Pea, ye had better pull one out of your ass next, I guess she thought he was going to...a wedding? A low budget wedding? And not the good kind? I don't get this and I don't WANT to, and PS those shoes fucking suck. The jacket is better executed than the majority of stuff presented, but I'm still not willing to excuse a white waiter's jacket as something to wear on the Today Show. Why was it the 80s for this whole challenge? Did you notice that? WTF? This outfit sucks ass. Serious ugly going on here, and yeah, the shoes? Gross. They look fucking terrible with this outfit. Thumbs WAY down on this one. [NB - This was Speed's favorite. I don't know.]Jillian...I think this was the white boy outfit. I also think this was shipped in from the 70s. WRONG DECADE JILLIAN, GET WITH THE's 80S week! I hated this...the collar was disastrous and the shoes MUST have been picked out by throwing darts at the accessory wall while blindfolded. Hot. Mess. This is total 70s shit. I do kind of give her a little thumbs up for the 4 pieces that are well made though. The shoes make no sense whatsoever!
Kevin...speaking of creepy male models, I'm adding this guy to my list of people to run away from at all times. THe de-safety-pinning of the vest was perfect, I wish Kevin hadn't second guessed himself and pinned it. I didn't really like it seemed sloppy and gives the model VERY weak and slopey shoulders. I think the color is great though...this is how to incorporate black properly for ANYONE much less someone with dark skin. See, now I think that if Kevin fitted the vest a little more, this could have been the winning look. I absolutely LOVE the color. LOVE IT. I think more men need to bring color into their wardrobes, and this is doing it in a way that isn't super obnoxious. I personally would have picked Kevin to win the challenge.
Kit...was this the polar fleece jacket? I think it was. I actually liked that in concept but didn't love it in practice. I found it really hard to judge fabric choice in this challenge. And let me tell you...I can hardly handle popped polo collars. In what fucked up universe is it okay to pop a goddamn JACKET COLLAR???? Easy answer: THERE IS NO SUCH UNIVERSE!! Anyone who pops their collars should be shot on sight. For real. There is no reason to do that whatsoever, unless you're a post menopausal woman and you're trying to frame your face, ok? I hate that shit. But anyway, this outfit is a little to casual for me. I think it's kind of cool how she made an actual collar for a polar fleece jacket. I don't think that's easy so props to her. It's cute but boring.
Rami...okay...STILL it is the 80s. Why? WHY? I hate this far less than the other Members Only jacket but it's still too casual. Not a bad effort and the fit is all right, but the styling is just off base. I continue to love Rami and make up fantasies about him in which he revolutionizes fashion in the new Soviet Russia. I don't get the 80s vibe from this...I just get that crisp, classic look. It's just ok to me though. I don't love it, nor do I hate it, nor am I bored by it. It just is. My gay friends just fantasize about Rami period. It's pretty entertaining to listen to the things they say about him.
Ricky...I was totally biased towards this one just because Ricky made an effort in the direction of a full suit. It WAS crappily made and the fit was off, but I'm sorry, if you get to dress Tiki Barber's shoulders, much less the rest of him, you put him in a suit jacket. It's boring and particularly un-special because it was black with an orange pocket square (which by the way I have SEEN Barber in and he did it much better), but I guess I appreciate the effort?? Total blah. No pizazz, no spark, no nothing. But, like you mentioned, at least there is a bit of an effort here.Carmen...I kind of wanted Carmen to go from the beginning because she reminds me of Zulema who I hated and wanted to punch all the time, but this is...oh my crap it is bad. I mean, the fabric thing is a creative enough solution but there was no shit, the jacket was heinous and weirdly pinned shut? And the crotch was, as our friend declared, totally insane. (Maybe you can help here - I am pretty sure that Michael Kors has used the phrase "insane crotch" before. Anyone else, I would think I was imagining things, but...seriously I think he said it before.) Good shootin', even if it was no-brainer shootin'. AHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. CRAP TASTIC! Nice fucking tammy too. Boy, I'll tell you, someone would have to be really drunk to think that this piece of shit is an outfit. Our hero, Mr. Kors told Bradley that the crotch on his Cher outfit was insane, so yes, you are correct!
Chris...snore. I would like to note here that if you have a black man with fucking LUMINOUS skin, you do not ever ever ever put him in boring basic black. Give that man the strong color and sharp white that his gorgeous skin demands!! Remember Michael Knight last season talking about his STUNNING black-and-white dress on Nasri? "Black people...we just look good in white." That's not bullshit, kids. I offer for evidence everything in the world that Tiki himself or Shannon Sharpe have ever worn. Boring boring boring hate hate hate. Ugh! Chris, you silly ass. Weren't you the person who asked him how he felt about COLOR? I'm pretty sure you were, so WHY THE HELL IS THIS OUTFIT BLACK? I don't even have anything to say about this other then, well, meh.
Christian...You also forgot Christian's outfit, which was memorable only in the sense that I fear that pretty soon he's going to turn into an asymmetrical one trick pony. True. Josie = Fail.
Elisa...boy, male models are fucking weird looking, aren't they? At least 90% of these guys look like aliens. I thought this was doofy and not formal enough. I admit I have a substantial bias in that I like my dressed up guys in a jacket of some kind, whether it's a blazer or a full suit, but dude...he's hosting Today, not collecting mushrooms in the fucking woods with his pet rabbit. This is gnomewear. Ok...hahahahahahaha! I find the shrunken vest really weird, and I think the color scheme gives you that woodsy, earthy feeling, but they're also a poor choice for Tiki. It feels almost unwearable to me...I can't picture anyone in this at all. I did enjoy her, "I've only fit my boyfriend intimately." *giggles*
Jack...I like this, even if I think it's not dressy enough, but my favorite part about it? "Design by Jack, modeled by Jack." Heeeeee. The bias pocket/placket, as the Esteemed Mr. Kors noted, is very nice, and the whole thing fit well and was nicely done. Normally I HATE when the judges are like "well, you didn't actually DO the challenge, but we like it so you win anyway," but considering the clusterfuck that was this challenge I'm more than happy to roll with that this time. Throw a blazer over this and you have a REAL winner, which I think is what will probably happen if it makes it on air. What I don't get about this whole outfit is that when I was watching it come down the runway, I almost had a seizure from the stripes. It was terrible! I can't imagine why they thought this look was the best one for television. I do like the differences in the strip directions though, and I like the colors as well. Also, his collar doesn't look like a flaccid penis so that is also a plus.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In Italia

I thought that what with it being November-almost-December, there's no time like the present to do a nice, timely post about my trip to Italy with the fam that happened in.......August. Go me.
First and foremost, my parents alone took 500+ pictures during the course of the week. If I tried posting all of them, Blogger and possibly also the Internet would explode. So, if you'd like to see more, you can check them out on Facebook, where they fill no less than six albums AND that's not even all the pics. If for some reason only a COUPLE hundred pictures of my family horsing around in Italy is not enough for you, email me and I'll invite you to the group room on Snapfish.
So the back story is that Mormor turned 80 this past January, and the only birthday present she asked for was...for us to all go to Italy with her. I know, the drudgery of it all was almost unbearable. Such hardship. So this is the place she booked for us to stay.
Needless to say we all just about died when we got there. It's called Borgo Iesolana and is in a teensy town called Bucine, which is approximately the size of my house. You get to Iesolana by first driving through said teeny town and crossing "the Old Roman Bridge"...

Cool, no? On the way to Iesolana from the airport, we were like "okay, so how do we tell which one is the Old Roman Bridge?" Turns out it's not exactly difficult to figure out. We were driving three Fiats amongst the 10 of us on the trip, and Fiats are one step above Matchbox cars, but let me tell you that those goddamn inconsiderate Romans did not plan properly for automobiles of even the teeny variety...
If "Holiday Road" is not playing in your head right now, you either have a shitty Movies Watched repertoire or you have no soul. I can't help the truth. You may also notice from the preceding picture that the bridge has a fairly steep angle, so there are parts of the bridge where you can't see the crazy little Italian grandfather coming at you from the opposite side. In any case, once you made your way safely over the Roman Bridge o' Doom, you got onto a dirt road that went through Iesolana's vineyards, all the while being bombarded by these psychotic blackflies that hang around the grapevines. It was a little alarming, I have to say...they would just HURL themselves against the windows of the car until you got to the parking lot, but then once you got onto the actual residential, non-farm part of the villa, they vanished, never to pester you. In fact, even when little scout parties of the family ventured out into the vineyards, all they would do is bounce off your head and irritate the everloving crap out of you, not bite you. Very weird.

Iesolana was just aggressively beautiful. It's a converted farm, parts of which are obviously still working, but most of the buildings have been converted to gorgeous living spaces. Our gang had two nuclear family (Mom, Dad, my sis and I) stayed in one called Cipressi, whose patio overlooked the pool and surrounding hills, and the rest of the clan (Mormor, Dick, Auntie C and Uncle T, Uncle TT and Annie) stayed in Tiana, which faced a perpendicular direction from us. Here's the whole gang on the porch at Tiana:

Clockwise from far left: Auntie C, moi, Mom, Uncle TT, Sis, Dad, Mormor (foreground), Dick (red shirt), Annie...and okay I guess I lied, Uncle T seems to have weaseled out of this pic.

I think that picture is from the first or second night in Italy. On to the travels...I will apologize in advance if this account seems repetitive, because I really could sum up the whole trip in one sentence: "We had this fabulous home base, and we went out to little hill towns which rocked, and we had a blast." All of our trips out of Iesolana were to small hill towns, but they were different and great in their own way, which I'll TRY to explain but always feel like I miss the true essence of.

The first day was a two-fer...Volterra and San Gimignano. Volterra is a very old, very neat town, and we arrived in the midst of a sort of Ren Faire type extravaganza celebrating the fact that the town has been around since triple-digit years. Let me put it this way...the cathedral was consecrated in 1120. So, by 1120, they had had time to BUILD a cathedral, and lest we forget, this wasn't exactly a quick process in that time period. Very, very old. Now, as I mentioned before, we were travelling in 3 cars, and this was our first experience with going to a place and meeting somewhere. Important Italian Travel Fact: Many of these hill towns have you park outside and walk in, so parking is Darwinian at best. Luckily, most towns have an Info Stand, so we decided to meet there. Needless to say, the Info Stand was in the middle of the RenFaire Adventure, which you needed to pay admission to, so we eventually abandoned the plan and decided that if we ran into the rest of the fam, great, if not, also fine. We stopped for lunch, which was fabulous, and wandered around, looking at all the little shoppie-shops. Volterra is apparently huge on alabaster, so there was a lot of really beautiful alabaster sculpture in the stores, along with the usual art along the theme of "Tuscany is freaking gorgeous, isn't it?"

As luck would have it, we did in fact meet up with the fam, but they had not had lunch yet, so they went off to find lunch, and we went to the torture museum, which was interestingly gross. Apparently to be considered a town in Tuscany you have to have a torture museum, because there seemed to be one in EVERY town we went to or drove past. It got to be a little creepy, I must say. Here's a good portion of the gang on the street in Volterra...
This is also a good depiction of a phenomenon we have all been witnessing for many years: Overactive Grandmother Photography Syndrome. Mormor LOVES taking pictures, and needless to say, being in Italy with her family set her on overdrive. Someone would stop to take a picture, and it would...activate her camera powers, and she'd have to take the same picture.

Me: Mormor, you know, we can all SHARE these pictures when we get home.
Mormor: Well, I know, but mine is BETTER.

Mormor rules. (As does this picture of Mom and Annie in Volterra.)From Volterra, we went on to San Gimignano,which is marked by it's tall towers. San Gimignano has a LOT of up.As you can see, some of the family made the trek to the top of one of the towers. This was where the meeting up and synchronizing of watches system started to evolve in earnest. Usually, the adults would break up according to what they wanted to do, and Sarah and I would go off to wander around. So that's what we did, occasionally picking up other family members along the way. We saw so many great shops, and had our first experience with these frightening toilets that were basically spiffed-up holes in the ground. There was literally a hole in the ground, with ridged places to put your feet, and the flush button was on the wall behind you. If you're a girl and have had to pee in the woods before, you see about eleven issues with this already. But, it was kind of exciting in it's own way.

My boss is a big Italiophile, and before I left, he told me I should go a specific gelato shop in San Gimignano, which I could find by "going to the top of the highest hill, towards the tower, and it's on your left." I have since showed him this picture and he thinks it's the right one, and the gelato WAS fabulous, so if you're ever in San Gimignano and you want some fly gelato, go to the top of the highest hill...San Gimignano also featured two really wonderful "Life in Italy" scenes that we particularly liked...the first was a set of Carabinieri (police), who for the entire time we were in San Gimignano (about half a day), stood next to their van, which looked equipped to deal with any contingency, and did...nothing. They might not have been on duty. For all I know, they just really like wearing uniforms. So that was great. We also loved the Old People Storage Facility, which was a beautiful, ornately decorated little alcove along the main plaza, where every person over the age of 75 whiled away their afternoon. So neat.

Day Two took us to Siena, where the famous horse races had just happened a week previously. Siena is just a fantastic spot...there is this huge open plaza (where the aforementioned races take place) ringed with restaurants, and the streets that radiate away from it are full of beautiful shops and great restaurants. I mean, what more do you need? By the way, the weather was like this almost every day. Le sigh. The trip started out in a sort of haphazard way when we could NOT find parking in any of the close-by lots, and thus had to park somewhere in Germany and find our way back. I'm almost not kidding. We happened to catch a bus and relay to its driver where we wanted to wind up, so it all worked out. Sarah and I were wandering around when I caught sight of this poster:
EEEEEEEEE! PUCCI EXHIBIT! AND ONLY TWO EUROS ADMISSION! So we went in and had some mandatory fun, and luckily Sarah understood the awesomeness of Pucci even though much of what was on display was crazy ass stuff from early in his career like voluminous pantaloons with giant points sticking out mid thigh (oh yeah, you heard me). I also found the perfect present for fellow Pucci fan The Lucy - a beautiful museum book of the exhibit with all kinds of info on Pucci's life and career. Siena, as many towns do, has a SPECTACULAR duomo (cathedral). This picture? Is great. It also does not even scratch the top layer of ice on the iceberg of awe that you feel as you stand in front of it. And here we have me being fabulous and European on the Duomo's back steps.The next day, we took the fabulousity parade on to Cortona, which was also about a zillion years old and had lots of up, as shown here by the lovely Sarah on one of the many stairways in the town.
The shopping. Was. Fabulous. I bought stationery, a beautiful purse, and we had a great time lounging around and checking out all the shops, which were really of a huge variety. We all had lunch at one of the many cafes, which was absolutely fabulous.However, when the rest of the fam decided to go have dinner later in the day, Sarah and I stayed at one of the cafes to get hammered. Really hammered:
Can't you just see Dad thinking "boy...having kids? GREAT idea."? I AGREE. Thanks Dad! In any case, here's what Cortona's main square looks like...and actually I have no idea where the photographer was in this, since it's from an elevation. Hm. In any case, the little arched open air space in the middle-ish of the photo was where the sane members of the fam had dinner. You can see Mom standing at the edge of the wall, under the white umbrella, wearing light pants and a dark top. The next day, what with some recovery being necessary, the gang broke up for assorted adventures. Dad went for a walk around nearby Bucine, Mom went to Pienza, and Sarah and I went with Aunt C and Uncle T to Ambra to check out this AMAZING shoe outlet and have a coffee in the town. Man, Tuscany really does nothing but "picturesque"...and smokers. We sat near this quartet of older women who all looked like they had been made of old leather, and they were smoking the most horrendous ciggies I have ever encountered. If I had to guess, I'd assume they were made of pure tar. Blech! But no worries, they departed soon after we arrived, and we could toodle around at our leisure. At said fabulous shoe outlet, Pratesi, I bought two pairs of shoes...a great pair of loafers for myself, and a pair of dress shoes for Speed, who did not go, because he does not fly. Now, Speed and I have the same size foot (mine are huge for a woman, his are average for a man - the math works), so you can imagine a.) the convenience of it all and b.) the inconvenience of trying to explain to an older Italian gentleman why I was trying on men's shoes when I was clearly not a man. Good times. I later went back to the outlet to pick up a beautiful chocolate brown purse in ostrich leather. I would kill to live near that store.

The next day, we all took the train to Firenze (Florence), where it was rainy but still fun. Sarah and I did some major window shopping, and some minimal actual shopping. We looked for a breakfast place, but kind of got foiled, so Sarah and I broke off and soon after, stopped at this cafe, where Sarah took this picture of me that I really like for no substantive reason. We continued wandering, passing through the sometimes-open-air, sometimes-not, market where we got a few items for Sarah's boy, and proceeded on to the Ponte Vecchio (which sounds really cool but simply means "old bridge"). Can we take a moment to wonder why anglicization of words is so popular? Where would you rather go...Florence, or Firenze? The Ponte Vecchio, or The Old Bridge? FEH, I say.

The Ponte Vecchio has goldsmiths' shops all over it, the windows of which you can see here. And let me tell you...these people know what displaying jewelry is all about. I have never seen anything so sparkly and shiny and glittering in my life. You can insert all the jokes about my attention span vis a vis shiny objects you want, but until you have gone there and see these storefronts, I will ignore you cheerfully.

The next day, needless to say, we met up with a bunch of Norwegians.

Yeah, you heard me.

Some of Mom's friends from when she lived in Norway were visiting Firenze at the same time that we were in Italy, so they came out to Iesolana to hang out and toodle around. Later in the day we went for a wander in Bucine, which was very nice, and had some fabulous gelato. The next day, we were again split up, with half of us staying around Iesolana and Bucine and the rest going to the dreamstate of Cinque Terra, 5 little towns that dangle over the ocean. The scene is amazing:
The last day we set out for Rome by way of Oriveto, where we saw the most magnificent Duomo of the week:
In-credible. The whole town was very sweet, and we had a fabulous Umbrian lunch midday. I also bought these really cool bone earrings that...actually kind of defy description, so I'll have to put up a picture at some point, instead. From Oriveto, we went on to Rome, where it was so hellaciously humid we more or less had to talk ourselves into going out of the hotel. Mom, Dad, Sarah and I went for dinner in Rome and wandered briefly through St. Peter's Square. Naturally, we harassed some of the Swiss Guards by asking "clever" questions about whether the Pope was in town in order to get them to come over to us, only to feel REALLY stupid when the people near us just hollered to them and asked if they could take a picture.
I could go on and on about the food and the people and the scenery and all that stuff,'ve heard it. You've heard how fresh the produce is and how amazing the wine is. You've heard about the Italian people and how much they rule. It kind of defies true, accurate description. To stand in front of some of these buildings and marvel over the fact that they were made by people instead of coming down from the heavens can't be described. Go to Italy, do more than 10 days, go everywhere, travel, get out, do everything. I can't say it enough.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

"Project Runway is my Fantasy Football."

Time for episode 2 of Project Runway with Josie and The Lucy! Refresher course: Josie in black, The Lucy in blue, winner in purple, loser in red.
The Challenge: Design a TWO PIECE ensemble for Sarah Jessica Parker's goddamn fashion line, Bitten, which you can Google yourself because I'm not endorsing that hack. Plus...TEAM CHALLENGE!

Brief interlude in the form of discussion of SJP: Can I just take a moment here to talk about how effing sick of SJP I am? She's worshiped as a freaking fashion icon for a role SHE WAS DRESSED FOR BY CRAZY ASS PAT FIELDS and consistently demonstrates a distinct not-getting-it-ness as far as dressing appropriately for the occasion. I respect her willingness to put it out there, much like my basis for loving Posh, but there is something about her that just makes me want to shake her fans and yell at them. AND I don't love her line nearly enough for it to live up to even the most mildly thumbs-uppy reviews, and her perfume commercials suck. I'm going to go ahead and admit here that this might be a case of Josie Irrationally Hating People, but unfortunately PR has compounded the issue with calling her a fashion icon which I think is a title handed out too easily in the first place. STOP IT PEOPLE.

Oh, I loathe thee. Like you, I don't get what's so great about her. Yeah, she does put it out there, but as far as I'm concerned, looking at her clothes is a million times better than looking at her face, so maybe that's why people notice her style? I do have to give her props for wanting to create a fashionable line that everyone can afford. I think that's tops. I've been watching the show with friends and when they were like, "What would you say to her?" I said, "Nose to meet you." It was pretty funny. But I digress.

Christian/Carmen...oh dear, it seems that Christian kind of has A Thing. Which is fine. If it stays away from the costumey, which this and his last item are dangerously close to. This does not mean I HATE it, but I WILL say I think its unlikely to flatter a lot of body types particularly with the dress, which was quite clingy. I think I would like it more if the sleeves were entirely grey. What scared me the most about this dress/jacket combo was that it made a MODEL look as though she was pregnant, and if it makes a stick thin person look pregnant, well then what the hell would *I* look like in it? Kind of scary how he thought he was going to get away with that. It's totally 80s, and not in a good way. I appreciate Christian's over-the-topedness but he needs to reign himself in. Big time. I liked how she made Carmen cry.Ricky/Jack...these pictures are definitely not capturing the full effect of these dresses, because this color was fucking stunning and it's pretty blah here. I don't love the belt's dangly bit, because I feel like it's kind of a boho vibe while the dress is not. If not for the dangly bit, sold! I did think it was kind of a cop out to have a belt for a second piece, however...I IS a second piece, but when I think of a two piece outfit, I think of two pieces of clothing, not one piece of clothing and an accessory. While I agree that this isn't technically a 2 piece, I have to say that I was nearly creaming myself when I saw their outfit. The color was absolutely gorgeous, I loved the way the dress moved and I also kind of dug the belt. I was disappointed that they weren't considered to be the top or in the top 2. It was lovely. Did I mention the color, and how gorgeous it was? The pic does it zero justice.
Elisa/Sweet P...I keep liking these things Elisa churns out waaaay more than I feel like she deserves. The "spit marking" thing, however...ugh. No. You do NOT spit on shit you expect me to wear. Ew ew ew. I think the dress has the same issue that Christian's did...kind of clingy and unforgiving, which makes it iffy for a mass marketing concept. The cape is kind of cool though, I have to say. I really should investigate capes and see how I REALLY feel about them. What I REALLY loved about this pair, though, was Sweet P OPENLY thinking Elisa was a possibly dangerous nutbar. Good stuff. This was a great combo, both of people and of clothing. Sweet P is such a cutie, isn't she? It cracked me up when she burst out laughing right in Elisa's face. Too funny. But anyway, I did like their combo. I thought the dress was really pretty, especially the sleeves. So pretty. The cape was pretty but it was a little too over the top for me. I also do not know how I feel about capes.

Kit/Chris...okay, cute, probably not mass market friendly, and I didn't even remember this walking down the runway. I don't really object to the outfit qua the outfit, but it seems very boring for a fashion competition. Give it some snazz! This is kind of like what I'd imagine Audrey Hepburn's teenage daughter wearing. Kit is awfully juvenile in her design, isn't she? Not that it's a bad thing, but most of the clothes I've seen in the juniors department are not usually on the higher fashion end. The outfit is boring, boring boring. And the hat is just stupid.
Rami/Jillian...glad to see that Rami's drapeyness can at least be adapted to look different. I like him! I am not quite ready to sign on to the brown purse, but the jacket is cute...same idea as Kit & Chris' but MUCH more interesting. That being said, it does have the same marketability issue and it's not SUPER exciting. Love the hair with the outfit. Too boring. I was not really a big fan of this when I saw it and in the pic it looks even more boring. The hair is great though. I just want to see something other than a black outfit, please.Victorya/Kevin...for the second week in row, the judges were waxing poetic about something I just did not get. I thought this was so sloppy looking and ill could hardly even see that little vest amongst all the voluminous fabric AND I didn't love that plaid with that grey. I liked both colors separately, but together, no thanks. I just didn't get it. Well, it looks like we really do have a little Vera Wang doppleganger on our hands. Vera Wang is great, but we only need one of her. Like you, I don't get what's so great about this outfit. It's boring and ugly and I don't know too many women who want to look like a trashbag wearing a tiny vest. I just don't understand!Marion/Steven...this was a hot mess. I think it might just have been a poor fabric choice, but ugh, lord. The whole thing was just too hippy dippy for me AND more importantly for the Bitten line. I was glad to see Marion go, too, because he seemed like a serial killer to me and made me nervous. Blech...what the hell was he thinking? This is just terrible. I have no idea why she picked his outfit to begin with anyway...well, maybe they needed something tragic so that they could kick someone off the show. Marion reminded me of Pinocchio. Seriously, I kept shouting, "I'm a real boy!" during the entire episode.