valadilenne: (And I'm his friend Jesus!)

ViewMaster ViewMaster
Straight up old school.

I only had a few of the reels. I think my mom got them from a garage sale. But I can say with certainty that we still have them somewhere, old Disney pictures from a sampler set. Jungle Book and a few other old movies. I can't remember if they came with a sound track or not. It was always fun to hold the reels up to the light and try to tell what was inside that tiny little celluloid square, and then click through the viewer to find it giant-sized.

That, and the orange lever was so fun to push down.
valadilenne: (Food: water for tea)
I prefer navy pinstripes on a diagonal.

They're subtle, make me look taller, and they're slimming.

Plus they look sweet as hell in old 1920s photographs.

I don't have to make this entry long; I like pinstripes. And that's all you need to know.
valadilenne: (Movies: Madeline on the rocks)

Kim Novak and James Stewart Kim Novak and James Stewart
On the set of Vertigo. I love the way his ankles look so long.

I am not a fan of horror movies. They terrify me. I remember going on vacation with my parents and seeing a glimpse of an old black and white movie about a race of alien lobsters that hid in the trunks of people's cars and then attacked them. Reading that back to myself, I realize how silly the premise is, but to a little kid it was genuinely scary. Probably moreso since I never saw what happened at the end. Resolution makes things better in that regard.

I can't watch slasher movies because they make me jump. I'm a jumper. I went to go see The Mousetrap with my mom in London and I jumped when the gun went off. I wore earplugs to Snakes on a Plane because loud noises scare me. My imagination runs wild; I just don't do well with scary movies.

Hitchcock movies are not scary. They are psychological thrillers, and I watch them for the quality of the direction, the movement of the people, and most especially the fashion. Everything I see in these films was a choice made deliberately by a very intelligent man who wanted his audience to think carefully about why he did those things. Tiny references here and there, self-insertion through wonderful cameos, and a beautiful (but sadly temporary) relationship with Bernard Hermann, who wrote the best film scores of the 1960s.

Vertigo, Psycho, and North By Northwest are my top three. I do get a kick out of Marnie for the weird German expressionism (and her mother's weird accent), but I also like some of the older ones, like Rebecca. Who can possibly resist that famous line, so full of weight? "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again," and we never know the heroine's real name. Or most especially Judith Anderson as the deliciously evil (and I'm talking Maleficent-style evil) Mrs. Danvers? That dress, that portrait, the boat, the baby, the sexual ambiguity, the ending.


What is interesting is that Rebecca is so unlike everything Hitchcock later became known for. He was contractually obliged to do the movie because of producer David O. Selznick strong-arming him into it, and Hitchcock rebelled against Selznick in the end by having a pillow embroidered with 'R' on it go up in flames, not a giant smoky 'R' rising from the house like Selznick wanted. Hitch got his revenge, but never got the Oscar he always deserved. When he did get an honorary Academy Award, all he said was, "Thank you."

Mrs. Danvers and The Second Mrs. DeWinters
Mrs. Danvers will flip you. She will flip you for real.
Mrs. Danvers and The Second Mrs. DeWinters

valadilenne: (Nature: sunrise field city)

Glowing red tree
Glowing red tree
Trees around here have a tendency to turn colors late in the season. Some states see them go in September. Here it's summer clear up until Halloween.

Japanese maples do this more than most other trees. Red is a very striking color--all the native trees to Oklahoma tend to turn a dingy orange-brown or just a mottled caramel color before they fall off. Exotics turn pretty colors and seem to glow in the sunlight. When the sky is a perfect shade of blue, it's a really nice effect. Makes me wonder why I dislike fall, and then I remember that it gets cold and rainy and windy and it all comes back to me. But the leaves I enjoy.
valadilenne: (Nature: Red tulip)
Yeah, I know, it's over. And I'm glad. But I still like election day.

I'm not one for obsessing nonstop about elections. I don't really get into them until things are almost over. I mean, I knew early on who I'd be voting for. But I don't get into things the way some people do because I'm always afraid of being disappointed. It's difficult to put blind faith in something and then not have it turn out the way you think.

But I like the process of voting. In my state we use the scantron system. We mark the ballots in felt pen and slide them into the machine. It's very efficient; too bad we aren't a swing state so our system would be more important somehow. But we're a midwestern red state and have been since... 1964, I think. Maybe earlier.

I like watching the returns, but the one thing I forget every election is that the results come in waves. It isn't all at once like I'd like--it's sort of an agonizing process until about 9:30 or so, and up until then there's no real reason to watch besides the excitement.

And after it's all over it it's exciting to watch people be so happy that their candidate won. It's sad to watch the concession speeches, and disconnecting to see people who were once opponents inevitably calling for party unity and to respect the other person that they slammed so faithfully for so long.

I still like it.
valadilenne: (Gordito Bandito of Dr McNinja)
The icon is the face I made when I realized I don't have an icon of a rotary phone.

I collect weird phones, and rotarys are a dream come true.

I have an old black Bell bakelite (how alliterative), a white 80's punchbutton, and one shaped like a tall can of Coke with all the buttons on the bottom.

What I would really like is a French phone:

It's stupid for older people to assume that the younger generations don't know what a rotary phone is or what they do. Each number is at a certain point on the dial, and when you pull the dial back, it rotates forward, producing a certain number of "clicks" on the line. That indicates to the phone company what number you're dialing. How is that hard?

They are wicked fun to play with--sometimes I sit and just flick the wheel around like I'm Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's with the little silver telephone dialer.
valadilenne: (Retro: Suitcase player)
Some people are really pedantic about record players, insisting that they have Brazilian teakwood cases and whatnot.

I have a Crosley suitcase player that is 4 years old, and I love it.

Going to the thrift stores to collect old Herb Alpert records for 50 cents and buying brand new limited-run presses of recent albums is a huge thrill. I have opera boxes from old Hendrix book sales--they're all six records thick with the full libretto. I have Carmen, Die Rosencavalier, Aida...

45s are great too, even though you have to constantly be switching them out.

It isn't so much that you get a BETTER sound with record players... but you get a more realistic sound. It's not flat or compressed-sounding, even though it's full of pops and hisses and the sound might be slightly warped. It's a closer sound, without being louder, like you're listening to the original recording.
valadilenne: (Holidays: Birthday)
Who doesn't like birthdays?

I always get a strong feeling of invincibility on my birthday--like there is basically nothing that can go wrong. And when it does, I meet it feeling another year of experience under my belt.

Plus everyone's obliged to wish me another good year.
valadilenne: (Movies: Shit Dorothy got electric shoes)
People have gotten more into this in recent years because the price of candy keeps going higher, but it's fun to buy dark chocolate Milky Ways for half off.

It's like a nice birthday present the whole world is giving me.
valadilenne: (Ferris Bueller: Cameron looking down)
When I study I hate listening to background library noises, especially in the fall when everyone is getting sick and sneezing and coughing nonstop. That includes me.

So I listen to these hour-long tracks that block out noise. The most effective one, Chatterblock, combines the sound of a running stream with very faint piano music and the sound of indistinct conversations to block out every level of talking.

I prefer the water-based ones, like streams and oceans, but I also enjoy rain and thunder. The loon ones are relaxing, but I can't study to those. I get distracted and want to hear more bird calls.
valadilenne: (Nature: faded sunlight)
I wrote the list when I was thinking concurrently, so this combined with Minarets two days ago is going to seem kind of weird.

I'm not Islamic, religiously or ethnically. But my freshman year I took Religion in a Global Context and we studied eastern religions sort of extensively. And there was a CD that came in the back of the book that had different Muslim readings--it's sort of like singing the religious text.

Anyway, Adhan is the call to prayer spoken by the muezzin, who stands at the top of the minaret. And on this CD was a track with this haunting, echoing man singing the first calling, the translation of which is

God is the greatest
I bear witness that there is no deity except God

And it goes on. I looked for something comparable on YouTube to show you, but there's nothing quite as dramatic. He gives these lengthy pauses between the lines, and it genuinely makes me think that it would be a perfect thing to put over the beginning credits of a movie interspersed with random cut shots--I'm not kidding, I imagine it every time I hear it.

It's jarring and at the same time very beautiful.
valadilenne: (Whimsy: Cartoon brolly)
Mariah and I do this now, we go to the gym right after 3pm-4 Contracts.

It's nice to go because we talk about anything, and we air out everything we've been thinking, work up a decent sweat, and feel better about ourselves, like we aren't bad students. I've noticed that it suppresses my cold, not quite sure why, but that's a bonus over sitting in a cold dark classroom listening to someone talk about Contract Mistakes or Federal Question cases and coughing nonstop.

Some people find going the gym a huge chore; I enjoy it.
valadilenne: (I look just like this cartoon girl)
I mean in both senses of the word, har har.

Boots like rain boots, riding boots, the boots that everyone was tucking their jeans into back in 2006 when I lived in London and that everyone is doing now here in the US. They give a nice long line and make everyone look cool.

Boots also like the chemist over in England, like Walgreens only ten times better. They had their own line of makeup and award-winning skincare stuff, and a great rewards program with a neat little card.
valadilenne: (Travel: Latvia)

Grand Mosque Minaret in Egypt

Minaret is Arabic for lighthouse. They are the tower, in the Islamic religion, where (in the olden days) men would stand at the top and call everyone to prayer several times a day. Now they have speakers set up that play a pre-recorded call to prayer.

Distant View of a Minaret was a collection of short stories written by the female Muslim author Alifa Rifaat that I read for my Women in African Studies class, and the title always kind of struck me as really nice, in a vague way. It has both distance and something foreign about it, and the story itself. The story itself is about sexual repression--the woman of the story has sex with her husband but is unsatisfied because he ignores her after it's over. The city they live in has built up so much over time that all she can see out the window is one single minaret sticking up over the roofs of other buildings, far away in the distance. In the end, she comes back out into the bedroom to find her husband dead and thinks to herself how surprisingly calm she is.

They're beautiful pieces of architecture, but I don't think I'll ever disconnect them from that story.
valadilenne: (Fancy: clock face)
This goes both ways.

If there's a large enough buffer (say 45 minutes), then I rejoice and go right back to sleep. But if it's closer to say, 20 minutes, or especially 10 minutes, then I just wake up and start thinking.

It's particularly glorious to wake up several HOURS before the alarm goes off--secure in the knowledge that I won't be late, I actually feel smug when this happens.
valadilenne: (Art: sly Mucha poppy)
I have a love for lush paintings around about the Gilded Age.

Specifically I prefer Alfons Mucha--his paintings of women are so fascinating because they're bold and seem so content with being pretty but secretly quite powerful, like a bunch of barely-clothed Earth goddesses he came across and decided would be great in a champagne ad. Oh, but there's so much more substance to these ladies than their poufy updos and Gibson girl pouts.

We both knew this was coming--this is my favorite of the Mucha pieces, and I'm not ashamed to admit that it's because I like champagne (a lot). There's something really sly about her expression, and I think it's more than what was at the time the emerging sexual value of putting a beautiful woman in a painting that had (relatively, if you don't count the [inexplicably red] grapes) nothing to do with champagne. Maybe she knows she's out to sell you a bottle of Moet White Star and is smirking because she's just that fantastic.

Perhaps what does it for me are the edges of each "piece" of the piece itself--and that's something that Mucha carries over into many pieces, whether it's a heavy outline of the woman, or breaking the scene up into symmetrical "presentation" segments. It suggests stained glass in a way, those heavy lead lines and clear spaces between the title and the space the woman occupies. She cuts in and out near the bottom, and I could call that a statement on her objectified status or how she's being used, but I don't care.

I love her, I think she's so beautiful.

Second place goes to his series of four-panel "Season" paintings. I'm with Autumn--she looks ready to party.
valadilenne: (Art: falling past the spire)
It's outside of my scope of personality to wear normal jewelry.

I don't mean that I go around wearing cassette tapes attached to earring hooks, I just mean that I don't wear abstract silver designs. The most normal things I own in this regard are a pair of pearl earrings that I think belonged to my grandma.

Here's a rundown of what I gots in my jewelry box these days:

- antique skeleton key necklace with a filigree head
- Western-style revolver earrings
- a tiny hand mirror necklace (think Snow White)
- a brass honeybee necklace (it's very realistic)
- a pair of tiny seagull-in-flight earrings
- skulls with crystals for eyes earrings
- a silver swallow in flight necklace
- a blue and green koi fish necklace
- some VERY unusual earrings: the part that's flush against my earlobe is a big pink flower thing, and the dangly part is a little cutout image of a 1940s sailor and a woman dancing--I got those in London at Les Nereides
- circular bamboo hoop earrings
- red plastic rosebud earrings
- flying V electric guitar earrings
- my charm bracelets, including all the charms I collected in Europe and the 3 pre-made ones (The Rat Pack name medallions, Old Vegas Hotels, Hawaiian Tiki)

I really kind of wish I'd bought the brass elephant head necklace when I was thinking about it.
valadilenne: (Food: Teatime)
Oh how we likes the almonds.

I ate them all summer at work. There's been some surprising controversy with the California Almond Board and the pasteurization process CA legislature is apparently trying to push through (or already has). Basically they've started heat-treating the almonds, killing off their nutrients.

I dunno. They are darn tasty. I just recently discovered that they make flavored almonds--I like the cinnamon dusted kind, but my original favorites will always be the greasy, slightly salted ones from Planters.

Yum yum.
valadilenne: (Retro: microphone)
Some people think that these are three of the most horrid things ever, that they destroy the integrity of the original song and make everyone forget how awesome The Original was in the first place.

I think it's good for music to evolve, even on a smaller scale. Mashups, those horribly illegal stepchildren of the music industry, can either be an exploration of depth and texture in crossing music over (think crossing the LAZOR-wires in Ghostbusters) or can fall flat and never recover.

Covers are okay as long as the person treats the song with enough respect. You want to cover "Wonderwall" at Glastonbury, Jay-Z? Um, okay. And Jonas Brothers? If you cover "Year 3000" by Busted and your producer makes you take out the lyric about three-breasted women because it's going to get mega airplay on Radio Disney, don't expect anyone to take you too seriously. For a while, anyway. I mean, Hanson is finally respectable, and they're from my hometown. We had high standards for those kids--the strip malls on the east side kept showing up in their videos, and we were like "That's not what this town looks like, wth?"

The only thing that bothers me about remixes is that there are too many of them. You get a song by Goldfrapp or Groove Armada, for example, and they release an entire CD of 10 remixes of the same song, maybe one or two of which are listenable and not just a cut-back repeat of the first ten seconds of the song for ten minutes. What is the point? I do really enjoy remixes better than the other two above, though. Here are my picks:

Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass Re-Whipped
Motown Remixed
Verve Remixed 1 & 2 (these have songs by Dinah Washington, Nina Simone--very textured and excellent music)
Christmas Remixed (shut up this is so good)
valadilenne: (Writing: Fountain pen journal)
The unofficial university bookstore is located near all the frat houses west of the law building, and there is the loveliest woman who runs it with her husband and a slew of shiftless young men she has to whip into shape.

When we were looking for Torts supplements, someone noted that (because torts are non-contractual civil wrongs the law can provide a remedy for) there was a bandaid on the cover of one of the books. She yelled halfway across the room "WHAT?! Someone put a bandaid on one of my books?!"

She's protective of her merchandise and of the students who come in to see her. I bought $100 worth of flashcards while their credit card machine was down, so they had to take my card information manually. She asked if I wanted a receipt sent, I said sure and didn't think anything else about it. I came home this weekend to find it waiting for me.

She's one of these bustling, spry 60-somethings with salt and pepper pixie hair and the feeling that she's your mom away from mom. I love you, Theresa.


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May 2009

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