Sunday, August 31, 2008

This is how to waste time on the Internet

I don't have a work permit, a place to live, or the start date of my rotation, but I already know the concerts I will be seeing while staying in Dublin.

The Wombats:


Liam Finn:

The Swell Season:

Enjoy the Silence

All those who know and love Katya know that she is plagued by "Only Child Syndrome" and doesn't like to share. The fact that she actually has a brother, and in fact is not an only child, makes it all the worse.

To practice more giving and less taking, today I will share this golden nugget of a video I found on YouTube -- Keane covering Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence". Coincidentally, Keane has a new single out called "Spiralling", which has been on repeat on iPod Jr. for the past two or three days.

And here is the original song. Because everyone needs a little more daily Depeche Mode in their diet.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Looking ahead to a concert bonanza

Next weekend is concert bonanza. Three concerts in three days. I am especially looking forward to Liam Finn:

I don't particularly care for this music video as it is too artsy for me, but this song has been one of my favorite songs for, oh, the past 6 months. I can't quite put into words what this song makes me think of, but it's definitely something warm and fuzzy.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I meant to share this article a while ago: The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating. Numbers 1 and 2 are beets and cabbage, respectively. Growing up, I had my fair share of beets and cabbage but was mostly apathetic towards them, slightly bordering on irritated when they showed up uninvited on my plate. As my tastes and sensibilities have changed over time, I have come to embrace the beet as well as the cabbage. Same goes for the radish and turnip. Not so much for the liver and onions or cow tongue dishes. Don't ask -- I don't want to talk about it.

No More Drama

The Finer Things Club is endorsing Obama.

On a recent outing to lunch in Tyson's Corner, I got stuck behind a car with the following bumper sticker...No, I would not even call it a bumper sticker. It was more of a homemade BANNER, printed on an Epson in someone's home office, possibly laminated, and prominently affixed to the trunk of the car in all of its glory. It read, "REPUBLICAN: BECAUSE NOT EVERYONE CAN BE ON WELFARE."

Now I was directly behind this vehicle, and immediately upon seeing this monstrosity, I started gnashing my teeth and came dangerously (deliciously) close to honking my horn and pumping my fist in the air, before proceeding to other, more obscene, gestures. The passenger in my car, a more conservative member of society than myself, physically restrained me.

I wonder what my politically dumb trunk banner would say if I had one? "DEMOCRAT: BECAUSE I CARE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE." Or maybe my fuel-efficient Accord would look good in, "DEMOCRAT. AT LEAST I'M NOT IN FOREIGN OIL ADDICTS ANONYMOUS (FOAA)." Or the ever scathing, "DEMOCRATS: BECAUSE MY CANDIDATES CAN WRITE THEIR OWN BOOKS." Shit, I am not any good at this. But I do really like this article.

P.S. Remind me to remove this post after I have simmered down. I'd give it another week or two.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


The Finer Things Club is moving to Ireland for three months, probably October-January. Make plans to come visit!

In the meantime read this article on how to spend 36 hours in Dublin.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Yearbook Yourself

I spent a very productive evening marveling at what I would look like had I graduated high school in different decades. Nineteen-eighty cracks my shit up. Definitely the hottest likeness ever to be captured of me in a photograph. P.S. The website is if you'd like to have a go.











The original picture.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Dumb Blonde Finer Things

Dumb Blonde Moment Number 293029309: Driving over the annoying speed bump at the garage at work on one side of my car, thinking that I am alternating sides coming into vs. leaving the garage. After a few months of the new speed bump situation and more careful deliberation, it turns out that I have been hitting the wheels on the right each time.

Finer Things Club Moment Number 104:
Re-reading Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. Other novels I have read multiple times:

Master and Margarita by Bulgakov
Great Expectations by Dickens
1984 by Orwell
Animal Farm by Orwell
Brave New World by Huxley
Frankenstein by Shelley (by circumstance, not by choice)

I will probably be reading those first four again at some point.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Forger's Spell

The Forger's Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century
by Edward Dolnick

This art history book reads not like a textbook but like a novel. It tells the story of Han van Meegeren, a mediocre artist from the 1930's, who paints a handful of forgeries and convinces the art world that they are authentic paintings by the Dutch master Vermeer from the 17th century. The book jumps around from a chapter on van Meegeren's background, to a chapter on Hitler, to a chapter on Vermeer, back to a chapter on van Meegeren's technique, to a chapter on a revered art connoisseur. Somehow it all comes together and makes for an engaging story. The author explains exactly how van Meegeren was able to make the paintings look "old" and pass simple scientific tests, why the art critics were taken in by the fakes, and how the entire hoax eventually unraveled. The color insert in the book allows you to compare authentic Vermeers to the forgeries painted by van Meegeren.

5 out of 5

Today there are only 36 recognized Vermeer paintings in the world. Eleven of them are housed in museums in the United States, four of them at the National Gallery of Art in DC. I took a quick trip to visit them this afternoon, and I must say that it was an afternoon well-spent. Perhaps "Girl With a Pearl Earring" starring Colin "Mr. Darcy" Firth deserves another viewing as well.

Woman Holding a Balance
, Johannes Vermeer, National Gallery of Art

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You
by Sam Gosling, Ph.D.

Another one of those "popular psychology" books. The book advertises itself to be an insight into what your bedroom decor and your cube/office organization betray about your true personality to other people. Really it is a collection of descriptions of various research studies, all classifying people's personality traits into 5 categories -- openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (OCEAN). I cannot say that I learned anything groundbreaking, either about human psychology or myself. People who score high on the openness "Leonardo" factor, i.e. people who "like to play with ideas and . . . have vivid imaginations" will typically have a bedroom "space that is distinctive, with a variety of books, magazines, & music" as well as books on art and poetry and art supplies. Their office will also be distinctive, stylish, and unconventional, with varied books. Taking the quiz at the beginning of the book, I scored high on openness, but not as high as conscientiousness, the "Robocop" factor. People high on this factor tend to be dependable, hardworking, efficient, and good planners. Basically, I am "half [wo]man, half machine, all cop". But I already knew that.

2.5 out of 5

Oracular Spectacular

To tastefully mourn the passing of iPod Sr. (and of course celebrate its glorious life) and properly welcome into the household iPod Jr., I have acquired MGMT's Oracular Spectacular. It's dance-y and synthesized. On myspace they are listed under Surf / Jungle / Country. I don't quite know what to make of that. Listen to "Time to Pretend".

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants
by Sara Gruen

The story alternates between the thoughts of a 93-year old man in a nursing home and his story of being a veterinarian with the circus in Depression-era America. At first I thought I wasn't going to get into this book at all because the dirty, gritty life of the circus and the depressing life of a nursing home aren't exactly pick-me-up topics. But then I couldn't stop reading. Ultimately, it's a love story.

4 out of 5

Rauschenberg Posters

In an effort to expand my art and design book collection, I purchased a book of Rauschenberg's posters. Some of the posters, advertising art exhibits, including the artist's own, as well as cultural events, are pretty crazy and the author pretty much gives up trying to explain what any of the symbolism means. In any case, here were some good ones:

(Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange [ROCI] Project poster for China)

Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time
by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

The moral of the story: let's help build schools in poor villages, in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan, so that boys can receive a balanced education of math, science, and literature instead of an education of jihad at an extremist madrassa school, and girls can receive a balanced education to help empower them in their communities.

4 out of 5

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I Am Scientist

Thoughts on tonight's We Are Scientists concert at the Black Cat:

1. I touched Keith Murray, the lead singer TWICE (he came down and walked around in the crowd)
2. I had a PLETHORA of moments with Chris Cain, bass guitarist, where he was singing and looking at me, and I was singing and looking at him, and we were singing together, to each other.
3. I am a sixteen-year old schoolgirl.
4. When I wake up tomorrow morning, I am going to be on my deathbed. Please send flowers.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Cough, sniffle, cough, cough

My iPod has pooped out and is displaying a skull and crossbones, I have the most annoying of colds, and tax busy season is upon us. The only things keeping my life in order and out of the toilet right now:

1. We Are Scientists concert tonight
2. my awesome ability to name the ballet scene of any random bit of Nutcracker music
3. my love affair with Dolcezza gelato

Maybe a couple other things.