Saturday, February 28, 2009

"There is somebody out there on a tightrope walking between the two towers of the World Trade Center, right at the tippy top!"

Man on Wire is a documentary film about Philippe Petit, a French high wire artist who performed a high wire walk between the two towers of the World Trade Center in the 70's. The film won an Oscar for Best Documentary this year and is a combination of interviews, footage of the Twin Towers being built, footage of Petit and his team preparing for the rigging of the wire and what they call "the coup", and recreated footage of the team breaking into the WTC. Basically, these people were out of their fucking minds, but how incredibly amazing:

Jean-Louis Blondeau/Polaris Images

The Cider House Rules

The Cider House Rules
by John Irving

This book was my fourth or fifth Irving novel, and don't get me wrong, it was good, but it had none of the brilliancy of A Prayer for Owen Meany. As always, Irving develops some interesting characters that the reader gets to really know. And here he also presents some interesting questions. What are the rules of friendship and love? What are the rules of playing God?

4 out of 5

Saturday, February 21, 2009

To continue our breakfast discussion

I kept hearing good things about polenta this past week and decided that this Saturday would be my polenta breakfast experiment. So this morning I woke up and headed straight for the farmer's market to pick up some European-style butter to mix in, because frankly, the Europeans know how to make good butter. As I paid for and packed away my tub of butter goodness, I inadvertently made eye contact with the chanterelle mushrooms sitting at The Mushroom Stand. Twelve dollars and a little brown bag with some chanterelle mushrooms on the bottom later, I was making my breakfast -- polenta whisked with Parmesan cheese, butter, salt, and pepper, topped with chanterelle mushrooms sauteed in butter with shallots. This was most definitely the most delicious breakfast that I have had in a while, and I am not apologizing for it!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's tax busy season, and although I am at home right now, I have to study for class POD

Tastes like...

Sometimes my mom made me eat kasha for breakfast

Here's a fun NYT article/blog post about rethinking breakfast. I am all about whole grains and savory breakfasts, but some of those ideas definitely get a little wild in my opinion. I'm looking at you, saffron chickpeas.

One of my favorite breakfasts is toasted oatmeal bread with smoked salmon and tea or coffee. Recently though I've been addicted to having a bowl of yogurt sprinkled with Kashi GOLEAN Crunch! cereal and fresh blueberries. It is usually accompanied by my Google Reader, which announces every morning that I have 29209 new blog posts to read like it's my job. Hence I don't show up at my real, paying job until it's almost lunchtime.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Winning combination

Saint-André cheese on a piece of warm toast [and a glass of the Menage doesn't hurt either]. I told you I was fancy.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Movie weekend

Slumdog Millionaire
4 out of 5
Didn't realize it was going to be so intense. My hands were sweating for most of the movie.

Vicky Christina Barcelona

4 out of 5
Spain is beautiful. Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz are beautiful.

The Reader
5 out of 5
Powerful and emotionally draining. Can't wait to read the book!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Less than thirty pages long. Read it.

4 out of 5

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

4. "It's not like I'm talking Italian"

Song: Can't Say What I Mean by Kaiser Chiefs

As a kid I dreamed about becoming an actress so that I could portray Russian characters with a proper Russian accent. An American actor (usually playing the bad guy of course) with a caricature of a Russian accent makes me cringe and hardens my already cold, cold heart. I already think that the Russian accent is deeply unattractive, all harsh and abrasive, and when left in the hands of amateurs, all I can do is hope to restrain myself from running at the movie screen/television to tear at it with my nails. You really have to approach it with the right mix of hard consonants and grammar mistakes and that only comes after years upon years of practice, living in Papa T's family.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

3. "Where'd you get your name from?"

Song: What She Came For by Franz Ferdinand

My older brother's name is Roman, and I was almost named Romina. Mama T wanted to get a little too cutesy and have matching names for her kids. I mean I get annoyed when asked about where the "E" in Ekaterina comes from. (Answer: I don't know. It's just there. Leave it alone. Stop talking.) Romina would just have caused a whole host of other issues.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

New love of my life

Forget everything I've ever said about the Menage. It's over. I have a new lover. Meet Layer Cake Zinfandel. Layer Cake keeps me from studying and lulls me to sleep way too early in the evening, but no hard feelings, I go to the gym and feel better. Our love affair continues tomorrow.

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination: A Memoir
by Elizabeth McCracken

This book is a memoir of a woman whose first child was stillborn. It's beautifully written and of course terribly melancholy. I don't know what else to say.

4 out of 5

Thursday, February 5, 2009

2. "You ask how long I've been waiting here, I think you already know"

Song: Worth the Wait by We Are Scientists

I am generally on time or early to all meetings, functions, and gatherings. Papa T imparted to me his super sense of punctuality. As a kid being driven to birthday parties and dance rehearsals and school events, I'd always be one of the first to arrive, if not the first. And holy shit, a revelation, perhaps these are the roots of the constant awkwardness that seems to follow me around! As another generality, I don't mind having to wait for others, but I feel terrible if someone has to wait for me, even if it's only for a minute or two.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

1. "I found my dancing shoes but they don't fit"

So I've been reading some of the "25 Random Things About Me" facebook notes that people have been posting recently. People that I haven't spoken to in years. People that I suspect secretly wish they had their own blogs. And then I read about Laid-Off Dad's approach -- make a blogging/writing exercise out of the idea by choosing a lyric from the first random song that pops up in your music shuffle and writing something about yourself relating to the lyric. Are you wondering why I am even following Laid-Off Dad's blog? Well, let's just say that I added a few blogs to my Google Reader in Ireland to keep myself "busy" while "at work" and this blog happened to be one of the lucky few many and now I am in way over my head in following blogs. I realize that I am being totally unoriginal here, but hey, I get a fun writing exercise to talk all about myself and revel in my narcissism, and you get to read and pass judgment.

So the rules are these: I'll use my "Currently" playlist on the iPhone which has a bunch of songs that I am, you know, currently listening to. If the first song that pops up doesn't have a good lyric that I can write about and I go to the second random song or the third, you probably won't ever know. I may not post every day as there is this pesky thing called tax busy season that's looming dangerously close on the horizon, like right above our heads really. Let's see if I actually make it to the twenty-fifth post.

1. "I found my dancing shoes but they don't fit"
Song: Ion Square by Bloc Party

If there is reincarnation, I know that in a previous life I must have been a professional ballerina. In this life, I was born with that true passion for ballet that unfortunately got thwarted by flat feet and inflexibility. I had to really work on getting the splits, my ankles never got strong enough to really master dancing in pointe shoes, and my leg extensions were never high enough. After years of muscle-stretching pain, blisters, broken toe-nails, SHATTERED DREAMS, I was told after the eighth grade to quit and avoid the imminent risk of breaking an ankle. The grace was there -- grace I had. But my body was just not built for the physical demands of ballet. Not in this life. The irony of my childhood was that I apparently had the talent for piano but could care less about it. The Great Ballet/Piano Debate was perhaps the definition of little KT during some formative years. How strange that seems now.

Which brings us back to Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. Gladwell argues that all you need is 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill, such as playing an instrument or having Bill Gates computer knowledge. Kind of arbitrary, this 10,000 hours benchmark. Perhaps I could have spent more time at home stretching out the arches of my feet and getting my ankles stronger. Ten thousand hours of feet exercises? Jesus. Does performing torture on your body fall under the 10,000-hour mastering a skill umbrella? Discuss.

In another previous life I was a piano enthusiast with squat and chubby fingers, small hands, and no musical ear.

At some point I was also British.