joy magnetism: October 2010

@Joymagnetism, now on Instagram!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween fun

Magnet #982 - Tatay Roosevelt

I'm fairly sure I'll probably get in trouble for using this magnet, but how can one resist on Halloween?

It's my dad, being silly inside the gift shop at Teddy Roosevelt's Sagamore Hill - a rare happy picture of him, given that he usually scowls in pictures. Particularly when he has darling daughters (and son-in-law) conning him into wearing silly hats.

As usual, I'm not headed downtown to the scary place for the Halloween parade. I'm sorry, I can't do it. The thought of thousands of strangers wearing scary costumes all stuffed in the space of like twenty-something blocks scares the bejeepers out of me.

Although, I do love the little kids who are trick-or-treating the stores on Broadway, they're supercute. I was feeling sorry for them, cuz it didn't look like they had too much candy. Until I saw one little puppy come running over to his parents, and dumping out his half-filled pumpkinhead into a plastic bag, and go running to catch up with the other kids.

Then I really felt sorry for the undressed little girl whose parents were explaining the "trick or treat" concept to her, explaining about all the candy that the kids get...while she had none! So sad! But what I couldn't figure out, is why their daughter wasn't in costume, but their dachshund was dressed as a hot dog!

Ah, Halloween in the city, always a treat. Happy Halloween!

Oh! I should mention, the BFF of BFF Babymoon over the Confederacy fame had a baby girl yesterday! Annnnd, that's all I can say - not allowed to FB or Tweet it.

But I will say, that much like my other friend whose kid is nicknamed Jersey? This one's gonna be codenamed
Melrose. Congratulations, BFF!

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rally to Restore Insanity and/or Fear

Magnet #981 - Always Speak Truth

I got this button magnet at Comic-Con - I was gonna use it to remember my Jerry Maguire memo from a few months ago. But, instead, I kinda liked the idea of using it for today, to help celebrate the Stewart/Colbert Rally to Restore Insanity and/or Fear on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

Go watch, on Comedy Central or on any of the live feeds. I'm enjoying seeing how people on both sides of the fence are reacting to the rally on Facebook and Twitter. As usual, I'm caught in the middle seeing how both sides react, given my NY and my NC friends.

Earlier this week, I did the Project Vote Smart VoteEasy quiz that lets you answer questions to figure out what candidates are closer to your beliefs. Despite being a card-holding Republican, all my answers leaned left, and that's pretty much where my votes will go on Tuesday. I steadfastly refuse to give up my R-card here in New York City, because it's absolutely appalling how people treat me as stupid because that's how I'm registered. (Mind you, I've said it before, if Sarah Palin gets elected to any office anywhere, I'll definitely give up that card. There's a line.)

Anyway, because I watch neither Stewart or Colbert, it's not surprising that I didn't hear anything about it except for a friend of mine whose husband was heading down for it, and it turns out quite a few people I know are headed there as well.

It's a great day for a rally, and by the looks of the flood of people on the Mall, it's pretty damned successful.

As for me, I'm watching live on Comedy Central. I had not a shot of going in person, because putting that many people in one place always scares me - I don't care what your politics are.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

So totally not the highest bidder

Magnet #980 - Matisse, Polynesia, the Sky

I honestly can't remember where I bought this, but it's so very pretty, and I know I haven't seen it in person before. Maybe in a sale pile at the MoMA store in Soho, I think. Great store, by the way. Dangerous, because of all the stuff I could buy in there.

Unlike all the stuff I could never buy at Sotheby's or Christie's auction houses. The New York Times did a great article yesterday about how one of the best things to do in the city, is to visit the auction previews at both houses.

I've visited Sotheby's a few times before, but not really for art, usually it's for the arts and entertainment auctions - like Grace Kelly's auction a few years ago, and a film one a few years before that. But, both Sotheby's and Christie's are doing Impressionists and Modern Art auctions next week. In anticipation, they put all the lots on view, so that people can visit them and figure out what they want to bid on. It's open to the public at this time as well. I mean, the "richy-richy people" (/tm my mom) have other private opportunities to view the art, but a lot of them come back to look, even if it means viewing with the hoi polloi like me.

Dudes. Today, I stood in front of a twenty million dollar painting today. By Monet. Unfinished. I could feel myself slowly backing away. Obviously, if I broke it, I wouldn't be able to afford it.

But, my heavens, it was amazing walking through gallery after gallery of paintings and sculptures and drawings. Masters of every kind were there. Just hanging out, with auction price tags on the placards. Holy smokes. The amounts on each tag could feed a small country, or ten. I can't wait to see what the results are next week!

Even more cool? Watching all the Sotheby's and Christie's employees walking wealthy patrons around to different works, as they scribbled on small notes of know, notes to say bid on this lot or that lot. You know, where in my little world, I mull over whether or not to buy this book, or that pretty paper, for a few bucks, these patrons are bidding millions. Millions!

Also? They can touch the art!!!! I nearly had a heart attack when I saw these two people touching a Rodin. Touching! It's like the number 1 rule in a museum, don't touch! And here these people were, running their hands over the smooth bronze surface...crazy. In another room, two men, were closely examining the Faberges - as if they were in a jewelry shop somewhere, "I'd like to see that (sixty thousand dollar) tea caddy, please." But I guess you can do that, if you're intent on buying it. Sheesh.

I won't lie, I saw so many Matisses, Picassos, Monets, Vuillards, Bonnards, Rodins, Faberges, Lichtensteins, Warhols and what nots that my eyes fairly glazed over by the end of my visits. The fantastic part was that they also included contemporary pieces from the period. The ones who aren't necessarily as well known, but have important work as well. The ones that aren't sitting over at the Met on Fifth, or the MoMA in midtown. Of course, I ended up buying a couple of the catalogues - I figure if I can't afford the art, at least I can buy the books.

There's a really big part of me that wants to go back to both places before the big auctions take place on Monday. Just to see the art before they go to their new owners.

One thing's for sure, there's a whole hidden world of private art collecting that I'm sure I've only scratched the surface of today.

Also for sure? These artists produced a helluva lot more than what's on our public museum walls.

After next week, they're going to be sitting in private art collections or residences. There's a part of me thinks that's a shame, that the world doesn't get to enjoy this art, but for these few preview days.

Then there's the other part of me wants to find these people and visit their houses so I can see what else is on their walls!
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Who's buried in Grant's Tomb?

Magnet #979 - Ulysses S. Grant (1869 - 1877)

Can't remember if I've used Grant before, and he's not showing up in any joy magnetism searches, so fingers crossed!

Anyway - I picked Ulysses S. Grant, our 18th president, for today, because this afternoon @Newyorkology reTweeted an @GrantsTombNPS Tweet about having an evening haunted tour this evening. I've lived about 30 blocks away from the General Grant National Memorial for 15 years, so I figured tonight was as good as any.

When I got there, I totally met a guy, waiting for the tour. Of course, he was old enough to be my grandfather, but he was the sweetest guy ever, and he shared his pix of his Germany vacation with me.

And? Because he volunteers at the Conference House and Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, I totally got a superinteresting history lesson, too. (For some reason, it totally escaped me that there was an actual peace talk between the colonists and the Brits before the American Revolution. On Staten Island, no less!) Must go visit those two sites soon!

When we all gathered for the tour, I immediately recognized the tour guide. In fact, he was the same guy that I dedicated this Zion National Park magnetpost to back in 2008! Holy smokes, this island's getting small! I told him why I recognized him, and about the trip we never went on. He asked why we didn't go and I reminded him of the $4/gal gas prices, which he pooh-poohed.

Anyway, so he began his Ranger talk, and then led us into a lantern-lit Grant's Tomb, which is the largest mausoleum in the Western Hemisphere. At the mention of that, I could feel the goosebumps pop up. Look. I don't know why I didn't associate Grant's Tomb with an actual, you know, tomb, but there you go.

So when I peered down at the crypt, at the giant red granite coffins of Grant and his wife, Julia, I was already a little freaked out. Dudes. I don't do crypts. Nope. No. Way. I totally backed away from the hole, as far as I could, without, you know, running screaming from the darkened room.

We had a couple of ghostly guests visit, to let us pay our respects to the general and his wife, and they made us throw flowers down at the coffins. Then, then!, the ranger walked us down. Into. The. Crypt. In the dark! The dark!

And left us alone, to roam the building, where he finally relented and turned on some of the lights. I made one quick trip around the crypt lined with busts of Grant's generals, and hightailed my butt back up the stairs. I couldn't move fast enough.

All in all, the memorial's a really cool tribute to a guy who likely wouldn't have wanted such pomp and circumstance for little old him. But, a million people viewed the funeral procession that took five hours to pass, and apparently, 90,000 people donated $600,000 to help build it.

It's a pretty impressive building, and a good tour, one that's worth the trek up the Upper West Side to visit. In daylight, if you're a fraidy cat.
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Glass flowers

Magnet #978 - Harvard Museum of Natural History

Eeeep, I missed a magnet yesterday! It's because I totally spaced on going to Boston with my parents...luckily, they called me from the road in Delaware, so I had time to run some errands.

All of which meant no sleep, and a quick pitstop at Mohegan Sun (to lose a load of dollars, quarters, nickels and pennies) to spend about an hour in Hingham, MA, for my dad's eye appointment and to come all the way back down 95 home. And straight to bed, where I didn't get up til this morning. Heh.

Anyway. We went to Harvard Museum of Natural History on one of our Boston roadtrips earlier this year. My aunt brought us, so that we could visit their Glass Flowers permanent exhibit.

It's a collection of about 4,000 glass flowers, of all shapes, forms and countries. It's totally cool, because it's not just the blooms, but the leaves and even cross-sections of the stems and roots, etc. All from glass!

A Harvard botany prof wanted to have them made for his classes, so from about 1887 to 1936, they produced them out of Germany. Apparently, they didn't have anything but crude papier mache and illustrations, and he wanted something better.

And better he got, because when you walk through room, seeing case after case after case of these things, you just cannot believe they're all made from glass.

Definitely worth a trip for a different type of leaf-peeping!
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Clumsy bear

Magnet #977 - Isabella Stewart Gardner Bear

Anyone who spends any time with me, or on joy magnetism, knows that I love museums. So you won't be surprised that I'm in the middle of this book, Old Masters, New World, all about how America's finest art collections were built.

Basically, back in the late 1800s, the country was starting to rebuild after the Civil War, and people were beginning to realize that America had no real cultural institutions to visit. Understandable, we were a new country, and with other priorities.

So, the wealthy of America began to collect. Whether it was Henry Clay Frick or J.P. Morgan or Isabella Stewart Gardner, America saw an influx of artwork from Europe and beyond.

Last weekend, I finally got to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Basically, she collected so many pieces that she needed a place to put them, and so she began building her museum...the interior of which just happens to be done up in the form of a 15th century Italian palazzo. I. Love. This. Museum.

Seeing the museum made the Old Masters book come alive for me, seeing the paintings and knowing how she came by them, or how much she paid, or where they came from. The collection is fantastic, and well laid out. Each room is chockful of stuff to look at and marvel over.

But don't marvel too close, the guards at the museum are hyper alert to anyone getting too near the artwork, or opening their cell phones. For good reason, though, as the ISG was the target of an art heist in the 90s, where the thieves absconded with 13 pieces of art. A crime against civilization, they called it, and so the ISG leaves the empty frames in place, in hopes that the paintings find their way back home again.

For as much as I loved the museum, I will say that the museum store - in the words of my 17-year-old cousin - was "like a grandmother's yard sale." I get it, it's probably not the tchotcke-buying clientele they want to attract, I guess. So of course, there was no extensive magnet selection to add to my magnet art gallery.

But, I did manage to find this magnet at the counter, from an exhibition they did a few years ago about the bronze mat weights that she collected. Mat weights were used to quite literally, weigh down the floor mats at the corners, to keep them from moving.

This bear is part of a set, one of the first that Isabella bought, and the largest anyone's found - they date back to somewhere around 206 BC to 9 AD. Dudes. BC. They called him a clumsy little bear, because he's stumbled off his paws and onto his bum. How cute!

According to Isabella's friend who procured them for her: "You will find them endlessly delightful, as nice as real ones, only more."

Oh my. Maybe I should get a bear mat weight of my own!
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Monday, October 25, 2010

It was the best of branding, it was the worst of branding

Magnet #976 - Concentric Circles

If you'll allow me a quick rant to explain my earlier Tweets today, and why I've picked this magnet, which looks a lot like this logo for today.

After a @TCM Tweet this afternoon about their traveling roadshow, I fairly quickly ran down to Grand Central Terminal to see it. (No. Seriously. The Tweet popped up on my TweetDeck at like 2:42 and I was there by 3:30.)

TCM partnered with Verizon with a really great exhibit supporting their Movies & Moguls 7-part original series about the history of Hollywood. Must watch, cannot wait!

Because it was TCM, of course their exhibit was well designed, and very much in keeping with their overall brand identity - I love seeing off-air marketing emulate the on-air marketing, it does a branding heart good.

These pictures don't really do it justice, I know. The exhibit itself was a little small for Vanderbilt Hall, it was slick and nicely produced, and the people manning the area were friendly and engaging.

They had a few costumes on display, but I particularly loved the interactive kiosks. They taught me how bad I am at old Hollywood trivia, and showed me Jack Warner's address book with Bette Davis, Walt Disney and other luminaries. I've seen it a dozen places in the books, but I got to spin the little nickelodeon thing with the horse - that was cool. And, they described the leading ladies and men of the time.

Loved it. And, by the looks of all the press visits (or they could have been fellow bloggers, who knows), they enjoyed it, too.

Most of all, it totally whetted my appetite for the series debut on November 1. That's called great audience outreach. Go. See it now. No, I mean it. Now. It's only there til tomorrow!!!!

By an incredible and garish contrast, Thomson Reuters installed a giant display on the other side of the hall. Where TCM's installation was dwarfed by the giant Vanderbilt Hall at GCT, Thomson Reuters was a massive behemoth, with dual-LED displays lighting up the whole hall and beyond. It was a huge white hole, plushly carpeted, with computers and displays set up inside, from what I could tell. Nicely branded (as one would expect for TR to be, of course) and even if it was bright as hell, the display show graphics with the messaging and images were great.

When I first walked into the hall, after my eyes had been visually assaulted by the giant LED displays, I noticed they had at least 3 or 4 people manning the outside of the monstrosity, all in business outfits, shifting from one foot to the other. Not talking to anyone, watching traffic walk by.

I felt bad for them, because the TCM space was moderately trafficked, while no one was at the TR end. It really did seem rude to look at what TCM had to offer, and not wander over to the snazzy TR display, too.

But, any goodwill I'd built up walking across the way was dashed by the woman (who had earlier been chatting up a TCM rep in his space) manning the TR entrance. In fact, I went specifically to her, because I had seen her with the TCM dude.

Mind you, I was hardly the height of fashion in jeans and tennies, and an old Izod golf shirt, with my fleece tied around my waist and hair in a ponytail. Clearly, I wasn't a financial person. Or even a business person. Or even the demographic for whatever TR was hawking.

But here's how the conversation went:

Me, smiling broadly: "I feel like I should visit you guys because you built this giant display!"
Her, smiling: "I know, it's really big! Though, really, it's for a financial product."
Me, peering into the room, and then checking my watch that said 3:45: "Hmmm, really? Which means you have to wait for all the financial guys [commuter traffic] to get here at 5, huh?"
Her, hesitating: "Well, you could go in, if you wanted to, there's people inside. But, it's really more of a financial thing."
Me, smiling broadly, unable to believe she would try to not actively drive traffic into their space, given that there was one or two people inside the cavernous display: "No, thanks."

I was completely floored. I get that the ROI on that giant box that Thomson Reuters built is pretty high. Meaning - sell even one of their fancy-schmancy Eikon product and make back the money on spent to build the box. They can certainly afford to be discerning about who they let into the room. But, traffic is traffic. And moreover? Traffic begets traffic - particularly when you're at Grand Central Station.

Don't get me wrong here, folks. Fair play to Thomson Reuters - I love the branding machine behind their identity - the logo design, the huge launch campaign, the messaging, and almost everything from a graphic standpoint. Dudes, I smile when I see the TR logo on the building along I-95 in Stamford! I have a lot of heart for that brand.

But, honestly, for me, this is one of those times when brand management should extend down to the masses of employees, even the chick manning the door.

On a side note. Thomson Reuters chick could take a page from the superdupernice Teavana salesgirl at Paramus Park Mall. My 14-year-old hipster cousin just wanted to try a sample, and even though the two of us didn't look like we were on the market for the $40 1/2-pound tea? The sales girl was doing her damndest to educate us on the product, and was blind to the audience she was selling to.
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wicked pissah

Magnet #975 - Harvard

Today's pitstop was Harvard.

When I was in junior high or so, my parents took me to Harvard and Yale. I remember lying down in the back of the van, looking up out of the windows, not seeing much, just the occasional tree and building and thinking, nope, I don't really want to go here.

Not that it was a possibility, really - once that first algebra grade showed up those parental dreams of Harvard or Yale disappeared into the ether. Really, they should have known the first, second and third time they had to pick me up from school, fresh from my after-school chalkboard sessions on 6th grade long division with Mrs. Misenheimer. But, it didn't stop them from having us visit.

But, my cousin and I figured since the T stopped there on the way in to Boston that we owed it a visit. The funny thing was seeing it from a standing vantage point, versus the floor of the blue van. Even funnier? How familiar it felt, walking through the Yard.

That's when I realized (like MIT the day before), I was familiar with the campus only through the movies. The first thing I thought of when I saw Widener Library was With Honors with cuteboy Brendan Fraser. Fabulous movie.

Which lead to the running question for the weekend "Did you see the movie _____? That's where this was!!!!"

Which lead to the running answer for the weekend, "No," with an implied, damn, do you only know movies from the 80s and 90s?

So, yeah, the cousin hadn't seen Good Will Hunting, or With Honors which were the two that I thought for sure she'd have seen!

(She hadn't seen The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, either, which had nothing to do with Boston, I don't think, but yeah, we got to talking about Kurt Russell, too. Silly, I know. But don't you think she's better now for knowing that Kurt Russell was the last thing Walt Disney was thinking about before he passed away?)

We spent the next hour or so walking around, joining random tours and taking pictures with random statues (of which we should have thought twice about the posing with John Harvard, it brings added meaning to our pitstop). Contrary to the smart/not smart MIT trip yesterday, I found myself way more intrigued by this campus...of course, it helped that we joined a tour right when it was talking about the the history of Massachusetts Hall, where John Adams, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and James Otis lived back in the day.

Seeing their old dorm fit right in with the rest of the morning's Freedom Trailing.

Sigh. I love Boston, it truly is the most historic town in America...and way better when seen from foot, than the floor of the blue van.
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Saturday, October 23, 2010

The joy axiom

Magnet #974 - MIT

For the most part, I'm a relatively intelligent chick, I think. But my downfall is and always will be anything having to do with numbers. Anything. Whether it's counting blocks or figuring out 20% tip, I cannot do it.

So, today, when we roamed the hallowed halls of MIT, land of the smaht people, I felt pretty unsmaht. Particularly at the student stores cash register, when I looked across the room and stared for a bit figuring out the "May The m x a Be With You." on the wall.

First, I got distracted by the random initial caps of the phrase and wondered who did a such a silly thing. Second, I was like why didn't they just use "force." And finally, the light went on in my head for mass times acceleration. (In my defense, I never took physics. Shut it. I've lived to my mid-30s without taking it. I'm fine.)

Anyway, my cousin (who is exceedingly smarter than yours truly, I'm learning) and I did the self-guided tour which took us all around the campus from the classrooms and labs to Gehry's Stata Center and the fun student union. (Also in my defense, I knew that this piece in the Stata was an Anish Kapoor before I saw the placard, which also made me feel a little smarter.)

Though, honestly, aside from the student stores thing, I probably would have felt a little more intimidated on campus, had we not taken a stroll down the Infinite Corridor of this building on this magnet. In addition to the fun exhibit on fonts (no, really) and on strobes (no, really), the halls were lined bulletin boards with all their fun things to do, and once I got a load of the student life activities, I pretty much stopped being intimidated.

That's what MIT Quidditch(!), the MIT Marching Band (with Strolling Strings!), the MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players, and the MIT anime library collection (the largest in America!) will do for ya. I kinda thought, oh, wouldn't it be fun to be at MIT.

But then I remembered the joy axiom:

If it has numbers, no.

Wait. Is that a postulate? Definitely a fact, not theorem.

Sigh. I hated Geometry.
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Friday, October 22, 2010

The cousins have the blue box!

Magnet #973 - Anime TARDIS

I'm a pusher. What can I say? I love evangelizing my favorite shows. Got a spare few hours?

Much like on the BFF Babymoon over the Confederacy in Richmond, I convinced my decidedly non-scifi loving BFF to watch a few episodes of Doctor Who, tonight, I got my two cousins - you know, much closer to the kid demographic that they aim for - to watch Blink (which freaked them out, natch), Shakespearean Code (which they got the Bard references, yay high school English!), Girl in the Fireplace (during which I heard a softly spoken "POMPadour" in the dark) and the Unicorn & the Wasp (which they giggled at). Yes, one sitting.

Oh, I could probably have pushed for another, but given that we're leaving in a few hours, probably not advisable. Mind you, we did no planning for our roadtrip to Boston tomorrow, but hey, as long as my David Tennant's on the screen, really, who can get anything done?

It was interesting to see their gut reactions to the show - where they laugh (usually when the Doctor's being silly), what they gasp at (usually where Steven Moffat tells them to), the things they groan at (usually when there's a silly Doctor pun). And of course, I love answering questions (though I spaced - pun intended - on TARDIS), explaining companions (though I didn't tell them what happens to Rose), and giving more exposition than they really need (The Doctor regenerates! We call him Ten! He has two hearts!).

I also chirped that the show's been on since 1963 - which the older cousin knew, because she was wondering what this Doctor Who show my sisters and I talk about all the time. And so she wiki'd the thing to find out. Hahaha. Nice.

They seem to really like the show, even as they can't believe it's a kids show. Of course, one could argue that they're really only getting a quarter of the story - and my cousins watched four hours and weren't exposed to a single Dalek or Cyberman, and not one "bigger on the inside" joke, don't know who Torchwood is, or a what a Time Lord is or how he's the last of his kind.

They also didn't get to meet Amy Pond. Or Eleven. Or Nine, for that matter. I mean, clearly, through no fault of their own, their Doctor's gonna be David Tennant.

Eh, but I guess that's the beauty of the DVD boxsets. I can keep feeding them episodes a little at a time, until they can decide for themselves who their Doctor and favorite companion will be.

At least now they know why I was cooing over this little TARDIS at Anime Fest a couple of weeks ago. And at least now you know why I was convinced this guy (combined with the TARDIS nearby) was my Doctor!
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Glassy thoughts

Magnet #972 - Stained Glass panel

I picked up this tiny homemade magnet at the Fort Tryon Medieval Festival, at a booth where they were selling stained glass panels as art - on magnets, lamps, etc. How pretty!

It always amazes me that people were making stained glass as far back as Medieval times. Even more amazing, that some of those specimens still exist. Just think of all the days and nights and years and decades and centuries - and weather! - they had to go through to make it to now, it's kinda mind-blowing.

Almost as mind-blowing as that Michelangelo that turned up behind someone's couch near Buffalo. No. Really. Apparently, some family member shipped it to America in the 1880s, and it's been with this one family since...and somehow, it was just hanging around behind a sofa.

They're still verifying it, and I dunno if I believe it, cuz it's a bit of a crazy story.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In the neighborhood

Magnet #971 - Montreal

How is it remotely possible that I haven't magnetblogged our five hours in Montreal?

This Saturday, I'm taking my cousin for a daytrip up to Boston to look at colleges. She should be careful because my last daytrip to Boston with a roadtripper friend of mine, we ended up in Montreal - mostly because "we were in the neighborhood."

Actually, that's how I end up in most places on this Earth, because if there's one thing my parents taught us, it's to make sure to see what's in the neighborhood. Especially since you're already there. Sounds reasonable, right?

Um, yeah. My dad's definition of "in the neighborhood" is generally anything within a five-hour drive.

Mind you, Montreal was totally not in the neighborhood of a daytrip between Boston and New York, but hey, when you have a car, you better use it. So, about halfway home from Boston, I gave a heads up to my dad - from a payphone at a Connecticut rest area, natch (it was 1998 or 2001 - the weekend that either From the Earth to the Moon or Band of Brothers debuted. What?) - and told him we were Montreal-bound. He said laughed his ass off, but said, Sure! You have the car anyway.

Off we went, traipsing through the Adirondacks in the dead of night - all alone on the dark highways. We got to some hotel just at the Canadian border at like 3 or 4, got up at like 6 or 7 and drove into Montreal. Honestly, I don't even know why we bothered to get a hotel, but I guess with two girls in their early 20s, safety's key. (Though, don't tell that to my old college roomie who got us kicked out of her boyfriend's UNC-Wilmington dorm room in the middle of the night, forcing us to sleep in the car at the beach.)

Anyway, Montreal. Dudes. On a Sunday morning? Nothing's open. And, of course, we hadn't done our homework, so we had to rely on the information center to give us ideas. Of course, we had to wait til it opened...which meant we had a couple of hours to kill til about 9. Oops.

We drove around and read all the signs - aloud, in French, allowing me to practice my three years of HS French. We visited Old Montreal, and some mall, and then went up to the observation point at Mont Royal Park (that I just learned was landscaped by Frederick Law Olmstead) to get the views of town, which was gorgeous. I suppose in four hours, there's really only so much you can do, but we had to leave by early afternoon, so that we could get home at a decent hour for work the next day.

Sigh. We should have ditched work the next day in favor of a Quebec sidetrip to the Montreal sidetrip to Boston, n'est pas?
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

An open memo to Cartoon Network

Magnet #970 - Fanboy

Dear Cartoon Network:

Thanks for the fun buttons magnets at both Comic-Cons this year.

Also? Fantastic job with the CN Lounge at NYCC. Great team, very well-designed decor, and it ran like a little machine, that area.

Anyway, I'm not sure what the gender breakdown is for Comic-Con - either in SD or NY - but next year, don't forget to bring Fangirl/Fangurl buttons magnets with you to give away. Fanboys are supercute and all, but us Fangirls should get equal play. I'm just sayin'.

Please and thank you. :-)

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Who is Don Draper?

Magnet #969 - Don Draper

[spoilers here]

I refused to read any of the articles or Tweets about the Mad Men finale, so I don't know if everyone liked or hated it. What I can say is that I loved it. Like, loved it.

Who is Don Draper, indeed? It's a question we've been asking since the first time he graced our screens three years ago. And, I gotta tell you, after this finale? It's a question I'm still asking.

I think that's the beauty of this show. We may never know the answer, but we'll sure as hell be intrigued by the journey.

Earlier yesterday, a friend and I were talking about what we thought would be the big cliffhanger, and I threw out there that I didn't think there'd be a big cliffhanger, so all that's left was that he'd propose. Only, seriously? I actually thought he'd settle down with Faye. I'm happier than I should be (and just as damn snarky as Peggy and Joan) that it's Megan, but I really thought he'd do the practical thing and marry Faye and find a house in Stamford or Greenwich. It's what they do, those boys.

I do think I might be the only one happy that he's happy with Megan. Clearly, Don being Don, he won't be happy because he's just feeling all sad about Anna, but I don't remember Don being this puppy dog over any of his many women, so maybe this will stick? Even though, there's a part of me that thinks Megan's a little more devious than we think and that she really might end up as one of Peggy's creatives. (Though a part of me was scared Peggy was gonna go cry in the bathroom over Don, and that's a whole can of worms I don't want to see. Yet.)

The finale on the whole though was just fantastic. Freakin' Peggy and Cos nailing the pantyhose account, with Peggy writing copy on the spot for the clients? Awesome.

Bets freakin' out on Carla, classic. (Though, dudes, tonight, when Don pulled out that bottle from the cabinet? It reminded me that we haven't seen an honest smile from her in years.)

And Joanie, keeping Roger's baby? I kinda figured she'd do it, but damn, to pass it off as hub's? Can't wait til next season, though I'm calling it now. He's gonna get killed in Vietnam, and Joanie (the new awesome DOO at SCDP) is gonna be stuck on her own and Roger's gonna have to deal with the fallout and a new baby carriage.

Overall, I've had mixed feelings over this season. While I know in my head it's fiction, I couldn't help seeing the last year and a half of my career in this season - the beginning of a new agency, the animosity of a new regime, the fighting over office supplies, the fear of losing clients, false promises, beating the bushes for new clients, wondering if we'd be around in the next six days, let alone six months. It's some scary stuff. Watching Don go through it at SCDP has been painful on a professional level.

But, this was a terrific way to end the season...though, I would have loved to actually see the Drapers wandering around Disneyland.

Oh! I'll probably do a longer post on it, mainly because I have five of the six buttons magnets for it, but ya'll need to run out right now and grab this book, Mad Men: The Illustrated World. It's adorable. It's well designed, cutely written in the spirit of the show and the times, and I loved it so much, I bought it twice at Comic-Con.

Seriously. Go. Now.
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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bear(less) Mountain

Magnet #968 - Bear Mountain

I didn't have any schnitzel today. I was kinda full-on looking forward to some weiner schnitzel today at the Bear Mountain Oktoberfest. Actually, I was expecting some lederhosen as well, and was totally denied.

We did manage to rack up some pierogies and potato pancakes and some stein-less beer, so there's that. And we couldn't ask for better company, or a more gorgeous day today up at Bear Mountain State Park.

So really, what more could we ask for.

Well, I'll tell you. I ask for bears. I mean, ya'll, it's Bear Mountain. I really did kinda build it up in my head. After all there's a supposed 8,000 bears in New York State. Bear Mountain should be like shooting fish in a barrel, no? But, of course, I didn't.

Because that's how they do.

Oh, in case you wondered, Bear Mountain Inn had a great brunch with the best Mimosas on the planet. In general, I do not care for Mimosas, but these were superduperawesome.

Try them. In bulk. Then you won't care if you see a bear or not.
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Functional trinkets"

Magnet #967 - ABC

Oh, ABC. Or, really, I should just say, oh, television.

This year's crop of new Fall TV shows have disappointed me pretty much across the board - every network, almost every show. It's about a month into the new season, and there's no way that my only new appointment television show right now is CBS's Hawaii Five-0.

One show does not a successful new tv season make!

It's so bad I'm not even taking a whole magnetpost to whine over the lack of good shows. I'm just using this ABC swag magnet for today (one of my few magnets that double as a functional clip), because I just got done moving most of my entertainment-related magnets to the side of my fridge, all the while, cursing my always dwindling wall space.

One look at my latest magnets slideshow reveals some empty space to fill, so it's not like I'm actually running out of room. My problem is my need to keep them all together in their groupings, and with an ever-expanding collection, it's hard to do that. So the front of the fridge is my little art gallery, one panel has all the dimensionals, one has all the joy magnets, one has all the picture magnets, one has all the acrylics, one has all the Monets, and so forth. And within those, are subgroups of tile magnets, hanging feet magnets, floaty magnets, etc.

See? It's kind of crazy-making. Especially today, I think.

My "Magnet collecting" Google alert (shut it) just picked up this great little article on this magnet collector chick in Gastonia, NC, and now I'm obsessed with her walls of "functional trinkets." She has more than 3,600 magnets, which isn't as many as the Magnet Lady in Vegas (some records put her collection at more than 30,000), but it's way a lot more than mine. (No, I don't have an active count of my own collection, beyond knowing somewhat definitively that this ABC clip is Magnet #967.)

The thing is, she has hers all in her sheet-metal lined spare bedroom! Dudes! And, it's all white and pretty, and the magnets all have breathing room. And if you look closely at the pictures, the magnets are grouped together, all nice and neat, while mine's beginning to look like the walls of IKEA.

Sigh. It's definitely no reason to move, but damn, do I have magnetroom jealousy right now.
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Friday, October 15, 2010

For love of water

Magnet #966 - Mystic Seaport

For some reason, I keep finding myself back in Mystic, Connecticut. This magnet was from my last trip there, a part of my floaty magnets section. What? Doesn't everyone divide their magnets into sections?

I picked it for today, because it's Blog Action Day, the day of the year when bloggers unite around a single cause. This year's cause is Water.

I'm not gonna go into a whole big diatribe about the importance of water, and how the earth is made of seventy-something percent water and somehow we still can't manage to get our heads around it being a precious resource - you can learn more about water here.

But, I will recommend one documentary whose trailer scared the living crap out of me a while ago, and got me to watch it the second I could get my hands on it - FLOW. It's a great film on how privatization of the world's fresh water supply is affecting every aspect of society. It also asks the question "Can anyone really own water?" I think the answer varies depending on the individual, the society and the company, but it's an interesting question to ask.

FLOW seriously scared me into watching how often I turn on my tap, even though admittedly, it shouldn't have taken a movie to do that. On top of that, I've noticed it's also affected my purchasing decisions in the store - rethinking how often I buy bottled water, and when I do, which brands to buy.

It's also given me something more to think about. In a world where water is everywhere, (to the tune of 236 million, trillion gallons), how is it that we can't get ourselves ahead of the problems associated with ownership, cleanliness, and accessibility?

How is it that almost a billion (!) people out there don't have access to clean, safe, fresh water, while I can run around the corner and buy gallons of it at any given store on Broadway?
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Reach for the sky

Magnet #965 - Bartholomew County Veterans Memorial

Another from my Columbus, Indiana set of magnets...this time, it's the Batholomew County Veterans Memorial, designed by Thompson and Rose. We missed seeing this memorial, but it's pretty cool, huh?

I picked it, because it's the most designy thing I had in my magnet photobucket, it kinda reminds me of my visit to the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum yesterday.

It's free to visit all week for National Design Week, and the main exhibition (the most sustainable in the museum's history) is the National Triennial Design, "Why Design Now?" It centers around design that addresses social and environmental challenges - some really fantastic stuff in there - from sustainable buildings and cities* in Norway and Abu Dhabi to $19 glasses that the wearer can select the prescription. Definitely check it out if you get a chance.

I think my only complaint (other than trying to figure out how we can get this stuff into a museum, but not mass-produced yet), is that they had a really cute shop. But one without magnets.

Dudes, cool magnets exist!

*Check out the video for Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, which looks superfantastical right now, but it's pretty cool that it's already started phase 1. Maybe I'll wait till it's done before visiting. I bet money they'll have fabulous magnets.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I walk alone

Magnet #964 - American Idiot

I keep all my Playbills and tickets for all the shows I've been to. Last week, when I transferred them into a shiny new box, I found that I've been to about 70 performances during the course of the last several years here in town.

Most of those performances were with discounted tickets from, my secret weapon when it comes to enjoying Broadway. They send out great email offers all the time, which is how I ended up at American Idiot last night, with mixed feelings about it today.

First and foremost, I should admit that I'm not a big Green Day fan, but I hate being left out of things, and it always seems that American Idiot is one of those shows that everyone wants to see. I'm wondering if you should be a Green Day fan in order to enjoy the show. I mean, sure, I knew several of the songs, but not all of the songs.

And, to give the show a benefit of a doubt, I missed the first 20 minutes of the show. I apologize to all the performers last night, but yes. Classic rookie mistake - for some reason, all day long, I had an 8pm start time in my head. It's not like I was busy, I stopped myself from getting ready early, so that I wouldn't be down in Times Square too early. So at about 6:53 last night, I was like, hmmm, la-la-la, I guess I'll get ready to go. La-la-la. And I decided to pull up my confirmation.

My confirmation that said, St. James Theatre, 7pm.


I flew out of my apartment, and I swear the train conductor knew I was on board, because we careened down the 2/3 train track. Braving the withering looks of about four ushers, I entered the strobe-lit theatre mid-song, and was seated in the nearest empty end seat, about 20 rows better than what I bought.

From there, I couldn't settle down. Maybe it's because I missed those 20 minutes that I couldn't quite catch up with the story that I wasn't bowled over by it?

The set design and production overall was fantastic, although they scared me a few times with all the moving scaffolding and cirque du soleil stuff (and sometimes the strobes). The performances were terrific, the guitar playing was awesome.

But, from what I could tell, the AI story is really just Hair, but for our generation. And we all know how I didn't love Hair. It had the same young slacker generation frantically raging against political and military machine issues that frustrated the heck out of me in Hair.

Huh. Looks like the square I would have been in the 60s and 70s, translates to the square I am in the 2000s. Eh, I'll own it.

Oh! I will say that the one benefit of being late to the show? Walking almost alone through Times Square and the side streets, because everyone else got to their shows on time. It was nice.

Double oh! Or, maybe it was because I got distracted by the silly teenager in front of me who kept messing with her stupid hair, sticking her elbows out both sides four times to redo her hair back into her headband/side ponytail combo. Dude. It's dark. They won't see you!

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Any time we spend with you is a pleasure...

Magnet #963 - Stieglitz's City of Ambition

Alfred Stieglitz's New York City images are always a favorite of mine. This one, called City of Ambition, taken downtown in 1910 is striking for me - the tufts of smoke, the grittiness of the big city against the seeming calmness of the water. Plus, for me Stieglitz seemed to be the ultimate example of hip, old-school New York.

Someone else who reminds me of old-school New York is my old chairman, the founding father of the company I used to work for. Sit with him for a bit, and he can tell you tales anywhere from World War II to the original Stork Club to Vietnam to September 11th.

Today, about 300 people attended a tribute to his late wife of almost 63 years - a woman who was a true force of nature and most beloved by all of us. I'm glad I brought tissues, because while it was a celebration of her life, hearing her friends and family speak about her definitely brought forth a few tears.

Today was also my first event with the company that let me go after more than a dozen years, so I was a little apprehensive. Turns out with 300 people milling around, it's pretty easy to talk to only the people who have a smile, a hug and a handshake for you. There were several of those folks, and it reminded me of how lucky I was to be part of the old guard before the new regime took over. That's the company I want to remember, those are the people I want to remember.

So I learned a lot today. While I knew her as "the boss's wife," we saw a glimpse of the wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and woman. A woman who truly lived her life - for her husband, her family, her community, and most of all, for herself.

Coincidentally, a newsreport last night told me to write my own obituary - as a way to learn about what I'd like my life to be about. After this morning celebrating Bette, I definitely have more of a sense of what it should be.

Also wanted to share a violin piece by Kriesler entitled Liebesfreund (Love's Joy) that violinst Christina Khimm played for us today.

Despite the fact that it has a fabulous name, it's just a lovely, happy piece.
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Monday, October 11, 2010

Who says, who says

Magnet #962 - Joy President of the United States

I never wanted to be president of the U.S. I never had any interest in politics - ironic, given my poli sci and international studies degree. Clearly, the degree my mother picked out for me.

But, ya'll know I love my name, and that's how I ended up with this magnet, which I think I bought at the now-closed Presidents Park in Williamsburg, VA. Or, maybe one of the many presidential libraries I've gone to over the years?

This magnet reminds me of my mother, because after many, many hours on the road back and forth to Boston, she picked out the Hannah Montana CD, and says, "Let's play this. I like that she says, 'who says, who says, I won't be president.'"

Yep, Mom's a Hannah fan. Apple doesn't fall far from the tree, I guess.
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Sunday, October 10, 2010

All things kawaii*

Magnet #961 - Phoenix Wright: Ace Detective

Remember how a couple of days ago I thought I was totally unworthy to be at Comic-Con because I never read X-Men?

As it turns out, what I knew about the comics world? Was miles and miles and far and away much more than I ever knew about anime. Turns out, what I know about anime?

Could fill a thimble.

A tiny, supersmall faerie thimble.

I know! I'm Asian! I should know such things! But I don't.

I do, however, have young Asian cousins and their friends to teach me the ways of anime, which is why we spent today concentrating on the Anime Festival side of Comic-Con with two Jersey cousins and a cousin BFF.

The three of them were dressed up as Pikachu, Misty and Dawn. Fantastic outfits (handmade by the big sister), and given the "Pikachu!"s we heard from passersby, people totally knew who they were, and loved them for it. (And yes, I had to look up the three characters. Or, really just the two, since I've actually slept through seen the Pokemon movie - in the theatre.)

We went to a Hiyao Miyazaki panel. This is a UO, but I couldn't stand Spirited Away. Hated the parents becoming pigs, the main chick being so damned whiny, and honestly, I get crazy when random stuff starts happening in movies. I mean, I left that movie with a big WTF on my face.

But, this panel, which the three girls were so thrilled to go to, had a really great great, that he's convinced me to add My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service and Castle in the Sky on to the top of my Netflix list. (Ponyo's on Instant Watch, so maybe later tonight.)

We also went to another panel called "Anime, Manga, and Harajuku Fashion: The Secret of International Competitiveness of Japanese Pop Culture." Yep. And that's the same confusion I had on my face, when we walked in. But, that too, was a fairly interesting panel (with possibly the best translator I've ever seen).

The lead panelist, Takamasa Sakurai, is basically the Japanese pop culture ambassador, who took us through a bunch of cosplay images from around the world. And, if that wasn't enough, he brought on this superstar Kanon dude from An Cafe, this J-Pop band to be his co-panelist. I haven't a clue who the guy was, but my cousin and her BFF were absolutely floored by him. So ecstatic! (I feel fairly sure they'd have the same confusion if they saw me meet Duran Duran.)

Anyway, through this panel, I learned that Cosplay is global, that they'll be happy to show me around if I show up in Japan, and that if "everyone was otaku and lolitas, the world would be at peace."

Shoot. Today, I learned what cosplay really was (I was very confused, I totally blame the LARPing episode of Being Erica). And otaku. And kawaii.* And lolita.

Let it be said that I took Japanese 101, 102 and 103 at Carolina. I should have already known what this stuff was. In the end, that's just a fraction of what I learned today.

Here's another fraction: See this standee magnet I bought from the folks at Squire Sword? It's basically a supercute animation printout, mounted to foamcore, and it stands. It's freakin' adorable. But I squeed over it, and was like, "OMG! It's David Tennant! It's the Tenth Doctor! I must have it!" And proceeded to pull out my double-digit dollars for it. (They also had Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor, and K-9, too. But, I couldn't pass up the TARDIS. Adorable!)

And, like a silly fangurl, I took a picture of both my purchases and posted it to Facebook the first chance I got. And, seriously, just before I started writing this magnetpost (in honor of watching David's Single Father tv series tonight), my cousin - this time from California - corrected my ignorant ass and told me that he's NOT from Doctor Who!

He's Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney! The best defense attorney in the land!

While it's still supercute, I was heartbroken it wasn't David Tennant.

But, you can see why I was totally confused. Right? Right? RIGHT?


Mind you, I'm still going to pretend it's David. It's damned close.
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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Just call me Excited!

Magnet #960 - Emotes!

Ok. Who is surprised that within the first 10 minutes of being at New York Comic-Con, I'd already bought my first magnet? Yep. I even went in the back way to the show floor, and still I managed to find this magnet at the Emotes booth.

Of course, I'm going to take that purchase receipt and head back there today to see if I can qualify for the "spend $20 and get the supercute Emotes bag free" deal. What? Hello. I know they're spelling my name wrong, but how can I resist!

Apparently, the mission of Emotes is to teach kids about emotions, and being able to put their feelings into words. It's a little too touchy-feely for my taste, but I am all over the JOI stuff. Plus, how cute are these characters!? I'm already planning on getting one of the books. And maybe the little figurine. And maybe the keychain. Yes. All to get the cute bag.

Although - can I just say? I've been on this declutter kick in my apartment, and I kept roaming around today rejecting practically everything I saw because I didn't want any more free comics, any more pens, any more totebags in this apartment.

For the most part, I succeeded. Hard to believe, I came home with only ONE new totebag for me. One! Ironically, it's from the publishing company that gave me my first job, but it cracked me up to lug it around. (Full disclosure, I also gave away this other superdupercute totebag, when I realized that while it had superdupercute figurines on one side, it had this trashy half-nekkid chick on the other side.)

The other trouble I'm having is finding superdupercool stuff for STWsis. The problem is that we scored her the superdupercool stuff from San Diego 2 months ago!

Though, the second we get to the floor today, I'm running right over to the Penguin Putnam booth to buy another copy of the really awesome Mad Men Illustrated World book (and another set of matching pins that are totally going to become magnets).

Let's just say that I'm overJOIed about that book!

OMG. It's JOI and me! It's JOI and me!
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Friday, October 8, 2010

Comic-Con Confessions

Magnet #959 - Wolverine

I have a confession to make: I've never read a single X-Men comic. I've never watched the cartoon, either (just added to the top of my Netflix queue, though).

Because I always have to see any and all event/superhero movies, I've seen all the X-Men movies. So, in my head, Wolverine will always be hot Hugh Jackman, not this guy right here.

I'll go one further. Sometimes, comics make me crazy. It's kind of how I hate nonlinear storytelling - sometimes, the jumpiness of the panel layouts makes me nuts.

So now you know.

I know. It's shameful. Especially since in about 10 hours, I'll be at New York Comic-Con. For the whole weekend.

I think part of me knows that I just can't get into the seriality of it all - if I get hooked (which is totally possible and possibly scary), I'll be stalking Midtown Comics and Forbidden Planet all the time!

But hey. I'm happy to entertain any suggestions for stories to try. After all, I can just run out on the floor this weekend and buy them. So, suggest away.
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Airports count

Magnet #958 - Zurich

It's an oft-repeated refrain that I dare anyone to refute.

I've been to Switzerland before. But never to Zurich. So now I've been. To the airport, anyway. Twice.

I mean, sure, we didn't leave the grounds, but it totally counts.

In fact, I was thrilled that we were doing a layover in Zurich on the way to the Save the World Wedding in Italy, because I totally knew that I'd have time to sprint into a gift shop and find the cutest magnet I could get my hands on. So, yeah, this magnet would be that cutest magnet I could get my hands on.

One thing that we totally missed, though was a guided tour of the airport. What? If you've been reading this magnetblog long enough, you know I am totally not kidding about the guided tour. It was a cute airport, actually - even if I totally hate their TSA folks for robbing us of our Italian wine.

But, what the Zurich airport did give me was possibly some of the best chocolate I've ever had. And, if you've known me long enough, you know that I can be a bit of a chocolate snob.

I will admit to being won over by the cutest little blue and gold tin (I'm a sucker for cute tins), but I can honestly say that $40 tiny box of Confiserie Sprungli chocolates I bought was fabulous. Di. Vine.

Now. No one dare tell me that they're the equivalent of Hershey's in Switzerland.

I just took a spin on their site, and linked the exact box that I bought. Holy. Frakkin. Cow. Even with all the chocolate I've ever bought, I've never spent that much on 15 chocolates. My. Word. That damn Swiss Franc.

Shoot. I just did the price per calculation. Actually, I have spent that much. Still. These were the best. And look how pretty that tin is!

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Magnet #957 - Exuma

Not sure who gave me this magnet...I had to look up where Exuma was! It's one of the "other islands" of the Bahamas.

Apparently, it's where Thunderball and Splash were filmed, oh, and you can snorkel there, too.

I've never been snorkeling, and I gotta tell you, unless there's a cuteboy somehow involved, I will likely never go snorkeling, like ever.

I can swim ok (I actually found my Carolina swim test card last week to prove it.), but there's something scary about being on marinelife turf. Anything in great abundance scares me (birds, butterfly, fish), so you'll not catch me anywhere a school of fish could come up behind me.

Besides which, I've eaten too many fish and crabs and squid and shrimp in my lifetime, for them not to want a piece of me back.
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Celeb sightings...or not

Magnet #956 - Carmel Beach Club

I bought this magnet out in Carmel, during my Woman on her Own Roadtrip many years ago. I stopped in Carmel, and then I did the Pebble Beach drive (not knowing the significance of the golf course, at the time) before moving up the coast.

But I kid you not, I bought this one in a random grocery store somewhere in Carmel - the same grocery store that I was absolutely convinced that I'd run into Clint Eastwood with his shopping cart.

What? It could totally happen!

I know, it happens when you least expect it. Like today, while having Baked by Melissa mini-cupcakes (you must try, if you haven't) and coffee in Union Square Park, Hope Davis, the guy who played pipe-chewing Kinsey from Mad Men, and the other guy from Veronica's Closet all passed me in the space of an hour. That's also on top of seeing Gilbert Gottfried pushing a stroller in Chelsea this morning.

Mind you, who knows if any of the four were really whom I thought they were - knowing me, I was probably just playing a very good game of Celebrity Lookalikes.
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Monday, October 4, 2010

Book 'em, Danno!

Magnet #955 - Hawaiian Islands

For someone who hasn't been to, and has no plans to ever go to, Hawaii, I sure do have a boatload of magnets from there. It's weird! Not sure who gave this one to me, but it's supercute, thanks.

A fond memory I have living in Chicago in the mid-70s is running into my parents' room, hurrying as fast as I could go because I could hear the thundering score of Hawaii Five-O on the tv. By my count, I couldn't have been more than five or six years old. With a big crush on James MacArthur, who played Danno.

Thirty years later, things haven't changed all that much. Tonight's the third episode of the Hawaii Five-0 redux, and I can't freakin' wait til 10 tonight. Of course, the only difference is that now I have a crush on Alex O'Loughlin, Scott Caan, and Daniel Dae Kim.

If anyone had told me that H50 would be my favorite show of the season - indeed, one of my favorites in a long while - I would have scoffed. When I first heard about it a while ago, I was determined to shun it.

After all, who can beat Jack Lord and James MacArthur? Plus, while I love and own Moonlight, would dreamy Alex O'Loughlin be able to fit in hard-ass Jack Lord's shoes?

On top of that, seriously, CBS? A whole press release about the use of the letter O vs. number 0? Come now. (And yet, I'm diligently using the two different characters - it really does make a difference, I suppose.)

My fears were somewhat allayed when I saw the first teaser for the show, and saw Alex O'Loughlin running around in his bullet-proof vest. It was hot. (It still is. So is this.)

By the time I saw the full trailer, I was already looking forward to the premiere - even though I forewent the SDCC panel in favor of some floor time. (And am now sorry I did.)

But when I finally saw the pilot, it seriously took the opening sequence before I knew the show was going to kick ass...and about 14 minutes in to realize that it would be my #1 show of the season. Now I can't wait for the season to be over, and six months to pass, so that I can own the H50 DVDs.

Best of all, I got to watch the pilot with my parents, which was fun and totally nostalgic.

My dad came downstairs in the middle of the show, glanced at the tv, and without any hesitation or context, goes, "Oh! Chin Ho!" (Score one for Daniel Dae Kim. Actually, score two, because I didn't even go through a "there's Jin Kwon" phase - he's already Chin for me.)

On the flip side, the first time my dad saw Alex and Scott, he asked us, "Who are they?" That's not surprising. Jack Lord was 48 when he did the H5O pilot in 1968, while James MacArthur was much younger at 31. Both O'Loughlin and Caan are 34 - buddy-cop contemporaries, than anything else.

But, it works. Good gravy, does it work.

Mind you, I'm not completely blind, there are a few issues that they need to work on.

I don't necessarily like how the boys have gone and saved Boomer Kono in the last two episodes, and how they've banded together to "always protect her." (even though they were supercute in their uniforms during her swearing in)

I don't want them to always do the boy banter, while it's superadorable, it has the possibility of relying on its cuteness.

I wonder if they're gonna get more people in those empty offices.

And I want them to watch their brand/product integration - they're treading close to annoying me with the pervasive Chevy product placement.

Even with the above, I'm definitely looking forward to how this iteration of the 5-0 goes.

Having watched episode 3, ummm, yeah, it's till number 1 on my list.
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Sunday, October 3, 2010

What IS it about a man and his horse?

Magnet #954 - Faerie folk

I picked this supercute faerie nymph magnet (with her supercute acorn hat and flowery petally outfit!) at one of the booths at the 26th Annual Medieval Festival up at Fort Tryon Park today. Note - this is not to be confused with the Renaissance Festival up at Tuxedo.

Or is it?

The two epochs came and went, back to back - Medieval times being from 500 - 1450 and the Renaissance from 1450 - 1600, so I'm not entirely too sure why there are two different fairs. Feels like the same food, the same dress, and even the same knights, dragons and faeries, really.

The same fun, too.

My favorite part of both fairs - besides all the bad fair food that I so love to eat - are jousting tournaments. There's something awesome and visceral about watching two commanding knights riding their trusty steeds hellbent for leather toward each other, with bloodlusty crowds cheering them on.

So what if the audience sat on metal bleachers cheering and jeering to the sounds of a mic'd up medieval emcee making them do the wave? That aside, you could almost imagine being transported back in time to when the knights ruled the land (across the water, obvi, not Fort Tryon in the Bronx), and fought for the love of kings, kingdoms and fair ladies.

Plus, who doesn't love a strong knight with long flowing hair sitting astride a gorgeous horse?

What? We've discussed this.

Hi. Former romance editor. You can't find a bigger fan at a jousting tournament.
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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Good grief, it's a Peanuts 60th anniversary, Charlie Brown!

Magnet #953 - Peanuts 60 Years

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the Peanuts comic strip, and they don't look a day over eight.

Growing up, one of the best things to do on a Sunday morning was to rifle through the cool thickness of the Sunday paper, to be the first to grab the funnies section (And then the sale circulars, but that's a whole other magnet, I suspect) and read it from cover to cover.

For me, that's generally the only way that I've enjoyed the Peanuts gang. While I watched all of the holiday tv specials at least once, I've never been able to re-watch them every year as many of my friends do. So the strips were always the way for me to visit with Snoopy and his pals.

I don't really have a favorite of the gang - well, maybe Woodstock, but that's probably because (even if I hate birds), I'm partial to little yellow ones. But, then it could be Lucy, just because she was always so mean and a part of me identified with her bossing Charlie Brown around. Or, it could be Linus, cuz he was so faithful. Or Snoopy, cuz I would love to fly a plane and have fake dogfights! Or it could be Schroeder, because of his piano playing. Or Pig Pen, because who doesn't like a little muss every now and again.

Or maybe...yeah, see? Maybe they're all my favorites?

I picked up this magnet at BEA, where they were highlighting the 60th anniversary book, giving away these pins and a supercute yellow presskit folder with Charlie Brown's fun zigzig stripes running across it. And, if I weren't awake so early today (on a Saturday, no less), the anniversary would have gotten away from me.

The Schulz Museum in California has arranged and/or sponsored events at several museums around the country - oh, how much fun we could have, Charlie Brown!
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Friday, October 1, 2010

What makes a keepsake, a keepsake?

Magnet #952 - Smurfs

Today, I've entered the next stage of clearing out the clutter in my life. Or, my apartment, really. Closet, if you want to get specifical.

Ya'll know I've been a little worried that I'm exhibiting signs of a Hoarder. Not like those crazies on television...but close, as it would seem. Instead of collecting random odds and ends like those people on tv, I'm a big hoarder of my life.

Odds and ends that remind me of places, people, events and things. Ticket stubs and tchotkes, programs and cards. Lots and lots of cards. (That's a whole other magnetpost, it seems.)

Just some of the things I've found:
  • My cousin's birth announcement. Hint. She's old enough for Facebook.
  • The registry for my friend's wedding. Hint. They're celebrating their 13th wedding anniversary in a couple of weeks.
  • The Student Caller for my senior year. Of high school.
  • My very first paycheck stub from Putnam Berkley, here in NYC. The job that made me want to run out to Madison and 36th, and throw my beret (if I had one, I'll never tell) up in the air, and sing, "You're gonna make it after all!"
  • The office invitation I got on my first day of work - for office party to celebrate the launch of Tom Clancy's Op Center. Book one, ya'll.
  • Letters, notes, Christmas and birthday cards dating as far back as 1995, when I moved to NY.
  • The cheesy fangurl letter I wrote to all the Loveswept authors when I first started.
  • The sweet letters and cards and notes that the Loveswept authors sent to welcome me on board.
  • The cheesy fangurl letter I wrote to all the Loveswept authors when I left.
  • Two boxes of old checkbooks, ATM receipts and random purchases - dated anywhere between 1995-2001. Hello, paper shredder.
  • The Sears receipt for the first and only tv I've ever bought or owned - a tiny Sony 20" box TV, $352.44 in 1996. (No, I'm not giving her up until she breaks. She's served me well, I won't give her up for a prettier, newer flatscreen model!)
  • A whole photo album that I forgot about. It included this funny picture from Halloween 1994 with my college roommate. I was Jokey Smurf. Though, really, maybe I was ahead of my time and really part of the Blue Man Group? Once you see that picture, you'll know why I picked today's magnet.

So, as I've picked through the last 20 years of my life, the question that's been running through my head all day is, What makes a keepsake, a keepsake?

Example, the plastic winecup with "Iris 2/4" markered on it. What's that even mean? (Toss. Sorry, Iris, you were wonderful to work with, but I can't remember why I'd keep a winecup...)

Another example, the plastic alligator from one of the many, many nights I spent at any number of Brother Jimmy's back in the late 1990s. (Keep. I drank a FISHBOWL of liquor to get one of those.)

In the end, my answer to myself is this:

If you're looking at something and you don't remember the memory (or the person) it's attached to - toss.

If you're looking at something and you get warm fuzzies from it - keep.

After all, you're keeping something for the sake of a good memory!
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