TRANSKEI TERROR

Screening and fundraiser this Saturday, May 7th @ Brooklyn Brainery in Carroll Gardens! Hope you can make it!

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Ghazal

My family has a small writing group, and my uncle Tad created our last assignment: Write A Ghazal. The Ghazal is an Arabic poem made up of several rhyming couplets, but the first and second line end with the same word, and each subsequent refrain ends with that first word again–if that didn’t make sense, it will, below. A traditional Ghazal is about love or pain, but then, what good poem isn’t?

I don’t pretend to be a poet, but here is my Ghazal. It’s called “Sigh” and is dedicated to my beautiful 5 month old daughter!

The weight of the world expelled in her sigh
Slow breath upon tiny chest, an innocent sigh.

Watch the sun set and her mood temper,
blinking eyes grow heavy, ever-resistant sigh.

See her father in those eyes/ fair hair,
mama’s presence mirrored in her sigh.

More long nights, fractured sleeping,
a glass of wine, a burdened sigh.

Nothing lasts forever, even tears,
years from now I’ll miss her sweet sigh.

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Dear Mr. Cockroach

I’m sorry I killed you. Well, not that sorry, because I wanted you dead, but it looked kind of painful as you writhed around in your post-Raid haze, so I’m sorry for that, from a humanitarian standpoint. I hope the toilet-flush took you to a better place, and you’ve been reincarnated as a butterfly or something lovely like that. Now, I have a quick question for you. Where did you come from? My cat found you in the bathroom, and now I can’t go in there without checking above, below, inside, and behind every surface. And then when you temporarily skidded away and hid in the radiator, I wondered if maybe you came from there? So, if you wouldn’t mind telling me how you got into my house, and more importantly, if you have any brothers or sisters, or children that I might find at a later date, PLEASE, be a dear and let me know. My sanity is dwindling.

Yours cordially,

Alex

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Catching up on Movies: Rachel Getting Married

Have you ever been to a wedding where you didn’t actually know the bride and groom? Maybe you were a plus one or the neighbor’s kid, added last minute to fill a seat? Well, that’s how I felt at the nuptials in Ted Demme’s Rachel Getting Married. I spent much of the film wondering, “Why am I here? I don’t even know these people.” And yet I still had to sit through the endless speeches at their rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and reception, and all the awkward family drama that littered each and every scene. Maybe I was supposed to think, “Wow, this couple’s diversity and love of eclectic traditions and music warms my heart.” But when I wasn’t rolling my eyes, I was looking at the clock.

The awkwardness I felt was very intentional. As a voyeuristic audience member I was nervous and uncomfortable when dysfunctional Kim (Anne Hathaway) came home from rehab for the wedding. Kim, who only thinks of herself and shits on everyone just to make sure she is in the spotlight at all times. Always self-deprecating, always holier-than-thou. From the get-go I couldn’t stand her, but was that Kim or was it Anne Hathaway, the bubbly teen from Princess Diaries all grown up? The fact that her character annoyed me so much means she must have done something right!

The family saga is complex and heartbreaking, and not one of them—from Tom Irwin’s impressive performance as the desperate father; Debra Winger as the detached mother; or the fed-up sister, excellently played by Rosemary DeWitt—knows how to deal with their problems, either individually or collectively. It is for that reason that each family scene is so painful. For years they’ve been bottling up their pain and misdirecting their emotional support. Sounds just like a real family!

As you are consistently slapped in the face by skeletons-in-the-closet, it becomes increasingly clear that this family’s problems are not going to be resolved within the span of a weekend wedding or a two hour movie. If anything, I left feeling drained, depressed, and dissatisfied. Characters may have come face-to-face with their problems and gotten a few gripes of their chests, but nothing was resolved. The elephant remained rigid in the room. Not just that—the elephant crashed the reception, caught the bouquet, and probably shagged the priest.

But I realize I may be in the minority. This movie did pretty well and earned Anne Hathaway an Oscar nomination—the performances were definitely the highlight. Overall, I felt that there wasn’t enough happiness to forgive the sadness, enough growth to make up for the selfishness, or enough cake to send me a slice through the ethers. Maybe Netflix can work on that last part.

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Pretendetarian

Last night I dreamed an infomercial. Over and over again, no matter what else was going on in my dream, I kept coming back to this infomercial. Actually, it was more of a celebrity interview, but there was an underlying psychology being peddled to viewers:

Tome Cruise, the spokesperson, sat at a long table brimming with boiled cabbage, legumes, lettuce—a bevy of healthy, low calorie items. When the camera panned in for a close-up, Tom began fervently cutting into the boiled cabbage with a knife and fork. “Mmm,” he said, widening his eyes with gusto, “this pork roast looks fantastic!” And taking a big bite, he moaned with delight.
Next, he speared a carrot stick and chomped into it, rolling his eyes toward the heavens.
“You see,” he explained, stretching his arms wide around the table, “I am a pretendetarian. I can eat the foods I love–fries, ice cream, pasta–and still maintain a sleek physique, just by pretending that my boiled beets are really beef wellington; my carrot sticks are greasy fries; and cabbage wedges are potato chips.”
Then, Tom Cruise wrapped his fist around a huge bowl of sprouts and drove them into his mouth with a grin. He chewed with euphoria, and I imagined the rich sinful taste of spaghetti carbonara instead of those thin, wispy seedlings.

Okay, so it was a very strange dream, but when I woke up I couldn’t stop thinking of Pretendetarianism. I’ve heard the term before, but it usually refers to people who say they’re vegetarians but actually aren’t (do they scarf burgers in the closet, or what?). But this type of Pretendetarian is more motivated by a fantasy, mind-over-matter, or “emperor’s new clothes” style of culinary indulgence.

Could be a great diet. I’ll give it a try and let you know.

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We’re getting the band back together!

Okay, that’s a lie. I don’t have a band. But I’m reinstating my blog, after a lengthy hiatus.

I’m going to ease in gently with a top five.

  1. The upside down question mark. ¿Por qué no utilizamos nosotros en inglés?
  2. HAUSU. Possibly one of the wackiest most creatively absurd films I’ve ever seen. Loved it.
  3. Tomfoolery. A word I don’t use nearly often enough.
  4. Our awesome new SodaStream. One of the best “green” decisions I’ve ever made, and super fun to use when it makes the whiny fizzing noise!
  5. Renewed appreciation for the things I take for granted. After living in rural South Africa for a year, and having read stories of the tragedy in Haiti, I remind myself to be grateful for the little things. When I want to take a shower, WATER comes out of the pipes–a luxury we did not often come upon in South Africa. We went as long as 6 days with no water, and it was tough on us, both mentally and physically. Electricity, too. That was another big one we went without on countless occasions. Needless to say, Andy and I got very good at UNO while living abroad. I don’t want to get sappy, but I do feel grateful for everything that I have. When we got back from South Africa to find out that our storage unit had been flooded and we’d lost nearly 1/2 of our possessions we realized it wasn’t so bad. We have our health, we have each other, we have half of our Ikea sofa, and a few other randoms that I probably feel much more appreciative of than I did before. Well, except the Kitchen Aid Mixer. I still don’t know what the hell I’m gong to do with that.
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NEW TRAVEL BLOG!!!

Hey! I’ve set up a travel blog at http://africa.potatoriot.com/.

So far we’re having an amazing time.

xoxo

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Quick Update

We went to a music festival in London this past weekend called Field Day.

It rained the whole time and it was pretty dizzamn cold, but we had dorky rain ponchos so we stuck it out because we were having a BLAST! I’ve never been to a festical in the UK before, so it felt very apropriate to be stuck in the pouring rain with thousands of like minded people.

I saw Laura Marling (again. I’m becoming obsessed!). Once again, a great show.

Also Noah and The Whale, who are quickly gaining popularity since I saw them briefly at SXSW.

Lightspeed Champion; Howling Bells; Jeff Lewis, Efterklang, The Mae Shi (wicked)…

of Of Montreal, who aren’t my favorite band but they’re always doing crazy stuff up on stage, like bizarre cultish rituals, or staged fights between a mime and a guy in a donkey mask….

Les Savy Fav. Again, not one of my favorite bands musically, but the lead singer is crazy to watch. He strips, throws shoes at the audience, throws beer cans, tells jokes, spews water into the air, borrows hats from people in the crowd, etc. Quite a spectacle.


A crazy UK band called Filthy Dukes. When they first started to play I felt like my dad, thinking “What the heck is this racket?” But it quickly grew on me and I was jumping around and having a blast. It’s electro/techno/indie with hip-hop thrown in courtesy of Master Shortie (who is adorable, BTW), and well worth a listen (IMO).

We stuck it out from 12pm until 9pm, but left just before Foals. I am sure I’ve heard of them, but I don’t actually know their music, and we were just too tired after having stood up in the rain alllll day long!!! And the bathroom lines were almost ONE HOUR long, so that was a pretty good argument to leave early.

All in all, it was a great day. I love it in London. If only it weren’t so expensive!!!

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Top Five (yes, CountryGirl, you prompted this post)

Moving to Africa in 3 days. THREE DAYS!!! (okay, more like 3 weeks, because we’re visiting Andy’s family in the UK first) Which reminds me:

CONGRATULATIONS TO ANDY FOR FINISHING HIS PHD!!!

This calls for a Top Five Things I’m Going To Miss…

1. My friends. I have amazing friends. I was going to list them all, but I’m sure I’d accidentally forget someone, and they’d find out, and then they’d get mad, and that sounds too complicated. But if you know me, know this: you’re an awesome friend!

2. Thai food. I’m not going to find any of that in the Eastern Cape… buh-bye Pad See Ew. 🙁 🙁 🙁

3. Independent films. I recently saw The Fall, and I loooove this movie!the_fall_3 It was shot in something like 18 countries, and the visuals are absolutely stunning. Not to mention the story is captivating, the little girl (Catinka, I love that name!) is ADORABLE, and the lead actor is pretty hot as well. If this movie rolls into your local art house cinema, check it out! Or put it on your Queue.


4. The Soup. I have a deep and profound love for Joel McHale… and I’m really gonna miss his beyond-hilarious show. picHe watches every ridiculous reality show and then shows clips. It’s like TV Cliffs Notes, and I don’t know what I’m going to do without it!

5. I was torn between 2 things for my #5 spot. Frozen grapes, and high speed internet. Both are amazing. Both are things I will probably not have in Mt. Frere…. Sigh.


Now you tell me: What would you miss the most?

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4th of July and other things

ped egg!The Ped Egg. The TV ads make me want to puke, and yet I can’t change the channel! People on infomercials look so happy. More Stepford than happy, but still, it’s hilarious. Does anyone have one of these? If so, I want to hear about it. Warning: Do NOT watch the Ped Egg infomercial while eating. Seriously.


blood
Also, Andy and I were flipping through the Village Voice, trying to find something fun to do for 4th of July, and we came across an ad for TruBlood. HUH? What? Have you heard about this stuff? I don’t think it’s real though. Apparently there’s a new HBO show called True Blood, and I guess this is their promo/gimmick thing. The website’s kind of funny. They describe blood types like wine, and you can take a quick quiz to find out what blood type would be to your liking. Good times for Vampire lovers.


And speaking of 4th of July, how was yours?

Here’s what happened to us, because we had the most ridiculous day ever. EVER!

*We decided to go to Staten Island to see the Staten Island Yankees (possibly the worst farm team ever). It’s very out of the way, and it was a bit rainy, so we hemmed-and-hawed about whether or not to go, but finally decided we really wanted to see a baseball game.

*We took the subway down to the ferry.

*Then we took the ferry across the Harbor to Staten Island.

*Then we walked up to the stadium… and the game was sold out! Nooooo!!!

*So we walked back to the ferry… and there were no more ferries back to Manhattan for 3 hours! Nooooo!!!

*We roamed the streets of Staten Island looking for a place to have dinner for an hour! Finally we got a table at a decent looking dive bar, which was fine until a couple of guys came in and started a brawl with the wait staff of the restaurant! It was crazy. They had to take it outside and were throwing punches for like 5 minutes. Finally the cops came to break it up.

Never a dull moment!

We made it back to Manhattan around 11 and went to a friends party to play Master Ball—don’t ask.

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