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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Bishop Jefferts Schori

Next weekend the Episcopal church will be installing our new presiding Bishop, Kathleen Jefferts Schori. She will be the first female Primate of the Episcopal church in almost 520 years of its existence. History in action.

The cool thing is, her instillation will be webcast live next Saturday at 11AM EST on the Episcopal News Service website (link will be posted as it becomes available). Bishop-Elect Jefferts Schori will also preside over All Saints Day services next Sunday from the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., which I believe will also be webcast on the same website.

Can I just get a woot for the National Episcopal church? It's a good time to be a part of the Anglican Communion.

Friday, October 27, 2006

whistle while you work

Today was one of the more fun days at work.

We got about 2 dozen samples of jewelry from Robert Wander in, and we needed to photograph it and upload it to the website for the editors at Elite Traveler. They will look at all the pictures and decide which pieces they want to request for a photo shoot next week.

So! Alex, Mara and I spent the morning photographing each piece of jewelry (and trying things on, of course). Then, Alex tweaked all the photos in Photoshop while I put together a website template. Now I'm just waiting for the photos so I can fit each one into the template and voila! Instant virtual "look book."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

happy citizen kane day!

Just to tell you how much my husband is made of awesome, when he came home yesterday, he had a dozen red roses. When I squealed with joy and asked what they were for, he said, "Happy Citizen Kane day!"

Turned out, he also had already purchased the tickets for the show, and a bag of my favorite movie candy, Raisinettes.

I love this man

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

rosebud was a red herring

So, as many of you know, I was a film major in college (or a Moving Image Arts major, as my college so pretentiously called it). This makes me, by default, something of a film nerd. I can't help it; when you spend four years of your life living, breathing, sleeping, and eating some of the most amazing films ever made in the art form's short history, you learn to love it or hate it. I happen to love it.

I do, however, try to keep my filmic ramblings to a minimum for my own sanity and yours. I discovered my freshman year of college that movies (regular movies, the kind you pay 12 bucks to see at the google-plex) had been ruined for me by my ongoing education. I could not just watch a film any more; I had to analyze it -- the camera angles, the lighting, the direction, the mis-en-scene -- as though it were my assigned film and I were preparing my 20-page freshman thesis (true story). I was horrified!

It took some time (and an intervention and a 12-step program), but eventually I learned how to relax. Now, I'm proud to say that I can sit back and watch Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby without tearing my eyeballs out of my head. I can actually even manage to be marginally amused by it. Marginally.

As a matter of fact, the further I get from my college graduation (HOLY CRAP where did those three years go???), the more I find I have to really put my game face on if I want to actually analyze a film. I've gotten a bit out of practice.

But film geeks never really die, they just fade to black.

Every once in a while, something will stir these feelings in me again. I was driving home from work last week when I saw just such a thing. It was the marquee for the little art house theater at the corner of my block. Two summers ago, they started showing classic films there at 9:00 every Wednesday night (though, their idea of classic might not be everyone's as it includes Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure).

This week, the marquee reads: "Citizen Kane Oct. 25 | Maltese Falcon Nov. 1."

I nearly died of joy right there in the middle of the road. Two of my FAVORITE films, and, arguably, two of the best films of all time. In fact, I think this little theater may be paying me a loving farewell as we get ready to leave this fine state, because this is their lineup for the next five weeks.

I cannot even begin to express my love.

And, speaking of film geekery, being the crazy party animal that I am, I plan to spend my Halloween night here watching The Phantom of the Opera (1925), Buster Keaton's Haunted House (1921), and a Felix the Cat cartoon with orchestration provided by live musicians. This too has me doing the film geek dance of geeky joy.

Somebody tape LOST for me tonight, kay?
Top Ten Reasons Why Ants Are Better Goal Setters Than You Are

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Feeling cultured today, as last night we attended a concert at the new Segerstrom Concert Hall which is one of the new buildings in the OC performing arts center. My choir director had a bunch of free tickets to see tenor Rolando Villazon and I snapped them up. Culturally enriching and free? I'm there.

It was really very enjoyable. We walked (yes, walked -- the performing arts center is literaly about three blocks from our apartment) to the new concert hall and took in the architecture before the performance. It's a beautiful building and the acoustics are amazing. Rolando was enchanting and did about six encores -- but he seemed to be having such a good time, who could blame him. I was thrilled to pieces that he sang Per la Gloria d'adorarvi from Griselda and Faure's Apres un reve, both of which I have sung in my very modest singing career. He did a much better job than I ever have, and it was fun to hear them sung so beautifully.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Books

What Should I Read Next? is a web site that will recommend books for you based on what you read last or what you're reading now.

Seems like a pretty cool service, although it didn't recognize some books I put in -- like "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" or "Peace Like a River." But when I did get it to recognize a book ("The Thief Lord"), the list of recommendations seemed pretty cool.

The same site is also betaing a a film and music recommendation site.

Monday, October 09, 2006

before there was blogging

One of the first things I loved to do on the internet was find cool sites and share them with friends and family. In college, I ran a tiny little weekly "newsletter" -- mostly to friends and family, but a few perfect strangers! -- that listed cool, useful, and interesting sites I came across on the net. My "freshman thesis" as they called it back then, was an ENORMOUS web site I called "The College Student's Guide to the Internet" which listed dozens of useful sites for college students.

Well, the love of sharing interesting and useful websites has never quite faded. As some of you know, I now have an account with del.icio.us that lets me (and you!) access an organized list of websites I've bookmarked. You can always visit there to see what I'm looking at lately, but here are a few of my latest finds and faves:

Lifehacker is my new daily (if not more-than-once-daily) destination for all things awesome. "Lifehacker recommends the software downloads and web sites that actually save time." I've already bookmarked about half a dozen articles that I'm going to want to come back to in the near future.

Apartment Therapy is a blog based on the book of the same name all about living with thoughtful design. I'm big into design lately.

Achieve IT! is a blog about goals -- another kind of lifehack, I think. I've just started reading it, but so far it seems interesting.

Speaking of goals, Joe's Goals is a nifty little free, online application for tracking your progress toward achieving your goals. Elegantly simple and uncluttered, like the life we all strive for.

And speaking of nifty free apps, my mom clued me into 37 Signals for fantastic free web-based software to help you get organized. I've started using Backpack every single day as a sort of landing page to make lists, notes, and record thoughts.

Thrifty Planet is "The largest free directory for thrift stores, antiques, recycled merchandise, earth friendly items and more."

And I just found this one today, CHOW magazine has now gone entirely online, including a cool food media blog called The Grinder.

TTFN! Ta-ta for now!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

FOOD

It is a GORGEOUS day, and I have already been to the UCI farmer's market where I purchased a dozen organic brown eggs; a loaf of whole wheat Irish bread (don't ask me what makes it Irish, I don't know) which the gentleman said was good for sandwiches -- not as good as the regular Irish bread, but better for you; two pounds of the most beautiful, adorably tiny, and sinfully sweet green raisin grapes I have ever tasted; a little bundle of toothpick-thin late-season asparagus; two yellow squash; an ENORMOUS zucchini; and a very adorably petite butternut squash which, the nice lady with the baby on her hip told me, was picked yesterday.

I may be very excited about this. I think I am going to make a vegetable omlete for lunch.

~*~

Several people requested the recipe for the Spicy Pumpkin Cake I took to critique group on Thursday (and which subsequently ended up splattered all over the front seat of my car) and so I deliver.

Spicy Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Chunks
From the Kraft "Food & Family" Fall 2006 magazine:

1 pkg. (2-layer size) spice cake mix
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened, divided
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
6 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup thawed Cool Whip
2 Tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cake mix as directed on package, reducing water to 1/2 cup and increasing oil to 1/2 cup. Add half of the cream cheese, the pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger. Beat on medium speed until well blended. Stir in chopped chocolate. Pour into greased 12-cup fluted tube pan or 10-inch tube pan.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.

Mix remaining cream cheese, whipped topping, and sugar until well blended. Spread on top of cooled cake. Cut into 16 slices.

Lacy's Additional Notes:
I made this cake almost exactly as directed, except that I substituted 1/3 less fat cream cheese and fat free Cool Whip. I baked the cake for more than an hour, and it still came out rather more gooey than I would have liked.

Making it a second time, I might reduce the oil to the 1/3 cup called for on the cake mix box. I imagine you could reduce it even more if you added the entire can of pumpkin puree. Also, I think that using egg beaters instead of the regular eggs (called for on the cake mix, and not listed in this recipe) would have worked just as well. Also, it would have been just as good (maybe better) without the chocolate. I like the combination of dark chocolate and pumpkin, but this cake was already so dense, I think it could have done without the added richness.

The recipe also notes that you can use yellow cake mix in place of the spice cake mix if you prefer, but I thought the spice cake mix gave it a lovely pumpkin pie-type flavor.