Wednesday, March 31, 2010

greettings to You, Good freind

Ever get one of those Nigerian scam emails-- or, say, fifty in a day-- and wish there was some way to get back at these people, for their blatant dishonesty and apparently very low opinion of your intelligence? Good news: there is. Even better news: there is a website devoted to publishing the often-amusing, occasionally-disturbing results.

After a certain point, they start to blur the line between "pranks" and "performance art."


Another day, another labored portmanteau word.

I don't like wine quite as much as shoes (this is a good thing, for many obvious reasons), but I am rather fond of it. So, I thought, why not write about it? I mean, aside from the fact that I know very little about wine writing, and while tasting I tend to make things up, like "nuances of chalk" and "I'm getting pretzels on the nose*". But no matter. No one's going to go out and buy something because I wrote about it, so I figure I can just go ahead and say whatever.

So, Pierce Tourbillion. Vital statistics: 43% grenache, 37% Syrah, 20% petite syrah. Color: red. Consumed with: various leftovers, while sitting out on the balcony on a sunny Sunday, reading and enjoying the view of the Wheel Works across the street. Tasting notes: Medium-bodied, easy on the tannins. Good afternoon wine. Pairs well with an early Terry Pratchett.

Purchased: At the Pierce tasting room in Monterey, found entirely by accident when we were looking for another place (chosen at random) that we later learned to have closed. But it was late and parking near Cannery Row was expensive, so when we saw that this place was open we decided to give it a try. And as random decisions go, this was one of the better ones, because the wines were delicious and interesting and reasonably priced, and the guy running the tasting room (who turned out to be the son of the owners) was friendly and knowledgeable. Plus, I came up with a tagline for one of their other wines**, of which I am fairly proud. I also gave a moderately tipsy*** lecture on the use of twitter as a social networking tool, from the point of view of the consumer, of which I am less proud, if only for the length of it.

But, such is wine.

*Actual statement, not related to snackfood-tossing.
** More on that later.
***It was a good tasting room, and I am a lightweight.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Shoesday: Shoes of History

As hard as it may be to believe, there was a time when I owned no designer shoes at all. No, really. My closet was a mid-range shoe wasteland, populated by the serviceable and the attractive, but absolutely barren of the ludicrously expensive. Then, one day, at the Nordstroms in Walnut Creek, I came across a rack of shoes they were clearing out because they were re-arranging their high-end shoe salon. And these shoes were there, and they were Ferragamos.

My grandmother, one of the most truly stylish people I have ever known, had some Ferragamo shoes she had gotten in Italy, and I had always associated the brand with a sort of glamorous grown-upness. Which certainly helped me in my decision-making, but if I am being truly honest, I can not actually remember the precise moment, and the thinking that led me to it, at which I crossed the border into this bold new world of the fabulous, and fabulously expensive*, shoe.

Which is probably how it should be. One's mystical moments in life do not benefit from too much awareness.

*Even, let's face it, when they're on sale.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Solanaceae Wishes and Lycopersicum Dreams

We were away last weekend, taking advantage of the nice weather to drive down the coast so I could get my lips sunburned*, and while we were gone I dreamed that I came back and all of my plants had wilted and died, and it made me very upset. Which has me a little worried now: Is there such a thing as a crazy tomato lady?

Also, on a related note, one of the pepper plants had to be banished to the outside, due to it's having developed a large and thriving aphid population. I'm hoping a swarm of ravenous ladybugs will move through the area this afternoon and take care of them for me. After all, I've always tried to be good to them.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Shoefinder: American Idol Edition

As has been widely pointed out, this season of American Idol has been kind of tragic. So, clearly, what they need is some new shoes. That should fix everything.

(I am also offering song suggestions, though since next week's theme is R&B my depth of knowledge is not that great. But I am trying to limit myself to the last thirty years, which is something the contestants haven't seemed to have managed very well.)

Aaron Kelly:

This season has been somewhat overrun by young, male pseudo-heartthrobs of variable singing ability. And while Aaron does vary somewhat more towards actually having some, he has a distressing tendency towards big country ballads, which don't really suit his stature, or any enterprising producers hoping to turn him in to the latest in the recent stream of teenybopper cash machines. So I am offering these shoes as not only some good-looking shoes, but also as part of a bigger, youthifying makeover, which also includes the suggestion of a song that those putative teen fans might actually buy to listen to on their ipods while they fantasize about the inevitable day when he takes them to Winter Formal.

Song: "In My Head," Jason Derulo

Andrew Garcia:

For this year's former-gangbanger-turned-acoustic-strummer-with-neck-tattoo (aren't you sick of the type?), I am suggesting an understated but still kind of stylish loafer, to be worn sans sock, of course, while trying to recapture his one good moment on the show so far, when he sang a brilliant acoustic version of Ms. Abdul's "Straight Up" in the Hollywood round. He won't be able to, but at least he can have some shoes he can wear to job interviews after the show is over.

Song: Poison Bel Biv Devo

Casey James*:

For the guy in the "laid-back-hunk" role, I like the idea of a Chukka boot, the better to stroll around the stage while strumming on his guitar and singing with, if not a whole lot of energy, at least the awareness that he is a performer on a stage and a general grasp of the notes.

For this season, that's big.

Song: Change the World Babyface

Crystal Bowersox:

Issues of vocal ability aside, there just aren't a lot of people in this season who you could actually see as singing stars. I mean, you can look at their individual performances on the Idol stage, and you can say, "they did this and that well," but as for actually imagining them creating albums and headlining shows, it takes some stretching of the imagination.

Crystal is not one of those people. She clearly has a very good sense of who she is and what she wants to be, and she backs it up with singing ability and stage presence. I'm not sure she would be quite such a dominant force in a stronger season (in the days of the BattleDivas, she might have come off as a bit to subtle), but in these days of scarcity she is extremely welcome. My only suggestion is that she step up her style a bit-- keep the relaxed earth-mama look, but add some more dramatic touches and more upscale items. I like these for the way they reference Rastafarian colors for Our Lady of the White Girl Dreads, with out taking it too literal.

Song: No More Drama, Mary J. Blige

Didi Benami:

I don't have any big justification for these. They're so pretty! She's so pretty! And kind of underrated, I think. It's rare for Idol that the prettiest girl in the finals is also one of the most talented, so here's hoping she doesn't end up feeling like she needs to pull a Haley Scarnato and dress in increasingly tiny outfits every week.

Song: Another Sad Love Song, Toni Braxton

Katie Stevens:

I'm sorry, I just don't have anything useful to say about this year's robot pageant princess. But I really like these boots (they're waterproof!) and am seriously considering getting them in the black. Because as much as I like the red, I just think they're a little too superhero for everyday. Unless every day you are Wonder Woman. Of which seventeen-year-old Katie is neither wonder or woman, but hey, shiny!

Song: No Scrubs, TLC

Lee Dewyze:

To paraphrase Voltaire**, "If a rocker did not exist, it would be necessary for the American Idol producers to invent one." This year, in the absence of a stronger alternative, Lee here has landed the label, and he's doing a decent enough job with it. Not enough to merit some real rock and roll shoes, but good enough for a somewhat toned-down alternative.

Song: Closer, Ne-Yo

Michael "Big Mike" Lynch:

Big Mike is big. Big guy, big voice, big cheesy hand movements while he's singing the big songs. I don't think there's any way to reasonable expect him to tone it down, so I figured the best thing to do was to take it the other direction and find him some big (in terms of boldness of style) shoes.

Song: Woman, Raheem Devaughn

Siobhan Magnus:

Who doesn't love the little glassblower with the lungs of steel? She's made a name for herself being a little quirky, a little spacey, and shrieking into one giant note at the end of every song she sings. Which is cool, and it's her, and I certainly couldn't do it; but I think it's time that she took a break from treating every song as if were her audition to play Siryn in the next X-Men movie. Perhaps it's time to let her shoes do the shouting for her?

Song: I Don't Wanna Fight, Tina Turner

Tim Urban:

See Aaron Kelly, above, remove all references to vocal competence. Honestly, the kid must be coated in teflon, he's slipped through so often. But, failing that, I am offering some really cool shoes as a distraction. You've got to admit, they'll look pretty nice doing totally unnecessary slides across the stage, and when he executes an ill-advised stage dive into the audience and the small and confused girls they put in the front row drop him on his head, the shininess will help the stagehands find him before he gets torn to bits.

Song: Motown Philly, Boyz II Men***

*No relation.
**Hey, look at me! I'm fancy!
***Look, we all know it's not going to be good; it might as well be hilarious.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Why Crocs Will Destroy the Universe

(Author's note: It hardly needs saying that the following applies equally to Uggs.)

Occasionally, people try to convince me that wearing plastic gardening clogs out in public isn't so bad. I kill them, of course. But there are a lot of misguided people in the world and if I tried to go around killing them all I would never get anything else done. So I will try and convince the rest of you by using the combined forces of reason and a very loose interpretation of the second law of thermodynamics.

Firstly, though, we need to establish some basic assumptions.

1. Crocs are ugly. They are fat, chunky plastic things, brightly colored Mickey Mouse feet with holes in them. No one ever put on a pair of Crocs, looked at themselves in a mirror and thought, "Damn, I am bringing it."

2. Did I mention that they are made of plastic? Unless you are employed in certain specialized roles in the adult entertainment sector, you should not own any items of clothing for which the care instructions are "wipe clean with a damp cloth."

3. There is, in fact, a situation where brightly colored plastic sandals can be cute. This would be when the wearer is under eight years old and has not yet mastered shoelaces. I can understand not wanting to give up the good things about childhood, like summer vacations and waterslides. But why would any adult in his or her right mind want to reclaim the time when they couldn't quite get the whole "rabbit goes into the hole" thing?

Everyone clear on those? Okay then. On to the Universe.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics, Heavily Paraphrased states that in any system, entropy can only increase. Which means that every time someone takes the lazy way out, every time a grownup decides he or she doesn't need to put on real shoes like the rest of us, every time the words "but they're comfortable" are uttered as an excuse, the total entropy of the universe is increased by that much, and we inch ever closer to annihilation by disordering.

Really, it's just plain logic.

Shoesday: Shoes in Action!

There's really no reason to use the picture of me untying these shoes, except that it is the one that came out the best. No, actually the point here is to ask for an opinion: Are they cute? Frankenstein shoes*? Nurse shoes? Frankenstein's nurse? I am torn, but I'm still kind of coming down on the side of "cute."

But I admit, I may be wrong about this one.

*This was Fiona's assessment on first seeing them, one that I could not entirely dispute.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I Think You're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat*

Having, on the Advice of Mom(tm), transplanted the seedlings that were coming up two to a pot (in order to avert a tomato plant murder-suicide), we are now up to a grand total of forty-five.

Anybody want some tomato plants?

*Balcony, whatever.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What Not To Sell

What Not To Wear, the show that makes its stock in trade throwing away people's obnoxious "humorous" t-shirts, has a website that sells obnoxious "humorous" t-shirts.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Shoefinder: Cornelia

This is Cornelia. She is a writer and she has a new book coming out. A book I love, even though, in the very opening scene, the heroine mocks a woman for wearing stiletto heels. It's just that good.

A person who has a book that good coming out and is going on a book tour, to support it and to give her fans a chance to fawn over her, that person is going to need some shoes. And not just any shoes (is there really such a thing?). No, she is going to need special shoes.

Special shoes for every stop of her tour.

March 30th LAUNCH, 12 p.m.
Seattle Mystery Books-- Seattle

As everyone knows, the primary activity enjoyed by residents of Seattle (colloquially: "Dampies") is tossing fish around. The practice dates to 1897, when an unusually wet summer caused the salmon to swim up into the middle of the city, and the locals had to run around throwing them back into the ocean in order to preserve the year's catch. In their honor, the practice continues to this day, and when visiting the city, it is considered a sign of respect to wear shoes relating to their proud tradition. Also comes as flats.

March 31st, 7 p.m.
Book Passage-- Corte Madera

On the other hand, are you sure you really want to fit in in Marin? Wouldn't you think to do that, you would probably have to wear some sort of all-natural, sustainable/fair trade, extremely expensive but kind of boring heels? But no, thinking that sort of thing would be short-sighted and unkind. Instead, I prefer to see it as an artsy hipster enclave where the residents will have embraced the recent craze for streamlined oxfords and are always excited to welcome a newcomer who understands the value of livening things up with black leather and silver studs, tastefully applied into their midst.

April 1st, 7 p.m.
M is for Mystery-- San Mateo

Now this, this is a tough one. You see, San Mateo is where I, personally, live-- a bare three blocks from this fine bookstore, no less. So I can hardly make fun of it for being an enclave of yuppies and retirees, where the only shoe store exclusively stocks comfort brands so ugly, that I have never felt even remotely tempted to shop there, because I would only be making fun of myself. And you know I'm not about to do that. So let's just forget all that and focus on celebrating the fact that at some point in the foreseeable future, a tiki bar is scheduled to open in the downtown area.

Yay, umbrella drinks!

April 2nd, 7 p.m.
Borders-- Pasadena

It just so happens that Pasadena is the city where I went to college* (at a school that is, shockingly, not participating in the Madness of March, possibly due to conflicts with robot-fighting tournaments**), and therefore I can say with authority that if Cornelia wants to fit in with the local student population, she should show up wearing ancient sandals that may or may not have at some point been repaired with duct tape.

If, however, she would rather look more like a sane adult, I would suggest something more along the lines of these.

April 3rd, 3:30 p.m.
The Mystery Bookstore-- Los Angeles

Ah, Los Angeles. Land of sun, sand and faces not found in nature. What shoes are appropriate for a journey into the heart of SoCal? Serious shoes, I think. Shoes that say, "I may not be from here, but I can hold my own against your hottest residents, so bring it, people of El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles del Río de Porciúncula."

April 9th
Mysterious Bookshop—New York

(stock signing only)

There are boots, and there are boots. A trip to New York, stock signing or not, calls for the latter. But what kind? High fashion over-the-knee boots? Fun and funky two-tone boots? Kind of badass, just-this-side-of-hooker platform boots? Or sleek, sharp, no-nonsense, flat-out-sexy boots?

Yeah, I think I'm going with the last one.

April 15th, 7 p.m.
Murder by the Book-- Houston

There are, of course, the obvious shoes for Houston. And there's nothing wrong with that. After all, what's the point of making sweeping generalizations based on things vaguely heard about a place, if you can't use them to save you some effort? Besides, cowboy boots are cool.

But Houston is also a city, a city which, for most of the year, does not have a lot of cows just hanging around waiting to be rustled or gotten along, and Cornelia is going to look pretty silly if she goes and shows up in full-on boots out of season. Which is why I am suggesting these; boots that let the people know that she is aware of where she is, but should not be expected to wrangle something at a moment's notice.

Also, this is unconfirmed, but I have heard reports of an appearance in Vermont.

*In fact, I believe this is the Borders I went to and hung out in for a couple of hours after my first college boyfriend dumped me. I find books very soothing.
**Or possibly because they have not won a game since 1985.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Introducing: Alphabracket

This year, inspired by a contest on another blog, I created my first-ever bracket for the March Madness. I am not what you would call a serious basketball fan*, so I have no idea which teams are likely to win, or why. But sheer randomness in my picks would never do; I would never remember who I was cheering for, and I tend to drop coins when I try to flip them. I needed some sort of methodology for choosing my teams, which is why I settled on: alphabetically.

I don't see how this could possibly fail.

*Unless what you call "a serious basketball fan" is "someone has never actually watched or cared about a basketball game." I don't know how you do things.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Things With Bacon In Them: A Partial List

(This post secretly written by the ghost of William Shakespeare.)

Lately, people seem to be getting kind of nuts about bacon. Not that I don't understand that-- bacon is definitely tasty, what with its winning trifecta of pork, fat and salt. But there are lots of other things that are also tasty, and people seem to just eat them, instead of engaging in a nationwide obsession.

Maybe it's a reaction to the recent outbreak of fat panic, maybe it's a residual offshoot of the Atkins craze. All I know is, these days the intertubes are overrun by people selling a huge variety of products featuring or related to bacon and/or artificial bacon flavoring. Below, in no particular order, I have assembled a limited sample of the offerings:

1. Bacon
2. Salt
3. Coffee
4. Vodka
5. Mayonnaise
6. Ice Cream
7. Cheese Spread
8. Chocolate
9. Alarm Clock
10. Air Freshener
11. Beer
12. Envelopes
13. Mints
14. Jelly Beans
15. Dental Floss
16. Lip Balm
17. Jam
18. Jerky (multiple flavors)
19. Lollypops
20. Peanut Brittle
21. Soap
22. Candles
23. Can
24. Duck

But, How Would They Know What He Smells Like?

Have you ever asked yourself, "I would like to find some examples of paranoid schizophrenia, but I just don't know where to look."? Yes? Well then, I suggest you try the "Contact Us" form on the Pentagon's website. Also handy if you need examples of a basic lack of understanding of physics!

Although, the bear thing would totally work. The trick is to figure out how to get them to call you when they find him.

(via Dave Barry's blog)

Shoesday: Practicing What I Preach

True confession: Not all of the shoes I post in the Shoefinder feature are wholly original discoveries made specifically for the Shoefindee. Sometimes* I will use shoes that I own and like as a starting point, and look for more in that brand and/or style to recommend. Which can't be that much of a bad thing, after all, who wouldn't want to be more like me?** Which is a long way of getting around to saying that these (waterproof, Sperry Topsiders with houndstooth-printed pony hair detail) were the inspiration for the suggestion of same (or at least similar) for Abigail. Original? No. Comfortable? Yes. Waterproof? Apparently. Preppy? So very, very much.

*Actually, somewhat more than "sometimes."
**Please don't answer that.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tomonday? Mondato?

Yes, I am posting pictures of my tomato plants every Monday. Yes, I realize it isn't very interesting. No, I'm not going to stop doing it, because I have nothing else to post on Mondays.

It's a blog; these things happen.

Friday, March 12, 2010


The old rule about having your bag match your shoes has been out of style for several years now, as the fashion world has discovered that non-identical accessories do not make one's limbs burst into flames. Which is a shame, because I dream of the day when I am walking down the street and see someone coming towards me wearing these:

With this:

And, honestly, at that point you might as well complete the outfit.

Shoefinder: Sandals for Mary

This is Mary:

Mary needs some sandals. Let's help her, shall we?

Mary needs sandals because she has moved to Boston, where they have Humidity, which I understand can make closed-in toes a problem in the summer.* After further questioning, I have determined that Mary is seeking sandals in two categories: Fancy and Not Fancy. Fancy is to be worn during the day, but also with dresses, and possibly out to dinner in the fine watering holes of the greater Boston area. Not Fancy is for regular daily wear-- clearing lobsters off the doorstep, making her way through groups of Revolutionary War re-enactors on the way to the grocery store, learning to mispronounce her R's-- and therefore should be more comfortable and, ideally, sweat-resistant.

Got it? Okay, let's get to the shoes.

Not Fancy:

These are so Not Fancy as to almost border on orthopedic, but I think they are saved by the slight shine and the narrowness of the straps. There's something appealing about this huarache
(shown, left), and it's not just that I happen to like the dish of the same name (thank you, Frontera Grill in the Union Square Macy's). I mean, that helps, but mostly what appeals here is the use of a traditional form with some modern details. Also, I am a big fan of the Frye shoes and their comfort level. Another thing that I am a fan of: shiny stuff. Also: studs.***

And, do you know what? After all this time and all these shoes, I still have not lost my capacity to be surprised. Take these (right), for instance. They're Tevas-- yes, the same as the brand that those guys in college who were kind of cute but didn't shower often enough always wore, regardless of the weather, as if at any moment they might be called upon to go rock climbing and they wanted to be ready. But it turns out that they also make some kind of cute stuff; not earth-shattering, mind you, but cute.

Still, these are cuter.


Shiny. Shiny. Shiny(left). Shiny. Sparkle! Shiny, but with fun tread, that might detract from the Fancy, but it's fun so I wanted to include it. Also, I realize probably outside of the budget for the fun-but-weird option, but this is a blog, not a purchase order.

Wedges, because I persist in believing that they are the most comfortable way to buy oneself some height, and can pass for more casual than heels.

And then we have this one, for which I have no excuse. It flies in the the face of my stated aversion to spending any significant amount of money on shoes that can be injection molded, but I just can't help it: I think they're pretty.

*You wouldn't like her when she's sweaty.**
**Actually, you probably wouldn't care, but she would be uncomfortable, and that wouldn't be nice.
***No, not like that. Sheesh.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Man In the Gray Suit

It has now been officially too long for me to continue blogging about the Japan trip, which is probably for the best, really. Not that the trip wasn't great and fascinating, but I think one of the reasons* I never finished writing about it was that my posts were devolving into, "we went here and it was cool, we ate this and it was delicious, you wouldn't believe the things they have in toy vending machines in Akihabara**." But there is one good story from that trip that I really think needs to be told, if only for its cross-cultural strangeness.

Tokyo, despite its warm summers, is not exactly overrun with outdoor cafes. But we did find one, on Omotesandō in Harajuku, a street that would be considered a city's major shopping corridor, if that city was not Tokyo. The cafe was on the second floor, overlooking the sidewalk on a block between two major subway stops, and serving a variety of cheesecakes and lattes with pictures drawn in the foam.We got a table at the edge of the patio, where we had a good view of the street below.

There was a lot to see.

For the most part, it was what we were coming to recognize as the normal Tokyo street scene-- kids in school uniforms, pairs of girls in matching outfits. young men in loud plaids with dyed and gelled hairstyles, office workers in suits, the occasional teen girl dressed as Strawberry Shortcake or a reasonable facsimile thereof-- everyone on the move. But after we had been sitting there for a while, a few anomalies began to emerge. There was the nicely-dressed woman who came out of the train station and stood by the curb, looking up and down the sidewalk, clearly waiting for someone who never came, and who eventually gave up and went back down into the station. And the young mother who let her small son, dressed in a sort of watermelon costume, stop to pee in one of the planters. There were the guys handing out packets of tissues printed with advertising slogans (popular apparently because toilet paper was uncommon in public bathrooms, according to the guidebook, though it was not a problem we ever had***). And there was the man in the gray suit.

He was standing off to the side of the sidewalk, which was fairly wide. A young man, maybe in his late twenties or early thirties,**** well groomed and reasonably attractive. His suit, it turned out, was not actually gray, more of a fine black-and-white check, three pieces and well-fitted. He would stand there, sometimes for quite a while, and then, picking someone out of the crowd, he would move in.

It was always a woman, and she was always alone. Mid-twenties to late thirties, not too trendy or too professional-looking. Not on her phone or walking like she had to get somewhere. (After a while, we started looking ahead up the street, trying to guess which ones he would go for, based on his apparent criteria.) When he spotted one, he would join the flow of the people, walking fast enough to come up and fall into step with her. He would greet her, apparently introduce himself and then, most of the time, get the brush-off and reset to start again.

Every once in a while, he would get one to stop and listen to him. If she stayed for long enough, he would take an accordion-folded pamphlet or photo strip (or something) out of his pocket and show it to her, talking very seriously the whole time. She would nod, and look serious too, but he would do almost all of the talking.

Mostly the exchanges only went on for a minute or two, though he got one to stay for close to ten minutes, just talking. At the end of a successful exchange, they would both bow, he would hand her a business card and she would walk on. And he would set himself back up-- usually in a slightly different spot-- and do it again.

We had all sorts of theories as to what was going on. Panhandling, at first, because when a someone is approaching random strangers on the street, what they generally want is money. But if he was, then he was the only one in Tokyo, and he wasn't very good at it, seeing as no one ever gave him anything. We also thought he might have been agitating for some cause-- just a little further up the same block some earnest young people were doing the petition-and-collection-box thing for earthquake victims. But he wasn't handing out pamphlets or asking anyone to sign anything, and why, in that case, would he be focusing on young women? I was big on the con artist theory; that he was spinning some story to these people, complete with heartwarming pictures or evidence of some sort. Letting them just walk away seemed a little odd and ineffective, and it still didn't make sense why they all had to be women, but maybe they do cons differently in Japan.

It wasn't a perfect theory, but its best competition was that it was a technique for getting over a fear of speaking to strangers. Which, while no less outlandish, makes for less of a story.

We went back to the same cafe a few days later.***** We hoped to see the man there again, but he never made an appearance. Someone else did, however, and finally threw some light on our questions. Which, in a way, was almost too bad.

WARNING: Do Not Read Past This Point If You Don't Want This Story To Get A Lot Less Interesting

The new guy was working about the same section of sidewalk as Gray Suit had before. He was older, with long, frizzy thinning hair and oversized, skinny shoes that turned up at the ends. And around his waist he was wearing a short apron with pockets full of hairdressing tools. That was when we remembered the other thing we had noticed about this area: that it was absolutely lousy with hairdressers, five or ten shops to a block in some places. There was even one connected to the cafe. There was no con here, no terminally shy guy working through his fears. Just a striving stylist with a wallet full of haircut pictures and a good eye for a potential customer.

I suppose I should be relieved. I mean, I don't want nice people getting conned. But, well, it would have been a better story.

*Well behind "lazy."
**I mean, if you're old enough for that sort of thing, aren't you a little old to be collecting plastic figurines?
***Though it did end up coming in handy at one point in the Bloomingdales in the city.
****Shut up, that totally still counts as "young."
*****This was towards the end of the trip and we were somewhat run down. Or hotel, which was very cool and Japanese and surprisingly affordable, unfortunately had a bed that was so hard that neither of us was sleeping very well. Which meant that, as the trip went on, we spent a lot less time bouncing from one place of interest to the next, and more time sitting around having snacks.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Shoesday: Damn You, Jennifer Lopez

I love these shoes. I even wrote a thank you note to the Federal Government about them. Which is why it pains me so deeply that Ms. Lopez has written a tragically terrible song in which their brand is featured prominently; the kind of cheese-soak ode to conspicuous consumerism that wasn't that interesting when the Black Eyed Peas did it 2005*, and showed a serious lack of relevance in late 2009.

I'll admit it, as lovely as they are as shoes, part of my adoration does stem from the brand name, and those famous red soles. But-- and I realize that what follows may make no sense at all-- it's about ridiculous luxury and wholly inappropriate glamor, not some sort of dry goods scorekeeping, and certainly not the kind of crass materialism that thinks "luxury" is repeating a brand name over a lame dance beat**.

But, you know what? Whatever. The song was an instant flop and La Lopez showed up at the Oscars looking like she had gotten dressed by running headlong through a UPS store, and my shoes are still cool. So there.

*Though it was ever so slightly redeemed by, of all people, Alanis Morissette.
**I am not linking to the song here, because I really don't think anyone needs to hear it.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Everything's Coming Up Tomatoes

Except for the pepper plants. For obvious reasons.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Emergency Makeup Update

We interrupt your regular shoes-and-randomness blogging to bring you this important Emergency Makeup Update: Lipstick Queen in Saint Coral is the greatest almost-not-there-but-totally-there lipstick shade ever. Ignore the coral thing; it's not like that. Really. Trust me.

This has been your Emergency Makeup Update.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Shoefinder: Awards Shoes For Sophie

This is Sophie:

Sophie is an author. More to the point, she is a mystery author. Even more to the point than that, she is a mystery author whose debut novel has been nominated for the 2010 Edgar Award for Best Debut Novel. Yay, Sophie!

The Edgar Awards are given out at a banquet/ceremony in New York in April, an event that is something like a combination of the Golden Globes, Oktoberfest, a church rummage sale, and the waning days of the Roman Empire*. So clearly she is going to need some Shoes.

Now, since everyone knows that once you are a published author, unlimited fame and money are simply a given, I will proceed with the assumption that price is no object. (As it happens, that is my favorite assumption.)

According to her post from shoe week at Pens Fatales (which I can not find for the life of me, so you're just going to have to take my word for it), Sophie is quite tall, and she recognizes that the only thing that is better than being tall is being even taller**. This is a position I heartily endorse and therefore I can not help but recommend the Yves St. Laurent "Tribute" sandal, possibly the most sublimely ridiculous platform on the market. And believe me, I've looked.
Of course, sheer height isn't the only way to impress people; sparkly fabulousness also works quite well.

I suppose there is something to be said for the lovely and classic pump, but I'm not sure why you would bother when there are shoes like these on the market.

(It's a good thing being an author is such an incredibly lucrative profession, because some of these are starting to get a little rich, even for my blood.)

Now, it is true that springtime in New York consists of days of skipping through fields of wildflowers with dew-flecked lambs, so she may prefer a shoe to reflect that. And indeed, what could be more delightfully unassuming than to wear sweet, dainty sandals while crushing the souls of your enemies***?

On the other hand, sometimes you want to be able to telegraph your soul-crushing abilities, especially when you are competing in a very tough field. And, for my money,**** nothing sends the message "I could destroy you" better than a really fine pair of boots. (Not to mention the fact that it would make an excellent tie-in to her books, about a woman who knows a thing or two about destroying people. Not that she would actually wear boots like these but, you know, psychologically.)

No matter what course she takes, I'm sure Sophie will choose wisely***** and go to the party and have the kind of good time you wish you could remember more of. Because that's what it's all about, isn't it?

That, and world domination.

*Barbarians, etc.
**I am not tall. In case you were wondering.
***This generally occurs in the bar, after the ceremony.
****In this case, somewhat more than my money.
*****As it turns out, she has actually already bought some shoes; these, to be specific. But I've never let reality get in the way of my blogging before, and I see no reason to start now.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Neighborhood Fruit!

No it's not a website for those looking for/phobic of cul-de-sacs of the flamboyant. And yes, it does have one of the dumbest taglines I have come across in a long time*. But this website is, in its undeniably loopy and Californian** way, kind of an awesome idea. Basically, if you have a fruit tree/blackberry bramble/zucchini infestation that is providing you with more produce than you need, you post it here and people will arrange to take some of the surplus off your hands. Conversely, if you live in a completely fantastic but undeniably third-floor apartment and would really like to have some Meyer lemons, you can visit the site (free to everyone while it's in beta, don't know how long that will be), find someone with a tree near your work, and go help yourself. Everybody wins!

(Especially me, because Cameron made Meyer lemon-poppyseed muffins for breakfast today. I like muffins.)

*My suggestion for a better one: "When life gives you way too many lemons, make a website to get other people to come and pick them."

Monday, March 01, 2010