Monday, July 30, 2007

William E. Kumma

OK everyone, I have this friend named Bill Kumma. We were locker partners in high school (Lynnwood High School, of course), and we feel that the locker partner bond transcends just about everything. He emailed me this response to the Randy Couture posting (remember...Ultimate Fighting) and because Bill should be on Broadway, he deserves some kind of fame. Tonight, Bill, revel in the fame of my very modest blog.

Here is Bill's comment:


I couldn't add my comments in "LESS THAN 300 WORDS" (too much emphasis and too many exclamation points...), so I'm going to email my response directly to you and you can post as you see fit:


Not only am I an LHS alum, not only was I junior class "president" (Marjie, you know I use that term VERY loosely), not only do I live back in the beautiful suburbia of Lynnwood, but Randy Couture was my cousin-in-law for a short time! We are somehow still connected by blood... It makes me want to go out and beat the crap out of someone RIGHT NOW!!

Ah, Marjie... I am so envious of your NY adventure - BROADWAY, BROADWAY, BROOAAADWAAAYYY! I wish I could go every year! However, reading your blog is ALMOST like being there... Once again, another of your friends that lives vicariously through you...

GO ROYALS!!! And, thanks to Mission Impossible II for giving us the correct pronunciation of "Chimera..."


Sunday, July 29, 2007


On 57th between 6th and 7th Streets is a four star hotel called Le Parker Meridien. You walk in through the marble floored hallway, turn right and go down a hall with a dark gray curtain, follow the neon sign, turn the corner and you are in The Burger Joint. Rose chandeliers don't class up this little space with cardboard menus warning: "If you don't know what you want when you get to the front, you will be sent to the back of the line." And there is a line. So, as a break from my stroll down 5th Avenue (St. Patrick's Cathedral, NY Central Library, back to MoMa to see the fourth floor with Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol, I got a burger and Coke to go and found my favorite picnicking/napping spot so far in Central Park. I could paint signs and make some money because this spot was so good. And the burger was great.

Later, a few of us went to a Latino Film Festival film, then on to the Meatpacking District to find some food and more music. I was told by a "subway friend" that this was the place to go," an "Adult Disneyland" he called it. "Dress up," he said, then listed all of the celebrities he had seen in the past few weeks: Lenny Kravitz, Sarah Jessica Parker, etc. He wasn't kidding...block after block of people dressed UP. I felt like the country bumpkin from Seattle, and by Seattle standards, I was dressed UP. Anyway, I decided that I am more of a Greenwich Village kind of girl. Greenwich Village could be called the Seattle of NY, in fact, the other night the band we saw looked a little grung-y with their flannel, so I felt right at home. We did have some great food, though, at a Malaysian restaurant called The Fatty Crab. My favorite dish was a salad made of fried pork fat and watermelon. I doesn't sound good, but we trusted the waiter and it was fantastic. We also had Malay fish tempura in a coconut chili sauce, crispy duck, and the chili crab. I had no idea what time it was, but we finished our dinner at 1 am. When I get back to Seattle, I will sleep for a week!

Today Elsa and I were planning to head to Chinatown to taste our way through; imagine how excited I was for this. However, it rained a dark, dreary rain that made me feel like I was in a sauna with all of New York. We got out of film festival Latino film #2 and decided to head to her apartment, which is just north of I-House, in Harlem. Elsa grew up in Taiwan and her mother sends her home with Taiwanese food every time she's home, so since Elsa is my kindred spirit in love for food, she brings me treats to class, like her mother's taro cake and a Vietnamese sandwich ("I figured you would have one less thing to taste when we go to Chinatown.") See why I love this girl? So we went to her place and she made noodles with a package of "Taiwanese" mince that her mother made, topped with steamed Romaine. It was great to have home cooking after three weeks of eating out, and to me, eating this treat from her mother was like striking gold.

Entering my last week in NY and I feel like my to-do list has grown by about 100 things. I'll see how much I can fit in this week, but it may effect my blogging activity somewhat!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah

In the last 36 hours, I have been to Museo del Barrio to listen to an Afro-Rican 13 member "tropical band," to an Irish bar on the upper West Side to hear one guy in cool glasses do the best cover songs ever, to The Bitter End in Greenwich Village to hear one crazy unidentifiable band plus one rock and roll band (think Black Crows plus Ryan Adams), to the Blues House to see four guys from LA, to Broadway to see Spring Awakening, to TriBeCa to a place called The Knitting Room to hear reggae ska and reggae funk, to a Chinese/Mexican restaurant, and to a Japanese/Italian restaurant (that is cheesecake tempura on the upper left and a yellowtail/asparagus/pesto roll on the right). Oh, and I had to stay awake for the second most boring lecture of our three weeks on only four hours of sleep.

So, anyway, Amy, that's why I didn't blog last night. And Karyn, I LOVED SA. "blah blah blah blah blah..." (that is from a great song from the musical, but I cannot write the title here or my blog will be flagged.) Kristy was concerned with the twelve year old boy sitting behind us, though, since the performance is so, um, "progressive." (Mom and Dad, you probably wouldn't like it.) "His parents are going to have to talk to him tonight!" she said. What talent, in such young people!

So, anyway, I have nothing to say right now at almost 4 am, but here is a little post, anyway. I have decided, though, that the live music is going to take up most of my last week here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

You can take the boy out of Lynnwood...

I just had a moment. I'm coming out of The Year of Magical Thinking into Times Square. I look up and see this:

For those of you who are not from Lynnwood, Washington, the guy on the left is Randy Couture...he is sort of a pioneer of UF, Ultimate Fighting, and evidently, he is fighting this Gonzaga guy in the Championship on August 25. Randy is a legend at Lynnwood High School, and "Gonzaga" obviously knows nothing about the toughness of northern Seattle suburbanites.

But wait, there is more. Right next to this billboard is the Millenium Hotel, and guess who is staying there for the next four days...Kristy McCaslin, another LHS graduate. I'm telling you, LHS is representing. What was our mascot? The Chimera? (I just discovered that we all pronounced it wrong the entire four years). I would like all LHS graduates to comment on this posting, showing some Chimera pride. Bill Kumma, Jaci, Kristy (even though you're here), Jodi, Angie, Bill Gillam, Brian, the "L(iy)ndas," Crystal, Patti Bourgault, Glenn, Casey- you taught there...come on and represent in spirit with Randy, Kristy and me in Times Square. (Karyn, I know you may be the only one commenting, so can you pretend to represent from LHS?)

But wait, there is more. Look at the advertisement below the UF's a rat! You know what? I am very aware that every night is Black Hefty garbage bag night somewhere in Manhattan.

So, back to Magical Thinking. Imagine this: you lose someone suddenly within the past year and you go to this play, which is basically a stage adaptation of a book written by one of the best writers alive and it's about the sudden losses she experiences - of both her husband and daughter - over a very short period of time. Not only that, but the person performing this book is Vanessa Redgrave. So you have Vanessa Redgrave describing the exact grief you experienced over the past year, basically acting out your life on stage, and you are sitting in the fourth row. This is how the girl next to me experienced this play - she is from my program - and because I knew this, it's how I experienced it, too. Vanessa was dressed in a white blouse and gray skirt with her hair pulled back with a scrunchy. I'm convinced that she is the only human being who can make a scrunchy look classy post 1990. She appeared on stage in complete darkness, except for her face, after a huge white sheet dropped. Her first words: "You don't think it will ever happen to you," (longest pause in the world) "But it will happen to you" (no, wait, this was the longest pause in the world) "only the details will be different."

I kind of hate to tell you what was going on in my mind during this powerful beginning. I was thinking about my cell phone. Was it off? I knew it was off. But I felt horror just thinking about the mere possibility of my cell phone ruining this moment.

It didn't go off, and I got past that and was pulled in to magical thinking. No intermission, one hour and forty minutes' worth. That is a lot to memorize. I am so glad I saw it.

By the way, guess what Kristy and I are going to see this Friday night? Wait for it, Karyn.....
Spring Awakening! I just couldn't let you down, you know? (Remember, the heavy burdens I am carrying...).

Let's see, what else did I do today? Well, I heard an excellent lecture about Mongols and Manchus by a professor named Morris from Columbia. Then I saw the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum, filled with, um, really cool designs. While I was there, I took a few renegade photos (I didn't know better until reprimanded) so here's one for Brian, my brother who has always had a thing for flashlights:

And here is one that was just fun to figure out. Sorry it's not better, but it is contraband, and if you click on it, it should get bigger. The bottom middle picture is Cheney, and the bottom right picture is a gesture.

My favorite part of the museum was outside in the garden, and I will let the pictures explain it, but we saw water purifiers, water carrying devices, shelters, cooking devices, etc, designed for those living in poverty. It made me want to look up all of the websites and support these designers.

I have no proper conclusion for tonight, so I will just say "Go Royals!"

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Can you spell Guacamole en Molcajete?

Today when we walked into class, we were handed checks for $1500 (we are getting three installments). Last summer, I sold myself into Chinese slavery in order to get a "free" trip. This summer, "they" are paying me to hear experts lecture, to take tours, to see Broadway shows and to drink Vodka tonics in the Rainbow Room. Does anyone know how I can get this job full-time?

This is a picture of the view from the Rainbow Rockefeller Center, where my favorite new sitcom is based: 30 Rock, with Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. We had a drink here (yep, that's the Empire State Building) after seeing a Broadway show that is getting a lot of buzz lately, Spelling Bee. Jon, Kristin and I were able to get "student rush tickets" for $25 each...what a deal! By the way, if you go to the half price ticket booth on Tuesday or Thursday afternoons, you can walk right up and have your choice of about twenty shows. Anyway, we loved this quirky, fun musical. They included people from the audience and so had to use a lot of improvisation, which is always so impressive if done right. My favorite two were a little girl who looked exactly like "Little Miss Sunshine" and a Rabbi who smiled through the whole thing. The Rabbi kept spelling words correctly that he was supposed to get wrong (and therefore exit the stage) and the little girl, well, I don't think this is the last time she will be on Broadway. She took a bow and after the show we talked to her outside...she was still beaming, reveling in her fame. Anyway, smart, smart writers and actors. We laughed all the way was politically incorrect on all levels. So much fun. Tomorrow night I am seeing The Year of Magical Thinking...a play based on the book by my writing idol, Joan Didion, and starring Vanessa Redgrave. Did I mention I am getting paid to do this?

We had the afternoon off, so many of us took advantage of "Restaurant Week"--you can eat lunch at NY's best restaurants for $24 from a fixed menu. I went with the Rosa Mexicana group and had freshly made guacamole, a salad of chicken, avocado, jicama, oranges and cucumbers, enchiladas moles (a sauce made with chilies, almonds, raisins, Mexican chocolate and bread) and coconut flan. The best part of the meal was Sandra, pictured here, because she had NEVER tasted guacamole before....never! And you get to see the event captured on film! Actually, until today, she had only eaten Mexican fast food. Her favorite taste? The mole. But here is a secret that I am only going to tell you: my mole is better. I have eaten it in Oaxaca, you know, so I don't mean to brag or anything- I am just stating a fact. My recipe is from a Oaxacan mother, and I can put just a little more Mexican chocolate in it, if I want to.

Our cafeteria at I-House is actually not bad. We eat there for breakfast and sometimes for lunch, but only because we were forced to pay for it in order to stay here. My favorite guy on the line is very cheery and is always speaking Spanish to people in line. So the other day I answer him in Spanish and we have a nice little chat. He is from Puebla. When I tell him I've been there, of course he lights up and says:

"So, you have had the mole!"

I say, "I love the mole!"

He tells me he has been here for fifteen years, and that he doesn't miss Mexico because "The USA is the best!"

"But the food is better in Mexico," I suggest.

"Ah, but my wife is from Puebla! See?"

Yes, I do see! So with that story, I will leave you with a picture of coconut flan, with sugared mint and dried pineapple on top!

Monday, July 23, 2007

"My Baby"

In contrast to the beautiful weekend, it rained like a mother all day today. I should have taken my shampoo outside this morning because the water pressure would have been better than the I-House shower. Seattle rain gets such a bad rap, but it is actually such a nice, subtle rain...kindly moisturizing us and never causing too much of a scene. Just like laid-back Seattleites.

New York rain, however, is a quick and mean rain. It usually erupts violently, out of nowhere, and gets everything out of its system, then goes back to being innocently sunny within minutes. Like emotional New Yorkers. They swear at and threaten cab drivers, then turn, laugh, buy a hotdog and kiss their girlfriends (saw this yesterday).

Not so with the rain today. We're walking home for our lunch break, trying not to fly with our umbrellas, soaking from head to toe, and Kristin, a New Yorker, says,"It's a NorEastern." But I was too wet and miserable to ask her what that meant. It has lasted all day, and we had to make our way to the Natural History Museum to see the Hall of Asian Peoples Exhibit. My socks were soaked the whole time and the museum was filled with wet children on field trips. I prefer my Holden/Squaw's Bosom was so quiet that day! Tonight is the first night that I have preferred staying in my little box, drying out, and I even ate in the cafeteria.

I know.

Anyway, I want to finish writing about Sunday. You know most of it now, but I want to tell you about Alphabet City... four blocks, A,B,C, and D, all east of the East Village. A number of community gardens are sprinkled throughout this neighborhood--actually, community members have rescued these lots and made them beautiful-and I stumbled upon one yesterday. This huge pile of wood and found objects is quite a sight. Here are some images (the picture at the top is three stuffed horses...can you see all of them?):

Evidently, this piece is called "My Baby" (see sign below). There is a memorial with candles outside of the gate for Eddie, but I'm not sure when he died. I guess he was really well-loved, though.

I also took a nap in Central Park again today, hmmmmm. Such a good nap, too. I walked around the Conservatory Gardens and found the perfect place. Everywhere I look, I see places I want to come back and read a book, like here:

While on the north side of the park, I heard singing and tambourine playing at a United Pentecostal Church, so went to have a look. The church was moving. Really. Shaking.

One more thing. Later, at the Italian restaurant, after the rat attack, I had the best Italian meal, at Max SoHa on Amsterdam, sitting outside on the deck. Malbec wine, roasted beet salad with avocado and goat cheese (I will be so ready to eat my beets from mom and dad's garden) and then homemade black truffle pasta with shrimp and spicy puttanesca sauce. Enjoyed it too much to take a picture for you, though...sorry. After dinner, about eight of us met for wine at a place near I-House.

Now, that is a good day! Except, I think I am forever changed, because of the rats.

Good night!

Answers and a Winner

Answers to the quiz from yesterday:

1. Yes, it's the restaurant from Seinfeld. I didn't know that it's only one block from Columbia until right after buying my avocado milk bubble tea (it's sooooo good, you must try one) and a guy says to me, "Excuse me, but would you take my picture in front of Seinfeld's restaurant?" and when I look up, there it is...a scene I have seen hundreds of times!

2. Yes, Inauguration Day. I can't even think about how far away it is.

3. From Wikipedia: Billing itself as a place "where stars are born and legends are made," the Apollo became famous for launching the careers of artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Gladys Knight & The Pips, The Jackson 5, Patti LaBelle, Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Ben E. King, Mariah Carey, The Isley Brothers, Jackie Wilson, Lauryn Hill, and Sarah Vaughan. .

4. No one got this right, but Karrie would have if she had checked the blog (and she may have shuddered). It's an arepa from Venezuela. An arepa is a flat cornmeal cake, best when fried on both sides and filled with something yummy. Venezuela was not the best place for food (lots of schnitzel), and Karrie and I got SICK of arepas. Usually they were cold and hard and were the only thing we could find in the bus stations. Yesterday's, though, was filled with pabellon, which is the Venezuelan traditional plate of food: shredded beef, black beans, plantains and white Mexican cheese.

Melissa and I found this place in the East Village yesterday...I had actually seen it three years ago with my mom, but we were full (a horrible state to be in while walking the streets of NY) so I had to pass. Imagine, finding it again when I was hungry and reversing the memory. We also had fresh guacamole with plantain chips and a Columbian beer. Great lunch!

5. Yes, this is the Riverside Church, built with Rockefeller money around 1930. I attended here yesterday morning, just to hear the acoustics (the soprano sounded great) where MLK gave his speech!

Again, from Wikipedia:
Modeled after a famous French cathedral (see Architecture below), the Gothic Riverside Church remains not only an important landmark for tourists, but also an important center for lively political discussion. Past speakers at the pulpit have included the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., articulating the immorality of the Vietnam War, Nelson Mandela on his first visit to the United States after being released from prison, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan after September 11, 2001, and Fidel Castro during one of his rare visits to the country in 1999.

So, the winner is my #1 fan, Karyn, who never sleeps. Congratulations, Karyn! You have your choice of prizes: 1) I will buy an arepa from the restaurant, Caracas, in the East Village on the day of my flight and by the time I get home and bring it to you in Bellingham, it will taste just about like the ones we had in the bus stations in Venezuela. Coagulated cheese and all, a true cultural experience, or 2) something else. What will it be?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Waffles, Chickens, Rats

If you are looking for the Game (with Prizes), look right below this posting.

Before I tell you my Wandering Sunday Morning story, I must tell a story that will top Brian's Spokane Raccoon Story. Just five hours ago, I was walking with a friend to an Italian restaurant about six blocks from I-House. It's garbage day, so Hefty trash bags line the sidewalks. Suddenly, at a very narrow juncture between trash bags and brownstone, a huge, hairy rat darts out from under one of the bags and runs over my feet. I start doing a "rat dance" when the rat's brother darts out after him, under my feet. And their cousin was right up the street, laughing at the whole thing. Three huge, hairy rats on the sidewalk. One touched my foot. I was wearing sandals. They looked nothing like the rats on Ratatouille.

My friend remembered the lyrics to the Rolling Stones' song, "Shattered":

"Don't you know the crime rate is going up, up, up, up, up To live in this town you must be tough, tough, tough, tough, tough! You got rats on the west side Bed bugs uptown What a mess this towns in tatters Ive been shattered My brains been battered, splattered all over Manhattan"

Man, I cannot tell you how it feels to be living this song.

So it's been five hours since the rats attacked, and my adrenaline is still quite high. But I am still going to tell you about my Wandering Sunday Morning (since I am afraid to turn off my light). I can't tell you all of it, though, because if I did, I would give away the answers to the quiz.

I woke up early and decided to take my walking cards north through Harlem. This was probably not the best idea, for a couple of reasons. First of all, Harlem is not the safest part of the city. I walked through many beautiful neighborhoods, but many were very poor with visible drug problems. The second reason it wasn't the greatest idea is that I walked past about fifty Chicken and Waffle restaurants...Sylvia's Chicken and Waffles, Ruth Ann's Chicken and Waffles, etc. I love Chicken and Waffles for breakfast (I had them for the first time while in LA last January at Roscoe's). But you can't eat Chicken and Waffles alone; it's like, when you are a glutton so early in the morning, you need a partner in crime. Chicken and Waffles alone is sad. Then again, if I did eat c and w alone, I wouldn't tell you about it. So maybe I did.

So I'm a little scared, and very hungry. But here's the thing...Harlem was dressed up and going to church. Churches are at almost every corner, and men dressed in three piece suits and women in hats and gloves and colorful high heels were like magnets being pulled from every corner. So then you can't be scared. At one point, I passed the Abyssinian Baptist Church ---Harlem's first African American church, dating back to 1808. When I turned the corner, there was a line of touristy looking people, waiting to get into the church service. Sorry to say, they looked very casual, and in comparison, downright sloppy. One man in a suit turned the corner and addressed them in a very stern voice, "There will be no flip flops in this church." Which raised quite a ruckus because so many girls were in flip flops (obviously, this pack of tourists has not been attacked by rats yet). It was amusing, sort of. I mean, I thought of the long history of this church and this neighborhood. Rewind about forty years or so and I think you would have seen a very different scene on that corner, and flip flops worn by white tourist women were probably not part of it.

Anyway, I need to go to bed, but I want to leave you with some pictures of famous Harlem brownstones before I lay down on my plastic mattress to get some (much needed) sleep. Here you go:

*Answers to the quiz will come tomorrow evening, as will discussion of the rest of my Wandering Sunday.

**And, Seattleites, we live in a ratless city. Rejoice. And don't tell me if you've seen one there, either.

New York Blog Game (with Prizes)!

Brian, the fabulousness of your "intermission" is forcing me to step up this posting (see posting below). I am forced to offer prizes! Here are five places/things to identify - all taken during my Sunday wanderings. The winner will receive something very fabulous and original from New York City (or Spokane, same diff):

1. Does this restaurant look familiar? If so, why?

2. Name two stars who got their start at Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater.

3. What is the significance of this date? (it's on a are seeing Broadway reflected in the window).

4. What is this and where is it eaten? (hint: I have been to this country and I was culinarily confused there).

5. This church is in South Harlem (SoHa), a block from my dormitory, and a very famous civil rights minister made an anti-war speech here 40 years ago. John Edwards- making his statement as the most anti-war presidential candidate- was here recently, "in Hilary's territory" (she is seen here often), making reference to this famous speech. What is the name of the church?

OK, if you are having trouble posting, just email your answers to me, and I will post them for you. The first to get the most right wins. Good luck!

Brian's Fabulous Intermission

This is Marjie's little brother, Brian, again. A few posts ago Marjie expressed some annoyance (and perhaps a little concern) that I had stopped commenting on her blog for a few days. The truth is that I was doing a little traveling myself, and I thought I would tell Marjie about it in "Glob Post" form so that I could simultaneously make all of her other readers jealous of how fabulously well traveled Marjie's whole family is.

I went to Spokane, Washington, for a few days to visit my mother-in-law. For those of you unfamiliar with Spokane, Washington, rest assured that it's just slightly less fabulous than New York. Probably a close number two for fabulousness. Just as an example, Spokane is home to the world's largest Radio Flyer wagon. (Eat your heart out, Museum or Modern Art!)

Kristi and I brought our mountain bikes and along with Kristi's mom, Bonnie, we rode along the Centenial Trail, which connects Washington and Idaho and I think part of Montana. (But we didn't go quite that far).

We also saw a raccoon, ate at a Red Robin, and one morning we had some very American yogurt (which we enjoyed because we don't know any better).

We didn't have any humbao, not even squished.

Well, that's all for my report. Hope I didn't steal too much of Marjie's thunder. Now I'll return you back to your regularly scheduled programme...

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Today, while standing in front of Van Gogh's Starry Night at the Museum of Modern Art, I find myself thinking the same thoughts I always think whenever I stand in front of masterpieces...this is the ONLY place in the world that THIS piece of art exists...

But standing in front of this work is trumped today when I get home and read my email. My friends Henry and Casey, both teachers at Meadowdale, are spending their summer in Holland on a teacher home exchange (yeah, I know, how cool is that). Both of their kids, Harry and Julia, are with them. I asked Casey for permission to share this story (because she doesn't have a little brother who started a blog for her, poor thing, and she should, because I am enjoying their trip immensely)...but you'll see why Julia (16) will just yawn at my day after hearing about her night in Amsterdam:
"We arrive at the Van Gogh Museum to meet Julia.  Despite
my motherly fears,she arrives on a bike, clear-eyed and
cheerful. I do not sense she has spent the night in an
opium den. Amalia heads off to work, and we get in
line for the museum. Here is the conversation:

Mom: So how was your adventure last night? What did
you do?

Julia: Oh, we had dinner with Amalia's family, then we
rode bikes all over the city, drank some wine at a cafe,
and hung out at Vondelpark with her friends.

(Note: Julia is three months shy of the legal drinking
age here, but I am giving her a pass, because she will
not be here three months from now. Did I mention she
is oppressed?)

Mom: Did you like her friends?

Julia: Yeah, they were great. Oh, this one friend of
hers, Van Gogh's brother was his great great grandfather.
(She pronounces it "Van Gogkkkkkhhh"like the Dutch.)
And his dad was murdered, you know, that guy
who got killed because his movies pissed off the
Muslim extremists?

Mom: You hung out with the son of Theo Van Gogh,
the filmmaker?

Julia: Yeah, I guess. He was really nice.

I don't even know what to say. This is an experience
to have on your first trip to Amsterdam. If you don't
know the story of T. Van Gogh's murder, google it.
I've read that the Dutch consider it their 9-11, in the
sense that it changed the way this country views
religious tolerance. TVG is a national hero, a martyr
for free speech and artistic expression. Julia got
to chill with his son at Vondelpark? No big deal."

Uh huh.

Here is another excerpt:

"Why don't we have a tram system like this in Seattle?
I know there must be a good reason. (On a side note,
why isn't our yogurt as good as theirs? Dutch yogurt
is rich and creamy and comes in flavors like fig and
rhubarb. We put a man on the moon, what's up with our
lame yogurt?)"

Which made me think of something I wrote in October
of 2001 from Norway:

"The only items that I really prefer here are yogurt
and chocolate; in fact, Mr. President, I know there
is a war against terrorism going on, but could you
please see to it that someone looks into why we
don't have good chocolate or yogurt in the US?

Yep. It's clear what the president's priorities have
been since then.

I can't get this to let go of italics, so I will just
let it be.Here are some more works that spun me around
today: Matisse, Kandinsky...Picasso.
Les Demoiselles
only changed the art world in 1907, and here
I am, standing right in front of it. This is the most
amazing museum I have ever been to; it was impossible
to digest one work before I would gasp and see another.
I just wonder now how there is enough art in the
world to supply other art galleries!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Buckets of Fire

Would you be taking note- would you be, say, at all concerned-if your condo burned down, and then your school burned down?

Scriber Lake High School burned last night...they were going to demolish it anyway, so everything was out of it, but still. I told some NEH people about the fires in my life and one guy says, "I'm moving out of I-House." Which is ironic, because...again, I am not making this up...when we returned tonight at midnight, we heard a fire alarm, and suddenly four fire engines were pulling up to I-House. It was only a cooking fire, but still. So, would you be concerned?

And would you be concerned, say, if you ate humbao for your brother, and he just stopped blogging altogether? Just wondering.

By the way, the red in the Imagine sign at Strawberry Fields today...strawberries.

A very full day today, and yesterday...but I'm only talking about today. We went out to Staten Island to see the Chinese Scholar's Garden. So we're going to play a game here. Guess which pictures are from Suzhou, China, and which ones are from Staten Island, NY:

Ater touring these gardens, which gave me deja vu thinking of last summer, we were treated to a special bamboo flute concert by this very gentle man, right in the garden. He played about five different flutes and the sounds coming out of them were so beautiful.

We took the Staten Island Ferry back to Manhattan and got a pretty close look at the Statue of can you NOT get chills when you look at that and think of all the hope tied up in it? We got some dinner (not even worth mentioning, can you believe it) and then walked to Central Park where Neko Case was on the (free) summer stage. Neko is from Seattle and I describe her as part Patsy Cline, part Alannis Morrisette. It was fun to hear her here..last time I saw her, at the Woodland Park Zoo, literally, buckets of rain fell after she covered Bob Dylan's song "Buckets of Rain." She even said tonight that natural disasters usually follow that song.

We decided to head home through the park, down "the mall" and went underneath an overpass where we discovered a bunch of people dancing in a circle. Evidently, every Friday night from about 9 on, a man teaches Armenian folk dancing underneath this overpass. We decided to join in and learned three dances-- holding pinkies, not hands. "Pinkies, everyone!" he kept saying. It was fun, and added something new to the statement "I went out dancing Friday night."

Then we walked ALL the way home, which we figured was about three miles. And you know how food tastes SOOOO much better at midnight, well, this falafel was heavenly:

Jerusalem falafel is a famous institution in Morningside Heights (where Columbia is). I don't know what they do to their chickpeas, but they are so good, and they use all fresh vegetables. Then we finally came home to the fire alarm. Jon, the one who made the comment about moving out of I-House, just shot me a dirty look. I had to apologize. I don't know why fire drama follows me! Anyway, Melissa and I got our pictures taken with NY Firefighters, which is a good end to any night, I think.