February 22, 2010

Faces, facets, and fanpages

I was just talking to someone who blogs about markets, under a pen name, and how his article got linked to by a big name writer in that area. But since he writes under a pseudonym, will anyone ever really attribute that article to him? How do we prove we are our pen name? Do we need to? What's the benefit and drawback to being anonymous online?

I was trying to find an article about this very topic on Penelope Trunk's blog (I'm still looking and that's a post for later--WAIT, here it is) but came across this blog post of hers about social media identity instead:

Because mashing our social media together for the purpose of marketing one feed to another dilutes the value of social media. If you express yourself in the same way on a blog and on Twitter, then you don't need both.

Each of us is multi-faceted. With a selection of media to choose from, we can express different parts of ourselves in different ways.
(Emphasis mine). I cannot agree with this point more. I used to always complain with my friends would write a LJ entry and then post the exact same thing on their MySpace. They'd get mad and say they could do what they want, but they were missing the point. Why would you just repost the exact same thing, when you have 2 audiences with the potential to write twice as much? I'm just going to stop reading one site or the other if you post the exact same stuff. This is why I will not follow any Twitterers that simply post links to a blog, or add a company on Facebook that just says the same stuff I can find on their homepage.

Richmond Noir

Richmond is 2 degrees of separation as usual.

I had found the collection of short stories, Brooklyn Noir, a little bit ago at a used bookstore. I got bout halfway through and thought it a clever concept--several short stories, each centered on a partiuclar Brookyn neighborhood, told in the noir style.

Little did I know there was a whole series of books for other cities, most newly, our very own RVA!

I first heard about Richmond Noir from reading I Could Go On and On's blog post about it, not realizing the series were connected.

I got my copy on a whim at Chop Suey yesterday, after being drawn to the cheap used book sale outside the store. I haven't bought a new book in a long time, and Chop Suey was offering 10% off. I also combined with Joe and we got 10 books for $5 fron the outside carts (8 for me, 2 for him. He doesn't really read fiction, so less to choose from for him). I got a biography of Nicole Kidman, several short stories, a Larry McMurtry book (a fav author), a book about retaining customers (in case I ever open a shop), and some quick-read novels. Yay.
I spent 5 or 6 hours yesterday evening reading Richmond Noir cover to cover. I hadn't sat quietly in my apartment and just read a book in way too long, so it was a perfect way to spend my Sunday. I heard they are having a reading on March 4 at NY Deli, so I might go to that.

February 19, 2010

things i want to see, and the crow

I'm not normally a movie person. Especially not when 2 people at the movies costs more than a meal at most places!

But after being hammered with advertising for nearly 6 months, I want to see
Shutter Island
twisted storylines, I legit want to know what happens, I like a scary story

and also
Alice in Wonderland
star-studded, cool visuals, Tim Burton obvs, classic story

I want to rent:
A Single Man
I talked about this awhile ago,and missed my window for seeing it in the real theater. I can hope it will come to the Byrd, but I doubt it. Colin Firth, gay storyline, the 60's, stylish, Juliane Moore looks fantastic.

I just watched:
Whip It
Good story, watchable, but somewhat unrealistic and choppy plot at times (and I am SO not a plot critic). I really need a roller derby name.

Did you know that Vera Wang designed The Crow's skating costumes?
(photo: Oregon Live.com, )

February 14, 2010

Only part of my Valentines

Hydrangeas hand-delivered to my work Friday, a chocolate heart, and a ticket stub from Valentine's Day, the movie, which was perfect for the date and entertaining and star-studded.

The other part was a Starbucks gift card and dinner at Tastebuds.

Normal size

Okay, so I just found out about this Kevin Smith thing. Director/writer Kevin Smith was apparently seated on a Southwest Airlines flight and was told he must return to the ticket counter to buy another ticket because he was oversize for the seat he was in. Basically Kevin live-tweeted his experience, causing a hullabaloo, Southwest responded with a public statement that was not exactly the same as his experience, yadda yadda.

I'm surprised to see the first handful of comments on that Gawker article are all about how it was a good thing Southwest is shaming people into losing weight and how it's not fun to sit next to large people. I figured they'd defend him.

So this brings me to something I've been thinking about regarding size and weight. I know I'm risking possibly offending some people, but I'm just starting some commentary here. I read a lot of fashion magazines, many of which have come under fire lately (well, it's basically an ongoing conversation, that flares up now and then) for not showing enough "normal-sized" models. Glamour magazine recently had a whole fashion thread with a plus-sized model and got rave reviews for it, but I couldn't help thinking that some of the shots could have been done a little more flattering for her. Any time weight comes up in fashion, experts always chime in that the average clothing size for a woman is a 12. That's not normal size to me. But does normal mean a healthy weight, or does it mean the number that the majority of Americans are? And just because the majority is something, does that make it normal?

Over 60% of Americans are overweight, something that is regularly identified as a health crisis. A size 12 would usually make someone overweight, depending on height of course. Now I make a definite distinction in fashion between normal and perhaps what is the "majority." I consider a normal-sized woman to be from a size 4-8, maybe thru 10. You can often be that size and not be over or under weight, and THOSE are the women that are not reflected in fashion. I tend to think that most women are that size, which of course is not true, since 60% of Americans are overweight, but I don't think it's doing anyone any favors if we glorify being fat in fashion or in the media either. If I can't fit in the clothes that I own or are on that magazine cover, well then it's time to get my ass to the gym. I don't think women should try to be a size they will NEVER be or so skinny they look like they'll break in half, but it's not okay to be complacent about being grossly overweight either.

That said, I think it's unrealistic and unhealthy (both physically and mentally) to show stick-skinny models and to tout toned and fit celebrities quite so much. A real human should not look like they would snap apart if you bumped into them. Models that look like skeletons are not pretty or healthy. Celebrities look that good because it's their job to. When you have that much $ and free time, you pay a trainer to keep you in shape, you can afford a nutritionist and quality healthy food. So many women have body-issues because of how we portray and value the way women look in the mainstream media and that's a real problem. Body shape changes with the times, and hopefully it will cycle back to a norm (ah, that word again, hard to get away, what does it really mean?).

I don't have an opinion really about Kevin Smith's situation. Certainly it's embarrassing, and perhaps not well-handled on the part of the airline, but there is a real concern about people being too large to fit in a seat. I don't think that just because a lot of people have a weight problem, we need to start re-building all movie seats, theatre chairs, metro seats, and plane seats twice as big. I keep seeing that scene in Wall-E where they show the humans on the craft in space, so large they have to have hoverchairs to take them around, their meals are in liquid form, and no one actually knows how to walk. That was a bitingly true social commentary about where we might be headed as a society if we keep up our current lifestyle.

February 11, 2010

Not a problem

I'm going to choose to call the amount of wine I've drank in the last 2 weeks "European" and not "drinking problem."

So remember Tuesday night's wine comparison?

(wine comparison, with @bcarr in the background)

The one on the left was the CA Merlot I said sucked. Well after talking to the wine guy at Kroger tonight, I think it's very possible the wine had turned because wine isn't supposed to smell dirty/musty. I'm glad to know I'm not crazy.

The bottle of Rex & Goliath white was eagerly drunken by my guest, but since the drunken makeout Kugel Ball of 2007, I can't touch white wine anymore.

So tonight, I realized a bottle @rvafashionista had brought me awhile ago was nearly 2 dollars off ($11.69), so I grabbed one, after a nice lesson on Italian wines from the wine guy. Did you know that Chianti is a region in Tuscany that grows the Sangiovese grape?

Santa Cristina
Sangiovese (90% Sangiovese 10% Merlot)

(My point-and-shoot sucks)

The bottle I had was 2007, this one is 2008, but it's still very drinkable. Light-medium bodied, a bit of bite at first taste, smooth aftertaste, dry but not too dry.

Sit Uboo Sit

Okay, at the risk of being the crazy cat lady, I couldn't help but post this photo of Kia, because Joe's camera is far superior to mine, and because, well LOOK AT HER.

(Photo by Joe)

Famous wine

I went over to my neighbor's apt for dinner last night and brought with me the ill-liked, half opened Chateau St Jean California Merlot. I was hoping they would like it so it wouldn't go to waste. Someone had brought the Francis Coppola Merlot, which I'd always wondered about, being so name-recognizable, which I'm sure notched up the price, which is why I never bought it.
It was very drinkable. Smooth, light, fruity. The other guests liked my Merlot, so I didn't feel as bad drinking theirs.


I was saving this review for a professional article, but that doesn't appear to be happening, so here it is.

A few weeks ago, I was itching to get out and have dinner. I had made plans to meet a friend at Tarrant's, one of my standbys, but he cancelled at the last minute as I was driving there, so I bravely went by myself. There are only a few places in town that I feel comfortable going alone and eating at the bar and it was a Sunday night, so I figured it would be fairly empty. I felt very much like Karen over at I Could Go On and On.

I sat at the first part of the L-shaped bar, right near the door. It was a cold, rainy, windy night when I arrived around 6:15 pm. While I was there, several parties of 6 or more came in, and the extended space next door definitely expanded their clientele. The phone rang steadily. There were 2-3 guys at the other end of the bar, who the cute, friendly red-headed bartender seemed to know. I enjoyed listening to their conversations.

An older gentleman came to the front of the restaurant and asked me if I'd mind if he talked on his cell phone. It was such a thoughtful gesture since I was sitting right there.

I got a glass of $6.50 Pinot Noir and settled in with my newspaper. I saw that a vegetable tart was on special ($8.95). It said it was layered with mushroom, goat cheese, olives, garlic, asparagus, and tomato, which I eagerly ordered. While I was waiting for my food, the bartender brought me a garlic bread "taco." Now normally I can't eat garlic because I can never get the taste/smell out of my system, but I figured I wasn't going to be making out with anyone that night, so I ate it.

I was hugely disappointed when my food came to find out that the vegetable tart I was promised was actually a flatbread pizza with veggies on it and a side salad. I know Tarrant's has recently gotten into the pizza business, but I did NOT order pizza. Tart implies something sophisticated, fluffy, layers, mostly vegetable. I love pizza, and it tasted good, but when you expect to get one thing, and something else comes out, well that's just frustrating.

My second wine pour was quite generous. After reading in Style Weekly that the 3rd Street Diner was thinking about starting a strip club in their upstairs (WTF?!), I shared this with the bartender, who had heard that news too. She mentioned she'd been there recently at 3AM and had a very pregnant server with her ta tas practically hanging out. Neither of us dared to imagine if she'd be one of the new "dancers" if the strip club opens.

The bartender and waitstaff alternated as front of house/hostess seamlessly. There was a good mix of old and young patrons, newbies and regulars. They offer free parking at Jim's parking lot on Grace & Foushee, but that's across the street from the lot where my friend Kevin got car-jacked at gunpoint a few years ago at First Fridays. Since then, I only park on well-lit streets.

Ellen turned out to be the bartenders name, and one of the guys at the bar was her roommate. He noted that one of her friends had frequently tried to take him home, and another staff member, possibly the owner, Ted Santarella, remarked that perhaps that friend could get a job as a stripper at the new 3rd Street. Ellen and I exchanged knowing smiles.
Tarrant's Cafe
1 W Broad St
Richmond, VA 23220-4212
(804) 225-0035

Red Wines are $6-$7.50 a glass. Bottles are $20-$85 with most in the $20 range
White Wines are $6-$7 a glass. Bottles $20-$59.
$9.50 martinis, and champagne, port, and spiked coffee offerings as well.
Beer bottles are $3.50-$4.75 but fancy ones go up to $8.
Drafts $5ish

Snow breakfast

(Photo by Joe)

This was my snow breakfast on Saturday. I was planning to attend a morning screening of a film at the Reel Pride Film Festival, the first GLBT festival in Richmond, but the snow coming down was so pretty, and it was so cozy in my apartment that I just didn't make it.

I made us spinach and feta omelets, with salsa as a garnish, and that plate in the back is chocolates from my get-together the night before. Add coffee in my grandma's nautical mug and juice in the glasses my best friend got me for Christmas, and DONE.

I did venture out later to attend my friend's pre-show party at The Camel, and was pleasantly surprised to see that since I'd been there last, the place was nicened up. The bar was long and smooth, there were tons of beers on tap, and good happy hour drink specials The bartender was very friendly and knowledgeable about the special microbrews, even offering samples to taste. Afterward, we carefully walked through the ice to the Firehouse Theater down the block to see the final film: Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement. It was a documentary about 2 women who fell in love back in the 50s and 60s when lesbians were still very hidden, and it was told from the perspective of the then 70-something women, through photos and stories. It was supremely touching, bring tears to nearly everyone in the room. You could tell, that even after 42 years, the women still loved each other very much. It's sad to think I've never had a love like that, and that maybe most of us will never find it.

At one point in the film, the women were naming all the Lesbian bars in NYC at the time, and they showed a map (probably about 12-15), and my friend Kevin leaned over and said, "and we have one." That point really hit home with me. I realize NYC is a much bigger place than Richmond, but even then, in the hush hush times, they had more places to gather than Richmond does in 2010! That's just sad.

February 9, 2010

Wine good vs bad

So I HATE when I try a new wine and HATE it.

This first one was delightful. Was brought to me as a gift, so no idea from where or how much.

I know next to nothing about Italian wines, so I don't usually go for them. This one was good. The other one, not so much.

Ruggero di Classo
Nero d'Avola 2007

From the bottle: "100% of grapes from South-western Sicily. Berry character with soft tannis and a lightly jammy finish"

Fruity, jammy, a little sweet. The description describes it well.

This one, not so good:

Chateau St Jean
California Merlot

Also a gift. Too dry, too herby/earthy.