Monthly Archives: March 2011

Word of the day

The word of the day is


Demesne: an estate or part of an estate occupied and controlled by, and worked for the exclusive use of, the owner; possession of land as one’s own: land held in demesne.

This is one of my favorite words to use in a half-joking, metaphorical way.  Demesne.  Live it, love it, learn it.

Guest posting

Today I did a guest post on my limoncello over at Friends and Hammers. Check it out!


Seriously, it’s the best Friday imaginable.  It’s 66 and sunny, the flowers are blooming, and my sister flew in this morning!  She’ll be going to the gulf with my mom for a painting class next week, but we have some wedding-related errands to take care of, so she came down early.

We went to a seamstress to see about making some alterations to the dress she’ll be wearing, which was made for my grandma by her mother.  In the parking lot, we discovered that we had stumbled across the natural habitat for the Fur Bus.


Well, for all five of them, actually.


The seamstresses were really nice. They loved A and her dress and were generally really on board with the whole venture. Plus, they asked me if I had done any modeling, and when I said no, they told me I should. That will always score someone points in my book. So that was a successful outing.

My mom ducked back into the store to ask one last question, and we were left up to our own devices in the parking lot. This meant that we did the thing we do whenever we have free time and a camera: take fake Lookbook pictures. Enjoy.

The first rule is to stand like you are the Hunchback of Notre Dame:

Second rule: tilt the camera to a weird angle and paw your hair delicately.

Third rule: toe pick.

Once you have these basics down, you can start improvising. Here, I am gazing almost wistfully over my shoulder at you.

Jumping should not be attempted by amateurs, as you have to make sure you get the proper wide-mouthed expression. The shot will fail without it.

If you’re really stuck for poses, just bust a move:

Oh, and then Mama BlogStyles came out of the shop and we took some normal pictures. That’s Familie BlogStyles: always taking pictures.


Tonight is Japanese food (yessss) and then drinks with Js 1 and 2. I cannot tell a lie: Fridays really are the best days of the week.

Many Bothans died to bring us this information.

What I Watched on VHS: Tales from the Compound

Part IV: The Return of the Jedi

I snagged the ultimate in VHS entertainment: the original Star Wars
trilogy box set.  Unfortunately, the first movie was missing.  I
reasoned that it’s not like everyone alive doesn’t know how that movie
goes, so if we ever wanted to do a marathon viewing, there could just
be a dramatic recounting of that one.

I saw Star Wars as a kid – all three movies in a row – and because I
was a kid that early impression of the trio still stands in my memory
as a monolithic classic of film, important and perfect.  This even
though every time I go back and watch the movies I notice more
instances of slapstick, lame attempts at humor, and overreliance on
muppetry.  Especially in Return of the Jedi.

It’s as if a children’s movie and a grown up movie are running
simultaneously.  As a kid viewer, I loved these movies because I
somehow blocked out the kids’ part and became immersed in the part
with grown up heroes doing important stuff.  And when I go back and
rewatch, the juvenile tonedeaf elements clash painfully with my
idealized memory version.

For instance, the ewoks.  The ewoks are so lame!  This movie has so
much that’s beautiful and true… I mean, in a sci-fi way.  Try
watching that last scene on the new Death Star and not feeling a
little emotionally affected, I dare you.  His father remembers his
humanity and saves his only son from his mentor and emperor!  And
DIES!  And meanwhile a bucktoothed muppet is piloting a crude hang
glider made out of sticks and vines and bonking a storm trooper on the
head with, like, a coconut.  And you can tell it’s a little dude in a
fake fur onesie.

The first movie’s celebration climax is a ceremony, and the rogue
heroes’ sly grins at each other are the only crack in the joyful
gravity of the scene.  And then the entire trilogy ends with a teddy
bear party.  The Jedi ghosts appear, accompanied by the haunting
strains of the “Jub jub!” song.  Come on.

Basically, in this movie you can see the bits of pointless humor and
juvenile character building that would grow into the likes of Jar Jar
Binks and that guy who’s basically a Jediproof bug.  Why did I ever
watch the new Star Wars?  Here’s a tip, kids: only watch the parts of
this franchise that appear on VHS tape.

Visit MC Casual FilmStyles a.k.a. Sister BlogStyles at her personal blog, Friends and Hammers.

In which the narrator attends a tour of homes

it's official

Dear Readers, listening to NPR is a very good thing for you to do. In the first week of March, I happened to turn on WABE 90.1 in the car, and I heard about this event called Phoenix Flies. The Atlanta Preservation Center has sponsored this event for seven years, and it comprises historical tours and events sprinkled throughout the city for the entire month of March. Obviously I had to go to something.

My friend S was game, too–two Basement Dwellas are always down for free events–and this past weekend, we decided to go to Whittier Mill Village. WMV, a settlement sandwiched between the railroad tracks and the Chattahoochee River, is only a few miles from my house, but I had absolutely no idea it existed before this. (Then again, one of the most dangerous blocks in the country is also a few miles from me, but I’ve never been there either.)

The backstory: the Whittier family, who owned the mills in Lowell, MA, decided to use Chattahoochee, GA, as it was known back then before its incorporation into ATL proper, as their base for expansion. Of the original mill structures, only the tower and the carpenter’s shop remain, but so do many of the mill workers’ houses, ranging from one of the original 1895 houses to duplexes from 1926.

somehow we wore matching shirts

The medical clinic has been converted into a residence. I was in love with the exterior of this building:
old medical clinic for mill workers

As S can verify, I kept getting a weird Massachusetts feel from this area. Case in point:
looking out from the hill

The local building code has provisions to maintain the historical elements, but you could tell that the owners of these houses were really into the historical details, even without the codes. Here, a candle with a magnifying glass to spread the light:
candle with a lens in front of it

And here, an original fireplace. (Note: this belonged to a house that S and I decided we’d eventually have to buy and live in as roommates, even though neither of us are staying in Atlanta.)
original fireplace

And this house was built in 2000/2001, and according to the codes, it has a big front porch and a double-sided fireplace in the middle of the room. The people who lived in this house were also the nicest people ever. The lady, dressed entirely in blue, plied us with peach wine spritzers and cheese buttons, and we had a nice discussion of our Atlanta upbringings and the pros and cons of living in an old house. The husband, dressed in all red, was telling us that he wanted to paint the house an even brighter orange, like he had in his office, but that his wife put her foot down.
the sweetest couple lives here

A really cool garden. The people in this house also had a studio and a darkroom.
sweet garden

Down by the tracks.

The carpenter’s building, now part of the park.  They hold Parktoberfest here every year, and now that I know about it, I really want to go.  Too bad it’s 6 months from now.
part of the park

And the tower:
mill grounds, which are now a park

Obligatory tower poses:
and poses
mill tower

And lastly, this is an icon on the Westside, one of those places you pass but never end up going in. Well, we passed it on the way there and back, but didn’t go in. So there you go.
Bolton Road icon

Spring fever

Not to brag, you guys, but I’m having a pretty good day so far.  I don’t have work today–which helps–so I slept in until 11.  Then I had the best breakfast ever.

breakfast this morning

Strawberries and cream, toast with butter, two kinds of soft cheese, and my already-mixed Cafe viennois, paired with a free issue of Harper’s that I was sent for being a former subscriber. I have to say: that’s a really effective marketing strategy. I’d been thinking about renewing anyway, and I was so happy to see an issue that I think I’ll pull that proverbial trigger.

Because of quite a few factors that I don’t feel like getting into until things settle down, I’ve decided that the credo du jour (de la semaine?) stems from the Beastie Boys, of all people: No time like the present to work shit out.

This means: spring cleaning, extensive wardrobe culling, storage of seasonal clothing, mass genocide of extraneous papers via recycle bin and shredder, much more of a minimalist approach to my belongings, and organizing my thoughts about what I want to happen in the next year or two. I’m also giving a lot of thought to what I want to do in my free time, of which I do have an atypical surfeit recently. There is going to be a lot of prioritizing that goes on here.

I took a break from all the Serious Bizness TM to tend to alcohol-related matters, with the end result looking like this:

they call me mrs. limoncello

In about a week, I’ll get to taste my limoncello (!), and then you should expect a post about how to make it. I am definitely excited for this.

Anyway, I should get back to what I was doing, since my room is in a state of massive upheaval while I sort everything. It’s hard to walk in here, and I can’t see my desk. This must change.

Link Attack

Thanks for bearing with me this week.  While I’m loading photos to my Flickr and drinking my Café viennois, I feel like I should post some links that I’ve come across recently.

Did you know about the Mobile Azalea Trail Maids?  Neither did I.  They’re a group of 50 high school girls who represent Mobile, AL, as archetypal Southern belles.

Time Warp Wives features people who are dedicated to living in a different era.  As someone who thinks she should have been her current age in the 20s, I can definitely appreciate this.

Although this article on Dubai’s slave infrastructure is almost 2 years old, it’s still worth a read.

I always like giving Dear Old Love a read.  It’s like PostSecret, but a little less contrived.  I’d be lying if I said I’ve never submitted any, but who knows if they ever got published.

I’ve been keeping abreast of the situation in Japan via the ongoing ONTD post.  The content is constantly updated, and they have a great list of relevant charities and nonprofits at the top that have been vetted by ONTD users, if you’re still looking to donate.

Allison talks about fun things to do with vodka.  Of course she does.  I make a cameo.  Of course I do.

Kyle Lynd explains what’s with ALL the dubstep in Skins series 5, episode 6.  Who knew dubstep went so well with farming?  (And if you don’t watch Skins, you should.)

The Atlanta History Center currently has an exhibition on about Atlanta during the Civil War.  Seeing as how this is closely related to the topic of my senior sem paper, and I researched my paper at the Center, I’m planning on giving this a visit.  (I really enjoyed working on the paper, and my advisor thinks I should expand it now that I’ve graduated, but I am trying to resist grad school’s siren song for at least another year!)

Thoughts on the significance, relevance, and misuse of the term “Luddite” in this day and age.  Excellent.  So many people throw this word around that it’s starting to lose its meaning.