A blessing and a curse

Keep feeling fascination … and you end up with a blog.

Designing, Predicting, Collecting, Creating March 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — tiffanyfox @ 1:49 am
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Here’s what’s been capturing my attention lately:

  • I am a bit obsessed with meal planning and making grocery lists. These Food Mood Menus from GOOD make me wish I had better Photoshop/graphic design skills. I love the idea of pulling this out of a kitchen drawer and making a domestic chore into inspired work.
  • I bet Clifford Stoll is a little embarrassed about this Newsweek article he wrote back in 1995, disparaging the Internet as a passing fad. “The truth is,” he writes, “no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.” And to that I say: Christian Science Monitor, online learning, and Barack Obama, baby.
  • My man and I try to make it to the San Diego County Fair once every couple of years to get our fill of all things corny, tacky and deep-fried. BY FAR my favorite part of the fair is the ‘collections’ exhibit, which is tucked away in a dusty corner of the Fairgrounds. Talk about getting your strange on (I think my favorite collection of all time was last year’s assemblage of dog hair, although “Items Found at Bus Stops” was intriguing, as well). Happily, I’ve discovered I can get my collection fix any day of the year over at A Collection A Day.  (I had to wonder, though — what does this girl’s house look like with all that flotsam and jetsam hanging around? AMAZING, it turns out (proof that collections can be displayed tastefully … and need not land you on an episode of “Hoarders”).
  • Oh, how I love this necklace (pictured) from Ruche. My great-grandmothers did tatting and crocheted lace doilies, and I bet I could fashion something similar from their cast-offs, along with a little help from Denise Bonaimo’s Frankenstein Jewelry Lab. If you live in the San Diego area, check out her studio at the Spanish Village in Balboa Park. I fell in love the second I walked in.
  • Designer friends, surfer friends, architect friends, eco-minded friends, friends with just plain good ideas: 20 bucks and a little creativity could make you a hero in Southern California. Trestles needs you!



 

Deconstructing “Things That Suck” November 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — tiffanyfox @ 10:28 pm

New York Magazine called the “Things That Suck” blog/list “perceptive,” which made me instantly curious. Certainly there is a lot of suckage there that no one will argue with (“toothaches” “earthquakes” and “John Tesh” are pretty safe bets) and some items on the list (“pretentious middle initials,” “condiment crust”) are right on the mark. But I beg to differ on a few points:

  • Deadlines (without them, I would be completely unproductive)
  • Seafood (crazy talk)
  • Helvetica (is there anything less offensive than Helvetica?)
  • The Grinch (he was suffering from depression … cut the guy a break)
  • Biscotti (really? even the chocolate-covered kind with the almonds?)
  • Sentences that end in a preposition (sometimes, there’s just no way around. It.)
  • Broccoli (oh, grow up)

Some additional things that suck:howie-mandel1

  • Televisions that require a complicated series of remote-control maneuvers just to turn them on
  • Clogged drains
  • Potty humor
  • Earbud cords
  • Pistachios that have no opening in the shell
  • Long flights
  • Howie Mandell
  • One-issue voters
  • Car alarms
  • Having to use a debit card to pay for a stamp
  • Elaborately carving a pumpkin, only to have it mold two days later
  • Drycleaning
  • People who whistle
 

Someone Pays Money for This

Filed under: food — tiffanyfox @ 9:39 pm
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Remember being a kid, and painstakingly nibbling your peanut butter and jelly sandwich into the shape of Pac-Man (or Picasso’s Guernica … whatever)? It turns out you were a budding artist,  only you didn’t know it yet.

I so have the wrong job.

 

God doesn’t bite October 30, 2008

Filed under: Sprituality — tiffanyfox @ 11:59 pm
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Once, when I was about six years old, my mother rushed my sister and I into the bathroom of our home, shut the door behind us, and turned off all the lights. She hissed at us to be quiet. Her eyes were wild.

There was someone knocking at our front door, and from the fear I saw on my mother’s face I assumed it was evil incarnate, a monster with gnashing teeth come to suck the marrrow from our bones. After a few long moments, we heard footsteps as the monster walked away. The tendons in my mother’s jaw relaxed. She could breathe again.

Later, I found out that the creature at the door wasn’t the boogeyman, a winged harpy or even the creepy old man who lived down the street. It was a Jehovah’s Witness, come to talk about God and Jesus and salvation, which, to my mother, was just as terrifying. Apparently, someone of the faith had once told her she was going to hell, and it had spooked her for life. Spooked her to the point where an innocent knock on the door caused her to leap into action, to spirit her children away as if gypsies had come for our very souls.

Another time, my friend Renee gave me a small red book. I liked the faux leather cover and the pretty, colorful pictures inside of children frolicking with lambs and lions. When I told my mother I might like to go to church with Renee sometime, she got a pinched look on her face and tried to talk me out of it. I didn’t understand. I just wanted to see more pretty pictures. I don’t think I even realized at the time that that little red book had anything to do with God.

These two experiences — along with the unveiling every year of our as-yet-unexplained Christmas nativity set — comprise the whole of my religious upbringing. I was taught, more through actions then words, that religion was something to fear, that religious people were odd, deluded and possibly even wicked. For the first 30 years of my life, I wrote off religion and church entirely. I stayed away from moterhomes parked on the street, for fear that people inside would snatch me up and whisk me away to their “cults,” as my mother once warned me they would.

And then decades later, came Hurricane Katrina. As if compelled by some hidden force, I found myself at the First Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Hillcrest, totally overdressed and more than a little perplexed. I don’t recall how I decided that this church, of all the multitude of fellowships out there, might have something to offer to me, but there I was, sobbing in the pews as I listened to Rev. Arvid Straube talk about how what happened in New Orleans wasn’t fair and wasn’t right and that we needed each other to get through it.

It was nothing I didn’t know already, but just being there, listening along with other people, was profoundly spiritual. I attended First UU a few more times, and upon moving to Encinitas, Mike and I have found UU San Dieguito, which we have come to love for its tolerance for all religions and its doctrine of “deeds, not creeds.”

The skeptic in me keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m convinced someone’s going to come out from behind a corner one day and say “Just kidding! You’ll need to hand over your first-born child, or you’re going to HELL!” But so far, I’ve felt nothing but a sense that I belong to this place, and that this place belongs to me.

And I might be right: I recently took the “Belief-o-Matic” quiz on Belief.net (try it! you’ll like it!) and discovered I am nearly 96 percent UU. I am also, however, 100 percent Neo-Pagan. So that’s something.

What’s strange is that I still find it difficult to admit to people that (in hushed voice) “I attend church.” I feel as though others will question my intellect or my sense of individuality, since I’ve always been one to silently chastise people who fashion their lives from something some dude wrote in a poorly translated ancient text. But then I remind myself of what my man Gandhi said: “I will not be a traitor to God to please the whole world.” As long as there is love in my heart, I don’t have to answer to anyone.

 

Prophetic words from the men who brought you the $5 and $2 bills September 29, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — tiffanyfox @ 7:55 pm

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the peoples until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic destroyed”.

-Abraham Lincoln

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks . . . will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered… The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”

-Thomas Jefferson

 

When a hamburger’s not just a hamburger July 17, 2008

Filed under: food,Travel — tiffanyfox @ 4:24 pm
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“It has the taste of the forbidden, the illicit — the subversive, even. Eating with your hands, it’s pure regression. Naturally, everyone wants it.”

— Paris restaurant consultant Hélène Samuel, on the lowly hamburger. According to this article from The New York Times, hamburgers and cheeseburgers are becoming de rigueur in Paris, although many insist on eating them with a knife and fork.

Why can’t I live in a place where even eating some meat on a bun sounds naughty beyond compare?

 

Television news — covering its ass and little else July 6, 2008

Filed under: Media — tiffanyfox @ 5:32 pm
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I happened to catch the afternoon broadcast of a local TV news station this Fourth of July. The “top stories” were the usual mindless pabulum — 10 full minutes on the beach alcohol ban, a story about some old guy in East San Diego who decorates his house with gajillion American flags every Independence Day, and a piece about a 70-year-old woman in India who gave birth to twins (which I’m sure will turn out to be a hoax, but hey, they had time to kill).

Meanwhile, on that very day, people were dying in Iraq and Darfur, Iran was playing war games with its nuclear weapons and the planet was (and is) having a meltdown.

That’s the TV news for you. Its like the media equivalent of a hospital gown — covering just enough of its ass to stay on the air, but flimsy beyond belief.

And maybe it’s not just the television news. Alisa Miller, head of Public Radio International, recently gave a TED Talk about the American media, complete with a world map (pictured) that demonstrates how meager international news coverage is in the states (the big blue bubble is the U.S., of course, and the big yellow bubble is Iraq).

Reports about the death of Anna Nicole Smith, for example, received 10 times the coverage of the IPCC’s report on global warming and surpassed coverage news about every other country in the world, except Iraq. Turns out “it’s cheaper” to cover Britney and Anna Nicole.

“Cheap” certainly is the right word for it.