A blessing and a curse

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

Travel notes, straight from the armchair May 1, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — tiffanyfox @ 3:04 am
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With baby’s birthday falling the day before mine, I have grand visions of the two of us planning elaborate trips abroad to celebrate our special day.  A mid-January summer in Australia might be nice, or baby’s first snowfall in Eastern Europe.  Until then, it’s nothing but grand reveries for the two of us … and a few links to quench our wanderlust.

  • I am a stickler for packing light — a single carry-on and a messenger bag were all I brought on my honeymoon in Italy, and I assembled no fewer than 25 outfits from their contents. Yes, I’m awfully proud. These GoToobs from HumanGear are calling my name — the suction cup is brilliant, and they’re shaped for an easy fit in your TSA-approved ziploc bag. Plus, I like that they’re transparent and *also* available in a variety of colors for easy grab and go.
  • I might not be able to afford a stay in a posh New York hotel, but I can afford $39.99 for Taschen’s New York.
  • Feast on an authentic Italian meal in the home of an authentic Italian family? Yes, please.
  • National Geographic’s Intelligent Traveler blog has some consistently inspiring stuff about “the essence of place.”
  • Mighty Girl’s master packing list is very similar to my own … and I highly suggest saving one’s list as a document that can be updated and modified to reflect upcoming travels. Keep a copy in your suitcase to make it easy come check-out time … no more forgetting your eye mask in the nightstand drawer.
  • Steve McCurry, the man behind National Geographic’s most famous cover, has a blog with consistently beautiful travel photographs. I caught an exhibition of his at the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts (where saw the photograph at right) and fell in love with his penchant for capturing color, emotion and story with the flick of  his index finger. It doesn’t hurt that I happen to agree with his empathetic worldview. There’s something to be said for getting out and interacting with the rest of the world — it changes a person the way nothing else can.

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!


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.


Girlfriend got sold June 27, 2008

Filed under: Media — tiffanyfox @ 6:09 am

Pashe Keqi, a 78-year-old Albanian woman who lives as a man.There I was, innocently waiting for my soy mocha at Perks, when I spied this article on the front page of the New York Times.

“For centuries, in the closed-off and conservative society of rural northern Albania, swapping genders was considered a practical solution for a family with a shortage of men. Her father was killed in a blood feud, and there was no male heir. By custom, Ms. Keqi, now 78, took a vow of lifetime virginity. She lived as a man, the new patriarch, with all the swagger and trappings of male authority — including the obligation to avenge her father’s death… Pink flip-flops were her only concession to femininity”

The thing is, although she took the credit for it, she’s not the one who did the revenge killing: Her nephew did. And he was killed in return. Would her culture not allow a woman, even if she was posing as a man, to commit a revenge killing? Maybe she didn’t have it in her to kill precisely because she was a woman?

And how is it fair that she has to act like a man and remain a virgin? Isn’t unlimited sex (with impunity) one of the perks of being a man? Talk about a raw deal.


From the department of sanitation…

Filed under: Media — tiffanyfox @ 5:26 am
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Mike and I listened to an episode of “This American Life” last weekend about the Ten Commandments. Each commandment was represented by a story, and “Thou Shalt Not Kill” was told from the point of view of a chaplain in the military. He said one of the soldiers in his unit wanted to talk to him about all the killing that was going on in Iraq. Apparently, the soldier had no idea that he would actually be shooting at real, live human beings because he’d only been trained to shoot targets.

At first, I was appalled to think that a soldier wouldn’t put two and two together and realize what he’s signed up for. Does he think they give him a rifle so he can shoot at prairie dogs? Exactly what does he think war is? But then I read something like the following, and my disgust is directed elsewhere:

“Almost halfway into 2008, the three network evening newscasts have shown 181 weekday minutes of Iraq coverage, compared with 1,157 minutes for all of 2007.” (NYT, June 23)

It’s no wonder he thought it was all just rainbows and unicorns.