Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Down On The Corner

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Oh, To Be 108 Again..

That's my favorite quote by 115-year-old Hendrijke Van Andel-Schipper (pictured left), who died today in the Netherlands, relinquishing the world's oldest person title to 115-year-old Elizabeth Bolden of Memphis, Tennessee, who turned 115 just two weeks ago. Hendrikje van Andel has stated that the secret to longevity is a serving of herring every day and drinking orange juice. On her 113th birthday she jokingly added "breathing".

There are 50,000 Americans over 100, but only 500 are expected to live until 110.

Did you know than Maine is the only US state with just one syllable, and is the only state to border on just one other state (New Hampshire)?

Four states have pan-handles, and four states have boot-heels. Can you name them? Did you know that Oregon was a state before the Civil War, and has been a state for 30 years longer than Washington? Do you know which three states were admitted during the Civil War?

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Moving Day at the office. Last night I had sushi with my Mom at Hana's on 22nd & 7th, and split my cold sake all over the table not once, but twice. Today, my 'namesake band', OK Go!, delivers their second album, "Oh No." I look forward to it, and hope it's another power-pop gem. Below are the Columbia Icefields at Jasper National Park - we stood on this thing two weeks ago, my first walk across a glacier. There's a triple continental divide here - water from this thing runs to the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Arctic. Today's cartoon follows...

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Monday, August 29, 2005

Travel Opportunities: Back to the office after two weeks away, and my desk is a construction site. On my desk are boxes, magic markers, and moving instructions. I went downstairs and momentarily thought they'd laid off all my colleagues, but they were just moved a few rows down. Re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic? : - )

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I'm Back!

Hey all. I'm back from two wonderful weeks of hiking the Rockies, which turned out to be a brilliant vacation idea, and just what I needed. Hope you're all well - let's talk. Below, Yellowstone's eerie Mammoth Springs, in winter....

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Friday, August 12, 2005

Gone Fishin'

Aaron Unplugged! I'm on vacation, hiking in the Rockies (including Glacier National Park, pictured below), until Sunday Aug 28th. I do not plan to touch a computer until then. But I will have my cel phone, if anyone needs to call/wants to chat. Ta Ta.

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Reaching For The Sky
With Short But Well-Shaped Arms

Last night, a lovely surprise: Bart & I met at TKTS and got half-price tickets to see the acclaimed "Light In The Piazza." This show, based on a novella about an American mother and daugther that travel to Florence in 1953, was aptly described by the Times as "a real human being (materializing) in a mainstream musical, an environment that has become increasingly hostile to such life forms." The old "Italian dreamboat boy falls for shy American woman" has a touching twist: the woman is a 'special child,' with a body that's 26 but emotions that are 10, thanks to a pony that kicked her in the end. The score is lovely, the acting superb, the sets, costumes and lighting are worthy of old Douglas Sirk films. "Light" has its flaws, often falling short of its ambitious aims. I still prefer drama to musicals. But it was very worthwhile at half-price on a cool, summer weeknight. Below: the movie poster from a 1961 film version of the same source material featuring Olivia DeHavilland and the long-forgotten Yvette Mimieux and George Hamilton as the young lovers. (here's NYT review of the film)

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Hughes Guys

I am 2/3 into "The Aviator" Lo and Behold: DiCaprio can act. Fascinating spectacle, period piece, and probing look at the somewhat unbalanced oddity of a legend that was Howard Hughes. Cate Blanchett is also brilliant as Katherine Hepburn, capturing her humanity and inner conflicts as well as her energy and attitude, thus avoiding clichés and really inhabiting the character. Another surprise is Frances Conroy as Hepburn's mother - she looks like the Ruth Fisher character she plays on Six Feet Under - let's face it, it's an unmistakably unique face - but in voice and body language, she seems like an older Hepburn. Howard's dinner with Hepburn's family is an cringe-inducing exercise is not fitting in, tumult, and serial interruption. Essential viewing.

Speaking of Six Feet Under, here's a funeral home-themed Cartoon:

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Seeing Red

Last night I finally saw Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Red", from 1993-94's famous Red, White, and Blue trilogy, taking his adopted country France's colors and motto (liberty, equality, fraternity)... as his theme. Previously a "Kieslowski virgin," I enjoyed "Red" more than I expected to. It's a "small movie" with independent/foreign film pacing, character-focused, and the most color-schemed cinematography this side of Kubrick. All in an economical 99 minutes - a real treat. The film's focus is the intersecting lives of three lonely people - a eavesdropping retired judge, a lonely young model/actress (pictured, in this Russian film poster), and a law student bruising for a romantic disappointment. Bravo. "White" and "Blue" have moved way up in my Netflix Queue.

Now I'm working on "The Aviator," probably my last film before leaving on vacation Friday...


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Monday, August 08, 2005

Where The Ice Floes...

Eskimo Social Security. : - ) Here's where I'm not going on vacation, this year anyway. This is Prince William Sound in South Central Alaska:


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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Golden Buddha Luck

I saw real golden Buddhas in Bangkok 2 1/2 years ago, traveling with Erik, Doug, and Carolyn.

This photo is the work of genius QT Luong, perhaps the Ansel Adams of our time, who has photograhped all 58 US national parks and then turned his lens to Asia. QT, by day, is an unassuming techie who worked for Thomas' father.

I've spent this weekend mostly listening to/recording audiobooks for my mp3, to accompany me to the Rockies on Friday. I particularly love "Home at the End of the World" by Michael Cunningham, author of "The Hours". I finished 2 of 13 CDs and I'm totally awed. "Home" was his first book, and brilliantly evokes the formative years of two smart, quirky, and troubled boys, one of whom will grow up to be gay, the other bisexual but mostly straight. Amazingly insightful and incisive writing. Apparently the movie version, unlike that of "The Hours", didn't do it justice.


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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Tour De Force

Imelda Staunton gave perhaps the finest acting performance of the decade as the ill-fated abortionist of mercy Vera Drake. Devoid of Hollywood theatrics and manipulation, clichés, and lecturing, Mike Leigh's amazing movie digs for the quiet and often powerful emotional truth in the lives of his characters and wrings the most wrenching performances from his highly talented, average looking band of veteran British actors. By all means, rent it if you haven't seen it yet - this is essential viewing!

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Friday, August 05, 2005


Meaning downhill in a good sense, like a home stretch... Will it come together? : - ) Can I pull the threads of a hundred mangoes and spin something seamless and useful at work? Will anyone ever understand my mixed metaphors? Stay tuned... Last night, I had dinner with Pat and the Barking Dog, a dog-friendly eatery on E 34th St, with doggy fountains and dishes on the patio. That's where we dined, in the surprisingly fresh and dry 85F evening (which after a 93F day, feels delightful). Here's the menu, btw. I had strips of tuna steak dolloped with green caviar arranged in a mountain over mashed potatoes and garnished with broccoli. I washed it down with Pinot Grigio. I am underslept, overworked, and anxious. But I'm also 6 days from hiking in the Rockies. And that's the way it is...

Get on the bus with Thomas!


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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Window Of Opportunity

Eight days until my vacation, eight days to finish a research report. Hope my fillings stop falling out : - ) Tuesday night had a scrumptious sushi dinner with Jon at Jewel Bako Makimono on 2nd Ave near East 7th. It ain't cheap, but it truly melts in your mouth - nectar of the gods...

What else? Both "Vera Drake" and "The Aviator" are sitting on my DVD player - that's five hours of high-quality film when I can find a moment - maybe this weekend, which is actually my last in New York until September 9th! The next three weekends are coming, at, and returning from vacation, and Labor Day I'm taking my visiting Mom to Boston.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Contraption Rapture

Today's theme are unlikely and unwieldy feats of mechanical engineering, more fondly known as 'contraptions'. On the far right is a preposterous vehicle I saw on 42nd Street last year, and about which I've finally found information! It's the ConferenceBike, a huge tricycle pedaled by seven riders sitting in a circle! One person steers, and the ad everyone is free to pedal or not, though I imagine at least one person must actually pedal for it to move. Their slogan: It's not just a bike - it's a party on wheels!


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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Six Feet Edge Of Seat

Six Feet Under, my favorite TV show ever, blew me away again last night, reaching new highs of insight, emotional honesty, creativity, and brilliant acting, directing, and writing as its fifth and final season roars to a close. No spoilers here, but Six Feet Under is unflinching in presenting people as they are - multi-facted, mercurial, confusing... Only three more episodes! (snif!).

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Monday, August 01, 2005

Monday Monday

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