Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer Hours/Oswego Days

I was just in NYC this weekend and I can't believe I missed seeing Summer Hours, an apparently wonderful story about three French siblings dealing with the disposition of their mother's estate. Kate told me about it Sunday night (too late for me to see given my upstate schedule), and then another friend told me about it today. I now have it as one of my highest priorities on my next movies' list.

In lieu of seeing it, I went to the reviews. A.G. Scott's NY Times review is a rave and other reviews I've found are similar in their high praise. Scott notes that "one of Mr. Assayas’s themes is the way that inanimate things accrue value, sentimental and otherwise — the curious alchemy that transforms certain objects into art."

I also loved this article (and not just for its title) -- Familial Bric a Brac by Dennis Lim -- in a Summer Movies summary back in May.

I wish we could all see Summer Hours before we start the Oswego meetings, but whether we see it before or after (or never), it's nice to know that someone has taken the care to explore how to deal with the emotions of "life goes on" with grace and intelligence.

It can be either homework or vindication.

PS: I tried to get it on Netflix, but it's a new release and while they know about it, they can;t supply it yet. If anybody has any ideas about how to get a DVD or live stream copy before next weekend, let's hear 'em.

Neilson's Mom in the Media

Neilson's mom, aka Erica, has been popping up all over the internet.

She has joined the Huffington Post as a blogger and has two posts up already, one about noise in restaurants and one about the new movie Cheri. Yes, that is my birthday party is she is complaining about in the noise post. The Cheri post stemmed from a slightly confrontational interview she had with Stephen Frears for IFC.com

Monday, June 29, 2009

Omar Little and President Obama

The president has said his favorite show is The Wire and his favorite character is Omar Little. (Not news- here is a news article from during the primary). I'm sure I've already said it here, but I can't resist repeating it- he is a BMCC grad! (Michael K. Williams, that is).

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I went to see Pixar's latest movie Up last week with my friend Patty. I have to admit, I loved it. I laughed, I cried, all while wearing my 3D glasses. Like all of the Pixar movies it combines incredible visuals with a sentimental story- that's their job and they do it well. Kym and Matt told me about it when they were in NY, it seems to be a hit with the whole family. Cranky old man, adorable round Asian kid, talking dogs, floating house- what more can you ask for?


Friday, June 26, 2009


While the wall-to-wall coverage is out of control, I still feel a little sad about Michael Jackson. Especially when seeing the footage of him as a child. I remember finding an old Rolling Stone in Geneva (from when it was still published on newsprint) with a very young MJ on the cover. It talked about what a sweet kid he was and how it seemed, unlike some of his brothers, he so stable and good humored that he would be able to handle fame just fine.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Jacob Borshard

There is a great article about my brother in law Jacob in the online fact magazine. You should check it out and his website where he is posting his comics.

Stolen picture

Originally uploaded by Jody C.
I am stealing this picture from Jody's Flickr account. We had a great lunch with Kym and Matt a few weeks ago, when they were in town for a few hours. (Literally). TV was discussed of course. The restaurant had a cocktail which included Geneva's famous Cherry Stomp.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Barack Obama as a Freshman

Check out photographer Lisa Jack's photos of Obama when he was a freshman at Occidental College. Where did he get that hat?

Marjane Satrapi on Iran Election

Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis, addressed Green Party MPs at the European Parliament in Brussels- read about it in Jacket Copy, a blog of the LA Times.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Highline

Maybe you have heard of the Highline that recently opened in NY- a deserted elevated highway that ran along the west side of lower Manhattan that has been converted into a park. It is hard to describe just how great it is- when you walk along it you are a story or two above the street, and moving through all kinds of old and new buildings- its great.




Douglas Rushkoff on Apple and Steve Jobs

Yes, we all love our Apple gadgets- are we secretly whiny brats? Media theorist Douglas Rushkoff says so on the Daily Beast.

Calvin and I went to a party for his new book Life Inc on Thursday- some pix.




Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day, to Dak and all the other fathers.

Happy First Day of Summer

It's been raining almost daily for weeks here in the Northeast, but still: Happy Summer!

John Hodgman at the Radio and TV Correspondents Dinner

Isn't it reassuring to have a president who can do the Vulcan Salute.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Store Cats

Today, I have encountered several sweet store cats and was thinking about what a nice part they are of NYC life. Then I came home and read this article about the collective outpouring of grief for the death of a 22-year-old East Village store cat named Pretty Boy. I've said it before, I'll say it again--I'll never understand why some people don't love New York. (Or cats.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Is Anyone Else Watching . . .

Harper's Island? It is creepy, cheesy fun. Erin recommended it when I saw her in Boston, and this weekend I became addicted, watching almost all of the episodes online at CBS.com.

Friday, June 12, 2009

House Tour Tomorrow

The Geneva Historical Homes Tour is tomorrow. Jane and Eliza have offered to dress in 18th century costumes to greet the guests, but Uncle John thinks this will scare them away.

See stories here and here.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Uncle John's House

My brother John's is restoring a house -- the oldest house in Geneva, built in 1796 -- and it will be a stop on the Historical Society's House Tour next weekend.

The house is small and simple, a post-and-beam construction built originally as a duplex. The story is that it was an outbuilding for the Geneva Hotel and probably served as the bunkhouse for the stage coach drivers. The Geneva Hotel was quite elegant for frontier times and was for a time the only "real" hotel between Albany and Buffalo, the others being just pubs with bunks upstairs. Guests tended to stay for days if not weeks and drivers needed accommodations. The house has eight rooms and eight fireplaces, supporting the theory that it was built to provide a warm place to sleep for weary drivers.

John has been working on this project for more than three years, completely rebuilding the foundation, gutting the junky wall and ceiling coverings inside and out, pulling out all the insulation, rebuilding high-tech chimneys, etc. At least six roofs, estimated at over 12,000 pounds, were removed, causing the sagging ceiling beams to straighten out in just a few days.

He has preserved the basic structure and exposed parts of it where possible -- brick walls, ceiling beams, etc. He even recycled paving bricks from the Washington Street reconstruction (Washington Street is one of the oldest streets in Geneva) to create a great looking basement floor. He has been lucky to have some local craftsmen join in to do some of the heavy lifting on carpentry, masonry, and even black-smithing. The work is impressive!

John has some wonderful pieces of furniture that he has collected over the years already in place and has installed my mother's Aunt Alice's stove (wood, coal, or gas) and a wood stove from our White Springs Road house.

My mother and I had a preview tour today, and were really amazed at the progress. My mother even climbed the very steep and narrow stairs so she could advise on paint colors. (Pretty good for someone who was in the hospital just two weeks ago!).

This house is really nice, and while not quite ready for prime time -- more finish work, painting, floors need to be sanded, shelves need to be installed, etc. -- it is very close. John plans to live in one side, and use the other side for short term rentals or bed and breakfast traffic. If you're ever in the area, be sure to stop and see it. Uncle John loves to give tours.

More pictures on Flickr. Pictures of the exterior to follow.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Learning to Use iMovie--Pet edition

I'm trying to learn iMovie--here is my first effort, a montage of beloved pets.

RIP David Carradine

His Superman monologue from Kill Bill II.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Godmother of the Graphic Novel

Interesting article on Slate spinoff Double XX Factor about children's book author Virginia Lee Burton by James Sturm of the Center for Cartoon Studies. And the discussion that ensued (controversy always follows) on women cartoonists nicely summed up by Heidi MacDonald at the Beat.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Memorable Merry Month of May

May was a whirlwind of activity.
May 1--Trip to new Yankee Stadium
May 2--5 Borough Bike Ride
May 7--Department elections (ask me about this off-blog!)
May 8--Turn 40
May 9--Recover from turning 40/dinner with Neilson's father and step-mother
May 15--Drive to Geneva to hang out with Sarah, Anders, Sonja, GrandMary and Mom
May 17--Drive home from Geneva
May 18-20--Give and grade final exams, turn in final grades
May 19--Department Party
May 22--Graduation luncheon for Verizon program on City Island
May 23--Drive to Vermont for college-friends reunion. Go on ill-fated hike, in which we arrive at summit for the second time as we thought we were heading towards the bottom
May 24--Drive to Boston for NEH workshop
May 24-30--NEH workshop on American Lyceum, which includes trips to Concord, Salem
and Worchester. Activies go from 8-5 each day, which social outings each
night. Except the night I visited the Bagleys and the night I did research
from 6-10.
May 30--Give final presentation. Do research from 12-4. Take train home.
May 31--Hang out with Audrey and recover.

All in all, a fun, memorable month. Although I am hoping for a quiet, productive June.