The emperor's new wig

Kurt and I watched Bottle Shock last weekend. Since this isn't a movie review, I won't get into the plot (good!) or the execution (bad!). Instead, I'll focus on the movie's most memorable element:

Chris Pine's wig.

Now this isn't just any wig. This wig is epic.

Imagine the lovechild of Garth from Wayne's World and Dolly Parton with a broken curling iron.

What boggles the mind is that many people were involved in making the movie - actors, directors, editors, camerapeople - and no one ever said what they must all have been thinking:

What the heck is on his head?!?

Forget the Bay of Pigs, this takes groupthink to a whole new level.

It was hard to focus on the story because I couldn't stop contemplating the dead animal on Chris Pine's noggin.

Who made it? Did they mean for it to look ridiculous? Was he mortified about it? Did someone in the costume department really hate him?

The shame is that he's a handsome guy. One glance at him strutting about as young Kirk in the Star Trek remake will show you that. And his character is supposed to be a ladies' man, so it's not that the wig was an attempt to tone down his good looks.

The most absurd scenes were those in which his character wasn't being taken seriously. Um ... let me guess why!

The whole thing is inexplicable.

I'll offer up some screenshots, but be warned that they don't do it justice. The wig in motion (or not in motion, given how stiff it was) is a wonder to behold.




My people

When I moved to South Carolina, I fully expected to be emerged in a new culture.

What I didn't realize was that the new culture wouldn't only be a southern one. By choosing to live east of the intercoastal, we had moved not just to South Carolina but to Long Island, south.

New York (and New Jersey and New England) accents dominate the area, often seeming more prevalent than southern ones.

While my new neighbors are unfailingly friendly, their more brusque way of speaking has taken some getting used to. If someone uses that tone in Indiana, they are seriously unhappy with you. It always takes me a second to override my initial "Uh oh!" reaction.

I hadn't realized how foreign things felt until I went to book club the other day. As we went around the circle and said our names and where we were from, my heart actually fluttered when two women said they were from Wisconsin.

Wisconsin! Big Ten country!  

My people!

It only got better as we encountered Illini and even a fellow Hoosier (from Danville! That's almost Indianapolis!).

These were the first midwesterners I'd encountered since moving down here, and it was amazing the kinship I felt for them. And they for me, given the reaction I got when I said I was from Indy.

Since there are so few midwestern transplants around here, it's a special moment to run into one. Rather like being in a foreign country and bumping into another American.

While I know it's illogical, I can't deny the comfort that came from talking with these women during book club. They're not nicer or friendlier than others I've met, nor do we have more in common per se. I think it's simply the lack of difference that puts my brain at ease, the sense of normalcy and "getting" one another.

Plus, I don't feel like they're yelling at me.

Photo by Diamondduste


The first rule of book club


Wait, no, that's fight club.

The first rule of book club is, quite obviously: read the book.

This doesn't sound so hard, does it? Four weeks, one little book. Piece of cake.

Of course, I had already read this month's selection a couple years ago, so I had it in the bag. Just pop to the beach the afternoon before, give it a skim and ... have absolutely no memory of any of it.


So there I was, on the beach, realizing that while I know I've read the book, not one word or character remains in my (apparently addled) brain.

I did the only thing I could and started skimming like a crazy woman. I assumed that once I got into it things would start to stick and the story would come back.

Never. Not once.

The whole experience made me wish I'd taken one of those cheesy speed reading courses advertised on late night tv.

Instead I skimmed and skimmed and skimmed until I finally fell asleep and then woke up the next morning to skim some more. I got done with 25 minutes to spare.

While this may not be an A+ result, I thought I was in solid B territory, ready for any discussion that didn't get too terribly detailed.

I arrived and took a seat, introducing myself to the woman next to me.

I asked her what she thought of the book.

Her response, "Oh, I didn't read it."



Move over mocha

I am a mocha-holic. I start each day with one, and they're my standard coffee shop order. This morning, however, I decided to abandon my beloved mocha in favor of something more exotic: Thai coffee.

Authentic Thai coffee is made with Oliang Powder Mix - a blend that contains coffee, corn, and soy bean. Given that all I had on hand was decaf Starbucks, we're going to call my version Thai-ish coffee.

Feel free to cut back on the milk and increase the sweetened condensed milk. From my reading, a dessert-like sweetness is authentic (but also more than I can handle first thing in the morning).

I seasoned with cardamom, but other flavorings such as cinnamon and almond extract may also be used.

While it won't replace my morning mocha, I enjoyed my Thai-ish coffee. It's definitely something I'll make again. I think anyone who likes chai tea would probably enjoy it as well.

Thai-ish iced coffee

4 oz. coffee concentrate (from cold brewing) or strongly brewed coffee
4 oz milk
2 T sweetened condensed milk
1/4 t ground cardamom
optional: cinnamon, almond extract

Blend all ingredients and serve over ice.

Photo by moominmolly


The Ladies' Dog

Ernie made his first trip to the beach yesterday. While he wasn't a fan of the water (it took about 10 minutes to even get a paw in), he did like one thing about it: the ladies.

Ever since he was a pup, Ernie has preferred women to men. The minute he hears a female voice, he perks up. And when he sees a lady, he really turns on the charm. Ears back, eyes wide, head cocked. He even starts batting his lashes as he looks up at them, the little player. He treats every women he meets like they are the mostly special, wonderful person he's ever encountered.

Of course, this works like a charm. I've yet to meet a woman - even one who claims not to be a fan of dogs - who didn't coo and praise and pet and baby talk him. He, of course, eats up every minute of it.

This isn't to say he doesn't like men. Ernie pretty much likes everyone. Men just get different treatment. He wants to follow them and be part of what they're doing and strut beside them, but they don't merit the full charm assault.

Kurt and I have often said that all a single man needs to meet some girls is an afternoon out with Ernie. If we were more entrepreneurial, we'd rent the little guy out. Of course, the man in question would have to be open to meeting all kinds of women. Ernie's charm doesn't discriminate, and everyone from little girls to 90 year old women are drawn to him. (There's also the issue of a heterosexual man explaining why he's out with a purse dog, but that can be worked out.)

So Ernie is a fan of the beach, if not for the reasons we expected. I think in his mind, it's the ultimate pick-up joint - a buffet of fine ladies ready to shower him with love.

My boy may not do tricks or even obey half the time, he may be short and a bit lacking in the survival department, but there's one thing no one can deny: Ernie's got game.


Passion fatigue

My twitter feed has a theme this morning: passion.

People are passionate about internet marketing and realty and small business development. They want to know if I'm passionate about photography and impoverished women and my own personal growth.

Passion seems to be a buzzword these days, a meter by which you measure the depth and sincerity of your actions. Of course, sincere people don't tend to spout off about their sincerity, but that's another story.

What was I passionate about this morning? Well ... I wanted a mocha. I'm not sure I'd call it passion as much as thirst though. Post-mocha, I did my work by editing yesterday's scene before adding two more. Did I feel passionate about this? Hardly. I wasn't even in the mood at first, but then that's why they call it work.

I wonder if the people spouting off about passion really feel what they claim or if they just like something well enough and want to get a bit of attention for it. I mean, passionate about internet marketing? Really? Someone feels that? I guess it's possible but certainly outside the realm of my experience. Passionate about sending your kids to college or putting dinner on the table? Now that I understand.

The ubiquity of the term also leads to a pressure to claim feelings that one might not have. It's like the Martha Stewart Christmas Special of emotions - you can't help but compare yourself to all these self-actualizing, vocally passionate people and wonder what you're missing.

There are things I'm passionate about, of course. Faith, family, values. But I'm a bit burned out by the expectation to experience high emotion about so much else.

Nonetheless, I will admit to feeling quite passionate about one thing right now: a nap.

Big Heart of Art by qthomasbower


Actual conversation with my husband: Blog edition

Me: Can I blog about {charming thing he does that will remain nameless}?

Husband: No.

Me: But it's funny! 

Husband: No.

Me: But not in a bad way. Good funny. Charming funny.

Husband: No.

Me: But ... but ... the people would enjoy it. Think of the people!

Husband: No.

Me: (pout)

Husband: You're pouting.

Me: (nod)

Husband: (sigh)

Me: So I can blog about it?

Husband: (pause) 

Husband: No.

He paused! At the end there. This is a good sign, I think.


Like a rat with a book

I started reading a book (that will remain nameless - you'll see why) a couple weeks ago. It's from a series I usually enjoy and gets a 4.5 star rating at amazon.com.

My take?

I've struggled through 50 pages and have no inclination to pick it back up again. Ever.

Logically, I would return it to the library, choose something else, and get on with my life. Instead, I marked my page, put it aside, and ... haven't read anything for nearly two weeks.


I did this without thinking of course. For me, starting a book - especially a well reviewed one like this - creates a compunction to finish it. Same with movies. A movie has to be truly offensive for me to stop partway through (I'm looking at you Natural Born Killers).

One might say I have relentless optimism, always assuming that something is just about to get good if only I'd stick it out a little longer. One might also say I have a failure to learn because seriously, how many books get better after 50 or 100 pages? Or movies after the 45 minute mark?

A few do. And therein lies the problem.

Psychologists will tell you that animals don't manage these situations any better than I do. Unpredictable rewards are a sure way to get a rat or a dog or a Vegas gambler to do more and more of what you want.

Somehow that doesn't make me feel better.

So will I weigh things logically, put the book aside, and move onto something I'll enjoy more?

Of course! Right after the next chapter ...

Skinner box diagram courtesy of Andreas1