Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Songs from a Dictaphone just arrived and it's such a thing of beauty WITH a beat that I'm just sitting here simply gobsmacked.

I learned about SJD (Sean James Donnelly) when I saw Don McGlashan play the 2002 New Zealand Festival. SJD was his bassist. It was a very lucky thing for me, Matty, and some friends here, too. We've been grooving to and thinking about his music since we got our hands on the amazing Lost Soul Music.

You can hear samples of three out of four of SJD's releases (Lost Soul Music, Southern Lights, and Songs from a Dictaphone) at Smokecds. The song "Two Bodies" from Dictaphone slays me.

before the tasting the other night

Posted by Picasa

BLT everyday, if we can stand it

Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 30, 2007

funny vulnerability

I drift off to near unconsciousness on a fair few nights and the idea that Wyatt isn't here anymore will sometimes pop on into my head. It makes me so unsettled that I search out the wooden bed frame to give it a good hard knock. I want the boy to have a full wonderful life. The fact that his wellbeing is our responsibility freaks me out.

I don't feel that responsibility for Matt anymore, and I laughed when Louise warned me about the shift from partner to kid. I was seven months preggars, and I told Louise that I would choose to save Matt's life over the sprog's, and she said she used to feel the same way until her kids came along. I laughed.

And now I totally understand.

When I read about the Korean hostages in Afghanistan, I feel for the parents of those killed and held captive. My cynical self says, "Ah yes, but they are Christian missionaries who knew fully well what they were getting into," but my realistic self says that there is a hole in a parent's life that will never be filled.

I never in a 100 million years thought I would ever become so vulnerable.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Yes, I can identify

From The New York Times:

July 26, 2007
Skin Deep
Bangs Return, and With Them, Naysayers and Chopaholics

LAURIE PERRY is a thoroughly modern, well-functioning 36-year-old who has no problem making millions of little decisions every day — except when it comes to figuring out how to style the hair at the front of her head.

If you meet her, she may even ask you to weigh in on this particular matter.

“ ‘Do you think I should get bangs?’ is pretty much my default conversation starter,” said Ms. Perry, a writer and graphic designer living in Los Angeles. “Basically, if I’m experiencing any kind of emotional crisis, it’s the thing I’ll focus on. I was literally on the phone with my hairdresser the day before my divorce proceedings, talking about bangs.

“He hung up on me.”

Few hairstyles are as packed with emotional triggers as the bluntly cut bangs that have been cropping up on runways and in salons. They can bring back childhood memories and raise deep-seated feelings of longing (for the look) and loathing (for anyone who can pull it off). Some see them as cute and playful. Others think they’re anything but, especially on those over 30.

“To me, they scream: ‘I’m cooler than you, I have a lot of sex, and if you leave your husband with me I’ll devour him,’ ” said Meredith Hays, a literary agent in Manhattan with an unbanged brow. But Ms. Hays said she quickly becomes more rational: “It’s maybe more a cry for help, like ‘I’m getting older and so I’ll give myself a youngish haircut to compensate.’ ”

Whether they conjure painful visions of husband-stealers or happy memories of Betty and Veronica, bangs are an appealing option in the summer, when the weather forces the bangless to march around with hair greased back with sweat, like so many W.N.B.A. players or Romanian gymnasts.

The ease with which the look can be yours is what makes that frontal flap of hair so covetable — and dangerous. Flat abs require months of work and new wardrobes necessitate spending a bundle, but just one look at Anne Hathaway in “The Devil Wears Prada” or Cate Blanchett in “Notes on a Scandal” can lead to the conclusion that life would be immeasurably improved with a few snips of the scissors.

If only it were that easy.

“If someone comes to me and wants a full bang for the first time,” said Steve Berg, a stylist at Robert G Salon in the West Village, “there are automatically some questions I’m going to ask, like, ‘Did you break up with someone?’ Or, ‘Are you on your period?’ It’s so often an impulse decision, but it’s not an impulse like buying a new pair of shoes. You can’t return it.”

Kate Burke, a book publicist in Cambridge, Mass., caught the bangs bug the moment she saw Reese Witherspoon with her yellow forelock and yellow dress at the Golden Globes in January.

“I think I can get them to look like Reese’s maybe once a week,” she said. “The rest of the time, they sort of curl under and I feel like I just walked out of my 11th-grade yearbook picture.”

The large cosmetic companies don’t seem to have discovered bangs care yet. Some hairstylists, like Kattia Solano, the owner of Butterfly Studio in Manhattan, are filling the void by putting together free maintenance kits for their clients.

“So much of good fringe is about commitment and maintenance,” said Ms. Solano, whose kit contains a Beuy Pro fiberglass comb, a small bottle of Malin and Goetz peppermint shampoo and an information sheet on “Keeping Your Fringe Fabulous.”

She advocates washing bangs daily to avoid a greasy look. “You can pull the rest back in a ponytail and then just wash your fringe when you wash your face,” she said.

Mr. Berg suggests that his clients use a little bit of baby powder or a Bumble and bumble spray-on hair powder at the roots. To avoid frizz, use spray-on wax, he tells his clients, but “always applied onto the fingers first.” For general maintenance, he suggests using a light hairspray applied to a flat rubber-cushion boar-bristle brush (he favors Mason Pearson’s).

But all the washings and applications of hairspray in the world won’t keep bangs looking fresh forever. Some salons offer touch-up trims for free, but many clients find the do-it-yourself urge difficult to resist.

“For some reason, it’s something women always decide to do when they’re drinking,” Ms. Solano said.

There are several products for bangs-wearers who want to trim at home. The Fringe Kit ($30, www.fringekit.com) is a small tin including scissors, a plastic cape, a mirror and a how-to booklet. The AccurEdge ($9.50, www.localoc.net) is a plastic clip designed to hold bangs flat during trimming. The clip packs as much glamour as the Flowbee System of infomercial fame — which also offers a bangs attachment.

Still, Mr. Berg said, a good pair of hair scissors or nail scissors are all anyone really needs. He recommends twisting the bangs together and cutting vertically instead of horizontally.

So does that mean that the woman with the perfect bangs has reached a pinnacle of style and eternal hair happiness?


Scratch anyone with perfectly styled bangs, and you’ll likely find a woman who occasionally lifts up the curtain of hair and gazes back at someone with a less cluttered bathroom sink, a more relaxed morning routine and a nighttime outfit that doesn’t involve a headband to stave off eyebrow-acne.

Some bangs wearers become captives of the look, sometimes long past the point where they appreciate the comparisons to Bettie Page or Jane Birkin.

But committing to a lifetime of bangs is easier than dealing with the many months of awkward grow-out. That period is fraught with what stylists call bang paranoia: Are my bangs too heavy? Do people notice me or my obscured forehead? I’m going for Rihanna, but is it too Margaret Mead? Eve Ensler? Jane Jacobs! And can anyone see the Orion’s Belt of pimples on my forehead?

“It’s the grass-is-always-greener haircut,” said Jessica Vitkus of Manhattan, a producer at Public Radio International, who opts for a shaggy Loretta Swit-type fringe. “The shorter bangs are too cutesy,” she said. “I don’t think you can name one woman who has those blunt bangs who is taken seriously in a professional setting.”

Anna Wintour?

“O.K., but try naming two.”

Seeing the singer Cat Power’s thick bangs at a concert almost inspired Ms. Vitkus to get out the kitchen scissors. “You have to contain yourself until you get through the bad times,” she said. “You can’t break down and cut them again, or else all those months of growing them go out the window. It’s a lot like trying to abstain from drinking.”

Without the meetings with free coffee, that is.

Ms. Perry, the writer and graphic designer, hoped to be sporting bangs before leaving Los Angeles for New York in June to promote her book, “Crazy Aunt Purl’s Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair” (HCI, October 2007). But her hairdresser vetoed the idea, citing her bangs-adverse “chipmunk” cheeks — and hinting at the hell she’d live if she didn’t like them.

“You always think it’d be easy to grow them out, but really it’s terrible,” Ms. Perry said. “You can’t be a 36-year-old wearing barrettes walking down the streets of L.A.

“Still, I envy those people who have full-on bangs and have a ‘look’ — people who aren’t afraid to wear leopard prints and who hang out at cool places like ... ” She paused.

“Well, I don’t personally know any cool places,” she said. “But if I had them, maybe I would.”


I might be the only one in town with some tomatoes. It was over 100 degrees for over three weeks, rendering blossoms sterile. I think all that tinkerbelling it up with my blossom whacker (be it a badminton racquet, pool noodle, bamboo stick, or my hands) and misting religiously worked. Yes, my intervention did give a whole quadrant somekind of blight, but I have some lovely "Black Russians" (they seem different from "Noir de Crimee" to me) to show for it.

Having a tomato tasting and mega-round of shithead (cards) tonight.

Matty heading out with Mark and Janet into the backcountry this weekend. So, the boy and I will do the bachelor thing again.

the Black Seeds

Bless the Rugby World Cup. Because of it, it appears we'll be able to catch the Black Seeds in Paris. Serendipity, man. They will be playing in a cool looking space in Belleville (birth and resting place of Edith Piaf) called La Bellevilloise. Have already emailed the venue asking if our enfant terrible with a love of NZ music is allowed.

Even though we'll be in the South of France in time for the World Cup kickoff between the All Blacks and Italy, we'll be in Banyuls, not Marseille.

Having been to Hong Kong Rugby Sevens a few times, it would be strange to go to a match without our friends and a vat of jungle juice.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Happy Boy

Posted by Picasa

Luckily, the boy likes being above 11,000 feet on a regular basis.

Sunday Fish at Tamarack Lake

Posted by Picasa

Books started and aborted

Ripped through Garlic and Sapphires. Picked it up on a recommendation from Barry/Myshkin's excellent blog. It confirmed that I love reading about food and the theatre around its presentation. Note to self: pack better looking clothes for Europe. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to pass myself off as a Japanese tourist. They seem to get cut a lot of slack and are known for being obsessive connoisseurs of the strange. Somehow I don't think lambic/gueuze and stinky cows' milk cheese are strange enough, though.

At any rate, will make sure to lug along the most excellent DK French Cheese guide. It was written by...an obsessive Japanese person.

Started Joe Boyd's White Bicycles, making music in the 1960s. I was intrigued by the interview he gave Radio NZ's abrasive Kim Hill. Boyd was Zelig, there at the dawn of everything and the death of many things. Dylan going electric at Newport; discovering and producing Pink Floyd, Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, Fairport Convention; touring with all the blues and jazz legends to have survived into the 1960s; Hendrix, Boyd was there. Will finish it later.

Need to get my mitts on the last William Boyd or give Any Human Heart a good re-read. There's a thread here, writers named Boyd who have a Zelig-like ability.

Friday, July 20, 2007

hiding behind those bangs

You'd think by the age of nearly 39, I would stop trying to affect the look of a Chinese Francoise Hardy or that bad mod girl in Quadrophenia, but yesterday I got bored and tried to cut myself some new bangs/fringe. I buggered things up pretty badly, but luckily Marsha rode to the rescue.

Getting new hair was what I needed to jolt me out of the funk that was this last week. I think I was feeling sorry for myself about the hips and the getting old with pain (have a hamstring strain and bad shoulders, too) and the putting on 8 pounds in two weeks. Pity party for one. It was dumb.

On the plus side, we've got our lovely child back from the abyss that was a long temper tantrum (the last of the molars coming in? really being 2?). I've got enough tomatoes for a BLT and a caprese salad everyday if I want. I've got a summer holiday where I am going to sup Drei Fonteinen and Cantillon from their sources. I've got a supportive mate and friends and family.

And when I feel crabby and sad, I can always hide behind my new bitchin' bangs and eyeliner.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Femoral osteotomy

That's what Dr. Mast says I need to consider. They cut the femur high up on the thigh and rotate the bottom part of the leg 20 degrees inward. This might help stave off the artificial hip I will be needing in maybe 10, maybe more, years. At any rate, my femurs are such freakshows that the surgery will help prep me for artificial hips later. The standard, off the shelf, hips won't seat properly into my femurs the way they are oriented now.

I appreciate the time Dr. Mast has spent with me (about 4.5 hours over two visits).

No guarantees, but what the hell. I'll shoot for the left hip this October/November. If all goes well enough, I'll shoot for the other next September/October.

This might mean that we can go to Portillo, Chile for a family ski in August 2008 after all. I am hoping to be there during Chilean Wine Week! I have the fact that I will most likely be a better skier than my 3 year old for the only time in our lives to look forward to. Will probably backpack around Argentina or Chile for two weeks after.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

First BLT of the Season

Glenn Parker's Kosovo was the first tomato of sandwich substance to ripen this year. Bless Glenn. He is such a dear penfriend of mine.

The avocado was gratuitous, so I took mine out and gave it to the boy. We used Mahogany Smoked Meats bacon, affectionately known as "crack bacon" in this house. We also used nutritionless, but crunchy iceburg lettuce.

It was divine.
We hardly spoke for the 2-3 minutes we ate. I guzzled down some girlfriend ales (Pyramid Apricot and something weird and organic from Chicago) as dessert.
Certainly no time to take a snap. Maybe later in the week. Sandwich candidate number two will likely be a Kellogg's Breakfast (ooh, that sunny orange shall make a nice picture).

Friday, July 06, 2007

Meatfest 2007 Edition

Went off without a hitch. I ditched poor Matty who handled most of it to go for a hike up to Lower Lamarck with Naomi.
We didn't poison anyone. Yay. The turkey came out of the pit barbecue still a bit raw, though. We got given some nice wild boar sausage.
Janet and the girls set up a nice bar, and Michelle Pettit plied us with watermelon mojitos throughout the night. The other Michelle P. made some of the young men twitter at the thought of being her bondage fodder.
The young men coming to Bishop each year seem to be getting younger and younger.
A posse up from So. Cal are here to climb/peak bag, and they've been great. Looking forward to laying low with Matty and the boy next week, though.

Sunday, July 01, 2007