Viewing blog entries in category: Random Cultural Things - Page 2

  • realitybites
    There is a new Moz book being released in May that claims to have the answers to all my questions. Preposterous. Think it will answer these?

    When was the last time Moz ate cheese?
    Does Moz still wear leather shoes?
    Does he read the forums at Morrissey-Solo?
    What does he think of the phrase cheese is murder?
    Did Moz have a crush on Johnny?
    Did he sleep with Johnny?
    Is Morrissey really bi?
    Is Damon bi?
    Did Moz sleep with Tina?
    What does Tina think about the less than flattering terms used to describe the female genitalia in Autobiography?
    Does Moz realize how hypocritical he sounds?
    Does he workout? How often?
    Does he secretly think Julia Riley is mentally unhinged?
    He never talks about reading current releases. Does he read? Own a Kindle or tablet?
    Why does he think technology is unsexy?
  • realitybites
    I don't believe in godsends, angels, karma, fate, or destiny. But sometimes things just fall into place, our luck seems to have no bounds. What do we account for these things? Chance? Coincidence? Perhaps. All I know is that when opportunity knocks, answer the door and be sure you have your makeup on and gas in the car. In other words, be ready to go for it. Do all your homework, prep work, emotional work... lots of work. Hard work. Effort yields results. Dream. Believe. Achieve.
  • realitybites
    This is my year, my time to shine. I have never felt so ambitious, focused, determined, powerful, calm, happy, and deserving. This is my second stage—a new beginning. My career prospects have never been better or more rewarding. I've made some wonderful friends and truly feel like I am a part of a community. I love my city—the weather, the people.

    By this time next year I'll be so shiny your eyes will burn just looking at me.
  • realitybites
    Just got home and checked my email. This was in my inbox.


    I have the best mom ever. To be loved and cherished by a person who is so amazing is truly a gift.
  • realitybites
    I'm craving cabbage. It has been three days since my last fix. What a strange thing to be addicted to, right? At least it is healthy. So anyhow, I'm sitting here wishing I had a big head to fry up for lunch. I could go to the market and buy one. Too bad I just couldn't trade a can of pinto beans or other pantry item I don't really want or need for it.

    This gave me an idea. Would there be a community interest in a food/service swap of sorts in my area? No money would be exchanged. Food for food. Or food for service. Or service for service. As in I'll trade you this small food box for a haircut on the spot. Or I'll help you move if you teach me how to use Excel. Or I'll give you three cans of tuna for that watermelon. I wonder what the laws are regarding such an operation? If all food is factory-packaged and sealed--except for fresh produce--it seems like a food vending license wouldn't be necessary. A clothing exchange could also be introduced down the road. Doesn't this sound fun? I'm going to investigate.
  • realitybites
    TJust saw the film Mr. Turner. At the end of the movie I was left with a question: What became of the housekeeper?


    Ever have a question(s) pop into your head after the movie is over... or a day later? This will be an ongoing post—to be modified when new movies come to mind.

    Warning ~ Movie Spoilers Ahead

    Mr. Turner: What became of the housekeeper?
    Birdman: Was that movie way overrated, or what?
    Gone Girl: What the heck did we just watch? Did Chris Nolan direct this?
    The Riot Club: Are there actually young men who act like that in real life?
    Leviathan: Do modern day Russian men really drink that much vodka? Apparently they do and it's killing them.
    Nightcrawler: Was that a satisfying ending or what?!
    Fifty Shades of Grey: What a ride; when is the next one due to be released?
  • realitybites

    My ballot:

    My picks in gold; winners in blue.





  • realitybites
    Like the years before, this is an ongoing list. This one spans January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2015. Here are the other years' lists: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011.

    I will rank each film from one to four stars.

    2014 and 2015 released movies seen in 2015:

    Spy ~ 4
    Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story ~ 4
    Trainwreck ~ 4
    The End of the Tour ~ 4
    Man Up ~ 4
    Me and Earl and the Dying Girl ~ 4
    A Day in the Life of a Dictator ~ 4
    Motivation 2: The Chris Cole Story ~ 4
    Far from the Madding Crowd ~ 4
    Advanced Style ~ 4
    Pump ~ 4
    Chef's Table ~ 4
    Going Clear ~ 4
    The Imitation Game ~ 4
    Ida ~ 4
    The Green Prince ~ 4
    Nightcrawler ~ 4
    Force Majeure ~ 4
    Citizenfour ~ 4
    Wild ~ 4
    The Skeleton Twins ~ 4
    Whiplash ~ 4
    Still Alice ~ 4
    Fed Up ~ 4
    Fifty Shades of Grey ~ 4
    Faults ~4
    Deep Web ~ 4
    The Walk ~ 3.5
    The Gift ~ 3.5
    I'll See You in My Dreams ~ 3.5
    Ex Machina ~ 3.5
    The True Cost ~ 3.5
    In Search of General Tso ~ 3.5
    The Cobbler ~ 3.5
    Danny Collins ~ 3.5
    All This Mayhem ~ 3.5
    Damnation ~ 3.5
    Big Eyes ~ 3.5
    Stop at Nothing: the Lance Armstrong Story ~ 3.5
    Finding Vivian Maier ~ 3.5
    Spotlight ~ 3.5
    Laggies ~ 3.5
    30 for 30: I Hate Christian Laettner ~ 3.5
    St. Vincent ~ 3.5
    Leviathan ~ 3.5
    Knock Knock ~ 3.5
    This is Where I Leave You ~ 3.5
    Mr. Turner ~ 3.5
    John Wick ~ 3.5
    American Sniper ~ 3.5
    The Interview ~ 3.5
    Only Lovers Left Alive ~ 3.5
    The Stanford Prison Experiment ~ 3
    The Rewrite ~ 3
    She's Funny That Way ~ 3
    Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation ~ 3
    Tomorrowland ~ 3
    Life Partners ~ 3
    Jurassic World ~ 3
    Unlocking Sherlock ~ 3
    The 33 ~ 3
    Rosewater ~ 3
    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 ~ 3
    Life Itself ~ 3
    Amy ~ 3
    Cinderella ~ 3
    Miss You Already ~ 3
    The Clouds of Sils Maria ~ 3
    Cake ~ 3
    Food Chains ~ 3
    The Factory ~3
    Flights Up ~ 3
    Burnt ~ 2.5
    The Intern ~ 2.5
    Christmas Eve ~ 2.5
    Aloha ~ 2.5
    Vacation ~ 2.5
    The Age of Adeline ~ 2.5
    Jenny's Wedding ~ 2.5
    An Honest Liar ~ 2.5
    Little White Lie ~ 2.5
    A Brilliant Young Mind ~ 2.5
    The D Train ~ 2.5
    True Story ~ 2.5
    Pitch Perfect 2 ~ 2.5
    Ives Saint Laurent ~ 2.5
    About Alex ~ 2.5
    The Riot Club ~ 2.5
    Birdman ~ 2.5
    Self/Less ~ 2
    Foodies: The Culinary Jet Set ~2
    Magic Mike 2 ~ 2
    Uncanny ~ 2
    The Gabby Douglas Story ~ 2
    The Best of Me ~ 1.5
    Playing it Cool ~ 1

    Non-2014/2015 films seen:

    Food: A Cultural Culinary History ~ 4
    The Century of the Self ~ 4
    Supermench: The Legend of Shep Gordon ~ 4
    Downloaded ~ 4
    Secrets and Lies ~ 4
    The Men Who Built America ~ 4
    Beyond the Lighted Stage ~ 4
    War of the Buttons ~ 4
    White Like Me ~ 3.5
    The Atomic States of America ~ 3.5
    Burt's Buzz ~ 3.5
    Freakonomics: the Movie ~ 3.5
    Winston Churchill: Walking with Destiny ~ 3.5
    Bridegroom ~ 3.5
    Danny Meyer: The Restaurateur ~ 3.5
    Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey
    Something Wild ~ 3.5
    Print the Legend ~ 3.5
    Living Off a Dollar ~ 3.5
    If a Tree Falls ~ 3.5
    After Tiller ~ 3.5
    The East ~ 3.5
    The Brass Teapot ~ 3
    The Double ~ 3
    Dorfman in Love ~ 3
    Casting By ~ 3
    Titanic's Final Mystery ~ 3
    Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream ~ 3
    Secrets of Henry VIII's Palace ~ 3
    This is What They Want ~ 3
    Five Star Life ~3
    Dear Zachary ~ 3
    Sedona ~ 3
    Showrunners: the Art of Running a TV Show ~ 2.5
    A Little Bit of Heaven ~ 2.5
    16 Love ~ 2.5
    Drive Me Crazy ~ 2.5
    Reviving Ophelia ~ 2.5
    Fatal Honeymoon ~ 2.5
    Winnebago Man ~ 2
    Liz & Dick ~ 2
    Girl Model ~ 1.5
  • realitybites
    This post is inspired by No1uno's latest blog entry. He visited Baker Beach in San Francisco over the weekend. I too have been to Baker Beach.



    Back when I went clothes were optional. I opted to sunbathe naked as did my ex husband (not pictured).


    But as you can see from these pics, some did not. In fact, they were fully clothed, seemingly not there to catch the rays but rather to enjoy the fleshy views.


    Our images are quite different. Mine were taken with an old school camera; No1uno's with a digital. I am young in mine. He is middle-aged. The passing of time and all its sickening crimes... .

    I miss San Francisco; I miss being full of life and energy and possibilities. But I don't miss 'me'. I am happy as the person I am today. Time weathers the body but adds depth to the soul. It is the price one pays.
  • realitybites
    My paternal grandmother was a storyteller. And I have the evidence to prove it in a large vinyl zipper bag—copies of her handwritten memoirs which read like short stories. She was an intelligent, head-strong woman—a first generation American born into a large family who emigrated from England at the turn of the century.

    She went to Ohio State Normal College at Kent and then became an English teacher for forty-five years until her retirement. She had many siblings, one of whom died at nineteen when he was thrown from a moving truck—this was before seatbelts. She had three children of her own—my dad being the youngest. All graduated college. Her eldest son, Donald, played basketball for Harvard, earned his PhD there, and went on to become a successful financial aid officer for a major university until his retirement. She done good.

    Grandma moved into a retirement community back in the early nineties and became the editor for their local paper—a position she held until her death in 1999 at the age of 94. Besides documenting her life through short stories, she also would send out a year-end letter to her extended family and her friends. I remember thinking the letters were kind of cheesy, and pretentious, and phony. They didn't feel intimate or personal—back then, upon receipt. But guess what? They were. She was sharing her life with all of us—continuing to tell her story. Wasn't this more giving and generous than what the rest of us were doing—keeping our lives all to ourselves?

    I don't know if my aunts and uncles and cousins have continued with this updating tradition. If they have I am not privy to it. Maybe I am not considered family or even a friend? I am more of a stranger? They are strangers to me. Moving out of state and my parents' divorce partially account for this physical and emotional distance. And my own tradition now continues—my son doesn't know his extended family either. He has not had contact with his cousins since 2005. My brother's tragic death has something to do with this. Loss can bring people together or place a wedge between them. Unfortunately, in our case, it was the latter.

    What is family anyway? Sociologists define family as a group of individuals who are affiliated by consanguinity (by recognized birth), affinity (by marriage), or co-residence/shared consumption (see Nurture kinship).

    My family is very small. The blood relation is irrelevant for the most part. Who I consider to be family is based upon a reciprocal relationship that I share with each. And at this stage in my life there are only three individuals who fit this bill. But don't feel sad for me. This is a choice. My choice. I could reach out to these blood-related strangers and send Christmas cards in an attempt to connect with them. I could write a year-end letter and fill everybody in. Or I could send them the link to my blog. Surely they would learn much—and quickly—about what makes me tick. Would they like me? Relate to me? Consider me family? What would we even have in common? Perhaps nothing. Maybe the only thing that unites us at all is my grandmother.


    I may not hand-write an annual year-end letter nor have dozens of short stories about my life—hidden away in some folder. But I too share myself with my family—with the world, actually—through my blog. I am a storyteller too. I am documenting my life as well. And my reach is so much larger than grandma's. My stories are online. My audience has no limits. My family is global.

    I want to close this by wishing everyone a happy New Year's. Thanks for reading my blog. It means the world to me.
  • realitybites

    Miss you. x
  • realitybites
    Happy Thanksgiving 2014. To celebrate this year, I am acknowledging FOURTEEN things I am thankful for.

    1. My family. I love them very much. And feel closer to my mom and son every day. They give my life meaning, hope, connection, grounding, joy, security, love, humor, and much more.

    2. Katie, my best feline friend and companion. Never have I loved a pet so dearly and for such a long time. We have a history together. She brings happiness to my life daily.


    3. My coworkers. I work with the best group of people. I love all of them. Makes going to work a joy. Couldn't ask for a better boss.

    4. My warm, safe, and cozy apartment. I love living alone. I am grateful I am able to do so.

    5. My city. I love the beauty, quiet, cleanliness, and minimal pollution, traffic, and population. It is peaceful and slow-paced. If there was an ocean nearby, it would be perfect.

    6. My resourcefulness. I always seem to get what I need somehow.

    7. My new computer. Works like a dream.

    8. My friend Doug. Love him. My life is enriched because he is a part of it.

    9. Life. Grateful to still be alive despite all of the obstacles thrown into my path.

    10. My small frame. Glad that losing weight is NOT something to have to worry about.

    11. My green thumb. Can't believe how successful my tomato plants were this summer. Had no idea I had it in me.

    12. My solitude. Happy I am able to be content with my own company.

    13. Health insurance. With all the tests I have had done this year, I am thankful that my insurance paid for all of them.

    14. My blog. It has been ten years this month since I started writing it. Here's to the next ten years.

    What are you thankful for?
  • realitybites
    Last night the temperature here dropped below the freezing point. I covered Penny and Sid but they were not looking so good this morning. So, I picked their remaining tomatoes. I will attempt to ripen them in paper bags on the counter. If that fails, I will be scourging the Net for green tomato recipes.


    Total harvest from two plants this season: 28 lbs. Not too shabby. :)

    Update December 1: Tomatoes are all ripening. No need to hunt down green tomato recipes.

  • realitybites

    I have been eating a lot of cabbage lately—bok choy and green. I chop it up and sautée it in a little oil in a dutch oven on the stove top. After it caramelizes, I add lots of black pepper and some cubed ham (optional). Then I pour in a little water, cover, and steam it for ten minutes. I eat it over basmati or long grain rice. The rice soaks up the liquid. Delicious. I also eat quite a bit of romaine-based salads. I eat very little dairy—cheese every once in a while (lactose intolerance).

    I love French bread from the bakery and eat far more of it than I probably should (bleached white flour, gluten). I rarely eat eggs, pasta, cereals, or fruit—except when I did the vegan challenge. I eat quite a bit of tomatoes, pork loin, various other vegetables, fish/shellfish, and chicken. I rarely eat ground beef. When I do eat beef it is raw or cooked rare and very lean. I eat less than one percent of potatoes and nuts. I never eat peanut butter or bananas.

    I'm not a soda drinker but I do drink copious amounts of seltzer. And a cup or two of a coffee day. I also drink hot tea—Earl Grey is my favorite. I occasionally drink beer and vodka, indulge in sweets like chocolate, and chomp on chips. Oh, and I eat lots of ice cubes in bed when I read. Sometime I eat pretzels in bed as well. And I love candy.
  • realitybites
    When I was fourteen years old, I fell in love for the first time with a boy named Brett. He was fifteen, handsome, and tall, with silky black hair. He looked a bit like a muscular Steve Perry—frontman for the band, Journey. At the end of the summer—that summer of my first love—Brett and his family moved to Florida. I never saw him again.

    Brett and I never kissed or even dated. Too many obstacles kept us from hooking up. First off, he was my boyfriend Scott's best friend. They had been best buds since childhood. Secondly he was my best friend, Tina's, boyfriend. Thirdly, and most importantly, he was Jewish. And according to his religion—if adhered to—he needed to marry a fellow Jew. So even if we were to fall madly in love—leaving Tina and Scott on the sidelines—it was to be short lived. It was a star-crossed love. He was Jewish; I wasn't. Simple as that. It was over before it ever began. At the time, this seemed as silly as saying, my hair is black, yours is brown, so we can never be together. I was an atheist. I was never taught that I was a member of some exclusive club that denies others memberships based on their religious beliefs—or lack thereof. I did not care that he was Jewish—and not atheist. Why should it matter to him that I was not Jewish? Because he was indoctrinated to believe he must stick with his own kind. In the same way that blacks and whites only dated those within their own race. And the way that gays didn't date in the open—at all. This was the early eighties in Akron Ohio—not exactly the center of progressive ideas. So many prejudices. Misunderstandings. Tolerance was not a word or concept on the radar. Political correctness? What was that? Ignorance and fear were dividers—the dividers that kept Brett from even entertaining the thought that we could be together in the future.

    Odd, but Tina was not Jewish either. But it was OK in his mind to have a short-lived fling with a gentile. But an everlasting love affair with one? Not a chance. Brett loved me too. I felt the reciprocity in every inch of my body and soul. That Tina and Scott were oblivious to our desires remains a mystery. Were they in denial? Neither were the sharpest blades in the drawer. But still. Scott went on the be my first. Yes, I wish it had been Brett. Elusive Brett. I spent the next five years looking for my next Brett. I found him in 1989 in San Francisco. His name was Israel and he was from Israel. Uncanny. He would become my first husband and the father of my only child, David.

    That first rejection—based on my lack of Jewishness—was traumatic. It scarred me—changed me forever. It was not the last time I would be made to feel inferior for not being Jewish. It happened again at the US Embassy in Israel when I was told that my son, who was still in my womb at the time, would be a bastard if I did not convert to Judaism. He would be illegitimate. This was in the early nineties. Ignorance and fear were still alive and thriving there—and possibly still are to this day. Worse still, just a few weeks earlier, I learned that I could not marry Israel anywhere in Israel. There was no civil marriage in the entire state; it was illegal. And a Jew could not marry a non-Jew. Our only practical option was to take a boat to Cyprus and marry there. So we did. And were married by the mayor of the city, Nicosia. It was a simple ceremony—lasting under ten minutes. After we married, another couple, an American Christian woman and a Lebanese Jewish man, were married. Israel's religious bigotry created a thriving, cottage industry in Nicosia. There were even travel brochures advertising wedding and officiating services in Cyprus, much in the same way that Chapels in Las Vegas do. People literally run off to Cyprus to get married just like they run off to Nevada.

    After my second divorce in 2010 from a non-Jewish man, I fell for another Jew. Three's a charm? Hardly. Another elusive Jew. Will he be the very last? Has the spell been broken? The fetish extinguished? The chase over? Have I have finally let my demons go? Said goodbye to the Jewish knight that I had hoped would save me, make my life wonderful—complete? My Jewish lover is a façade—an illusion. A delusion that some other person can rescue me, fill in the void, give my life meaning and structure. The elusive Brett is the elusive happiness. And this happiness cannot be found outside ourselves in the other. But rather, must come from within ourselves. The chase is up. I am no longer running towards something, someone. I am standing still, perfectly happy being alone—Jew free.