charlene01.jpgMy husband’s last name is Einbinder.  We’ve always assumed the German translation (one binder) meant that it was the moniker for the trade of bookbinding. It’s a rare name. In fact the only other person we’ve ever met with any connection to that name is the movie director Mike Binder. One day, years ago, at the Pumpkin Patch in our neighborhood, we struck up a conversation with him.  Blank Man, a movie he directed, was absolutely the funniest movie that year.  It still holds up.  David Allen Grier kills in it.  Of course, he always kills. It turned out that Mike’s last name was shortened from Einbinder.  Since then, when we see him places, we exchange that twinkle of recognition of our ‘kinship’.

Recently I decided my copy of The Joy of Cooking deserved better than duct tape holding it together.  Months ago I’d read an article in Daily Candy about Charlene Matthews who practiced the lost art of bookbinding. I put it in my email archives under “of interest”. I’m actually getting things done on my list of long avoided tasks and this was one of them.  What an adventure. 

Read more ...

boardwalk_pedicabpage.jpg Yes, a pedicab.  That was my ride home last night.  Crammed in the back seat with two friends, and leaving a party far away from downtown, the pedicab, peddled vigorously by a bearded mountain man named Declan, was our only chance of getting back to home base (by the way, I’m now convinced that pedicabs are the most expensive mode of transportation on earth).

We were a few miles away from downtown at a party given by MySpace which featured Nelly as the headlining performer.  The crowd at all convention events always seems to be a mixed bag of ages and enthusiasm, which can make it hard to select a performer who resonates with everyone. I forgot, though, that every Nelly song has been in some sort of commercial and that as a result, even your grandmother knows at least one Nelly song (seriously, try it). 

Read more ...

celts2.jpg With the NBA Finals over (Yeah Celtics!), the Stanley Cup won, March Madness completed and the race for the Triple Crown decided, we can finally relax because the demon (a.k.a. the Super Sports Freak) has subsided…at least for now. Summer is upon us and the only sport we need to worry about is baseball and no one really cares about the outcome of these games until Labor Day. Well, except my husband…and millions of other men around the world.

I had no idea what I was getting into when I married a sports fanatic.  When we were dating it didn’t really seem important. Then when we moved in together, I realized that if I wanted to spend any quality time with The Man, I better get interested in the game. Any game. I initially picked basketball because it seemed to have the least amount of rules and was over quickly. Of course, my skill at retaining useless knowledge and obnoxious competitive streak soon had me winning the office pool for March Madness and using my husband’s vast love for the game to help me pick the right players for my Fantasy Basketball Team, which I also won. The men in the pool, i.e. everyone else, were not amused. 

Read more ...

pinterestAs you may know, I like to view my very-nearly-fifty-year-old self as all hip and early adopterish. I have an unnatural dread of youngsters snickering as I hold up my new-fangled thingamabobber and look at it over the rims of my glasses, saying something like “tell me again, what button I push to see the grandkids in their space pod?” So when I started reading about Pinterest, I begged an invitation and checked it out.

As it turns out, Pinterest can be a useful tool or a waste of time and energy, or both. I am finding it tremendously useful, but it took some time and tinkering to sift out what I really wanted to see and “pin” to my virtual pin boards. At first, I saw no point in looking through hundreds and thousands of pictures and picking those that struck my fancy. A lot of what I saw seemed like nothing more than an extension of the bumper sticker or the Facebook profile - one more way to show off a little and tell the world that one had read (and liked) “Bleak House,” or spent time in Uruguay. There were also hundreds of cute animal pictures, cute kid pictures, and inspirational sayings of various kinds, things that might be diverting for two seconds but I am unlikely to “pin” and revisit anything along the lines of LOLCats.

The beauty of a good “pin,” though, is that there is a narrative portion that can tell you whether a picture is just “for pretty,” or whether one can click through to a recipe for that cupcake, or directions for making wall sconces from Dollar Store funnels. For me, the recipes and how-tos have been amazingly useful. I admit that I “collect” pretty pictures of things that I like, moons, owls, birds, flowers, and Paris street scenes…images that make me smile when I am stuck someplace for fifteen minutes and want a reminder of the beauty in the world. That’s good, but that’s the fluff.

Read more ...

sketchfest.jpgThis past weekend I was in San Francisco for The 8th Annual Sketchfest. This was a two week long Comedy Festival with comic performers ranging from Stand-up, One Person Shows, Improv Groups, Sketch Companies and then there were shows that sort of defied description. Some of those were the ones I took part in. 

I was lucky enough to see a few shows besides our own.  I saw The Lampshades; the best fake lounge act I’ve seen in a long time.  The physical work they do is sublime and hilarious. I took a peek at 2-Headed Dog, but they were doing a sketch that had three men running around in their underpants and little else. They were dancing in a manner that had their peculiar distributions of body fat jiggle in a way that caused me to run out of the theatre.  I’m not saying I’m the Venus DeMilo, but I don’t choose to subject anyone to the sight of my sorry flesh sac.

The Theme Park Improv Show had Scott Adsit from 30 Rock and Oscar Nunez from The Office. They were outstanding, but what was really impressive was two of the performers in the troupe were the event promoters. You just never figure people that talented would have it together enough to pull something like this off. They did some of the best improv I’ve seen in a long time.

Read more ...