Miz Shoes

What a Day for a Day Dream

You’re never too old to throw yourself on your back in the lawn. I did it yesterday, camera in hand.

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Miz Shoes

He’s My Brother

Yeah, I know I’ve talked trash about my brother, Biggus Dickus, before but he is my brother. And Friday he will turn 60. So, in honor of that momentous occasion, I give you:

Funny Pictures
moar funny pictures

The RLA and I have been busily watching movies lately. Netflix, IFC, Turner Classics, The Movie Chanel… And I can honestly say that the majority of what I’ve seen has been crap. Jeff Goldblum’s mockumentary “Pittsburgh”? Sucked. It had its moments, but they were few and far between. Like, was the director of the Pittsburgh production of “Music Man” in on the joke, or not. Because if not, the scenes where he’s trying to tell Goldblum that reinventing Harold Hill into a neurotic, twitchy idiot is not going to work, and there are only two days of rehersal left? Those are weepingly funny. If he was in on the joke? Not so much.

“2001, A Space Odyssey” is a classic, right? And I watched it again the other night for the first time in years and years. I watched it straight. I watched it waiting for it to be as brilliant and cinematically life-changing as it was the first time I saw it in 196whatever, when my friend Kay fell asleep during the trip. I kept waiting. And waiting. And I realized that there was a total of 10 minutes of dialog in the whole thing, and that those ten minutes did absolutely nothing toward driving the plot. And then I realized that there was no plot. And then I realized that I needed to see “Barry Lyndon” again. And then I thought that I should call Kay and apologize to her for ridiculing her for falling asleep in the theater and tell her that she was right about that.

We watched “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and within the first five minutes I identified the choreographer as Bob Fosse. And I’m not even all that savvy about dance. That said, there are certain moves that will forever be Fosse, and nobody else. Jazz hands and contrapuntal feet, to be precise. I want a copy of “A Secretary Is Not a Toy”. Which is a lovely segue into the other musical I watched, “A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Forum”, a film that stands the test of time and then some. That is a great piece of cinema, with some great performances by some giants of the stage: Phil Silvers, Zero Mostel, Jack Gilford, and of course, the immortal Buster Keaton. Probably one of my all-time faves, and the number “Everybody Ought To Have a Maid” is almost always in rotation on the i-pod.

Finally:

Miz Shoes

I Just Want to Feel the Rythm

Downloaded MAGIC this morning, and haven’t made it all the way through the first full listen, but I can say this: when sings “It’s a long walk home”, he is not talking about from his ex-girlfriend’s place to his. Unless, you know, his ex-girlfriend is Lady Liberty and his apartment is a metaphor for American civil liberties. Another cut that is not about cars and girls is “Last to Die” and unless you were sleeping through all the attempts to dishonor John Kerry during the last presidential campaign, you’ll recognize the line “last to die for a mistake”, as the pull quote from his appearance before congress as a Viet Nam vet against the war. As much as this has been promoted as a back-to-roots rock and roll , this is a very . Not that there is anything wrong with that. And it is a very danceable, hummable .

There are echoes of sounds from the San Francisco Summer of Love, and from late-period Beatles, and even a track where you can actually appreciate that after 30 years and endless stages, Bruce has learned to sing. That may be the result of touring with the angel-voiced Nils Lofgren, too. I’m leaning towards loving this album. The first dozen times I heard the pre-release cut “Radio Nowhere” I wasn’t sure, to tell you the truth. I thought the production was a little dodgy. I thought it was a little, uh, light weight. Then I watched the video, and the penny dropped for me.

It’s only rock and roll, but I love it.

Miz Shoes

Gimme Gimme Gimme

Lord knows that I am the first to point fingers and laugh at the misfortunes of others, but not today. Today I am going to tell you something: I fear for Britney Spears. I have put her on my personal suicide/early death watch.

I saw her performance at the VMAs and it was so pitiful and sad that I could barely laugh at Sara Silverman’s routine. I did laugh, though. Inappropriate or not, cheap shots or not, the woman was funny. But Britney wasn’t funny. Nor was she there. She looked lost. She couldn’t walk in those heels, either because she was somehow impaired (drunk, high, downed out, a and b only, a and c only, all of the above) or because she somehow didn’t practice enough in them. Her movements weren’t the crisp dance movements of just a couple years ago, they were flacid and half-hearted. She didn’t seem to know the routine. Poor thing looked like a deer caught in the headlights.

And while personally, I could just kill for that body (not, you know, actually work out for it though), it wasn’t a body that should have been on display in that costume. Take a tip from her royal highness, Miss Cher, and if you want to expose yourself, do it through sheer mesh and under a shit load of sequins. Nobody will ever notice anything, and you will look Fabulous.

But poor Miss Spears. If, as the tabloids say, she is insecure about herself, this fire storm of “Fatty, Fat, Fat” and “She Can’t Dance” could put her over the edge. She has displayed enough self-destructive habits, displayed enough bad judgement, that one has to wonder (well, this one has to wonder) if she could totally self-destruct. Suicide? Overdose? A simple slip behind the wheel and over the high side of the PCH?

I hope someone gets her help. I doubt it will happen. But I think I’ve finally seen my fill of this particular train wreck. I’ll just turn the page.

Miz Shoes

Orange Blossom Special

Well, the University of Miami has decided, after a long, hard look at the money, to abandon the historic Orange Bowl and move to Dolphin Stadium. While this sucks and is typical of the wanton disregard for history and tradition that is traditional in the Magic City (Miami), there is a silver lining here, maybe, and that is this: since the OB is certain to be fodder for redevelopment, maybe, just maybe, this centrally located space can be turned into a baseball stadium for my sorta-beloved Florida Marlins.

The Marlins are stuck playing in the nasty cement heat sink that is Dolphin Stadium, and while being a cement heat sink isn’t so bad if you are playing football in what passes for the winter, it is absolute death in August for baseball. Not to mention the fact that the stadium does not convert well, with wonky corners in left field.

A few years ago I had figured out the perfect place for the baseball stadium, but nobody would listen to me and today that spot is occupied by something called “Jungle Island”, but which used to be Parrot Jungle. Of course, and again, this being Miami, the original Parrot Jungle was located in a tropical paradise of banyan trees, lagoons and 50-year old native plantings, but the neighbors complained about the free range Macaws and the riff-raff who came from out of the neighborhood to have breakfast with the flamingos and cockatiels, so the Parrot Jungle moved to a barren fill island in Biscayne Bay and had to build a tropical jungle from scratch. And that caused a drop off in attendance (well, the heat, the lack of shade and foliage and the rise in entrance fee from $10 to $35) and so now the newly-renamed Jungle Island is sort of struggling, when it could have been a beautiful baseball stadium with boat dockage for the sky boxes, and a view of the downtown skyline, and the wet dream of the tourist industry: an aerial view of the turquoise waters of Biscayne Bay surrounding the lush green of a real grass diamond, with the white cruise ships in the channel… telecast during a spring training day game while the snow is six feet deep in the rust belt.

Hey, I’m not bitter. Nobody listens to the prophet in his own time. Anyway. Now there is the very real possibility of a domed stadium in (almost) downtown. Will it happen? Not bloody likely, this IS Miami after all, and what better use for an obsolete (but not really) sports facility than overpriced housing in an over-saturated market?

I’ll give you odds that the Orange Bowl does not become the Marlins’ state of the art, retro-but-domed palace of play, but instead becomes Orange Bowl Towers, a state of the art condo tower with studios starting at $200,000.

Miz Shoes

Marketing 101

So. I’m a blonde, although here at the second half of my life, it is more of a rodential sort of brown, liberally salted with white? grey? transparent? Whatever. Anyway. I’m a blonde, and sometimes I act like one.

Take for instance the other night when I was reviewing my credit card bill. There were two very large charges to . I tried to review the purchases, but there were no details. I drew a total blank. I knew that I had bought no new hardware, no new software from Apple. And there were two charges made on consecutive days. I was stumped. It had to be credit card theft, right?

I went on-line to my credit card company and challenged the charges. Done and done. When the RLA came back from walking the dogs, I told him about the mysterious charges and he looked at me like I had grown a third head.

What do you mean, you don’t recognize the charges? DUH. It’s the calendars and books you made for everyone’s holiday gifts. Almost $800 worth of calendars and books.

Yesterday morning, bright and early, I called the credit card company. They had already credited my account the full amount and had closed the file. (Let’s give credit—HAH—where credit is due: American Express.) As far as they were concerned, the matter was over. I said it was fraudulent, they believed me. Done and done. If I needed to pay Apple, Apple would have to re-bill me; I need to call them.

So I did. And I apologized for being a ditz. And I told them that I needed to pay them, but AmEx couldn’t reinstate the charge, and what do we do now?

Apple support escalated me through a few levels of customer service, and then got my e-mail, so they could send me instructions for payment. But they didn’t. What they sent me was a thank you note for being a loyal customer. And told me to keep my order, free of charge.

There’s an old adage in marketing that an unhappy customer will tell seven people about a bad experience, but a happy customer will only tell one, maybe two.

I’m over the moon happy, and I want as many people as I can tell to hear the story of what customer service is supposed to be. Both from American Express (you said you didn’t make that charge and that’s enough for us, here’s your money back) and Apple. I don’t even know WHY Apple made that decision. Maybe it was because of . Maybe they looked up my account saw that I’ve been a loyal customer since 1988. Maybe it was just . Maybe I was the one millionth customer. Maybe it is just that Apple is the best company in the world.

What ever. I know that today, I’m proud to be a stockholder and a former employee. , you are my idol.

Miz Shoes

Starry, Starry Night

Or, an Apologia for Vincent Let me begin by saying that I like Vincent*, I understand his point of reference in most of the work he's done. I don't necessarily like everything that he's made, but I do recognize his departure point. What I don't understand is the intense loathing for him in the forums and fan groups of Project Runway. Granted, this past week has seen that loathing come to a frenzied point, since he got to stay on when everyone's favorite little blonde unicorns and fairies girl Alison was auf'ed. But I think people would have been peeved even if it was BlahblahblahBobby who left the runway for good. The universal dislike and disdain started the very first week, when he sent a perfectly respectable little frock out accessorized with a wicker fruit basket doing duty as a hat. It was totally awful, and made worse by the accompanying oversized sun glasses and the addition of dangling chains. ep1Vincent.jpg And yet...I saw echoes of the maestro Rudi Gernreich and the 2001 Space Odyssey fly girls. 2001SpaceOdyssey_FF_300x225_050220051550.gif In Episode 2, it was his green evening gown with the Jetsons-esque cap sleeves that had the internets twitching with distaste, but Miss USA liked the dress itself, and so did Miss Vera Wang. Except for the very couture element of the unwearable sleeve cap, the dress itself was simple, elegant and very, very wearable. Maybe if he'd let Angela stick her "signature fleurchons" on the straps instead, they would have won? Ep2Vincent.jpg Episode 3, Doing it Doggie Style, saw Vincent doing another awful hat and a simple frock. He was derided for using knee-length leggings, but take a look at any fashion rag on the stands today, and you'll see that leggings are back. With a vengence. Also? The dog ensemble was a hoot. OK. Here's where we need to address the real issue about Vincent. The guy is a total whack job. OK? The giggles and shits over the dog's little hat and coat were over the top, even for me, but Vincent amuses himself, and really not an anyone else's expense (AHEM, JEFFREY). Vincent is a whack job, but not a nut case. Vincent, in his early interviews and bios acknowledged that New York and the fashion industry almost killed him. After watching six weeks of him, I can honestly tell you that it wasn't the pressure and New York that did for him, it was the 80s. It was sex and drugs and rock and roll. It was cocaine and quaaludes and way too much tequilla. If David Crosby has said about the 60s that if you remembered them, then you weren't there, I say if you don't have some serious scars from the 80s, then you weren't THERE. I was, and let me tell you, I can recognize a fellow-traveller when I see one. You don't get Vincent's kind of crazy from smoking a little too much pot, or having a genetic propensity for mental instability. You can get Vincent's kind of crazy from too much LSD, but then, you generally spend the rest of your life puttering around in your sanitarium's garden, and producing no work whatsoever. ** Vincent's kind of crazy takes a lot of work, most of it in the form of little white lines, little white pills, way too little sleep and a lot, a fucking lot, of hard living. Been there, done that, never was indicted. The last thing that I want to say that I like about Vincent is that he believes in his own vision. He may be batshit crazy and dead wrong, but he stands in the spotlight on the runway, looks Diane Von Furstenberg in the eye (thereby defying her attempt to turn him into stone with a single stare) and says, you don't have to like it, you don't have to see where I'm coming from, but I do. I know what I wanted to make, and I made it. Period. Love me. Hate me. Recognize.*** * Yeah, and I also just adore(d) Daniel Franco. Proceed with the proverbial salt grain. ** Example: Syd Barrett *** He's a sistah soljah, from the belly of the beast, recognize! But even Vincent isn't as delusional and batshit crazy as Jade from last season's ANTM. See also the entry below, where I put a side by side of his "work of art" and a Miro.

Miz Shoes

Laugh While You Can, Monkeyboy

Lots of new photos over in the photo blog. Check them out. Or not. I'm off to watch Eureka, on the Sci-Fi channel. It's no Firefly, but it'll do.

Miz Shoes

The Lost Weekend

I spent the entire weekend in my pyjamas. Eeyore ones, in lavender, if you must know. I slept late, took naps, finished one quilt top and got a third of the way through another. I made a pan of brownies, roasted a turkey breast, had a couple of tangerine martinis, made a big bowl of tabouli, and a dinner of angel hair pasta with steamed rabe, sauced simply with the best olive oil and a little red wine vinegar and a handful of shaved parmesan cheese. I watched another several episodes of Firefly (and how did I ever miss that when it was on?) and a couple of movies and the season finale of the Sopranos. I did not answer the phone, or read my e-mail or work on my blog or my very overdue podcasts. I did not leave the house, not once, not even to get the mail or walk the dogs. And you know what? It was fucking divine. Here are some of the random thoughts that came to me over the past two days: 1. In a battle between fingernails and fabric, fabric will always win. Especially if it's silk. 2. I first saw my little house in the rain, and it is still at its best in the rain. It's snug, and the rain mists down through the screen over the pool, and seems like it's in the living room. I love this house in the rain. 3. I am the biggest dilletante I know. About pretty much everything. 4. The New York Times Sunday crossword is best done in bed, with a cup of coffee on a tray. 5. Just because you sleep in till 10 a.m., that doesn't preclude an afternoon nap, especially if there is a thunderstorm. That is all.

Miz Shoes

In Which I Throw Out a Question

Leave your answer in the comments section, please, because I'm at work and don't have time to research the code for a real poll. Do you have in your closet (or attic, or where ever) a pair of shoes which you no longer wear, for what ever reason, but which you absolutely cannot part with? I have several, myself, including a pair of 80's post-modern pop, magenta suede pumps. Photo will come later.

Miz Shoes

Don’t Fence Me In

There's a poll up today on Excite, about the proposals to fence off the US border. The options in this poll are that one supports the House proposal (700 miles of fence), the Senate proposal (370 miles of fence) no fence, or all 2,000 milles of the US/Mexico border (which, just to be clear, is not a proposal on anyone's table). The results of the poll? 63% of the respondants (almost 5,000 people as I write this) think that the whole fucking border should be fenced off. Once more forcing me to ask: What the fuck is WRONG with you people? Yeah. Because building a wall worked so well in China. Or in Germany. The problem with a wall, as I see it, is that it works both ways. "They" can't get in, but WE can't get out. Maybe it's some weird genetic memory or something, what with the fact that whole branches of my family met their ends in box cars and showers, but the idea of a sealed border just scares the beejeesus out of me. Next, we'll all need papers to cross state borders. Oh, wait. The national ID card idea is already gaining momentum in Washington. Papers? We don' need no steenkin' papers. Or do we? I don't want to be an alarmist here (oh, who are we kidding? I most certainly DO want to be an alarmist: WAKE THE FUCK UP, PEOPLE!!!) but, it is looking more an more like a totalitarian government to me. But let me just shift this rant a little over to something else: fairness across the board when it comes to illegal immigrants. See, here in Florida, we have the wet foot/dry foot policy regarding Cubans, who, as we all know, have a special immigrant status, unlike, say, oh, just randomly searching for another ethnic group, Haitians. Cubans, you see, can stay in this country if they make it all the way to land (dry foot). If they are intercepted at sea, or even 20 feet off shore, they have to go back to Cuba and try again. Haitians, on the other hand (who, PS, tend to vote Democratic when they become citizens, and who, by and large, are Very Poor and Very Black) have to go back to Haiti even if they have two dry feet and an adoring family waiting to take them in and support them. We already have special status for one immigrant group. And that immigrant group has a history of being given amnesty. Over and over and over and over again. But, well, Cubans are special. They vote for Republicans no matter what. No matter that every administration that arranged boat lifts, air lifts, amnesty and every other damn thing for them was a Democratic administration, to Cubans, Democrat = Communist. End of fucking story. On the other hand, most other Hispanic groups tend to vote Democratic. Thus, a fence, and no amnesty and the clowns like Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez (whose own family came in illegally). This is a prime case of there being truer no believer than the converted sinner. Kind of like that a-hole Clarence Thomas and his stand on equal opportunity. I just gave myself a headache.

Miz Shoes

Regarding Professions and Professionals

This is pretty much for RJ and any other sister who felt offended by my entry yesterday. When I said that I spent the first thirty of my working years as a "real" professional, versus my current status as an executive assistant, I did not mean to demean the status of secretaries. RJ, in her comment, pointed out that she's been making a living at this since she graduated college. In my book, that does indeed make her a professional. I, on the other hand, fell into this job by the grace of the man I work for. I can type and file, and answer phones. I can make copies and meetings, and if I had to, flight reservations. But it isn't what I ever planned to do. I never searched the want ads, looking for this gig. I was an art director. I was a web master. I was a corporate artist/hack. Those jobs entailed skills and the training I received during my four years of art school. I have a degree in graphic design. I spent years going to seminars, taking classes, keeping current on trends in color, design and printing techniques. I did for a living what I studied in college. I never had to support myself by selling shoes in the mall, or, excuse me, using my ability to type. I thought I made clear that I respect the women and men in secretarial positions. I know who holds the power in the corporate world. And if, like RJ, this is your chosen field, then you are working in your chosen profession. I am not. I am working for a living, because after I was down-sized, I couldn't find a job as a designer. I hadn't done print in six years, and people didn't want to hire me for print because the industry had changed so much since the last time I sent a job to press. Everything is direct to press these days, no boards, no paste-ups, no type setting by (other) professionals. I couldn't get a job as a web master, because 1) I earned too much money and nobody believed that I'd take a cut in pay that steep to continue working 2) I only had two web sites in my portfolio and even though one of them was over a thousand pages, and I'd built it entirely by myself, web designers half my age (and salary demands) have portfolios with dozens of sites and 3) I'm 50 years old, and that's getting pretty long in the tooth for this field. In short: too old, too well paid, too long in the corporate world to be allowed in to the agency world. Am I bitter? Not too much, not any more. I work for a wonderful company and I have a wonderful boss. I have no responsibilities that I carry home to worry about. I have more creative energy for my own work than I have had in years. But on the other hand, I get no respect. I am treated by one of the directors I work for like the lowest field hand on the plantation. If the stupid bitch chews me one more new asshole, I'll look like a fucking sieve. And not because I've done anything wrong, or failed to meet a deadline, or do anything she's asked me to do. She does it because she can. Because she's a director and I'm an executive assistant. She's reamed me out for following her orders and the person she insulted through me got offended. Now it's my fault he's pissed. She's reamed me out for not following up on things she's ordered others to do. She's made me spend hours and hours ordering paper clips for her. The first box she sent back because they were plastic coated. The second box she sent back because they were too big. The third box never arrived at her off-site office (she says). The fourth box was just right. And then she had me order a box of the bigger size that she'd already sent back before. In the time it took me to do all that, and the money the company spent paying me to do it, she could have gotten in her car, driven to the nearest Staples, bought a box of paper clips, filed the paper work to be reimbursed the mileage and petty cash and been done with it. But where would the power play be in that?

Miz Shoes

GACK!!!!

I went to Fairchild yesterday and shot another hundred frames or so. Then I came home and tried to download all the images. But. My laptop wouldn't boot up. Nor could I reinstall the system software. When I took it to the Apple store this morning, the even badder news was that booting off a peripheral harddrive didn't help. Nothing can see my internal drive. It is dead. Fried. Screwed, blewed, tattooed. Here's hoping that it's only a fried bus cable and the data can be retrieved. Otherwise? I'm looking at suicide. Well, it's like I always tell other people. Back up your shit, because there are only two kinds of computers in the world. Those which have just crashed, and those which are about to. Just to be clear: I did not back up my shit. My computer crashed and burned. I am looking at a loss of all my data, my websites, my novel, my Girl's Guide, my 1500 photos, my recipes, my patterns, my e-mail, my music, my freaking life, people. My freaking life. The only bright spot in all of this is that I own all of my software, so I can reinstall it.

Miz Shoes

Oleg Cassini, RIP

I was really shocked to note that Mr. Cassini's death went virtually unnoticed by fashion bloggers such as Manolo and the lovely Dress A Day. Of course, his obituary was buried below the fold on an internal page in a secondary section in the Herald, not even featured in the celebrity obits. But, people. Oleg Cassini? He invented Jackie O's style. The coronation inauguration gown? The Nobel Prize dinner gown? check out this draping! That, people is Style, with a capitol (pun intended) S. Do you remember the 1974 Matador? Do you even remembe the Matador? It was an incredibly fashion-forward auto design. I don't know of anyone who actually had one, but it was sleek, and racy, and just so so so ahead of its time. Oleg Cassini did a designer edition of that car. Cool, huh? Here's more about the Matador. Earlier this year, a couple of retrospective books came out about Cassini and the Kennedy years. Every fashion junkie should own them. There. I feel better now.

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