Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Remember Nik Kershaw?

His one giant hit in the States was Wouldn't It Be Good in 1984. But in Europe, he was huge. Heck, he sang at Live Aid! In my mid-teens, I was all about Nik Kershaw. I mean... those eyebrows alone...! Nik may not have been aware of this, but I was in fact Mrs. Kershaw.

Today, I listened to the Bonneville soundtrack, which, to my startlement, contained a Nik Kershaw song called "Wounded" from 2002. I had no idea he was still recording. And it was good! Edgy! energetic! with sharp lyrics! We're wounded but walking, dumbstruck but talking still. All with a big brass samba jam going on behind him.

And his distinctive voice -- a little like Rufus Wainwright's, now that I hear it again -- sounds the same as it ever did when he had frosted spiky hair and shoulder pads! I was thrilled.

Then I learned that Nik has a brand new album out, on his own label. Well, okay, 2006. Close enough to brand new. How wonderful is that?

Needless to say, I ordered it.

There's nothing like re-igniting a teenage crush in one's thirties...!

Oh, Maeve... I always knew you were Mrs. Kershaw...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

There's a new Elvis pinball machine at Aubree's!

Andy and Scott gave it a spin Friday night while Sarah and I enjoyed our pints.

A word of caution: Don't order the Pizza Bolognese at Aubree's unless you take the word "spicy" extremely seriously. Here's the menu description (emphasis mine): Spicy tomato sauce with garlic and parmesan crust topped with spicy Italian sausage, ground beef, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, parmesan tomatoes and basil.

So, yeah, the word "spicy" is in there twice. I give you that. But maybe they should include "tongue-scorching," "mouth-singeing," and/or "lip-charring." Because while there may have been all those ingredients on it, after that initial "zowee!" sensation, I couldn't taste a thing.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Philippa Gregory and the gang!

Although I wasn't there for the experience, I wanted to post this terrific picture and enthusiastic commentary from Wendy:

Another book club field trip! Here we are meeting the fantastic Philippa Gregory: she was absolutely gracious and darling. We left with the first couple chapters of the new book (about the Queen of Scots) and a complimentary book of our choice by her because her plane was delayed, and of course lots of great memories and dreams of living in a lovely cottage in the English countryside and researching history and writing... loved her!!

The only reason I didn't go is that I haven't gotten around to reading any of her books yet, so I would have felt somewhat of a fraud! But I do plan to. I know she's a serious fave of my book club, and those avid readers usually know whereof they speak!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Total lunar eclipse tonight!

Scott and I kept bundling up and hurrying out to watch the eclipse in progress. I told him that the amazing thing is how close the moon looks when it's ruddy and opaque in the sky the way it is tonight. He replied, "Come to think of it, I've owned a car with more mileage than it would take to drive from here to the moon!"

I remember when I was about 11 and there was to be a total lunar eclipse visible over Copenhagen. My friend Stephanie and I were beside ourselves with excitement. Staying overnight at her place for the occasion, I sat with Stephanie and listened enraptured to her father as he explained how and why everything was going to happen. And then, an hour or two before the event, to our utter desolation, a bank of clouds moved in and coated the entire sky. We stood at the kitchen window and peered out sadly, imagining what it would be looking like from moment to moment. Then, astonishingly, a window opened in the clouds, just a small one, and the moon was in the very center of that window, with a huge dark chunk gouged out of it.

We watched, transfixed, for the rest of the event.

And here's a non-sequitur, while I'm at it. Before the miraculous parting of the clouds, Stephanie and I noticed a long, low, boxy, black vehicle parked on Gammel Kongevej: we could just see it if we leaned up on the counter and looked to the left past the school playground. Stephanie kept saying, "What is that?" Even her parents came out to the kitchen and peered curiously out at it. I kept saying exasperatedly, "Who cares? We're missing the eclipse!" But I have to say, in retrospect, I have never seen a vehicle remotely like it since.

The things one remembers during a major celestial event!

Happy eclipse, neighbor!


Amusing postscript:

I e-mailed Stephanie today to see if she remembered that night, too. Her response: "Oh, dear... I totally don't remember the eclipse. But... and don't laugh yourself silly... I do remember the car." This is particularly funny because she was always interested in machines and gadgets and how they worked, and I was the moony one who just wanted to read stories. Stephanie even ended up majoring in mechanical engineering! Of course she remembered that mystery car! I shoulda known she would. :-)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dinner at Christine's

First, a delectable dinner prepared from scratch by the talented Christine:

Smoked salmon on chips
Artichoke-parmesan crostini
Tossed green salad
Roast chicken with potatoes, lemon and asparagus
Flourless fudge cake with mint chocolate ice cream

Then some general relaxation in front of the fireplace:

And then some difficulty getting out of the driveway:

After skillful application of mats and carpets under the tires, all was well. Thanks for a great evening, Christine!

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Valentine's Day reminiscent of times gone by

Local, old-timey, and hyggelig, with great steak. What better place for a Valentine's Dinner than Haab's Restaurant in Ypsilanti?

Scott and I sat a table right underneath the stern portrait of Abe Lincoln (whom we duly toasted, birthday boy that he is). The Lawrence Welk-style music in the background burbled with such chestnuts as "Love Is All Around" and "Georgie Girl."

And the steak? Oh... the steak.

Happy Valentine's Day, all.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Revelation at the bus stop

I left my desk at 5:55 p.m. today to catch the bus on State Street, the one that usually gets to my stop at about 6:15. I stomped through the snow and got there at 6:10.

At 6:20, my cheeks and lips went numb.

At 6:30, my feet and hands went numb.

At 6:40, I managed to brush the equivalent of a full drift of snow off my coat.

At 6:50, I had a revelation.

At 7 o'clock, the bus arrived. I climbed in, sat down, extracted a chunk of ice from an eyelash, shook snow and ice from my hair, banged my hands together to try to get some feeling back into them, and contemplated my revelation, which was as follows:

What the hell am I doing? I'm 38 years old, still depending on an unreliable public transportation system, still freezing at the side of exhaust-gasping State Street in the middle of February. This no longer works. The time has come. I'm learning to drive. A.s.a.p.!

At 7:30, the bus crawled into Ypsilanti Transit Center, and its dispirited passengers wearily disembarked. Scott was there to collect me, thank God, and I slammed into the car and declared my revelation immediately.

I'm doing this!

The plan: written test by spring, then driving practice, then license in the summer. That's the plan.

And now it's on my blog, so I have to do it!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Book club at Wendy's!

Another good one!

Pictures from whenever that was...

... as requested!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

My mother's review of "Cloverfield"

It was 1½ hours of young people in chaos and terror when some kind of monster attacked New York. The camera work appeared to be hand-held video, and the dialogue consisted largely of screams of "Oh, my God!" and "Are you okay?" How can a film like that be taken seriously?

This reminds me of her comment about the remake of War of the Worlds a couple of years ago, which was that the primary "dialogue" of the film was the names of the children, over and over again: "Robbie! Rachel! Rachel! Robbie!"

She's so right.

This is why I wait for DVD. The fast-forward button is ever so useful!

Monday, February 4, 2008

"Lay Down and Listen"?!

(As a former proofreader, I'm in pain just looking at that!)

Update, February 5:
AMG editor Patsy Morita has issues with this album title, too! "How can you and your music be in harmony," she asks (referring to the entire series entitled In Harmony with Classical Music), "when you know the imperative in the title takes an object and it’s not there?" Ha! So true. See the whole entry here!