Thursday, November 23, 2006

Tennis In the Air

So I was hanging out at Tanya's place - we enjoyed a delicious vegan Thanksgiving feast that her roommate, Ani, prepared. Tomorrow there will be milk in my mashed potatoes, however! Anyway, I saw an interesting picture on her desktop . . .

So the circle off to the side of the Burj Al Arab hotel is a helipad. Looks a bit green though, don't you think?

Oh yes, that would be because Federer and Agassi are playing tennis on it! 692 feet in the sky! This was just a practice match, but wow. I think it would take me a little bit to get over the rather large drop behind me . . . it would make it hard to go after balls as much as I should. Eek! I have to say, this just increases my desire to visit Dubai - as a tourist, though. I know some people who worked for my company there and apparently it was horrible. But you know, shopping, playing tennis up high, swimming . . . I could do that.

This one gives me vertigo just looking at it. Agassi is the smart one, 'cause he's lying down to look over. Apparently there was a net there to catch them, but I would not have been using the baseline much.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Ok . . . Uggs are cool.

So . . . I bought these last winter up at Copper. In my defense, the only other thing I had the option of wearing at the time were my Lange Comps. Which made these unbelievably fluffy and comfortable slippers even better. The more visually acute among you may note that there is a faint name on the slipper . . . yes, they are Uggs. But they are totally cuter than most Uggs! Plus the abovementioned Unusual Circumstances. So I walked off in them. In the $60 slippers. But the $60 slippers have tread on the bottom so that you can, in fact, wear them to work. Not that I have ever done this. Ever.

However, I valiantly held off on buying boots for some time, since they're more than twice as expensive. I did figure out that I wanted Ultimate Shorts in Chestnut, but I figured I would wait until summer when they went on sale. Newsflash: Uggs never go on sale. At least not the cute normal colors. So I caved a week ago and bought them with my new shiny Nordies card, and they are amazing. I have not taken them off since I put them on. I get changed into pjs and then I put them back on, and then I ponder whether I can sleep in them (so far I have not). Yes, these are exboritantly expensive shoes, but I'm telling you here and now, you are going to wear them more than anything else you own. And they hold up really well! And don't ever smell or itch or anything! Or get too hot! It's just amazing.

Dear surfers in Australia who first thought of these,

I love you very much.


Sunday, October 15, 2006


This is Moomintroll. He's a character in a series by Tove Jansson. Isn't he cute? He's in love with The Snork Maiden (see below). They're in a series of zany children's books that I discovered sometime when I was a kid. Then I remembered them and bought the lot of them on Amazon a year or so ago. I just really love the art, and the stories, and the translation. I also really want to live in a Moominhouse - they're round and blue and have rope ladders out all the windows so you don't have to walk downstairs. My house has no rope ladders whatsoever. The characters have great names like the Fillyjonk and Bob and Thingummy. Translated from Swedish, of course.

You can tell which one the Snork Maiden is because she has bangs.

Google Docs and Spreadsheets

Google has yet another cool feature - the company has acquired, and now you can upload documents and spreadsheets to Google and also create them there. The features are, of course, not as extensive as word processing programs, but it's not that shabby. If you already have a gmail account, you can simply use that login. Everything is defaulted as private, but if you want to you can invite other people to be collaborators or viewers. If you invite them as collaborators, they have the ability to manipulate the document; if you invite as viewers, they can only read it. If you want the whole word to see and the document to be searchable, you can also publish.

I plan to use this to backup my work for Nano and perhaps also to invite some of you to read what I'm writing . . .

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


This is a plug. This is a plug for a really, really great TV show that got cancelled. And then they made a movie. But it's not enough. Because it is an amazing show. People - there are moments when I enjoy this show more than some of the best moments in Friends, or Sex and the City, or Arrested Development or Grey's Anatomy or House. But there is only one season, I only have three episodes left, and I have yet another reason to conclude that the execs at Fox are very stupid indeed.

You know how you went through a stage when you were in middle school and Star Trek was really cool? Or maybe Sliders? Or some other random science fiction show? But then it got predictable, and the characters were two dimensional, and the show wasn't based on plot or people but on special effects and aliens. So then you were depressed about the whole genre, at least in movies or tv shows, because they were so, well, lame. The first three Star Wars are great in a campy way, but the last three are dreadful, the Matrix is brilliant, everyone loves Bladerunner . . . but there's not much out there to make you feel ok about admitting that you like the idea of science fiction.

I give you - Firefly. So good. Watch them in the order on Wiki or in iTunes, not the way they were aired (again, Fox is dumb). Please do not watch Bushwhacked while home alone, like I did. After you've watched them all twice, watch the film Serenity. And weep for the series that is no more.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Glutton for Punishment

During the month of November, I will be writing 50,000 words in 30 days. Yes, I have decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year! As everyone has been telling me since I was about eight, I really should go ahead and write a book. Or like ten books. And having read quite a few books that have for some God awful reason actually been published, I think you may have a point. I can do better than that.

I have therefore created an account at Nanowrimo's website, and I have learned some interesting things.

1) Some of the people who participate in this are mildly frightening. This is based solely off of pictures of them, but these are pictures they voluntarily uploaded. And they are a bit scary.

2) Most of the people who participate in NaNoWriMo are between 14 and 35, with the bulk being 19-35. I had high hopes that this might lead to a writerly romance with a tall, dark, and handsome fellow, but alas . . .

3) The participants are 56% heterosexual female and

4) 70% female overall.

Well crap.

But I'm still writing 50,000 words in 30 days! You are allowed to talk to me about this only if you are going to be supportive and kind. If you're going to go "Snigger, snigger, 50,000 words in 30 days, yeah right, no way, I bet it will be crap anyway" then you're a poopy head and I can't speak to you until after November 30th. Possibly not even then, either, because December is my favorite month of the year and you just might make it less wonderful. Mmm, December . . .

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Soul 2 Soul II

So on August 2nd, 2006, the beautiful Raissa took me to Soul 2 Soul II: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. I was very excited, but I did not expect to love it as much as I did. They are so cute! I'm holding out for that, sorry boys. That's my new relationship to compare things to. He always knew exactly where she was onstage, even when she was behind him, and couldn't keep his hands or his eyes off her (in a cute way). They are so, so obviously in love.

This is off a bridge looking over the Pepsi Center parking lot and Elitches.

Here's a pic of the inside of the Pepsi Center. I somehow have managed not to be inside it since it was built, and I must say that it very large and impressive. We were pretty far up, but it was still great.

The first song they sang is called Like We Never Loved at All, and I now have it memorized. I'm going to make someone learn the guy part so I can sing it at The Reef some Wednesday night. Such a great song. The stage was a big cross with equal arms, and they came up on round hydraulics singing - first Faith Hill with her intro solo, and then Tim McGraw followed when he started.

I really love this picture because of the way the light is refracting and the way the heads give perspective so you can tell how huge the Pepsi Center really is.

I spent a good amount of my time a) singing along or b) getting irrationally excited about the stage, musical variations, lights, scrims, etc. Hello, my name is Lisa and I am a performance nerd. This picture is of another light display on the stage:

I highly recommend seeing them in concert if you ever get the chance. And I'm a tough crowd.

"Take Jimmy Johnson, take Tommy Thompson, take my best friend Beau. Take anybody that you want as long as she don't go. Take any boy in the world, but Daddy please, don't take the girl . . ." Don't Take the Girl by Tim McGraw.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cover Boy!

So I have these two purebred Persians, Sammy and Annie, and they're siblings. I don't show or anything, I just give them ping-pong balls and chase them around and cuddle them. Their breeder, Beth, took a bunch of pictures of them when they were wee bairns, and submitted some . . . . here's the e-mail I just got:

cover boy!
to me
More options 7:28 pm (19 minutes ago)

Hi Lisa,
Congrats to Sammy for making the cover of the 2007 International 365-kittens-a-year calendar! His pic also appears in May of the calendar. Here is the pic...

I had sent in all kinds of photos of both Sammy and Annabelle, but they just picked this single shot, so Annie didn't make the cut this year. But we will try again next year too!
I also entered a photo of my friends white Persian Gwen, and her pic appears in June.
Just thought I would let you know since this calendar would be available in your area also. You have bragging rights now for sure:)

Take care, and snuggles for the kids!

"Keep a purr close to your heart"

So there you go. Now everyone run out and buy Sam-sam's calendar, he's a celebrikitty! He didn't appreciate it very much when I showed him his picture though, ah well. He did like the kitty caviar from the vet though - I believe it is some kind of fish flake. It smells like gross.

Ern's Work

This is called Bird of Paradise. When I stare at it, my brain goes "durrrrr" (like a not-that-bright sound) which is fun, because most art makes me go, "meh" or "oh, that's pretty."

So Ern is a starving artist/ guy who finally gave in and got a real live grownup job but still makes beautiful and interesting things. So, go over to his page and peruse his work and ponder whether you would like a piece or know someone who might. He's also just a very cool guy, so you could contact him and tell him that too.

Here're a few more:

Visible Evidence Essay

Here's an essay I wrote for the wonderful Ken Nolley. I'm really proud of it, actually. Warning: disturbing descriptions of the effects of atomic radiation. CU = close-up, etc. Also, don't even think about stealing this. I will have my minions hunt you down. And besides, your teacher knows you don't write like this anyway ;-)

Lisa C. Smith
Vis. Evidence
Prof. Nolley

The Image/Sound Relationship in Shots 97-116 of
Hiroshima/Nagasaki, August 1945

Over this semester, I have developed an appreciation for the documentary film form, and I now consider the films we have watched to be valuable additions to anyone’s education. A few, however, I consider important enough that every citizen of the world should see them. Hiroshima/Nagasaki, August 1945 is one of these essential films. The suffering of people in war and specifically in atomic war serves as a powerful reminder and warning we must heed. In Hiroshima/ Nagasaki, August 1945, the most moving and disturbing images are the shots toward the end of the film that document “human effects”. However, in shots 97-116 there is a great disconnect between the narration and the footage shown.

Footage Narration

97. MCU from left of man’s face as “And on the fourteenth day, as they
a bandage is removed, revealing stood before their mirrors, burns. women saw their hair come out in handfuls in their combs.”

98. MCU from left of side of head.
A hand is cleaning a burned ear.

99. CU of baby. “Hospitals filled with new patients who . . .”

100. CU of bald child turned away “. . . had not seemed sick before. on bed, head at left. Hypodermic They were vomiting, bleeding from administered, child shakes. the gums, . . . “

101. Doctor checks supine child with “. . . and purple spots appeared on stethoscope – shot from feet of child. their skin. Some could not be touched because their skin slipped off. . .”

102. MCU of a child, head turned left, “. . . in huge, glove-like pieces. At mouth opening and closing as hands first they were quarantined, tap his chest. considered victims . . .”

103. MS of child from the back. Hands “. . . of a mysterious infectious are dabbing at sores on back; head is illness. Gradually it was bald and also covered in sores. understood . . ."

104. CU on child facing camera; hands “. . . that the disease was radiation place a bandage of left side of face. sickness, and these people the special victims . . .”

105. MS of child and doctor, child “. . . of the atomic bomb.”
sitting with leg pulled up as doctor
works on hip and legs.

106. MCU of compresses being placed
on the feet of little girl.

107. CU doctor dabbing at stumps of
fingers of girl’s hand. Drops cotton,
picks up something else with sticks.

108. MCU of feet pointed right. “And by the twentieth day . . .”

109. CU from above of what seems “ . . . after the bomb, vegetation to be a burned foot. began to grow wildly . . .”

110. CU of terribly burned leg at “. . . in the wreckage of the cities. charred knee with fly walking on it. From remnants of plants lush green . . .”

111. CU of burned foot. ". . . weeds and wildflowers sprang again, madly . . .”

112. XCU of hand dabbing at shin “. . . in extraordinary with cotton. regeneration stimulated by atomic radiation . . .”

113. XCU of burned hand with “. . . and as people died of compress on it. radiation sickness, the cities were blanketed with flowers.”

114. XCU of hands dabbing at
burned hand and stumps of
fingers; turn hand over.

115. CU Two healthy hands hold
thin, weak arm and hand, turn it
over and back, hand flexes.

116. XCU at same angle as 115 of
badly burned hand. TONE changes . . .

These shots are preceded by narration that is closely linked to the shots and followed by more human effects shots accompanied only by music. I personally cannot doubt either the truth of the spoken descriptions or the visible evidence in 97-116, and I do not believe that this disconnect undermines the trustworthiness of the film. Still, the overlay of shots with unrelated (or distantly related) narration in this section does have interesting effects. This device allows information not documented in the footage to be included in the film, permits the use of maximum impact footage with indirectly related appalling descriptions, and to a certain extent confounds the viewer.
Much of the suffering caused by the detonation of Little Boy and Fat Man was not recorded in Akira Iwasaki’s footage, which eventually provided the bulk of the shots used in Hiroshima/ Nagasaki, August 1945. In shot 97, for example, we see a bandage being peeled away from burns on a man’s face at the same time as the narrator describes women losing their hair due to radiation poisoning. The image before us and the spoken words are not directly related; instead of discussion of radiation burns, or even injuries of another man, we hear of the hair loss of multiple women in a distinct setting, “before their mirrors”, with a specific prop, “combs”. This contrasts sharply with the earlier tone of the piece where image and narration were generally closely related, as with the kimono burns shots and narration in 92-93.
It seems that the Columbia team wanted to include descriptions of those effects of the atom bomb that were not covered in Iwasaki’s footage by describing them in the narration. Many of the people who experienced the most dramatic effects were dead by the time Iwasaki’s crew reached the cities almost a month after the bombs were dropped (342, Iwasaki). Thus, their suffering could no longer be documented on film and only oral reports were available to Barnouw and his associates in the making of the film. They included these effects in the narration of shots 97-116. Barnouw states in “The Hirsoshima/ Nagasaki Footage: a Report” that “Survivors on the outer fringes of the havoc were photographed in improvised treatment centers” (92). Note that the footage of people that Iwasaki’s team shot, in addition to being many days belated, was of people who had escaped not only instant death but who were also capable of getting to or being moved to a treatment center on the fringes of the city. Given the horrors we see here, what on earth must it have been like in the midst of “the havoc”? We get some idea of this appalling suffering in the narration of injuries and effects not shown, coupled with intensely emotional images.
Shots 99 – 107 are all of children, and this series of shots has a strong impact on the audience because almost all of us have a strong affinity and affection for children. These images are surrounded by close-ups on burned faces, hands and feet. Without having access to all of the footage originally shot by Iwasaki’s team it is impossible to know how much of it was used by the Columbia team. According to Barnouw’s discussions with Akira Iwasaki in “Iwasaki and the Occupied Screen”, however, there was not much “human” footage shot, and I expect that we do see most of the shots available. Akira Iwasaki’s and his team’s choice to shoot children and hands informs our understanding of what they considered important to record, and I believe their choices represent those things which we all recognize as human and sacred: children, hands, faces, and eyes. To see a suffering child, a burned face, and hands without fingers is to know the human horror that the detonation of the atom bombs caused. By coupling these high impact and intensely human shots with the appalling narration of other atomic effects, the filmmakers generated a more intense and emotional response to both in the audience.
In particular, the shot choice of 113, 114, 115, and 116 is artful, if the word can be conscientiously used in this context. These shots conclude the section of disconnected narration and shots and lead in to the human effects and music. First there is shot 113, of a compress on a burned hand, next shot 114 of a terribly burned hand with only stumps of fingers remaining, and then in shot 115 we see a weak and yet normal appearing forearm and hand, with the hand opening and closing, being held by two normal hands and arms, followed by shot 116 of yet another badly burned hand. Placing the shot of the relatively normal hand and forearm in the middle along with the health worker’s arms reminds us of what a hand should look like and how it should move. The burned hands following have a renewed horror they would have lost if we had only seen a series of badly burned hands; it is easy to become numb to horror. Instead, we take each of the images to heart, and bear the full weight of their meaning.
I carefully chose the verb “confound” to describe the effect that the distinct narration and shots have on the viewer. This device not so much confuses as overpowers. At the same time as we try madly to deal with the pictures our imaginations conjure up of “vomiting and bleeding from the gums” (shot 100) and “skin [that] slipped off in huge glove like pieces” (shots 101-2), our eyes send the image of a shaking child receiving a shot (100) and two other clearly ill children being examined (shots 101-2) to our brain. Visual or auditory alone would have been enough to inspire a strong emotional response, but together they overwhelm us. It is easy to imagine that these children, or others like them, suffered such effects. The attempt to communicate the magnitude and horror of the effects of the atom bomb on humans is well served here, for just as in watching this film we find we cannot comprehend the whole, so the reality must have been. Little pieces stay with us, and attached to the shot that we cannot dismiss is the memory of unfathomable other images, even those we never saw onscreen but only imagined, based on the narration.
Of course, this is what Hiroshima/ Nagasaki, August 1945 does so well: it records and presents that which we must not forget. Of the concluding shots of human effects, from about 90 on, it can truly be said that “every frame [is] burned into [our] brain[s]” (Iwasaki, 342). But with this comes an undeniable danger, the chance that in the strength of our emotional response we will fail to think. There is nothing more dangerous than an action done or a word spoken in passion. When situations are highly charged emotionally, we lose our ability to analyze. And yet, it is those deeds and speeches that awaken feeling in us which should be most closely examined. If we allow ourselves to be driven strictly by emotion, then we respond and act in an instinctual manner, and fail to use the reasoning powers that make us human. In the ongoing quest to understand ourselves, there can be nothing more worthwhile than knowing what we care about, what we weep for – and why.

Works Cited:

Barnouw, Erik. “The Hiroshima-Nagaskai Footage: a Report”. Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1982: 91-100.

Barnouw, Erik. “Iwasaki and the Occupied Screen”. Film History, Vol. 2, 1988: 337-357.

Prof. Kenneth Nolley’s original shot lists, discussions and support also made this work possible. (I wasn’t sure how to credit you – hope this works!)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Kurt Halsey is very cool

Well, Jennie started a blog. I got this one over a year ago, but I don't understand how to use it. I refuse to me a cluttered blogger, that's gross. And I don't want to be all emo and mopey on it and complain about, for example, the utter lack of Toblerone in my cupboard. Sad though that is.

I like this picture. This it totally how I sleep. Only my forehead isn't that big and my eyebrows are shorter and by hair is longer. But otherwise, yeah, totally.

And I like this one because it's me, too.

So then this is a narcissistic post? Maybe? Anyway, I like him; check him out. Makes me miss P-town.

He also draws cats a lot, which I like. Mine are currently tearing around the house and beating each other up. Well, as much as purebred Persians ever beat anyone up . . . they're cute. I like this drawing because I really DO need everyone to tell me what they need, it makes my life simpler - then I can just do whatever it is! Instead of guessing.

And finally, this one, because although I haven't found someone I need to worry about screwing things up with, I think this is a good reminder just the same:


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Book Recs

I've thought for a long time that I ought to get these out there. Maybe someone will even suggest a good one back to me! I can hope.

In no particular order, the ones I can think of right now:

1. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
2. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip
3. Sorcery and Cecelia by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia C. Wrede
4. Sabriel by Garth Nix
5. The Alanna series by Tamora Pierce
6. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
7. Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
8. The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling