February 28, 2007

-image-autumn

An article by Nick Tosches at Vanity Fair online details his obsession with discovering the exact location where this beautiful, popular desktop wallpaper, known as Autumn, was taken.

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Breathtaking. I love that. And that he took all that time to hunt it down, too.

-image-I have a queue, too!

Sheila inspired me to join the 21st century and sign up for Netflix, too! Got me a free two-week trial and got started on my queue. All this and a cellphone, too?! Thoroughly Modern Millie, I am, I am.

So this is it, so far — the queue — The Q!

(Sheila was kind and put imdb links on all of her queue movies. I have not. Draw your own conclusions.)

My first 30. Why only 30? Because, well, if you must know, I felt a massive movie gorge coming on where I would neverever leave that site and I had to stop. I’m supposed to be, oh, getting ready to open my damn coffeehouse. I am now some kind of Coffee Messiah in the neighborhood. Random people — strangers, even — who desperately miss their Beanhouse coffee and peeps have literally accosted me on the sidewalk or in the grocery store, pleading, “When? When?! When will you be open??” I ran into another one today. She asked and I told her next week and she started to CRY. Which is nice, but I probably coulda barfed all over her from the pressure of it all. It’s really okay to say, “Oh, great. I’m excited.” Please don’t cry about it. Please. Because then I’ll start crying — or barfing — and you’ll totally misunderstand, oh, believe me, WHY I’m standing there crying and barfing.

Which is just a little off point from what this is all about.

All righty.

Asterisk by films I’ve seen before but must see again:

* Das Boot — Yes, I moved Das Boot to the top spot, because I’m just in a Das Booty kind of place. Which really doesn’t look right typed out. Whatevs. It’s my Das Booty call. Deal with it.

Babel

For Your Consideration

Syriana

* Double Indemnity

The Searchers

The Grapes of Wrath — I can’t believe I’ve never seen this.

* Bringing Up Baby

* His Girl Friday

Only Angels Have Wings

Goodbye, Mr. Chips

* Jezebel

* Sunset Boulevard

Brief Encounter

Brokeback Mountain — I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll be watching this one alone.

Devil’s Playground

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Mad Hot Ballroom

Tsotsi

The Bicycle Thief

Merry Christmas (Joyeux Noel)

* Diva

Amelie

* My Brilliant Career

* Heavenly Creatures

Vincent: Life and Death of Van Gogh

Norman Rockwell: An American Portrait

February 27, 2007

-image-feelin’ bohemish

I feel guilty about my posting frequency these days and for the overall craptacular content I’ve been serving up here; however, I’m approaching the opening of Boheme next week. (Lord.) Plus, seems I’ve managed to tweak my back as well. So, what I am saying here? Probably: Feel very sorry for me in my invalid state but also — Stay tuned for spotty blogging and increased craptacularity!

(Which sounds like a medical issue, frankly …)

-image-“loss of aroma”

(You know …. I really feel I could have told Mr. Schultz all of this a long time ago. However — and, believe me, I’m as baffled as you are here — I don’t seem to be in his confidence.)

By JANET ADAMY, The Wall Street Journal

In a blunt memo to executives, Starbucks Corp. Chairman Howard Schultz warned that the fast-growing chain may be commoditizing its brand and becoming more vulnerable to competition from other coffee shops and fast-food chains.

Mr. Schultz sent the memo to top Starbucks executives on Feb. 14. in an email with the subject line “The Commoditization of the Starbucks Experience.” It first appeared on the Web site starbucksgossip.com. A Starbucks spokeswoman confirmed the memo’s authenticity.

“Over the past ten years, in order to achieve the growth, development, and scale necessary to go from less than 1,000 stores to 13,000 stores and beyond, we have had to make a series of decisions that, in retrospect, have lead to the watering down of the Starbucks experience, and, what some might call the commoditization of our brand,” Mr. Schultz wrote in the memo.

“Many of these decisions were probably right at the time, and on their own merit would not have created the dilution of the experience; but in this case, the sum is much greater and, unfortunately, much more damaging than the individual pieces,” he wrote.

Mr. Schultz went on to write that when the company switched to automatic espresso machines – which are now in thousands of its stores – “we solved a major problem in terms of speed of service and efficiency,” he wrote. “At the same time, we overlooked the fact that we would remove much of the romance and theatre.” Starbucks used to have all its baristas pull espresso shots by hand.

That move “became even more damaging” because the new automatic machines “blocked the visual sight line the customer previously had to watch the drink being made, and for the intimate experience with the barista,” he wrote.

Mr. Schultz wrote that Starbucks switched to a “flavor locked packaging” for its coffees that eliminated the task of scooping fresh coffee from bins in stores and grinding it in front of customers. “We achieved fresh roasted bagged coffee, but at what cost?” Mr. Schultz wrote. “The loss of aroma — perhaps the most powerful non-verbal signal we had in our stores.”

Mr. Schultz also wrote that changes in the store design process had created “stores that no longer have the soul of the past … Some people even call our stores sterile, cookie cutter,” he wrote.

“While the current state of affairs for the most part is self induced, that has lead to competitors of all kinds, small and large coffee companies, fast food operators, and mom and pops, to position themselves in a way that creates awareness, trial and loyalty of people who previously have been Starbucks customers. This must be eradicated,” he wrote.”

“Let’s be smarter about how we are spending our time, money and resources,” Mr. Schultz wrote toward the end of the memo. “Let’s get back to the core.”

Starbucks spokeswoman Valerie O’Neil said the memo is “a reminder of how success is not an entitlement. It has to be earned every day,” she said. “We can’t embrace the status quo.”

February 25, 2007

-image-oscars

So far …. almost one hour in …. a bit of a snoozer. Not one major award. Oh, wait. Okay. Here we go. Something. Alan Arkin just won for “Little Miss Sunshine.” Good. (As I wanted, thank you!) But why the lengthy close-up of his Oscar — which he put on the floor? Weird.

Ellen talking to the stars in the audience … painful.

Lots of dancing and choral groups and interpretive movement. Is this Cirque du Soleil?

************

1 hr. 5 minutes in.

LOWEST MOMENT so far: The PSA behind Melissa Etheridge while she sings her — really bad, actually — Oscar-nominated song about waking up or somesuch. The screen behind her was filled with helpful tips about how to stave off our looming global warming crisis. You know, things like “Stop farting,” and other inspirational ideas. My favorite: Pray that everyone has the strength to change. Oh, yes. Do. Let’s.

You knnnow, I was gonna blog the entire Oscars, but I have lost my will to go on. This is boring because I’M BORED because the Oscars are boring. That’s the circle of life right there, see? Or maybe more like the vicious circle. Or — I know! — maybe that there is Pan’s Labyrinth.

(Which I actually thought was Pam’s Labyrinth, you know, the story of a lost, bored, confused housewife or something. And then I started laughing about Pam’s Labyrinth and all the possibilities of Pam’s Labyrinth and then I couldn’t get past just the sound of it: Pam’s Labyrinth. Paaaaam’s Laaabyrinth. And then I just kept writing about it on my blog because I’m horribly sleep-deprived with the anxiety of a stupid-crazy business venture. All righty.)

This is now just stream-of-consciousness blogging, so may I please say that Helen Mirren looks gorgeous? Yes. I think I may.

-image-tracey picks the oscars

Bear in mind, I am far behind on my Oscar movie viewing, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping me from making predictions based on nearly nothing. Well, not entirely nothing, peeps. Feelings and gut reaction are worth tons, I’m sure.

** for predicted winner. !! for desired winner — for reasons having mostly nothing to do with the movie involved. Because I’m, again, a little behind on my viewing and I don’t see myself being caught up in the next 20 minutes. (Have I mentioned lately that I’m opening a !#$$$&?!@??!! coffeehouse??)

All righty …. PRRRO-ceed:

Best Actor:

Leonardo DiCaprio in “Blood Diamond”
Ryan Gosling in “Half Nelson”
!! Peter O’Toole in “Venus” (The man deserves an Oscar already. He’s been nominated 8 times! How ’bout “Lawrence of Arabia” from 45 damn years ago? Or “Lion in Winter” from 39 years ago? Or “My Favorite Year” from 25 years ago? Just to name a few. Sheesh. I’m sorry. I just love Peter O’Toole.)
Will Smith in “The Pursuit of Happyness”
** Forest Whitaker in “The Last King of Scotland”

Best Actress:

Penélope Cruz in “Volver”
Judi Dench in “Notes on a Scandal”
**!! Helen Mirren in “The Queen” I heart Helen Mirren
Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada”
Kate Winslet in “Little Children” (but I also heart Kate Winslet. I have no doubt she’ll win someday)

Supporting Actor:

!! Alan Arkin in “Little Miss Sunshine”
Jackie Earle Haley in “Little Children”
Djimon Hounsou in “Blood Diamond”
** Eddie Murphy in “Dreamgirls” Boo. Hoo.
Mark Wahlberg in “The Departed”

Best Supporting Actress:

Adriana Barraza in “Babel”
!! Cate Blanchett in “Notes on a Scandal” (She is so so good, but she just won a few years ago, so …)
Abigail Breslin in “Little Miss Sunshine”
** Jennifer Hudson in “Dreamgirls” (She was great — amazing, really — but I almost think winning now will do her in. Too much, too soon. And how would she do in a role with no singing? I’m just sayin’ is all.)
Rinko Kikuchi in “Babel”

Best Director:

“Babel” Alejandro González Iñárritu
** !! “The Departed” Martin Scorsese (Finally … I think it’s Scorsese’s year)
“Letters from Iwo Jima” Clint Eastwood
“The Queen” Stephen Frears
“United 93” Paul Greengrass

Best Picture:

** “Babel” (Politics, I think here. I haven’t actually seen it, so it’s totally a gut reaction. I think the politics of the movie will be rewarded. I mean, I think people will want to vote for what they think is an “important” movie, as opposed to say, “Little Miss Sunshine.” ‘Tho I think it would be a kick if that won.)
!! “The Departed”
“Letters from Iwo Jima”
“Little Miss Sunshine”
“The Queen”

TA DAAA! Or really, TA DUHHH!

February 22, 2007

-image-crack me up

a-beanhouse2.jpg

See this? It’s a picture of my friend, A, from The Beanhouse. He’s like a little sprite to me, with that face of his. He’s about 25, former military, and he’s hilarious. LOVES to talk. He now works for MB.

Anyway, I called the office the other day and A answered the phone. Within seconds he had launched into the story of his latest shenanigan and I was just howling. Seems he went up to this black guy at school and said, “What’s crackalackin’, homey?”

Oh, and when he re-enacted it for me, his voice was all high, like little Michael Jackson or something.

So the black guy is silent, then goes, “Dude …. you’re white.”

A is undaunted. He just says, “Fo’ sho’, homey.”

Black guy walks away, shaking his head, muttering, “That is one crazy mofo!”

And A was positively delighted with himself. Hahaha.

February 21, 2007

-image-piper’s mom

A couple of my favorite pictures of my older sister, S.

My dad’s inscription on the back of this one: “(My mom) made herself a mohair jacket and with the leftover material, she made this one for S and trimmed it with rabbit fur.”

(Good job on all those details, dad. I’m impressed.)

I’m between giggles and tears on this one; it’s just precious to me. She’s the perfect little girl in her perfect party dress:

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No in-between on this one. Just flat-out hysterics. Mom had this hair dryer from the Middle Ages or something that she used to torture our hair to girlie perfection. From a practical standpoint, I do believe it was also a vacuum cleaner.

It always seemed so rickety to me, with that huge hose flopping around aimlessly. But, man, once it was plugged in, that thing roared like an airplane engine, sucking your entire head into that blistering floral bag. As a bonus — I think mainly to keep us calm about our brains being sucked away — mom would always make us some nice Jiffy Pop. Which is a hilarious parallel image, if you think about it. Look at S’s face. She’s deaf at this moment, of course, from the din of the hair vacuum. And look at the droop of the bag at the bottom, as if her brain’s just plopped out into it. Hahahaha — I can’t write anymore. I’m dying, looking at this.

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-image-busybodies wanted — woo hoo!

Shannon C. needs advice on an inter-office social dilemma.

Juicy! Go help!

Translation: Go — quick like a bunny — and tell her the same thing I did. 😉

Hang in there, Shannon! Don’t let the gammies get you down.

-image-love at first sight

This new blog I found!

I just love the whole premise: Two girlfriends on opposite coasts, Portland, OR and Portland, ME, take photographs every morning — they’re early risers — and post them together. They never discuss the photographs beforehand, nothing is planned, but it’s fascinating to see the synchronicity of the images. Gorgeous. Simple and gorgeous.

(Sheila, you must check it out.)

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