Friday, January 29, 2010

12:47 p.m.

Dinner last night
Gluten free pasta with kale, mushrooms, onions and tomato

Lunch today

Chopped date and apple salad with super sharp cheddar

Thursday, January 28, 2010

7:03 p.m.

I am so happy T shared this website with me. It's like an early birthday present.

6:43 p.m.

Hey you, tubby, pasty do-rag dude at the gym.

I saw you heaving away on your Stairmaster and obnoxiously rubbernecking when any woman under 30 walked into the cardio room. Was it your intention to be so conspicuous with your dropped jaw and 180 degree head turn? I felt sorry for the svelte little blond who caught you watching her during her run and decided it was best to leave. Why is it that you (and many others) have to turn my gym into a sleazy bar?

I can't believe it, but I'd actually like you more if you kept your gaze on Glenn Beck than our booties.

4:17 p.m.

Why have I only just heard about blogger Tavi Gevinson. Her her smarts, her humor, her style — I scoured her blog today! The 13-year-old with the blog called Style Rookie, adores fashion and has excellent, interesting taste in everything. We both share the mutual fantasy of being friends with the same celebrities; only she has the guts to admit it! She recently started getting a lot of press, and now does fun collaborations and goes to fashion weeks. Lucky girl! I wish I had had her confidence (and vocabulary!) 10 years ago.

Rather than think about growing up, my friend Elaine and I talk about growing down. Well, when I'd grow down, I wanna be Tavi.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

11:02 p.m.

A few thoughts:

-I will never be convinced that anyone who sells magazines door-to-door is legitimately selling magazines. EVEN if you have a website and EVEN if you have received a "B" rating from the Better Business Bureau.

-Maybe I am being to tough on Nick McDonell. Perhaps his novel is more than perfectly adequate within the appropriate genre. After watching Bright Star again last night, I have most likely developed a subconscious comparison between Keats, one of the most brilliant poets ever who died only a quarter century into his life, and anyone else my age who writes anything less substantive than La Belle Dame Sans Merci. It's not fair. I'll get over it, but just give me a second or two.

-If, two days ago, I found the very nice, once-lost lip balm I purchased a year ago, does that mean a year from now, I will find the very nice, now-lost lip balm I received this past Christmas?

10:51 p.m.

Another really lovely evening.

Tilapia, sweet and new potatoes, balsamic-sauteed asparagus and mushrooms

Although, An Expensive Education was pretty disappointing. I'm not sure what I expected, but I think it was the cover that led me to believe it would be better than it was.
Novels that put certain character thoughts in italics really bug me, and this one did that. I wanted to finish, though! And finish I did. Can't say I was the least surprised with the ending, but the hot chocolate I drank (not in my freezing cold apartment!) through the ordeal was delicious.

Now I can just look forward to finishing Dorian Gray.

2:03 p.m.

Okay, okay. They're still Pokemon, but in a traditional Japanese style and without the high-pitched squeaks, they're quite pretty.

12:58 p.m.

Potentially life-altering discovery:

Peanut Butter and Jelly Larabars might just be better than the actual thing.

12:51 p.m.

Dinner last night — not tremendously exciting, and it would be much better with whole quinoa. Eh, it's all I had.
Quinoa flakes with red peppers, steamed kale, mushrooms, tofu and a few pieces of extra sharp cheddar

Lunch today
Balsamic tofu, toasted, atop leafy greens, mushrooms, tomatoes and dates

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

12:00 a.m.

After 4 o'clock this afternoon, only very nice things occurred.

A walk. A chat. A dinner. A book. A film.

I feel as if I naturally awoke to a late afternoon sun, bright with life still in it; not to a morning alarm clock (which is often known to induce a dull haze). And this awakening — so full of life's best indulgences that one might liken it to staying in bed and drinking milky tea all day — is what will also set me to sleep. Finally cozied and warmed up in my room, I am too satisfied to recount it all. Just the tips of my still-cold toes are reminders that one must not get too comfortable; there are teeth to brush and pillows to fluff.

3:31 p.m.

Oooh! Tell all ! Gossip Fest ! Story swap !

And it's not those housewives in New Jersey.

2:18 p.m.

I wrote an Artist Profile for Columbia Home & Lifestyle Magazine for the December/January issue and never bothered to post it anywhere. Since the story is not on the website, and I am not into hoarding an excessive number of magazine copies, I thought I should put it somewhere findable, like my blog!

I was lucky enough to interview Beth Pike, an Emmy-award winning filmmaker who lives in Columbia. She's a freelancer (birds of a feather!), and doesn't really have a "studio," so we met at Kayotea, one of her usual haunts for when she has work to do. Even though she was exhausted after a project that went late from the previous day, she was a fantastic conversationalist, and I really hated to have to leave!

If you have a chance, check out her website for more information on her other documentaries and projects.

Photo by Anastasia Pottinger

Beth Pike has chased down stories for CNN. She traveled to post-war Bosnia to film and help a refugee family retrace its roots. She can take 65 hours of footage and turn it into an Emmy Award-winning documentary. And she still likes making home movies.

“I wish more people would pick up the camera and shoot,” she says as she sips on a coffee and settles into her chair.

The 45-year-old producer, director and writer, who co-owns Look Out Crew, is still reveling in the Emmy she won for Trustees for the Public: 200 Years of Missouri Newspapers, a documentary that explores the impact Missouri journalism has made over the past two centuries.

Initially, Trustees was not supposed to be a documentary. Three years ago, Pike and her colleague Steve Hudnell were hired by the Missouri Press Association to record oral histories of newspaper publishers who have been a part of the rich tradition of family-owned publishing throughout Missouri. Within the footage, Pike, who interviewed most of the subjects, discovered there was an important story to be told. Rather than simply archive the histories, Pike and Hudnell, with the support of the Missouri Press Association, jumped at the chance to turn 65 hours of interviews into a feature-length documentary. During the editing process, Pike and Hudnell collaborated with a composer and graphic designer to turn raw footage into a documentary shown on PBS stations across Missouri and Illinois. Although the film is rooted in journalism, there was an art to putting the elements together.

“There is a balance between craft and art,” Pike says. “With Trustees, the Missouri Press Association looked over the script but gave us a lot of creative freedom when it came to music, editing and visuals.”

Pike, who had never been nominated for an Emmy, learned that the film was up against six other documentaries when nominations were announced this past summer. The win, which was announced in October, came as a complete surprise. With a considerably lower budget than several of the other nominees, the crew had been hopeful but did not expect anything. For Pike, a true journalist, there could be no other explanation for the win: “We just had a really good story,” she says.

Learning the craft

Today, Pike cannot get enough coffee. She was just on a shoot for Entertainment Tonight. It sounds glamorous, but she did not get back to Columbia until 1 a.m., and the married mother of two was assigned to interview a Cosmopolitan magazine cover hunk. She says the situation was a little strange, but she kept her sense of humor.

Pike enjoys the freelance work, and though some news might err on the side of lighter pieces, taking on a variety of projects enables her to pursue meaningful documentary work. She is a storyteller to the core, and a copy of the Journalist’s Creed, by Walter Williams, hangs in her office.

“Maybe it took me time in my own career to realize how important the Walter Williams creed is today,” she says. “But the contribution he made to journalism is enormous.”

Pike has been involved in the news business for most of her life. Her father, Don, worked in newspaper circulation for the Washington Missourian.

“Even as a child, I was interested in the news of the day — not just comics,” she says.

In high school she worked the Sunday morning shift at a local radio station, KLPW, where she announced the weekly obituaries and learned how to correctly pronounce names. She is certain she had two loyal fans: “My mom listened, and so did Mrs. Oltman, from the funeral home,” she says laughing. Working as a newspaper inserter, Pike wrote sports for the Washington Missourian to have the clips that earned her a scholarship to attend the Missouri School of Journalism. When she graduated college, she moved around a bit, including a stint in New York, but she missed Missouri. She thought she would find more opportunities on the coast, but news organizations needed her in the Midwest.

“There is a certain Midwest charm that really works for interviews,” Pike says. “It makes subjects feel less pressured to know that I’m not someone from New York or L.A.”

Pursuing a passion

As a freelance journalist and filmmaker, Pike is used to erratic schedules, deadlines and odd assignments. She jumps easily between directing a scene, editing film and interviewing. But, even for someone who values conciseness, it is difficult to give her profession a label. At a dinner party, she still does not know what to say when she is asked about her profession.

“I give them a different answer each time,” she says. “I tell people I produce stories for television, and there is a certain wow factor that comes with working for Fox and CNN.”

But Pike’s passion is documentary work, and she wants to tell stories that center around Missouri. In addition to Trustees for the Public, Pike was part of a film crew that documented a family of Bosnian refugees in Missouri, which is also the state with the largest population of Bosnian immigrants. Neither Here Nor There, released in 2009, was a full-time, emotional investment for Pike. She and the crew filmed the family in Columbia and also traveled to Bosnia with the subjects. In addition to the feature-length documentary, a short film on the same subject won Pike and the crew the Show-Me Love competition at the 2005 True/False Film Festival.

“The bonds from the film stay,” says Pike. “There is an art to listening and seeing things from their perspective. When you get out in the world, you realize you’re interconnected. It was a labor of love, and I felt proud to tell their story.”

In between her freelance work, Pike is applying for funding for a documentary that explores the decline of rural Missouri. When Pike made a recent trip to a town in Knox County for a family reunion, she saw that nothing remained of the small, sleepy community. Instead, factories are under construction, and family-owned farms are being sold.

“Sometimes when you work in an area long enough, you’re fed into the pulse of the community,” says Pike. “What are the issues? You have a lot more insight and credibility.”

For now, though, Pike looks forward to the rest of her afternoon. With her freelance work finished for the day, she can pick her kids up from school and enjoy the weekend. Although the beauty of freelance is spontaneity, Pike is happy to be home.

Monday, January 25, 2010

9:14 p.m.

The upstairs neighbor leaves me continually perplexed. When I met her in October, I think her name was Jess. Maybe it wasn't. She clip-clopped always across the wood floors, and she came and went late at night.

Then, nothing, for at least two months. Silence. No doors opening, no mail outgoing. No more clip-clopping.

I mentioned the mystery to my landlord. She is still paying rent, and as far as he knows, she still lives there.

But I don't think that's true. For the past week, I have heard the familiar shlomp of male footsteps upstairs, and tonight's constant smoke alarm bleep and burly group of male cheering leads me to believe that Clip-Cloppy has found a subletter.

9:07 p.m.

It might be tomorrow where you are, but it's still your birthday here.

Happiest of happys, T.

8:53 p.m.

I have started a low-gluten diet, and things are going well. I feel great, but so far I'm a little burnt out on brown rice. So, to celebrate my new restriction (ha!) and implement a little imagination and variety, I will be partaking in the Week of No (or virtually no) Wheat.

Sadly, I wasn't that hungry tonight, but I wanted to get things off with a bang — and I really needed to use up the rest of the brown rice that I made last night — so I made a bunch of food, and the bit I did have was delicious. The plus: Now I have yummy lunches for a couple of days. Hooray!

I have to say, the photos aren't particularly attractive—just trust me.

Baked kale chips — the best!!!

Roasted sweet potato, brown rice and black beans in a cute corn tortilla. Salad of edamame, red peppers, tomato, corn and garlic.

9:15 a.m.

2009 Annual Report by Nicholas Felton

Sunday, January 24, 2010

7:28 p.m.

Pining for spring and spring dresses!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

7:35 p.m.

Can you feel flattered for the majority of a day?

Friday, January 22, 2010

2:30 p.m.

Those who have watched me attempt to participate in any physical sport quickly learn that I am hopeless when it comes to catching, throwing, hitting and swinging. Sometimes I am good at kicking.

As a child, my father would take me and my brother out to play catch and sometimes baseball in the backyard of our house or in a park. Having suffered at least one black eye from poor catching technique, I was never excited to be in the outfield. Paul, my (younger) brother, also made fun of my batting. I had and still have poor timing. My father would jokingly wind-up his pitch and slowly underarm the softball towards me. Scared, I treated the bat as if it were a large tree I could hide behind. "Now!" he'd yell to help me time my swing. But the reaction time was always slow, and I'd make a gesture that was more closely related to a ballet arabesque than any kid on a little league t-ball team.

It started out this way most of the time we played. I would try hit anything besides just the air (and to no avail) for so long that eventually the tears would inevitably spew forth. My cheeks burned red and my face blotched. I shook with frustration and pursed my lips. I didn't feel like crying, but I really wanted to scream. I got mad. If I had possessed a wider vocabulary of swear words, I would have silently called them at my father and brother. Instead, an inner rage overcame me, and it built up slowly, from the very edges of my toes to the tip of the bat. Suddenly, the softball was no longer a ball. On it, I envisioned my father's face. Or my brother's. Or, if my mother had made me mad, it was hers. Or maybe it was a bully at school. It was never always one person, but the more vivid the face on the ball, the more likely I was to hit it out of the park, or at least just beyond the backyard fence. Rather than remaining a girl-child-slug of helplessness, sweet little Sarah was overcome with an endless spout of bottled-up aggression. Afterwards, I was always exhausted. I never necessarily felt better about baseball, but I certainly felt lighter and a little relieved.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Saturday, January 9, 2010

12:23 p.m.

"Colin B. Bailey, the Frick’s chief curator since 2000 and now also its associate director, deserves a bronze plaque for persuading everyone to remove the confining stanchions from the West Gallery — otherwise pretty much as it was during Frick’s era — allowing visitors to roam free."

What should the ratio be for art and comfortable places to sit and view it? How should one meander from one room to the next? I enjoyed reading Smith's review on the Frick mostly because she states many of the same issues I've been pondering, but with smaller spaces. Using your space in the best way isn't just a museum and gallery issue; it's carried through in your home, and in businesses. Who wants to look through a shop with hoards of clothes and cases of jewelry? The best places to experience something (whether it's art or a movie or buying a dress) allow the most important pieces to shine by creating a space (walls, seating, floors, ceiling, lighting) that quietly but effectively highlights and enhances the pieces. It's about trying something new. As Smith writes, perhaps walls of color are what truly create a vibrance to certain paintings. Perhaps it's not just about white walls and stark seating. However, experimentation and successful implementation should work like magic. You must not realize why the curator or designer was doing that with paint — otherwise he or she didn't do a good enough job in the first place.

Drop cap by Jessica Hische, Daily Drop Cap

Friday, January 8, 2010

5:02 p.m.

Illustration Friday: Confined

3:05 p.m.

Lately I have been reading Michael Beirut's 79 Short Essays on Design. As of the 63rd essay, I feel that I've gotten more insight and motivation to do something positive and productive with design than I had ever experienced whilst earning my "design" degree.

Beirut's essay on the beauty and elegance that is McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #13 is a minor confirmation that I am slightly "with it" when it comes to design in a cooly-cool social context. After discovering I had unintentionally accumulated a small but pretty neat Chris Ware collection of books, #13 was the first McSweeney's Quarterly I purchased. The ornate, foil-embellished cover that opens out to a poster-sized comic of it's own is just the beginning of a journey through all things comic, with essays by Chip Kidd and plethora of illustrators.

In a different essay (and scattered through others), Beirut writes about the importance of recognizing the partnership between a designer and client. One does not work for the other, and neither party can work without the other. Beirut (and other designers) suggests that certain clients might be predisposed to recognizing good design over others. For designers, they are always the coveted few. I have been lucky to work with a few design-oriented clients, and the process has consistently felt more collaborative, productive, and for the most part, I think the final project is more successful. Unfortunately, many of us have nightmare clients too. They pay the bills, and it is difficult to develop the same kind of "partnership." Many times, the designer compromises on ideas because it's just not worth it to fight the issue. Or, a designer is burnt out because a client just doesn't know what he or she wants. No matter the case, Beirut says that perhaps we should do a little less complaining about how terrible the work is, and instead find a way to make things work — for both of us. Easier said than done, of course. Some people just don't change, but I think the idea is still worth trying. And if it makes the experience better for everyone, the project will improve too.

I recently started to watch (and then fell asleep — but not out of boredom!) 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the half hour that I've seen so far, all I could think about was how ahead of its time the movie is. Small, unobtrusive televisions are embedded in the seat backs of a spaceship, and they look even better than the screens we use on airplanes today. Bright, pink Djinn chairs scatter an understated lobby with modern color. Beirut noticed all of this too, and he says we can learn a thing or two about timeless (but distinct) design from the director. Additionally, a theme throughout 79 Essays is the fact that good designers expose themselves to not only different types of design, but also art, literature, industry and social issues. Making connections between the arts and design or social issues and design is a way we can begin to bridge the gap between that Client-Designer Partnership. Drawing connections between design and the everyday is also a way to educate the public (and ourselves!) on "good" design.

I've got about 10 more essays to go, but I can tell you that 79 essays is about being a smart designer by reading, learning and writing about as much as possible. By treating our job like visual journalism, we have the opportunity to develop a vast amount of knowledge on the issues we convey graphically. From ballpoint pens, to bullshitting, to Kundera and Nabokov, I guess it's time to start soaking things up.

Drop cap by Jessica Hische, Daily Drop Cap

2:59 p.m.

It's none of your business.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

9:37 p.m.

Thoughts on what's happened:

1. When contacting sources, it is best not to wait until the day before the draft is due to do a fact check. Most people have lives.

2. If in bed, give a candle several minutes (if not more) to completely dry before turning it on its side to see what it's called. Waxiness may ensue.

3. Gluten-free pasta is the best discovery I've made lately.

4. Today was very cozy.


Between now and five billion years from now, someone will look out of this window. Someone will admire this yellow vase. And someone will remember that I did buy a completely sensational hat.


-Maira Kalman, from The Principles of Uncertainty

6:45 p.m.

I grab the first three shirts I can find and pull them on, one over the other. I wiggle into a pair of black leggings and point my toes into a black pair of socks and then a purple-striped pair. Loose-fitting jeans go on over the leggings, and I find my red, wool sweater with buttons up the neck. I put that on too. Then, the purple, plaid scarf and wool, fleece-lined hat from T's mother. My shearling boots are at the front door, and when I put them on, it feels as if my feet are bundled in their own little twin beds. I find my red, fleece-lined gloves and put those on before the big, marshmallowy down coat. I zip up the coat and snap the snaps up to my mouth so that a bit of scarf still peeks out purple. I pull up the the fuzzy, faux-fur hood and feel like an Inuit imposter. Maybe, just maybe, I'll stay warm on our walk.

Five minutes outside, and I feel the prickly sting of 8 degrees Fahrenheit and a windchill of well-below zero. My thighs are enveloped in icy innertubes, and my fingertips are sore. Strangely, my nose is warm and damp from the heat that stays inside my scarf when I breathe big hot breaths from my mouth. I am not a mouth breather, but right now, it helps. I whine a little. T hears but pretends not to notice.

"Keep your hands in your pockets," he tells me. I try to, but it's too pretty not to take pictures.

At home, a trail of snow follows us through the kitchen, and the studio, and the living room, to the hallway, where we take off our boots. Carefully, we dance around the newly formed snow patches on the carpets and wood floors.

It is now two hours since we've been back, and my feet, in their two pairs of socks, are still a bit frozen blue. Nothing to worry about, but just a reminder that I should enjoy the blanket they're underneath and be nicer to the fat flies that somehow sneak into my apartment in the dead of winter.

3:23 p.m.

Comfort food

Potato Chip Chicken with creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes and asparagus and mushrooms sauteed in a buttery, red wine sauce.

1:19 p.m.

I have made the bed so that it is a very comfortable desk where I may work. The blinds in my room open to let the bright, white snow and dull, grey sky unobtrusively and naturally light the space. A candle named Winter is lit and smells very much like its namesake. This coziness seems to harbor the right amount of hidden productivity. Yet, I'm not quite sure because sometimes, when I am feeling my most creative and am not lacking in words to think or write, I still would rather snack on m&m's and watch films.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Headless Outfit Series: January

New Years without

New Years with

I love these tights.