I’ve been to the Willie Wonka Factory. Be jealous.

I was in Atlanta last weekend for SEWSA and my presentation on the Victorian Supernatural. And- major plus- I got to see my sister, who made the absolutely insane decision to move away from me to live in Atlanta some three years ago. Ahem. And a moment of silence.

Ok, moment’s over. Anyway, we’ve both been kind of insanely busy this year, so even though we’re less than three hours away, this is the first time we’ve gotten together since December.

We had lots of fun. We went to Atlantic Station for dinner. Atlantic Station isn’t a restaurant–it’s an area of Atlanta that has streets and streets of restaurants, bars and stores, all topped with fancy-schmancy lofts. The whole area is beautiful: great architecture, convenient sidewalks, gorgeously decorated store windows, sidewalks, street lamps, trees and grass. I’m a fan of trees and grass. It’s like an old-fashioned town center for the rather wealthy. The stores are all quite upscale and the loft prices are astronomical. But they let even us poor academic-types in to look, so we had fun.

We wandered around after dinner critiquing window displays and talking. And lo and behold, we found Willie Wonka. He says his name is Kilwin, now. (Maybe he’s trying to put the creepiness behind him with new nomenclature. If so, I just inadvertently outed him. Whoops.)

Here is what is fabulous about Kilwin’s:

And they had karaoke! The girls in the middle are singing, the blue screen is partially visible in the far right of the picture. I had Poker Face in my head for the rest of the night. No, I didn’t join in- what happens in Japan, stays in Japan….

And best of all…

Chocolate macchiato cup ice cream.

Life is good.


Wouldn’t it be lovely: Ireland

P.S. I Love You

Earlier today, I watched The Bounty Hunter. As I was considering whether or not I actually liked the movie, I looked up Gerard Butler’s IMBD listing, and, of course, wanted to re-watch every one of his movies. Mostly, I was dying to watch P.S. I Love You, which I haven’t watched in more than six months. (I so love that movie.)

Instead, I dutifully edited a paper that I have to turn in tomorrow, and kinda-sorta prepped for tomorrow’s exam (Modern Brit Lit).  I think I’ll be alright, the test is comprised of essay questions, and I’m a fairly good BS-er.

So I watched P.S. I Love You while writing notecards. Which brings us to tonight’s armchair-travel destination: Ireland.

Allihies, County Cork
Baltimore, Ireland (who knew there was a Baltimore in Ireland? Well, the Irish. Obviously.)
Just north of Dublin, Ireland
Bingley, Ireland
Clifden Castle, County Galway

Wouldn’t it be lovely? I know it isn’t feasible at the moment, but someday I’ll certainly go.

On a completely different note: the author of P. S. I Love You, Cecelia Ahern, finished the novel when she was 21. Do facts like that make you want to curl up and die, or is it just me?  I can’t even imagine… and maybe that’s my problem.

(Rotten Tomatoes hates this one too: 23% fresh from the critics, 82% fresh from the audience.)

P.S. I Love You: breakin’ it down

  • Gender stuff:
    It’s hard for me to judge on this, because the movie is about working through couple relationships, so it foregrounds the ins-and-outs and day-to-day. If that makes sense. Not to sound all gushy, but the relationship foundation seems to be affection, not control. So maybe it’s a fairy tale (maybe I’m a little cynical) but I’m not sure if there is anything to criticize here. (There is always something to criticize. I know. But nothing seems all that horrid.)
  • LGBTQ stuff:
    Well, “alternative lifestyles” are at least  in the movie, which is an improvement over The Bounty Hunter. Holly and her friends go to a gay bar on her first excursion after Gerry’s death, where a bunch of middle-aged men commiserate with Holly on her loss; AIDS isn’t mentioned, but it’s easy to figure out why these New Yorkers had all lost loved ones within the last 15 years. (I always get Rent songs in my head when watching this. And that shows you just how dated my cultural references are.) On the other hand, all of the major characters are hetero, and the gay bar is kind of an excursion into an alternative “party world,” a space diametrically opposed to the “real world.” Which is possibly problematic, depending on how you opine queer assimilation.
  • Race stuff:
    Wow, this movie is monochromatic. Gerry is Irish, Holly is Irish-American, her friends are all a whiter shade of pale. I can’t think of a character in the movie that isn’t as pale as skim milk.

Such a great movie. And I’ve seen (and love) all of the b&w movies that she watches while mourning, which makes me feel super cool (Angel Face, and Jezebel, and A Star is Born… and some others, I’m sure. The “I’ll make him survive!” is Jezebel; the great shoes are from Now, Voyager, the birthday solo is from A Star is Born.) And she wears such great hats. Like, constantly. And coats. And boots. And shoes. And lordy lordy, I want that apartment. I love the painted dressers and the distressed brick and the candles. So gorgeous. The ghost doesn’t hurt any, either.

Long story short: (A) I wish I could go to Ireland, if for no other reason than to avoid my quickly approaching final. (B) I love love LOVE this movie. Just in case you didn’t pick up on that before. (C) I’m exhausted, and so, my friends, good night.

Wanderlust: The Alhambra

This is where I would go today if the twin obstacles of money and school didn’t loom quite so menacingly.

The Alhambra, in Granada, Spain

Isn’t it beautiful? Check out the interior:

I’m not sure why columns make a space seem so peaceful and still to me. This courtyard reminds me of one we spent hours admiring at the Cloisters in New York. I’d love to spend a few hours here as well.
The proportions–the arches, the column, the ceilings–are so  beautiful.
The illusion of depth in the ceiling is achieved through mocarabe, an architectural element prevalent in Islamic designs of this era, made up of stalactite-like hangings from the ceiling into the room.
Look at the colors and the detail– I can’t imagine actually seeing this.  I think I’d run into walls looking at the ceiling

And since, of course, the focus shouldn’t be solely on the realm of wealth or power, here’s the view from the Alhambra looking over Granada:

Also beautiful, and completely different. I love the white-washed houses… can’t you just see them tinged red in the summer sunset?

I’d embark immediately if I didn’t have lots of homework, two fur-covered beasties who depend on me for snacks and cuddles, and a shockingly low bank balance. Perhaps someday… until then depending on Google images to keep my wanderlust in check.

Happy imaginings!


Counting down to Japan (and DC!)

Whew. Rather busy weekend here on the home front as I prepare to (a.) have someone else move into my house; and (b.) live out of a suitcase for 2 weeks (not a hotel, mind you, in a hotel you can unpack. I’ll be living out of a suitcase. I think our itinerary has us moving every day.  So organization is crucial. ). Also, my boyfriend will be taking pictures every second of every day. (I tell him it is a bad habit. I think it is just that I don’t like to pose. Too many people looking at me–I always feel like I need to start vogueing.) So I can’t exactly wear the same thing every day.

For the record, I’m totally proud of my packing ability… so far, anyway. Of course, I don’t have my toiletries together yet, or my books, but my clothes and shoes make a surprisingly small stack in my suitcase. I almost feel like I could travel with only a duffel bag, but traveling for 2 weeks in Japan doesn’t seem like the best time for experimenting.

And on a completely different note–I get to see him on Thursday! Long distance relationships suck. Trust me.) I almost feel like I shouldn’t count down on separations this short…I feel like I should save the true counting down for the horribly long stretches: the next one will be from the beginning of the fall semester (mid August) to fall break (mid October, and more importantly, my birthday!) And I try not to count down until we’ve actually bought tickets–things come up, like conferences and tests, and then I get bummed. Even when it is my stuff that comes up. This one was a short break–really just enough time to get the laundry done, figure out where I stashed the stuff I didn’t get properly organized before he arrived, and get myself packed for Japan.

But yay! Going to see him soon!