Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fat Bottomed Girls


In honor of my friend, Paul, appearing in the University of Houston’s production of The Magic Flute (now in 3-D!!!) I am finally getting around to posting our trip to what I consider the best burgers in Houston.

Burger Guys—no, not Five Guys—on Westheimer and Dairy Ashford is where all of your ground beef and french fry dreams come true.

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Yes, the “Houston” has onion bacon jam; yes, the fries are “finished” in DUCKFAT!!!; and yes, I got both


An added bonus was that they have Dublin Dr. Pepper on tap!


…or as my brother calls it, liquid Haribo berries


Let’s just bask in this glory, shall we? (Which shouldn’t be hard to do seeing as how there is so much grease for the light to bounce off of that even Snookie would be jealous of the tan I gots).



Thought it’ll be months before I go back… rest assured I WILL be going back.

Artist: Queen/ Album: Greatest Hits, Volume 1

Saturday, January 29, 2011



Last night I was supposed to go see my friend, Molly, sing in the U of H’s production of Albert Herring, Britten’s comic opera which is also known as “Is that the one where that boy get’s away with it?” by my mother, who saw the production I was in at U of M. (The title character squanders money and prizes given to him by the town on alcohol and when caught he basically snubs his nose at them and the opera ends with all the adults waiting for a redemption that never comes, and if that isn’t Britten in a nut shell then I don’t know what is!)  Needless to say it was too much for my Southern Baptist mother… maybe if she were a German-Jewish-Presbytarian-Southern Baptist like Jan’s mom it would have made a better impression?  When I told her Baylor was doing it recently she just said: “WHAAAAT!??!!??”

My favorite quote was a response to a question from my friend, Kelley, who sat next to her for the show, and I think it perfectly encompasses a certain southern charm needed to navigate thorny situations:

Kelley: So, Mrs. Roberts, what did you think?!  I knew nothing about it but I’m pretty sure it’s my new favorite opera.

Mom: WELL, it certainly seems like they did put a lot of hard work into it, doesn’t it!” 


The runner up would have to be a conversation with my roommate, Lembit.  For a little backstory, I played the role of the town Vicar.

Lembit: (Knowing that mom’s experience of opera didn’t involve the more chromatic, less “sweeping” melodies of Britten’s style.) Wasn’t it nice that Joseph had a lot of the pretty music in the show to mirror the music of hymns and church litergy?

Mom: Oh… that was the pretty music??


Now to be fair my parents are amazingly supportive and have seen me in many many productions, from Puccini to Mozart to Smetana.  If you know Britten, then you know that it is a different animal than its predecessors and isn’t the most easily accessible for the casual opera goer.  I totally get that it’s probably not the easiest thing to sit through. These are more just anecdotal episodes I remember and think are funny.

ANYWAY… that being said, I didn’t actually get to go to the production last night, which really bummed me out because: A. I have been excited for months since I found out they were doing it and B. my friend Molly was in it and I absolutely love her voice and I imagine she was a fantastic Ms. Wordsworth.  I got a text from Mallory, who was to join Jennifer and I:

Mallory: Hey, so I woke up feeling really clammy and I think I have a fever.  I don’t think I’ll be able to make it tonight.

Me: Ugh, I was literally just thinking I might have a fever.

Mallory: Looks like we got sick together when you stayed over the other night :(


Sadly I wasn’t able to make it, but this is probably the only time for a while that I can retroactively post some pictures from our U of M production!





The Town Council: [L-R] Elizabeth Stoner, Miss Wordsworth; Brian Tanner, Mayor; Jonathan Christopher, Superintendant Bud; Jody Doktor, Lady Billows; Joseph, Vicar Gedge; Monique Holmes, Florence Pike





Artist: Benjamin Britten/ Album: Albert Herring

Friday, January 28, 2011

Yo Trippin’


Today’s nerdy science photography post comes from Discover Magazine’s online album entitled—Far Out: The Most Psychedelic Images in Science.  Let’s just take a quick jaunt down the rabbit hole, shall we?


“A trip to the sun” (Image: NCAR)

“This sunspot is not real. It is, however, one of the best models of a sunspot ever made. Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research produced this simulation by plugging the newest sunspot data into a 76-teraflop supercomputer. The image required nearly 2 billion data points to simulate the magnetism, temperature, and other features of a sunspot; it models the phenomenon down to a depth of nearly 4,000 miles.”


“Psychedelic Smash-Up” (Image: CERN)

“This may look like a child's Spirograph drawing, but it's actually what scientists at CERN hope to see when the Large Hadron Collider in Europe reaches full smashing power: The decay of that elusive subatomic particle, the Higgs boson.”



“Spiral of Algae” (Image: Raymond E. Goldstein, University of Cambridge)

“The heart of this image is a spherical colony of Volvox algae, about 100 micrometers across, with a flurry of nutrients fluttering by. Volvox have been forming these multicellular colonies for more than 200 million years.”




“The Red Himalayas” (Image: NASA)

“NASA's false-color treatment of satellite images turns ordinary shots of our planet into pictures of another world worthy of science fiction, replete with purple oceans and orange outcroppings. This inverted treatment of the Himalaya Mountains was made with the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), which combined near-infrared, red, and green wavelengths.”


Artist: Anastasia/ Album: Not That Kind

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Daylight Robbery


So you know that scene in movies or television when a gang of armed robbers, realizing they are running out of time, throw a bag of money in the air in order to create panic (a.k.a. greedy by-standers) and facilitate a quick gettaway? WELLLLL that happened at the Wells Fargo next to Pottery Barn the other day.  I’m talkin’ ‘bout full on police helicopter, yellow crime scene tape blowin’ in the wind and everything. (Geez when did I turn into Sarah Palin’?) Needless to say, it was certainly the talk of town… AND COUNTRY!!


Artist: Genesis/ Album: Trick of the Tail

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Two Suns in the Sunset


This last weekend was the first time I had the opportunity to drive up to see my nephew, Benjamin, since he became the newest member of the Roberts clan two weeks ago.  This was also the first time the General and I took the drive from Houston to Dallas since we ran into a little bit of trouble on Christmas day.  Luckily for us, though, we had nothing but blue skies and great music to keep us company for the 4 1/2 hour trek.


That’s at least like 60 points on the Scrabble® board


Benjamin was actually napping when I first arrived so I took the opportunity to hang out with big brother Luke while I had the chance.  Turns out he too is a fan of sunsets!





LUKE ATTACK!!!! Watch out, Japan!


Joanie’s sister, Meg (she’s more than just that—we’re actually very good friends!), made a surprise appearance to join us for dinner. 



The next day we took him to Matt’s office to introduce him to the staff, as they had not yet met him.


You’re a real adult!!!!


And of course I wasn’t getting away without my own picture with Benjamin!


Our matching outfits are purely coincidental, I assure you



DON’T LEAVE, UNCLE JOSEPH!!! (I’m about 93% sure that’s what’s happening here)

Artist: Pink Floyd/ Album: The Final Cut

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Little Brains, a Little Talent

There are a lot of performers careers that I really admire, not only for their acting ability alone, but for the breadth of genres that they cover as well (Audra McDonald anyone? And, as Cameron from Modern Family would vehemently agree with me, Meryl Streep…)
Don’t even get me STARTED on Sophie’s Choice!

Which brings me to another actor I would want even half the career of: Christopher Lloyd.  Some of you may be thinking, “what does that have to do with Modern Family?” Well:
Modern Family
*Update 1/23: So… apparently I’m an idiot (this may not surprise many of you), but my sister-in-law pointed out to me this morning that not all Christopher Lloyds are created equal and the creator of Modern Family is not the same, dear Professor Plum I know and love.  Lame! STOP WRECKING MY LIFE, FAKE CHRISTOPHER LLOYD!!!! [It’s okay, though, I’ll make up for it in my next post.]
And that’s not even the START of it.  He was in two of my absolute favorite movies:
   Clue_Poster[1]      wit
   I’ve already waxed (not so) poetically about it here!!       You’ve no soul if you aren’t a bawling mess by the end 

However, what prompted this particular post is that last night he appeared on my current ub-session of a TV show, Fringe.  I’ll basically follow J.J. Abrams down any conspiratorial rabbit hole (Alias, Lost, Undercovers) so it’s no surprise I’m transfixed by this modern day X-Files.
I’ve yet to actually watch the episode, but based on this still from the episode alone I am hypothesizing he plays an Andy Warhol inspired, S&M loving shape shifter from the other universe.  That’s probable on that show, right?
Oh yeah, and he was also in some rarely seen trilogy from the ‘80s about a time traveling teen and his wacky mad scientist cohort.  You’ve probably never heard of them though so it’s not really worth discussing.
Artist: Richard Adler/ Album: Damn Yankees
Random nerd fact: Eric Stoltz was actually supposed to play Marty McFly because Michael J. Fox was busy filming Family Ties, but midway through shooting the film makers decided he wasn’t quite right for the role.  Blog full circle moment?: During an episode of Fringe in the alternate universe this can be seen in the background…

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dear, Pretty Youth


I had originally planned on making this post whenever I went to see Julie Taymore’s The Tempest in theaters, but seeing as how A.) It never actually came to Houston and B.) it got pretty universally mediocre reviews, I thought I would include it as part of my pre-Spring cleaning duties.  Plus, I still can’t stop thinking about her previous, extremely successful attempt at transferring Shakespeare to the screen, Titus, an enthralling (though not for the faint of heart) adaptation of his earlier and less known work, Titus Andronicus.   Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still see it when it comes to DVD, just a little bummed I couldn’t get the whole “theatrical experience” of it all.



Now, my connection to The Tempest goes beyond just wanting to see a movie version.  While at Jordan School our class did a production of the play and I got to perform the role of Prospero (which was changed to Prospera in the movie for Helen Mirren).  That’s right baby, that would be the lead role!  It was most likely a pretty awful display of thespianism but it did start an interest in the Bard that I still have today.  So… thanks, Mr. C!!  Also, I haven’t seen many of these people in a long time and they may or may not despise that I put these pictures on my blog for all to see.  Rest easy, though, because “for all to see” sadly translates into “for about seven to see".


LOOK AT MY BLING! (Also, the girl dressed in white standing next to me you might recognize from my post about seeing Vampire Weekend last year—it’s LIZ!!!)



Nike’s were apparently pretty easy to come by on a deserted, mystical island.


Artist: Anne Sophie von Otter (from Henry Purcell’s The Tempest)/ Album: Music for a While—Baroque Melodies

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Interpretation


The 33.3 Art Show is a project in which, as the website puts it, “Thirty three and a third artists and designers reinterpret and reimagine existing album covers.”  Seeing as how they do a pretty good job of explaining it, here are a couple of my favorites, along with the original cover and some of the artists explanations.  Follow the above link for the remaining selections.

Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes  (Rachel & Adam Little)

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“While I prefer a hand-drawn, organic style; he embraces the modern and sleek. By stepping away from our computers and adventuring into the previously uncharted territory of cut paper, we were able to collaborate on new ground. […] And we also felt that Robin Pecknold's beard should be celebrated. The five songbirds within the beard represent each harmonizing band member, and we hope the design as a whole expresses the overall woodsy, wintery feel of the album.”


Prince: Purple Rain  (Mike Nelson)

33_23photo   33_23b

“The reason that I chose to reinterpret this album is because Prince seems to be constantly reinventing himself as an artist. That has inspired me to evolve this cool cat, motorcycle-drivin cover art to a calmer, Zen-like creation (much like the Prince of nowadays). You will notice that all 9 songs from the album have been integrated into the design.”


Sufijan Stevens: Illinois (Ty Wilkins)

33_32photo   33_32b

“My illustration references his lyrics and also reoccurring themes like death and inexplicable phenomena. State symbols such as the white-tailed deer, white oak, Chicago star and the monarch butterfly are filled with vibrant color and brushwork.”


Buddy Holly: That’ll Be the Day (Megan Pralle)

33_22photo   33_22b

“Buddy Holly was busting at the seams with talent and determination but I had to imagine when he was making records the last thing he worried about was what his album cover looked like. There are obviously numerous ways to capture the persona of Buddy Holly and I considered using his iconic glasses as a main focus but I decided that’s not why he was great, that’s not who he was.”


Artist: Mika/ Album: Life in Cartoon Motion

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Draw Me a Circle


Today our store passed a big goal that apparently hasn’t been passed at this location EVAR, which is quite exciting for everyone involved. One of our managers was talking to me and another associate, Megan, and asked:

Nancy: “I don’t want to make it seem like we are bragging, but I’m really proud of all the hard work everyone here has done.  Do you think it would be okay to send out some kind of fax to the other stores to let them know we made it?” 

Me: SCREW THAT! I think we should put Beat this SUCKAHS!!! <3 PB 385   

Nancy: Well… no.  Any other non-incendiary propositions?

Megan: I could whip up something cute and a little less braggadocios… gimme just a sec.


So what follows, for anyone still even reading this post, is what we’ll just call “our artistic process.” (Or as my the store manager, Brian, affectionately put it: Burning through 900 hours of payroll for a cartoon—which, if  fleshed out enough, could be some odd metaphor for my life).  Some information is pertinent only to the store so I have blacked out those parts.

First things first, the initial sketching stages:


You can’t tell by the picture, but that tie is paisley


Nancy wasn’t so keen on having anyone think that the female was her or the male was Brian, even though Megan and I were CLEARLY bragging for the store ourselves.

Megan: So… you want me to draw a hermaphrodite?

Nancy: No no, of course not.

Megan: Hoooow about a…


… robot???


Unsurprisingly, that didn’t go over too well either.  For some odd reason Nancy didn’t think a robot exactly screamed “Pottery Barn”. 

Me: Oooooh, I know how to draw a shark!  What if we had a shark eating a fish with our goal written on it and said something like WE KILLED IT!


Full credit… Megan drew this, not me.


That one went over like a… well, kinda like a dead fish in a Pottery Barn.

Me: Ugh, fine.

Megan: What about a sofa?

Me: OMG, what about Chairy from Pee-Wee’s play house?!?!


The word of the day is: NERRRRRDDDD!!!


Nancy: Oh fine… just use your first idea!!

So here it is, our first and final brag letter!


NOT Nancy, knee caps and all!


And, just for giggles, Megan drew another one of the associates who had me organize the pillow room this past weekend.



Artist: Barbra Streisand/ Album: The Third Album

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How the Web Was Woven

[via fastcompany]

In honor of  Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the Julie Taymor helmed/U2 penned sinking ship of a musical, I thought it would be a good time to put up some pictures I saw recently of an art installation made completely out of packing tape.




The Viennese/Croation design team For Use/Newman have built several versions of these cocoons, however this one is from the Odeon, an abandoned stock exchange building in Vienna.  Explains For Use’s Christoph Katzler:

“The installation is based on an idea for a dance performance in which the form evolves from the movement of the dancers between the pillars. The dancers are stretching the tape while they move, so the resulting shape is a recording of the choreography.”

See below for a video of said process as well as some more shots from the exhibit.





Artist: Elvis Presley/ Album: Walk a Mile in My Shoes

Monday, January 17, 2011

Swiss Army Romance


I came out of the Starbucks near work the other day and saw the General had made an acquaintance. I guess all it took was a bath, huh?


Get it little General!

Artist: Dashboard Confessional/ Album: Swiss Army Romance

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Shut the Club Down


If you’ve read my blog in the last month then you are most likely aware of some shenanigans I’ve gotten into with a certain trio of twenty-somethings.  Unfortunately, one third of that trio had to part ways with Houston and, as a depressing byproduct, with me!  If you’re aware of our previous outings (and innings) then you know there was no way we weren’t going out without a fight. Or as I like to remember it: a night of Girl Talk, glow sticks, giant balloons, grief and goodbyes.

Brad got us all tickets to go see Girl Talk, a D.J. who is currently on a nationwide tour.  He was originally supposed to play at the House of Blues but they sold out so quickly they had to change to the Verizon Wireless Theater (where I saw Vampire Weekend with Liz) in order to accommodate a larger crowd.  I happened to arrive a little late during the interval between the opening act an the main stage performance, increasingly encouraged by a stream of “He’s almost on!!!” and “Hurry while you can still find us, we’re ten feet from the stage dead center” and “ look for Hester, she’s waving her glow sticks for you!!” texts from Brad.  Needless to say this feat was much easier said than done in a room full of glow-laden products (sticks, bands, necklaces, etc). 

2011-01-13 21.45.05

“Umm… no seriously guys, WHERE’S HESTER?!?!?”


Just about the time I managed to find her neon raised hand I could see she was also yelling something to the nearby throngs in a manner I can only describe as regal (she is British after all).  Then, as if straight out of a Charleton Heston film, the crowd parted in order that I could pass through. … Seriously.  As I was too stunned to think to take a picture, I have created an artists rendering  of the event:




The concert (is that what it’s called when you go see a D.J.?) began soon after and I can say it definitely wasn’t like a night at the symphony.

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Giving a shout out to the violin section???


First of all, they have much more festive decorations.  Giant rubber balls anyone?


But come on… that’s amateur stuff.  I’ll see that and raise you a giant inflatable tube filled with confetti.


And if you’re gonna have confetti in a tube, why not just have it everywhere!!

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Aw hell, let’s just throw in a toilet paper blower and call it a night.

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But what good’s a party if you don’t have some interesting guests to keep you entertained.  Let’s take a look at some of our favorite personalities throughout the evening.

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Early on in the evening this girl got in a fight with another girl and ended it by throwing her drink everywhere.  She stood in this one spot and cried for about 20 minutes, all the while people were just dancing all around her.  WHAT WAS HAPPENING?!?!


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Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the emotional spectrum, these two couldn’t stop making out right in front of us.  Side note: did you know that one theory on how the design of the heart shape ( <3 ) came about is that it mimics the shape of two heads kissing?  I submit this as exhibit A.


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And finally, my favorite personality of the whole evening:

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A fantastic evening for a fantastic farewell for a fantastic friend.  FANTASTIC!!!

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Artist: Girl Talk/ Album: Feed the Animals