Thursday, December 28, 2006

You Think You Know Me? Do Ya?

Then prove it. I have created a quiz for you to test your knowledge (thanks to Cheryl and Sean for starting this).


OK I AM ANNOYED: Katie took my quiz and there's two things that really annoy me:

1) When you click the link above, it almost immediately redirects you to some crappy flashy page that has nothing to do with the quiz. Sorry about that. It may take a try or two to get it to stay on the right page.

2) Having been given no indication of a word limit, the quiz has cut short a lot of my answer options, and I see no way of editing it now that it is complete. So do your best with what is given to you, and for the record, in the question about my childhood, the third choice should read I liked Dungeons AND DRAGONS, not that I was into "dungeons."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I Done Been Tagged

3 Things that scare me: Sharks, cancer, debt
3 People who make me laugh: Erica, Katie, my Somali friends
3 Things I love: my family, Africa, volunteering
3 Things I hate: selfishness, bigotry, violence
3 Things I don't understand: Fear of change, sports, Creationism
3 Things on my desk: 3 used ink cartridges for my printer, a doll of an Ethiopian girl, and a fez
3 Things I’m doing right now: addressing Christmas cards, copying CD’s for a family in Tanzania, procrastinating
3 Things I want to do before I die: live in Africa, have children, be lucid enough on my deathbed to say “I’ll see y’all on the flipside”
3 Things I can do: make good music mixes, make a good peach cobbler, ride a bike!!
3 Things I can't do: my taxes, math in my head, debate a point very well
3 Things I think you should listen to: Tom Waits, (most albums by) Jethro Tull, Mike Doughty
3 Things you should never listen to: obvious political propaganda, crass commercialism, most crap on the radio
3 Things I'd like to learn: Swahili (proficiently), guitar, how much wood a woodchuck really would chuck if said woodchuck were to actually chuck wood
3 Favorite foods: Caper Pasta, Peanut Butter, Broccoli Cornbread
3 Beverages I drink regularly: Water, Cranberry Juice, Milk
3 Shows I watched as a kid: Dungeons and Dragons, You Can’t Do That on Television, Double Dare
3 People I’m tagging: Mr. Williams (Nationwide), Cap’n Hardqore, Bo Ba Log

Friday, December 08, 2006

My Favorite Place in Vicksburg

The Attic Gallery

In my hometown of Vicksburg, MS, there is an art gallery called the Attic Gallery. It has been around for 35 years and is a mainstay in the Mississippi art scene, known not just throughout the Southern art circuit, but across the country. Known for its eclectic offerings, from highly skilled oil paintings of nudes and landscapes to pictures of bottles of hot sauce drawn in marker on the back of scraps of matte board, the place is a must see if you are in the area. Many an artist has gotten their break by being promoted by the gallery, and it speaks volumes about the gallery's beloved status that the same artists who I remember showing their art when I was 10 are still there 20 years later, as are hordes of other artists who appreciate what the gallery and its crew have to offer.

So that’s my formal description of the gallery, but here’s why it means so much to me. I grew up going to the gallery. The gallery, owned by a cool lady named Leslie Silver, also employed a man named Daniel Boone, who is one of my family’s closest friends*. So we would go by there all the time and visit.

For a kid who loved art and ultimately did a few years of college as an art major, the gallery was just the coolest place ever (and still is). There’s just stuff EVERYWHERE, as the above picture will attest: on the walls, on tables, on the floor, hanging from the ceiling, stacked on top of each other. The place is just such a mish-mash of style and ideas that to visit is to overwhelm your senses. I always try to stop by when I am in town. It’s like a recharger. Just a quick spin through the joint makes me feel better.

It used to be in another location, further down on Washington Street, but back a few years ago, they moved to their present location, still above the ground level, thus technically still an attic. But the place now has two floors and a lot more room to house special exhibits and such (and one of my paintings, much to my inital chagrin, was in one of their shows**). And now, there’s Highway 61 Coffeehouse on the bottom floor. There’s been several incarnations of coffee shops in this location in the past, but this one is likely here to stay seeing that it was opened by Daniel. Years ago, Daniel and Leslie got married, so now the whole building is in their collective hands (When we visited over Thanksgiving, I asked Daniel who was doing the framing while he was running his new coffee shop. He just smiled, said, “Good question,” and laughed).

So if you get a chance to visit Vicksburg, please go visit the Attic Gallery and Highway 61 coffee (and get a hot chocolate with chili pepper in it- really good.) It is worth the effort.

Mom, Fuzzy, Erica at Highway 61 Coffeehouse
Mom, Fuzzy, Erica at Highway 61 Coffeehouse

Dad at Highway 61 Coffeehouse
Dad at Coffeehouse

Katie At Highway 61 Coffeehouse
Katie At Coffeehouse

Daniel Boone
Daniel Boone

*Daniel Boone is also responsible for an enormous chunk of my collection of Groo the Wanderer comic books.

**Long story short: I didn't want to enter a self portriat I had painted into n Attic gallery exhibition show because I didn't think it was up-to-snuff, but my mom went ahead and entered it anyway. I was PISSED off about that, but it ended up being a lot of fun, and a lot of people at the opening reception really liked it. So there ya go.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mississippi Masala (1992)

Mississippi Masala
Originally uploaded by baldman76.
Mississippi Masala (1992) Directed by Mira Nair (who would later direct the great film Monsoon Wedding), this film garnered some strong critical praise; the movie guide we have here at our house actually said the film worked a “miracle” with the story. So I picked it up from work and gave it a shot. Our concensus? Uh…it’s not really all that great. Definitely not a miracle, more like an obvious parlor trick.

The film follows the budding romance of an Indian (Asian that is) and a Black man in Mississippi (played by Sarita Choudhury and Denzel Washington) while their respective families throw a tizzy about the interracial aspect of the courtship. Some good, solid themes to work with, but it really didn’t do it for either Katie or myself. I thought the lead female was weak and through no fault of her own, very poorly developed, as was the whole take on the romance. Too quick and not enough exposition. They meet, they flirt, BOOM they’re in l-o-v-e. To be fair, it was the first film for both the director and the female lead.

That being said, the idea behind the inter-racial conflict is interesting and goes beyond the standard (though still interesting) white / black divide. One of the chief reasons that there is such a strong negative reaction from the Indian half of the equation traces it’s roots back to Africa. When the movie begins, it is 1972, when Ugandan dictator Idi Amin expelled all Indians from Uganda, Indians that called the country home for several generations. The family in the film loses everything. The father, who had been a prominent civil rights lawyer fighting for the rights of the disenfranchised, feels betrayed by blacks and carries a deep hurt with him until the present, when he is attempting to sue the Ugandan government to regain his lost property. So when his daughter falls in love with a black man, he understandably latches on to ethnic identity and forbids it, a move no doubt to protect those he loves. This storyline is the most interesting, but sadly, the rest of the movie just doesn’t live up to its emotional punch. Not bad, but not great, and definitely not a miracle.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Salad Fingers

So, this last Saturday night, Katie and I went to a baby shower for our friends Ger and Angela. Also at this party were our friends Nicole and Brian. After a few hours at the shin-dig, we four headed over to their place to ultimately spend an evening watching YouTube videos. Earlier in the evening, they had asked us "Have you ever seen Salad Fingers?" No, we had not. So that evening, we were introduced to this...thing.

Y'all, this is some strange, strange stuff and it is really creepy...and I love it. A lot. I have links to six episodes below (the first two you can watch right here.) I think that may be all of the "proper" episodes, but there's plenty of other stuff floating around about this character on YouTube. I haven't even watched all six myself, so there's no telling what happens on the last few. But if you think you're ready, check out Salad Fingers. And tell Hubert Cumberdale I said hello...

Episode One

Episode Two

Episode Three

Episode Four

Episode Five

Episode Six

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Update on My Father

Originally uploaded by baldman76.
I imagine most everyone who reads this blog knows that for the last few years my Dad has been battling metastatic cancer. Diagnosed in 2004, he has had major surgery, radiation, and numerous chemotherapies, but alas the cancer is proving to be quite tenacious. What started in the rectal region spread to the liver, then after surgery, it spread to his lungs, then back to the liver. So for the last year, we’ve been dealing with the lung and liver issue, though the lungs are the real worrying part. And I haven’t really mentioned the cancer much on the blog for a while, partly because often any changes are so minor that there’s not much to tell, and also because it is so prevalent in the life of my family (directly and indirectly) that I just get tired of talking about it. Cancer gets old. But here’s a bit of an update.

Good News: Dad is doing very well, considering. He looks better than he has in a long while. To look at him, you wouldn’t know that he was sick with anything, much less with something so serious. He has changed his diet, lost 35 pounds, still works 40+ hours a week, hangs out at a coffee shop, and is one of the cheeriest folks you could know. Both my Dad and my Mom have kept an upbeat, spiritual perspective throughout this whole ordeal.

Bad News: There’s still cancer in his lungs and liver. What was there already has grown in size, and there are new growths in both areas from the last time he was tested, ie, it’s spreading. So, he is starting a new chemo regimen of Avastin and something called Erbitux (interestingly enough, produced by ImClone, made famous by Martha Stewart). Along with diet and supplements to help bolster his system, hopefully this will start to have a positive impact and get rid of this crap once and for all (with as few side-effects as possible).

So there you have it. Prayers and good vibes are still appreciated. For more regular updates about Dad and his health, check out my mother’s blog Tricia Dishes.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Thanksgiving Was a Jumpin' Good Time

Hello, Dear Readers! Since I now know that many of you have loyally stuck by my side even as I was AWOL on the old blog, I hope to break that streak and post more. But true to form, Thanksgiving was over a week ago and I am just getting around to blogging about it. Better late than never…

So Katie and I made the trip down to my hometown of Vicksburg, MS to see my family for the holiday and it was a lot of fun. We arrived the afternoon before Thanksgiving, and my sister Erica and her husband Fuzzy arrived late that night. Turkey Day celebrations were to be at our house the following day, with 12 of us total, so we were prepared to do whatever it took to help mom have a low stress morning of preparations.

But instead we jumped on a trampoline all morning long. ‘Tis true. Now granted, we did help out. We straightened up a bit, did a little vacuuming, but by and large we just jumped on the big trampoline in the backyard for hours. And when the company started to arrive, we’d just yell things like “Hi, Mamaw!” from the trampoline. There’d be plenty of time for hugs and visiting later.

Now, the funny thing about this trampoline is that we didn’t have it as kids. This is not some Reid family tradition. My parents bought the trampoline 3-4 years ago, well after us kids had moved away from home. (Hmm…the same can be said about their nice big house…I sense a conspiracy here!) My mom wanted a trampoline, so my dad bought her one. I remember the conversation when dad told me of this purchase like it was yesterday:

Chris: Excuse, did you say “trampoline?”

Dad: Yeah. A trampoline. Your mom wants one.

Chris: A real trampoline? Why?

Dad: She wants it for exercise and she thinks it’ll be fun.

Chris: ….

Dad: Really. She wants one.

Now, I am not opposed to my parents owning a trampoline. But we’re talking about someone who one time actually broke her foot standing still. (OK, there’s more to that story than I just told, but it’s funnier without any of the actual facts behind it.) And to be fair, she did jump on it. But by and large, it has sat unused and killing the grass for most of its time at my folks’.

But the weather was just right, and there must have been some magic in the air calling out to us, cuz we jumped on that thing the whole time we were there. Mostly it was Erica, Fuzzy and I, but we did get Katie up on it once and even coaxed mom into climbing up and sitting on it as well. And my two cousins Matthew and Scott got on it and we discovered that Scott is the all-time champion of “Crack the Egg” (in the role of “egg”, that is. It was actually one of the best visits we have had with them in a while, and I am not too ashamed to admit that while jumping/wrestling on the trampoline I got a good fart out on both of them. And Erica got me once, too.) The following video pretty much sums up the trip.

We did do more than just jump, like walk around downtown Vicksburg, go to Jackson to see a concert with my boy Ian and our friend/relative Chad, and hung out at Daniel Boone’s new coffee shop above the Attic Gallery. But I’ll post a little about those later. It was great to see everyone, the visit was remarkably low-key, and a good time was had by all, with or without the trampoline. Here’s a few more photos taken by various peeps.

Erica and Fuzzy
Erica and Fuzzy

Erica on Trampoline

Erica and Fuzzy on Trampoline
You don’t even have to jump to enjoy a trampoline.

Fuzzy on Trampoline
But jumping is fun, too!

Christopher on Trampoline
Photo by Fuzzy Gerdes

My purty girlie (she hates this picture).

Mamaw Bane and Christopher
Mamaw Bane and Christopher (in a rare moment off the trampoline). I assume this shot was taken by Fuzzy on our camera.

Erica and Mamaw Reid
Erica and Mamaw Reid (Photo by Fuzzy Gerdes)

Good Eats

Good Eats II


Reid Family (with a Little Gerdes in There, too.)
The Family (Photo by Fuzzy Gerdes)