Getting through winter

Month: April 2018

Escape Room

Escape Room

I first heard about Escape Rooms from an episode The Bachelorette in 2015. The bachelorette Kaitlyn and one of her suitors, Ben Z., went on a “date” where they were abandoned in a dark, messy chamber of horrors and forced to solve puzzles before a […]

Merry April Christmas

Merry April Christmas

I would like to open my presents now, please.        

Animated shorts

Animated shorts

The Wisconsin Film Festival was April 5-12. Last year was the first year that I went to the festival, and for last year’s festival I pored over the schedule and carefully chose three films to see: The Salesman from Iran, One Week and a Day from Israel, and Infinity Baby from the US. I would recommend the first two. Infinity Baby wasn’t great, but it was cool that Nick Offerman was there in person to do a Q&A afterward.

This year I didn’t feel like applying the same level of scrutiny to the schedule. I leafed through the pages, but nothing particularly caught my eye. Except, occasionally, there were pictures of really cute-looking cartoons — one with a fancy penguin waiter, one with a sad avocado walking a graffitied urban street, one with a mommy and baby streetcar. When I got to the ‘S’ section of the schedule, I discovered that all of these cute cartoons were in one program of short films called “Shorter and Sweeter.” I decided to get a ticket. I went online and snagged the last ticket they had (probably out of the stubby fingers of a small child).

So, about a week and a half ago, I went to the Marquee at Union South and watched a lot of little animations that were indeed very short and very sweet. Here are a few that I really liked:

“Konigiri-Kun: Sportsday”: This one was sooooooo cute. Imagine that all the little emoji of unidentifiable Japanese foods came to life, had expressive little faces, and got together to participate in a day of sports competitions. Then some mischievous seaweed-wrapped sushi ninjas sneak in to try to steal the medals! Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a trailer or clip for this film online, but this one’s by the same person and has one of the same rice ball characters: “Konigiri-Kun: Shopping” (trailer). The style is stop-motion animation using what looks like real food.

“Spider Web”: A spider and the old woman whose apartment he inhabits start out as enemies, then bond over broken limbs and knitting. There’s a clip available online. My favorite part is when the old woman tries to vacuum up the spider, but afterward he very pitifully crawls out of the vacuum using his one remaining leg. Okay, maybe you kind of had to be there. It has a whimsical hand-drawn style of animation that doesn’t try to be too perfect, which works well for the story.

“Driven”: The first two films I mentioned didn’t have any talking. This film is from StoryCorps, so voices telling their story is the main draw. It’s about the narrators’ father and grandfather, Wendell Scott, an African American race car driver who raced in the South during the Jim Crow era. The animation is pleasant, but not particularly artsy or inventive — it serves to accompany the audio. This one is available in its entirety for your viewing enjoyment.

The “Shorter and Sweeter” program included several other films I liked and a few films that I probably would have cut if it were up to me. I hope you click on the links and check out the different animation styles!


If you want to see a little more animation, and if the ones linked above were too well-made for your taste, I took an animation class during college and made a little short film as my final project. Here’s the link. It goes by really fast because, as it turns out, animation is difficult, and it takes a ton of work to make each second of a movie. Because it’s hard to tell what’s going on, I’ll outline the plot here: a tree flies into the clouds, the trunk and leaves separate, the leaves turn into a fat man, the trunk turns into a girl, the man eats a hole in the clouds…and then you’ll just have to watch it to see what happens next. Several times, as it will probably go by too fast for you to actually see on the first try.



(Photo of movie theater from here.)

I might be a grown-up (sigh)

I might be a grown-up (sigh)

I have to stop pretending and come right out and admit it. I think…I might be…ughghg…do I have to say it? I’m an adult. *shudder* I just can’t fight it anymore. Not after this list of things I did today: Washed dishes Did laundry Folded […]

Hermione video game

Hermione video game

I found the Hermione video game that I made during college. It’s fabulous. Please enjoy. I estimate that it’ll take approximately 5 minutes to finish. 3 tips for maximum enjoyment of your playing experience: Turn your volume on. That’s right — there are sound effects. […]

New Leafbabies

New Leafbabies

Every month as we’re walking into Staff Meeting, there’s a slideshow on the giant auditorium screen. The slideshow includes photos of staff members’ recent weddings, newborn babies, and new “furbabies,” which are recently adopted pets. Well, what about new leafbabies?

Because I’ve sure got some of those!

Today I marched into The Madison Greenhouse Store on Willy Street with a purpose. My mindset was “I don’t know much about plants, but I want a lot of them RIGHT NOW.”

After I spent a few minutes pretending that I knew what I was doing as I browsed through the lush greenery, ceramic pots, and toy dinosaurs, an employee finally became available to rescue me (there were several other other 20- & 30-something women who’d also caught ficus fever* who had gotten there before me). I asked him a few questions about some different plants and chose the ones I wanted.

The woman at the checkout counter helped me pick out some plant accessories. Then she repotted my plants in their new pots, told me how to take care of them, and wrapped them lovingly in little plastic bags so they wouldn’t get cold outside. She tucked them into a box and sent me on my way.

I’m not sure how the people who work in that store can bear to take such patient, expert care of hundreds of plants just to, on a daily basis, send them home with ignorant clowns.

Let’s meet the new leafbabies!

Rubber tree plant

Before I went into the store, I had a vague idea that I wanted a rubber tree plant. I read this article on the website Apartment Therapy and thought they looked nice and didn’t seem too hard to take care of.

In my mind I was picturing a bigger plant, but this was the only rubber tree plant that I saw. Then I realized that demanding a giant plant right off the bat was probably crazy and that this one was a very reasonable size.

I saw a pot that I thought might be cute for it and asked the woman at the store, “Is this a good size pot for this plant?”

“Yes,” she said. “If you got a bigger pot, the plant would grow bigger.”

“What if I want the plant to grow bigger?”

“Well, then you’d repot it in a bigger pot every year. That’s what my friend did. His just kept growing and growing until it was eight or nine feet. He wanted to give it to me when he moved out of town. But it couldn’t physically be removed from his home. This plant is literally a tree.”

I’m going to leave it in this pot for a while.

I will probably need to find a new place for it in my apartment that’s not on the window sill, since according to the Internet, rubber tree plants don’t like direct sunlight. The Internet recommends putting them behind a sheer curtain in a southern-facing window, but doesn’t the plant know that only my mom is allowed to force me to buy curtains?

Neon Pothos

Isn’t this yellow hanger groovy-looking? It looks like an Urban Outfitters catalog. It was made by a local artist out of an old t-shirt.

I hung it from one of the ceiling hooks that I noticed when I moved into my apartment but never thought I’d actually get to use. I don’t know who put the ceiling hooks up or whether they can be trusted. I really hope I don’t wake up in the morning and find the corpse of this plant on the floor in a giant pile of bowl shards and dirt. Seems to be okay so far…

Most pothos plants are darker green, but I saw the lovely light green leaves of this “neon” pothos in the plant store and put it in my shopping basket. Another woman saw me with it and, similarly enchanted by its color, asked me where in the store I’d found it. Unfortunately for her, this was the only non-tiny one left. This is why you must impulsively grab every nice thing as soon as you see it.

Air plant

I got a new air plant. It’s in the artsy air plant holder I crafted a couple of years ago. My friend Lauren had heard about an event that a UW club was putting on where they taught you how to make these and gave you the supplies, including an air plant. We had a good time. The club members were also giving out a lot of extra fresh, organic carrots that they’d grown that were only somewhat covered in dirt. They were pretty tasty. After the event, Lauren and I went to a bar that happened to be having trivia that night. We formed an impromptu two-person trivia team and named it “air plant.” We lost.

And, eventually, so did my first air plant. I took care of it for a while, but eventually it died. My boyfriend told me “that’s because there shouldn’t be such a thing as an air plant.” Be that as it may, another contributing factor could have been that, back then, I didn’t have the sheet of very detailed instructions on air plant care that I got today when I bought my new air plant.

I hope I can treat this one better. Fertilize it once a month like it says in the instructions. Mist its little arms when it looks parched. After I soak it, dry it for four hours upside down on a towel. Play it the music of Franz Liszt and never, ever look it directly in the eye.

In conclusion

These plants better effing THRIVE.




*a.k.a. cactus cravings a.k.a. succulent syndrome a.k.a. the ivy itch

Mini post

Mini post

This week’s Isthmus newspaper came out today and had a Corrections paragraph on page 14: “…Also, artistic director Melanie Cain was misquoted in a piece about Fresco Opera Theatre’s Queen of the Night. The opera is set in [a] skate park, not a state park. And the opera […]

TV pilot review: “Alex, Inc.” and “Splitting Up Together”

TV pilot review: “Alex, Inc.” and “Splitting Up Together”

Alex, Inc. I’ve been listening to the podcast Startup since it started itself up in 2014. It’s a pretty good podcast. The first season was great. It was about Alex Blumberg (the podcast’s host) starting his then-unnamed podcast network*, and it had me hooked. I […]

Democracy in action

Democracy in action

I voted today!

I voted for Judge Rebecca Dallet for Wisconsin Supreme Court, I voted for some other people I hadn’t heard of until this evening when I studied a Candidates’ Answers newspaper insert from the League of Women Voters on the bus ride home from work, and I voted against abolishing the state treasurer (just to annoy the GOP).

The only other thing I have to say about today is…

…Happy Spring!


Update 9:40pm: Dallet and “No” on the referendum won! Haha, suck it GOP. Uh, I mean, it was an honor to participate in the democratic process.

“Food” I’m eating and food I can’t eat right now

“Food” I’m eating and food I can’t eat right now

Tonight is the fourth night of the holiday of Passover. On Passover, most foods with wheat or other grains in them are off limits. My usual philosophy is “A meal without noodles is a wasted opportunity.” Passover is hard for me. Right now I’m eating […]