Tuesday, October 14, 2014
It was 20 years ago today that Pulp Fiction was given a wide release. Time flies when you’re a bad motherfucker!
The movie was the first independent film to gross more than $200 million. When it came out, critic Roger Ebert gave it four stars and called the screenplay (which won an Oscar) “so well-written.” More recently, Vanity Fair summarized Mark Seal’s story on the making of Pulp Fiction this way:
“Pulp Fiction was a shot of adrenaline to Hollywood’s heart, reviving John Travolta’s career, making stars of Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman, and turning Bob and Harvey Weinstein into giants.”
The “shot of adrenaline” is a reference to the scene that became notorious when it supposedly caused a man to faint during the movie’s screening at the New York Film Festival.
If you want to pay tribute to that scene with your earlobes, I’ve got the perfect studs for you.
Hey, it’s better than expressing your Pulp Fiction love with a watch!
Rolling Stone has organized interesting facts about the movie into an A-to-Z list here. And New York Magazine’s Vulture blog has a lengthy interview with Steve Hibbert, who played the masked sex slave known as the Gimp. I feel like a Gimp expert now. I’d rather think about blueberry pancakes, so here’s a great scene that doesn’t get as much love as some of the hilariously violent ones: pancake-loving Fabienne (Maria de Medeiros) talking to her boxer boyfriend Butch (Bruce Willis) about pot bellies and oral pleasure.
Now I’m thinking of all the other great Pulp Fiction moments I’d like to mention here. There are too many! If you haven’t seen Pulp Fiction (to my amazement, I’ve met people who haven’t!), do it: It’s a modern classic. If you’ve already seen it, watch it again! And again! This movie is like pie. To partially quote Fabienne, ” Any time … is a good time for pie.”
Monday, October 13, 2014
Time for me to apply for a job at the Psychic Hotline! I’m feeling wonderfully prescient after Eminem took to Instagram to reveal the album art for November’s Shady XV album.
Back to basics! Here's the cover for #SHADYXV out 11/24.
A hockey mask and chainsaws! Just like the hockey mask and chainsaw earrings I officially debuted 10 days ago.
Of course, these earrings are also suitable for horror-movie fans. You can read my blog post to learn about the history of hockey masks and chainsaws in film.
I only made 20 pairs of these earrings for Halloween delivery and a good number of those are sold, so buy now if you want yours for October 31!
Sunday, October 12, 2014
In case you missed it, here’s what was on the blog this week.
- Monday: FitzRoy and Purrkoy have a meet-and-greet.
- Wednesday: Fleetwood Mac at Madison Square Garden.
- Thursday: Lots of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks links.
- Friday: What NOT to do at work, courtesy of Microsoft’s Satya Nadella.
- Saturday: Happy birthday, BarbaraB!
After doing my Fleetwood Mac posts, I realized I have a not-bad photo of the band taking its bow at MSG on Monday.
And here’s a vintage shot of Stevie Nicks that I had saved to my desktop because it shows her top hat … and general gorgeousness.
If you don’t have Stevie’s 1981 No. 1 solo album, Bella Donna, click the album-art photo below to get it. Man, when this came out, I was obsessed with those boots! And her hair. Basically, I wanted everything in this photo except the bird.
Later, Stevie said she never got to enjoy the success of Bella Donna because it hit No. 1 on the same day her dearest friend, Robin Snyder Anderson, died of leukemia days after giving birth to a premature baby. This led to a strange episode in which Stevie, wild with grief, married Robin’s widower, Kim, in a misguided effort to look after Kim and the baby, Matthew. Divorce quickly followed and Stevie didn’t see Matthew for years … but on Monday, she dedicated “Landslide” to her “stepson Matthew.” It was a nice thing to hear!
Friday, October 10, 2014
Sixth-century B.C. Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu — the father of Taoism — said, “He who knows does not speak; he who speaks does not know.”
In a “you’re going to regret this for a loooooong time” moment, Satya Nadella, the chief executive of Microsoft, spoke without knowing at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference in Phoenix yesterday. He coughed up this awful advice for women who want raises: don’t ask for them. Here are his exact words as quoted by the New York Times:
“It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along,” Mr. Nadella said, according to a webcast of the event.
But then he continued: “That, I think, might be one of the additional superpowers that, quite frankly, women who don’t ask for a raise have. Because that’s good karma. It’ll come back because somebody’s going to know that’s the kind of person that I want to trust. That’s the kind of person that I want to really give more responsibility to. And in the long-term efficiency, things catch up.”
Here is my reaction, illustrated by Napoleon Dynamite:
If it were true that not asking for a raise was the best way to make the big bucks, women would far out-earn men in the workplace, because women tend to be nice and polite and much less comfortable than men about asking for what they deserve. Or even what they don’t deserve! God knows you don’t have to deserve shit to ask for it! Starting with my first post-college job in 1989, one of the ways I’d steel myself to ask for money was by looking around me and observing what even the most incompetent men had the nerve to go after. If those fools were bold enough to ask for more money, why should I hold back when I was better than them? Yet, even with my being more assertive than the norm, I didn’t always get what I wanted. It must have been 1991 or so when I confronted my boss about a guy who was admittedly more experienced than I was, but who was hired after me and trained by me — to the extent I was able to get him to learn anything. I’m not a miracle worker, you know. I still had to save this guy from his own mistakes all the time. Nevertheless, he was promoted ahead of me. I pointed out the injustice of this to my boss, who, unable to counter any of the points I made about talent, finally, weakly, said: “Well, he has a wife and kids.” Then he said, “I didn’t know you wanted that job so badly.” He didn’t know? The only way I could have made it more clear was by tattooing it on my forehead. I immediately started looking for another job — though I made sure I got that promotion before I left.
As for good karma … well, some definitions of karma involve how your past or current deeds will affect your NEXT life, so if you want money during this existence, I suggest you don’t wait for karma to sign your paycheck. What I tell women is: If you ask, you might get. You don’t ask, you definitely don’t get. If you act like you don’t care, no one is going to step in and care for you (at work or in any other matter). Take a lesson from what my boss said: “I didn’t know you wanted” it. That’s always a good reason for not giving an employee something. Don’t take a lesson from the other thing my boss said about a wife and kids. Being married and having kids is only an advantage for a man who is perceived as being the breadwinner for his family (whether he is or not). Having a spouse and children will STILL be used against a woman, viewed as reasons she’s not sufficiently dedicated to her job. So, whether you’re asking for a starting salary at a new job, a raise or a bonus, don’t bring up your family, your cost of living, tuition, rent, medical bills, your Pekingese’s eye surgery or anything else of that nature. You deserve the money for the JOB THAT YOU DO. You don’t have to justify your worth in any other way (and besides, management will use all that personal stuff against you). You’re being paid for your work. If you think your work should be highly valued, then that’s your argument. You might feel uncomfortable making that argument, but that feeling lasts for the length of the conversation, while being underpaid can last your entire career.
As for Microsoft’s Nadella, he backtracked, of course, after Twitter came for him. First he tweeted that he’d been inarticulate and that the gender pay gap needed to be closed. Later, in an email to Microsoft employees, he said, “I answered that question completely wrong,” adding “If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.” I don’t know why he limited that concept to his own employees. Why not say that to the world if you really believe it?
Nadella’s original comment was made during a conversation with Microsoft board member Maria M. Klawe, the president of Harvey Mudd College. I was interested to see that even someone like Dr. Klawe felt she was less assertive than she should be when it comes to pay. Her comments, as relayed by the Times, were educational:
“When she was offered the position of dean of engineering at Princeton, Dr. Klawe said, she began discussing her salary only after accepting the job. The result, she estimated, was that she received about $50,000 less a year than she should have. Dr. Klawe said she had also handled her pay discussions with Harvey Mudd poorly, saying that she did not protest when she was offered less money than she thought appropriate.
‘Do not be as stupid as I was,’ she said, advising the audience to role-play with others before discussing compensation with potential employers.”
The role-playing is a good idea. When you do it, do what I do myself and what I always suggest to other women: Ask for what a man would ask for. You’ll always wind up setting your sights higher. Sad but true!
Thursday, October 9, 2014
The band members were interviewed separately for the story by the then-19-year-old Cameron Crowe — the same Cameron Crowe who would eventually write and direct Almost Famous, about the adventures of a teenage music journalist. In the story, Christine McVie (I love that her pre-marriage name was Christine Perfect) goes over the history of the pre-Lindsey Buckingham/Stevie Nicks lineup of Fleetwood Mac, while everyone talks about the personal breakups that provided inspiration for the just-released Rumours album. (I was intrigued to see that 28-year-old Stevie, who has often in subsequent years said that having children wasn’t compatible with her professional life, mused about the possibility of having a child before the age of 34. Also, John McVie had a big crush on Linda Ronstadt.) The previous fall, the work had been seen as what Crowe called a “very late followup LP [to the previous hit album, 1975's Fleetwood Mac], a trouble-child called Rumours.” By the time the Rolling Stone article came out, Rumours was “being shipped out in greater quantities than any other record in the history of Warner Bros.,” Crowe reported. In fact, the album went on to be certified 19-times platinum in the U.S. (platinum status is one million copies sold) and, as of a couple of years ago, has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. The album was reissued with additional tracks last year.
Thanks to the success of that “trouble-child” album, Fleetwood Mac topped Rolling Stone’s 1977 Readers Poll, landing the band back on the magazine’s cover in January 1978. Behold Mick Fleetwood’s cheerleader outfit. Nice legs, Mick!
“‘Gold Dust Woman’ was about how we all love the ritual of it, the little bottle, the diamond-studded spoons, the fabulous velvet bags.”
Continuing the habit of speaking to band members separately, Andy Greene interviewed Stevie and Lindsey that way for Rolling Stone in December 2012. Buckingham, laughing, said, “It’s almost like the old days where we were talking to each other through songs, and now we’re having conversations through you. It’s very strange, isn’t it?” This March, Greene spoke to Christine McVie about how she overcame her fear of flying — a factor in her quitting the band in 1998 — to go back on tour. And in the Rolling Stone issue dated today, Rob Sheffield has a Q&A with Stevie in which she talked about the top hat that I was so pleased to see at the show on Monday.
“It’s a very special top hat — it’s from the 1920s, that one, and you can’t find another one like it. So the hat has its own roadie, its own box and its own cage — it’s always protected.”
As MrB and I were leaving the Garden after the show, he said to me something like, “I guess Stevie and Christine still don’t get along.” I was totes like …
He somehow thought what Stevie said was a dig at Christine, while I thought it was warm and flattering. Well! I’ve discovered that I’m right and MrB is wrong (ha ha! I say that a lot) because Christine and Stevie have ALWAYS been close and supportive of each other. In a June 2013 profile by Jada Yuan, written before Christine returned to the band, Stevie said, “It’s not near as fun” [without Christine there]. “Because it was girl power, you know?” This January, after Christine expressed interest in returning to the band and even performed a song with them at a London show, Stevie spoke to Rolling Stone again about how it felt when Christine first retired: “We didn’t really want to have Fleetwood Mac without Chris. But we finally decided that we also didn’t want to not play.” And, about her return, Stevie said, “”When people say, ‘Did she ask if she could come back?’ It’s her band, for God’s sake. If she wants to come back, it’s her band. Fleetwood Mac-Vie. She started the damn band.”
My favorite article so far about the relationship between Stevie and Christine is this December 2013 piece by Tom Jonze for the Guardian. It noted that the night in September 2013 that Christine stepped on stage with the band, Stevie had earlier in the evening dedicated her song “Landslide” to Christine with the words, “This is for my mentor. Big sister. Best friend.” The story went on to say:
“It is not the first time Nicks has talked about McVie. In 2009, she told the audience at Wembley Arena that she thought about her ‘every day.’ Earlier this year she admitted to the Observer [the Guardian's magazine]: ‘I’d beg, borrow and scrape together $5m and give it to her in cash if she would come back. That’s how much I miss her!'”
“I miss her like flowers need the rain,” Stevie said of Christine in that Observer story.
There you have it.
Here are a few other articles/videos you may find of interest:
- Out Magazine, September 2014: This lively interview with Stevie goes over much of the same material as other recent interviews, but also offers her reaction to current television, gay rights and the reason you should never, ever put aspirin up your nose.
- People Magazine, January 1998: Stevie talks about her drug use, breast implants and losing weight. In other words, the usual People magazine stuff.
- Q Magazine, May 2001: Stevie denies a strange cocaine rumor as well as the long-running “she demanded a pink hotel suite with a white piano” story.
- Telegraph, September 2007: Stevie the survivor.
- Rolling Stone, August 1984: I’m amused by how mellow Mick Fleetwood was when he filed for bankruptcy.
- Huffington Post, May 2012: A slideshow of Stevie’s fashion choices.
- The Guardian, September 2014: Selfies weren’t invented yesterday, you know! Stevie’s Polaroid self-portraits from the ’70s should be on display at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in New York this month!
- Video of Fleetwood Mac, onstage and backstage in 1977.
- “Tusk” video outtakes.
Finally, one of my all-time favorite Buckingham-Nicks collaborations (and an all-time favorite song in general) wasn’t recorded with Fleetwood Mac. It’s former Kingston-Trio member John Stewart‘s 1979 hit “Gold.” It would be a good song anyway, but Stevie’s vocals make it a great one. Neither she nor Lindsey appear in this video, so Stewart’s awesome 1979 style takes center stage.
I WANT THOSE SUNGLASSES!
Monday, October 6, 2014
FitzRoy and Purrkoy — my exotic shorthair kittehs — met two of their out-of-town fans this weekend. “Stratsquam” (Kelli) and “WitnessTheThickness” (Aaron) are a lovely young couple who attended medical school together and who came to New York to interview for a residency. They’re also two of FitzRoy’s most ardent Instagram followers. Last week, Fitz got a message on his Facebook page from Aaron reading, in part, “It would absolutely make my girlfriend’s year if she could meet Fitzroy and his new little brother, any chance this could be arranged ???”
How could I say no to that? Plus Kelli created this great FitzRoy fan art.
So Kelli and Aaron arrived on Caturday with a bag full of gifts from Petco — cans of Fancy Feast, catnip toys, dog treats, a rainbow caterpillar and a laser that upgraded the usual red dot to a red star.
They sat on the floor and and weren’t put off by FitzRoy’s cattitude.
Purrkoy got a little crazy from the ‘nip.
Kelli asked me — and the cats — what it was like to be Instagram famous (FitzRoy has over 7,000 followers now and Purrkoy has 1500). I was like, “Gosh! Are we?! I don’t know!” Upon further reflection, I’d say solemnly, “It’s a lot of responsibility.” The kittehs’ aunt, Stacy Lomman, and I spend a lot of time on photography. When I’m away, Stacy takes over the Instagram accounts. Even when I’m home, she might ask, “Do you have a good photo for Taco Tongue Tuesday?” and upload one herself. A meowmie’s work is never done!
Thanks for visiting, you crazy kids! When FitzRoy starts having massive public meet-and-greets, you’ll always get backstage passes!
Sunday, October 5, 2014
In case you missed it, here’s what was on the blog this week.
- Monday: Henry the dog needed eye surgery.
- Wednesday: A custom nameplate necklace for gorgeous singer Sky Heavens.
- Thursday: Gladiator sandals for Throwback Thursday.
- Friday: My hockey mask and chainsaw emoji stud earrings. Scary!
Also, a big thanks to Lauren Kaminsky (aka The Gold Girl) who gave my jewelry a shout-out on her Pawn on the Cobb blog. I’m both flattered and amused by her description of me, which includes, “Her eccentric and intellectual personality draws you in and are the reason for her quirky, inventive and original pieces.” I’ve always wanted to be eccentric!
Friday, October 3, 2014
October’s Jewel of the Month are the Halloween-appropriate hockey mask and chainsaw stud earrings, available in silver …
… and gold-plated silver.
Although the chainsaw and hockey mask combo has become associated with horror-movie serial killers, the accessories really belong to two different slasher movies, as the TV Tropes website points out. Jason Voorhees — the villain of Friday the 13th — started wearing a hockey mask in the third installment of that franchise, but his weapon of choice is a machete, not a chainsaw.
Family Guy portrayed that correctly.
The chainsaw belongs to Leatherface of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series. Leatherface wears masks of human skin. Maybe it was the fact that both characters are masked that caused pop culture to conflate the two boogeymen. Or maybe it’s just scarier or funnier — depending on the context — to meld Jason and Leatherface. Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, would probably answer “funnier”: In the 1993 “Cape Feare” episode, Homer terrorizes Bart with the mask and chainsaw combination.
In 2000/2001, when Eminem was Public Enemy No. 1, he dressed the part for performances by wearing a hockey mask and carrying a chainsaw. He completed the look with denim overalls. That could be a reference to the one-piece but long-sleeved boilersuit worn by yet another slasher-movie villain, Michael Myers of the Halloween series. Chucky, the serial-killer doll, also wore overalls.
A hockey-mask emoji has been on my to-do list since last year. I was probably inspired by this article, seeing as I bookmarked it. But I have a very long to-do list when it comes to jewelry designs, so I had the mask on the back burner until I saw Eminem at Wembley in July, wearing a t-shirt with a Union Jack hockey mask.
I was like, “Oh yeah! I need to do that for Halloween.” And, of course, a hockey mask deserves a chainsaw. If you’re a stickler for Jason-related accuracy, sorry! I don’t have a machete earring. But if chainsaws aren’t your weapon of choice, allow me to recommend the ax …
… or the very popular meat cleaver as alternatives.
By the way, have you seen the new Geico commercial that says, ““If you’re in a horror movie you make poor decisions. It’s what you do.” The kids hide behind a collection of chainsaws while the masked slasher rolls his eyes.
How annoying! Where’s the thrill of the chase?!