Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday: Kicking off the Season at the Edinburgh Outlets

I've always been a big fan of Adbusters, healthily critical of our conusmer culture. If I ever have kids, I'll probably be one of those "mean parents" who won't pony up the latest trendy toy every Christmas, who'll substitute books for gagets as gifts. Once I became a homeowner, my level of consumption dropped dramatically, and that's a good thing.
That being said, I'm hardly the "dirty hippy" that Roommate claims I am. It's still been too long since my last trip to Disney World. I think Martha Stewart has just about perfect taste. I have "consumption crushes" of my own: sigh... Roomba... some day, you will be mine... oh yes, you will be mine!!
Honestly, though, it wasn't until I spent my first Thanksgiving with Roommates family, back when we were dating, that I was ever introduced to this thing call Black Friday. And I thought it was utter lunacy. And mostly, I still do. And Roommate's family isn't even hardcore-- I think we got up at 5am or so that first year.
But now that I'm in the habit of scouring the Black Friday ads, I realize that "Buy Nothing Day" is all fine and good if you happen to be a rich anti-consumerist. But what if you happen to be on a limited budget? What if your kiddo really, really wants that 5-speed bike for sale at Toys R Us at 6am for $100 off the regular price? On principal, you're going to forgo the $100 saving? Forgo getting the bike entirely or spending $100 more on Saturdays? That's lunacy.
Anyway, so Roommate and I went to Indiana for Turkey Day and the family happened to mention that the Edinburgh Outlet Malls were opening at midnight with all kinds of early bird specials. We joked about it a bit, but 11pm rolled around and found us parked in the lot watching cars flood in.
The Coach outlet was the biggest draw. We were floored that the line at 11p already wrapped around the building. Later we'd heard that some folks waited more than 2 hrs just to get 10% off. I find that hard to believe. Aeropostal, Gap, Nike, and a couple other stores had amassed significant lines before the doors opened.
Roommate and I played it cool, ducked in the stores that were less crowded, got a crappy hot mocha from the chocolate store, and basically treated it like any other trip to an outlet mall. When we walked into our first store-- the Bass Outlet-- Roommate said, "Okay, my brain just reset. It's no longer midnight."
"I'm in a shoe store."
If I was in the practice of giving clothes as gifts, I could have made out like a bandit, but as it was I bought one thing for my mom (and did save close to $50, so yay me!), and a skirt and sweater for myself. Roommate batted zero in the tis-the-season department and came away with just a pair of shoes for himself. In the end, we spent two hours, but it was a goofy, fun way to kick of the Christmas vibe.
That being said, I don't think I'll ever be the kind of person who can wait in line for hours for a store to open. When I saw the line at Coach, I said, "Okay, if Bono were signing the pocketbooks, I might. But otherwise never." Perhaps if I lived in South Florida and could start camping outside of Best Buy at 10pm for their $15.99 DVD player doorbuster in the comfort of 70+ degree weather, my feelings would change... but last night it was in the 20's!!! Lunacy, I tell you!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving! Blethen House Cookies...

Happy Thanksgiving to Loueyvillagers far and wide! (And wider still after Thanksgiving dinner!)

Once upon a time, ages ago, I had a boyfriend who liked to cook. This was lo those many years ago when I was in high school. David was a pro in the kitchen, even when he was fourteen or fifteen, but his true calling was dessert. All of his recipes are lost to me now (Vinegar candy??? PLEASE, someone enlighten me? So far, the web has been of no use! It involved snow, which we have in KY on occasion.), except one.

Blethen House cookies. My mother still has the recipe card in David's handwriting. I have a copied version that I've carried with me for years. It's my best-loved recipe ever. Today, I set about making a double batch to bring to Thanksgiving, and as my computer was open, I decided to check it out. And viola! One person in the blogosphere knows of which I speak. Check out the recipe here: Blethen House Cookies.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Neighborhood Association IV: Still Crazy after All these Months


A pretty blonde in a bikini and stilletto heels steps over the ropes and enters the ring. She circles slowly, holding over her head a white sign reading "ROUND..."

...Who knows what round this is at this point, huh?

Last night (11/19) the Original Highlands Neighborhood Association (OHNA) held its November meeting and elections for six of the twelve Board of Directors. Roommate came with me this time; I was glad to have a witness. A full three-quarters of the meeting progressed with civility and sanity. Impressive.

The elections appeared to go off without a hitch. There were 9 candidates for the 6 open seats. Each stood up and spoke for 15-30 seconds about how much they loved their neighborhood and wanted to serve for the greater good. They seemed to come from all walks of life, all segments of our fairly diverse neighborhood. I engaged in the process, did my best to make democracy work for me. But to tell the truth, the process felt palpably inauthentic.

Let's face it, folks. For Lord only knows how long this neighborhood-- or at least the OHNA-- has been a hotbed of controversy surrounding one issue and one issue only: the Historic Preservation District. Only ONE of the nine candidates said anything about his or her position on the issue, and he was not elected to fill an open seat. One of the ringleaders of the anti-district movement ran but kept his mouth shut about the issue. Unless you knew he'd been one of the most-- if not the most-- aggressive campaigners on his side of the issue, he would have just come off as another concerned citizen/business owner. I applaud the man who came straight out and declared his horse in this race. At least he was giving us fair warning: a vote for him was a vote for a voice of anti-district on the Board. The rest of them... who knows???

Both the candidates and the OHNA are at fault for this. Yes, it was a democratic election. But would we stand for a government election where we were just given names and bios for the candidates? The election came down to who seemed the most likeable, who had a job that you admired, who gave you a good vibe. I suppose every one of us should take some of the blame-- somebody should have stood up at the meeting and said it was impossible to make an "informed" vote without information. Maybe it should have been me. Mea culpa, too.

The poo hit the windmill when the litter tzar of the neighborhood stood up and gave some details about clean-ups and then implored the incoming Board to review the OHNA Neighborhood Plan. He said, basically, that it was an important document with specific suggestions and that they should look into starting to implementing those suggestions ASAP.

Commence to poo-flinging.

Who drew up this document? It was done in secret! It's a farce! (repeat this last sentence at least ten times) Who is this 'they' of which you speak? Who paid for it? Where did the money come from? Don't you claim to represent the community!... be quiet... sit down.. closed doors... mismanaged... no one wants this... elite minority... the black helicopters are coming for all of us...

Okay, I made up that last little bit. This time, both sides threw the poo. And it wasn't quite as bad as August's meeting. But I left rattled. Call me sensitive, but the level of hostility shown by those who oppose the plan is just plain discomforting.

Keep in mind: this is different from the Historic Preservation District; this is a wide-sweeping plan for the neighborhood in general. I've read it. You should too. It's here.

Roommate said he left his first meeting feeling pretty hopeful about the neighborhood association, despite the outburst. He said that he felt as though the majority of the people were just shaking their heads in disbelief at the insanity. I felt less optimistic. I can't help but feel that we'll get nothing productive done as long as the inmates have such a presence in (and may now be in charge of-- who knows?) the asylum.

First Snow of Winter 2007-2008

Approximately 11:10am, Thursday, November 15, 2007. Near-invisible flurries. But there.

Kynt & Vyxsin: Keeping Louisville Weird in the Eyes of the Rest of America

First of all, I had no idea that the Amazing Race was already up to Season 12! The only person I know who watches the show is my mother, and I keep forgetting to ask her about Kynt and Vyxsin, the first (?) Louisville couple on the show.

Kynt works at Texas Roadhouse and Vyxsin works at Ramsi's, and according to their Amazing Race bios: they both enjoy roadtripping to Sci-Fi conventions across the country where as Kynt puts it, "They feel right at home surrounded by Storm Troopers and Wookies."

Currently these "purveyors of Goth" (as the website calls them... according to my online dictionary "purveyor" means "one who supplies are in a very solid fourth place. So cheer them on! Win one for the Ville, Kynt & Vyxsin! Win one for all the proud, weird Villagers!


Here in the Midwest, a certain time of year rolls around, bringing with it a certain change in the weather. And certain Lous, especially those who have spent the past ten-plus years in tropical climes, inadvertantly go into hibernation.

Here's a round-up of things that have been going on in Loueyville since last I wrote....