Oct
07
2004

  Sleepy Hollow

I discovered on 9/25 that Sleepy Hollow is an ACTUAL town in New York, and only about 26 miles from the city. How cool would Halloween be there?

Not very, as it turns out. The town has a "Legend" weekend every year around Halloween, but it's aimed mostly for kids. And it's over by 9pm. That just won't do. I am bummed out that Sleepy Hollow is so lame about this. Well, not so much lame, since the activities actually do like things that would scare kids out of their wits, as too darn "family friendly" for my taste.

Oct
06
2004

  VP Debates

Just watched Chaney & Edwards duke it out. Was very distracted by Edwards' hand, um, things. Using the "Clinton-thumb-fist" so emphatically my mind drifted to whether he was thinking subconsciously of what he was going to do later. And then when he switched it up, I thought it looked like he was playing some kind of alter-universe game of rock, paper, scissors with himself. Rock, rock, paper, vertical paper, safety scissors (when he pointed two fingers, but touched them together so there would be no sharp points. . .), etc. and WHAT was up with him grabbing an individual finger on one hand with all his fingers of the other hand?!?! Plus, with all his "John Kerry thinks this, John Kerry thinks that" he did strike me a bit as a pretty puppet.

But to be fair, I was also waiting for Chaney to respond with, "No, John, what this country needs is NOT fewer tax cuts for the rich, but to eliminate programs like Head Start, the Education Department, and I think we WOULD be all better off if Mandela was back behind bars. I stand by my voting record. Bwah-ha-ha-ha-haaa." All he needed was a black hood and scythe to go with his black suit.

Fortunately, neither guy is really going to be that important once somebody's been elected. I think Chaney can definitely come across as cold and calculating, but I do tend to agree more with his calculations that with his opponent's. There are so many reasons why outsourcing jobs will ultimately be better for this country's economy (even my liberally-minded husband agrees with that). And raising taxes on the rich might not be the best solution, either. And though I like the idea of the simplicity of the flat tax (federal sales tax) I certainly think it should still be progressive. But then, it wouldn't be flat, would it? But how about a tax of a low x% for all purchases under amount $a, (x+y)% for purchases $a+b, (x+z)% for purchases in the next bracket up, and so on. So anyone paying $400 for a pair of shoes will be taxed like the rich no matter their income. And people living sensibly will be spared. Does the middle class really need a tax break on their Manolos? And don't tell me the middle class doesn't buy them. I've seen it myself.

Oct
06
2004

  Jen Chapin

Jen Chapin
On Saturday while Terry & I were strolling downtown, he noticed that Jen Chapin would be in town on Monday night. We got tix on the spot. I'd heard her at the Bitter End (or somewhere in the Village) and Terry heard her several times before we got together. Terry actually has been in her apartment, although she wasn't there at the time. He went with Matt Stone to her party, but before they arrived she'd decided to go out somewhere with some of her friends, but the party continued without her. He didn't mention that to her when they chatted between sets. She was much better than she used to be (it's been a few years since we last heard her), and I'd highly recommend her new album, Linger, if you like very laid-back jazzy songs. Her voice reminds me slightly of Shannon Worrell, and the genre of music is the same, but their themes are different.

Gravity Lounge
Last night was my first time in Gravity Lounge, and it was a pleasant venue. Although there really wasn't anyone in the audience younger than, well, us. It was pretty much a tiny sliver of the usual downtown-artsy crowd, the same crowd that has held court for at least seven years now, maybe longer but I wasn't around to witness further back. I guess we're the target demographic of the club; I was pleasantly surprised that they had reasonably comfortable chairs, there was plenty of room to get a seat with a good view, and they had quite a variety of wines by the glass. They had wine/cheese plates and other similar snacks as their "bar food", but I didn't try any.
I saw two single men at the start of the show, one wearing really faded tie-day t-shirt w/oversized worn denim overalls, and the other jeans, sneakers, and some kind of logo t-shirt. The women were either in some hippie hemp getup (well, except for the older lady (58?) in a denim romper, gray hair in pigtails tied with fabric, and a faded now-pink baseball cap which was not so much hippie as weird) or basic after-work garb. I guess in Charlottesville a club can't really get away with a velvet rope and a dress code.

There were only about 15 people in the audience at the end of the show (it was a school-night, after all), and I wondered about the life Jen is pursuing for herself. She has opened for Bruce Hornsby, Aimee Mann, and Smokey Robinson, and while not U2 or anything at least most people have heard of them. And here she's brought her band to Charlottesville, to play for a quite intimate crowd. Terry pays attention to "Music" (yes, with a capital "M") and he said that the supporting band members all had chops. So we wonder why they're on board. But Jen is just as good as Norah Jones; it's just a matter of timing and luck and she could be "the next Norah Jones" since due to timing and luck she missed out on having Norah be "the next Jen Chapin". And isn't it awfully hard to predict just who exactly is going to hit the big time before the fact? So I suppose band members just have to go with their gut, find a band they enjoy playing with, and just ride it out.

Oct
03
2004

   Where's the pâté?

WELL. Several people have told me over the years that I should have a blog; I have a unique situation that allows me to live in "Heidi's World" most of the time, and people are curious what that is like on a daily basis. I'd never really been motivated to set one up. Until now.

I usually pick up the Sunday New York Times after church each week. And if I'm feeling indulgent, I pick up some crackers and pâté at the same time for a nice Sunday snack. I used to go to Foods of All Nations, but they charge an ADDITIONAL $.25 over the regular price, and I am really opposed to that. I asked the manager about it once, and she said everywhere in town has this surcharge since the distributor raised his prices. Don't believe her. Most places do not.

The week the surcharge showed up at Foods, I motored happily down to Bellair (their selection of prepared foods actually has somewhat more variety in my opinion). But they didn't carry the Sunday Times!! In the following weeks I tried Barnes & Noble (good coffee, but the paper was overpriced), CVS (no gourmet products AT ALL), and Harris Teeter (it probably would be acceptable except that it is out of my way on my trip from church to home).

I then tried the general store in Ivy (I think it's officially named "Toddsbury of Ivy" but the exterior is so NOT hoity-toity I think the name is ill-matched to the location). It was on the wrong side of the road, but at least it was right on my way and there was a turning lane, so it did fit the convenience factor. And they almost always had copies of the paper remaining at 1pm, my usual pick-up time.

I never had a problem with them until today. Because I wanted pâté. It is not one of my usual healthy food choices, but I hadn't eaten any in MONTHS, it was chilly and overcast, and I thought it would hit the spot as I curled up in a cozy spot to read the paper. Perhaps with a glass of red to defend against the cold. Realize that in addition to the usual gas station collection of soda, beer, chips, and motor oil, this place also sells artisinal breads, wine, fancy crackers, homemade side-dishes, and gourmet sandwiches. I had no reason to believe they would NOT have pâté. I even asked the manager if perhaps there was some kept in the back, that had been inadvertantly not set out today? But alas, he shook his head sadly and replied that he had no pâté.

Where is the common sense in this town?!? If you sell the Sunday NYT, then puhleeeeze recognize your demographic and stock wine, cheese, fancy olives, gourmet coffee and pâté. And this applies in reverse--if you already carry the mentioned foodstuffs, won't you please make sure you have an adequate supply of the Sunday Times??

Think about your customers, vendors! If you were selling copies of the Utne Reader, I'd expect you to have a dizzying assortment of homeopathic stuff, healthy/tasteless granola, more dried beans than anyone would expect to see in a lifetime, let alone eat, Amy's frozen soy food products, and perhaps as a bonus carry whatever it is that white people with dreadlocks need to maintain their hairstyle, and sell tickets to the local folk venue. And if you already sell all those products, why not carry the hippie publications that your customers want (are you listening, Fantastic Foods?)? But if you're selling the NYT, think about what those readers want to eat!! Foods of All Nations admittedly is pretty close, but why the heck are they charging an extra $.25 for the privilege of buying the paper there? It does no good in my opinion to attract your demographic and then proceed to gouge them.

Now, I can appreciate that businesses might not want to stray too far from their core mission. But in those instances can't you cooperate with your neighbors? I really can appreciate that the Crozet Great Value (IGA for the sentimental. . .) might not want to install an espresso machine, olive bar, etc. although they do sell the Sunday NYT (and WSJ, right here in Crozet!). But how much business is Curves doing anyway? How about a gourmet (NOT hippified) shop & wine/coffee bar? I bet that place would be PACKED. How many times can you eat Crozet Pizza and not become a roly-poly? But even the thin can drink a cup of coffee daily! And I suspect they'd stick to their routine much better than the circuit-training ladies.

In Heidi's World, none of this would be an issue. Stores would make sense, and be highly demographic-sensitive, so people who want a plate of eggs, bacon, toast, the Daily Progress, and unlimited refills on their cup of Folgers don't have to waste their time negotiating past imported olives they would never in a million years have any interest in eating any more than people who want the NYT, pâté on water-crackers with cornichons, and chianti should have to search hit-or-miss in a vain attempt to find a store to meet all their needs.

Like I said in the beginning, I have not previously been motivated to have a "blog", but I do feel that this issue is important enough I must overcome my inertia to speak out, in an effort to make the world a better place.

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