the ugly earring

ug‧ly [uhg-lee] offensive to the sense of beauty; displeasing in appearance

Month: April, 2008

the helsinki turban

we’ll always harbor a love for women who wear turbans in public. in this instance, mari goes where we could never go by pairing her turban with geeky-girl eyeglasses.

besides, anyone who associates prada with granny gear is A+ in our tatty spiral bound notebook!


Mari (30)

“All my clothes are second hand. I’ve modified the dress a bit. People call me a granny because I always wear old clothes. Nevertheless I dream of Prada and Miu Miu.
Lately I’ve been inspired by old Marimekko fashion pictures from the 60’s and the 70’s.”


(from here)


a belated songkran

(from the ue photo archive)

The mother is showing her daughter the art of popping garlic cloves and fresh pepper with a pestle. The stone mortar is her gift to the child, it is the original one she hand carried on the airplane when she first arrived in the United States.

She is also sharing a secret, her recipe for som tam which cannot be transcribed into a recipe:

“Add two or three peppers, and four pieces of garlic,” she says as she tosses the ingredients into the mortar and adds another pepper for good will.

The night before the mother deseeded and sliced the green papaya to save time. As a result, the daughter is awkward when she is given the task of preparing the papaya. Her slices are never thin and transparent; instead, they are thick and too bulky for the small stone mortar. 

Cherry tomatoes are added when the pepper and garlic become a paste-like texture.

There is an art to using the mortar and pestle, a certain touch that is required when popping the tomatoes. The mother tells the daughter: “The way a woman handles the pestle is the way her lover touches her at night.”

If her movements are quick and aggressive,  her lover is a selfish brute.

If she is slow, careless and messy, she is an apprentice.

If her pestal makes a melodic song, a soft pounding of harmony against the mortar, she is calling for him to return to her.

Her mother adds a handful of the sliced papaya, a few squirts of fish sauce and sugar.

“Now taste. Is it too sweet?”

It is.

She quarters a lime and gives it to her daughter. “You must balance the sweetness with something sour.”

The woman sits on the woven straw mat with her mortar and pestle/she is a temptress/Her lover works the fields of rice patties/Her music is the pounding of stone/The white rice cooks/she adds the dried shrimp into her mortar.

If she does not have a lover the music of her mortar and pestle will call for him like the beckoning of a mermaid enchanting a sailor.

“Sometimes we use crab instead of fish sauce or shrimp. It is more Laos,” she tells her daughter, but her eyes suggest this version is not for the novice som tam maker.

After the lime wedges are squeezed, the mother samples the dish.

It is plain.

“Now you try, what do you think it needs?”

And so the the daughter begins balancing the sweet, the sour and the salty. A few more dashes of fish sauce, another squeeze of lime, and it is complete.

The mother tries her daughters som tam.

“Not bad,” she says as she opens the bag of dried shrimp and sprinkles a few on top of the dish.

“Yes, now it is perfect.”


While I can’t fully convince myself to embrace the Thai pop songs my mother used to sing and play repeatedly while we were growing up, I can reach a nice compromise. Have a listen to this.

It’s called Cambodian psychedelia.  Oddly enough it channels that time in the early 1970s, when my father and other American soldiers were stationed in areas of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Or at least is very reminiscent of the reel to reels my dad made for my mom  (with a little Gary Puckett thrown in the mix). 

Have a listen: dengue fever, monsoon of perfume





virtual eye candy

photos from here (including the pigeon one below).

pigeon feathers for hair peace

because it’s one of those days, and i’m going home with this quote under my bed:

“Accept that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue”

                                              author unknown



still rocking the texas tuxedo

abilene, texas,1975

this poster hung on my bedroom wall.

hollywood, california, 2003

frank and hanks, blue bayou on repeat, and hours at the dart board.

phoenix, arizona, 2008

the linda tank arrived via bona drag.

it pairs well with jean jacket, jeans, ratty old dingo boots and collected zuni fetish necklaces

(which doesn’t go out of style in sun city!)

and a little treat from this tucson chanteuse: here 

a little bug

the little sparrow’s resurrection in 2008.


the yellow wallpaper

(from the facehunter) 

platforms and vintage volkswagens are the cats meow.

and so is resurrecting little sparrow from the dead…

here she is in 2005 during her Koreatown heyday.

(from the ue’s photo archives).

does anyone believe in love anymore?


ossie clark reinterpreted.



and just for kicks…




how it was done the first time.



(from my favorite virtual happy place: C20 Vintage


“…do it for the truck drivers”

because we need a little saccharine underground from time to time.

boho eyelashes and lanky like olive oyl



and a ditty for spring love: