Sunday, August 29, 2010

In Treatment

As I made my way through Blockbuster this afternoon, I made sure to peruse the television section. My friend Matt and I had a conversation not that long ago about how these days, television is producing some high quality shows compared to the average movie. There are exceptional shows on television, such as Breaking Bad, and others like Mad Men, which I've been dying to watch. After a quick glance in the television section, I saw Gabriel Byrne's face on the front cover of the series "In Treatment." I have only heard the title mentioned before but anything with Mr. Byrne's promises to be fantastic. Plus, HBO is known for great television (Sopranos, for starters), so I figured it would be worth a shot.

I was right.

The show revolves around Dr. Paul Weston, a psychotherapist, who is renowned for his therapy. Each episode is based upon a different session with a different client. You quickly become aware of the clients lives, much more than you think would be possible for each episode which is 22 minutes in length. What is most surprising is that you learn more about the characters by their facial and body expressions than their actual dialogue. Weston is mostly detached, but this makes him all the more fascinating which keeps you watching. The viewer can tell a lot about the session and Weston's relationship with the client by the conversation they have as the client walks out the door. More than that, I think the set is perfect. The lighting, the color of the sofa, the door which is shown at the end of every episode when he walks his client out. It is a fascinating show, and the acting is brilliant. Put this at the top of your queue.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cooking, design, etc.

As a daughter of Dad who is an artist and a Mom who should be a professional interior decorator and chef, I have a deep interest in art, cooking, and design. I tend to see these areas as particulars that are made sense by my primary interest which is theology. Moreover, these particular areas of aesthetics seem to provide such a needed outlet for my studies. As such, I have decided to periodically record findings that inspire me. I realize that the blogosphere is saturated (for better usually) with design blogs. However, I must confess that this new blogging activity is mostly selfish in nature and it will allow me to record and display my findings and thoughts. Despite the main intended use, I'd love for your input or feedback if you graciously decide to share it!

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Today I stumbled across two interesting finds:

1) "Objectified" - This is a brilliantly made documentary by Gary Hustwit which explores the world of design. I particularly appreciated the design that went into creating the actual film. And, could Jonathan Ive be any more fascinating? Beyond his unprecedented Apple creations, Ive seems like a very interesting man with whom one could converse. It is available via Netflix for instant streaming. Go here to learn more:

This film also allowed me to do some introspection. I often wonder why certain aspects of ordinary purchases really bother me - I've always chalked it up to OCD. A few weeks ago, my Mom wanted to take me to Bath and Body Works to buy some essential toiletries. While I was very grateful for her offer, I didn't end up getting anything because the design really bothered me. I've routinely found their design to be too busy, kitschy, and overdone. I like products to be limited in design offering a subtle aesthetic element so that the product itself becomes the focus. I tried to explain this to my Mom but couldn't quite articulate my frustration. She laughed and called me a "snob." This is probably very true. However, this documentary enabled me to realize that my wonderful parents have cursed me so that I now prefer everything, even down to my pen, to be nicely designed. The good news is that design does not necessarily have to be expensive. It just means that you have to take more time to find good stuff at a graduate student budget price :) Thanks to Xac and Nate for their tweets which helped me to find this!

2) "Stir" - I love watching cooking shows. This is not a recent phenomenon by any means - I started watching Jacques Pepin at my Gram's house everyday at age 3.5 on PBS. I pretended to have my own cooking show at age 4. Due to this obsession, the Food Network has been playing ever since I finally had my cable connected yesterday! Oh, Ina Garten, I love you (btw). I don't know how to cook beyond a few basic dishes and everything else I just make up. I decided that I need to find some classes and I stumbled across Stir in Boston (thanks!). While the classes are a bit expensive so I won't go to more than two classes this year, I have read that it is an exceptional experience. The website has fabulous photos, too. Go here to learn more: