Tuesday, January 31, 2006

the excitement is building.

if you're reading today, hop on over to the mit homepage. :)

some tidbits:
(1) the measuring tape in the picture is the same one my secret pal gave me for sp6! it's not apparent in the picture, but it's a cute pearlised camel whose furry tail stretches very, very, very long! (about 60 inches, in fact.)
(2) can anyone guess what i used for the background texture (the light greyish fabric)? no serious photoshopping there! all real, all the time.
(3) mit can always use more purple.

Monday, January 30, 2006

pic of the day:

find more wholesome knits at yumlum knitwear.

[thanks prof c!]

hihi. i am soooo tired right now. it hasn't been a terrifying weekend, though i think my mind is just fried from a million little thoughts firing simultaneously in continuum. heart bleeds happy but head doth ache. it's going to be like this until it all goes down on wednesday.

speaking of which, seamless, the technological fashion show at the museum of science in boston that i'm co-producing and my most immediate bread + butter, has sold out. already! the news is a double-edged sword, since (1) of course it's awesome that we have such a strong showing of support and interest in the event, though (2) a lot of people (i.e. all of the student population who would really be into this) hadn't bought tickets yet and are now out of luck. it's due to a fire code issue, and it's seriously cramping our style. however, if you weren't able to purchase a ticket, there is still hope! i would advise interested parties to show up at the door at 6:30pm on wednesday, and we are trying to get overflow seating in an adjacent theatre in the museum with a satellite live feed of the show. it's not perfect, but it's better than nothing, and would be free admission. i will also look into seeing if mit cable might broadcast it on the campus tv station. also, if you might be willing to volunteer as a member of the tech crew, you may attend the show. email the producers if you're interested in this option.

friday night was the opening of collisionNINE at art interactive. it was a great showing and so many people came! i saw chrisQ and her trio-making chris, bess, monica, emma, peter, lisa, marisol, orkan, aaron, kate, erez, enrico, and basically everyone in the mit media lab and the architecture department. i also met jo green of turbulence! that was exciting. :)

i am showing my nichrome mittens, dubbed toast 'n' roast.

view my placard.

read the exhibit catalog.

view collision videos: tantalus mackerel by chris fitch, sidereal day #2 by brian knoth, pixelpusher by rob gonsalves, misty dawn by amber fridjimenez and philip decamp.

the exhibit continues for two more weekends until feb 12. give it a go... we even got r�gine's seal of approval. :)

Thursday, January 26, 2006


collisionNINE opens at art interactive this friday evening, and the exhibition will last through the next three weekends.

i'll be showing a piece, surely more minimal than some of the other projects (there's everything from mixed media robotics to real-time video processing to sound sculpture), but all i can say is that it's (1) small, (2) hand-crafted, and (3) burned me several times in the making and testing. :)

liucubed got all eurotrashed, and reminisced about a girl named moira. listen to tonight's sans serif radio show here.

cute new artist i discovered: caroline.

Produced by Norway-born Andreas Bjorck, "Where's My Love" sparkles like crystal wind chimes, with Caroline's fragile, angelic voice like a siren's breath against your cheek. [source]

she's neck-in-neck with tujiko noriko with for assuming the title of the bj�rk of japan. the mere thought of that very coronation simultaneously mind-blows and tickles pink.

hello kupcake

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Too Cute to Eat
Originally uploaded by traoki.

wow. i am speechless. cute has just been turned up to 11.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

matmos + the muppets. dont tell me you didnt see this coming. :)

Monday, January 23, 2006

life lately, as seen through a lens.

way cool. nick managed to massage the top off of his ebay violin to stash some noisy lil' electronics inside. doesnt the instrument lose some of its, mmm, symphonic virtuoso arpeggio magic when you see it all in pieces? well, to be honest, this violin didn't have much magic to begin with, probably made on an assembly line with cheap wood and cheap labor. china, baby. but check it out, you can see the pencil lines on the inside, and the base board getting some air. the dismantling seems so beautifully sinister, like a silent, ritualed dissection.

the matmos concert was amazing. after reading their interview in the dig earlier this week, some of the portraits they performed made more sense. i loved the the rose has teeth in the mouth of the beast, with the percussionists gracefully malleting their marimbas with fistfuls of roses. i also really dug the larry levan portrait, with sequin bling galore and a deep dance disco dub. the whole performance was seriously intense, but i didnt see hardly anyone in the space moving! like, you can bob your head or tap your toes or whatever, but the breakbeats are flyin' and the crowd is a'dyin'! i suppose you can blame the venue, regis auditorium, for being so 1970s-highschool-theatre, with its avocado upholstered movie-style seating. but man. boston needs to get its groove. i snuck a photo of the coat room queue, there was no denying the hipsters and hipsterettes getting good eyeballfuls of each other. matmos are so cute, they are mad talented but will always be associated in my mind with ernie + bert. and now that i've told you, you shall think that too. forever.

so, did you notice it snowed today? nah, me neither.

breaking in the bundt pan, ooh baby. i used this random recipe for german chocolate bundt cake, and pretty much stuck to it except i used organic chocolate cake mix and substituted 1/2 cup slivered almonds for the coconut/pecan combo. i might have scalded the 'frosting' (it's more like sweet custardy topping, has the texture of honey + eggnog) while it was on the stove, but no matter. it's still tasty with its grand proportions of butter and sugar. so, i suppose the cake is not german anymore. hmm... perhaps southern america meets bavaria? the incorporated pudding mix makes it really fudgy-tasting, yum. i wonder what would happen if i did the exact same recipe but used, like, party swirl cake mix with pistachio pudding? and topped it with hazelnuts and mint extract?

i think that is what they call a future experiment.

p.s. oh yeah, link of the day:
balmyduck :: box cake mix reviews. for serious.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

you would think that i, ecstatically abuzz with its great imminence, would have been at the grand opening. you would think that i, �ber-obsessive of all things cute, minimalist, and colourful, would have easy completed my collection of shaped silicone icecube trays. you think that i, l�v�r of �ml��ts, would have visited the ikea in stoughton by now.

well, think again, because today was the day.

my labmate pal sajid graciously offered to drive me and my returnable goods (i still had the receipt from my utterly memorable new haven trek back in august 2005) down to 1 IKEA WAY (ikea upon avon sounds much more poetic, doesnt it?). i didnt really have a serious agenda, just to return some things and find some parts for my installation, but i was soon reminded that ikea is meant for serious agenda.

we got there around 11am on a sunday, and already the parking lot was packed. we queued up (with the take-a-number system a bit disorienting, especially for such a hyper-designed space) for a bit over half an hour so i could return my 8' LACK shelf and a kitchen spice rack organizer thing. everything at ikea could easily be reduced to a thing, like oooh cool, check out this awesome translucent light-up thing! or i just had the most wonderful fruity pastry thing after my meatballs 'n' fries. but i digress. after the returning ordeal, i had netted a little IKEA-approved moolah for the rest of the day.

so, upon observation, i can summarize the whole ikea philosophy:
  • seduce customers beyond comprehension with the intoxicating smell of warm cinnamon buns. guaranteed to warm tummies and dissolve inhibition.
  • advertise cheap plastics and cheap metals as, well, really cheap. sit back for the masses to fawn.
  • arrange identical items in long, luscious, literal rows. it's an unwritten rule that simple mass multiples of any given object are undeniably beautiful.
  • induce cute overload. resistance is futile.

i have to say that one's vision of ikea is drastically affected by the agenda. before, when my task was to outfit my entire apartment with furniture, ikea was the oasis in the desert, the crema on my espresso, the lingonberry on my cookie. i craved, and ikea delivered. i went all crazy exhausted, yes, but i persisted with the promise of material satisfaction. today, i stepped into the yellow-blue kingdom with no real purpose except to maybe find something resembling a pedestal, a tallish table or a nice-lookin' BOX. not too difficult. though can you believe they do not sell anything remotely mid-chest height and not a bookshelf? search for bar tables on the website and you get ZERO RESULTS. whaaat? i think something just broke, like the laws of physics.

anyway, it was definite fast-forward (>> for you symbol-reading people) through the showrooms, stopping occasionally to hug a stuffed animal (see #4 above) or render oneself hypnotic by the chair-testing robots. too bad those are not for sale. conveniently, after the whole maze madness, the caf� came into sight as my stomach yearned for fuel (see #1). we queued again, and continued through the cafeteria line. neat little servings of dessert selections are available for your perusal before you even select your entree. i like how the swedes have their priorities in order.

i had the ample-sized shrimp open-face sandwich (pretty tasty except i had to add a little salt + pepper to bring out the hard-boiled eggs a bit, and it was very generous on the mayonnaise), a bowl of garden vegetable soup, and took some bites of sajid's cinnamon apple crumb cake. it would be a lie to say that i don't look forward to the food when making the trek to ikea. :) i mean, does anyone really look forward to costco hotdogs or kmart popcorn? i didnt think so. but small plates of smoked salmon and little round orbs of swedish meat just make one feel so delightful inside.

a smattering of what i damage i did in the marketplace:

PROMPT 2 in 1 springform pan and cookie sheet. i'm almost ashamed to say that we have absolutely no bakeware in the apartment among four residents, if you dont count the glass 9"x13" pyrex casserole (and i dont). i was really pleased to see this springform-cum-bundt cake pan, partly because i was always fascinated with the mechanics of the spring-form which i was deprived growing up, and partly because i grew up with a fancy classic bundt (trademark) pan which held many a warm, sweet, mommy-baked cake. so finding the hybrid mix of the two is like staring down a mobius strip of my cake-baking childhood psyche. deep.

i also got some understated, though fun-to-the-touch, shelf liner; a small, bright, telescoping reading light; and an as-is bookcase (with no shelves) for my installation. hope this all comes together. power drilling will soon come to pass.

in any case, i am a bit wiped out from the experience, and should rest up for tonight. because you know what i'll be doing? watching matmos tear it up at the mfa, that's what.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

video of the (lastnight) day:

two others [1, 2] if the above wasn't enough.

roland and sjenka's enamoured wonderment of the dimsum was unmistakable. what's next... turnip cake? fried sesame balls? taro fluffs? (my favorite.) ah, these furry cats, after my own pushcart heart.

Friday, January 20, 2006

now that i no longer have conflict of interest, i can now freely blog my thoughts regarding my unabashedly obsessive relationship with project runway! :)

knowing dirty diana (i can vouch for her clubbin' skillz), her concepts made a lot of sense to me: her choice of lasercut-like materials, the goddess collection's cybergothic roots, the convertible clothing. i am *all about* her hoodie for the barbie challenge. le sigh. regardless of the show, i am sure she will go very far with her design vision. if you're in the area, see diana eng + other fab designers present their work in the seamless fashion show in two weeks in boston. get your tix quickly because it's going to sell out superfast!

but now, though it is sad knowledge that she won't be showing her designs at fashion week, watching the show has now morphed into pure guilty pleasure. :) i am rooting for 'uncle' nick, because he's the perfect combination of fresh talent, cheeky wit, and understated tact, and hope that santino eats crow (from the feathers of his last dress, preferably) very very soon.

here's a pic from a jaunt in LA last year, with diana and the none-other-than daniel franco!

we ate sandwiches and cheeseballs and cruised the streets in his 3-people-squeezed-into-a-sized-for-2 car. red, of course. he was very gracious, but unfortunately was limping from a yoga mishap. hope next time i'm in LA, i'll be able to visit his studio and see his collection up close! woo. woo.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

tonight, somewhere between getting off at central square and walking back to my place home for dinner, i knew i wanted to stop by a grocery-like place to replenish my supply of rice vinegar (everyone's pantry necessity, right?) and other tasty vittles. usually when i barrel down prospect street, the adorable little japanese supermarket yoshinoya is already closed for the evening. however, tonight it was before 8pm so it was still open, bright and yellow and with lucky white cat waving. i haven't been in yoshinoya for ages (usually i go to super 88 for asian schtuff) but it was worth a little aisle spree (finding delight in the requisite men's pocky and hello kitty candy). i felt like a kid in a fried-beancurd-bites-kimchee-greentea-icecream-squidink-ramen-wasabi-fishball store.

when i got to the shelf with the vinegar, i stopped in my tracks. bottles as far as the eye can see, of various soup bases, dressings, marinades, sauces, and add-ins. i think the japanese have as many variations on how to incorporate msg into your diet as the average american convenience store has types of toothpaste. it's just mind-bogglingly overwhelming in array of brand, flavor, size, and cuteness of mascot. i wish there were a way i could have a taste of each of the types of bottled goodnesses. america just has... ketchup. and maybe a number of fruity jams. but all these salty sauces appear so different! rice-based! garlicky! with beans! my mind raced as my tongue fainted.

then i wondered why there arent more aggressive try-before-you-buy type of marketing. i mean, especially with foodstuffs, you really can't judge it upon appearance alone (although, as we all know, appearance does count for something). i stood stymied in that aisle for like ten minutes, wishing so desperately that i could have a teaspoon of each to try. can't they put out packets, a la ketchup at fast food places? is that too tacky? too cost-prohibitive? too risky to give away for free? i wonder if there are any restaurants that provide an option to have a small bite of everything on the menu -- so that next time you know what full dishes to order for yourself. i suppose it's like buying a music sampler with 30 seconds of each track so you know which artist/song you like. except you can always listen to more music, and not necessary eat more stuff. the ingestion of food, especially, knows no second chances.

food is risky.

i turned the corner and found the aisle with a bazillion types of dry seasonings and spices and cute plastic vials which indicated their functionality with catchy colorful illustrations. so irresistible, yet so intimidating. each so small, like $4 each, and so many types. can. not. decide. this is so indicative of my personality; i'm hard-pressed to choose from a selection if i'm not 100% sure that i will take home the best choice. and so i continue churning in my infinite loop until the system crashes.

* * *

links of the day:

fashion-incubator.com :: lessons from the sustainable factory floor (thanks kathleen!)
twink.net :: the toy piano band! (via peter)
the dot and the line :: a romance in lower mathematics (soooo cute)

and pic of the (coupledaysago) day, just because:

(via cuteoverload)

* * *

don't ask my why i waited until now to share some photographs from christmas. it's part of my blog-neglect therapy. please accept as a cathartic measure.

here's my sister and mom in dallas, strutting in the christmas scarves i knit for them. the one on the left is the corkscrew scarf from loop-de-loop in berroco quest (a robot muppet), and the one of the right is a leaf scarf motif thingy from a past issue of vogue knitting in jo sharp silkroad ultra (luscious!). they really loved them, especially my mom after i told her it was cashmere, wool, and silk! the pic of my sister is at the nasher sculpture gallery (v. cool place) and my mom is posing in the dallas-fort worth airport (n.v. cool place). and, of course, niknak and i at his parents' place in portland. christmas party with tree and trimmings and the whole shebang. can you believe all of this holiday business was less than a month ago? whoa.

for new year's weekend we made an impromptu spree to the berkshires (what? we're six months late for tanglewood?) to ring in the new year with some cool, clean, contemporary art. massMoCA, to be precise. lots of picturesque snow, a fantassssttttic nye dinner at cafe latino (i remember eating there when it was eleven!), and some romantic (in a little zipcar mazda 3 hatchback amidst snow-tired 4x4 trucks) driving through the picturesque, albeit excitingly icy, mountains of southern vermont. how i wish to be back among the snow and the art and the warmth of a friendly black dog.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

hiya, it's wednesday.

i figured it's probably a good thing to market myself a little bit better on this blog. did you know i host a radio show every week? and i've been doing it for over a year now? yep, nope, well, i do. so each wednesday i'll announce the arrival of a new week's archive and playlist. i'll drop it gently, just like so.

this week i did a song request for karrie, who's in town this week (transported from the corn fields of urbana, illinois) to do a number of things, including co-directing the chitchatclub iap class. check it out near the end of the show, a spectacular *live* recording of sigur ros in the icelandic opera house! sigur! ros! icelandic! opera! house! the thought alone is enough to make you go absolutely apoplectic. can't wait to see them perform at the orpheum in three weeks! le sigh...

so, like, when are bjork and sigur ros and mum going to do some blowout royal-reykjavik triple-threat tour? i think i might need a cardiac bypass after that lineup... which would be awesome. i mean. for that reason. yeah...

today felt like some sort of strange fantasy where you experience every type of weather within the span of 24 hours. stepping outside this morning around 10am was like walking into a sauna. to translate to non-bostonians, a sauna means 60 degrees. then later, around lunch time, it was stormin' and wailin' and windin' and everything. i could barely support myself, and anything that wasn't tied down or over 100 lbs was tossed about like romaine lettuces. the incessant rain and gusts of wind made for a very frustrating, wet spell. then on my way to the station around 6pm, it was rainy, but soon became something like hail. tiny tiny hail, giving the feeling that you're being stabbed relentlessly by enveloping, sadistic cacti. yeah, if you think that sounds like badness, you're right. and then coming home it was a pleasant type of winter cool weather but i still held my coat in my hands. i think i'm ready for the ice storm now, whenever it's a-coming.

kitty dim-sum sounds like something you'd find on at a sketchy eatery in chinatown, and although i dont deny it happens, you might want to find a better example of it here. (hint: this is the pattern that i testknit.)

tubas. now. go listen.

concrete tears.

Monday, January 16, 2006

things worthy of note today:
  • we had our first chitchatclub iap meeting this morning. i think it'll be a good chance to just hash out crazy ideas for the next artistic foray into telecommunicative spaces. anyway, one book reference in particular piqued my interest: the rituals of dinner, which was an oblique mention relating to latent origins of ruled behaviour. not sure how we got on that, but i like thinking of biting and ingesting and slicing and slathering as potentially dangerous activities among a communal spread of victuals.
  • on the way home, walking from central square to inman, i saw a raccoon! as he shuffled ahead, ducking beneath a parked car in a gravel lot, his unmistakable ringed tail bushed out behind his fat furry brown body. it was extremely cute, probably one of the few times seeing a raccoon in the flesh, and especially at such short a distance. i would have loved to have taken a photograph, except he soon disappeared in the quiet darkness. probably off to some tastiness in the back lot of harvest.
  • i submitted my final draft to CHI this evening. huzzah! hope to be (and be seen) in montreal in a few months. c'est super!
  • i completed the first sleeve of the coviello sweater, and only have one more sleeve to go before sewing up the whole darn thing. i wonder how necessary the crochet chain edging is... because if it's one thing i get nervous about it's working magic with a hook. eh, presentable edges are so very bourgeois. heh, well, that's my theory for now.
  • i captured the forbidden [grape]fruit that had been begging for love, rolling around the open space in the lab (the pond to be all technical) with strife and loneliness. its sheeny yellow skin was tinged with the blushing pink of a hyperventilating maiden. by eating its sour-sweet juices, i delivered it from its solitary existence.
  • who's loving this below-zero weather? ME^3.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

only in boston can it transpose from a balmy 58 degrees one day to a fah-reeesing 15 degrees the next. the snowflakes, seemingly mischievious, twirl wistfully towards your reddened, wind-swept self. this is a day where you don't want to be caught wearing a skirt without winter tights, my friends. i speak from experience.

still under the weather *the tissues know well my honnnnk* but enjoying a fun, restful weekend. yesterday, after the johnnie's adventure, i went to beadworks in harvard square to exchange some beads.

a little explanation is in order. i wanted to proposed an idea (well, i actually submitted two, more on that later) for the next collision collective show, c9. collision is a technology-interactive community art group that puts on two exhibits a year and fosters a collective spirit of like-minded creatives in cambridge. i've been to several of their events but wanted to take this chance to enter the upcoming show.

ave maria was conceptualised as a rosary-like object, for which i would need to get a bunch of good-quality beads. my proposal reads: "the created object is a variant on the rosary. conflating the cultural ubiquity of the iPod, the rituals of religion, and life-improving technology, 'ave maria' is a rosary constructed of an iPod shuffle (resembling the crucifix) and a representative necklace form with shiny white beads and pristine construction. loaded onto the shuffle will be the rosary prayer, yet spliced into its consecutive words and phrases. if you listen to it in 'order' mode, it is the prayer as correctly performed. in 'random' mode, the prayer is shuffled into a familiar but disorientating sequence. the audio is the rosary chanted by the monks of adoration. the questions raised include gadget fetishism, the philosophical significance of 'sequence' and 'order' in religion, and the dichotomy of fashion object and private ritual." this pic portrays its construction in progress, gleaming with solid crystal quartz beads.

turns out that the collision curators actually liked my second proposed idea, of which you may be humoured with a teasing glimpse to the left. come see what i (as well as a crew of insane creatives) made at the c9 show at art interactive in central square, the three weekends from jan 28 to feb 12. the opening is on friday night, january 27, from 6-9pm. for those who can attend, hope to see you there. all i will disclose is that it requires a bit of craft and quite a bit of current. bzz bzz bzzzzzz.

so anyway, back to beadworks. the crystal quartz orbs weren't necessarily without expense, so i ventured back with the intent to make a store exchange. i'm not nearly as enamoured with beads as i am with yarn; the feeling i get at places like beadworks and others is that beading just seems so tedious and fiddly and fringing on the gaudy or the pretentious. very costume jewelry. so i tried to get my task done in there as soon as possible. i made a very clean exchange (i only owed 32 cents!), and left the store with a piece of jade (it's under my assumption that it's real; it was sold with that understanding), and a bead-stringing kit with a box of various seed beeds, crimp beads, a silver finding, packaged in a reasonably attractive burgundy organza pouch.

here's what i made of it today.

as you can probably tell, beading is not my forte! hee. though i attempted to be a tad adventurous and follow my asymmetrical fancies. it's reminiscent of petals or leaves, but it's probably more an instance of fug in the lifelong experiment of working with string. perhaps it has its place, but i was definitely brought back to my days as a middleschooler, making beaded daisy necklaces with efficiency and aplomb. something i learned at camp, you see. but i did learn about crimp beads, which you can make out in my little diagram. pretty elegant solution; you string them on like beads, and then squish them to death with pliers. in the squish, you secure the ends at the finding. much entertainment in the deathgrip.

and here's the jade piece, simply tied with some black DMC embroidery thread i had lying around at home. i like the ribbon bowtying for closure in the back, it's very minimalistic and fluid. i know jade has special, desirable properties, and most chinese people wear some form of it on their bodies. plus it can cut glass! i'm very happy that i found this piece (it was the last, and the other jade beads in the store was really gross and faceted and fakeylooking), and it fits my aesthetic extremely well.

since i was in the square, i ventured in the harvard coop and browsed through the awful selection of leftover 2006 calendars and amused myself with the very amusing tickle the duck, a children's book that infuses the pat the bunny classic with a wise-quacking duck (sorry, i couldnt resist) and a generous dose of reverse psychology. it's twisted. i did see two books on display that probably should go on my wishlist: sew easy by sixth + spring, and denyse schmidt quilts by chronicle books. the sew easy thing is almost a kit, with lots of patterns and tips and step-by-step projects for learning to sew. i can technically sew, though i sort of do little constructive hacks along the way instead of having a formal approach to the whole thing. i'd rather learn from the essentials up, with *pictures* and *hand-holding*, especially for putting in zippers and understitching. i've done it before, but it's always a rollercoaster and a lot of praying. and the quilts books is impressively modern. there was a scarf pieced together with mens tweeds and vintage kimono, and a luscious shantung silk coverlet. it seems incongruous, but the styling was like quilting meets anthropologie. might there be a resurgence of this old-fashioned-seeming craft within the young generation? only time will tell.

some knitterly updates (though i haven't really had time to do much in the last month or so) include:

jess, my friend and fellow member of mit stitch 'n' bitch, asked me to test-knit her upcoming pattern for a cat toy shaped like a steamed dim-sum bun (inspired by the wonton and eggroll variations on knitty.com). of course i happily obliged, and constructed the red-bean version. :) check out her blog in the coming days for the final pattern, but it was quick and fun to knit, especially thinking about yummy dim-sum in the process! roland and sjenka will be the proud owners soon.

a fleeting glimpse of the james coviello jacket from vogue knitting 2005, in lion brand thick + quick. it's miles and miles of stockinette, can you tell? :) and on the right is my subway project, a scarf using the yarn i got from niknak's aunt for christmas: luscious louisa harding kimono angora and kimono ribbon. i'm using the railroad knitting motif and will run the kimono ribbon through the dropped stitches when it's complete. the angora yarn is ridiculously soft. am tempted to post a photo of an angora bunny here, but feel free to do so on your own time. :)

i think i should take more photographs of my food, especially those which i create. a favorite homecooked dish that i looked forward to sunday mornings for my mom to make, egg fried rice. dan chou fan. so simple and so good.

p.s. for a future post, but last night niknak and i watched me and you and everyone we know, which is hardly a 'hilarious and heartfelt' comedy (as purported on the dvd case) but rather an indie, more digital-culture-inspired version of american beauty. a superb movie and immensely disturbing.