Friday, November 28, 2008

Twilight: The Movie

Every so often there appears a teen-trend that becomes so wide-spread that it infuses itself into mainstream culture. These trends are not necessarily high-quality, but something in them is so compelling that it moves past the screaming 13-18 year old set into my quiet circle of 25-32 year olds.

The books are easy to get obsessed with- even though I'm well out of my teens, I can clearly remember the feelings that Stephanie Meyers espouses in the series- each furtive glance, accidental touch and over-analyzed moment is a bit like being transported back to your biggest high school crush; where in the end you get the guy-- and he's a vampire (spoiler alert). Even though they're far from literary works of art... or even good books... they're a fun way to spend a few weeks.

So it's easy to see why, after spending 3 (I haven't borrowed the 4th yet) books debating the pros and cons of vampire over werewolf, it's tempting to go see the film adaptation of these books, with their scrumptious sounding creatures dazzling us with their beyond human good looks and deep insights into our souls. If reading about Edward and Bella sitting next to each other in Science class, the air between them fraught with sexual tension and heavy breathing is enough to get my hardened heart beating a little faster, then seeing it on screen could only add to the mistique, right?


Twilight, the movie has none of the pizazz of the books, though it brings at least 30x the comedy factor. Elisa, Sabrina, Brianna, Kajal and myself walked into the film with all the giggly, girly, vamipre-lovin' mojo you could imagine. We had popcorn, candy and soda. We had had embarrassingly long discussions about whether or not Bella was a step backwards for feminism, the virtues of Edward over Jake and speculation about the role of Mormanism in the books (see Brianna's genius essay on the lack of sex in the Twilight series). We thought we were as prepared as any self respecting 16 year old to moon over the hot vampires and relive our youths. Little did we know that the Twilight movie thwarted us all...

First... the good.

Kristen Stewart is very good as Bella. She trips and falls with ease. She takes herself a bit too seriously, but in the same way she does in the book. She's pretty but looks like she doesn't realize it.

Ashley Greene is adorable as Alice Cullen. She's cute, giggly and just the right amount odd. She's surprisingly kick ass in the end scene where she breaks James' neck in one smooth movement. She's a decent actress.

Kellan Lutz is hot. Emmet is supposed to be hot. Good job Kellan.

Cam Gigandet is hot and delightfully evil. He was a great James.

Billy Burke did a great job as Bella's slightly awkward father, Charlie. The laughs during those scenes were purposeful and a really true-to-life example of a father and daughter who aren't used to each other yet, and don't quite know how to relate to each other.

Taylor Lautner. I am really looking forward to seeing more of him in the next movie. Total werewolf hotness- he might be enough to get people to switch over from the vampire-love.

Jose Zuniga as Mr. Molina. I got way too much of a kick out of the goofy-teacher scenes. Probably because I'm a goofy teacher.

Secondly... the bad.

Robert Pattinson looked like he was constipated nearly the whole time. This wouldn't have been so bad if he wasn't the romantic lead. Each time he moved his face, it was quite obvious that he used his extensive training from Joey Tribbiani's "Smell the Fart" school of acting. Sometimes he looked like he wanted to puke. Every serious moment in this movie made us burst out into quite undignified laughter because he looked so... uncomfortably... intense.

Jackson Rathbone as Jasper. Jasper is supposed to be brooding, dark, and about to suck everyone's blood due to his severe lack of the self control that the Cullen's take immense pride in. Jackson played him with crazy wacky hair and a shell shocked expression. He walked around the whole movie looking like he just shoved his finger in a live outlet. Every time the camera panned to him, the five of us tried unsuccessfully to stifle our giggles.

So, the good may seem to outweigh the bad, but the bad is much worse than I could possibly explain in this blog. However, the bad is hiliarous, making the movie a fun way to spend a few hours, even if it doesn't have the emotional pull of the books. Girls, do you have anything to add that I forgot?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Random Observations

1. I sometimes evaluate my life on whether or not it would be a good
facebook status. Thank goodness I don't twitter, or else I would worry
about that more often.

2. Justin Timberlake seems like a genuinely funny person. I was
watching SNL this evening and during his sketches, I was thinking it
would be nice if he wasn't famous, but instead was my friend and
watching TV with us. I bet he snarks well, and would be as amusing to
watch Gossip Girls with as Brianna.

3. Why doesn't Beyonce (and her backup dancers) wear pants?

4. It kind of scares me that grunge is back. I used to laugh at my
mother when she told me that fashion was cyclical. I kind of didn't
believe her. Now I see the same fashions that I stopped wearing not too
long ago. I am my mother.

5. Dogs are really funny. They're these fuzzy things that wander around your apartment and just want to be pet and play. Bad part: having to wake up early on the weekends to take them outside. Good part: you can go back to sleep when they're done. Dogs are sort of like children-lite, and cats are like dogs-lite. I don't even know what fish are (though I have one).

6. I love fall. Mainly for the food- pumpkin, squash... christmas
cookies! I have to start soon! Tonight I made butternut squash pasta
(another butternut squash recipe for my arsenal)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Wine x3

I've missed a few months of wine club review, so here they are... Please forgive the brevity of my tasting notes!

First is a wine that I got for my husband as an anniversary gift.

Orin Swift The Prisoner, 2006
I really liked this wine. With notes of cinnamon and wood, this wine has a lightly oak-y taste
with hints of blueberry and cherry. The ending is dry, and the color is
a beautiful, deep, ruby red.

For Cristina's wine club, the theme was sparkling reds.

Mine was the 2007 Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto from the Francis Coppola Winery. I gave it 2.5/5 on Snooth. It was a very fizzy sparkling wine, but the bubbles faded quickly. It had strong rose petal flavors.

San Giuseppe Lambrusco, 2006
I don't have access to a picture of this. It was fruity and tasted of strawberries with light bubbles. It was very drinkable, though a bit forgetful as a wine.

Paringa Vineyards Shiraz, 2004
This wine tasted very "special occasion", and was one of the most
interesting sparkling wines I've tried. It smells like a very typical
shiraz with peppery notes. The initial flavors surprised me by being
very sweet, like drinking burned sugar. I liked it, but it is not a
wine to drink every day.

We then had a Napa Valley theme.

Relativity Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 2005
This wine has a peppery smell that I usually associate with shriazes.
The flavor was good, and it had the "typical" dusty flavors usually
seen in Cab Savs from Napa.

Fleur de Mer Rose, 2006
This wine was light and crisp, though it had a slightly metallic taste.

Sterling Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005
It took me a few sips to get used to this wine, but after I did, I liked it. It had a very smokey taste.

Hayman & Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Reserve, 2006
This was the favorite of our group. We picked up a lot of chocolate,
tobacco and leathery flavors, in addition to the "dusty" taste of most
napa cabs.

Meridian Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004
Tastes of leather, smoke, berry and maple, there was also a hint of
spice and pepper. It was an inexpensive wine, and pairs well with food.

We then had a club focused on wines from the US, with the exception of Napa Valley.

Cooper Mountain Vineyards Pinot Noir Cooper Hill, 2006
Described in our group as the Gap to Cooper Mountains' Banana Republic brand, this wine is made from organic grapes. It is very light for a Pinot Noir, and would probably pair well with poultry and
work well as a Thanksgiving wine. It has heavy berry flavors and some
found it metallic in flavor. It mellowed over time.

Hedges CMS Red, 2006
This wine had a very pretty color with a rich and dense mouth feel. We felt it would be a good fall wine.

Red Diamond Merlot, 2005

I didn't take any notes on this, save "liked it". Make of that what you will.

Raphael Cabernet Franc, 2006
An earthy, almost dirt like nose. Strong mineral flavors, along with green peppers and grass. Dry but not tannic.

Montebruno Gewurztraminer, 2007
A perfumey example of a Gewurztraminer, this light, citrus wine was a
beautiful pale golden color.

The final wine of the evening was from Liz's wedding, and I couldn't find any mentions of it on Snooth, where I try to record all my wine-exploits. However, they did have several other wines from the King Family Vineyard in Virginia.

Liz's wine was the 2005 Chardonnay. It had an almost creamy, round mouth feel with flavors of citrus, lemongrass and smoke. It has a long finish in the back of the mouth.

Hopefully I'll update next wine club sooner!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008


This afternoon I had my blond hair in a ponytail, was wearing dark wash jeans and a trendy sweater, while drinking a latte from the cute indie coffee shop and walking my dog.

It was then that I realized that I was the walking visage of gentrification that scares pretty much my whole neighborhood. Boo.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Things I've Been Tagging

I think I'm going to make this a monthly topic. Keep an eye out for updates!

Freakonomics: Diamond and Kashyap on the Recent Financial Upheavals: What's happening to the economy in as close to plain English as I can find.

ClustrMaps: I went to a blogging workshop for work the other day, and though most of it was stuff I already knew of, I thought the clustrmap seemed pretty fun.

Garlicky Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil: I have a recipe similar to this in my repitoire, but I thought it sounded yummy anyway.

The New Yorker- My Gal
: I'm an East Coast liberal and I think the New Yorker is funny, so that probably means I'm an elite too.

Dog Training Inner Circle: I haven't joined, but he has lots of good free videos available. Training a puppy is hard!

90210 Scoop: Uh, duh? Got to keep up with my favorite zip code!

NYT Chumby article: This looks potentially awesome. I'm only about... 4 months behind on this.

How to Make Soft Pretzels
: I am kind of obsessed with the idea of making soft pretzels. Yummmm....

Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night: New at the MOMA. One of my friends already went- I'm jealous.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Omnivore's Hundred

On Bucky's Barbecue and Bread, he completed this food meme from Very Good Taste, which is a British food blog. I thought it looked fun, so I'm going to try it.

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.

2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.

3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at Very Good Taste linking to your results.

So here’s my Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee

So... 53. I could probably do better. The funny thing is, I just had Pistacho Ice Cream for the first time this week. There were some things I didn't count though they technically might be true- for example, I have drunk Cognac and smoked a Cigar, but I don't think I've done them together. I also might have eaten some things that I just didn't know the name of. For example, I've had several Thai soups, but I don't think I've had Tom Yum. But maybe I have.

But this is a kind of fun exercise, and an interesting way to think about what I eat. I think I'm going to try to be more risk-taking in my food choices in the future, which is not typical of me. It's not that I'm an overly picky eater mind you; but there are things I like, and I know it, so I tend to stick with what I know.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Live Blogging 90210

Kajal is a big fan of my live-blogging entries, and after inviting a few of us over for an evening of 90210, I decided to drag my laptop along and do my best interpretation of live-blogging the premiere. So, Brianna, Kajal, Liz, (and Dilan and B by default) and myself met up at Kajal's apartment for pizza, snark, and 90210- the new class.

For the record, I'm going to try to not plot summarize as much as possible. I'm not a recapper on TWOP; I'm just someone who finds the idea of a new 90210 hilarious. If you want a recap, check out TWOP; I'm sure they have a good one. The ironic part of this for me is that I never watched 90210 in my youth. I've been catching up via Soap Net this summer, but I'm still not totally there. I caught the end (the after-college years?) and now they recently started over, so I'm probably about a month or two into it. Brenda and Dillan just started dating in my world, and Brandon is being a little over protective...
But on with the snark!

- Aunt Becky from Full House!

- Grandma character is awesome. She's the mother from Arrested Development, and she is a GREAT character. And her name is Tabitha. Awesome.

-"Black dude" has very small nipples. Brianna told me that I should call him black dude because we don't know his name yet, and she's assuming that he's the only black dude on the show.

-Blow job in the front seat would never have been on the old 90210.

-Teacher guy is totally hot. We're officially old. Frankly, the principal is pretty hot too. Liz finds it a little hard to believe that the original cast's kids are that old.

-They're really not going to let off on the fact that these new kids came from Wichita. I think it's been mentioned about five times already and we're only two minutes in.

-The Mr. Matthew's character is hot. If I didn't mention that before. Which I totally did.

-Andrea Zukerman's daughter is part of the class. And looks... exactly like it.

- They're doing *Spring Awakening* as their high school play???? Not only is it verrrry risqué, as Bri pointed out, the rights alone would be insanely expensive, if available at all. I mean, it's still on Broadway.

-Brenda! Even though I'm the only one that saw it. We rewound three times. Everyone else agrees with me.

-Drugs! Hidden in a book. Scandal! Artsy fartsy girl seems to have a problem...

-Rich Girl needs report written. New Girl handily already wrote a paper on that same topic. That she'll totally lend Rich Girl.

-Awww... Kajal sings to Dilan. It's super cute. Dilan might be cuter than Mr. Matthews, let me just note.

-Apparently, before the commercial break black dude was in a fight during lacrosse practice. Awesome grandma (who thinks she's too good for tater tots) thinks it might be racially motivated.

-Party at the Peach Pit (after dark?)!!!!!!

- Slutty rich girl mom stopped by principal's (/new kid's) house. They're really making this guy have an extensive West Beverly back story, despite the fact that I've never heard of him before.

- Becky is bitchy! Awesome! Plus, she dated some guy named Morris Cornbluth.

- Silver has a video blog. Half a million hits! That makes her.... 20 million times more popular than me. And she makes funny videos. Oh, and she's Kelly's little sister.

- Black guy's name is Dixon. Got to figure out what new-girls name is now (Dixon's sister). He got kicked off of the lacrosse team. Now maybe he can focus more on media club and get to being Brandon.

- 8 years ago something happened that made Dixon part of their family. "Really his son." Theories so far: adopted, foster-child, god child. 8 years ago would have made him about 8 years old.

- "I can't believe you copied the whole thing word for word." Really??? You gave it to her. To "look at." That's totally code for "copy it entirely"

- Is she crashing the party? The one that she was totally dis-invited from? Uh, yes. Actually, the quote the show "Are we actually crashing Naomi's party???"

- Brianna has seen the band playing at this not-sweet 16. She is way cooler than any of us.

- Rich Girl (Naomi's) mother is pissed off at principal guy for something that happened 20 years ago. Ah, that she had to give up his child in high school. That he didn't know about. I suppose I might be pissed off about that too.

- Rich Girl got a text, that stated "Your boyfriend is cheating on you. You know it's true" and freaked out crying and then broke up with him. Brianna thinks she's over reacting for gossip from an anonymous source.

-New Girl and Sliver, wearing fancy clothes, and possibly heels went to the beach. Ethan, who was at the party not two seconds ago, not only is already at the beach, but surfing, in a wetsuit and soaking wet. Brianna has predicted someone will get punched, (or shot) if the OC is any indication.

-Kelly has a kid. Who's the daddy? My money is Dillan.

- These kids are going to ruin their expensive clothing, because they're dancing in the salt water.

- Grandma character is awesome. Still.

- 2nd episode. Same as the first (but a little bit worse).

- In fact, I don't think the Ethan character is cute at all, whereas, the teacher characters are all cute. Like, he's not cute at alllllll. What was casting thinking?

- Ah! Artsy guy is cute. Kind of. Not as cute as the teacher or the principal, but still cute. And he's "noticed" Annie (aka new girl)

- Oh! Artsy girl is poor. A bitch, but poor. Maybe a bitch *because* she's poor in fact!

- Kajal astutely noted that Kelly's last name is still Taylor, implying singledom, and possible hook-up with hot teacher.

- Silver just had her best blogisode yet. This is quite possibly *my* best blogisode yet. Do you think that the term blogisode only refers to video blogs?

- Artsy guy's name is Ty Collins. Kajal thinks he's a little too pretty. His age isn't listed on IMDB. Instead it just says that his "age range" is 16-20. Lame. If you find out how old he is, let me know.

- We have a theory that Privileged is the same show as 90210.

- Artsy guy is flying New girl to dinner in San Fransisco. Nothing like that has ever happened to me.

- Awww. It's cute she's from Kansas! Artsy (super rich) guy thinks it's cute.

- Brenda!!!

- Brandon called Kelly at 3am and apparently hasn't seen his son (?) since he was a baby. Crappy dad Brandon, crappy dad. That's not how you were raised.

- Pigs in a car seem like a really big idea. I don't think your car would ever smell the same again after a pig pooed in it.

- Never do bad things. Because if you do, your grandmother will get in a car accident picking up her laptop because you were supposed to do it. This was foreshadowed (I'm an English teacher, can you tell?) earlier in the episode, when the principal and grandmother had a conversation about not driving on her pills and "iced tea."

- Ethan is wearing socks on in the pool. We don't quite know why, but my theory is that it has something to do with the fact that Brianna keeps mentioning how cold it is this time of year in California.

- Ethan is totally in LUV with new girl. I mean Annie. And he isn't wearing socks. It's just bad lighting. In an hour and a half, they have had an extremely complex relationship.

- Naomi and Silver have the same tattoo... ohhh... back story!

This is where my computer died. It was a long two hours ;) Luckily, I had a pencil and paper on me. The live-blogging must go on!

- Brenda is wearing a vest. Our group thinks this might be a not-so-subtle nod to the early 90s. Of course, this whole show could just be an extreme example of how that era is returning via fashion. I saw the grunge in In Touch. I know what the kids are wearing.

- These kids drink a ton of coffee. If they weren't all 6' tall amazons, I would remind them that coffee stunts your growth. And they get "coffee money". That just seems a little OD.

- Is it just me, or is Aunt Becky always from Kansas? I have to do some research here... ah, no. Her character on Full House was from Nebraska. The internet, is there anything it can't do?

- Poor friend-Ethan. That is all you will ever be. You and your pentopus should go back where you came from.

That's all folks! Wine club on Thursday, so I should have some reccomendations soon.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Live blogging the DNC (a not really political commentary)

Note: we were going to watch the convention on CNN, but they have an applause meter, and it annoyed J too much.

9:38pm The commentator (maybe it was David Brooks?) on PBS just called it the Osama campaign, not the Obama campaign. I think I am now going to have to live-blog the DNC.

- Maria Shriver looks like she wants to stop clapping, but can't due to the fact that they flash to her every three seconds. I feel for her. I hate clapping for too long (though I do love clapping rhythmically).

9:45: Interview with Kennedy's alternate delegate in 1980. She can barely hear the questions, and behind her is a girl texting on her blackberry. Let me just note, the delegate from 1980 is wearing an awesome zebra jacket. She's rocking. Much better dressed than the other women being interviewed (her first convention) who looks really uptight.

9:49: Peniel Joseph from Brandeis University is pretty cute. Best looking guy by far on this panel about Ted Kennedy.

10:16: The PBS commentator says mis-ur-a whereas the Senator from Missouri says Miss-ur-e. I wonder which one is right...

10:18: Ah, the PBS commentators took care of it. They said that there are two pronunciations.

10:26: Barak made Michelle date him by buying her ice cream. That's so sweet.

10:28: Michelle Obama's family is very good looking. She looks exactly like her mother too- Barak is a lucky man. She's also an excellent speaker.

10:46: J noticed that Joe Biden has sharks on his tie. Hmm....

10:48: How do all the people that only moments ago had Kennedy signs now have Michelle signs? I wonder how many signs these people have. Hmm... I wonder how sustainable this convention is. Do they recycle these signs? Are they made out of post-consumer materials? What kind of a world is it that America's Next Top Model is "green", but I'm not sure that the DNC is?

10:57: Sasha, Obama's daughter is adorable. She loooooves the microphone.

11:01: We switch to the Daily Show which (as it turns out) doesn't cover the convention until tomorrow. Oh well!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

If everybody else were to jump off of the empire state building, would you do it too?

Probably not. But seeing how the new thing to do on your blog seems to be showing off your Yearbook Yourself photo, I might have to jump on that bandwagon...

This is the best one, and it is the one in which I look most like my mother. There was an artist's rendition of her in my home growing up, which, minus the glasses, this looks creepily like...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Think Globally

...Act Locally.

Today I took a much anticipated trip to my local Farmer's Market. Almost every Sunday I mean to go, and nearly every Sunday something comes up. The fact that I have a real Farmer's Market within a two block radius of my apartment is something that comforts me after I read The Omnivore's Dilemma and realize that yet again I missed the sign up date for my local CSA. Yet the fact that I take such little advantage of it does bother me.
Within the past year since I've moved to this neighborhood, the Farmer's Market has improved tenfold. A few more vendors have shown up, including an amazing fish monger and a couple more vegetable vendors. This morning I convinced my husband to take a walk over with me to pick up some groceries and breakfast to start our Sunday. Due to this visit (with our adorable new puppy, Cayman), I developed a meal based around seasonal, local foods (plus picked up some local eggs). It was delicious.
My meal tonight consisted of pan seared local scallops dressed with local sweet corn salsa (local tomatoes, canned black beans). As a side note, it is interesting to note that "sweet corn" is what we normally eat. The corn that you usually see out your car window driving down the road is "feed corn". That is fed to steer and other livestock, not to humans- it's harder, tougher and less "sweet" (though my "farmer's daughter" aunt told me once that she thinks that it would probably be pretty edible when it's young). As a friend of mine found out too late, farmers usually grow sweet corn closer to their homes, which makes it much harder to filch on road trips (shout out to JJ!).
On the side, I prepared fingerling potatoes, and snap peas from Fresh Direct (which is my love because it means that I no longer have to drag my butt to the store or groceries up flights of stairs; and my husband gets all the seltzer his heart desires). The entire meal felt really light and fresh. The scallops had a nice buttery crust while remaining sweet, and the salsa tasted crisp and bright. I'm hoping it will be a bit more complex tomorrow after the flavors have a chance to "marry" a bit more.
We also shared a great bottle of wine, which was one of a trio that I bought for my husband for our second anniversary. It is a mixed red from Napa Valley called "The Prisoner" out of Orin Swift Cellars. I felt it smelled vaguely of cinnamon and wood with a lightly oak-y blueberry and cherry taste. It had a dry-ish ending and a beautiful deep red color. The other two wines will be drunk through the course of our marriage (one at 5 years and one at 7 years), and if they're as good as this wine, I'm greatly looking forward to them.

As a side note, our puppy remains the cutest that we have ever seen. It's hard to believe that it's only been a week since he's been in our lives. I am beginning to fear we will be the most obnoxious parents. Today we headed over to Astoria Park with him. There's a dog-run by Shore Towers that he got to hang out in, and the rest of the time was spent lazing around/running on the "great lawn" area. We had a few visitors, did some crosswords, and generally had a great afternoon. As far as Sundays go, this was a great one to almost-end my summer on.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Good Advice

Today I passed the scrolling billboard in front of Yankee Stadium. On game days, it gives information about, well, the Yankees. The rest of the time, I assume they sell the space to various companies to make a buck. As we passed by this evening, the message I read was:

"Always wear a life jacket"

to which my immediate response was: Always? I'm in a car! It just doesn't seem necessary.

We can only hope there was additional information that was given after we passed by to make that life advice a little more specific.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Meet Cayman, our new 6 month old puppy! Need I say more?

Cute ears

bent ear

pretty eyes

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Everybody Loves a Clown

...just not necessarily on the subway.

The other day I was on my way home from a day of grad school and Shake Shack deliciousness when my peaceful subway ride home while reading The Other Boleyn Girl (which has since graduated to my Netflix queue) was interrupted by an onslaught of clowns.

Yes, clowns.

At the 34th Street station, around 12 clowns came on to my car, along with a variety of clown accompaniments. One clown had a hula-hoop. One had a children's riding toy that looked like a fire truck. They all were in full clown regalia, including wigs and makeup. And they all talked in what were possibly the most annoying voices possible. It turns out clowns do not speak like normal people- they talk in high, squeaky voices that are incredibly grating.

The good thing about clowns is that they are pretty funny. Every stop when people got on the train, they said "hi!" and waved. They rode the fire truck down the center aisle of the train. They got random people on the train to hula hoop. They danced. They sang.

The thing is, I am both a jaded New Yorker and a wide-eyed optimist. Because of that, I was torn between ignoring the clowns and cracking up over them. I half read my book, straight faced and half watched them in growing disbelief. These clowns were all in my age range. Yet they kept this squeaky voiced routine up for 9 subway stops, and two boroughs. When they finally got out in Queens, the woman next to me commented that now they could go scare children.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Random Observation

On the radio, television and in print I have noticed a trend that kind of surprised me. It seems that young children are trying to get away with something. And that thing is going to bed without changing into their pajamas. It seems that by not changing into their pajamas, children the world over will be able to save time both at night and in the morning simply by keeping their clothes on.
This doesn't seem desirable to me, because if it was up to me, I would never change out of my pajamas- they are very comfy. In fact, it seems that by age 16, this trend of not wanting to put on pajamas totally reverses itself, and you get the strange phenomena of people wearing pajamas as clothing all the time. However, most of us move past that and become functioning adults, wearing our pajamas at night and our clothing during the day (and those who don't end up on What Not to Wear).

Friday, July 11, 2008

Things I've been tagging

I'm vaguely obsessed with, a social bookmarking website that allows you to save websites that you find online, and share them with your friends. Here are some of the things that I've been tagging this week.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters- this coffee shop has a Seattle location, where J and I are going to be next week. We're soliciting recommendations if you have any!

Curry Chicken Soup-
sounds delicious, no? Recipes are probably my #1 tag- especially when I'm reading tastespotting.

Pingg- for years I've been bored of evite, but haven't found a reasonable alternative. Could this be it?

The best lock to protect your bike
- I just got a new bike! It might not need the *best* lock, but I would like it not to get stolen. Just in case, I haven't left it outside a store yet- I've just gone pleasure riding.

The Seattle Underground Tour
- someone from Seattle recommended this as her favorite touristy thing to do in town. Again, if you've been to Seattle (and you're not Brianna who has already done this), suggest away! We love ideas.

Baby Toy Alternatives- as some of my friends have been having kids, and I'm thinking about having some myself, ideas for low-mess apartment friendly, sustainable toys are on my mind. This article has some good ideas (and Unclutterer is an awesome blog).

The Boys and the Subway
- both my husband and Brianna tagged this for me. It's an adorable NYC picture book, and it made me smile.

Salumi Artisan Cured Meats- One of Brianna's Seattle suggestions. YUM.

Update on the Red Hook Ball Fields- we have a date to go to the ballfields, but last I heard, they still weren't open. Keep your fingers crossed that it will happen soon!

This isn't comprehensive, but a pretty good overview of fun things I've found in my travels this week. If you're on and want to be my friend, let me know and I'll add you. I tag things for people all the time that look interesting or fun, and it drives me crazy when I want to tag something for someone and have to email it instead. I think we all should start to embrace social bookmarking.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


About a month ago, Brianna tagged me for a meme which I responded to by not blogging for a month, therefore avoiding responsibility by not writing at all- even though if it was only self imposed responsibility which few people even see. But tonight I have decided to buck up and finish this so that I can blog in the future without feeling irrational guilt.

Anyway, the meming goes like this:
1. Link to the person who tagged you (check. At least twice)
2. Post the rules on your blog (uh, check? Seems kind of silly)
3. Write six random things about yourself (This is where I start to freak out because I have no clue of what to write)
4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs (And this is where I get out of something, because I don't even *know* six people who blog, well, at least who haven't already done this meme.)
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website. (off the hook-- boo-ya)
6. Let your tagger know when your entry is up. (well, now)

In some ways I think that writing six random things about myself should be easy. There are many random things about me. However, random doesn't necessarily mean interesting, and it seems like something of a waste to post boring random things. I want my random things to tell a story- to draw people in and form a sense of commonality of all our experiences. So, please bear with me in my grand attempt.

1) I measure time in people's ages.

That doesn't really make a lot of sense written down, so let me try to explain. In some ways, everyone measures time in age. I'm 30, my cousin is 17 and my father is in his 50s. But when I think about events and objects, I measure that in age. A school year is a pregnancy- about 9 months. I've been married for almost a toddler- just about 2 years- but have been with my husband for a 4th grader- 10 years. I've lived in New York City for a nearly a 3rd grader- 8 years. I like being able to visualize how long something is, and measuring in people's ages really helps me do that. And in case you were wondering, if all goes well, I'll be retiring by the time Kajal's beautiful little girl is a 25 year old woman, graduated from college, and making her way in the world.

2) I often get along with children better than I get along with adults.

I really like playing. At family gatherings, I will rarely be found socializing with the adults in the kitchen, but instead will be the one playing game upon game of tic-tac-toe, or hide and seek. I will roll down a hill or play tag or jump from colored square to colored square on the rug in my bedroom. I love coloring books, crayons, plain white paper and paint. I like not having the pressure to be an adult. If you need a babysitter, call me.

3) This made me cry. And laugh- don't get me wrong. But totally cry. It made me think of the beauty of humanity and the world. I must have too many hormones or something.

4) Music isn't a big thing to me.

I mean, don't get me wrong- I like music and all. But music seems to mean way more to 99.25% of the people in the world than it does to me. I got through high school both listening to the radio and swingin' on the flippity-flop, but I was more into obsessively listening to my copies of Oliver! and The Secret Garden (oh, Mandy Patinkin, how I love you). By the time I entered college I owned about 20 CDs (Brianna will scoff at this number, and label it closer to 5 with one of those being En Vogue, so does it even count?), the majority of them being Billy Joel and Broadway musicals. I was fine with that. My major musical influences now are as follows: Dar Williams, Ani DiFranco, Ben Folds and no, actually I think that's it. I supplement with The Postal Service, Jets to Brazil and whatever it is that my husband is currently listening to. And I'm still just fine with this.

5) I grew up on next to a farm.

When my parents bought the house I grew up in, you couldn't see another house in any direction. Straight ahead, out of the front door- a farm. To the left, woods, then a farm. To the right, woods, then a tree nursery. To the back, woods, then the same farm that was to the left. The man whom my parents bought their land from was the farmer who lived down the street (and owned the farm that we were mostly surrounded by).

When I was little, you could see houses, but they were still pretty far away. My brother and I would run through the woods to the fields behind our house to pick strawberries and corn. We would ride our bikes through the dirt paths (we weren't allowed to ride on our surprisingly busy street with a 40mph speed limit and small shoulder) and feed long pieces of grass to the cows steer. My uncle married one of the farmer's daughters and they built a house in the woods to our right. My aunt taught us how to dig for potatoes and her father fed us cow's tongue sandwiches (I opted for good old fashioned PBJ). Now that the farm is condos and a golf course, I'm pretty nostalgic for my rural youth, with all the pros of living on the farm, with none of the "getting up early" or "taking care of vegetables" that seemed to take the romance out of actually being Laura Ingalls Wilder.

6) I've never really broken a bone (though I once fractured my middle finger in gym class)

If I ever play "two truths and a lie" with you, my lie is that I broke my leg during gymnastics in 7th grade (one of my truths is #5). Though I did suffer a nasty bruise from falling off the balance beam that year after attempting a 360 degree jump during practice, my bones have stayed more or less in one piece for my entire life.

The only minor exception to this random fact also occurred in middle school. We had co-ed gym, which to adolescent girls is both "whoo!" in the fact that they get proximity to adolescent boys (which is desired) and "egads!" for the same reason (though most people would not say egads). My gym teachers- Mr. C and Mr. S (Mr. C actually went by Mr. C; Mr. S went by his name, but I later dated his son, so I'll refer to him by S to give him some anonymity) decided that they wanted us to weight train by doing stations through the gym. This was awesome for them (which I can totally vouch for now as an actual teacher- great strategy guys!) as they could teach us for about 1 day on the correct way to use each station, and then spend the rest of the unit sitting at the side of the gym bullshitting as we did what they taught us to do on day one. It was really the workshop model at it's best, and I applaud them. However, I was kind of a dumbass, and probably to impress some boy that wouldn't pay attention to me until I was 25 and way hotter than I was at 13, I used weights that were too heavy for me to do a Dumbbell Lateral Raise (I just had to spend about 5 minutes googling that). The weight of the dumbbells made it so that instead of the weights coming together in a slow, controlled movement, they crashed together really hard. And when I say "together" I mean a weight sandwich with my middle finger as the meat inside dumbbell bread. The Misters C and S ignored my tears and gave me a band-aid. A week later my finger still hurt a lot, making my mother bring me to the doctor. Some x-rays later, my middle finger was was in a splint and a bandage, making it so puking in Math class actually wasn't the worst thing that happened to me in Middle School.

So, that's my meme. I hope you enjoyed it, and now I can go back to not blogging because I'm lazy rather than through misguided guilt.

Friday, April 18, 2008

On Sleeping

This is a meditation of sorts that I wrote on the train awhile ago. It's not the kind of thing I would normally post here, but it's the kind of thing that I do I normally write. I like looking at people on the subway and creating histories for them. I wrote three short profiles that day of people on the train with me, but this one ended up to be more about sleeping than about the girl who was falling asleep. I hope you like it.

The train rumbles, shaking and rocking along the tracks, through the tunnels towards Manhattan. Wrapped up in her warm jacket, hood up and arms folded against her chest, her head begins to nod as the train lulls her into sleep.

It always happens like this. Parents who take their children for long drives to lull them to sleep find years later that their tiny tots, stretched out with the magic of time, are now the adults whose eyelids get heavy on short car trips to the market. The ones who nap during their half hour commute and revel in the long stretches of sleep that can only be found on a transcontinental flight.

Her purse is secured tightly in her lap; or perhaps tucked next to the rail, an arm intertwined with the strap. Her chin begins to lean against her chest, and the lullaby of the conductor is the only thing she can hear.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fun Fact of the Day

Apparently, lots of states have buildings that are shaped like coffee-pots.

Case in point: Big Coffee Pots

Does no one else find this strange?

Interesting note: Long Island (where I grew up) has a large duck. That however, is perfectly normal (and according to the article, is the darling of roadside attractions. Take that salt and pepper shaker museum!). Much like naming a town "Hicksville" isn't really funny either. Well, until someone says it and everyone not from Long Island bursts out into laughter while you stare around going "Huh? What's so funny?" until it finally dawns on you that the town is called HICKSville! Ah... funny!

Next week, J and I will be heading on a road trip adventure down to Graceland, Tennessee as inspired, not only by the King, but also by the lyrics of Paul Simon, spring break and a 10 year anniversary. When I get back I'm sure I'll have lots to write about and pictures to show!!!

Road trip 2008!!!! BFF!!! WHOO!!!!!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Sorry to Disappoint You

One of my favorite posts that Brianna does is when she has nothing else to write about is when she analyzes how people get to her site via google and other search engines. So, being something of a copycat, I decided to apologize to all the people who are looking for things they're just not finding here at my magical place...

1) I am not a stripper, and I do not know any strippers named Amy.

2) I do not know any strippers in Ithaca. Sorry.

3) I do not know any magical strippers. However, if I find any I will be sure to post about it.

4) I do not know any strippers that will jump out of a cake in NY.

5) I do not know what strippers look at. I'm sure you can picture what a stripper looks like. Use your imagination, don't look at blogs.

6) I do not know of any giant bobby pins in NYC. Sorry.

7) I do not know of any strippers named Amy in Milwaukee.

8) I do not know of any women who strip on the subway in queens.

9) I don't have any real tips to tell you how to drink more beer (with a d?).

and finally, despite the name of this blog,

10) I have no real advice on how to make magical dreams come true.

So guys, especially those in search of a stripper, I'm really sorry to disappoint you. Good luck finding what you need somewhere else.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Fried Chicken, With a Twist

Today, on our way to get our tires rotated, my husband and I were stuck in Flushing with an hour or two to kill. If you have never been there, Flushing Queens is a fascinating place. After running some errands at Walgreens, we walked around a nearby strip mall, ducking into Fancy Fancy trying to find some accessories for my Mr. Bento and Payless for some halfhearted cheap shoe shopping. We then ventured some more down Northern Boulevard where we were realized lived a (delicious) phenomenon that we had only dipped our toes into- the world of Korean Fried Chicken.

In our humble neighborhood of Jackson Heights, best known for it's Indian, Bengali, Columbian and Peruvian cuisine and culture, there lies a small Korean presence. It is seen most obviously in the bright shiny newness of the Yogurtberry on 37th Avenue. It takes you by surprise when you get off the subway at 2am to find that Chung Ki Wa Restaurant is open 24 hours a day. Nearby there is even a Korean place called Prince HOF, which is a Korean style beer garden! But the availability of Korean Fried Chicken trumps all of that.

After we had moved into our apartment, when we were still sitting on the floor for meals and eating off of boxes we had our first introduction to Korean Fried Chicken in the form of our local eatery, Unidentified Flying Chicken(the tast [sic] is out of this world!). We had found UFC as we had taken a long walk through Jackson Heights via Roosevelt Avenue, admiring the amazing variety of foods available and gathering menus to make our "dishes are still packed" lifestyle as palatable as possible. We passed by restaurants as varied as Taqueria Coatzingo to the Himalayan Yak. But UFC was different. It was sleek and shiny and minimalist. And it sold fried chicken.

I don't remember much about that first introduction to Korean fried chicken, except for the fact that after our meal we were all pretty happy and satisfied. We haven't tried it again since. However, on our local message board, there has been a recent conversation about Korean Fried Chicken again. And so I started to get an itch. A very delicious itch.

I'm going to take a moment here to address the question that I'm sure some have been dying to ask. And that question is "Amy? Are you really sure you should be eating fried chicken??? With your incomplete digestive tract? Really?" And the answer to that is: I'm kind of dumb, and reckless, and willing to sacrifice some personal discomfort for some seriously good food. Well, that and so far, so good (knock on wood). So: I know, I know. I'm dumb.

So today, walking down Northern Blvd, a little peckish and a lot bored, my husband and I decided to stop into one of the yummy looking Korean fried chicken places that lined the streets and indulge. Bon Chon Chicken is pretty much what I remembered my induldgence at UFC to be. We split an order of chicken wings, half soy garlic glaze and half spicy. To start, we had a salad (kind of boring with russian dressing that tasted like special-sauce) and pickled radishes (yum!!!). I got a beer- Hite. The chicken took a while to come out because they cook it to order, but when we got the extremely generous portion, we were extremely pleased. The chicken isn't overly heavy or greasy but is crispy and flavorful. The beer and the radishes complimented it perfectly. J didn't find that the spicy wings reminiscent of buffalo wings, but I did. He thought they tasted more along the lines of hot peppers, while I thought they had a back note of vinegar. The soy and garlic was subtle, but good. I didn't have too much of the chicken (maybe 4 pieces) and J finished off the rest and I think we were both satisfied with the amount of food. I got some frozen yogurt (Korean style) on the way out. By the end of our meal, our tires were ready and we were full! How perfect is that?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring Has Sprung, The Grass Has Riz...

I wonder when vacation is!

Actually, I don't wonder that at all... it's on April 19th. I'm counting down the days....

But in the meantime, I'm enjoying my favorite of all seasons. Spring. Though Spring does has its negatives (rain, cold and did I mention the rain and the cold?), the little happy surprises of spring make up for it (for me at least). That warm day after a blustery cold one, when I don't have to wear a jacket. The haze of green that begins to creep over all the tired gray, old trees, making them young and new again. The crocuses, daffodils and tulips peeking out of the freshly thawed ground. The forsythia, bursting in yellow like spots of sunshine scattered among the still monotone landscape.

Spring makes me a little crazy (is that what they call "spring fever"?). Every so often, in the spring I get the urge to go for a run. For some people, that might not be crazy at all. In fact, I hear there are people who run all year round, just for the fun of it (not because they're being chased). I am not one of those people. I may take a stroll, or even a brisk walk. If I ever got a bicycle, I might even ride it. But I do not run. Yet, there comes a tricky day in spring where the sun is shining and the breeze is warm and you can smell dirt and flowers and freshness in the air, when my poor brain is tricked into thinking that a good run is all that is needed to make that day perfect.

The first time this happened to me was my first year of college, in 1997. I was sitting in Lit Con I (I remember it perfectly) listening to Professor Cummings discuss the book we were reading, but secretly glancing out the window at the perfectness of the spring day outside. The tree outside the tall windows of Demerest were starting to bloom into the pink flowers that smell like Pez, and the snow that lingers so long in upstate NY was starting to truly melt away. It was the kind of day that, though it was still 40 degrees and pretty cold, the braver (or dumber) of the boys I went to school with would shed their winter socks and shoes and start traipsing about campus in the flip flops that had to be retired during the sub freezing temperatures of winter. But this 40 degree weather, this thaw, was as good as summer to them. As it turns out, frat boys are not the only ones who are susceptible to this spring fever, and on that day, during this class, gazing longingly out the window at the clear blue sky and listening to the sound of the melting snow, I began to make plans to go for a run in order to perfectly enjoy this first, beautiful day of spring.

After class I headed up the Hill to my room where I changed into a pair of shorts and a long sleeved t-shirt adorned with a counterfeit Calvin and Hobbes dancing in the rain. I threw my 80s mix tape into my walkman (hey- it was 1997) and headed out for my run. I made it down the Hill okay, and jogged up St. Clair Street, beginning to question the judgment of my run already. As I ran towards the lake, I began to remember what I know when I am in my right mind- that I really don't like to run. However, I didn't want to look dumb and turn around, running straight home after an 1/8 of a mile, so I continued on, deciding to run a respectable loop up St. Clair, down South Main, through Houghton House property, down Jay, down Pultney until I reached St. Clair again and back up the Hill to my home. Mapping it out now, it comes to a respectable 2.893 miles (thank you Google map pedometer). I reached the lake and was beginning to catch something of a second wind, when, right in front of Sigma Chi, the impossible happened (or the very possible happened). I fell.

Splat. Boom. At least 1 mile away from medical care, I fell face first onto the sidewalk. After gathering my walkman and battery from where they had scattered, I stood up and evaluated the situation. My knee was gross and bloody and I could barely limp along, much less continue my run (you may want to note here, that though I consistently refer to this as my run, it probably counts more as a leisurely jog). Not expecting to become maimed during my celebration of this glorious spring day, I did not have a good plan on how to stop my knee from continuing to bleed in a very non-spring day like way. I limped my way over to Houghton House, but instead of going in and possibly bumping into a person who would then see that I can't even do something as simple as go for a run without killing herself, I limp my way over to the Sunken Gardens and apply non-melted snow to my knee to numb it and stop the bleeding. I then limp my way home.

To this day I carry on my knee a large, grotesque scar as a warning to myself during those days when a run in the spring sunshine feels like a great plan. However, the siren call of that warm breeze is often stronger than the quarter sized scar on my knee and for one brief day, I am no longer Amy- non athlete, but I am one with nature. I am the wind; the hyperventilating, sweating, red wind with a big ugly scar on her knee.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Blog Posts I'm Actively Not Writing

Each of the posts below is something that I have started to write about that is now sitting my my "to write" queue (in the order that I'm not writing them). Brianna is always complaining that she has nothing to write about. I am going to start the new trend of having too much to write about. So here's a look at everything you're not reading right now...

1) Everything that changes stays the same: a post about how the way we think of someone we were close to in the past stays the same, despite the fact that they evolve (and this explains the mystery of why brianna gets lots of ladybug themed gifts).

2) Books: What I'm reading, what I have been reading for the past two years, what I want to read, blah blah blah

3) Two Years Down!: About how I hit the two year mark of cancer survivorship.

4) knitting, knitting, knitting: much like #2, but with regard to knitting. Riveting I know...

5) Why I Refuse To Do Nablopomo: as you can tell, probably in queue since November, possibly December. Possibly exemplifies the #1 reason I refuse to do Nablopomo.

6) Hair Today: This is actually called Donating Hair to Charity, but I decided that was a boring title. Though, as you can tell, much more descriptive. How I cut off 13 inches of hair this summer, complete with pictures.

7) Sleepover: A play by play of a sleepover I had recently (and when I say recently, I mean October '07), reminisces of sleepovers of the past and probably a lot of foodie talk.

8) Guarana's Bad Rap: An in-depth look at guarana. Guarana awareness is a secret passion of mine. Just ask Joe.

9) 7 horses, 3 dogs and 2 mules: This is the who's who of animals that made an appearance in the Metropolitan's production of Carmen that I saw last week.

There you have it. I think of things to write, start in good faith and then peter out. Is there one that anyone is particularly interested in? Maybe some public outcry would be motivational...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Observations of the Oscars

I'm not doing anything exciting for Oscar Night, except hang out with my lovely husband who has been away for a week. So I'm going to pretend that I'm a little more important than I really am and "live blog" for Oscar night so you all don't have to live in suspense about what my opinions are.

Hmm... Don't know what I think about Anne Hathaway's dress.

Bullshit that Ratatoullie won. Not that I saw any of the animated feature films, but I was rooting for Persepolis.

Wow. Charlie Chaplin in color! And talking!

And Katherine Hiegel is really nervous. Proabably because she's wearing the same dress as Anne Hathaway. Well, a prettier version of the same dress.

Don't know how I feel about Jennifer Garner's dress. Doing something weird to her boobs. Hmm....

Maybe I say hmm... too much. hmmm... something to think about.

Wow. The ROCK uses Crest Whitestrips...

TIVO is awesome when you're watching the Oscars.

Johnny Depp is hot.

Really hot.

Why does Jack Nicholson wear sunglasses all the time? Is it a thing? Should I know?

Maybe it's just a weird night for boobs. I mean, Jennifer Hudson's look strange in her dress too.

I love Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Wow, Javier Bardem looks a lot like Jeffrey Dean Morgan. No? Just me? Okay, carry on...

Felicity grew up quite a bit. Note to self: put Waitress on Netflix queue.

Whoops. Almost fast forwarded through the bee. Thought it was an annoying commercial.

Ohhh... I really want to make these. I'm multitasking, okay?

Darn. I was just going to start a Jessica Alba is pregnant rumor (could her dress be any less figure fitting?) before I remembered that she is.

Jack Nicholson has the best seat in the house. Everyone on stage is really having a conversation with him. They all just look at him and chat.

Oh! Superdelegate joke!

The choreographing of "How Do You Know" from Enchanted kicked all the other musical nominees choreographing in the ass. Bam! Boom!

Damn. Jon, rub in the "everyone knows Jessica Alba pregnant" a little more. Really.

Awww. Marion Cotillard made me cry with her speech. I'm such a mush. And I'm even I little bummed that Ellen Page didn't win. Though I suppose she wasn't going to win with the competition.

Oh. Jack, with only tinted glasses now.

How come there is a glut of color movies up for Best Picture between 1938 and 1951? The clip of Gone With the Wind they showed was *definitely* in color.

Renee Zellweger has great legs, but she always looks squinty and not quite happy. In fact, she just looks kind of bored up there tonight.

I want Nicole Kidman's bling.

Wow. The musical category is really just an Enchanted-off, no? WOW. And they didn't even win. Sucks for them.

How cute that they let the girl (woman) that got cut off come back out again.

Yawn. I'm tired.

Does anyone else feel like they should explain to Tom Hanks that Iraq isn't in California? His introduction felt a little off to me...

Oh my gosh. Diablo Cody is adorable. And her family loves her.

Johnny Depp is still hot.

No Country for Old Men did really well tonight. I didn't see it myself, but Bri and Joe both had good things to say. Congratulations Coen brothers!

Hmm... and it was over before midnight. Was that expected/on time? At the very least it was only a half hour over time, right? Not to shabby...

Hope this wasn't too exciting for you to handle. I'm really astute in my observations, so I can only imagine this was a truly amazing Oscar blogging experience for you tonight. I hope you can sleep for the excitement of it all.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Colo-Rectal Cancer Awareness

Most of the content of this is taken from a letter posted on I've edited it to make it appropriate to me and my experience, and got permission to repost it here, but I thought it was worth sharing.

March is National Colo-Rectal Cancer Awareness Month. Before I was
diagnosed, I always thought of this as an “old mans disease”. I have
since learned this is not the case. This type of cancer strikes both
men and women equally and although not the norm, can and does strike
people in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. There are symptoms associated with
this cancer – in my case it was frequency and control issues and bright
red blood on the TP (sorry, nothing about this cancer is pretty). Other
symptoms can include but are not limited to any change in bowel
movements, narrow/pencil like bowel movements, abdominal pain and/or
bloating and blood in the stools to mention a few. That said, the most
common symptom is no symptoms at all
. In that regard, I guess I was
lucky in some respects.

But even with symptoms many people are afraid to get screened because
it’s embarrassing to discuss this type of stuff with anyone – even your
doctor. Another deterrent is that people think a colonoscopy is
embarrassing and painful. Well, it is embarrassing to discuss – and the
prep work for a colonoscopy isn’t a ton of fun – but the procedure
itself is completely painless. In fact as a friend of mine put it, it’s
like taking a nice little nap. You get great drugs – you don’t feel a
thing and it’s over with before you know it.

The American Cancer Society recommends all people – both men and
women get screened at the age of 50; earlier if you have a family
history of the disease and/or symptoms. It is recommended that if you have a history of colon cancer in your family, to get your first colonoscopy 10 years before the earliest diagnosis in your family. Some doctors will discuss these
things with you – others won’t, so you need to be proactive in
addressing this issue. Doctors make a big deal out of breast cancer and
screenings for women at the age of 40+ but too few discuss the risks of
colo-rectal cancer, even though it is the second leading cause of
cancer related deaths in the US, behind lung cancer.

Many of you have asked me what you can do to help me. Well….you can
take a very close look at your personal situation and that of your
family members and determine whether it is time for you to get a
colonoscopy. Your greatest gift to me, your friends and your family,
would be to get screened for this terrible disease. If you’re 30 years
old with no family history and/or symptoms then there is no reason to
get this done now. But what about your parents? And if you are 50+ and
have never had this done, please seriously consider having it done. If
you have no polyps, your next screening isn’t for another 5 years. And
if you do have polyps, removing them now before they turn cancerous can
save your life.

In closing, I never thought this would happen to me. I’m sure you
feel the same way. Sadly, bad things do happen to good people. Please
don’t let this happen to you, your friends or your family members. This
is one cancer than can be detected early and treated – but you have to
make that happen.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lesson Learned

When making Tiramisu, if you run out of cognac, as you are sniffing the various bottles of alcohol in your stash in order to find a suitable substitute, don't think "hmm... whiskey smells an awful lot like cognac" and proceed to use it as a straight substitute. It turns out that whiskey is a LOT stronger than cognac, and your meticulously peaked and folded egg whites and cream that you spent overly long watching to confirm that they did not seize up will end up tasting like a glorified, chewable whiskey shot. And nobody likes that. Well, except for perhaps Brianna...though I like to think she was only being polite.

The rest of dinner was very good though. Possibly because I made none of it. I'm planning to post some pictures- the heart shaped lobster ravioli was great- you should go buy some.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

On Skiing

When I was about 16 years old, my dad took my brother and I on a skiing expedition- the first of my young life. By the time we left that afternoon, I was convinced it would be the final one as well-- it did not go quite as I had envisioned.

When my dad was young, he and his cousins would go skiing. According to my dad, he and his cousins were reckless youths. They would rent skis and head straight towards the highest, most dangerous looking trails, not worrying about trivialities such as knowing how to stop or steer. He assumed my brother and I would follow suit, so on that fateful day that he packed us into the car and drove us up to the Adirondack mountains he was not planning getting us skiing lessons, depending on our wits and inherent athletic ability to get us down the mountain in one piece.

Unfortunately for my father, though he and my brother both share the ability to a) play most sports with a surprising degree of skill and b) pick up any musical instrument and *gasp* make music with it, I must have taken after my mother in more than my good looks because I am tone deaf and a klutz. We got to the mountain, rented our equipment and my dad halfheartedly offered words into the air such as "snowplow" and "weaving." He showed us how to use the tow rope, and within moments, my brother was graduating to the double diamond slopes as I stood frozen at the top of the "ski school slope" paranoid that I would move and start hurdling down that steep (well, slightly inclined/ not quite totally flat) frozen path towards my imminent death.

I eventually gathered up my nerve and pushed off, hurling aimlessly down the hill. I looked enviously at the groups of people standing around an instructor, listening intently as he explained that "pizza" would slow you down and "french fries" would speed you up. Going faster and faster, I became further concerned as I realized that I did not know how to stop myself and would likely crash straight into the lodge at the bottom of this treacherous hill. Luckily, for me at least, there was a group of people standing directly in my path. Smart people, who were busy learning what I did not know- how to stop these damn skis. One of the group of beginner skiers quickly got wise as she glanced up and saw me aiming directly at her, yelling that I was sorry, but I didn't know how to turn or stop. The instructor saw my predicament, and started coaching me with the best advice I had gotten that day-- "FALL!!!!"

Now, gentle reader, I don't know if you realize this, but when you are on skis hurling to certain doom about to kill yourself and others on this most dangerous of slopes- the ski school slope- the last thing you want to do is speed up that death by falling on purpose. The whole goal of skiing is to stay standing. Falling is scary. However, killing a perfect stranger who just wanted to learn how to ski is also a frightening prospect. I am certain you can understand my predicament. Go against every instinct in my body and hurl it towards the ground, quite possibly breaking my bones and getting several unsightly bruises, all for the good of humanity; or crashing into a stranger and breaking and bruising my body along with hers (and possibly others, if the domino effect went into play). Being the selfless humanitarian I am, of course I gathered my courage and fell to the ground, skidding harmlessly into that poor ski student's legs at a surprisingly slow and nondestructive speed. After that traumatic episode, I determined that I was not destined to be an Olympic (or even casual) skier, and retired to the ski lodge to enjoy hot chocolate and firm ground while my dad and brother continued to show off their feats of agility, speed and skill.

So as you can see, it is quite understandable that at the age of nearly 30 I figured my skiing days were over, if they had ever even started. Life however, seems to have other plans. In a twist of fate, my in laws have recently relocated from beautiful, flat, below sea level Long Island to the mountainous (well, at least for the East Coast) Catskill Mountain Range. Yes, within 30 minutes of their house are at least 3 or 4 places to ski. Being practical people, my husband and I decided that it would be a waste to not take advantage of this vacation get away and spend some of the season skiing. Keep in mind that my husband has *never* skied before, and my only experience included hurling to certain doom about 15 years ago when my bones were *much* springier. But this past weekend I borrowed some ski clothes (my closet is suspiciously bereft of anything appropriate for skiing) and after a late night target run for waterproof pants, we were ready to attempt to ski.

My one requirement for this ski trip, in order to right the wrongs from my youth was to take a lesson. My husband, being a smart man who appreciates knowledge, agreed to this wise plan. We met with a lovely man named Mike who hailed from Jamaica, Queens (he wore a nifty name tag reminiscent of people who work at casinos in Vegas) who taught- and made us practice- all those wonderful terms that I had only heard about when I was 16. I learned how to snowplow and traveled down the ski school slope at various elevations practicing. I then graduated to learning how to turn- both left and right. When I was doing something wrong, Mike, or one of the other ski instructors, tried to explain what to do correctly. The only flaw I saw in their technique is that they tended to explain themselves the same way every time- as a teacher, I know it is important to try to vary the way you explain something if a student is consistently not getting what you are trying to teach. However, I caught on fairly quickly- I was able to stay upright and generally weave my way around the orange cones put there for that purpose. After a hearty lunch of chili, my husband and I went back out for an attempt on a slightly (very slightly) harder trail- this one with a chair lift and everything!

We were not perfect, and both of us had some unfortunate falling incidents, but we manged not to injure ourselves or others as we whooshed down the "mountain". In fact, we might even do it again some day... but not before we get another lesson!

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Monday, January 14, 2008


When I was in high school, my friend M and I used to write each other stories about characters (both real and anthropomorphic) that we created, that were often based on each other and our friends. We spent a lot of time on the stories that probably should have been spent on our studies, though writing long notes and stories was a lot more fun. I went through a phase where I wrote stories about the last tic tac in my box (his name was Bob). I recently found one of Bob's sagas tucked away in my files, and I would like to take this opportunity to share it with all of you.

Bob Meets Ryan

Once upon a time in a tic-tac factory lived an ambitious tic-tac named Bob. For those of you who are wondering, yes, this is the same Bob who wanted to be a paper clip. But this is a different story. This is Bob's quest to be a bobby pin.
Because, as you know, bobby pins have all the fun. Bob decided that paper clips weren't all that much better than tic-tacs. They got bent out of shape too easily. They were cheap. People could live without them without a second thought. But bobby pins... Bobby pins had so many uses. People went out of their ways to specifically buy bobby pins. They came in a nice variety of colors (brown, black, grey and silver- Bob's best colors). You could hold your hair back with a bobby pin. And if you are Nancy Drew, you could use two bobby pins as a rather sophisticated key. You never hear about paper clips or tic tacs being written about in novels. "Yes", thought Bob. "To be a bobby pin. Bobby pins have all the fun."
So, sneaking out of the factory, Bob rolled along looking for the Bobbypin factory. He finally found it and used his extreme talent to roll up the stairs (only he knows how he does it). Rolling inside, Bob used the tic-tac eyes amy drew on him to look around the factory. Seeing a little bobby pin sitting by himself, Bob rolled over.
It turned out that this bobby pin was exactly Bob's age (3 weeks- but another plus about bobby pins is that they don't go bad). the strange thing about this bobby pin, who I'll call Ryan even though bobby pins technically don't have names[sic]. So Ryan started talking to Bob. Ryan was very forlorn because he didn't want to be a bobby pin. Bob of course could not understand this seeing how bobby pins were so cool. Ryan wanted to be an eraser. Erasers were special because they could erase pencil marks. Ryan didn't like pencils very much. You see, one day a pencil feel off a desk and trapped Ryan for two weeks. It took a lot of effort for Ryan to escape, seeing how bobby pins don't roll as easily as tic tacs. So now all Ryan wanted to do was void pencil from the universe. To do that he would have to become an eraser.
Bob couldn't understand fully, but because he liked Ryan and of course admired and respected all bobby pins, he vowed to help. You see, Bob thought if he hung around Ryan a lot, people would begin to see him as a bobby pin too. It wouldn't be like a tic tac and a bobby pin, it would almost be like two bobby pins. And that was almost Bob's dream (Kind of like how it is what j & r and they hang out together so much that you end up calling J R and R J even though they don't look anything alike. Same idea with J and Z). So Bob went off to help Ryan look more like an eraser. Ryan stretched out until he looked like a square with a bent corner. He couldn't quite get the original kink out of his back, but he was close. Most erasers were square thought Bob. So Ryan was one step closer. But Ryan still couldn't wipe out pencil. He dejectedly decided he could never live a satisfying life as an eraser. But Bob still wanted to be a bobby pin. Just look at Ryan- bobby pins had all the fun...
The End. to be continued

My own criticism of the story, circa 1996 was that "it just didn't go anywhere." The J/R/J/Z part is an analogy to four boys I went to school with and always used to mess up their names because they hung out with each other a lot. I also found a story that M wrote that makes me laugh, so I'm going to ask her permission to publish it here.

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