Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tuesday - NO

I didn't post today. Sue me.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Fluent in Something

For the amount of travel in which I partake, my language skills are sadly lacking. I am 89% unilingual, and do not have the Gift of Foreign Language. The Gift of Gab, yes. But in a foreign tongue? No. After attempts at French (Junior High), then Spanish (language immersion program) I can really only understand 7 French words (all nouns); and some Spanish sentences (when spoken v-e-r-y-s-l-o-w-l-y). I cannot construct and deliver my own Spanish sentences.

I had been dying to learn Spanish while in college. I didn't want to take a formal course, so I bought some tapes and would listen to them at my part-time job with the Agronomy Department on campus. It was Iowa State - Agronomy was very big there. My boss was this overstuffed, blond, beefy thing, named Mike, who fancied himself quite the looker. He was not. He was - to his credit - incredibly computer-savvy, but made certain everyone knew it. He would swagger around, poking his head next to your monitor, and say things like "heh heh - you SURE you're doing that right?" I would pretend I couldn't hear him, as I was wearing my headphones, and listening to Spanish conversations. One day he asked what I was listening to, and I stopped pretending I couldn't hear him, long enough to say "Spanish tapes". To which he sputtered "Whu, whu, what the hell for?" I just looked at him, thinking, "how many possible answers are there, REALLY, to that particular question?" He continued "I mean, why would you want to learn SPANISH? You already know ENGLISH - and that's the only language you NEED to know."

Now, I realize that Ames, Iowa is not a booming, international metropolis. However, I have higher expectations for people's intellect, in an educational setting (read 'Any College Town'), and was foolishly startled at Mike's myopic statements. When people say things that absolutely baffle me, I can never respond with anything other than an incredulous stare. That's what Mike got. Incredulous Stare. I don't think he understood that, anymore than he would understand Spanish. "Incredulous Stare" in Spanish is "mirada fija incrédula".

Fast forward several years later, and I decided to go to Central and South America to do a language program, and learn me some Spanish. I started with a 4 week program in Alajuela, Costa Rica, living with my spunky little homestay maman, Irene, and her messy toddler, Daniel.

Irene was always yelling "DanIEL, tranQUILA" at him when he was having temper tantrums, so that was a useful phrase that I picked up. I can now say "Simma DOWN now" in three languages.

My Spanish was so non-existent, that I had to spend Day 1 learning the Spanish alphabet. So when I would come home from escuela, Irene would welcome me with a big smile and a "Como le fue?!" To which I would shrug and give a pursed-lip smile. I had absolutely no idea what she was saying, even though it should have occured to me that it was precisely the same thing my mom had said - in English - when I'd come home from school "How'd it go?" I figured it out eventually.

Irene was vastly patient with me, and would speak s-l-o-w-l-y and do plenty of pantomime, and we got along quite well. She was very concerned with my nutrition, and I had been clear that I was a vegetarian. I was a 'traveling vegetarian', as some of the meats I had seen on my trips did not appear fit for consumption, and I figured it was just a safe way to go. One day, Irene was cooking up some pescado (we learned food items that first week), and for some reason, she really wanted me to have some. She seemed very emphatic in her excited sentences, and welcoming arm/hand gestures. She was so sweet to me, that I felt it would be rude not to try the fish, so I said "OK" ("ok" can be Spanish too).

One hour later, I was locked in the bathroom, spasmodically heaving over the commode. Vomiting in someone's home is humiliating enough, without the added embarrassment of knowing your host was attempting to have a special date with her boyfriend, in the next room.

Whatever your language of choice: Spanish, English, Klingon...nothing kills the mood like the sound of barfing. It's a universal language. And that night, I was fluent.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

More Brushes With Fame

All that exhausting cleaning had drained me of any energy I might have normally had for a Saturday night, and I bowed out of plans to go out salsa dancing. I came home around 9:40PM, and decided to watch one of my Netflix:


which I actually might have liked, had I not already seen it, several years ago, when it was edgier, funnier, and called "Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels".
"Smokin' Aces" was, unfortunately, just a less-impressive, slightly more confusing, imitation, with a LOT of big names. The movie wasn't awful, but did occasionally feel like it was trying too hard to be uber-hip. There WERE some fantastic performances, though. The ones who impressed me in this were:


This one -


This one -


And this one -I am going to veer off on one of my "I met him!" tangents now. Get some snacks.

Jeremy Piven was in the movie "Lucas", which was filmed at my high school. There were a number of actors in "Lucas" whom my friends and I had never heard of, but later became pretty famous: Charlie Sheen, Corey Haim, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Winona Ryder, and Mr. Piven. By watching the filming of the movie (all day, every day), we became very familiar with the faces, and, to this day, we love pointing out anyone who was associated with the movie.

In 1987 (yikes) my friend, Jill, and I went to see Bruce Springsteen at the Rosemont Horizon, and had floor seats, around Row 21 or something.

(By the way, if you have never seen "The Boss" live, you are missing out. You don't even need to like his music. He is an astounding performer.)

Anyway, there we were, two little high-school girls in Row 21 or something, and I noticed Jeremy Piven - whose name we didn't know at the time - a couple of rows ahead of us. I started poking Jill excitedly and pointing at him. I have no idea why. He was just this guy, whose name we didn't know, who was in the somewhat cheesy movie they filmed at our high school. I was still excited.

(Another tangent here: when everyone from our high school saw the movie, we dubbed it The-ABC-Afterschool-Special-Lucas. We really didn't think it was good.)

Jill cupped her hands around her mouth and started bellowing "Looooooo-cas, Loooooooo-cas", until Jeremy Piven - whose name we obviously didn't know - turned around, and smiled agreeably, and then chatted with us for a couple of minutes. He really was so nice, and this is yet another embarrassing celebrity ambush that I look back on with great chagrin.

Thankfully, I stopped doing things like that after high school. Now when I see celebrities, I just don't even realize that they actually are celebrities. Instead, I am convinced that I know them from somewhere: college, spring break, traveling, something. Which is only slightly less embarrassing. Especially when I approach them and ask them how I know them, and say things like "was it college? spring break? Costa Rica?" and they say "Um, no, you don't look familiar to me, but you might know me because I was on Season 3 of Road Rules."

I really need to stop watching so much TV.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I Need a Maid

You wouldn't think it would take an entire day to clean a 750 sq. foot apartment. Well, it did.

My apartment had reached that point where there was no surface space on the countertops (bathroom or kitchen), and there were magazines, hairballs and dust everywhere else. I would arrive home, and just go "Ugh, GROSS". As if someone else was responsible for creating the mess. My main problem is that I never have people over. My friends all have very cute, well-located condos, and we always go over to their places. I really don't have a reason to clean. I needs me a reason.

My reason, this time, is completely embarrassing. I ran into the Cute Guy, that lives in my building, on Thursday. He introduced himself, and asked if I lived on the top floor. I said "noooo, um, the middle one", in a very vague, distracted way - as I was thinking "oh crap, what if he is like Friendly Neighbor Cute Guy, who just pops over to borrow sugar or something?" I mean, NOW I wouldn't mind, but on Thursday, my apartment resembled a crack den. A very messy crack den. You know, without the crack. His apartment must have been clean, because he said "Oh, I'm in 102". Clearly not worried about me popping over to borrow sugar.

So, I woke up Saturday, nervous and paranoid, listening for knocks on the door, and started with the bathroom. It takes me all day long to clean, because I tire easily when cleaning. I really am terribly lazy. Scrub countertop, scrub toilet, sweep floor, and oh my God I need to rest. I end up playing a type of bargaining game with my apartment: a half hour for YOU, Bathroom, a half hour (of eating breakfast and watching "That's So Raven") for ME; a half hour for YOU, Bedroom, an hour (of reading Marie Claire and InStyle) for ME; and so on and so on.

It is truly pathetic that I take great pride in telling everyone, at dinner Saturday night, that I cleaned my apartment! I think it takes normal people like 3 hours or something. And, to be totally honest, I didn't really clean the kitchen.

I'll have to keep the sugar close to the door.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I Would Dare

My next overseas trip will be in October. Yes, Jon Francis, October. Until then, I'll be going to weddings, taking vicarious trips, and blogging about reality TV. I'm sure you'll cope.

(ed. note: Jon seemed particularly intrigued with the Scott Baio show)

I had originally planned to visit Prague, Czech Republic, on my own, for a 10-day trip. However, word got out, and the trip is now me + 4 of my girls, and we've added Bratislava and Budapest to the itinerary.

Thursday, July 19, I send out an email entitled – “Get Excited For Eastern Europe”:

"Some good links:

Prague:
http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/east/prague.htm

Bratislava:
http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/a76fc/

Budapest (the site "WhatsOnWhen" is great):
http://www.whatsonwhen.com/sisp/index.htm?fx=destination&loc_id=131831&sub_section=Highlights "

***************************


No response, but I assume the girls are digesting the information, and perusing at their leisure. What have we learned about assuming? That's right.

Wednesday, July 25, I received the following email from NancyJane (one of the 4), with the subject: "Prague, etc."


"Do you know this website…
http://www.whatsonwhen.com/sisp/index.htm?fx=event.search&sort=DATE&loc_id=134308&page=1&mode=advanced&end_date=20071020&start_date=20071017
Kind of fun for trip planning."

****************************

And then the trail went like this

ME: Someone is not reading the emails I send her about this trip...
I totally sent that link a few days ago! Did you see the email with all 3 destinations, and a link for each? No one commented, so maybe it didn't reach you guys?

NJ: Actually, I think it was on Friday on my day off so I got them on my bberry and it isn’t as fun to look at links on the bberry so I am sure I thought I would look at them when I came into the office on Monday but then I was sick on Monday so I wasn’t in the office and by the time I was in on Tuesday it had moved down to the second page on my aol so I forgot to go back and look therefore I will go look straight away!
That is the world’s longest sentence.

(NJ on her Blackberry. Not reading the emails I send her.)



ME: Aha! So you're NOT reading them. And yes that was the world's longest sentence.

NJ: Hmmmm….You must think I am an idiot… "The site What’s On When is great” I believe you said…oops. Pretty soon when I have more time – I’ll look up fun things for us to do!

ME: Idiot – no
Having of selective attention - yes
Although, I honestly don't think anyone else looked at it either. So much for my efforts...

NJ: You are right, I think we all suffer from selective attention/ADD and you are just more forward thinking then the rest of us.

ME: Can I get that on a t-shirt?
"I am just more forward thinking than the rest"?

NJ: No, and you must double delete that email so there is no written proof that I ever said it.
ME: I'm posting the whole trail on my blog.

NJ: You wouldn’t dare.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I Think My Dad Wants His Own Blog

From an email today, entitled "The Personal Letter in the 21st Century":

"Many years ago I decided the telephone was an intrusion on my daily living. Thus, I didn't have one. I commented to a friend quoting Henry Adams, the historian of the famous Adams family not the TV family, that I didn't want to be dragged kicking and screaming into the twentieth century. My friend remarked that the telephone was a nineteenth century invention. But I digress. Blogs, e-mails, myspace, facebook etc. are all contributions to our lives that pile up the information, mis-information and clutter. The letter composed with care using a fountain pen, in absence of a well-sharpened quill pen that I was taught to use to learn the Palmer method of hand-writing, is still my choice as I ease toward the happy hunting ground. Long after the discs of bits are consigned to the waste bin, the letter on a good quality paper endures. I do enjoy your travel blog and encourage your continuing to write as you have the gift as does your aging Uncle Charles. He really is your Uncle Charlie. But, I fear that my comments would be too jeu d'esprit for your blog.
Love, Dad"

I would like to point out that I have not received a "letter composed with care, using a fountain pen" from my dad in YEARS. Instead, he clips out 9-page articles from the New Yorker, tucks them in an envelope and sends them to me, with "love, Dad" signed at the bottom.

I would also like to point out that I am totally shocked that my dad knows what Facebook is. I'm going to start a profile for him immediately.

Irritated With the Way People Park?

Many thanks to Chris diClerico for pointing me toward this site:

YouParkLikeAnA**hole

Click on Infraction 1 or 2, print a few, and keep them in your car. This is beyond satisfying.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Why Am I So Sleepy?

Since Starbucks drinks have always been so very reasonably priced, and not a complete and total drain on my bank account, the company has elected to increase the price 9 cents per cup.

And I just realized that there is no "cents" symbol anywhere on my computer's keyboard. When did they remove that? Anyway, so a Tall, Non-fat Chai will now cost something like $50.09.

I have decided to retaliate by giving up caffeine altog...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Riding Bikes in Ireland

It sounds like SUCH a fun thing to do. I love bikes (but not the ones with the narrow, pointy seats...), and I love riding bikes in foreign countries. Riding bikes in Ireland is definitely something that is on my List.

I was watching the finale episode of "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List"


And in the episode she went to Ireland. She's Irish, you know. And CHICAGO Irish, which is the best. Anyway, the trip was courtesy of the Ireland Tourism Board, and that didn't seem terribly D-List to me. A free trip overseas? I'll take it.

So Mrs. Kathy, and Team Griffin (her very amusing staff of 3) flew off to the Emerald Isle. While there, she was ordained "Town Crier" of Donaghe (I think that's the town?), hosted a gay bingo night, and she then invited anyone named "Griffin" to a pub, in her father's hometown, for a free pint, in honor of said (late) father (who was completely hilarious on the show - RIP John Griffin). Team Griffin had a very full, fun trip, but they did not ride bikes.

I have not yet been to Ireland, but Jon & Joli were just there last month.


Now, Joli had originally explained that they were going to be doing a "bike trip" through Ireland. But she sent me their photos from the trip, and I didn't see any bikes:




Those aren't bikes.

NancyJane was also just in Ireland, last month. She did not have the opportunity to ride bikes either, as she was very busy herding elderly travelers around; trying to keep them all from electrocuting themselves on barrier fences.

Elderly folks + Ireland = Waking Ned Devine:


which I loved-loved-lu-huuuuved. And in that movie, I got to see at least one person riding a bike:

I would like to be clear, in that when I do go to Ireland to ride bikes, that is not how I will be doing it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Little Lost Mean Girl

I was actually surprised by this:

"Lindsay Lohan was arrested early July 24 on suspicion of driving under the influence in Santa Monica, CA. The arrest comes one week after the 21-year-old actress checked out of an alcohol treatment center."
Someone needs to be the Boss of Her. I do not want her to end up dead in the Bahamas. Or, even worse, on her own reality show after gaining 100 pounds and taking to wearing MAC Viva Glam lipstick on and around her mouth.

Lindsay! (clap clap) Linds! (clap clap) Wake up! Wheresalittlecutie?

Comeon...Whereisshe?

I am going to be totally selfish, and say 'HOW IS THERE GOING TO BE A MEAN GIRLS 2 IF YOU ARE IN THE CLINK???'


At least she'll be practically prepared for jail. Those women in prison will only let you wear your hair in a ponytail once a week too.

No More Snacks Before Bedtime

I had a dream last night that I was dating Andy Samberg, from SNL. This guy:


I know Andy is very cute, and is probably not a bad guy to be dating in your dream, but I can't get past thinking of him as the "D*ck in a Box" guy. If we were dating, in real life, and he brought me a gift, I would be very, very suspicious.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Santiago de Compostela

Madonna's Kabbalah name is Esther, which reminded me of a travel story...

Santiago de Compostela is the second most popular Catholic pilgrimage destination, after Vatican City. The church is a massive Spanish baroque structure:

which is flanked by a sprawling square, bustling side streets, and a lovely little cafe that served Coca-Lite with a straw for me while I was waiting for the noon-time mass:


The mass was pretty spectacular, in that the church holds the largest Bota Fumiera in the world, and during the mass it swings from one end of the church to the other, over the heads of the parishioners. If you look closely you can see it swinging up toward the top of the photo. For the non-Spanish-speaking non-Catholics, the bota fumiera is that big pendant on a chain that emits incense smoke when Edward Norton swings it around in "Keeping the Faith". This one is about 5 times as large:


Inside the church, is the Portico da Gloria, with your typical Heaven, Hell, Purgatory images, the apostles, etc. in sculpture form. Now, I have been scouring the internet for confirmation of this story, and have found next-to-nothing. So please, raise your margarita glasses for the grain of salt you'll need for this, but this was the story that our Galician tour guide told us:

The statue of Esther, positioned opposite the apostles, was so offensive to a certain Bishop, that he ordered that her breasts be filed down to appear less suggestive to the pious observers. The two blurbs I was able to dig up on the subject said that the statue was the Virgin Mary, but I'm pretty sure it was Esther. She didn't look like Mary.

The legend went on to say that the local people, who typically paid their taxes to the Bishop via livestock, or food products, such as cheese, were so angry at the modification of Esther's assets, that they began shaping their cheeses in the shape of women's breasts, and paying their taxes to the Bishop with the "breast cheese". I'm going to try to pay my rent this month in mozarella sticks. Anyway, the cheese is still a well-known feature of Santiago de Compostela, and is called Queixo de Tetilla:


And the people of Santiago de Compostela seem to be familiar with the story.


Say "breasts"!

Too Much Vogue-ing

I was thinking about working out today...



Now, notsomuch.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

On My iPod (Hot Pocket)

I scrolled down to the "Top 25 Most Played" list on my Hot Pocket, and it's official. I am not cool. I'm not sure what I was expecting to see there.. Red Hot Chili Peppers? No, that was just the photo from the website. The Shins? Arctic Monkeys? Wilco? Nope.

1) Candy - Mandy Moore (Seriously.)

2) Sittin' up in my room - Brandy (I'm totally serious)

3) How we operate - Gomez (actually very good song)

4) Days go by - Keith Urban (actually very good driving song)

5) Makes me wonder - Maroon 5 (try NOT to dance to this)

6) U+Ur hand - Pink (also on my "running" mix)

7) Leave the pieces - the Wreckers (I just like it)

8) Since U been gone - Kelly Clarkson (yep, serious, I love this song)

9) Let my love open the door - Pete Townshend (perpetual favorite)

10) All for you - Janet Jackson (again, try not to dance to this)

I'll stop at 10, because it is doubtful that anyone has managed to get past numbers 1 and 2. And I would absolutely put either one on right now. Cementing their places at #1 and #2.


The one thing that makes me feel okay about this, is that Kathy Griffin has "Candy" on her celebrity playlist on iTunes, and explained it by saying "Remember when Mandy Moore was blonde, and kind of slutty? That's MY Mandy Moore."

Mine too.

Eat, Pray, Love, Shop

I am currently mid-way through this book:


If you are considering reading it, and are also attempting to diet, you may want to reconsider reading the book until the diet is finished. The "Eat" part of the book takes place in Italy, and if I wasn't in the mood for wood-oven baked margherita pizza with double mozzarella when I woke up this morning, I am certainly in the mood for it now. I am not in the least bit deterred by the author's admission that she gained 23 pounds over the 4 months she lived in Italy. Pizza and gelato sounds like a perfectly well-balanced meal.

I am very much in favor of Eating, Praying and Loving your way through your travels, as each of these things helps you assimilate to wherever you are. And I must recommend adding Shopping to that list.

It is unfortunate that the word "shopping" has morphed into the universal connotation of images such as this:

and is seen as overindulgent consumerism. Really, Paris, three giant bags of clothing? You can bet none of them contain underpants. Anyway, shopping for me is more about the hunt. The hope of finding something I positively cannot live without, at a greatly reduced price. My motto is "don't buy it unless you want to put it on immediately and wear it out of the store". This, theoretically, keeps me from buying things that "might match that one pair of shoes I never wear", or "would probably be good to sleep in", or "might be good for a Halloween costume, someday", and thus saves me from falling into the overindulgent consumer category.

Shopping, when traveling, is a fantastic opportunity to interact with the locals, and possibly practice your language skills - and math skills, if dealing with local currency. It can also give you a glimpse of what it might be like to live wherever you are.

In a previous post I mentioned that I went to Portugal (which I adored). My itinerary in Portugal was very structured, and really only allowed for a couple of hours in Lisbon, the capital. So I jumped off the bus, and trotted off, camera in hand, to explore the city. I wandered around the main plaza, with it's giant fountain, and crowds of people, and then down a few main streets, also with crowds of people. The streets were very narrow, so it was difficult to get decent photos of the architecture, and the day itself was kind of overcast, so Lisbon was feeling a bit unexciting and drab. And then I saw large red letters, on a sign in a window, that read "VENDE GRANDE", and through the window I saw shoes. I hesitated for a second, before pushing open the great glass door. The shop was fairly small, and there were roughly 20 women milling around, slipping out of their shoes, and into other shoes, walking in front of the mirror, and posing in the shoes. It was just like home.

I was especially pleased with myself when one of the salesgirls approached me and rattled off something beautiful in Portuguese. She thought I was a local. I loved that! And then I had to shrug my shoulders at her, with my Stupid-American apologetic look, and say "sorry, I don't speak Portuguese", all the while wondering if she would understand what I meant. She smiled, but didn't speak English at all, so I would have to do some pantomime when I needed a different size shoe. I proceeded with my shoe shopping, and slipped off my shoes, and slipped on various pairs of sandals, then walked in front of the mirrors. Just like the locals were doing. It seems silly, as I shoe-shop on a regular basis back at home, and go through those exact same motions, but it just felt different, what with my being in Lisbon and all.

I found a pair of sandals that I just loved:


and was walking around in them, and another shopper pointed to them and said something to me, in Portuguese, which I understood to be "those are really cute!", as she looked pleased and approving. I just had to smile. I bought those shoes, for 12 Euros, which, at the time, I think was around $16USD. When I wear them here, I get the same pleased approving looks from women, and I can actually understand them when they say "those are so cute!" But the compliment from the Portuguese woman, I will always remember, as she made me feel like I belonged in Portugal.

Eat, Pray, Love, Shop. Whatever it takes to immerse yourself in another place.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hairspray - The Movie

There is a massive amount of buzz surrounding the recent release of "Hairspray". I don't think I'm going to be able to watch it. This is too disturbing:


I have no idea why John Travolta, as Edna Turnblad, is creeping me out so much. Look at his hand in that photo! I saw the original John Waters movie, with Divine in that role, and was totally fine with it. There is just something very unsettling about Mr. Travolta in all the makeup and, for lack of a better word, big-ness...


Where did this guy go????


To market to market...

Please make it stop.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Remembering Acapulco

I should really try to write more about ACTUAL travel, as the name suggests. Today is as good a day as any, as it is now Allegedly July in Seattle - 64 degrees, and rainy. When I went to Acapulco in February it was 90 degrees and sunny. Every. Single. Day.


Wow, just looking at the blue sky improves my mood greatly! Now, as a complete destination snob, I usually pooh-pooh any destination that was a frequent port-of-call on "The Love Boat". However, my Bible listed a hotel in Acapulco that just sounded too good to pass up. And I've mentioned my fervent compulsion to make checkmarks throughout that book, right?

Las Brisas, Acapulco was my target. "Las Brisas" means "the breezes" in Spanish. Just hearing it elicits the same reaction as my first few sips of margarita. Las Brisas is this fantastic complex, built on a cliff overlooking Acapulco Bay, that has "Casitas" (free-standing rooms) with either shared or private plunge pools. This was mine - ALL MINE!


Seriously, I got this little patio, with an umbrella table and lounge chairs and everything. And then this was my cute Casita:

Yes, I stocked up on Diet Coke at the little grocery store on my way to the hotel. My fun taxi driver - who made me practice my Spanish - just waited for me in the parking lot.

And then, stay where you are, and do a 180 turn, and this was what I woke up to. Every. Single. Day.



This was not a trip where I immersed myself in the local culture, or learned anything about the history or the people. This was all about me and my Love Boat-minus-the-boat vacation. I was there for 5 days, by myself, just reading, watching movies, relaxing in the sun, and plunging in my little pool.

I did venture out one day. And when I say "out", I mean I walked down the winding driveway to the Las Brisas shuttle that took me to the private beach club for the day, where I read books, watched movies ("Soapdish" on my Hot Pocket), relaxed in the sun, and plunged in the lagoon. This was my self-assigned station:



I have Lazy Vacation down to a science.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Me At Moe's - on The Simpsons

This cheered me right up! I created a Simpsons avatar of myself, and then went directly to Moe's to hang out with the boys. I swear it's still before Labor Day. And Homer is thisclose to buying me a beer:



Must Switch Gears

I cannot spend the entire day en fuego regarding the issues in the 2 previous posts. To yank myself out of the foul mood, I have taken to visiting World of Pop and playing some of the games they have. I'm preparing for total world domination, when I sweep the World Series of Pop Culture. Battlestations.

Another great diversion is today's post on Jennsylvania - although that is where I first heard about He Who Should Not Be Mentioned (Michael Vick is the new Voldemort), the shopping story is absolutely hilarious.

An Open Letter to PETA

Dear PETA,
You know how, sometimes, you guys do crazy stuff like throwing cans of paint at people wearing fur coats, or blowing up medical testing labs? Throw some of that Crazy this way:


Dog lovers everywhere would be eternally grateful.

NIKE Boycott

I have a whole mess of Nike clothing that I am going to have to burn, if they do not IMMEDIATELY drop MICHAEL VICK. Please click on his foul name to read the article that explains what a completely heinous and useless individual he is. I'm too angry to copy the article into this post.

*Email VP & GM of Nike at: ccheek@nike.com - but be nice. HE is not the one mistreating animals.

*AND Please call:
NFL Public Relations at 1-212-450-2000 to leave a voicemail demanding Vick’s castration suspension.

Scott Baio is 45 and Single - shocking

I tried SO hard to ignore this show!! On Tuesday, I received 5 emails about "Scott Baio is 45 and Single" (here is a photo of him, 45 and single)


It snuck up on me tonight, right after the World Series of Pop Culture

...which, incidentally, I think I could win. But back to Baio. So the Baio show starts before I can reach for the remote to change the channel, and I was then rendered powerless to look away.

He actually uses the word "broad" when talking about women.

His friends also use the word "broad" when talking about women.

OH, and speaking of his friends, there was a scene when they were all golfing and smoking cigars (?), and one of his friends is Jason Hervey, better known to Pop Culture freaks everywhere as Wayne, the mean brother from "Wonder Years". I totally met him at Disneyland, back in the 80s. This guy, remember?

I was at Disneyland, and recognized him and was all undignified and saying "OHMIGOD HEY! You were such a dick in 'Pee Wee's Big Adventure'!". This was supposed to be a compliment, as, if you will remember correctly, his character is a very unpleasant child, behaving abominably during the filming of a commercial. Jason Hervey was very gracious and said "Uh, thanks...I think". I'm sure he understood. I was not old enough to know better, and calling him a dick really sounded like a compliment in my head.

Anyway, he was really very polite, and it should be noted that he was not one of Scott Baio's friends who said "broad".

So, Scott Baio hires a life coach, and says he really wants to figure out his life: why he's not married, etc. He is then asked, by said life coach, how he would like people to remember him - what are 3 words to describe this. He says something like this:

"kind - I'm kind sometimes; not all the time", "considerate - I'm considerate most of the time", and "loving - I would like to be remembered as a loving person". Those three words did not even enter my consciousness while watching the show. He talked to the life coach about how he isn't very loving to his current girlfriend ("some of the time, probably not most of the time"), while shrugging, like it was totally natural not to be loving toward the person you're dating.

The person he's dating, by the way, is a blonde named Renee. The two of them had a date at a restaurant, where Renee reminded Scott that their "anniversary" was only 2 days away. Scott looked confused, and then said "Oh, our year-and-a half anniversary?"

an·ni·ver·sa·ry (ăn'ə-vûr'sə-rē) n., pl. -ries.
The annually recurring date of a past event, especially one of historical, national, or personal importance: a wedding anniversary; the anniversary of the founding of Rome.

Or the anniversary that is not really an anniversary at all, of Scott and Renee's 1.5 years together.

Now, I know he was the object of many's affections - back in the day:


but watching him for 30 minutes, even with the commercial interruptions, made me wince. Frequently.

Sadly, this will not keep me from watching the rest of the series. I just hope he manages to pull it together by the end, or this broad is going to be pissed.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Blogger Games

Julia has invited me to play secretillos, Sounds Spanish, no? Like a Spanish cookie. Would you like some secretillos? Yes I would. Con leche, por favor.

In Julia's words: "Secretillos is a game in which we reveal seven truths. It's a little game circulating between blogeros - the taggers and the tagged. Sounds fair to me, considering I don't have much of a profile. Rules:1. Tagged individuals must write seven truths on their blog, as well as the rules of the game.2. They must then tag seven people and list them in their blog.3. You must leave a message on the blog of each of the seven and invite them to visit and play."

Let's see how much of this I can do:
Seven Truths About Me:

1) I was in the movie Lucas
2) I have never dyed my hair
3) Barry Manilow songs make me happy
4) I watch That's So Raven every Saturday morning
5) When I was little, I named one of my dolls Peseuda (???)
6) I can't count

I can't tag other bloggers right now, as I am DYING to post about Scott Baio's new reality show. But if you're another blogger and WANT me to tag you, and participate in the game - let me know.

I Am Crying

Naturally, immediately after posting the Rich dialogue, I receive this from him:

"I went to computer/circus camp when I was in 6th grade. That is 100% true by the way. I know Pascal."

I need Kleenex. And an inhaler.

Rich is a Modern Emotive Male

I am uber-busy at work today, but hate the idea of not posting. Particularly since my friend Rich is such an avid reader, and very desperately wants to be mentioned in the blog. So I'm going to cheat and just copy & paste our most recent email conversation.

RICH
Subject: Are you back yet?
Because I’m very hurt you make derisive comments about me in your blog…something positive for once PLEASE. I go home crying with the “Rich’s eyes are rolling” comments…harrumph

ME:
You love it. You are famous.

RICH:
But I want POSITIVE comments. Let’s have a post about how GREAT Rich is for once…not “Oh look at the stupid boy”. I have DEPTH…INTERESTS…PASSIONS

ME:
Tell us about those please. Then I can blog about them.

RICH:
I don’t have any…I was hoping you could make that up.

ME (in separate email):
And the rolling eyes one, was really more making fun of me and my shopping stories. And your intolerance for them.

RICH (responding to separate email):
I know…but I figured a little false indignity would spice up your day.

ME (back to request to feature Rich on blog):
Give me a topic and we'll see.

RICH:
I can’t seem to stop wearing flip flops to the office every day, and I drive a 7 year old Jeep…these are clearly signs that I need to grow up at some point.

ME:
That is not a topic. And my car is a 1992. THAT is old. What's wrong with a 7 yr old jeep?

How about "Rich IS a Cosmo Girl"

RICH:
How about “Rich is a modern emotive male” sounds much better to me…

ME:
Oh that totally made me laugh. I'll use that one. But give me some more content! What is your astrological sign? Favorite color? Most thoughtful thing you've ever done for Katie?

(ed. note - Katie is Rich's undoubtedly VERY patient and forgiving fiancee)

I need a little more than "Flip flops" and "Jeep".

RICH:
I don’t know my astrological sign because that stuff is phooey…blue…I have no idea, you would have to ask her. I don’t want fact, I want INTERESTING

ME:
Okay, when is your birthday...blue is typically a boy color...and WHAT??? That is lame. You email her this second and ask her - since you either have early onset Alzheimer's, or have really never done anything thoughtful.

************************************

ERGO – Rich is actually not a modern, emotive male.

I am now waiting for Rich to respond to my request for a photo of himself looking either Modern or Emotive. Possibly both. Or possibly, I'll just have to use Daredevil - Adult Large again...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Not A Cosmo Girl

I used to read Cosmo. When my adorable/scary sister had a subscription to it in high school. High School. And even then I thought it was a questionable publication that had far too many articles on "How to Please Your Man", or "How to Steal Your Friend's Man", or "How to Steal Your Friend's Man and Please Him", etc.

It has not gotten better. Kerry, Card and I were out on Card's brother's yacht on Saturday. That's right - it's a yacht. A yacht that he owns with a couple of buddies, one of whom, for whatever reason, had a brand new copy of next months Cosmo onboard:

We did check to make sure that none of the pages were stuck together. Ew. And then proceeded to read through the ridiculousness. I have to admit that I haven't laughed that hard in a while, but it was the kind of laughing that tapers off into pathetic sobs because you realize that this is an international publication, being read by millions. Granted, it provides entertainment, and has loads of glossy photos, which I love. I'm visual. But the pervasive message in each issue just scares me.

The giant headline of "50 Ways to Be Closer to Him" is one of many that irritate me beyond reason. If you're having difficulty GETTING closer to him, chances are it is because he does not WANT you to be closer to him. Where are Greg Behrendt & Liz Tucillo when you need them? And why don't they have their own magazine called "Cosmo - NO", that just reiterates every point they drove home in "He's Just Not That Into You":


I still run into women who haven't read this book yet, and my only question is "What are you waiting for?" It is hilarious and smart and applies to everyone. Still. 3 or 4 years later, and even beyond that. It should be a monthly publication. I have the sneaking suspicion that those who are avoiding the book somehow think that they do not "need" it, and if they do read it, it will confirm their deepest, darkest fears about rejection. Not so. It actually makes you laugh really hard, and respect yourself a little more. Everyone needs those two things. Especially the Cosmo Girl.

Egg Salad Sandwich

I love these things, but WHEN is someone going to make one that is easy to eat?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Bali on $5 a night?

My sister, Jessie, is both adorable and scary. Adorable, in that she is leaving on Tuesday for a 3 week trip to Bali, Indonesia, and she has not booked any accommodation for her first night's stay. Her flight arrives into Denpasar at 11:30PM. Oh, wait, no. That is the scary part.

I am all for "fly by the seat of your pants" traveling, but as a female, who occasionally travels solo, I will always make sure to have a solid hotel reservation for at least my very first night in a strange/new place. As I was talking to her on the phone, I had pulled up Expedia's listings for Bali, and was offering suggestions. She was like "ohhhh, well, those places are probably all really commercial and not typically Indonesian at all". To which I pointed out "You just need somewhere safe and predictable for the first night - after that you can check things out, in the light of day, and stay anywhere you want."


Bali is a deliriously gorgeous, spiritual place, and I'm sure Jessie will be just fine once she gets her bearings. I really just wish she had a nice, simple, clean, basic room waiting for her...




Like at the Oberoi.

Jessie, unfortunately, is hoping to pay $5 per night for a room. See what I mean? Scary Adorable.

I spent 8 days in Bali way way way way back in 1996, and I know things have changed quite a bit, but I don't remember lodging being quite that cheap. Maybe closer to $15 a night, but it was so long ago, I'm not sure. My friends, Jacquie and Nelson, traveled with me to the island paradise, and we stayed in Kuta Beach for a few days (extremely touristy but lively)




then rented a jeep and drove to Ubud, the arts and cultural center of Bali, for a few days. My favorite memory from Ubud was a restaurant called Cafe Wayan. I just Googled it, and it is still there! It was opened in 1977, so I really shouldn't be surprised, but with the turnover rate of restaurants in some places, it was so nice to see that she's still around. Should a restaurant be called "she", like a boat? Anyway, I adored that place. Things I remember about it:

  • It was like a magic garden, complete with a stone path that led through the grounds, and up to the intimate dining areas, which were mostly low tables with large cushions (for sitting), on private bamboo platforms.

  • Everything was candlelit, and if I hadn't been there with my roommate, it would have been very romantical. It's a word.

  • Our waiter was this gorgeous Indonesian guy (well, okay, I know - we were in Indonesia - of course he was Indonesian), dressed in a white nehru jacket - here's Ringo Starr wearing a gold brocade one:


  • Our waiter loved Jacquie and me, and brought us a box of cookies, on the house, for us to take home. They were Indonesian cookies.

  • We left him an obscenely large tip.

  • I ate Nasi Goreng as my entree

"Nasi" means rice, and I'm sure "Goreng" means "really awesome spices and other stuff that make the rice taste fantastic". Trader Joe's has Nasi Goreng in the freezer section. It does not taste the same.

So, I just sent Jessie a quick email, recommending that she go to Cafe Wayan while she's in Ubud. Staying at her $5 a night hotel. Maybe she can ask that cute waiter to lend her a portion of the tip we left him so that she could maybe upgrade to a $10 a night place?