Monday, October 27, 2008

Phishin' and Dishin'

First, the Phisin':
This post is admittedly late, but I am still so sad. I went a-fishin for Phish tickets, and the Phish weren't biting. In fact, they sold out in literally a fraction of a second, while scalpers were posting them for $799 a ticket BEFORE they went on sale. Jerks. If I were confident that all the tickets went to fans who would be thrilled to see the show, I'd be content enough. But I know that wasn't the case, and I am bitter.
In the Phish world, I am a "second generation" fan. Though I was busy with 4th grade when they first started playing, I got turned on to the band in high school when I heard a "more commercial" album called Rift. Since then, I've seen the band exactly 18 times, generally on a Wednesday in July, and so I have heard 25% of all Phish songs live. I have most often heard "Chalkdust Torture", followed closely by "Golgi Apparatus" and "When the Circus Comes". I have chiefly seen the band in my home state of Pennsylvania, of course, but I was surprised to learn that this was only 44% of the time. I then realized that 28% of the shows I went to were in New Jersey - Camden, NJ to be specific, which is just across the river from Philadelphia. In my book, these were Philly shows, though I had to cross state lines. (Do not fear, I am not nerdy enough to figure all this out myself - it is from a fun site that will calculate your personal Phishtistics.)
I was vaguely annoyed at my first Phish show, back in 1996 in State College. A girl on my floor ordered the tickets when I mentioned that I might be interested, but I thought they were too expensive (which they were. Please click here for my standard Ticketmaster rant.) Well, Heather, you certainly did turn out to be a terrible roommate who refused to put another person's spoon in the dishwasher and who charged your friends for toilet paper, but I must thank you for forcing those tickets down my throat. And if you have any for the upcoming show?? Send them my way?? Please?? I promise I will vacuum the carpet...

And next, the Dishin':
Good news, my adoring fans! I will now have more time for blogging! Lets Dish is an awesome idea that I wish I had first. Clients pick 4, 8, or 12 meals from a list of about 20 total, and schedule a time to "Dish". At the appointed time, you go to several stations where all the ingredients for the meals are set up, and you assemble the meals (which each serve 6 people, or you can split them into two 3 serving bags.) In about 2 hours, you have enough meals for the month, ready to freeze, and someone else does the dishes. You can also take a break to eat fresh baked scones and coffee while you are assembling . The cost is pretty reasonable too, when you figure that you would have had to buy all the stuff at the grocery store (and no one would do the dishes for you.) I love cooking, and even planning meals at home, but now and again I get stressed out, and I just don't feel like it. It is nice to have meals in the freezer to thaw and simply pop in the oven. I have been feeling rather blah for about 3 weeks now, and I was getting tired of cereal for dinner. Of course, at the moment, I am so full of scones, I don't need a meal...

Friday, October 24, 2008

My Two Cents

I am not a movie person. I do not remember the names of actors or actresses, I do not rush out to see every blockbuster, and in many cases, I do not stay awake to see the ends of many sagas. As a general rule, I am very very bad at the “Kevin Bacon” game. This is nothing new, and I am generally ok with it. However, there are several movies I have not seen which earn comments from amazed friends and acquaintances. These usually go something like this: “What? You haven’t seen that? Are you sure you’re American?” Rest assured, I am, indeed, American. But, I have not seen:

-The Karate Kid


-any of the Godfather movies

-Gone with the Wind


-the list goes on and on...

All of these were immensely popular for their time, but I just never got around to watching them. So, I recently added “Braveheart” to my Netflix queue in order to rectify at least one of my deficiencies. I cannot say I was all that impressed. First of all, this movie is three hours long and it was extremely hard for me to block out a chunk of time sufficient for the full viewing. (In fact, I did put this movie in the VCR back in 1999 but never got past the half hour marker…) Now that I have watched the film, I can say with confidence that there is entirely too much slow motion. It sometimes took nearly 5 minutes for men on horses to ride 50 yards. Is this supposed to be dramatic effect? I found it annoying. And speaking of horses…

…There are many scenes involving the killing or serious injury to horses. Poor horsies. They are just innocents in the conflict. There is even one scene where a horse jumps out of a 4 story building into a body of water. Who cares if Mel Gibson survived, what about the horse? And speaking of Mel Gibson…

…Is he aware of how old he is? OK, so his love interest in the movie is shown in a flashback scene in which Mel is played by a 12 or 13 year old kid, and she is played by a 7 or 8 year old kid. The difference in age is like 5 years, right? So then, we flash forward and Mel is nearly twice the age of this 20-something girl. And while we’re on that topic…

…How is it that she is still not married when Mel returns from his travels after 10 years? This is supposed to take place in 1345. Didn’t people get married at age 14 back then? (Of course, then the age difference makes more sense.) It just seems pretty convenient to me. And one other thing…

…Of course she is the most beautiful girl in the village. She is the only one who cleans/combs her hair. I think the writers went to extremes to show the differences in class of people by their dress/hygiene. But only with the men. Apparently, the women of all classes still managed to make it to the beauty parlor on a daily basis.

OK, now I got that out. Despite the above ranting, I did not hate the movie. I just don't see what all the hype was about. I did appreciate that it did not have the sappy Hollywood ending in which everyone who was going through a ton of turmoil is suddenly ok, saved by some amazing coincidence. I appreciated also that the bad guys did not hang over their victim saying "I'm gonna kill ya!" for ten minutes, allowing the hero sufficient time to swoop in for a "dramatic" rescue. I also enjoyed Mel Gibson's ability to convey emotion without speaking. His portrayal of hurt when he is betrayed by a noble of his own clan is great - no words need to be spoken (though, of course, this part is in slow motion...) He also has awesome expressions of passion and love in his eyes throughout the movie.

But that is just my two cents. I am not sure I want to see The Godfather. Next on my queue: Monty Python skits. Now how did that get to the top?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Success Has a Price


In MAY (yes, that was 5 months ago), I made a "birthday wish list" on Amazon. (Feel free to peruse this at your leisure, Constant Reader, for the Holidays are fast approaching.) One of the items on my list was an unexplainably expensive gym bag called the "Everything Fits Gym Bag by Gaiam". This sucker costs $50, but it looks nice - simple black design, very chic. And, according to the many reviews, it is aptly named: everything fits. This is the primary flaw of my current bag (a free duffle given out at an Orioles game). In the winter, I wear work clothes to the gym, and pack the following: sneakers, socks, sports bra, two tee shirts (one to change into after my workout), shorts, and sweat pants. I also have shower gear. Frankly, I could probably just head out for the weekend if I were in a pinch. Only I cannot, generally, zip my bag all the way.

I was aware that my friends and family, though they of course adore me (who wouldn't?), would not be likely to purchase this bag for me. So I decided I would make it a reward for reaching one of my weight loss goals. It would have to be a big goal though, for I too have a cheap side that is outraged at the cost. Not only does TJ Maxx have gym bags for $10 which look big enough, the cost is literally infinitely more than the cost of my current bag - if you believe infinity exists of course (that's for you math majors out there). But this bag also looks good! Oh, the turmoil! My practical side and my fun side engage in an unending battle of the brains!

OK, so the goal I came up with seemed relatively simple: meet my calorie goals (1600 calories or less per day) for 4 weeks in a row. And here we are. In the month of September, I finally accomplished my goal. (Yes! I know I made the goal in MAY, and that was 5 months ago! Geesh!)

I got the bag in the mail on Saturday. It cost $60, and I don't know if I simply misremembered the price or if it went up in the FIVE freaking months it took for me to reach my stupid goal. AND, it is not eligible for "Amazon free shipping" so it cost $70 in the end. Whatever...

On the bright side: Everything Fits! And it looks nice! And I love it!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Crime Fighter I am Not

Tonight I began driving home from my sister's house, when a rather rude car approached in my rearview mirror and passed me at 50 miles an hour on a residential city street (not a two lane road). I considered honking at the jackass, but decided a) it is a residential street and after 9pm, b) he is a jackass and by definition would care less that a random car was honking at him, and c) my horn is way whimpy. (I heard recently that this can be remedied - they apparently sell many varieties of horn at car parts stores, so it is just a matter of seeing how many you can sound off before annoying the hell out of everyone in the store or finding the sound to match your personality. I, personally, would like one that is manly, yet not overly aggressive.)

Anyway, the car speeds in front of me, goes through a STOP sign, and about 5 seconds later, a police car with lights a-flashin' also passes me. (and runs the STOP sign.) I proceed to the sign, and STOP like a law-abiding citizen, and another cop car appears suddenly in the mirror just as I am proceeding through the intersection. Flustered, I try to pull to the side and the cop gives a teeny toot with the siren as I watch the two cars in hot pursuit.

As I continue on my way, I see a car, sitting in the middle of the road. But then I realize, the car is not just sitting, it is backing up. And then I realize that the drivers side door is open. And that there is no driver. Like me, two pedestrians are just staring at this unusual phenomenon, and I begin to wonder what I should do. The car did not hit anything. It rolled backward, up over the curb and came to a stop just before hitting a chain link fence. I decided at that point that my work was done. It did not hit anything, the authorities were obviously aware of it, and I didn't have my cell phone. So I drove the 100 or so yards to the next stop and rather stupidly sat there at a red light with my window down thinking how it was cool that I had been in a police chase. Then it occurred to me: an alleged criminal had just jumped from his car to flee on foot a few feet away, and I was sitting there with my window down. I quickly rolled it up, hit the lock button, and grabbed the 8 year old pepper spray keychain my mom gave me for Christmas when I was in college. Would it even work? I know not, but it made me feel a little safer.

For some reason, "The Wire" is constantly recommended on Netflix because I live in Baltimore. I ask you: Why would I want to watch a drama about crime in my own backyard? Especially when real life is right there to remind me a bit too often.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dang Kids!

One of my fellow bloggers just posted a rather disheartening entry about apathetic teenagers. No doubt, there are unfortunately a number of apathetic teenagers who will, more than likely, grow up to be apathetic adults. But I feel obligated to post my own entry in order to point out that not all teenagers fit into this mold. My youngest cousin, Jamie, and her friends get together to go shopping, see movies, go to the high school football games, the presidential debates. In fact, Jamie has been volunteering for her local Obama campaign. The last time we spoke, she had registered 14 people to vote, despite the fact that she can not vote herself.

I am totally impressed. When I was her age (1994):
  • NAFTA was signed
  • Loraina Bobbit was found not guilty for her insane act
  • Tonya Harding's ex-husband pleaded guilty for his insane act
  • The Rwanda genocide began
  • Ronald Regan announced that he had Alzheimers disease
  • Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were murdered
I was aware of each of these events as a teenager - because they were all skits on Saturday Night Live. I guess there is some hope for the apathetic teenagers of the world after all.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Big Read

Sleep is not coming easily, so I just read a friend's blog. She has this list from The Big Read which endeavors to encourage community reading initiatives. This is something that has always been of interest to my mother, and she passed on to me an extreme love of reading, though I admit I only read for about 20 minutes a day anymore. I used to read for full days at a time! Anyway, of their top 100 books, they estimate the average adult has read only six. I find this a bit hard to swallow - I have read 49. (Maybe 50 - I can't remember if I finished Anne of Green Gables, so I didn't count it. I do remember that she goes to live at her aunts? house? after she is orphaned? and the aunt is mean. I think. Or maybe I made that up. I also remember green wallpaper?)

So, the boldface are books I have read. The underlined boldface are books I would definitely read again, because I loved them so much. The italics are books I'd like to read, but to be perfectly honest, I have not heard of many of the books on this list which were not read, so please comment if you think I would like one of them. (Generally, I read whatever I can find and am still working on Adam's collection after 7 years together...) Some other books that I love are in my profile - but I am surprised that some books didn't make the cut: The Picture of Dorian Gray (love this), Beloved (hated it, but it was literature...), The Scarlett Letter (pretty good), and a recent one, The Poisonwood Bible.

What would your list look like?

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (HATED IT)
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (HATED IT)
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (can't remember...)

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curios Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens (hated)
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker (HATED IT)
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams (This movie - a cartoon! - scared the crap out of me as a child. But perhaps I am ready for the book...)
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Counting Sheep is So Old Fashioned

Argh. I'm Sick. Yes, that's a capital S. I even stayed home from work yesterday, for the first time ever in all the years I have been out of school. But I guess I did too much - I had a ton of dishes and knicknacks from my grandmother's apartment to clean, and I had to get groceries because we had no food. (I ate a grilled cheese roll, slightly moldy, for lunch. The roll actually worked out pretty well - and don't worry, I am pretty sure I picked all the mold off.)
Anyway, this morning, I felt pretty good. But by midafternoon, I found myself wondering if I was actually walking in slow motion, of if it just felt like I was. By late afternoon, I was tiptoeing through the office, hoping to soften my steps, for every one caused sharp pains in my teeth and head. As I left the office, it was apparent that I was actually walking in slow motion. I can't imagine how I'd feel without medication.
So here I am now, blogging myself to sleep.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I have oft admired the profile pictures of my fellow bloggers. However, I have noted that few people choose a boring old picture of themselves. Apparently, this approach would be rather uninspired. To name a few - Mel uses a picture of the Fraggle of the same name, and Maureen (who is living in New Zealand) uses the New Zealand flag. Danielle uses a picture of an eye. (I am most jealous that she thought of this before I did!) At my cousin Shanon's wedding, Adam was kind enough to take a picture of me, smiling with my other cousin Jamie. He took forever to take the photo, and we were both holding our smile for way longer than we should. Then, the smart-ass shows us the pic:

This is me. A bit too close for my liking.

Anyway, Carabee comes closest to a picture of herself, but she uses a baby picture. Perhaps a clever commentary - her blog is most often about her baby, but focuses on how she is experienceing the world (of parenting) for the first time just as she did when the picture was taken. Or maybe she just likes the photo. I don't know.
Point being, I needed likeness to represent. So today I went to South Park Studio and created my own little me. Aren't I cute?