Friday, November 30, 2007

The good and the bad.

This is good.

This is terrifying.
My dad put Sister Dinosaur on the roof. And now it's raining! I told him it was going to rain in LA. Anyway. Here is the picture he sent me from his phone:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mr Splashy Pants

Have you hear about the "name a whale" contest that Greenpeace is having? The winning name at the moment is "Mr. Splashy Pants." It sounds like something that Brett and Lucie and I would have named something as kids. (Lucie and I did have, of course, No-neck Skipper, a Skipper -- that means a Barbie, only "younger," meaning she had smaller boobs -- doll whose head had come off and so we smashed it back on her neck with Scotch tape -- I really should find pictures of this.)

Here's the story on how it happened (the short version, as it is with so many stories these days, is "God bless the Internet"). And here are a few more links.

(actually, via a work e-mail list)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lars and the Real Girl

My headache finally disappeared mid-movie. Hurrah!

Lars and the Real Girl was good -- sweet and interesting and more serious than you would think. It was also sort of charmingly Midwestern (takes place in Wisconsin in the winter the whole time), without being farcical. Actually, in general it was not as absurd as you would think it would be based on the plot summary. Ryan Gosling was, of course, really good, very believable in the (frankly unbelievable) role, as was the rest of the cast. I was surprised most by Paul Schneider who played Gus, Lars' brother. I just checked his IMDB profile and apparently I've seen him in two other movies (The Family Stone and All the Real Girls --yes, funnily enough). I can't remember him in them. But in this one, he was good - he was sort of quietly expressive. He had a great, little, short monologue that was the best scene in the movie. However, in general I felt like the cast was good -- the actual girl (not the "Real Girl" sex doll Bianca) who plays Lars' human love interest was kind of adorably dorky and charming.

Actually the more I think about it the more I like it. It just felt really real, and honest and small, in that good way, the way tiny gestures people make are the best things or most memorable things about them. Love is in the details, and all that. This was a loved movie, in that sense, and that's quite fitting.

The other thing that was fun about the film was the audience. I saw it with a friend from work in this tiny, tiny theatre -- there were literally about 20 seats, all filled. The audience was largely older people who giggled uncontrollably in all the funny parts, sort of in a wave of everyone laughing contagiously. I love seeing little indie movies with that kind of crowd -- I saw Waitress with a crowd like that and it made the movie. It feels so much cozier.

(On a totally shallow note, while eating dinner tonight post-movie, I watched "Gossip Girl" with Dan. I have to admit that I think the show's gotten better. I have only watched maybe four full episodes, but this one, the Thanksgiving episode, was a definite improvement on earlier eps, even with the fuzzy-pastel-faded Veronica Mars-style flashback scenes, which made me long to see more of the Gossip Girl pre-Serena making herself over for the better. Also, I just have this soft spot for the character Dan, and in another way, for Serena's mom, who I think is a much better actor than you would assume. I may have to take up watching this show again...)

Lars and the real headache

I have a brutal headache and everything I've been doing today takes about seven times as long as usual. So unfortunately I have not been able to blog in between work tasks, and instead am only doing work tasks. Who knew?

Anyway, I hope to be able to blog later on this evening. I'm finally seeing "Lars and the Real Girl" (at least, I am if the shuttle schedule works out) and hope to be able to rhapsodize about how funny and cute and quirky it is. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Enabling

Thanks Dad, for justifying our habits...

Photos from my Thanksgiving break...

These are those Barbie hairbrushes Dad and I found in the garage. Please, click on the image so you can see it bigger -- it shows Barbie hair in grotesque zoom.


Barbie Shoes!

This is the only record of my the only athletic year of my life (I actually also found my certificate for participating in frosh/soph swimming my freshman year, but I think I tossed it. Boo.)

We kept these. They are awesome.


My comment upon this discovery: "Can you ever have too many dice?"


Boxes full of random things like this are everywhere.

Not found in the garage! This was our final attempt to artistically photograph the turkey. Note the persimmons and wine glass carefully staged in the background.

My grandma contemplates the flower vase. She wanted us to take pictures of people, not things, so, here you go. :)

Baaa

Is it weird that I want to adopt a sheep?

"Plastics"

I was listening to NPR last night and this guy Mark Schapiro was on Fresh Air. He just wrote a book about toxic chemicals in a bunch of US consumer products: car dashboards, computers, iPods, cosmetics, toys, etc. etc. Essentially there's a bunch of research suggesting that we should regulate these toxins or substances in our products but we don't; however, the EU has run with the research. They instituted bans on phthalates (real word! it is something that makes plastic pliable) in children's toys, which, over time, basically degrade and leak these phthalates into our environment, including kids' mouths or whatever; when toys containing phthalates are pulled from the shelves in Europe, they end up here! (Keep in mind the majority of all the toys, with phthalates or not, are made in China, but they are made to different specifications for EU versus the US.) The EU has also banned mutation-causing agents, carcinogens, and birth-defect-causing agents in cosmetics (seems sort of obvious, doesn't it?). But California was trying to pass a law stating that cosmetics company had to list (just list, not ban) the potentially harmful substances in their products, and the companies were lobbying like hell against the law. However, those same companies are selling products without all that stuff in them in the EU. Kind of scary, right? Not as scary as this: Apparently, and I did not know this (and neither did good ol' Terry Gross), the FDA does not regulate the cosmetics industry. Back when the FDA started, the makeup business was so small that it managed to wrangle itself out of FDA regulation and so it has apparently stayed. I find that sort of terrifying, given that I have no understanding of the ingredients even when they are listed on my make-up products and apparently some of them could cause cancer (not to mention contain lead, per that lipstick scandal a little while ago). I have to say that realization sort of made me pause over my mascara, which causes me major eye pain whenever it gets in my eyes (which is all the time since I am really bad about using makeup remover and usually just wash my face and let it run). Um, not to sound more like a hippie SF type, but, are organic products safer? If so I may have to make a Whole Foods make-up run.

(Mark Schapiro's book is here, the NPR story is here)

Cool thing

Not that I have a use for this, but it's neat looking: terrain maps on Google. Here is Mt. Rainier:


View Larger Map

Grand Canyon:

View Larger Map

Zion National Park, which is way cooler in person than the Grand Canyon:


View Larger Map

My 'hood:


View Larger Map

Perhaps this will come in handy as I strategize my new workout plan. (Which is: If struck by inspiration, given 3 day-per-work-week exercise, run 3 miles on a weekend day, on flat ground. I'm starting very small.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

More 3191s

I love these latest 3191s. I know I keep posting them and it feels like blog cheating but they are just too lovely.

Feathers

Lights & kitty

The newest member of my owl family


He is about an inch tall, and even cuter in person. I could just die.

Materialism.

Ok, please forgive me for the materialism that is about to take place here.

I know that to some people the prices of these items will come as a shock but remember they are either a) leather or b) handmade and rare so please no judgment, plus I am serious about making a considered purchase.

Basically I have decided that I desperately need a new purse and I have decided I am willing to and ready to spend money on one that I really like that is what I want. I REALLY wanted a purse from Anthropologie that was perfect, but I delayed my purchase of it and now it is sold out entirely and does not seem to be coming back. So here are my new contenders. I want a purse that is big enough to carry the kinds of things I carry (two phones, camera, iPod nano, book, makeup bag, wallet, keys), and that has a long enough handle such that I can reach into the bag without taking it off my shoulder (I hate having to take off one or both handles to reach things, it's hard to balance, this is lame but true). I would prefer brown soft (worn-in feeling) leather, like a light brown. But I am also open to tweed/gray/wool things. So here are the contenders.

1) Sabina bag from Urban Outfitters

2) Jack and Marjorie bag. I have seen this one in person and it's pretty nice. A little more structured (as Lucky magazine says) than the other options. The straps and everything are made from recycled military material like belts and such (I think the strap on here is from a rifle strap!).


3) On the Edge tote from Urban Outfitters


Help me! (Also, help me not want a sequined dress. Although if I could get it in time, this would probably be cute for my work holiday party coming up in a week and a half.)

Excedrin works

I woke up this morning with a headache -- took two Advil -- came to work and found myself with a worse headache by 10:30. So for the first time in my life I tried the migraine sufferer's friend, Excedrin, and if I am not tempting fate too much right now, it seems to have had at least a slight effect. That's very exciting, I know, but I consider it a small victory today, since today so far has not been super pleasant. I'm filling in for someone at work and finding that a bit challenging (fuck, headache just came back a bit), and this headache was not the best way to start back at work after a week's pseudo-vacation. Grump.

That said though, things seem to be looking up... I have been of course re-evaluating my life and coming up with some good goals (exercise Tuesday through Thursday is one example) and feeling a little centered. And last night's Love Actually viewing was everything I hoped it would be, nerd that I am. Now that my headache's fading I can post here today!

Also, I have to say this: NaBloPoMo has been really nice. I love sitting down for just a bit every day to write something, even the days I only have thirty seconds to jot down a quick hello. It is a nice kind of routine, a mental checkup. So I have to thank you, my meager but dedicated readership, because this is helpful to me to write and so it's even better to know it's being read. Hurray for blogs!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sap

Oh, God, I made the right choice... I guess. I literally just got 1 minute into Love Actually and I'm already teary. I'm such a girl/mess (redundant?). Boo. Back to it.

Back in the saddle again

Well, I'm home again, in San Francisco. I won't lie, I love this city, but I was not looking forward to my return to it. I had a good, solid time in Whittier, and I felt rested and more centered and, if not happier, just... more level, I guess.

Highlights include:

I finally, finally watched "O Lucky Man," a movie that my dad has been referencing for as long as I can remember, and which only recently was released on DVD. Watching it had the same climactic import as when I first saw "Diner," Dad's actual favorite movie, which I had previously seen only in selectively edited segments. I had probably seen about half the movie multiple times before I ever saw the movie. By climactic import though, I actual mean that it was climactic, not a letdown like things that are built up that much normally are. It was a funny and bizarre movie, and Malcolm McDowell was really fantastic in it, and I gained new appreciation for him. "You have eyes like Steve McQueen." Also, young Helen Mirren is a fox.

Also on the movie front, I watched "Ghost World," which I'd actually seen before, with my sister, and hated. Here's the weird part: I think we hated it because we thought we were supposed to like and/or identify with the main characters. But the reality is they aren't that likable, so once you give up that sort of audience want, you can just relax and enjoy the movie, which is actually pretty damn good and funny. Steve Buscemi has the kind of pathos that Bill Murray normally is lauded for, only in perhaps a more surprising way. And as my dad and I noted, it has Bob Balaban in it, and who doesn't love Bob Balaban? (Once we thought we saw him in a London airport, but the man in question was on a trans-terminal hotel bus and got off at the Holiday Inn, so, you make your own conclusions.)

I have to admit that several times during my stay I thought to myself, maybe those Victorians had it right -- perhaps a young woman staying at her parents' house until marriage isn't a half bad plan. Just because I got more sleep and ate better, and never had more than 2 drinks a night. Health! A novel concept.

I also managed to get two books read, which was less than I would have liked but still a pretty good total, especially since the second book I read in about 24 hours. (It was "The God of Small Things," and yes, Casey, you were so right, I hate myself for not reading this years ago, it was fantastic. Although that doesn't feel like the right word... I think I summed it up best on my goodreads.com review: "beautiful and sad.") So that's 2 "From the Stacks" books down! And I gained some new appreciation for the whole "From the Stacks" concept. I felt like the books I read were so good because I was being rewarded for paying attention to them at last (like children who patiently wait for a cookie and get the whole thing, instead of getting half of it faster, which is actually some famous psychology study that I don't remember any more details of, even whether or not the study was connected to intelligence or aggression or blah blah blah). I really did feel a smug sense of moral satisfaction upon finishing each one, like I was being a good reader at last. Now, at home, I am looking at my bookshelf and it's kind of daunting and tempting all at the same time. I tend to look at it grumpily, because it doesn't have exactly what I want at whatever time, but comparing it to my bookshelf (my own bookshelf) at home I really do feel like I have a great collection here. (My bookshelf at home is surprisingly full of YA books I've read already, or books I read -- actually read -- for class, whereas this shelf is primarily new acquisitions and guilty leftovers from classes I somehow winged my way through.)

A surprising highlight? Going through all of the papers and souvenirs and toys and stuff that have collected for my entire life in our garage. I found so many little hilarities. I only wish I'd had the time to get them together and scan them or something and send them to people who would appreciate them. I don't think Bethany reads this, but damn, were we hilarious girls. And I re-discovered my whole academic history, too, from first grade to parts of college, and that experience was sort of horrifying and comforting at the same time. Because! I was looking at papers or notes from just a few years ago -- junior year -- and I realized that I had learned more since then and therefore understood them better. That is a very comforting thought, that whole lifelong learning thing that is so easily mockable.

So now I am home. I made myself a BLT for a very late lunch, and then spent my afternoon and early evening watching "The Lives of Others," which was pretty heartbreaking, and also made me realize that I really have terrible understanding of what it was to live in the USSR during the Cold War. I sort of always think that the real atrocities of communism happened like, prior to 1970, and anything afterwards I think of as falling into one of these categories: China, air strike drills, the fall of the Berlin wall (which is a nebulous non-Communism Communism), and Russia itself (somehow this is different in my head from East Germany, hence my terrible ignorance). So basically I just had no idea how bad it was to be part of the Eastern Bloc. This was a good eye-opener. My "dinner" was some of this leek-potato soup Dan made and a bit of a scallop (also made by Dan). It was supplemented by a bit of wine, though, so I'm not starving myself or anything. Plus, Rayna (a certain someone's ladyfriend; I am reluctant to categorize her in print since it's really not my deal) was here and I feel like I actually got to talk to her for the first time sort of. Usually I feel like I'm babbling at her, but tonight I felt that there was mutual babble, which was good, and I like her, so that's also good.

I am, however, of course, rethinking my life (when am I not?). I hereby vow to do more things "for myself," as they say, and I am sticking to my ban on coffee and soda (except on special occasions, and I still have to figure out what the hell I'm going to order in bars if not a coke-and-something), and I'm going to finally exercise again. That will be a big step, and I think I'm actually ready for it. At least, I say that now.

Anyway, at the moment I still kind of feel like I'm on vacation. I lounged all evening, and it's a little hard to realize that I'm going to be at work in 12 hours. (Yikes!) So with that, I retire. I've got a plan: either my annual "Love Actually" viewing, or a few episodes of Arrested Development, recently rescued from my parents' house (I had loaned them like a year before) and now back in their rightful home. Hurrah! All is well.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

20 reasons to extend my vacation at home

(as if I needed more.)

Since I'm doing the "From the Stacks" challenge and reading 5 books from my stack of "to reads" at home (meaning my apartment), well, "to reads" have been on my mind. I went through our (many, many) bookshelves at home and picked 5 "From the Stacks" challenge books from a few of them.

From the bookshelf in the sewing room:
Flaubert's Parrot (because my grandma loves, and I feel guilty for not ready any, Barnes)
American Gods (because apparently I have decided I think Neil Gaiman is a genius, despite the only books I've read by him being Coraline and Good Omens)
Portrait of a Lady (because I haven't read ANY James! Terrible.)
The Outsiders (because I didn't read it when I was little, but I claim to recognize references to it like, "Stay Gold, Ponyboy")
Tanglewreck (because I read a Winterson once and loved it, and then got this for Mom, thinking it was the perfect blend of good lit and YA lit, and haven't read it myself -- and I don't think she has either)

From the bookshelf in my room:
Hotel World (because "The Accidental" was surprisingly amazing)
Beowulf (because I am a fantasy nerd at heart and need to know the roots of it all)
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (because Casey says so)
Galatea 2.2 (because Caryl bought it for me years ago, or loaned it to me, or something, and I read "Plowing the Dark" and didn't much care for it, but I hear this one is much better, and plus he won a National Book Award last year)
I Cannot Tell a Lie, Exactly (oddly enough! because years ago, in my Diaryland days, I had internet friends, just like I do now, only weirder since it was like 1998, and one of them recommended this, and I bought it and have never read it)

From the bookshelf in my sister's room:
Tropic of Cancer (because I read excerpts of it for my continuing studies class about American writers in Paris, and found it really amazing)
Anna Karenina (because it's there)
House of Leaves (because Lucie loved it back in the day, and I started it and was curious but was too terrified by her descriptions of being terrified to continue it, and because I am a terrible hipster)
The Human Stain (because it's Roth)
pick one of any Nabokov (I don't know which to read, after Lolita, but I know I need to)

From the bookshelf in my mom's room:
Gilead (because it's supposed to be good, and it won something too, or she did)
Tess of the D'Urbervilles (because I have this sick fascination with women's downfalls in the 19th century, and because I really liked Jude the Obscure, and because I am a nerd)
Watership Down (because my mom says so. Also, I have my own copy of this, and it could easily have made it into the real From the Stacks challenge)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (because it's incredibly shameful that I started it a year ago, and put it down despite the fact that I was loving it. I also own a copy of this)
The Kite Runner (because apparently you are not a good American until you've read this)

And there are many runners-up:
Blindness (Saramago)
any number of forlorn Faulkner books
The Sun Also Rises (I know, I know, I'm sure I wouldn't like it, but I feel bad for never finishing it)
Ian McKellan's Black Dogs
Birdsong, by Faulks
The Reader (THREE copies!!)
Mason & Dixon AND Gravity's Rainbow
The Scarlet Pimpernel
A.B. Guthrie's Big Sky

(Those are only the ones I took the time to write down. And! I neglected to include the bookshelf in the living room. Ah, so many books, so little time...)

Friday, November 23, 2007

No Country for Old Men

This review is highly overdue, but it needs to happen (and also, let's be frank, I haven't blogged yet today). On Monday, I saw No Country for Old Men. I had high expectations -- who doesn't, at this point -- and it definitely lived up to them. Apparently some people (aka my mom) don't want to know what it's about, so I'll leave it to you to look up the plot if you don't know it, but as far as the movie itself: it was fantastic. I had read the book, and I was still incredibly tense for the entire movie. At one point I was convinced that the guys behind me were kicking my chair - except then I realized there were no guys behind me. It was actually just my heartbeat. Scary.

But really, it was a great movie -- Tommy Lee Jones was brilliant (I always love him), Javier Bardem was sufficiently creepy without being cartoonish, and it was also pretty faithful (in my opinion) to the book, in a way that managed to kind of downplay the cantankerousness of the book and play up its sincerity, and not hammer you over the head. Not to mention, the landscapes and the shots were just perfect... Really emphasized the sort of desolation, the forsakenness.

Go see it. I want to see it again.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

and of course, no holiday complete without...


(via icanhascheezburger, of course)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Things I am thankful for:
-Not having to work (much more than I already have) this weekend
-The Satanic Verses. It's just getting better
-Stuffing. I freaking love it. Mom makes it with like boxed Mrs. Cubbinson's which I think Cristina would find sort of cutely white (the same way she finds casseroles cutely white, or weirdly white, whichever it is) but it's just SO GOOD.
-Mashed potatoes.
-Garage storage. I wish I had more time while I was home to go through it all for its hilarity
-A small but dedicated blog readership
-But the urban and non-urban families -- truly, I'm very lucky to have these
-Actually, it's too hard to count the myriad things I am thankful for on a daily basis. There is a lot of goodness out there and I subscribe to the Kurt Vonnegut school of thanking whoever it is or whatever it is for any good moment:

"I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.'" - Kurt Vonnegut

So I guess I'm thankful there are so many things out there to be happy about.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Odds and ends

This sort of made me nostalgic for the Midwest that I've never known... Not sure why, I just kind of feel like I owe them something since my family was "originally" from there (not Minnesota though).

If you are a "Top Chef" fan, here's a pretty weird article about Padma Lakshmi. I did not know she went to school in La Puente! That is like 20 minutes from my house! Also she just sort of strikes me as being a bit all over the place. I still believe all the rumors about her being a total stoner.

Yesterday, I went to Barnes & Noble with my aunt. I was picking out Christmas cards (I have a LONG list of people to send cards to this year), and I was considering buying a pack featuring some popular cartoon characters (can't tell you which; that would spoil the card, wouldn't it?). Then I said to myself, "Or, is this too commercial?" Oh, the irony. Christmas is so weird.

I have this inexplicable want for this outfit -- I think it's the Swedishness of it all (to bring my odds and ends full circle!!)

Mom and I counted our top rated books on Goodreads.com. I had around 110 books rated 5 stars -- of those, only 35 of them were adult books. I don't know what that means exactly. Perhaps I'm too repressed and adult-y to give books 5 stars anymore. The only one I've given 5 to is "The Road," which I initially gave 4 and then I rethought it.

One for the fashion ages....

Not to talk about totally stupid things, but, this is my outfit right now:

-Navy Google "Blueprint" zip-up sweatshirt from the sales conference this past year.
-Red plaid flannel shirt, hugely oversized, that my friend Miguel gave to me 6 years ago.
-Leggings (obvi)
-Bright red and pale gray mukluks
-Gold bangle bracelet I found in the garage and didn't have a place for

This is what working from home does to you!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"affecting audience's hearts and minds with honesty"

I never wrote about this much but I saw Broken Social Scene in concert a few weeks ago and they were pretty fantastic, mostly cause they rocked out more than I expected them to and the venue was very conducive to that kind of show. The new NPR music site has a full concert recorded from the last night of this same tour, and it kind of gets at the experience, except in a very 2D way, and it sort of emphasizes the moments where Kevin Drew's voice is offkey (I think that, just like when I saw him in SF, he probably had a cold or something). But it kind of shows his sort of fun-on-stage personality.

Also in general the NPR music site is pretty cool. If I had more time to screw around at work listening to music and watching videos and such, I'd do it (I feel the same way about podcasts).

More on Broken Social Scene though...
After the concert I did some Google searching and came across (of course) the Pitchfork Media review of Kevin Drew's "Spirit If..." (Basically he's in Broken Social Scene, but he borrowed them to be his pseudo-actual backup band for his own music... it's just the same, but the name for some reason is different, although, I don't think anyone really cares. I don't.) I liked this part of it, cheesy as it is:

But to know Spirit If… is to know Kevin Drew: One-time teenage burn-out, current 31-year-old master of scruff, and lifelong romantic. He hugs audience members during shows, and once described his band's objective to the New York Times Magazine with all the quixotic wonder of a wide-eyed Bono: "We want to affect audiences' hearts and minds with honesty."

Kind of a nice idea.

And, next February, yet another Broken Social Scene-ster is putting out a "solo" album.. Jason Collett. You can find songs to download here.

Fall into the gap

This is embarrassing. I just spent like 15 minutes searching for a downloadable copy of the Will Arnett/Amy Poehler Gap ad where they are sharing-wearing like 7 different sweaters. It's funnier than this one:


And you can see it if you go to Gap's homepage. It kind of just makes me giggle, mostly because they are hilarious, and she is so adorable with her bangs (it makes me want to get bangs again, although I've been told that they were a really bad mistake, and I should probably keep my sort of half/swept bang). It also reminds me of how hilarious they were in (gulp) Blades of Glory, which was actually much funnier than I thought it was going to be. And it makes me want to watch Arrested Development. And! It also makes me want to post this recap of the SNL show at Upright Citizen's Brigade last Sunday, which I obviously did not go to (for about 1 million reasons) but which sounds awesome, mostly because, while I never watch SNL, I appreciate funny people being funny together, and this seems like it was that (kind of like how my main sentiment in a lot of comedies these days is not "damn this is funny" but "damn I'd like to hang out with these people" -- kind of like Mindy Kaling! and I am starting to repeat myself).

Also, I just watched Superbad again the other day and it was really truly funny, more so than the first time I think, and Michael Cera is just too good. That whole scene at the party at the end with him, all of it, is pretty much genius.

And finally, speaking of cute funny actors, and Gap ads, how do we feel about the John Krasinski Gap ads? My feeling is, why are they making him pose so weirdly? It's kind of like the Gap version of an awkward elementary school photo ("Tilt your head this way, and your chin this way, and now, look at me, no, tilt just a little this way" -- jamming your chin at an unnatural angle -- "ok, now STICK YOUR PELVIS OUT SO IT LOOKS LIKE YOUR PANTS ARE TOO TIGHT!").


At least it's better than the one here.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sunday morning selves...

I feel like I just ingested about 80% of my daily sodium recommended value, but in reality according to the pack of almonds I just ate, it was only 6%. I rule. This is utterly besides the point, by the way.

So, striking writers, guys, how do we feel? I felt sort of grumpy about it in the first place, given the whole Office situation (it's over for who knows how long! although the most recent episode can only be described as fucking amazing, or possibly fucking transcendental, I'm not sure), and then I got briefly grumpier upon watching the video of the Office writers (most of whom are also actors) on the picket lines, because a) I want to hang out with them so bad and b) It feels weird to watch these actors and prominent writers on strike for a bigger piece of the pie. That said, I'm completely on their side, because as I'm reminded, the reality is that these are the exceptions to the writerly rule.

This brings me to my real point, which is (surprise!) Office related. I've recently decided that I need to subscribe to Mindy Kaling's (aka Kelly Kapoor's) blog, which I find to be quite hilarious and again, it really makes me want to hang out with her and the rest of the cast/writers of that show. Mindy wrote a nice piece today about why she's striking. She also wrote this great post the other day which discussed her feeling about women's "Sunday morning fantasies." I quote:

These underwear play an important role in my Sunday Morning Fantasy #27 (most women I know ages 21-31 have several dozen Sunday Morning Fantasies. I have discovered an extremely vulnerable and weirdly creative side of most women I know, that plan, cast, and set design how our Sunday mornings look in our futures. Like, somehow if a photographer where to surprise me at my house Sunday morning, I am doing something completely cool and photographable.)

Sunday Morning Fantasy #27 looks like this: Park Slope, Brooklyn. I am reading the Times Book Review and eating granola and fruit in these underwear and a tank top at my kitchen table with Pharell, my boyfriend.

I love how the little details are so key here. As in: Park Slope. My Sunday morning fantasies also frequently take place in Park Slope! Either that or in some cottage type place somewhere inaccessible where I would never actually live, like Portland, Maine (guess why?) or, like, Walden Pond. I am kidding sort of about the Walden Pond part. What I really mean is that they take place in semi-rural areas in the Northeast, where I've never been and which I can't be more specific about except to say that pretty much all my design/home decor bloggers seem to live in these places (New Hampshire!? Is this like a hidden mecca for artsy homebodies who like the Internet??). Like I said, I am never planning to live in Portland or New Hampshire. But damn if these fantasies don't appeal to me (that is, after all, why they are fantasies - Emily, stop circular writing now). Other detail: granola and fruit. Because the way I really wake up on Sundays is generally like this: "Ugh, tell me it's not morning yet. And my head hurts. I need brunch either right now or in like seven hours." Rarely do I wake up totally refreshed and ready to eat some (homemade) granola with (purchased at farmer's market) fruit.

Essentially what I'm saying here is that the Sunday morning fantasy is just another way of describing my ideal "blog self." I can't find it, but one of my many aforementioned design bloggers once wrote a post talking about how she, and her life, are not really as perfect/idealized
as they come across on the Internet. That really appealed to me because all these women (they are all women!) live, at least on the HTML page, the lives I thought I was going to lead when I was like ... um, well, more like when I was 21 than 12. I was never the think-ahead type as a little kid, so I didn't have life goals really then in the same way I do now. What I mean is that these women, on the page, seem to have it all together. I don't juts mean have a career they love, husbands they love, kids they love, etc. I mean more superficial things -- the things that to my mind can be or could be adapted to fit any lifestyle. Like, they all seem to have time to take lovely pictures of their surroundings, to send Christmas cards they made themselves, to bake seasonal treats, on and on. I guess what I mean is that they all seem to have the right thing in place for the right situation... the right upholstery for their chair, the right breakfast for that rainy day, and so on and so on. And I so frequently find myself saying, why don't I have the right breakfast on hand? Why don't I have a great digital camera to capture the way that shadow of a maple leaf falls just so next to my cat's tail. Why don't I live somewhere that I've made a home, with cute trinkets everywhere and neatly made beds and messes, if they exist, that are appropriately homey?

Perhaps it's the age... or the place... or whatever. I know that all these people I'm reading are older than I am, more settled. But I also wonder if it isn't a personality thing - or, worse, if I could have these idealized settings if I sacrificed some other things (like, the right to wake up hungover on a Sunday, or, put a better way, my tendency to say yes to every social situation, even though I'm tired)? I mean, do I really want these things if I'm not doing them? Couldn't I have them if I wanted... if I wanted to prioritize baking over bars?

I've come a ways from where I started in this entry, now, back to that eternal question of how is it other people seem to manage to have it all when I can barely keep up with what I have already... the issue of whether or not there's something fundamentally off, such that I don't grab ahold of what I want and instead get swayed by the crowd. But the point, too, is that I like my crowd... I want to be able to do everything with them, keep my job (quite frankly though, that's only really because I don't have any money without it), and take another 8 hours a day to wander around, take photos, read, stay on top of the news, and make myself dinner, and while I'm at it get some knitting and house decorating done. And let's face it, that isn't happening... and perhaps if it doesn't happen naturally it just isn't going to happen at all, like it would be forced or something.

Anyway. It's actually my opinion (as you can probably tell by the noncommital tone of that last sentence) that we should always shoot to be that most authentic best version of ourselves, that blog self, the Sunday morning self. (If that's what it is. I don't know anyone who has a Saturday night fantasy, at least not in this sense, but I couldn't say they don't exist.) And so, with that ramble as usual, I return to work... and to contemplating the ideal Sunday.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Things I learned from the New York Times article on Jimmy Wales

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, did basically a survey of his life in the New York Times mag a little while ago. Why do I care? Not sure. For some reason I regard him with a certain level of suspicion that is entirely unmerited. Anyway: What I learned.

-Jimmy Wales has bad taste in movies.

Favorite movie: “The Matrix.”

-Jimmy Wales likes to use various permutations of the word "spiffy."

Latest gadget: I’m really spiffed about the Sidekick.
Favorite item of clothing: I have a black velvet sport coat that I wear quite often. It is soft, spiffy and it looks cool.

-Jimmy Wales and I have the same bad habits.

Guilty pleasure: Playing Scrabble on Facebook. I do that when I am supposed to be working.

-My job decision a year ago was apparently a lot more of a decision between competitors than I knew.

Obsession: Currently, it’s wikia.com. It is meant to take on Google by creating a search engine where all the editorial decisions are made by the general public and all the software is open.

The Encyclopedist's Lair

How I spent my Thanksgiving vacation (so far)... part 1

Well, today is what I would call a productive day. The boring stuff first: I woke up after 9.5 glorious hours of sleep, ate Grape Nuts (this matters to me: I love Grape Nuts), read 100-ish pages of The Satanic Verses. Around one in the afternoon, I embarked on the true adventure of the day. I had promised my dad that while I was home for this week, I would help him go through the boxes and boxes and boxes of junk and irreplaceable treasures which are currently intermingled in our garage. Armed with Barrel Aged Old Rasputin, we did this from around 1pm until 8pm, with a break for dinner. Seriously, it was one of those situations where it just keeps coming, like in cartoons when things pour out of closets. One box gone through just led to another... I was alternately disgusted, amazed, ashamed, you get the picture.

Notable Discoveries:
-Birkenstocks I wore for about a year in high school exclusively (I have this distinct memory of wearing them with green cargo pants and this pink peasanty top my Mom had bought for me). I wore them for the rest of the day, because I forgot flip-flops in my packing rush.
-A make-up bag literally FULL of Barbie hairbrushes. I would estimate that there are around 40 or 50 of them. We kept this.
-A box intended for 3.5 floppy disks, labeled and containing "Smooth Rocks." I'm not sure why. I almost kept this, except that I realized the likelihood of me bringing it up to San Francisco and using it for gardening/plants in vases was approximately 1%.
-Pogs
-Two Tamagotchis, lifeless, obviously

Lessons Learned:
-Do not keep stupid shit. I found about 4 decks of cards with less than 52 cards in each. Why did I keep these? I am not sure.
-I have a postcard problem. I know for a fact that I have 2 full boxes of postcards in my apartment. I found two more boxes here -- one from the Washington, D.C. trip I took in 8th grade, one from my trip to Spain in 12th grade. TONS of freaking postcards.
-It is true what they say about Americans and waste, or perhaps just about modern people and waste. We threw out so much junk -- stuff so useless that we can't even give to Goodwill. It's really quite frightening. Some of it was stuff that I know I never used -- things that I'm sure we got for Christmas one year and were excited about and then never touched. For example: A calligraphy set. A paper airplane set from Eddie Bauer (I don't know why). A Chinese brush painting set. A mosaic concrete tile set. A make-your-own Native American Moccasins set. A macrame friendship bracelets set. I realized today that we have around 25 Beanie Babies, and I would like to point out that we were definitely less into that whole trend than most other families in our community. (See below for my treatise on stuffed animals.) So think about the sheer weight of all that stuff in the landfill. Terrifying.
-All that said, stuff can tell a story. For example, in one box, I found a deck of Tarot cards and a Henna painting kit. Can you guess what phase of my life I was in then? (Hint: It was closely associated with the Birkenstock period.) I found the headdress from a costume from a Toyon special dinner I went to with Amelia and Laurel. I found signs from "Slappin' Ass Day" -- motto was, I believe, "Make a friend, slap an ass" and Cristina can really explain more. I found lots of cocktail umbrellas and origami paper and jewelry wire from the good ol' Stanford Craft Guild Days.

All in all, it was actually fun, although daunting by the end, when we had lots of "keeper" stuff out in piles, utterly disorganized still, and no place to put the boxes of yet-unsorted stuff. Also: We have yet to go through any of the stuffed animals. I am paralyzed in the face of stuffed animals. They look so pathetic when you give them away. (Apparently sympathy for inanimate objects is a major symptom of Asperger's. Just a side note.) The aforementioned Beanie babies really present me with a traumatic choice -- I feel like I can't give away one Beanie and keep another, even if the kept one is something rad and weird like a buffalo or a ferret (yes, I have both!! Who am I!!) and the other is something boring like a dog. We will see. When Lucie is here tomorrow we are going to go through all the stuffed animals together, and I have a feeling her sentimentality is not as strong as mine. I'm bracing myself.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

LolOffice?

I must have lied about bedtime. Before I crash... Two of my favorite things - one guilty pleasure, one totally justified and awesome one - have united.

LOLCATS + The Office.

OfficeTally, every Office nerd's favorite blog, is running a lolcat Office contest - you just make a lolcat with an Office quote. I'm too tired to look at all of them, but here's one that builds off of one of the best Office quotes everrrr!!! (Get my meta-reference there?)


Ok, it's not the most hilarious thing, but it's hilarious that these exist. And I will explain more about my inexplicable affection for lolcats later. That would take way too much time.

(Lolcat from OfficeTally commenter "Pamela Dean")

I love LA?

I flew from San Francisco to LA today, home for a whole week for Thanksgiving. Words cannot express how thrilled I am to be somewhere I have almost no friends, where I can just sit around. It's sort of sad that I have to leave town in order to really force myself to relax and get sleep and watch those Netflix that have been sitting around since September. But, here I am.

Leaving a week early for thanksgiving as an "adult" somehow reminded me of that first Thanksgiving weekend during college, when leaving those friends you'd known for two months felt absolutely traumatic and wrenching. Breaks always felt like that back then. Now, life is much faster paced... things move so much faster, it's almost like we don't have time to feel wrenched. Either that, or we're just more mature.

Sometimes when I'm talking to someone who is leaving town for a bit, or when I'm leaving, or what have you, I end up talking like we're not going to see or communicate with each other for a painful or at least inconvenient amount of time, but the reality is that we are all online again within minutes. Or sending text messages. Or something. I guess when I was a freshman in school, I didn't have a phone, and I didn't sit around on IM over break - at least not all the time. So communication was less frequent over breaks back then. Because I have this weird, visceral memory for temperatures and lighting, I am currently flashing back to winter break freshman year. I remember talking to Pablo online, and I remember an e-mail from Miguel who had just watched Bridget Jones and, and this should speak to the fact that it was freshman year and I know weird people, felt like the "Nice guys don't kiss like that -- oh yes they fucking do" was really validation of his entire "nice guy" shtick. I feel like it was cool that year here, and sort of blue and shadowy. I think I remember someone calling me on New Year's Eve... which baffles me a bit, partly because I can't remember who.

It's very upsetting to me that my entire, embarrassing, awesome Diaryland.com diary has disappeared. It documents not only those first breaks, but my entire last year of high school -- a formative moment for anyone I should think.

As usual, upon my arrival to LA I felt like I was coming into a bit of a foreign land, and I felt as though I hadn't been here in ages, although the reality was I was here in September, for a weekend. It is a strange place -- it looks different from everywhere else. The smog is sort of weirdly futuristic feeling, like: post-apocalyptic. And I'm saying that on a pretty clear day. I was thinking about this today -- I don't think I couldn't ever live here again, even though I love San Francisco and the Bay Area. It's more like -- if I lived here, I would become a worse, or at least lazier, less challenged, version of myself. It's kind of easy to live here, everything is at your fingertips, everything comes to you, everything in LA takes 20 minutes (to quote Cher Horowitz' dad), you drive everywhere. The sad thing is that I'm kind of prone towards taking the easier option, possibly in part because I grew up here, and also just cause I think I can be kind of lazy, or stressed enough not to consider the possibilities that may not be totally obvious, whatever it is. So I can see it being easy to settle into a routine here, but I wouldn't want to do that.

Still, it's nice for a holiday. All I've done thus far since arriving here is help (er, I trimmed green beans and drank some chardonnay in the kitchen) make dinner, eat dinner, watched on DVR the winning play Stanford made against USC earlier this fall (it was so awesome, really -- I mean, the sheer horror on the faces of the SC fans), watched three episodes of Jeopardy Tournament of Champions, and stand/sit around talking to my parents. This is exactly what I want my vacation to be.

And, since its now 10:58, I believe it's my bedtime. This is great.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Looking ahead

Off to go see Superbad in the Haight. I know I have been a bad blogger today. Mostly I've been paralyzed with happiness that it's Friday. I'll write more tomorrow.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Obama!

I've been in a real slump about the current Democratic candidates for President in 2008. I loved Obama early on and then I felt like he succumbed to the politicky infighting (with other Democrats!) that he claimed to be above and against. But yesterday he spoke at work, and I feel really good about him again. He is clearly very smart, really thinking about the issues, does not try to spin questions into something that he can answer with canned responses about something entirely off-topic, and I really just think he cares. I've seen plenty of other people speak (Hillary and Edwards both) and they are just so overly polished and mechanized-seeming. I like Obama's genuineness, and I like his idealism, and I want him to succeed at this campaign because I think he can do something to fix things. (Oh yeah, and I like his policies, too.)

Here's the video of his talk yesterday:



(P.S. My favorite part was when he talks about how he is impatient with the status quo.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Buying Books, and reading them, eventually

Well, I totally blew the From the Stacks Reading Challenge already, kind of like I knew I would. Not that I am not reading books from the stacks, but that I bought a bunch of books yesterday. I'm quite excited about the new purchases though. I got:

-Second Sex, because Cristina and I were talking about how it's hard to be a woman, and I need to put my money or reading material where my mouth is and actually read some feminist stuff
-Essential Feminist Reader (ditto)
-Full-Frontal Feminism, by Jessica Valenti, the founder of Feministing, a blog which I love
-Friday Night Lights (the book), because I've had to say "No, I haven't read the original book" about 80 times when discussing my love of the TV show, and because it's supposed to be realy good
-The Human Stain, because it was $3 and Julia says it's one of her absolute favorites

I'm pretty thrilled. I also got "Love, Actually" on DVD because I always rent it once at Christmas time, and for $9 I can just own it and never rent it again.

Anyway, with that admission of total weakness in the face of Amazon, friends who have read more than I have, and Super Saver Shipping, here are my From the Stacks books, which I am going to read by January 31:

-The Satanic Verses (100 pages in already)
-Cloud Atlas (made it through part 1 once, and then put it down.)
-The God of Small Things (I've read the first half of this twice, and can't believe I haven't finished it)
-The Corrections (I feel like a bad reader of modern literature for not having read this)
-Jesus' Son (because I borrowed it from Renee about a year ago and still haven't read past the middle. Also, because it's shorter than all the rest of these and I think I'll need a break from the tomes for a while.)

Runners up, which I will read if I don't have other things that are more enticing:
-Book Thief (a Valentine's present from my mom, which I have not even opened, even though I want to read it and it's supposed to be really good)
-White Noise (I was supposed to read it for class and did not finish, plus again, I feel like a bad hipster/reader of modern lit for not having read it)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Oh, I'm sorry, does "Moment of Zen" not count as a post?

I think it does. But at any rate, I am posting again, briefly again. I had an actually lovely day, or, I should say, a lovely evening. My friends Matt and Julia took me out for a belated birthday dinner at Tamarine, in Palo Alto. I'd never been there, and always wanted to go. It was delicious and didn't feel too fancy, even though it was filled with Silicon Valley business people. Probably my favorite thing food wise was the scallop curry that Julia and I shared (we ordered strategically, as Matt doesn't eat seafood, and Julia rarely eats red meat, and I eat everything, and it worked perfectly). The curry had three squashes in it - the little yellow regular squashes, zucchini, and butternut (or maybe it was yam...?). Whatever it was, that butternut thing was cooked to perfection - I could have eaten a whole meal made up just of little perfectly-soft-firm-teeth-just-slide-through squash cubes. Ok, possibly not, but damn, that was good.

What was better was just having a quiet dinner with Matt and Julia. The past year of my life has brought a lot of new people and Matt and Julia are two of the best. I feel calmer when I am with them, more centered, more certain of myself and what I want. It's amazing when other people can do that for you. I miss Matt & Julia since I moved to the city, and when I say I miss them, I mean I miss hanging out with them, but I also mean that I feel a sort of lack where I think if I saw them more often I wouldn't feel it. (I guess it's a lack of that calm feeling.) So it's good to see them.

Christmas lights are starting to go up on my street. I'm excited. Even Dan, who last week claimed he hated Christmas, bought some lights and a timer and has all kinds of artistic plans, apparently, for their hanging. I am plotting Christmas cards already... and for some reason despite my epic to-do list of things this fall, I think I will be able to get going on my holiday gift-giving plans. Perhaps the grayer weather, with its non-dazzling sunlight, is calming my mind a bit and I am seeing clearer. Whatever it is, I feel pretty happy and centered tonight, and that's a wonderful thing.

Moment of Zen


Ace bought me and Dan matching glass "log" candle holders for our birthdays. Sunday night in my exhausted state all I could really do was gaze at them. Our house can be quite lovely when low-lit. (You can just spot the succulent garden behind the candles.)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veronica Mars nostalgia

I only know two people who have been disappointed in Veronica Mars after they started watching it. Seriously, it's so good. I delayed watching it for ages and then finally after about four friends told me I just had to, I borrowed it and promptly became obsessed. It's just really good and clever and in one show there are about 8 different genres. Sadly, it got canceled, but the director/cast made a few "mini pilots" showing what the fourth season could have been like - where Veronica is now in the FBI. As Entertainment Weekly put it, it's kind of like Alias, without Rambaldi, and therefore it is pretty damn awesome. I miss this show. It was such a great viewing experience - the kind you turn down invitations for. (I mean that.)

Part One:


Part Two:


Believe it or not, I'm going to bed right now. I am very excited about sleep.

the Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Every once in a while I'm totally tingly-in-awe of an actor or a writer or a singer or something. I have to admit I get that feeling watching just the preview of Sweeney Todd, starring Johnny Depp and, I did not know until now, Alan Rickman. Yippee. I don't know if the movie is going to be good, but Johnny Depp is just so good and creepy and weird. He manages to be good and creepy and weird in everything but always in a slightly different way, which is pretty impressive for someone so distinctive looking. Here's the preview:

Juno

WAY excited about this.

Owls again

This is why owls are so darn cute!!

Look at them! They are fuzzballs.

Crawling back into my hole of shame now.

(via CuteOverload)

Armistice Day

I know I quoted this last year, plus I'm a day late. But it's too good. I think we should read this quote ever year, kind of like Casey reads "The Grapes of Wrath" every year.

When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

Armistice Day has become Veterans' Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans' Day is not.

So I will throw Veterans' Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don't want to throw away any sacred things.

What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance.

And all music is.

--Kurt Vonnegut, Nov 11, 1922-April 11, 2007

I kind of consider him a sacred thing, to me.

Facebook News Network

This is old news but kind of also hilarious and worth posting. Parody can be so easy sometimes.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

NaBloPoMo Weekend Roundup 2

*whew*

What a weekend. I'm exhausted. But it was good.

Started in a rush Friday night because it was my roommate Dan's birthday. He'd put off planning until the last, last minute (I admit, it was driving me crazy) and then pulled it together in style. We had a take-out potluck - we each brought food from a different restaurant and then just ate it at our place. It was a impressive spread. We had food from all corners of San Francisco and the globe: Chinese from the Tenderloin, French and Pizzeria Delfina and tacos from the Mission, sushi from the Inner Sunset, Indian from the Lower Haight. It was a great way to try a few new places and it was also nicely representative of our friends in the city -- sort of sums up where we all live. Then Dan has assigned us to all be on our A game as far as dressing up to go out. I wish I had some pictures since I sort of love my outfit. Basically, I wore this blue and red sort of silky 60s style dress that I got at H&M like 8 months ago and have never worn, plus red tights and a navy cloche hat that I bought literally years ago and have almost never worn for obvious reasons (hello? cloche?). I felt like I really took it to a weird, matchy level but I sort of loved it and luckily with these friends I feel like I can wear anything and feel confident on the street. Case in point: Justin's A game consisted of a brand new (to him) pair of red corduroy Osh Kosh overalls, a yellow World Beard and Moustache Championship t-shirt, and yellow shoes. You can see how I have no problem going out in public in any getup. (Also, while waiting for people to show up for the party, I used the gift certificate I got from work for my birthday to buy myself those Anthropologie boots I want. They won't come until January. I can't wait.)

Saturday was a rush: Woke up and dragged myself to the shower and then to a pseudo brunch with Dan and the crew, and then drove frantically, late, to Palo Alto for lunch with Casey who was visiting from LA. (Pseudo brunch meaning I didn't eat because I was saving room for lunch. This is sort of like executives at my work who go to 3 meetings in one hour.) We had a couple of pitchers of margaritas and reminisced about old times. Afterwards, totally unplanned, Laurel and I met up with Amelia and Renee, also visiting from LA. We hung out at Amelia's place and then took a nap (seriously, we needed it) before going out to the Nuthouse, where we witnessed some pretty fierce foosball games. Long story short, we ended up at some random guy's house in Mountain View until 4am, and the take-home point from that evening was 1) that a pub-slash-laundromat is a really good idea and 2) that the phrase "post-decisional regret" is sort of redundant, because you have to make a decision to have regret. We think.

Sunday we had brunch at Hobee's, where I swear the weirdest people are employed as servers, but their coffeecake still kicks ass, especially the cranberry one, and then Laurel and I high-tailed it back up to the city for shopping with Casey. We hit up all the crafty ridiculous handmade places: the Curiosity Shoppe, Little Otsu, Paxton Gate, Rare Device (love it, kind of want a purse they have there...), and Doe. I could spend a lot of money in those places but instead of really going hog wild, I just bought a bunch of random stationery, proving once and for all that I am my mother's daughter. The three of us had a snack at Cafe International in the Lower Haight until the ridiculously loud music drove us out. I had dinner with Dan and his parents at Suppenkuche, really the designy conclusion to my day because I just love their decor -- the butterflies on the ceiling are too wee and adorable and simple and I like the funny printing above the moulding on the walls and the wheat wreathes. Plus, who can argue with the food?

Dan's fam and I came back to our place and sat around talking house decorating (inspired by Suppenkuche and our antlers) and drinking tea, and I have to say all the Dan family time is making me excited for next weekend when I get to go home to my own. I don't really feel like a week is long enough. Justin came over too, and after Dan and his parents left we basically just sat here in a Sunday night haze. I spent about 20 minutes clicking through every item on Etsy that had an owl on it, because my defenses against being a total freak are low right now and I don't care if people see me coo-ing over owl stationery or earrings or what have you. I'm about to go to bed and am really very excited about it, especially after the ridiculously late night last night.

This has been a poor blogging weekend. I think a lot of funny bloggable things happened. But I'm too tired to remember them! So I think I'll go to bed now and start tomorrow in style. Happy Sunday.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

BLOG!

I fully admit that this is cheating. I am just blogging because I don't know when my next chance will be before tomorrow and I don't want to cheat on NaBloPoMo. Today has been great, though. I will explain more manana.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Not Embarrassing!

Entertainment Weekly does this thing where they ask you to say the 5 songs most recently played on your iPod. Normally I cringe at this suggestion but today I think I was on a good run. A lot of recently added stuff that turns out to be awesome. So much so that I feel the need to share! Who knew?

5. MGMT - Time to Pretend

(We listened to this song in the cabin last week and I am pretty sure I was dancing by myself to it while 3 of the other 4 inhabitants of the place were passed out on the floor.)

4. Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew - Back out on the...


Saw them in concert in October and they kicked ass. Seriously, they rocked out more than I expected and this latest album is really good.

3. Augie March -One Crowded Hour

Can't figure out who this reminds me of. But I likes it.

2. Scotland Yard Gospel Choir - Aspidestra

Nice and jumpy.

1. Eef Barzelay - Lose Big



Yes.

Taking things literally

My mom sent me this.

Appalled by descriptions of adolescent pill-popping, suicide and lethal injections given to babies and the elderly, two parents are demanding that the Mt. Diablo school board eliminate a controversial but award-winning book from school reading lists and libraries.

"The Giver" by Lois Lowry depicts an efficient and war-free society that exists at the price of strict rules.

Doesn't it sound like an Onion article? It's like no one understands anything not-literally. It's called science fiction for a reason, fuckers.

Ironically, "The Giver" deals with freedom of choice. In it, citizens apply for spouses and children. And, in Orwellian fashion, "elders" assign each person a function to keep their utopia running smoothly.

The sensitive Jonas, 12, is being groomed as the next "receiver," one who alone holds all the memories of the past and understands what it is like to feel joy and pain. In the end, armed with the knowledge of what life can be like, he decides to flee to a place where he will be allowed to read, feel and love freely.

Oh wait, maybe it's not so fictional after all.

Damn.

My uber-roomie sent this to me and it's really quite hilarious. Charts made out of rap songs. Here's my favorite:


Because in case you didn't know I have this real, deep love for "Damn it feels good to be a gansta."

For sers.

This one is pretty awesome too.


Kind of like indexed meets music:

Because I can't help but make inappropriate Office references on holidays...

Tonight, one of our most ethnic co-workers, Kelly, has invited us all to a Diwali celebration put on by her community. What is Diwali, you may ask. Well, to have Kelly explain it, it’s … blah blah blah … it’s so super fun, and it’s gonna be great, lot of gods with unpronounceable names, twenty minutes you find out it is essentially a Hindu Halloween.
--Michael Scott

Thursday, November 08, 2007

This is an upbeat post

Well, because my blogs have been getting a little introspective lately (hmm, I wonder if I should blame NaBloPoMo for that), I figure I might as well share with you a few fun lighthearted hilarious things just as a break.

Starting with...

-I think I am going to go ahead and half-participate in the legendary "From the Stacks" reading challenge. Basically what this is supposed to be is, from November to the end of January you don't buy any new books but you read 5 books that you have been delaying reading, ones that have been sitting on the bedside table or in the shelf that you've been meaning to get to. I sort of accidentally started this already, because this week I was struck by inspiration to finally read "The Satanic Verses," which I've been planning to read for, oh, 5 years now, and have never gotten through. I have tons of books like this in my shelves, and it's quite shameful because so many of my friends lately have been asking me for book recommendations or to borrow books and I haven't read half the stuff that I own -- in fact, I've probably read less than half. So I think I'm going to choose 5 of them to read by the end of January. Now, about that not buying books part... I don't think I will worry much about that. (And Dad shakes his head silently and reproachfully.)

-I totally caved and used a $25 gift certificate towards the new My So Called Life disk set. Yes, I definitely already have the set that was released a few years back, but this one is supposed to be better, and I got it for only 22 dollars after the gift certificate.

-I could not recommend someecards.com highly enough. Yeah, I know it's sort of old news since there was a New York Times article about it and stuff, but honestly, every time I go back there I find a new, hilarious card. A few great recent finds:
  • This one really speaks to the mood of my blog posts of late
  • This one too.
  • Tivo addicts, unite.
  • How I feel about my Thanksgiving vacation, except with less implied hatred of family (I am actually really excited about going home, for family and also naps.)
  • Finally, this is in honor of tomorrow. And I am totally going to send it to some people and hope that they don't read this blog entry first.
-If you like the Office, which, um, clearly you do, you will love this deleted scene from last week's episode. And you should be very, very sad that last week is the last episode for a while because of that f&*)$#)ing writer's strike.

-How do you feel about these ankle boots? I want them *so* much. These are just part of my new dedication to my wardrobe. It sounds shallow, but I have decided I am not dressing up well enough for work (yeah, I realize I work at a very casual company, but I dress up for weekends and then I don't dress nicely for work, so I feel like it gives off the wrong impression), so I'm on a quest to 1) make the most out of what I have clothing wise and 2) buy a few key pieces to help take it to a new level. The boots, I admit, don't count as a "key piece" because they are, well, impractical and awesome and silly and expensive, but I can dream, can't I?

-I am really getting excited about Christmas. It is really silly but I love it, even though I am so unreligious. I just like the spirit of things and the food and the lights. I mostly love the way Christmas lights look against blue, wintry skies. There's such a great contrast between the warm colors of the lights and the coolness of everything else, the silhouettes and such. As usual I'm hoping to get Christmas cards out, or holiday cards I guess I should say... and I'm seriously shocked that it's already the second week of November. Where on earth did 2007 go?

-On a related note, and this will be my last random comment for now, I was listening to NPR last week and they were talking about how a year from this past Tuesday is the Presidential elections. Wow. These have been so long in coming that they all of a sudden seem like they are incredibly close at hand, like they crept up on us. And now in less than two months there will have been primaries already! I'm so undecided now. I was a big Barack Obama fan early on (you know, before he started running) but now I feel like he's been spoiled by the political-ness of politics. So now I feel like I'm back to square one, and it's just in time for the real gearing up of it all.

Anyway. Hope these stop this blog from being all-contemplation-all-the-time. And now to watch this week's Office.

Coming to conclusions, for today. (There is always tomorrow.)

Today is a reminisce about childhood day.

I don't mean that in a gloomy way, more of a contemplative way. I was thinking about how when I was in high school and it was gray and cloudy out I would just go home after school (i.e. before 3pm), make myself a cup of tea, and sit around the house. Did I do that? It's getting hard to remember but I feel like I did... sat at the kitchen table, likely cluttered with newspapers and bills, and read my book and ate toast. That's a funny memory because it should feel really warm and cozy but in reality it feels sort of cool and gray, the way those days were. Still, I would prefer it to sitting at a desk all day in fluorescent lighting staring at a computer screen.

Then I was thinking about the simplicity of some things. Home cooked food -- I know it sounds cheesy but honestly, sometimes all I really want is spaghetti or something. At Google, the food is overwhelmingly complex and fascinating and unusual and to be honest, sometimes it's frustratingly gourmet. (Oh yes, Emily, please, complain about your free lunches.) Choice can be baffling.

It's interesting to thing about the "base state" of your life. Like, what you would do with no outside influences. Obviously that's impossible -- you're beset by outside influences from the moment you're born, and if you want to get into human behavioral biology, you're sort of stuck with them even earlier -- but I mean on a daily basis. What if you lived in a city you didn't know anyone? What would you do?

I know what I would do, and I know it with a mixture of shame and longing. I find that when other people have plans, when I have a night on my own, I sit in my house and I do nothing. That's not a particularly bad thing sometimes, but it would be terrible if it happened all the time. One thing I like about living with Dan is that he doesn't really allow for the sitting-at-home thing. Meaning, he doesn't think that you should, by default, choose sitting at home over doing something fabulous in the city. Neither do I, but sometimes it's good to have him remind me of what's out there.

Still, tonight is a sitting-at-home night. I had Campbell's split pea soup with Saltines for dinner (talk about childhood, eh?) and I'm sitting here blogging and downloading some music and doing silly things like reading Self magazine and watching The Office. I like to call these nights in "dates with myself," which is probably some cheesy phrase from a dumb magazine like Self or maybe something like Sex and the City but the reality is that that's a really good way to look at it. Take yourself out, or in. You know, treat yourself like you are worth it, blah blah. I know I'm sounding even more cliched as this paragraph goes on but it is good to remind yourself of these things sometimes. When my sister was here we got into a discussion (abstractly) about our relationships with men. It was brief but my conclusion was, sometimes it is hard to be a girl. You are fighting a lot of weird, deep-seated societal habits. Not even pressures, not even oppression, but just habit, I think, most of the time. So I think I get in the habit of being unhappy with myself, my body, my brain, whatever it is... and the key is reminding yourself to break the habit.

Last thought. Today I mentioned to Justin that I was really glad that he could "deal with my crazy." (On a serious note, I am. I know he reads this, at least occasionally, so this is rather silly, but one of the most surprising things about moving to the city was my friendship with him which I'm now really grateful for. And that makes me think about how surprising friendships are... I'm still surprised that Dan and I are such good friends, I'm thrilled and surprised about how wonderfully Ace is as a roommate and friend, I am constantly flattered and amazed by the friendships I have and the loyalty that those people have and their patience and brilliance and ridiculousness and uniqueness. I will stop this parenthetical here!!) His response was "Don't get too caught up in your crazy. We've all got some of that." Suddenly I remembered that, paradoxically, the strongest I've ever felt, the sanest, the most sure of myself, was when ---- and I were breaking up and there was a moment he actually asked me if I was sure I wasn't just crazy -- because he felt like he couldn't recognize me. But that lack of recognition was because right then, I was being really strong. And I knew myself better than anyone else could. And so it's strange, but that is the strongest I've ever felt and the proudest of myself I have been, for anything. And right now I would like to find that strength, not for anything in particular but just because it was a great feeling, and I felt empowered and happy and brave. I think that is how you should approach every day. (I hadn't thought about this until Justin made that comment and it reminded me that I should never think I am crazy. Because everyone is, a little bit, and because the idea that women are insane is far too common, and because I'm not.)

It is good to have little victories like this. One of the best things about life is stumbling across things in your past that inform your present, lessons you forgot you learned, channeling old emotions or feelings or what have you into your present and using them for future good. That is, in a way, the upside of nostalgia... I find that if I can tap into the visceral feeling of something -- coming home from school and having a cup of tea and a book, feeling strong, feeling smart, feeling creative, feeling in love, feeling comfortable, liberated, whatever memory you have that you can grab ahold of, that is like a medium or a path to achieving that again, or avoiding it, or whatever it is. It's not just a matter of learning from mistakes, it's a matter of literally feeling that again, down to your bones, and hanging onto that, even if you can't replicate it exactly (you wouldn't want to). It's like a shortcut to yourself.

So I guess I have a position on the boundaries of blogging and Facebook and what have you. I guess I'll just be honest. I don't think it can hurt. I think I yam what I yam. I have things to say and I will say them.