Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My Brain Almost Exploded

Until this past Sunday, I had never had the pleasure of seeing any of The Bard's plays on stage. I remember watching Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet in ninth grade (though our prissy English teacher wouldn't let us watch the much-lauded nude scene. Prude), and in college, the 1995 version of Richard III - brilliantly set in a fascist England of the 1930s. I've seen many other film versions of many of his plays, but these really stuck out in my mind. An honorable mention should go to Baz Luhrmann's 1995 version of Romeo + Juliet. Very nice.

Right. So on Sunday evening, I was excited to attend Richard III at the Shakespeare Theater. I was a little worried that I was building it up in my mind only to be disappointed in the end, but that couldn't have been further from the reality. The Company staged an impressive, breathtaking performance, and I finally witnessed the raw power of the stage. Carefully reading the play requires a great deal of concentration, especially since it is not always clear where the emphasis falls in a given sentence, or what the words really mean, but seeing it on stage makes sense of the confusing scenes and gives faces to the many characters.

Richard III is a Machiavellian tale of power and greed; of how one man will do anything to rise to the top. He lies, cheats, tricks, and arranges murders -- just to advance his own rank at court. He makes no secret of his evil - he jokes about it, in fact - and he is able to make himself likable to the audience. Richard is himself an actor, able to transform himself at will, to read from different scripts, and to manipulate all around him into carrying out his wishes -- no matter how dastardly.

Geraint Wyn Davies portrayed Richard III powerfully and beautifully. His performance was just brilliant, as he was able to merge Shakespeare's words with actions in such a way that the meaning was clear when needed and ambiguous when necessary. His presence was felt even in the rare scenes in which he did not appear. His performance made the play.

We splurged for third row, center, seats, and they were well worth the price. We were close enough to see the spit flying (those Shakespearean actors just love to enunciate!), the facial expressions and contortions, every gesture, every raised eyebrow... it was fantastic! As for my individual enjoyment, the man seated in front of me was short, and the woman seated next to me didn't hog the armrest. I saw everything - it was glorious.

With five acts and at three hours long, it was quite an undertaking, but the actors showed no signs of tiring. Heck, after putting my brain through three hours of major concentration, I was tired, and I was just sitting there.

If you are interested in seeing a fantastic, thought-provoking performance, see Richard III. It's brilliant.

Richard III will be staged at the Shakespeare Theater through March 18, 2007.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Two Points

Two points.

That's all that separated us from the top prize at Murphy's Trivia Night. Winning team = 70 points. Our team = 68 points.



I can recall several moments when we second-guessed ourselves -- moments that would have won us eternal fame and glory!

- The flag of Scotland? We answered Wales. BALLS.

- The color of the star on North Korea's flag? Red. We answered white. PELOTAS.

(Okay, this makes it sound like it was an all-flag trivia night. It wasn't. It's just a coincidence).

But you know what? We've never, EVER done that well in any pub quiz, and it was very exciting to even hear our team name read aloud for all the world to hear. It was glorious. What was our team name, you ask?

Midwestern Marvels.


Oh wait, no. Woo!

Monday, January 29, 2007

You Like Spice?

I bought Chinese food for lunch from one of the many Asian-themed buffets here at the incomparable L'Enfant Plaza. I went in search of food later in the day (1:45 p.m.), so I'm not sure if the entree signs had been removed or if they never existed in the first place. Either way...

I served myself a large dollop of rice and then added a nice mixture of chicken and broccoli to the bowl... OR SO I THOUGHT.

It was Kung mother-effing Pao. Son of a nutcracker. It was so spicy that one bite sent me running to the kitchen for the giant bottle of water I stashed for tomorrow. It was insanity. I am a major wuss, it's true, so I offered the dish to my coworker. No sense in discarding it, right? He couldn't eat it either.

My fault, really. I will be inquiring about the dishes from now on.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Fairest Lady

A lovely article on Audrey. I [heart] her so much! I love that the article highlights what I always say: this is one actress who will never star in an "E! True Hollywood Story." In fact, this poster was just delivered to me today at work:

And I still need to get this and this. LOVE HER!

I know. I'm ridiculous.


"I don't know what universe she's operating in, but it is clearly not this one."

K-10's take on her mother.
Her name is Judy.
She's crazy.
We call her Judifer.
I made that up.

Sunday, January 21, 2007



I took a lovely walk in the snow and got some great shots. And then Picasa lost them somehow. They weren't downloaded, yet they are no longer on my camera.


Still, the snow was beautiful, and I can't help but hope that it in some way contributes to not having to go to work tomorrow... I don't see it happening, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Happy First Snow of the Season, DC!

Friday, January 19, 2007

What I Do At Work

I destroy old tapes. Tapes that backed up our server. Years ago. Why we still have them, I have no idea, but it was fun!

It's not ALL that I do - just a mindless task my boss dropped off. And when your boss purposefully gives you mindless things to do... well, you do them and like it!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Yo! Hey, hey!

Great. And we pay these people millions of dollars? Ugh.

"Tune" In

Scrubs is going to be ridiculous tonight!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Commentary on... The Globes

The Golden Globes, that is! I tuned in a little late, but saw a bit of the red carpet. Had I had a stomach of steel, I would have watched Joan and Melissa Rivers, just for the fact that Joan is decidedly batshit insane. But I just can't handle them. So I watched E! instead. And here we go...

Red carpet on E!

Salma Hayek is, as usual, showing off her golden globes. (Credit to Amanda for that one – she made me snort).

Oh good LORD, Angelina Von-Holier-Than-Thou Jolie makes me ill. And Brad wants to adopt/have enough children to have a soccer team and then send them to the World Cup? Sure, that makes sense. Great joke.

Evangeline Lilly's dress is a horrible homage to the 80s. The baaaad 80s. She looks HOTT, but still...

Kate Winslet is fantastic.

Steve Carell says he's a machine? Well, when the machines take over, that’s fine by me, as long as he's a Michael Scott robot.

Sharon Stone looks like a mother effing vampire. Seriously, nice furry cape.

I abhor the texts at the bottom of the screen – "OMG I love Scrubs I hope it wins!" Yeah, me too, EVEN THOUGH IT’S NOT NOMINATED.

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, Beyonce. We get it. You’re a hot piece of ace. Now put those away - that dress makes them look fake.

Who's the scary bleached-blond presenter with a higher voice than Debbie Matenopoulos? I didn’t know men’s voices could get that high without castration.

Oh, the text messages: "I want to see me some Brad Pitt!!!! And it would be awesome if I could get a shout out!!!!" Shut up.

NBC - The actual show

Jennifer Hudson is adorable, and the cut to Beyonce is great. She’s such an actress. Nice tears, B. We all know that you hate each other!

How much would I pay for JT to bust out with "Dick in a Box" right now?

Oh, props to JT for making fun of Prince.

Jeremy Irons is a brave soul for kissing Jack's daughter.

Tina Fey, NO! Baaaaaad dress.

Kevin Bacon is so damn cute. He's had me since Footloose.

Nancy Hart looooves that self tanner.

Ooh, there's Heidi Glockenspiel! I mean, Klum. Is she pregnant again yet?

Oh, who the hell cares about Donald Trump. Why is he there?

Will Ferrell, rockin' the fro.

Bill Nighy! "I feel it in my fingers…"

Hugh Laurie – ah, British comedy. I mean, I thought his speech was funny, but I was the only one here laughing.

Meryl Streep for the win! Suck it, Beyonce!

Reese Witherspoon looks absolutely beautiful! LOVE HER. Suck it, Ryan!

Salma Hayek is choking on those things… She really deserves an award for them.

Renee Zellweger always looks like she is plotting something. And would it kill her to smile?

Oh holy hell. This goes to 11 p.m.?

Sarah Jessica Parker needs work. Someone give her a movie that isn't total crap. Did anyone even see that one with Matthew McConaughey?

Cameron Diaz’s dress is basically the ugliest thing on stage thus far. She looks like a cake. Plus, she's a freaking muppet. A muppet cake. A crazy muppet cake.

It looks like I may have to go see The Queen, as it is nominated like crazy. Ah, and here's the political commentary for the night. Shut up.

Vanessa Williams' weave needs its own spotlight.

Geena Davis isn't fat, she's big boned!

Oops, I dozed off for a while.

Ugly Betty. Hmmm. I don't know, but the best comedy and now best actress? Wow, America Ferrera has the whole audience crying.

10:00 p.m. I'm tired. And since Pan's Labyrinth lost best foreign language film, and neither Scrubs nor Gilmore Girls was nominated… I'm going to bed. Oh wait, here’s the lifetime achievement thingy for Warren Beatty. Grand.

Tom Hanks loves saying "balls." Balls, balls, balls.

Okay, I just wanted to see the clips from Reds. And they picked shitty ones, so peace out, suckas!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Scary Fairy Tales

El Labertino del Fauno (Pan's Labyrinth) was out of this world, and yet, able to capture the reality of the world as it was - and as it still may be. Both visually breathtaking and horrifyingly violent, this film was creative, original, and thought-provoking. It tells the tale of Ofelia, a young girl forced to relocate to a military outpost - far from the excitement of the city - after her widowed mother's marriage to a cruel army captain.

Guillermo del Toro is a recognizable name to me, but not one that would drive me to the theater. From what I've read, and now what I've seen, I think that my views have changed. His story, sets, and direction make this an almost flawless film, worthy of much respect and discussion.

Set in 1944 at the end of the Spanish Civil War, Captain Vidal, Ofelia's new stepfather, is ruthlessly committed to destroying the remaining rebels who threaten the new fascist regime. His heartlessness is apparent early in the film with his treatment of two rural farmers and his obvious hatred of Ofelia. Carmen, pregnant with the Captain's child, is experiencing a difficult pregnancy, confining her to bed and stripping Ofelia of a friend and playmate.

Mercedes, the housekeeper, fills that void. Keeping a close watch on Ofelia, and keeping some secrets of her own, she is the only person Ofelia can trust. And once Carmen is kept heavily sedated, that fact becomes all the more important.

Another fantastic role (and performance) is that of the doctor. His final scenes are pivotal to the message del Toro is trying to send.

Ofelia retreats to a crumbling labyrinth behind the house and discovers creatures -- creatures like the ones in her books. Her imagination, still that of a child but bordering on adulthood, is one filled with fairy tales. And these are not the "Disneyfied" fairy tales that you might recall -- these are brutal fairy tales in the vein of The Brothers Grimm. (I remember reading the original story of Cinderella, and being scared out of my mind. Pan's Labyrinth goes several steps further.) In order to inherit her birthright, she is to complete three tasks; one disgusting, one terrifying, and one that I'd rather not mention.

I don't want to give away too much of the story, as it is so deeply creative, but its timeless tale of good versus evil is apparent from the beginning. With all of the horrifying creatures, fascism is viewed as the ultimate evil here, and the real monster is not one found in Ofelia's labyrinth. The fact that this evil, that these actions, most possibly happened is something that looms over the entire film. Because this real evil is so strong and ruthless, in the end, it is easier to believe that Ofelia's labyrinth world is the one that is fact and that her "real" life is fiction.

And why not? I believed it.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Bring Out the Flip Flops!

I am not going to complain about the weather. Nope, that's a lie.

It's 60-something degrees today! In mid-January! What the hell? Last weekend, Saturday's high of 70 degrees was almost record-setting. Sure, it's nice to be able to run errands all over the city, on foot, and not have to worry about a coat, but when I was sweating after walking the twenty blocks to Natural History, I started to wonder about this crazy climate and why I wasn't wearing a coat in January. The thing is - I wanted to be wearing a coat in January!

There are two kinds of weather people in DC: the warm lovers and the cold lovers. You might guess where my loyalties lie. I LOVE THE COLD. I miss snow! I miss scarves and hats and gloves and boots! When I think of winter, I think of Dr. Zhivago and the beautiful coats. Yes, it was a movie and those stylish coats were probably thin as paper, but so pretty!

Sure, the ski trip is a month away, and I'll get to indulge in those things soon... that is, if there is enough snow. Sigh.

Whatever - I have a birthday celebration to attend tonight, a party for which we pre-ordered shirts. I got a tank top. At least I won't have to wear a jacket over it all night!

Friday, January 12, 2007

It's Uncomfortable Topic Time!

Gentlemen callers may want to skip this one. Ladies, hell... you might want to skip this one, too, especially if you embarrass easily.

So. I went to the doctor this week. You know which one, ladies. The doctor. I finally made the sane decision to find a doctor here instead of flying back to Michigan, but apparently every woman in the DC area made appointments, too.

Searching for a new doctor is like playing Russian Roulette with your bajingo (thanks, Elliot). You need to find someone who doesn't suck, but also someone with whom you are comfortable. Because let's face it: you place yourself, pretty much naked, in a very uncomfortable situation. And I found myself searching for a doctor by determining which ones would take my insurance and then calling. Sounds reasonable.

I couldn't get into a doctor in DC for TWO MONTHS, but I could see someone in Falls Church, VA in three days. What the hell is this about? Is this a widespread problem? When did it become so difficult to see the doctor? I blame the insurance companies. But right, Falls Church. Virginia.

I don't have a car. I walk and I take the metro. I don't take the bus (unless it's to Georgetown when all of the students are gone for Christmas break. Because, let's face it: G-town students aren't the most pleasant) because it takes forever. The doctor's office was far from the closest metro station. Merrick, my angel, was going to take me until she remembered that she was going out of town the night before, and instead lent me her car. A Mitsubishi Montero, year: old. It's huge. So I took the day off - yay for sick leave - and made my way to the appointment.

(First though, an aside: When we are led to the examination room to undress, why do we arrange our clothes so that certain "undergarments" are hidden from view? Why do we do this, ladies? Why do we think that, on his/her waltz into the room, our doctor's glance at our underwear, casually resting atop our *gasp* brassiere, is somehow going to be more embarrassing than what we are going to have to voluntarily present momentarily? It's madness! And yet, we still do it. I am sure that I am not alone in this trickery.)

My appointment was with a nurse practitioner, which was fine by me. Her name?


I am so not kidding. Why? Why would you not use your given name (in her case, Margaret) in this line of work? WHY?

Well, that was really the punchline - and point - of this entire post. No worries -- I'm not going to go into what happened next. The most important thing is that she was a great NP and I would recommend her to anyone.

Even though her name makes me giggle like an idiot.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Trader Joe's


Okay, I just needed to get that out of my system before we can move on.

I discovered Trader Joe's during my first year of grad school. I was living in Arlington and still had the lovely 'Scort, my trusty chariot. A flyer arrived in the mail one day, boasting good food at great prices! (And I don't know if you've ever had the pleasure of reading one of their flyers, but they are a hoot). I decided to check it out, and the rest is history. I had some time to kill the other day, so... well, here's what happened:

I love Smart Water. It's brought to me by the same people who created Vitamin Water, my latest addiction (hey, anything's better than Coca Cola, right?). It's one quart for $1.09. Love.

Pita Chips. These come in Cinnamon Sugar flavor, too. Which is like candy, but sort of good for you. At least, that's what I tell myself.

Teriyaki Sauce. Haven't tried it yet, but Merrick swears by it.

Everyone needs some good balsamic vinegar. I'm excited to try this, too.

Oh my gosh, how I love me some gnocchi. They made it mini, and secured my love forever.

Nothing will ever be as good as the rice pilaf recipe that my mom's Armenian friend passed on to me. It's basically butter and rice. So this is slightly healthier.

Pesto! I love love LOVE pesto, but don't always have the ingredients to make it from scratch.

I've yet to try this lovely salsa, but I think that it will be nice.

My favorite Thai dish at most restaurants is Pad Thai, and it's surprisingly easy to make. This kit makes it even easier. Not for everyday eating, but it's a nice treat.

Green tea is super good for you, and they have a great mild version. They also have green tea with mint (the BEST), but that's at work, so I couldn't take a picture. Oh my gosh, how much of a nerd am I, seriously?

Mini Lemon Poppy Seed Scones - this is the last of them, so no package to display. Amazing. And mini, so, cute. Obviously.

Every chef needs good olive oil, and TJ's has a fab selection. This one is on the cheap side, but works for all manners of food preparation.

These are super fun - they have a built-in grinder, so everyone can feel like a gourmet chef. It's fun to pretend...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest


I was just going to leave my review at that, as an homage to the two-word record review in This Is Spinal Tap, but then that turned into just listing my favorite quotes from Spinal Tap ("It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.") and completely took away from the review of this... film. So I'll get on with it...

I didn't see POC:DMC in the theater because I was on vacation in Maine and, well... there were better things to do. It's for the best, though, because I would have been annoyed to spend $10 on an overly long movie with pointless scenes and a dragging plot. Why was Sparrow king of that random tribe, for example? If that storyline was revisited, its inclusion would have at least made a little more sense. But it wasn't.

Johnny Depp was criminally underused as Captain Jack Sparrow and was rarely given the opportunity to be funny. I think that the phenomenal success of the first film had a good amount to do with the script and the actors' ability to ad lib effectively.

The other actors were fine - Orlando Bloom is easy on the eyes, as is Keira Knightley, and they are becoming more established as actors with each film. Bill Nighy was just excellent as Davy Jones (on a side note, I love Bill Nighy. I want to see everything he's done), and Jonathan Pryce's small role once again proved his acting chops. Finally, the costumes, sets, and effects were great, mirroring the first film.

Unfortunately, I found myself BORED and wondering if the film would EVER END. It was as if POC:DMC was only intended to be filler in a preconceived trilogy, just taking up space. Hell, look at the great trilogies of the past 30 years; many would argue that The Empire Strikes Back is the best of the original Star Wars films, and The Godfather: Part II is considered one of the best sequels ever made. I don't have to go out on a limb here to argue that in recent days, studios have been a little less interested in making a quality movie than in the box office returns. And that's what happened here. Ouch.

That said, I am definitely looking forward to the third one, mostly because I don't think that they could screw it up worse than the second. Plus, Keith Richards? The model for Depp's portrayal of Jack Sparrow? Awesome.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Happy New Year!

What? I've been busy!

New Year's Eve was pretty sweet - the best to date. The food was fantastic, especially the chocolate fondue, and the different groups of friends meshed together nicely. The masquerade theme was inspired, and some of the masks could have won awards (I'm looking at you, Mr. Flying Spaghetti Monster).

I made it myself. Can you tell?

But tell me: What is it about semi-formal events that gets guys all up in arms? For an entire week before, you should have heard these brats complaining about dressing up, and some people opted to go elsewhere rather than have to remember how to tie a tie. It's not like they were expected to wear a tux... Regardless, the "dress code" went downhill as the hours rolled on by. I have to give these boys some credit, however -- I didn't see any ties converted to bandanas, so that's a plus.

I think that's me on the bottom left.
My hair looked much better from the front. I hope.

Monday's cleanup was an ordeal to say the least. I think I washed dishes and loaded the dishwasher for about an hour. It was... ew. But with ten or more people cleaning, the job went quickly. It was a grand success!

Way before alcohol became involved...

Happy New Year, Beetches! Let's make it a good one!

Monday, January 08, 2007

National Championshit

An excerpt of an email to Steezy today:

"I can't decide if I want to watch the game tonight. I hate Ohio State SO. MUCH. and it's difficult to watch them at all. HATE. I do take comfort in knowing that there will be riots in Columbus regardless of the outcome, so my insides are warm and happy that they will yet again be exposed as the heathens that they are. But still. HATE."

Pretty much sums up my feelings.

I'm still planning on watching tonight, though. It's the last college football game for many, many moons, after all!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Non-Smoking, Please

As of today, Happy Smoke-Free DC!

I have a birthday party to go to on Thursday, for a certain crazy-ass Texan chica, and I love love LOVE that I won't have to deal with the smoke. It's blatantly obvious that there are some unhappy with the law, but as I believe that it is a public health issue, then my choice to *not* inhale second-hand smoke trumps a smoker's right to smoke. In my honest opinion, of course.

I really think that DC establishments need not worry. I will be frequenting them MORE because of the smoking ban, and I'm sure that goes for many, many others in the city (and NOVA) as well. Yay for healthy lungs!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Two Thousand Seven. For Reals?

Happy New Year! And thus begins a third year of blogging. I love going back and reading my earliest posts, seeing how I've changed (seeing how my writing has improved) and realizing how great it is to be where I am in my life.

I finished graduate school in the spring of 2004, and once I realized how badly my writing was suffering, I started this blog as a way to keep in the habit of writing. I was adamant in not making it a play-by-play of my day's activities, but rather a post-when-the-mood-hits-me kind of thing. I've tried to focus on observations of DC, book and movie reviews, and recipes with personal events thrown in the mix -- I think it's been a worthy experiment, and I plan on continuing until I get bored.

All the best in 2007!