Sunday, February 28, 2010

It's Like Harry Potter All Over Again!

Oh, WOW.

So I was up until 4:45 last night (this morning?). Insomnia? No. GERD? Thank God, no.

Catching Fire? YES.

This isn't going to be a book review, because I think that would be lacking in taste considering I gushed about the first one only yesterday and I doubt I've given you people ample time to pick up a copy.

I loved The Hunger Games. Loved. But Catching Fire was better.

I haven't been this impressed and this addicted to a series since Harry Potter, because Lord knows the Twilight bullshit doesn't count. (I almost hyphenated "Twilight" and "bullshit" together, which I find humorous.) The third and final book, Mockingjay, won't be released until August 24, so maybe you should wait until then to start the series, because you are not going to be happy about waiting SIX WHOLE MONTHS to discover how the story will end.

But still. RUN to get these books. You will not be disappointed.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Hunger Games

Oh, wow.

I just finished The Hunger Games. Once I turned the first page, I knew that I wouldn't be able to stop until I reached the back cover. In a post apocalyptic America, The Capitol rules twelve districts, spread across the country. Each district is known for the goods it produces, and each is ruled with a totalitarian fist.

Like Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, it's clear from the beginning that being chosen a the "tribute" is not a good thing. Everyone in District 12, the coal mining district in the area once known as Appalachia, knows it as well. And when Katniss Everdeen's younger sister's name is selected for The Games during the annual Reaping, she immediately volunteers to take little Primrose's place.

Twenty-four children, two girls and two boys from each of the twelve districts are pitted against each other in a fight to the death. The last one standing will be set for life, and their district will earn rewards for a full calendar year. Until the next Reaping, that is.

Katniss is sixteen, and a survivor. Her father died in a mine explosion and her mother retreated into her own head, leaving Katniss to provide for the family. A skilled hunter, trained by her father, she's able to make ends meet by poaching animals from prohibited lands and trading in the markets.

Upon her declaration to be the female tribute for District 12, Katniss is paired with her district's male counterpart, Peeta, and they are whisked off to The Capitol to be primped and prepared for their debut.

The Games are required viewing in Panem, and filmed in as much detail as possible in order to be broadcast live to the entire nation. In a sick and twisted reality show (The Truman Show comes to mind, though in a much more benign way, of course), The Games are a way to show the districts that The Capitol is in charge.

Suzanne Collins weaves an amazing story and makes it absolutely imperative to know what will happen next. Her characters are expertly developed and even if you want to hate them at times, you still want to root for them. Our heroine is calm and calculating, yet unable and unwilling to give in to the ruthless brutality of The Games.

I've already started the second book in this trilogy, Catching Fire. I don't know that I'll be getting much sleep tonight.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Another Set of People I Loathe

I've eased up on my loathing. It's fun and everything, but it's just not worth the wrinkles nor the bad karma. But it's been snowing here for over a week (every day, more snow. MORE SNOW. It just never stops! Never!), and I have cleaned six inches of snow - or more - off of my sweet baby Focus four separate times.

It's fine, I'm not complaining. I actually like cleaning off all of the powder from my car. It's a good workout and it's kind of an art form. I realize that this is yet another reason to think me insane, but I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I get all of the snow off of my car.

I take my sweet time to remove as much snow as possible because I don't think that it's fair to oh, I don't know, every other person on the fucking road, to have the remnants of a foot of snow blow on the cars unlucky enough to be stuck behind it.

I know that people are generally always in a hurry, but come on. Cut it out, jerks!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

About a year ago, I was going through a little something, and was feeling pretty down. It was understandable, what with not having a full-time job, having only bare-bones health insurance (with the added bonus of no prescription coverage!), and constantly worrying that maybe I made the wrong choice by getting a degree in such a small, specialized field.

This was before all of those fears were blasted away, of course. But at the time, it didn't matter how optimistic as I tried to be (stop laughing!), it was really hard to see the end of the tunnel when I felt like I was stuck in the dark.

It was in the midst of this darkness that I finally started to move past the pain and confusion in my head. I pulled up to Mike's house just as he was arriving home from work. Once we got inside, he still had his coat on and was clearly hiding something within. He surprised me with a cute little stuffed dinosaur.

Protecting a sleeping Mike.

And that's how Mr. Happy Dinosaur entered my life. It was probably one of the sweetest, most thoughtful gifts I've ever received, and while I can't fully explain it, that's the point when I started to turn it all around.

Since then, Mike has given him a name, a personality, and an awesome dinosaur gait. He mainly communicates with Mike, but occasionally shares secrets with me.

Mike had to go to Orlando for work yesterday, and he sent me this picture before he left his house. The quote? "He is in charge now."

This probably sounds ridiculous, I mean, how can people in their late twenties play with stuffed dinosaurs? And I perhaps you think that Mike and I are insane, but that's okay. Mr. Happy Dinosaur is just one of a million little things to remind me how lucky I am to have found my match in Mike. He really is my light.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In Which GERD Overstays Its Welcome

I don't mean for this blog to be turning into the Blog of GERD, but since it's pretty much been my life for the past few days, you get to suffer along with me! I'm hoping that it's at least slightly entertaining.

Yesterday wasn't easy. I stopped for tea (white tea!) on my way to work, and it was great until right after the first sip - when the burning started up again. I waited for the tea to cool completely and I was able to drink it without too much pain. But when it's snowing, you want something warm, right? Gah. POINT: GERD.

Lunch also presented a problem. I really wanted soup, but knew that it would be a waste. I ended up getting sushi, and it was a brilliant choice - soft, no pointy edges, and a mild taste. I had water instead of hot green tea. POINT: Heather.

Per doctor's orders, I have to try and not eat anything for four hours before going to bed. Which sets my dinner at 6 pm at the latest. That makes my life difficult as I usually don't get home until 5:30 at the earliest. I enjoy relaxing for a bit, planning dinner in my head, and then casually cooking it. I usually eat by 7:30 or 8. But no more!

(This also raises a question: So I eat dinner at 6, I go to bed at 10, and I get up at 6 am. I will have not eaten anything for twelve hours. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?)

Anyway, I don't get paid until Friday, so my fridge is pretty much empty but for condiments and refilled bottles of tap water. And an unopened bottle of champagne from my mom. There might be some eggs in there, too, but I wouldn't recommend eating them. POINT: GERD.

I reheated some spaghetti sauce from the parents and cooked up some pasta. Delicious, right? Turns out, spaghetti sauce is super acidic. So I ended up eating Cheerios from the box for dinner, and I was full and just fine. POINT: Heather?

Winner: GERD. No one wins against GERD. At least not in the first week, apparently.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sometimes Twitter Entertains Me

Okay, I don't care about Twitter. I don't care what stupid celebrities say, and I certainly don't care what you had for breakfast. But I followed a link from somewhere or other and discovered something actually entertaining, and I think that it's hilarious:

Shit My Dad Says

I'm sure that I could do the same for the shit my own dad says, but sometimes it's just so bizarre you'd have no idea what he was talking about. He says, "baloney sausage" when he thinks someone is lying, he uses the names of appliances interchangeably ("I'm going to go put the dishes in the dryer"), and he sings "Zip-a-dee-do-dah" often. He's hilarious to us, but I'm afraid that he does not swear much at all - not like the Dad I've linked to above.

And that's fine with me.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sick Day

So I'm home with the GERD and bored out of my skull. Mike's tv is pretty much stuck on ESPN, and I am so lazy that it was ten before I got around to changing the channel. I've seen the morning clips three times now on Sportscenter, including a clip of a mascot at some basketball game who hit a backwards shot from half court. The crowd cared infinitely less than the announcers, which was humorous.

Also watched three times? The bit about the Miracle on Ice, which happened thirty years ago today. And all three times? I cried.

I finally switched to HGTV and watched show after show of home decorating. I finished my book. There are clothes in the dryer. I did not, however, shower.

And believe it or not, it's actually been a fairly successful sick day. At least I got out of bed more than once, right? I even had some toast.

I just really hope that this GERD business dies a quick death, because I am pretty much over it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I have the GERD

It was at about three o'clock in the morning when I knew that something was wrong. There was a burning in the back of my throat and upper chest and it really hurt.

Of course, I never jump to conclusions, so even though I was pretty convinced that I was having a heart attack, I took some Tums. Then I tried to go back to sleep.

By about seven, there was no sleeping for me. After we determined that this was not ordinary (and placed a call to my over-reacting mother), Mike and I rolled into the urgent care clinic near his house. My sweet honey, who could have been warm and comfy in bed, brought his laptop and got some work done in the waiting room while I sat in a tiny little examination room, reading Fool, wearing a hospital gown made for two.

Everyone was super nice and everything, but the urgent care clinic definitely prescribed to the "hurry up and wait" system. I got through a good portion of my book, is what I'm saying.

I knew that it probably had something to do with what I ate the day before. I usually eat better than yesterday, I swear, but it just happened to be one of those off days. Mike had to be at work for most of the day, so I sat reading at the coffeehouse for a few hours. I had a lovely cafe mocha (of course) and then I decided it would be a good idea to hit up Arby's. Later, I had a delicious microwaved lean pocket and a Coke. And then some pistachios. Those were just for fun.

So it was a banner day for my nutrition, let me tell you. Anyway, after drinking a GI cocktail, which numbed my entire mouth and throat and didn't seem to help whatsoever, the doctor came in with my diagnosis:

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

Seriously, say it over and over again, like I've been doing all day. GERD GERD GERDLY GERDLY GERD. GERD GERD GERD GERD. GERD!

(Also, it's apparently pronounced, "gurd." Just in case you needed to know. And now you're saying it again, aren't you?)

Okay, so I have the GERD. I was totally fine with taking Prilosec and whatever else until I read a list of foods that I should probably avoid:

carbonated beverages

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? These are basically the five things that get me through an ordinary day. I need them.

Okay, I can cut out coffee. And Coke. But garlic and onions?


GERD can just go right to Hell.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Winter of My Discontent

When you're about to head out of your house and into your day, you go through a checklist in your head. Okay, maybe you don't, but I do. In the winter, my list is a little longer than usual.

Phone? (I forget mine ALL THE TIME.)

Wallet? (I... forget mine ALL THE TIME.)

Lunch? (I leave it on the counter more often than I'd like to admit.)







There are more items on this list at times, but the point I am trying to make is that even the best of us make mistakes. And when a person, say, oh, I don't know... sleeps in late and is scrambling to catch the last possible bus before having to succumb to a brisk two-mile walk or waiting for the next and rolling into work thirty minutes late, it makes sense that things are going to be forgotten.

And you know? When it's 7:03 in the morning, and the sidewalks aren't cleared of snow, and you're about to haul ass down the middle of the street to the bus stop to avoid falling on your ass, you're just not of sound mind to be expected to remember everything on that list.

And why are you late? Because of the jerk-ass snooze button.

WHY is there a snooze button? The evil snooze button of pure evil has left people like ME to our own devices, which means that we give in to our inherent laziness and return to half-sleep only to be rudely jarred awake minutes later. Why do we give in? Why do we hit snooze? We're just making it more difficult to get out of bed in the long run, and we're running the risk of constant tardiness. Constant! DAMMIT.

Of course, when it's snowing, you'd think that one would remember one's fucking hat, instead of leaving it at the top of the stairs, where one purposely left it the previous night, before clearly stepping OVER IT on one's mad rush to catch the bus.

What the hell, HEATHER?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

You're Going to Be So Proud of Me!

Last night, I had time to kill before my bus home, so I popped into the library for a spell. I had just finished a book over the weekend, and it so underwhelmed me that I needed a pick-me-up.

Little known fact: This book was originally titled The Book of Crap and Stupidness, but the publisher wasn't sure it would sell.

I was hoping to borrow The Hunger Games, but discovered that it had thirty-three people on the waiting list. Damn you, popular book! I wandered around a bit and picked up Fool by Christopher Moore and The Gates by John Connolly.

I love Moore, so that was a no-brainer, and I finished one of Connolly's books a few weeks ago, and it was fantastic (OMG so fantastic!). I grabbed The Gates and made good on my self-imposed rule to borrow more books this year. (Bookstore gift cards do not count, however. Especially ones that expire at the end of this month...)

My impatience is a bit of problem. I have a feeling that I am going to end up buying The Hunger Games, even though I could easily wait. And wait (thirty-three people?!??!). I mean, I have a ton of books on my shelves that I haven't even touched.


Maybe buying books should be what I give up for Lent this year!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Book of Lost Things

Even though I knew better, I had thirty minutes to kill before my bus arrived one night, and I stepped into Borders to get out of the cold.

Big mistake.

Borders has that convenient clearance table. It's evil! Evil!

Not only did I find How to Build a Dinosaur, a book Shane had recommended months ago, I also discovered The Book of Lost Things, one I had pushed to the top of my wish list. Both were cheap, both were in my hands as I made my way to the register, and I don't know how it happened.

How do these things happen? IT IS A MYSTERY.

(Also, I've noticed that I can't give a straight review of anything. It seems that I insist upon prefacing the review with a cute little anecdote. I don't know why this is. I hope that it's not annoying. I just have this problem with too much information floating around in my brain and I seem to be of the idea that you all need to go through the same steps that I do in order to get to this point, like, why I ended up buying the book to begin with. Perhaps this isn't a necessity. I don't know. Maybe we should discuss this.)

Right, so The Book of Lost Things.

David's mother has succumbed to a long illness, leaving David alone with his unimaginative father. Long before he has left his own mourning process, his father remarries and there is a new baby on the way. After moving into his stepmother's ancestral home, David feels more and more like a stranger.

His mother had long ago introduced him to books, teaching him that without David reading their words and turning their pages, they can't exist. David's new bedroom is filled with books that belonged to a boy who mysteriously vanished, and though he wants to know more, he can't bring himself to be civil enough to his stepmother to even have a conversation.

And he's not sure, but he's pretty sure that he can hear the books talking to him, calling to him.

Feeling more and more alienated from his father, stepmother, and new half-brother, David retreats to his books and into his mind. Never a totally healthy child, he experiences strange seizures that leave him unconscious and drained. He acts out against his father and stepmother, refusing to speak and accepting punishment for his bad attitude.

On one fateful night, as German planes fly low in the London sky, David is drawn to the large garden by what he swears is his mother's voice. He soon finds himself in a world of knights and monsters, sleeping maidens and dangerous trolls. His only salvation seems to be an ailing king who clings to The Book of Lost Things, his most prized possession.

Connolly deftly and magically transforms fairy tales - the old tales we all learned early in life - into scary, mind-blowing obstacles. David is faced with opposition from The Loups, creatures who are half-human, half-wolf. The Loups fear that David could mean their destruction, and ferociously hunt him across the land. This amazing tale is one of love, fear, growth, and acceptance. It's about facing those fears and learning to accept what you cannot change.

Connolly's writing is so deliciously descriptive that found myself reading paragraphs more than once. Not because I didn't fully understand what I had read, but because the words seemed to flow off of the page and become real. And I wanted to experience them again and again. Take this sentence, for example:

"On more than one occasion, David, in his urge to explore the darker corners of the bookshelves, had found himself wearing strands of spider silk in his face and hair, causing the web's resident to scuttle into a corner and crouch balefully, lost in thoughts of arachnid revenge."

Arachnid revenge? How awesome is that? I loved this book. I hope you do, too.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

This Isn't The End...

"OMG, you guys!"


You are never going to believe what happened!

We've been like, Stay Puft Marshmallows, for months:

...and we've pretty much gotten used to it. Sometimes things like this happen here in the Jurtriaceous Period. Troy said that he thinks I look puffier than I did before, even though I've been working out, but he doesn't understand water retention!"

"Water retention, my ass."
"Try four acres of bamboo before lunch."
"Heh heh he he he heh."

"OMG. It tastes so good."

Anyway, all of a sudden, that ASSFACE, Donny Dimetrodon, who was thought to have perished in the LA BREA TAR PITS, showed up again.

"What's up dudes?"

"Um, aren't you supposed to be dead?
I distinctly remember flinging you into the TAR PITS."

"Well, actually it was that fatass, Sammy, but whatever."


"Nah, I met a chick down there in the TAR.
We've been dating now for months.
She's pretty hot guys, I'm not gonna lie."

"Well, I hope you've changed your attitude,
because we are in NO MOOD for your bullshit."

"Damn straight!
Hee hee hee - jinx!"

"I would think you'd be nicer to me,
especially since I know how to get you all un-puffified."



Will Donny be able to help, or does he have sinister plans?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Gran Torino

I'm not much of a Clint Eastwood fan. I'm sorry, but I'm not. I've never seen a Dirty Harry flick and though I did want to see The Flags of Iwo Jima, I just never really got around to it.

But Gran Torino showed me that Eastwood is one of the most beloved additions to cinema - as an actor, director, and screen writer. The film is simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking, the acting is at an apex, and it has a strong, thought-provoking message.

Set in Highland Park, a small city almost completely enveloped by Detroit, Gran Torino follows the life of Walt Kowalski (Eastwood), a recently widowed Korean war veteran set in his ways, his beliefs, and his prejudices.

Living alone for the first time, and dealing with his ungrateful children and grandchildren, Walt simply goes about his daily routines. Walt has been deeply prejudiced by his experiences in Asia during the war, and he barely tolerates the Hmong, the ethnic Chinese group who have slowly become the majority in his once Polish neighborhood.

When his teenage neighbor, Thao, tries to steal his prized 1972 Gran Torino under pressure from his cousin's neighborhood gang, Walt agrees to the punishment proposed by Thao's mother - that he work for Walt. Over the course of a few weeks, Walt grows increasingly fond of Thao, and he becomes a father-figure to him. This relationship becomes crucial to Thao's future.

This is just as much a coming-of-age tale as it is one of overcoming prejudice. Thao and his older sister, Sue, trying to avoid the pull of the gang life surrounding them, struggle every day to push for enlightened existences.

Eastwood is amazing, and his scenes with the young parish priest are simply some of the best in the entire movie. The dialogue between them explores redemption and forgiveness, and Walt learns just as much from Father Janovich as he manages to teach in return. Father Janovich refuses to accept Walt's attitude and pushes him to a breaking point. It's a good thing.

Clint Eastwood is such a badass. Unlike Morgan Freeman's character in that horrible movie, Wanted (Sweet LORD, it was SO. BAD.), you never once doubt his commitment to the character, the script, or the overall feel of the film. He is so convincing, you absolutely forget that he is Clint Eastwood.

Both sets of my dad's grandparents grew up on the East side of Detroit. Those neighborhoods really have gone through similar transitions as Walt's. Once predominantly Polish, the large duplexes have undergone transformations and now boast a large Latino population. Change is imperative to a city's survival and growth, and I can only hope that Detroit eventually returns to the thriving city it once was.

Gran Torino is about this change, but also about acceptance and deliverance. It's excellent.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Triumphant Return of the Punk Ass Museum Dinosaur Gang!

You thought that they were gone...

You thought that they were lost to history...

With nothing but fossils to prove their existence...

There is more to their story... Oh yes.
Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Expecto Patronum!

In the middle of the night:

Me: "When I can't fall back asleep, I try to think of something happy."
BF: "No, that's for when you fly. Or when fighting Dementors."

Friday, February 12, 2010

Olympic-Sized Boredom

So... I don't really care about watching the Olympics. Does that make me like, super un-patriotic? I'm sure that the Opening Ceremonies are awesome and crazy and possibly all super-Canadian and all that, but I just don't care.

This is what I imagine as being super-Canadian, by the way:

Anyway, Robin Sparkles aside, I remember sitting with my college friends at their house on 906 Greenwood as Michelle Kwan skated around the ice. We... may have been drinking. We kept chanting for her to fall, "Fall... Fall... FALL!" And then? She did. She fell hard. Uhhh... oops?

Once my buzz wore off, I felt so damn guilty, I don't think that I've really watched the Winter Olympics for more than a few minutes here and there. I do like the skating, because I can say, "Toe pick!" over and over again, and it just doesn't get old. But you just can't make me like the ice dancing. You can't. It's so boring.

Good for the athletes, go team USA and whatnot, but I'm going to be watching Supernatural DVDs and might possibly start watching those Chuck DVDs I've had from Netflix for almost two weeks.

I Can't Stop Laughing

Because I am a child.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Acme Mercantile

Back in the day, Ann Arbor's Main Street Area boasted a hardware store, a drugstore, a stationary store, and the like. You know, daily amenities. Like most cities, unfortunately, over the years, Mom & Pop stores were shoved out to be replaced by chains and higher-priced boutiques.

It didn't happen completely here, as we still have the lovely Kerrytown and Farmer's Market, but that's not really helping to prove my point here, is it?

I'll be honest - Main Street is my kind of place when it comes to bars and restaurants, but when it comes to shopping, there are very few stores that get my business. The offerings are too expensive, too specific, and well, too... grown-up. I'm not in the market for a Persian rug, thank you very much. And really - who is?

But if you venture east or west from Main Street, you'll find delicious shops, used bookstores, and awesome coffee shops that don't include the word "bucks."

One of my favorites is Acme Mercantile, a shop that fills the void left by the exodus of those amenity-providing shops. You want band-aids? A hammer? Deodorant? A teapot? Smart-ass cards and magnets?

YES. You can get it all there! YES!

I love love LOVE this shop. Since discovering them at Pulp in DC, I've been on the lookout for a certain brand of greeting card. Guess who carries it?


These cards are snarky and extremely dirty, and I love them with a passion. The last time I stopped in, they were restocking the cards, and I was able to get a hold of some awesome ones, including one that I sent to Mike's sister for her birthday today - Happy Birthday Mike's Sister! (She wishes to stay anonymous on the interwebs, so rest assured that I do actually know her name.)

Anyway, I would love to post a picture of the card, but as I am not sure that she has received it, I do not want to ruin the surprise. But honestly, it is so out there, that I actually put a post-it on the front with a disclaimer that if it was too insulting to her that she should let me know and I would send a perfectly normal one in its place. Because, you know, even though we're the same age and have a good number of similar interests, my sense of humor is kind of fucked up, and sometimes I just can't read people.

But I think that it'll be okay.

Of course, I forgot to take into account that she is currently pregnant with twins and on strict bed rest, so I'm either going to make her laugh her ass off or really piss her off.

Um... hee?

Anyway, want some seriously awesome, witty, messed up greeting cards? Get thee to Acme Mercantile!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Away We Go

Away We Go is a sweet little film stars Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski as Verona and Bert, an unexpectedly pregnant, thirty-something couple searching for a place to raise their new family all while trying to discover themselves and the full potential of their lives.

They consider themselves to be "fuck-ups" because they haven't followed the normal steps to becoming a family - her parents have both passed away and she can't bear the thought of getting married without them there. They are educated and intelligent, but are really unsure what to do when life throws them this little curve ball.

After a disastrous dinner with Bert's parents (Catherine O'Hara and Jeff Daniels, both wonderful as always), they realize that nothing is keeping them from finding a new place to live, and they begin traveling the country, visiting friends and new places, keeping a lookout for the perfect location.

It was pretty obvious where they were going to end up, but that doesn't mean that it's not worth watching. Away We Go has grown on me since I watched it over a week ago, and while it's definitely a little weird and a little pretentious, it struck a chord and twisted my heartstrings. The acting was very subtle and beautiful - Rudolph was quite good, and Krasinski was solid. He didn't devolve into his Office character (as much as I love Jim Halpert, his mannerisms and antics would have gotten old if I had to watch them in a feature film rather than in twenty-two minutes on a Thursday evening), and has proven himself as a strong male lead.

The differing encounters with their friends and family are the moments that really elevate the film. Allison Janey was her usual fabulous/insane self as Verona's former boss, and Maggie Gyllenhaal was completely over-the-top fantastic as a self-absorbed, liberal, stroller-hating "relative" of Bert's (what's sad is that we all probably know someone like her - and avoid her). The storylines around Bert's brother and additionally their married college friends, were sweet, poignant, and touching.

And it is here that we discover the heart of this movie - in their travels, Bert and Verona see that all people, in any form of relationship, are "fuck-ups." No one really knows what they're doing and no one can predict the future. But they are confident in their love and in their relationship, and are ready for whatever might come their way.

What I appreciate most about this film is that it doesn't follow the traditional "romantic comedy" route. Partly, I think that it's because it's not technically a romantic comedy, but mostly it's because this is truly a couple in love. They don't keep secrets from each other and they don't let little misunderstandings become enormous problems. They actually communicate! They get cross with each other once or twice, and annoyed with each other, but their love is never in doubt.

It was a lovely little film!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Julie and Julia

I don't know why I never got around to seeing Julie and Julia in the theater. I love to cook, I love Julia Child, and I love Meryl Streep. Weird.

Julie and Julia was so, so, SO much better than I expected (I would also say the same for It's Complicated, which my mother dragged me to even though I wanted to see Sherlock Holmes, and I actually took out scrap paper and a pen to make notes about it's awfulness, but ended up putting them back in my bag twenty minutes in since it ended up being entertaining and not at all stupid. And what is the common denominator between the two films? STREEP).

Amy Adams is effervescent as Julie Powell, a late-twentysomething looking for a change in her life. She's temping at a horribly depressing job and languishing over the fact that her manuscript wasn't picked up. With brainstorming help from her husband, she decides to tackle Julia Child's first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. There are trials and tribulations and everything does not go perfectly, because when does it?

But there is no denying that this film belongs to the fabulous, incomparable Meryl Streep. She embodied the role of Julia Child, and brought her voice, her mannerisms, and her love for life to the screen. Streep really is the very best actress of our time, and every time she graced the screen, you couldn't help but smile.

The film follows each woman as each tries to carve her own path, and the ways in which the paths run parallel is a sweet underlying theme. On the same note, the relationships that the women had with their husbands were also touching - these men were supportive and loving and (almost) always optimistic. More than anything, they believed in the best of their wives.

And, of course, I am now reading Julie's original blog, started in 2002 when blogs were mere toddlers. She's a great writer and I love that she was able to succeed so dramatically with a blog of all things! I'm also revisiting my love of cooking. I'm never going to be a trained chef, and I'm never going to be able to make half of the recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I can't eat cheese, and Mike likes what he likes. But I love to cook. I love knowing what foods compliment each other, and I love knowing how to describe the taste of cumin (smoky, I'd say). I love that I am open to trying new things (venison the other weekend!), and I love the feeling I get in kitchen supply stores.

Pure euphoria.

But I have decided - from this point on - that I will make more meals at home and eat less prepared food. I love to cook, and I'm lucky enough to have tons of great fresh food markets nearby so that even as the snow is falling, I can have the best of what the area has to offer.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, February 08, 2010

"Why Yes, Ross, Pressing My Third Nipple Opens the Delivery Entrance to the Magic Kingdom of Narnia."

After posting about DC and their horrifying snow (so scary!), Laurel uploaded a few more pictures. This is my absolute favorite, made even favoritey because of her caption:

"Sculpture Garden or possibly Narnia"

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Not Worth the Pedicure

On Saturday, it's possible that I stayed in bed until noon. IT'S ENTIRELY POSSIBLE. Mike had to work for some ungodly reason, and left the house at 7:30. Or 8:00. I cannot be too sure, considering I was half-passed out, sprawled across the bed, surrounded in folds of pillowy and blankety abyss.

I woke up a few times, but was absolutely convinced that it was still way too early to get up, and scrunched myself back into the sheets.

I WAS TIRED, OKAY? Just two days prior, I started a new morning temp job and LET ME TELL YOU, two days of waking up at 6 had about killed me. I'm sure that it didn't help that I had gotten used to staying up late, watching movies, and I don't know, doing puzzles.

But whatever. I woke up at noon, did some sudokus for a bit, and then finally got my ass out of bed around 1.

I thought that maybe taking a shower would be a good idea at some point - maybe even before Mike came home from work! - but just as I was standing in front of the shower, Kelly called to announce that she was ten minutes away and was picking me up to go get pedicures.

The last time I got a pedicure was for Kari's birthday back in June, and we went to this amazing place. It was an awesome, spa environment, and I vowed to never go anywhere else of lesser quality, but Kelly was ON HER WAY and there was no arguing with her.

(Listen to me all uppity about a pedicure. Like I've had more than five in my lifetime.)

Anyway, this pedicure was just fine, thank you very much, but I think that the stupid massage chair fucked up my back.

(Also, why is it that the massage chairs at the mall creep me out, but I have no problem plopping down in one at a nail salon?)

We had to wait for a good twenty minutes for a technician, and I just kept adding time to the massage program. Because WHY NOT? I wanted the waist massage, which I assumed would cover my waist and lower back, but as I am wee, the damn roller-y things were more focused on my middle and upper back.

Anyway, my back was KILLING me later, and it took me hours to figure out the cause. Because I am smart like that.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Snowmageddon? Are You Fucking Kidding Me?

Growing up in the Midwest, I learned many things. I learned that there were four seasons, trees can have leaves OR needles, apple orchards are mandatory in the fall, and snow was not the enemy. Oh, and that Michigan's state bird is the robin even though the fucking ungrateful bastard leaves for the winter to escape to warmer climes, and I think that it should be the goldfinch because the GOLDFINCH stays around and sings for us all year.

Goddamned robins.

"I am a total asshole."

So when I first moved to DC, it took some time to get used to things, weather-wise. I loved it there, with the metro and the monuments and the museums and the happy hours. But things pissed me off, sometimes. All the time, actually. The main thing that pissed me off was DC's response to weather. Weather of any kind, really. Rain, snow, sleet, falling leaves, and excessive sunshine = EVERYBODY PANIC.

My first winter there, I experienced incompetence like I could never have predicted, and from then on, I knew to expect the worst from DC. It was dubbed the "Valentine's Day Blizzard of 2003" (number five on this list), and flying back to the area after a weekend in MI, I had no idea what I was arriving to.

I took the metro home from the airport, and had a half-mile walk ahead of me. I took my usual route through buildings and the mall, but when I arrived outside at last, I couldn't believe what I saw. THREE DAYS after the snow fell, the streets were plowed, but only one lane per road. Cars were driving half in the road and half in the snow. Instead of towing cars parked on evacuation roads, they plowed snow over the roofs, leaving mounds of dirty, grey sedan-shaped blobs everywhere.

The roads were practically impassable, but sidewalks? They were completely untouched. A walk that usually took me five minutes took thirty, especially considering the fact that I had to walk in the road, carrying my roller suitcase over my head. I was swearing my ass off the whole while, obviously.

I arrived back at my apartment complex to see some moron in flip flops cleaning off her SUV with a Cosmo, so at least that was hilarious.

Right, so back in December 2009, they got some snow - snow that here would have been considered a minor inconvenience - and they dubbed it the "Snowpocalypse." Also, hee! This weekend, they got about the same, and it has come to be known as Snowmaggedon. Sigh.

Granted, they got a foot and a half of snow, but without the equipment to deal with that kind of fluffy precipitation, it's going to take days (at least) to recover. I'm willing to bet good money (well, to me, "good money" would be something like twenty bucks, but whatever) that there's a good chance the government will be shut down there on Monday, because that's what happened to me back in 2003. It was kinda awesome, not having to go to class. Yay, grad school!

Good luck to my DCers out there - I hope you don't have to go to work on Monday!

(All Snowmaggedon photos taken by Laurel, February 6, 2010, Washington, DC. Except for the asshole robin.)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Yes, It Was Only ONE DOLLAR

If you thought that a dinosaur puzzle from the dollar bins at Target would suffer in comparison to the cardinal puzzle bought on clearance at Barnes & Noble, well, you would be correct.


Also, I fear that this blog is turning into a blog about puzzles, and that scares me a little.

I'm sorry.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Bow Before My Unpretentiousness!

As you all are aware, I love to talk about myself. I really, really do. I mean, what's a blog for, anyway? Answer: arrogance. Or, in the case of several mommy-bloggers, PROFIT.

I do not have anywhere near the number of readers they do, and I also don't stick to a topic most of the time, so it's usually pretty difficult to get a cult following. I don't care, I WRITE FOR ME.

Of course, I would write for profit, too. I would totally sell out for a big, fat, sloppy check.

Just putting that out there.

ANYWAY. A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by the University's student paper, The Michigan Daily. (Ah, The Michigan Daily. Its crossword puzzle got me through more than a few 9 a.m. philosophy lectures. Oh sweet memories!) They were planning a huge feature on the new Museum Studies minor here, a program in which I am a part. This is brilliant for my program and for my job security (!!!), and we are beyond excited that it was so well done.

Declaring docent: the new Museum Studies minor a major breakthrough for the "U" and its collections

Sure, they spelled my last name incorrectly once, and they really only included a few of my quotes, but whatever, I AM IN PRINT, and print is totally not on its way out. Right?

To celebrate, I ate a Crunch bar for dinner. Yes, I did.

Got Any More Brain-Busters?

Okay, I am loathe to admit that I have arrived at another one of those word puzzles in my puzzle-a-day calendar, and I CAN'T SOLVE IT.

Normally this would make me cry alone in the dark, but I must put aside my pride and offer it up to y'all and hope that somebody out there can figure it out. I know that I could SO VERY EASILY flip the paper over for the solution, but that would be CHEATING. I don't cheat. Except in high school.


No. I didn't.

Anyway, the rules: The 10 words below all belong in the same category. To find each word, remove one letter, then rearrange the remaining letters:


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Be Impressed

I finished the fucking puzzle. Aren't you excited?

Who am I kidding? You don't care.

Now I'm Getting Hungry

BF: Arby's has exceptionally good food with exceptionally weird prices. It's like, "you want a roast beef sandwich? Okay, that will be $2.79. Oh, you want five? That'll be five bucks."

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

In Which I Get Rewarded For Doing What I Would Have Been Doing Anyway

I don't exactly recall how I came to be a member of this panel (perhaps through my frequent flying with Northworst?), but as a survey-taking monkey on e-Rewards, I actually earn "money" with which I can "buy things."

These market surveys cover everything from car insurance preferences to grocery shopping to cable and internet providers. I answer their questions, I earn "money," and I don't feel like I'm wasting time, since I would have been online anyway, probably getting lost following links on wikipedia or watching movie trailers on imdb.

For example, I've cashed in my virtual money for gift cards to Target, huge discounts on flowers, and even magazine subscriptions - Smithsonian and Interview, to name a few. My latest cash-out was for two previously-viewed DVDs at Blockbuster.

After grocery shopping yesterday, in which I returned $7.00 worth of cans and bottles (Michigan's ten cent bottle deposit is SO worth it when you're short on cash, and it paid for fresh baby spinach and blueberries. Score!), I waltzed over to Blockbuster.

Now, since joining Netflix, it's been quite a while since I set foot in one of those movie-ish retail establishments. It was interesting to note that they've lowered their rental fees, but they sell DVD players now! Weird! Like someone just decided, "I want to rent a movie. It sure is a shame that I don't have a DVD player. Maybe I'll just go to Blockbuster anyway."

I went through racks of DVDs, not noticing that the newer releases were behind me, annoying myself and the staff in the process (I am assuming this, of course. I am never annoying). After much decision-making, I settled on Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Stardust. Both are on my Netflix queue, and both have been unseen by me.

And you know? They were free. If they're not my cup of tea, I'll pass them along to someone else.

All for answering bullshit questions about car insurance. Awesome.

Monday, February 01, 2010

February Will Be a Banner Month. Bannerific!

I have decided something. For the month of February? I am going to post something every day.


A full month of posting has never been done before on this here site, and though I struggle with interesting things to tell y'all, I think that it would be a good resolution. Much better than the thought that I might be able to go without Coke for a month. Or mochas. Or the thought that I could go a day or more without the internets (hmm, I actually think that I can do that, but I obviously need it for work... Yeah, I don't think that it would be wise to test out that one).

And I know that I don't always follow through on my plans to post something new everyday...

So obviously I have to start out small, with the shortest month.

Now I also want to try to have some ground rules for myself. I want to post quality awesomeness, but I have to give myself a few outs here and there. That's why I have decided that posting gems from "Things My Boyfriend Says" are totally acceptable, as are any Punk Ass Museum Dinosaur Gang soliloquies or the like. Posting random pictures of things I see about town? Not acceptable. There must be at least a few lines of text.

Let's go!