Friday, July 23, 2010

Reasons to Love Ann Arbor #9 - Le Dog

Le Dog is a hot dog stand located just west of central campus. Their hot dogs were voted as the best in town years running, but it's their soup that has cemented them as an Ann Arbor institution.

I never went there as a student. I have no idea why other than maybe I was convinced that it was a soup-nazi kind of establishment and I was terrified to annoy someone by ordering incorrectly.

Either way, I am annoyed with myself for waiting so long.

Six Bean Soup

Chicken Tortilla soup

Veal Tarragon soup

And to blow your mind even more? Their most popular, long-standing, only-served-on-Thursday-and-Friday soup? Lobster Bisque. At a hot dog stand.

Of course, there are a few drawbacks: Le Dog is only open from 11:30-2, Monday-Friday. They accept cash only. The line can be really, really long.

But once you order and your lunch is handed to you in a brown paper bag, all of those things just disappear. The food is THAT good.

Le Dog is just another Ann Arbor mainstay that helps define the city as different and eclectic. Plus, the food is fantastic. That can't hurt.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

In Bruges

In Bruges is a gorgeous, heart-breaking film with amazing comedic performances. If that sounds bizarre, know that the script ties together these differing themes flawlessly, allowing the viewer to understand and even empathize with the main characters all while experiencing Bruges as they do. It's a fun ride.

After a botched contract killing, Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brenden Gleason) are sent to Bruges, Belgium to avoid the aftermath and await further instruction. Ray feels like he's in the absolute worst place on earth and wants to return to London, but Ken is excited about the historical significance of the town and encourages Ray to come along sightseeing with him.

Two very complex characters, Ray and Ken are nothing alike, and yet the same. Both are killers with spotty pasts, but Ray is absolutely livid that he's been ordered to Bruges, while Ken wants to enjoy his "paid vacation."

Following the instructions of their boss, Harry (Ralph Fiennes), each day in Bruges brings them closer to receiving their next assignment, but Ken alone soon learns the identity of this next hit.

This is a dark film, yes, but it is almost entirely a dark comedy. Farrell is absolutely brilliant, especially in his scenes with Gleason, and though they are hitmen, the viewer can't help but like them. Want to help them. Want them to succeed.

Ralph Fiennes is an amazing baddie, but refreshingly, this baddie has a conscience. The fact that Harry doesn't follow the confines of a typical villain just reinforces the fact that this film flows easily without breaking "the rules" of the film noir.

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this film, especially when, on paper, it should have been a downer. And the casting? Talk about flawless! (Also, if you're a Harry Potter fan, you might be happy to learn that In Bruges stars Mad Eye Moody, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and Fleur Delacour - a veritable Goblet of Fire reunion!)

I know now why In Bruges was nominated for - and won - so many awards. It's good.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

He's a Bit Impatient Sometimes

"The George Foreman grill. What a rip-off. I used it like, once, but then it took me forever to clean the fucking thing. If it's supposed to be such a time-saver, I should be able to put it in the dishwasher."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Shutter Island

Mike has a man crush on Leonardo DiCaprio, and I can't say that I blame him. We tend to see movies with Leo, because I just don't think that the guy has made a crappy film (that I've seen, anyway). He was even good on "Growing Pains," and he had to deal with Chrissy and Ben. And they were annoying.

It's 1954. Leo plays Teddy Daniels, a federal marshall sent to an island prison/hospital to investigate the disappearance of a female inmate. Shutter Island hosts criminally insane prisoners, most of whom are convicted murderers, and with one on the loose, the security procedures and precautions are now even more intensified.

"A fedora and a smoke? 1954 can't get much better, my friend."

Teddy and his partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), are immediately thrown into a world where they don't seem to have as much control as they expect, and as their investigation continues, Teddy becomes more and more convinced that there is something sinister going on - something that the doctors would keep secret at any cost.

Stuck on the island due to a horrific storm, and unable to delve deeper into the case because of a lack of access to files and evidence, Teddy becomes frustrated and drastically changes the course of the investigation.

Shutter Island is a crisp, concise, beautifully shot film, and with Martin Scorsese behind the camera, I would expect no less. The acting is top notch, of course, and the script is exciting and interesting. The pace slows at times, but it's more so that Scorsese can demonstrate the mood and feel of this island prison, letting the viewer feel as trapped as the main character.

The supporting cast includes Michelle Williams, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, and Emily Mortimer. All are given excellent material, and all act the hell out of their roles.

Shutter Island is a very good film with a satisfying conclusion. I have a hunch that it would improve with additional viewings... once you know the ending, I'm sure that it would be a completely different film.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I'm An Idiot, Part ONE MILLION

So I dropped a vase on my head.

You might ask yourself, "How would one do such a thing?" And I am here to tell you that it definitely wasn't planned. Does that make you feel better, or does that make you think that I am a bigger idiot than you already think?

So I was getting ready for work the other morning, and I had a few minutes before I had to leave to catch the bus. Because I have to get up before six a.m., I'm usually still dragging when I need to leave the house at seven. (A ha! Clue #1.)

And just because I should get up before six doesn't mean that I actually do. Which, again, just proves that I am a complete moron when it comes to planning my time.

Anyway, I didn't get out of bed until 6:35. (Clue #2.)

Lately I've been smart about setting out my work clothes the night before, but I hadn't actually done that this time because why would I? God. Most of my summer wardrobe was either strewn about on my window seat, folded nicely in bags that brought it to my house after its laundering at Mike's, or dirty (there are several places that dirty clothes have been kept lately, and that includes the floor, the bathroom, and the actual hamper). So as I rushed through a lightning quick shower, I mentally prepared an outfit in my head, NOT KNOWING if it was clean or available or, most importantly, FINDABLE. (Clue #3.)

I got out of the shower and proceeded to run around like a banshee. As I was combing out my hair, I was trying to find a bra. As I brushed my teeth, I was trying to pack something for breakfast. As I was drying my hair, I was trying to put on a skirt. It was ridiculous.

I should also mention that I have this cute piece of furniture in my bathroom. Because it's an older house, there is no storage in the bathroom. I found an old nightstand at a garage sale last summer and it works perfectly. And so there, right on top, is where I have a little glass that holds my makeup brushes and a larger, heavier vase that holds my hair brushes and comb. (Clue #4.)

I was actually doing okay with time and decided that "Today can be a day that I actually wear makeup, yay!" and started applying mascara. I don't know how, but I somehow knocked into the nightstand and heard something small fall off the surface. I figured that it was a bobby pin and finished getting pretty (for once).

I was ready to go! On time! And all that I had left to do was to grab some jewelry and zip out the door! I keep my everyday jewelry on my dresser in a little ceramic bowl, and yet, my ring was not there.

Where do you think it was?

Knowing that I had to free my ring from dust-bunny doom and catch the bus on time, I ran to the bathroom, plopped to the floor, and attempted to slide the nightstand away from the wall.

"Hmmm... this fucking thing is heavy with actual stuff in it. I had better just give it a shove regardless of what is on top!"

And that's how the square, heavy vase fell on my head and then on my arm, making me cry and convincing me that I had a concussion and was going to die if I fell asleep.

I still caught the bus. Be proud.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Emily sent me this picture, which is pretty awesome:

She was babysitting, and all I could think of was how jealous I was that she was playing with Play-Doh and all I was doing was laying by the pool. Life is hard! Play-Doh is way better than swimming!

My favorite Play-Doh, uh... set (accessory?) was a barber shop. It was basically awesome - the Play-Doh would ooze out of the plastic heads (that looked... inappropriate) and then you got to cut the hair with plastic scissors.

How did we get through the 80s, seriously?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mr. Happy Dinosaur Considers a Swim

The other people at the pool probably thought that I was completely normal.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Oh, and My Legs Got Sunburned, But Nothing Else

I've only been kayaking once since the trip to Wisconsin back in 2007, and it was a lovely experience on the Huron River. Kelly and I decided to go kayaking on the 4th, and the timing was such that we decided to forgo the usual trip and try the longer one.

Instead of three miles, we would be doing 7.1 miles. Not so bad, right? Well, the Huron River isn't really known for it's quick current, and this route actually took us through a pond at one point.

Kelly is also in slightly better shape than me. She actually seems to care about what is going to happen to her body as she ages, and apparently I need to start thinking about that. Anyway, she's stronger. And even though she kept saying that we were in no hurry, I was constantly many, many yards behind her, struggling to catch up.

My arms are weak, you see.

But we saw all sorts of birds and jumping fish and turtles, and Kelly really enjoyed it when I pointed them all out to her. (I really appreciate that she deals with my insanity - she even pointed out a bird to me.) I was brave and brought my camera in a ziplock bag, and was able to get some acceptable pictures:

Just in case you couldn't find the great blue heron.

Ah, nature.

It took about four days for my arms and back to go back to normal. It was an amazing workout. If I had a kayak, perhaps I would get out there more, who knows?

All we know is that next time? We will bring more than just water. Like beers. Possibly some food. But mostly beers.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Story of When Mike and Heather Attended a Wedding and Almost DIED, I am Serious

Mike and I recently attended the WORST WEDDING IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. Okay, so I'm exaggerating a bit. We're not the closest of friends with the couple, but it was really nice to be invited.


The ceremony and reception were at a golf/country club. The ceremony was outside, but even at 6 pm it was SO HOT. The poor men in suits were dying. It was a different kind of ceremony. They incorporated some things that I've never seen at a wedding, like The Warming of the Rings in which the wedding bands are passed along to the wedding party and the family members. Each person held the rings to "warm" them and say a prayer over them, which was nice and all, but it was 90 DEGREES and it took TEN MINUTES, and I know that I am a total asshole, but GOD.

Then they had this Hand Blessing Ceremony, which was really nice, and I got teary. By this point, Mike was watching the golfers on the closest green.

Instead of lighting a unity candle, they poured sand into a mason jar or something. I don't know. By this time I had also stopped paying attention and was pretty much focused on whether or not I had ass sweat on the back of my dress.

So the ceremony ended at 6:30 and the wedding party left for their pictures. We went inside to where there was air conditioning (PRAISE JESUS).
There were some light hors d'oeuvres and an open bar. We mingled a bit before taking our seats. But the DJ wasn't playing any music. It was... weird.

By 7:30, the snackies were gone, and I was considering heading to the car to get the cheez-it snack pack I thought I saw in the glove compartment, but I was just too damned lazy. I had another drink instead, and everyone continued to sit around.

Because the DJ? He didn't play music for the time we were waiting. He didn't play music during dinner. And when he did play music, it was AWFUL. Like AWFUL. He did have some little device that projected little lights on the ceiling, so we watched that for a while.

The wedding party didn't return until 8:30. TWO HOURS FOR PICTURES. And then, they had to cut the fucking cake. And THEN, they did the speeches. The matron of honor was fine, but the best man? He talked for ten minutes, and he talked about himself. His car. His dog. His own marriage. It was BIZARRE. And we are all STARVING.

The only picture I took. Melon duck.
Now that I think about it, we should have eaten him.

So the wedding party finally got up to go to the buffet. Well, actually, the bride and groom got up. Alone. We watched them get food. And walk back. Then the wedding party walked to the buffet. And walked back. Whomever was dismissing the tables needed to be shot, because there would be like, five minutes between dismissals where there was no one at the damn buffet. Our entire table was ready to kill someone at this point. We didn't get food until 9:15.

And it was still DEAD SILENT because the DJ wasn't playing any music.

And then the sun was setting, so the bride and groom went outside to TAKE MORE PICTURES OH MY GOD.

Then it was time for cake, which as you might possibly agree, is one of the main reasons to attend a wedding. But we didn't get wedding cake! We got Costco cake. And it was stale. But at least it was food.

And they were still outside taking pictures.

At 9:45, the bride and groom finally came back inside, and we thought that they were going to do the rounds at the tables, but no. They danced. And then it was time for the wedding party dance.

Oh, and by this point, Mike and I were the only people left at our table. Everyone else had left. And that was pretty much true of every other table. And then, we were just done. We left at ten. We never spoke to the bride and groom, which means that I didn't get to meet either of them. They never made their way around the reception to greet people. Weird, right?

But really, I probably* wouldn't be bitching like a psychopath if we hadn't waited so long for everything. I understand that it was not my wedding, and I understand that people want the most out of their special day, but when it comes to etiquette, they blew it big time. If your guests are really as special as you announce they are... well, don't spend two fucking hours taking pictures.

*Who am I kidding. Of course I'd still be bitching.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Apparently I'm Like, Eighty or Something

Because I'm a fucking retard who can't manage to remember to take her pills, I bought this little baby at Target yesterday. Because I now take two pills in the morning and three at night! And that's not even counting vitamins.

So I'm an 86-year old fucking retard. Awesome.

Friday, July 02, 2010


I've always loved snarky, bizarre, cracked-out humor, evidenced by my fascination with In Living Color, The Kids in the Hall, and The State (oh, how I loved The State). I don't know when it was that I discovered Mystery Science Theater 3000, but I have loved it ever since.

Mike and I first watched one of the most amazing MST3K episodes about two years ago. The movie was called Devil Fish, and we still quote that episode. And I think that I linked to it before, because it's on youtube in its entirety, but here is a taste of the brilliance.

You're welcome.

So when I heard that MST3K was doing LIVE shows, and one was going to be in ANN ARBOR, and OMG THAT'S WHERE I LIVE, I called him immediately. I think that I freaked him out at first.

"Hi honey, what's up?"
H: "Are you busy?"
M: "Um, yeah. Why? What's going on?"
M: "..."

So that's where we are going tonight, after dinner at our favorite restaurant, and I am SO EXCITED. I may not be heading to a lake this weekend like most everyone else in this state, but I don't care because this is awesome. AWESOME, I tell you!

Of course, I almost ruined everything by making plans with Kelly for tonight to see the sparkly vampire movie because when she called yesterday to see if I had plans on Friday night, I was all, "Hmmm... Not that I can think of! Durrrrr!" So I had to crush her dreams with a text this morning.

And then tomorrow, instead of being on a boat in a lake, we have a wedding to go to where I will know exactly ONE person: Mike. I haven't decided if I'm going to get wildly drunk and make friends with everyone, or if I'm going to be the designated driver. Mike's the one who got us invited, so maybe it should be him.

Anyway, MST3K. Woo!