Sunday, November 30, 2008

If Virginia is for Lovers...

Then Maryland is for people who are confused about sex. On the drive down to Shannon’s on Wednesday, Mom and I passed a billboard in Maryland that irritated us both. It pronounced (without evidence or a source clearly sited, because who can gather that type of detailed info at 65 MPH?) that: “Children of married parents do better in school.” Now, given that my parents are divorced and both my sisters and I held our own quite comfortably in school, we were put off by this obviously “traditional family” propaganda. But it was just one silly billboard and we forgot about it rather quickly.

Until, that is, our drive home. In a spirit of adventure, Mom’s GPS took us a completely different route on the trip home, so we were treated to a whole new set of right wing advertising. The first proclaimed “Abstinence always works.” This, despite years of failed abstinence-only education under the Bush administration proving pretty unequivocally that, no, abstinence doesn’t always work. You know what usually does work? Condoms. But whatever: Maryland’s not too worried about the stats, obviously.

Maryland’s love of not getting it on was evident another couple of miles down the road, when we saw the billboard stating: “Virgin: Teach your kids it's not a dirty word.” It’s definitely not a dirty word. But neither is sex or erection or jizz (well, maybe jizz).

We were still chuckling about that one when mom pointed out my favorite. Sporting a photo of a teenage girl with her arms crossed defiantly, this billboard read: “I'm not giving it up, and I'm not giving in.” You go girl. But if you change your mind, please visit Planned Parenthood to get some actual information and a condom.

You might now be thinking that Maryland doesn’t sound at all confused about sex: They don’t much like it and when they do have it, they want the lights turned off. And that might be true, except that we passed four adult video and book stores in the approximately ten mile stretch where we saw these billboards!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Drive Time

Starting another afternoon/evening in the car. Shannon, Micah, Mom, and I went out for vegan Chinese food for lunch this afternoon (Mom and I stuck to the vegetable dishes and Micah and Shannon went for the mock meats), and afterward we all walked around a fun pedestrian-friendly section of Richmond for a while (Carey Street?). Now we’re hitting the road again, though, and tomorrow morning I’ll take the bus back into the city.

Shannon and Micah were great hosts, and I can't wait to visit them again!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Rocks

Shannon and Micah took me rock climbing this morning in an effort to work off a little of the pie we all ate last night. I loved it! I haven't been climbing before (ice climbing in Alaska is the closest I've come) so I stuck to the easy routes, made it to the top of all the routes I tried, and felt like quite a success. I'd love to do more of this kind of thing if I could find other people who wanted to do it and a place to go.

Micah has heard of a farmer in Ohio who ices his silo from top to bottom and lets people ice climb it in the winter. Who's ready for a road trip?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

For me, Thanksgiving isn’t about turkey this year: I’m spending the holiday with vegetarians, so there will be nary a drumstick in sight. It should always be about more than the food, anyway, though, so in that spirit, I give my list of things I’m Thankful for this year.

As always, I’m extremely thankful for my family and friends. You guys make each day better, easier, and more fun.

Along the same lines, but deserving his own special shout-out: I’m very thankful for Todd. I love how he makes me laugh, lets me be myself while still calling me on my shit, cares about the same things I do but doesn’t mind disagreeing about the particulars, inspires me to be creative, takes me on adventures, and gives me something to look forward to everyday. I plan on being grateful for him for many years to come.

In a much less mushy way, I’m grateful for my job. The silver lining of having suffered for years in a job I intensely disliked is that it’s very easy to recognize how much better I have it now. A great boss, great coworkers, and work that I actually enjoy is definitely something to appreciate. And in this wintry economy, it’s worth recognizing how good it is to be gainfully employed.

I’m also thankful that I was accepted into a graduate program at Columbia. I start classes in January and in just a few short years will be the proud holder of a master’s degree. I’m really excited to be learning and setting myself up for future opportunities.

And finally, in case my non-stop political blogging hasn’t already suggested this, I’m thankful for Barack Obama and the possibility that this country may actually get better.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Car Games?

Mom and I are driving to Virginia today, and since it’s one of the biggest travel days of the year I’m sure the trip will take longer than the normal five hours. I have a couple of CDs, and mom and I will find lots to chat about. I’m curious if any of you have awesome two-person car games to recommend, though. What can we do to keep entertained?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Worth a shot or a waste of time and money?

I love having Camilla. I must admit, though, that litter boxes, by nature, are kind of gross. Who wants poo just hanging around? And despite much sweeping, I feel like there is always litter on the floor. I stumbled up on the Cat Seat website the other day, and I’m curious about whether it will work. On the one hand, Camilla isn’t that young, so she may be set in her ways and reject this all together. On the other hand, how great would it be to not have a litter box in my apartment?

What do you guys think?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Holidays are right around the corner

Did Thanksgiving creep up on everyone, or was it only me? I’m not sure why, but even though I’ve been aware that it was nearing, I still can’t believe that I have to pack tonight and head out of town tomorrow. I’m making it as far as Mt. Laurel, NJ tomorrow and then Mom and I are hitting the road on Wednesday morning to drive to Shannon’s new home in Richmond, Virginia. Hitting no traffic is probably too much to ask, but keep your fingers crossed that it’s smooth sailing at least most of the time.

And once Thanksgiving arrives, we know that the rest of the year will zoom by.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Boy George, Kidnapper?

Does Boy George’s life just get weirder and weirder? I mean, I thought he was kooky when he seemed to want to actually be Leigh Bowery during the Taboo days. And then he invented a burglary and got got all up in the media’s face (admittedly, the media usually has that coming) when they covered the story.

But now he’s accused of handcuffing male escorts to his wall? He needs to get his act together.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Holiday Season

I heard my first Christmas music of the season this morning buying bagels at Absolute Bagels. There's a part of me that feels like Christmas music shouldn't start until Thanksgiving, but I also love the holiday season and Christmas music, so I don't really mind. And this year's first real cold snap has just arrived, making it feel more wintry and like Christmas anyway.

Todd and I talked about our families' respective Christmas traditions last night over dinner. What do you guys do every year for the holidays?

Friday, November 21, 2008

When in doubt...

Steal from your friends. Laura and Rena each recently did a post remembering what they had written exactly a year ago. I'm still recovering from the election and trying to remember what I posted about before all I did was talk about politics. Since I'm still a little stumped, I'm following their lead and remembering this day a year ago.

November 21, 2007
I posted a mini review of Grub by Elise Blackwell and pointed people to Enfuse for my full review. I did a few reviews for Enfuse and have done one so far for Fiction Writer's Review. I like having another outlet for my writing and a greater audience on which to inflict my opinions. But I also find myself struggling to make a dent in my ever-growing to-be-read pile (my addiction to buying books means that the pile rarely shrinks and when it does it's temporary). Since I really do want to read all the books already in my pile, I sometimes find it hard to be pulled away from those for more formal assignments.

Anne and I have talked about me contributing something on a regular basis for FWR, but we haven't figure out just what it would be yet. Anyone have ideas of a regular book-related topic upon which I should regularly comment?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I hope this isn’t some kind of trick *

Word on the street is that my beloved Arrested Development may actually become a movie! There have long been rumors to this effect, but I never quite believed it. It’s now being reported, though, that Mitch Hurwitz will write and co-direct with Ron Howard, one of the world’s best narrators.

I hope that any movie that ultimately gets made stays true to the fabulously eccentric, smart, and unique voice and style of the series.

Long live Arrested Development!

"'Illusion,' Michael. A trick is something a whore does for money.” —GOB Bluth

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One of the Bummers of Winter

Ok, other office drones, I need to know: what do you do for lunch in the winter? During the spring, summer, and fall I love to take a few minutes to myself and grab a bench for 20 minutes or half an hour to read during the day. It gives me a break from staring at the computer and builds a little more reading time into my schedule (I’ll admit that I didn’t do this much this year, as I was compulsively reading The Huffington Post during every lunch).

Now that it’s finally cold, though, sitting outside is not an option. I find myself post election—right when I’m ready to hunker down with a book instead of reading the latest polls—with no where to take such a break. Am I doomed until spring thaw, or do some of you have suggestions?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Joe Lieberman can suck it

Remember that great SNL sketch (the first with the lovable Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, I believe) where Hillary was talking about the media growing a pair? Yeah, well she should maybe talk to her own party about that very same thing. Total suckers that they are, the democrats today decided by a secret vote (because they know that people will kick the asses of whichever pussies voted this way) to keep the loathe-worthy Joe Lieberman in his post as chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

In related news, today is Laugh at Joe Lieberman Day. As Jason Linkins points out, this is both pointless and dumb.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Matter of Loaf and Death

Wallace and Gromit are back! Nick Park has created a new thirty-minute W&G special that will air on BBC this Christmas. I doubt that we'll see it on the telly here in the US, but it'll be making an appearance on my Netflix queue as soon as Netflix figures out that it exists.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Brisket and Ribs and Pulled Pork, Oh My!

It was a barbeque-heavy weekend for me. I don't go out to BBQ often, but I somehow managed to eat it twice in just two days. Saturday night Todd and I braved the elements without umbrellas (thanks to my inability to properly read my iphone's weather app) and headed to the Waterfront Alehouse in Brooklyn to meet up with some BBQ-happy friends. Said friends took the initiative of ordering for the entire table so we could all taste a little bit of everything. I'm often not a fan of family style ordering, but I went with the flow and ended up liking the meal.

After some time at the museum today, Todd, the kids, and I took advantage of the early bird special at a local BBQ place. I wasn't hungry enough for all that meat again and got a spinach salad with some barbequed steak thrown on top. Saturday's meal was better, which just goes to show that when you're at a barbeque place, you shouldn't get the salad.

Then I listened to a podcast of The Splendid Table where they talked about acheiving barbeque with a crock pot and some liquid smoke.

This weekend was all barbeque, all the time.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

from 52 to 48 | 48 to 52 with love

Todd and I were out eating Ethiopian food one time when we disagreed about something fairly minor but which I blew out of proportion (as I will), stating that if we didn't agree on this one stupid thing, we were fundamentally different and probably doomed. A little further into dinner my mind flashed to James Carville and Mary Matlin, the political odd couple. He's a dem who loyally supports the Clintons. She's a republican and has worked in various ways with G.H.W. Bush and Dick Cheney. I figured, if they could make it work, this dumb thing I was freaking out about could probably be handled, too. Todd hasn't loved that I often call him Mary Matlin now when we disagree, but I digress.

Ze Frank has come up with a somewhat similar notion—that we can make it work without always agreeing—and posted this great collection of images submitted by his readers. What's a little weird is how much animosity this project apparently created. Even if you're unhappy about the results of the election, it's pretty counter-producitive to find fault with an attempt to bridge the red/blue divide.

Friday, November 14, 2008


I'm extremely glad it's Friday. This week has been long and slow for some reason, and I've felt like it should be Friday since sometime on Tuesday. I'm heading home to veg for an hour or so and then out to drinks with friends after that. It's the perfect Friday night combination of personal relaxation and socialization.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


So it’s going to rain in NYC today. I must have heard the little people who live inside my radio mention it six times while I was getting ready this morning. And rain means umbrellas, so I took one out of the closet and put it down...somewhere. And, naturally, I forgot to pick it up again when I was leaving the apartment.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I received word yesterday that I’m officially accepted into the Strategic Communications program at Columbia. Given the email exchange I had with the admissions counselor a couple of days ago, I thought I’d be waiting up until Thanksgiving to get the news, so it was a nice surprise to check my email last night and find out.

Classes start January 20th, and then for the next two years or so I’ll be a student again.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A New Favorite

When I was visiting Jen in Massachusetts in September, I appropriated some of her Lollibomb Warm Vanilla Bean Vegan Whipped Body Frosting. Yes, it’s easier to say lotion, but it makes you sound more like a tasty treat if you put frosting on yourself after a shower instead of lotion.

Anyway, I was instantly hooked. I loved the scent and way it felt, and I wholly recommend it. I bought a couple of items once I got home and there are a lot of others I’d like to get, too. My one warning is that shipping took a little longer than this eager beaver was hoping. It’s worth the wait, though, and if you’re looking for a way to treat yourself, you should check out the site.

And, since all the products are vegan, all you animal lovers can feel really good about supporting Lollibomb.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Grad School Update

The big news on my quest to go back to school is...nothing. I have no big update. When I applied mid-September, I was under the illusion (due to the application website) that I'd have an answer in two to six weeks. I submitted my application well ahead of the deadline, so I had high hopes that the admissions counselors were sitting around looking for something to read and would turn their attention to my application right away. Even if they didn't, though, I thought I'd have an answer by the beginning of November.

I checked in with my contact in the admissions office today, though, and he told me to chill for another two weeks. I am eager for news just because I love nothing more than planning. In reality, though, my life will be roughly equivalent whether I'm admitted or not: if I don't get in, I'm planning to take a class through continuing ed and just start the program that way. Still, it would be very nice to know that I'm accepted and working toward a degree. Plus I'll feel like kind of a loser if I don't get in since I don't think it's all that competitive. Keep your fingers crossed for good news in the next two weeks.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Not for a first date

I remember watching We Don't Live Here Anymore on my own when I was living in Chicago. As the credits rolled, I actively appreciated that I was single. It was the kind of movie that just shows the absolute worst of being in a relationship.

Anne very generously took me to
Fifty Words this weekend as a belated birthday present. As Norbert Leo Butz and Elizabeth Marvel took their bows, Anne leaned over and said how glad she was that neither of us had seen this show on a first date. It, like We Don't live Here Any More, will make even the most relationship-oriented person think twice about marriage. Butz and Marvel play a couple whose life together is on the verge of collapse. Parenting, career, and financial stress collectively take their toll and bring out each of their worst qualities. Over the course of a night they go from giddiness over having the house to themselves while their nine-year old son enjoys his first sleep over to giddiness that they can finally be honest with each other: honest they way you are with someone you never have to see again, because their lives together are so irreparably damaged that they'll permanently go their separate ways in the morning.

The play feels very theatrical at times (and not in a good way), especially in the beginning. And while Butz and Marvel eventually find their footing, it's no surprise that the show was written by a man. Butz gives the better performance in this two-man show, but he's also given a deeper and more nuanced character to play.

Life with either of these two characters would be pretty miserable, so it's hard to fault either for their marital ambivalence. Life watching Norbert Leo Butz on stage is pretty good, though.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Misquoting Jesus

Just finished this very interesting read about the bible. I'm not religious, but I do find religion very interesting. Different religions, the holds they have on people, and the way they have evolved are all fascinating.

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why is a focused look at the evolution of the bible and, subsequently, Christianity. Ehrman traces the process by which texts came to be accepted as the new testament and notes that there were many, many other writings that didn't make the cut. He discusses the methods through which scribes copied early manuscripts, introducing errors as well as intentional changes.

Ehrman book-ends the book (what a very Austin Powers, allow-myself-to-introduce-myself moment here), with a personal message about his history with religion, how the bible came to be important to him, and how he started to recognize it as a very human work instead of divine. This personal addition is an excellent entry point for his readers and adds a level of poignancy that would be otherwise absent.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Election Withdrawal

Now that the election is over, I just don't know what to do with myself. As you can see from the fact that I'm three days behind in blogging, I'm finding myself at a loss for what to talk about, too.

Thank Kimberly and The Onion for the fact that this post exists at all.

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Reflections on Elections

Thank goodness most of you share my feelings of relief, gratitude, and hope about Obama’s victory, because words could not do my feelings justice. I was on a high Tuesday night, and yesterday's post reflects that continued excitement. But while the presidential race went just the way we needed it to, we can’t call the night’s results a total success.

Some minor disappointments include not reaching a 60-count majority in the senate. I was particularly hopeful for an Al Franken win, and since there is a teeny, tiny margin between the votes for him vs. his rival Norm Coleman, a recount is in the offing. I was also hoping that despite having proven their judgment questionable (see: Governor Palin), Alaskans would give their old and convicted friend Ted Stevens the boot. No such luck, though. He won, but his fellow senators may not be so forgiving: there is talk of expelling him from the Senate.

I also have real frustration about how much money this marathon campaign cost us. I am so glad that people were motivated to give and engage, but just think what $1.5 BILLION dollars could do for us. How many hospitals does that build? How many after school programs does it fund? How many homeless shelters and food banks could be kept afloat? I have no expectation that campaign finance will change significantly any time soon—if anything, Obama’s record-breaking fundraising and rejection of public financing just means we’ll see more of this. And I contributed—and was glad to do so if it meant a President Obama. I’m just sad that the money isn’t going to something more worthy than finger-pointing ads.

The biggest disappointment at all—and disappointment is really too light a word for what I’m feeling—is that Proposition 8 passed in California. Prop 8 bans same-sex marriages, and is a giant step backward for a state that showed real leadership several months ago when its highest court ruled that same sex couples could marry. It was a fairly close race, with approximately 52% of voters supporting the ban. It's cold comfort that it was a tight race, but I’m frustrated and confused at how much people discriminate against gays and lesbians. I don’t understand why anyone gives a shit what we each do in the privacy of our own homes with other consenting adults. There is ambiguity about what this means for the thousands of same-sex couples who already wed.

Obama’s victory on Tuesday night was huge—it will go down in history, and I’m proud we were a part of it. Prop 8 reminds us that there is so much work left to be done, though.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can

What to say? My euphoria when Obama was announced the winner last night will be a surprise to absolutely no one. It was a long time coming, both in terms of this marathon campaign and in terms of the eight long years that are finally coming to a close. I feel hopeful about what an Obama administration will mean for this country and am confident that merely electing him has raised our reputation around the world.

I parked my ass on a stool at La Negrita at 5:00 last night and sat there drinking beer for about 7 1/2 hours watching results come in. I’m so glad I was out with friends and other Obama supporters—watching alone would never have been as satisfying. We all cheered when states went to Obama, when (as another barfly put it) Elizabeth Dole had her ass handed to her, and when John Sununu lost. The place went wild at 11:00 when, immediately after California’s polls closed, Obama was declared the victor. We had all seen it coming, but I don’t think I was alone in feeling an enormous sense of relief when it was made official. The excitement was evident for the rest of the night with people out on the streets cheering, drivers honking their horns, and a couple of folks even banging pots and pans.

Many of us got choked up or cried during Obama’s acceptance speech. He’s a gifted orator, but in addition to having a brilliant delivery, his words really hit home. I love that his speech was not about him or his victory. It was about all of us and the need for all of us to continue working together to make change. Obama won because more people were engaged in an election than ever before. We came out in record numbers to volunteer, to donate money, and to vote. We as a group enacted this change, and we need to continue to give of ourselves in the same way if we want to continue seeing our country change. Obama’s speech recognized that. Here’s a truncated excerpt of some of my favorite parts, and you can read the whole thing by following the link.

I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead....I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand...This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you...And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President, too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yes We Can!

Today is the day! Get out there and vote—lines may be long, so bring a book, your ipod, your iphone, a newspaper, etc. If you’re not sure where to go, you can find your polling station here. Make sure all your democratic neighbors and friends are voting and know where to go. Offer your old and feeble (democratic) neighbors a hand if they need it. Shannon and Kristinn—this goes double for you! Caryn, make sure your mom and Bonni are voting!

If you have some extra time today, make a couple of calls on Obama’s behalf. You can do it in your pajamas from home. Or you can pass the time in line by calling folks from your cell phone!


Monday, November 3, 2008

Whose Boss is Awesome?

Mine! She also just sent me this:

Lawn Signs We Can Believe In

This picture comes courtesy of my boss, who knows that I'm on tenterhooks until election results come in tomorrow night.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trip to Red Hook

Todd and I went to Ikea today to pick up some stuff for our apartments. I wanted a vase and a cat bed for Camilla. I came away with both of those things (two vases, actually) as well as a whole mess of crap I never knew I wanted: napkins by the hundred, food and water dishes that match Camilla’s new bed (for her, of course), gigantic Christmas tree ornaments, and more. The most freakish thing, though, was how much time we spent there. How is it possible that hours and hours can go by without us even realizing? This trip to Red Hook seriously took the entire day!

After debarking the water taxi, we did explore Red Hook for a little while before starting to shop at least. We were surprised to find out that there’s something of an artists’ community burgeoning there. Our best discovery was the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition; it looks like a great group and interesting way to meet other creative people.

Our marathon shopping spree at Ikea meant that we didn’t have any time in the evening to do art projects ourselves, which had been the original plan. My painting from a few weeks ago is still unfinished, and I had expected to make progress on it tonight. Soon it will be finished, though, and I hope to like enough to post a picture here.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Today, being November 1st, is the beginning of another round of National Blog Posting Month (or NaBloPoMo for those of you in the know). As someone who has made it 5/6 of the way through Blog 365, let me say: it's actually not that tough to post every day. Anyone who has been reading knows that I occasionally revert to pictures of Camilla or post a youtube video with no commentary. Overall, though, it's really fun and pretty satisfying to be putting something out there every day.

All this is to say that I encourage all of you to give NaBloPoMo a go!