Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Rugapalooza!

Can you be a "palooza" with only one thing? Well, getting this new rug is exciting enough that I think it merits the suffix.

I have been searching for the perfect rug for my dining room ever since I moved into my condo (almost two years ago). The one I have been using is from my rental townhouse in Williamsburg, and was a 3x5 rug purchased at Ikea about 5 years ago. Fun, bright, with color blocks, it was ok, but it didn't really match the decor and it was a little juvenile for the room. Also too small, since the dining room table barely fit on it.

But getting a new rug is not something I wanted to rush into. I wanted to find the perfect thing, because as we all know, a rug can really tie a room together (so says the Big Lebowski. Or actually the not-Big Lebowski. You know what I mean).

Then finally, one day I found it. While out at the yuppie Herndon Target with Carly, I found the perfect rug. I foolishly decided not to get it then, confident that I could locate it at the Target closer to me. Oh, how naive I was.

Three weeks and three Targets later, I got it! Of course it was "in store only." Bastards. But the story has a happy ending and here it is, making it's public debut, my new dining room rug:

Behold! My new rug!

Extreme close-up!

Ultimate extreme close-up!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Results of Swimming

Now that it's summer and my pool is open, I have been trying to swim about 4-5 days a week. This has resulted in some effects, some hilarious, some mundane. Here they are:

--Sore arms afterwards. Who knew swimming laps every night would result in sore upper arms? I could barely open the refrigerator door. So pathetic. I have no upper body strength.

--Freckles. Lots of them. In fact, I am hoping that my freckles will eventually merge into one giant freckle and it will look like I have a tan!

--Needing to switch to a darker shade of foundation. All this outdoor exposure means I had to move up from the lightest shade of bare minerals to the next-to-lightest. That's kind of a big deal for me. You know the kids at the pool when I was young used to call me "Casper."

--Sudden cravings for chinese food. I don't know what it is about swimming, but it makes me really hungry and it makes me want chinese food. Thus far I have resisted the siren call. But I'm not sure how long I can hold out.

--Higher kid tolerance. The same group of kids swims in the pool every evening, but instead of finding their insistent shouting and laughing annoying...I kind of like it. They were playing sharks and minnows this evening, and was actually really cute and made me nostalgic.

--Less conscience about walking around in a bathing suit. Once it becomes old hat, you kind of don't give a shit anymore.

--Making friends with the Eastern-European lifeguards. The one who was a total bitch to me the first couple days of the summer now totally loves me because my friend Erika and her adorable son Brandon have come to swim several times. Nobody can resist the lure of 18 month old Brandon!

--Better budgeting of my evening time. Spending an hour in the pool every night means I can't afford to just sit on my ass and lull around all night. I gotta get dinner done, do the dishes, pack a lunch for the next day, plus whatever various chores need to be done, and catch up on Weeds, Gilmore Girls, or So You Think You Can Dance.

So the moral is swimming = good!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A bat, a senator, and a red-head walk into a bar...

Ok, not really. But on Sunday I (the red head) went to see The Dark Knight (the bat) with Kim and Mike at the restored Senator theatre in Baltimore (the Senator).

First of all, thoughts on the movie: really good, of course. A bit long, and jam-packed with plot. Maybe too much. Obviously, Heath Ledger was brilliant (and totally freaking scary). I have to say though, for a movie about Batman, it didn't seem to really be about Batman. Harvey Dent (i.e. Two Face) was, in my opinion, the most interesting character.

And now some general thoughts on Baltimore. I used to make fun of Baltimore and describe it as as basically completely ghetto. I would tell people that I had seen Homicide: Life on the Street and knew what was up, which is actually a total lie since I haven't seen Homicide but I do know that Andre Braugher and Richard Belzer are awesome.

ANYWAY, I kinda love Baltimore now. It all started with a two-day training course my job made me take in Baltimore. Walking around downtown, I thought that this was actually a really nice city. And then I saw Hairspray and really loved the portrayal of the city. Yeah, they acknowledged it basically a craphole, but it just had so much character. And then, I began to visit Kim and Mike pretty regularly and began to notice all the pretty architecture, the diversity of the people, the good food and fun in the Inner Harbor....

I'm not saying I want to live there; if you know me at all, you know how I feel about Maryland. But I don't mind visiting. And I can understand why Mike loves it so much.

Oh, and according to Mike, the area of Baltimore Street with all the strip clubs and liquor stores that is like right downtown? It's the safest part of town because the police station is on the same block. Nice.

And now for your viewing pleasure....

Kim is shocked, SHOCKED, by the lack of movie trailers at the Senator Theatre. Seriously, we didn't get to see The Watchmen trailer. Boo.

Me and Kimmy eagerly awaiting the movie. Hey, did you guys hear that Christian Bale just got arrested for assault?? Crazy.

Here's the Senator in all it's glory. Yeah, it's kind of a big deal. For a movie theatre.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tolerability Index

In a complete rip-off of The Onion, I have decided to prepare my own list of things I've been thinking about this week, rated on a scale of "Oh, Hell No" to "More Please!"

Things that make me want to gouge my eyes out: All these celebrities and their baby pictures. Seriously. First of all, most babies look the same. Like aliens. You can disagree, but until they get to be AT LEAST a couple months old, babies look like aliens, or maybe more accurately, really old people. But the idea that "celebrities" get paid millions of dollars from magazines for the right to first publish their baby photos make me want to be sick. At least Angelina had the decency to donate the money from her baby's pics to charity. As for you, Jamie Lynn Spears and Jessica Alba, shame!

Barely Tolerable: The hype surrounding Dark Knight. Yes, I'll see it (in fact, I'm driving up to Baltimore on Sunday to watch it with Kim at the old restored Senator Theatre), but it's a movie, not the second coming. I am sure Heath Ledger is fantastic in it, and I am trying not to be too hard on the people who are already talking Oscar (but an Oscar? really?), since I haven't actually seen the movie yet, but when I turn on the morning news to find out the weather, I don't need to hear a 10 minute feature on how people without jobs were lining up to see 3 a.m. showing of the movie last night.

And I am actually really looking forward to seeing the movie, it looks like a good flick, although I was disappointed with Batman Begins. I think I'm just too much a Tim Burton girl at heart. Michael Keaton = Batman!

Oooh, I kinda like it!: Trader Joe's Garlic Basil Linguine. Yum!

I could do/watch/listen/read this every day, and twice on Sundays: God, I have gotten so addicted to So You Think You Can Dance. I am actually glad that it is on for 3 hours every week. Especially since I have a DVR, otherwise all the commercials would probably drive me crazy. I love that show awards people who are not only talented, but have worked hard to hone their craft. It's not like they pulled people off the street and are having them compete as dancers. These people have worked their asses for years to become skilled, and it shows! Yay, good competitive reality shows!

Love: Going to see 1964: The Tribute on Wednesday with Doug and Carly. First of all, the Birchmere is a great venue; everywhere has a good sightline, they offer food and drinks, plenty of parking, the atmosphere is chill, and the shows start at 7:30 so I was at home in bed at my usual time. About 20 minutes into the show we decided to screw this sitting thing, and just made our way to the back and danced during the rest of the show. Unlike, RAIN, this band focused on the Beatles early music, stopping just shy of the Sgt. Pepper era when the songs became too complicated to perform live. But it meant that the focus was on the rock-pop and the early Beatles sound. Which was fine by us! Although I think we were some of the youngest people there, it was still a great time and I am definitely planning on seeing them again!

Monday, July 07, 2008

You gotta read this shit to believe it.

Go, J.R.!

File this one under 1) celebrity sightings and 2) balls of steel.

Suck on that, Wolfy.

Postcards from the Edge

I thought I would update everyone on how Mom is doing. She had surgery last week to remove her esophageal cyst (although the cyst ended up being located right at the junction of her stomach and esophagus). She came home from the hospital last Wednesday and has so far been doing fine, although I think she is a bit surprised at how slow the recovery process has been. To be fair, the Doctor did tell her it would take approximately 6 weeks.

She is not able to eat solid food yet, her stomach and esophagus are still too swollen, but has been getting along fine on pudding, yogurt, jell-o, rice pudding, and various pured items such as tuna and pasta salad. Oh, and Vicodin. Gotta love the pain killers.

Anyway, she is hanging in, and while I think she is starting to get tired of feeling icky, every day she gets a little better. And she has a pretty cool incision midway down her chest, like Frankenstein! Just one more battle scar to talk about at dinner parties. ;o)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Shut yo mouth, I'm just talking bout America.

As the birth of our nation approaches, this seems like a good a time as any to think about what it means to be an American.

US fun fact: The Declaration of Independence was actually signed on July 1, but was formerly adopted and read aloud on July 4.

We Americans have had to put up with a lot of crap lately. And yeah, it's our own fault, since we elected that baboon of a President who has basically tarnished our reputation with everyone in the international community. And our economy is in the toilet. And our citizens stupidly bought McMansions they knew they couldn't afford and are now being foreclosed every which way but loose.

But that is neither here nor there.

I think it's up to every person to determine what being an American means. To me, it means bearing the responsibility of living in one of the freest countries in the world. You can become complacent, choose not to vote, sit on your ass with your playstation and bitch about how the world is going to hell in a hand basket....or, you can do SOMETHING.

It doesn't need to be a big something. You can read the paper and stay informed. Volunteer your time occasionally. Donate money occasionally. Talk to your friends, engage them in discourse, learn about differing points of view. Talk to people who have different experiences than you. You know, easy stuff.

But most of all, to me being an American is about the responsibility to learn. To not just accept the world at your doorstep. You don't need to become a world traveler. Books can teach us a lot of stuff. So can other people. And magazines, and newspapers, and tv shows (what up, NOVA?). By learning, you better yourself, and by bettering yourself, you better what is around you.

Freedom = the right to have your ideas heard.

To me, one of the best quotes about what America is comes from the movie The American President. Yeah, yeah, bear with me. Aaron Sorkin may be a coke-head, but he is a brilliant writer. So check out this speech from President Andrew Shepherd:
America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free".
So, yeah. I'm proud to be an American. It's better than being Canadian, right? Just kidding!

What will I be doing July 4? Watching 1776 of course. One of the most historically accurate movies ever made. I'm serious. I'm not saying the Founding Fathers would burst into song, but the movie is brilliant.