Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Jingle Bells


I just woke up from a 3 1/2 hour nap: after finishing Across The Wall I just collapsed on my bed, not even bothering to crawl under the covers. I suppose that's what I get for staying up late Christmas Eve and being roused at 9am.

Most of the things I had on my wish list were received, hurray! The only major thing I didn't get was The Phantom Hourglass, but that's something I can buy for myself sometime. I was more excited by the things like, say, the fact that I now own all seven season of The West Wing! Finally I will get to see how it all ended!

Two days ago my family and I saw Charlie Wilson's War and the only thing I knew going into it was that Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay. Two hours later, I was once again blown away by Mr. Sorkin's ability to make, for me, even the most inaccessible political finepoints perfectly understandable. Tom Hanks gave one of his best performances in 10 years, Julia Roberts managed not to be annoying, and Philip Seymour Hoffman...what can I say? He's the most versatile actor working today. And the ending quote is worth the movie and, of course, very applicable to what's going on today in Iraq and the "War on Terror". I highly recommend seeing it.

I hope all of you are having a most peaceful, restful holiday. I, for one, am very upset that I'm leaving five days--it seems like I never have enough time at home. Sunday night I babysat for our neighbor's 18-month old grandson, Alex(andre). Super cute, super energetic, cannot go anywhere without his stuffed polar bear, Nanuk. I'm babysitting him again tomorrow night. Presents, babies, movies, naps...what else could I possibly want out of a vacation?

Yuval and I will be spending some (as yet) undetermined amount of time together on New Year's Eve. :oD Not sure what else I'll be doing, but at least I'll be getting some kisses. ;o) Perhaps we'll decide to make it official? Who knows...

Stay warm, be safe, I love you all. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Calling You

Despite the fact that it was about 9 degrees outside last night, Yuval and I had a wonderful time eating sushi and talking in the restaurant for three hours straight (I'm pretty sure the waitstaff hated us). He gave me a ride home, there were some goodnight kisses exchanged, and I grinned all the way into my apartment. We almost cancelled the date because he's had a bad cough lately, but thankfully it had died down a lot during the day. He called me an hour after the date to ask me to save my copy of yesterday's Metro paper, wherein his letter to the editor was published: he was admonishing someone who wrote in the day before as Santa saying that, due to polar caps shrinking, "Santa" would do his part to cut down on environmental costs by subsisting on a diet of penguin eggs. Yuval replied that, since penguins live in Antarctica, the transportation costs alone would make that a very un-environmentally friendly policy). Um...I really, really like him! I'm going out with him again this Thursday night: we wanted to have another date before I leave to go home for a week. And he's already asked if I want to do something for New Year's with him. It's all still a little strange, this going on real "dates" with someone I'm not in an established relationship with, but I'm having a good time so far!

Be glad you don't celebrate any holiday like these fundamentalist Mormons: 47 siblings and 7 wives? Talk about an expensive Christmas! Speaking of Christmas, Sweeney Todd is getting very positive reviews all around, at least according to Rotten Tomatoes (an 89% with 29 reviews in). Hurray! Also in the holiday spirit of things, Adrienne's Chorus Pro Musica concert is coming up this Friday night and I'm super excited--there are few things I love more at this time of year than the songs and the singing of them. She was on TV this morning (the local FOX news broadcast) as part of a small sampling of what's to come at the choir's concert. It was so cool seeing her all pixelated and shit! I wanted to point and shout "That's my roomie! I know her!" Very awesome, even if it was 8:40am.

Thankfully Mom convinced Megan to return her recently purchased copy of I Am America ("I just think you're really going to want to return that, Meg. Trust me."), so my Christmas present for her is saved. Although now she suspects something, but I guess it can't be helped. Yesterday was my first ever official office holiday party, although it wasn't just technically our office; it was the entirety of the faculty and staff here at BU at the annual party. But it took place from 3-5pm, which meant I essentially got to leave work early to go drink free booze, eat really good food, and enter door prize drawings. I can't emphasize enough how awesome working for a university is: everyone should try it at least once!

Also, Britney Spear's 16-year old sister is preg-o, folks. But don't worry, the father is her "long time" boyfriend that she's had since high school...which she's still attending. I don't normally care about celeb gossip, but the Spears family is a train wreck I just can't tear my eyes away from. And I love that their mom is currently writing a parenting book. Right. I'll be sure to keep that book as far away as possible from all future baby showers I might attend...

Okay, time to keep working on the 8 lbs. of dark chocolate Lindor Truffles that the sweet German professor in the department got me. Thanks, Wolfgang, for making sure I will not suffer from lack of chocolate this holiday season!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tuesday Night's Squad

Today has been one of the most productive days I've had in a while. Got massive amounts of laundry done, dry-cleaned some stuff (myself), ironed 8 pairs of pants, cleaned my room, paid the bills, cleaned the bathroom, watched some of season two Battlestar Galactica, and burned all of the Planet Earth series that I finally got my hands on from the library. Whew! Funny story: as I was quickly changing out my stuff from the washer to the dryer, the young gentleman waiting for the washer kindly informed me that I'd dropped something. He picked it up to hand it to me and we both realized at the same time that it was a pair of my black underwear. I simply thanked him, threw them in with the rest, started the machine, and sauntered out. The whole thing was rather comical and so sitcom-esque I'm sure it's happened on some show before.

Well, ladies and gents, you can release your bated breath. The date on Friday night went well, really, really well and I'm seeing him again on Tuesday night for sushi. The time until then cannot possibly pass fast enough. Translation: I've definitely got the hots for this guy! We spent nearly 5 straight hours together Friday night and neither of us felt it was enough time. He paid for dinner and skating/skate rental at the Frog Pond. And since he is an ice hockey player and knew I was nervous about my terribly skating skillz, he just skated backwards the whole time with his hands out in front of him so I could hold onto him as I skated forward. Yeah, I'm sure we made some of the punks at the rink gag with the cuteness, but he was so sweet about it and we had great conversation whilst going round and round. He also saved my ass from falling no less than 7 times. We then sojourned to Dunkin' Donuts for some coffee (me) and hot chocolate (him), which I paid for out of gratitude and smitten-ness. Our topics of conversation ran the gauntlet from politics to drunken college time to jobs to favorite books to theories of religion...and beyond to much, much more. The night concluded wonderfully: we chatted for a bit outside my T stop, I hugged him, he kissed my cheek so I kissed his, and he seemed to think "Fuck it!" and went in for the real kiss...So nice! Quick but sweet, and I couldn't stop grinning like an idiot all the way home. I distracted myself from giddy thoughts by playing some more Super Mario on my DS.

Don't jinx it, but I think this might work out for us. :o) Guess I'll have to tell Ben "no" for a third date. Any suggestions on how to break it to him easy?

Anyone who's a fan of The Big Lebowski should definitely take a look at this video. Kudos to Adrienne for the heads up! Saturday night saw me babysitting for Dylan and then rushing off to Anthony's house for a holiday soiree. Poor Dylan had a bad cold, though, so he had a snot face the whole time and had some problems getting to sleep. He also threw up on my shoulder at one point--thankfully I managed to tame the grossness with soap and water after he fell asleep. I also talked to Yuval for over 20 minutes on the phone, a rare and practically unprecedented feat for me considering how much I hate talking on the phone. Dylan's parents came home a little after 10:00pm, paid me way much more than anyone deserves to paid for this kind of work, and wished me a happy holiday as I bolted out the door for the T to Brighton. Turned out my bottle of white wine was not needed (more for us!), but plenty of fun times were had playing Scattergories and, as my uncle says, shootin' the shit. Adrienne and I ended up having to take a taxi home at 12:50am as, unbeknownst to us, the inbound T stopped running around 12:15am. And so my love/hate relationship with the MBTA continues...

No church this morning as the ridiculous amounts of snow and sleet made the buses even slower than normal. Instead, I busied myself buying toilet paper, razors, and getting quarters with which to do laundry. Thai food later tonight at Duk Bua (yum!).

P.S. For those who know what I'm talking about, what could you see me as more: a Clayr, an Abhorsen, a Remembrancer, or a Charter Mage? I like all of them...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lesson No. 1

I have to say I'm upset that Grey's Anatomy got two Golden Globe nominations. Even fans of the show admit that it's gone careening downhill. Wake up, nominating committee! Just because it's a medical drama with attractive people doesn't mean it's automatically a good show! At least House has the street cred to back up its multiple nominations. Speaking of which, I have to make a trip over to MiniNova to get the latest episode...

The date went really well last night: that is, really well after we found the actual location of the Paris Creperie. When I looked it up it said it was near MIT and the river, so there I went, only to have Ben call 411 when the location it gave us turned out to be a bakery. Of course the new location just had to be in Coolidge Corner, a mere 10-minute walk from my apartment. But once we got there, delicious crepes were eaten (mine was ham and brie, and I had a brown sugar and butter crepe for dessert). We probably talked for about 2 1/2 hours straight, including the short ride he gave me home. He's a really nice guy to talk to, but I'm discovering more and more that he doesn't have quite as much of a sense of humor as I'd like and has a few other personality traits that I'm not so taken with. Perhaps I'll go out with him again, perhaps not? I paid this time since he covered my ass last time. Is it a bad thing if the guy doesn't even protest a little bit when the girl offers to pay, or is my method of thinking completely out-moded and anti-feminist? In any case, tomorrow night is the date with Yuval, which I have high hopes for based on our conversations so far.

"Avoid Death" has been chosen as the funniest warning label this year. The runners-up were pretty amazing, too. Oh, what a culture of lawsuits we've become! I finished Lirael last night, ravenously devouring the last three chapters whilst making my doomed way to the initial crepe location. The library cannot possibly ship Abhorsen to me fast enough: I think it's safe to say that Garth Nix has found a place on my "favorite authors" shelf right next to Philip Pullman. Anyone have an opinion on The Keys to the Kingdom and whether or not I should pick it up? Also, for any other Abhorsen Trilogy fans out there, Nix has officially stated that he's writing two more books for that world. One will be called Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen and will show how Chlorr of the Mask came to be about 450 years before Sabriel. The other one has no title yet but will fit into the world somehow...I forget what the press release said, exactly. In any case, hurray for more Old Kingdom and Ancelstierre!

And because of this shit that's heading right for us, I get to leave work early today. As in right now. HUZZAH FOR SNOW DAYS!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Deck The Halls

So...sleepy...I love candlepin bowling, I just wish I could get to bed earlier than 12:15am on Monday nights. At least I got to ride in Colin (Kat's red w/white stripes Mini-Cooper) and see a GPS in action for the first time. Plus, I bowled a 74, which is a high score for me in candlepin. Huzzah!

The Metamorphoses audition went well, even though the director surprised me by asking me to sing some of my favorite holiday song: going in I thought the singing was optional. Nonetheless, "Silent Night" came to the rescue and I managed to stay on pitch and key. I haven't heard back from them, which means no callback for me (again). Oh well. Though I really miss doing theatre it's not causing an irreparable hole in my life. Perhaps this means I'm just not passionate enough to "make it", or maybe it just means that theatre's not what I'm supposed to be focusing on right now. Either way, I don't feel depressed about it. Theatre's given me a lot of good things in life, and if Dionysus has declared that my stint is over, then so say we all, right? Yeah, I've been watching way too much Battlestar Galactica (and now I'm on the wait list for season 2.0).

I was 30 minutes late to babysitting because the T was out and they were busing people to the first underground stop. I called Jillian (the mom) and told her what was going on and she told me to just get in a cab and they'd pay for it. Unfortunately the traffic around in the area they occupy is horrendous at night (and it was a Saturday), so it still took me the better part of a half an hour to get there. The cabbie was friendly, though, and we had a nice discussion about how crazybadinsane Boston drivers are. Fortunately, though, Dylan was still awake due to a late nap, so I still got to play with him plenty. He used my finger as a chew toy at one point--ah, teething.

Anyone who ever went to Catholic school or has had any dealings with nuns will laugh at this. Silly nuns. Not to exclude my Jew friends, here's one for you, too. Ham for Hanukkah? That grocery should fire whoever made that sign. You're in Manhattan, for chrissakes! At least try to be a little more cosmopolitan and world-savvy. Speaking of Christmas and holidays, I've got almost all my shopping done. I'm a big fan of in-honor-of charity donations for extended family, so I purchased quite a few shares of different animals at Heifer International for my aunts, uncles, and grandma. Highly recommended, if you're stuck on what to get people for a present.

I'm currently listening to a lot of Christmas music, as you can tell by this entry's title. If you want to support charity whilst getting into the holiday spirit, go to AccuRadio and listen to any of their holiday channels. They'll donate a $1 to charity for every hour you listen.

So I've got two dates this week with two different guys. Wednesday night I shall be seeing Ben again, this time just for dinner. Friday night will feature dinner and ice skating with Yuval (wherein he will skate circles around me with his fancy hockey moves). I'm still nervous about this whole "dating" thing, but I know a little more of what to expect now, at least.


Friday, December 7, 2007

You Were Meant For Me

Um, is anyone else as psyched about this trailer as I am? True, it doesn't seem to capture the goofy feel of the original Speed Racer series, but considering it was a show about a teen who's obsessed with racing whose girlfriend spent more time with his little brother and pet monkey than she did with him...well, I think it's amazing they even came up with a plot. And I loves me some John Goodman.

Also, in case you ever wanted to know: How To Break A Beer Bottle With Your Bare Hands.

THE DATE. I know you're all dying to hear about it, but because I've told the story so much I'm going to literally copy and paste from an email I sent to Anton. Don't tell me what I can't do!

The date was really fun. My ankles hurt like hell from the skating, but otherwise it was quite enjoyable. The conversation never had any awkward moments or pauses and we were able to discuss at length things like The West Wing and our families and our favorite professors who are dying of horrible diseases (not actually as depressing as it sounds). He paid for everything, including my foamy mint mocha at a little cafe on Charles Street after the skating finished. I called my dad afterwards to assure him I was not dead or kidnapped and proceeded to discuss how I worried I was that I couldn't tell if I like liked Ben or not: I enjoyed our time together, he's cute in an unexpected way, we get along, but he's very different in some personality respects and very math/logic oriented. My dad told me to stop worrying and over-thinking it and just figure out if I had fun or not. I did, and he asked if I thought I'd have fun doing this with Ben again and I said yes. He told me that's all that matters.

It's just so strange because this is the first date I've ever been on with someone I didn't already have a crush on or was dating at the time. It's so overwhelming trying to take in all aspects of a person while remaining engaged in a conversation! I'm planning a date with a different guy who I've been talking to as well, so I'm turning into my college-era mother more and more (aka the Serial Dater). I'm glad I did this, though, because at the very least I feel like we could be friends. For the other date (his name's Yuval--he's Jewish), I think we're going to a Bruins game. He plays hockey, I enjoy sporting events, and tickets are only $10. I'm really excited about this one, actually.

Today will be an interesting day at work. We're hosting the Massachusetts Junior Classical League Conference, which means about 500 area high school students have descended upon us and will make our day much more interesting than it should otherwise be. Oy vey...

I've started reading Lirael and I'm really enjoying it. Very interesting how different a heroine she is from Sabriel. Garth Nix is definitely a new favorite of mine. :o) And not that any of you care, but OHMYGOD the latest two episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender have been so good I was literally at the edge of my seat. Now if only Nickelodeon would tell me when they plan on airing the next episode...

Um. Yes. Audition tonight for Zimmerman's Metamorphoses, babysitting Dylan tomorrow, Golden Compass on Sunday. Boss!

p.s. #4 on my sister's Christmas wish list is The A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. Part of me thinks that's really cool, and part of me wonders what kind of impact her major is having on her social image... ;o)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Always Somethin' There To Remind Me

This makes me sad/happy. This makes me angry. This makes me laugh uproariously. This makes me wonder if it's for realz.

This is my Christmas Wish List, in order of preference. I shall not, nor do I expect to, get all of these things, but here they are:
1) "Avatar The Last Airbender: The Complete Book 2 Collection (Earth)"
2) "The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass" for Nintendo DS
3) GAP Curvy Boot Cut Jeans, medium or dark wash
4) Season 7 of "The West Wing"
5) $59 for a one-month Charlie Card Link Pass
6) Spa day (mani, pedi, massage, facial) or combination of treatments
7) Matchbox 20: "Exile On Mainstream"
8) $110 for roundtrip Greyhound ticket to Raleigh, NC

I've got my date tonight with Ben. And of course, because Fate loves a practical joke, I started developing a cold sore yesterday. Thanks to my ever-handy tube of Herpecin-L lip balm it's not huge (yet), but the fact that it chose now of all times to recur really irks me. That's what I get for sharing my juice boxes in kindergarten, though (which is about when I got my first cold sore). Interestingly, studies have concluded that anywhere from 50-80% of the US population has Herpes Simplex I (the kind that causes cold sores) at any given time. So at least I'm not alone. But still! 'Cuz you know nothing says "love me!" like herpes on your face.


AHAHA! One of the student workers I supervise just brought in the mail that was mis-sorted into our stuff. We received something for someone in the Theology department: the latest issue of Affirmation & Critique: A Journal of Christian Thought. This baby has some gems for article titles, my favorite being "Receiving the Economical Revelation of the Triune God as the Word of God to Become the Economical Manifestation of the Triune God as the Testimony of Jesus". A close runner-up was "The Principle of the Man-Child."

An addendum that may or may not make the above slightly more humorous: the man who it was addressed to died a year ago.

ANYWAY. Went to the doctor yesterday to see what he had to say about my never-ending cold and found out I have a viral sinus infection. Yippy. I got some cortisone nose spray and have been instructed to buy CVS-brand Aphrin 12-hour nose spray to combat the nasty buggers living in my sinuses. That would explain why my cold sore's here, though, as they usually poke their heads up whenever I actually get sick with something beyond the sniffles.

Speaking of sniffles and colds, Adrienne and I are taking action on the deplorably freezing state of our apartment. According to Massachusetts law, landlords are required to keep the temperature in all apartments at 68 and above between 7am and 11pm, and at 64 and above between 11:01pm and 6:59am. Refusing to suffer any longer, I bought an indoor temperature monitor off Amazon and had it overnight shipped so it should arrive today. Then we'll record the temperature for two days, call the landlord to explain what's going on and what we're planning, buy some window insulation kits/low-e film for the windows, record the temperatures again, and then hand the receipts over to the landlord. Democratic justice in action, y'all.

Also, if anyone wants to let me know their opinion of The Tin Princess I'd love to hear it. I really enjoyed it, but I think I liked The Tiger in the Well better simply because I adore Sally.

The Tin Princess by Philip Pullman
The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh
The Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh

p.s. One of the faculty just came in and gave me a package of Ferrero Rocher chocolates as a present. I love these people!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Two Coins

Kind of fell off the planet there, didn't I? Perhaps I didn't update for so long because my fingers have been in a near-frozen state since then. Our apartment continues with its streak of spectacularly failed heating attempts and, as a result, is about 65 degrees. Since the windows aren't insulated, and the heating strip is right below the windows, all the warm air goes right outside. The fact that I don't remove any of my insulating outerwear--designed to keep me from dying of exposure in the below-10 degree windy weather we've been having here in Boston--when I come home should tell you how cold my apartment feels. I'm sleeping under flannel sheets, a down comforter, a quilt, and a fluffy blanket. This morning saw me browsing Consumer Reports for the best space heater (the DeLonghi SafeHeat Flat Panel Micathermic HHP1500), which I intend to buy as close to immediately as my budget allows. Thanks, babysitting money, for keeping me warm this winter.

So thank Allah the Great Teddy Bear Crisis of 2007 is over, right? I, for one, never thought that ridiculousness would end. Though now I feel like anti-Islam supporters are going to use this as yet more ammo against Muslim countries and further proof of how much "better" Christianity is than all other popular religions. Conveniently the right-wing fundamentalists will forget to mention their noisy campaign against The Golden Compass. Fine, you have every right under the Bill of Rights to express your opinions and distribute them, but at least make them informed opinions! What irks me most about all this is the fact that, while God does die "at the hands of a child" in the third book, the point is that He had actually been imprisoned long before that and wanted to be let out and "killed". The religious part of the books is about one faction trying to eliminate the lasting effects of the Original Sin (aka "Dust") and another faction trying to save it because our fallibility is what makes us human. The war in heaven is between factions of angels and trying to end a coup d'etat headed by one of God's most trusted servants. It's impossible to argue that the books don't have religious implications, but they're also some of the most well-written and highly imaginative books to be published in the last twenty or so years. Let kids read it for themselves and then be man enough to sit down and have an actual discussion about their reactions! Kids really are a lot more intelligent than people tend to give them credit for.

Okay, enough soapboxing. Sorry about that. One of my grown cousins (with a family) sent one of those "boycott" emails regarding this movie to our whole extended family and it really shocked me and pissed me off. She hasn't even read the first book, let alone the one she was warning people to be "aware of" (aka the third one). Just forwarding a message without actually finding answers for herself.

In other news, I have a date on Wednesday night! Yes, a real date, not just me taking myself out to the movies. He's a guy I met on OKCupid, which I switched to after getting fed up with Match.com's policy of "pay to actually communicate with people". His name is Ben, he's got bright red hair, he's 26, has a Master's from Carnegie Mellon, and designs/programs interactive entertainment. Which means he spends a lot of time going back and forth between Boston and Disney World (Epcot, to be specific). Though it's not his specialization, he works with real robots that can have real-time conversations. Like this guy, Quasi. I'm supposed to meet him (Ben, not Quasi) at the Boston Common frog pond where I shall proceed to fall on my ass while attempting to ice skate. His idea, which I think bodes well. Certainly more creative than you're typical dinner date, right? Wish me luck: I'm a little nervous as I've only just realized I've never actually been on a real date before with someone I'm not already dating.

For the English majors out there:
Underfunded Schools Forced To Cut Past Tense From Language Programs
For the Drama majors out there:
Charges Filed After Santa Pied In The Face

I'm progressing slowly but surely through Battlestar and really loving it. Found out my dad is a huge fan of the original series and we chatted about how cool the characters are and the differences between the new and old series. I wanted to finish the second and third discs tonight, but alas I will not have the time as I'm going to my first of two training sessions as a volunteer at Horizons for Homeless Children. If all goes according to plan, I will be spending two hours every Wednesday with the kids at the shelter.

Christmas shopping was taken care of this weekend, thankfully. One less worry on my mind. I forgot how much I enjoy Advent services at church until yesterday--something about the candle-lighting and the hymns really makes me happy and warm (on the inside). The actual sanctuary was freezing. I was late to the service because the bus was 20 minutes late, and then had to wait 30 minutes for the bus home after working out (the gym is a two-minute walk from my church). Add to that the freezing temperatures and brutal wind and my Sunday left me feeling ill. Though I'd kind of been feeling ill for most of the weekend, starting with right after work on Friday when I thought I was going to puke while waiting 30 minutes in 5 degree weather for a train that wasn't filled way beyond capacity. I came home, slept for 4 hours, and then made my way over to Margaret's new place. A rousing game of drunken Apples To Apples was already in progress, so I joined in with my Coke I'd brought from home. Throughout the game I continually admired Bruce's--her flatmate--collection of comics and video games. Thanks to his generosity, I now have the opportunity to read all four volumes of the Nausicaa manga that the movie was based on, and I'll get to play Super Mario for the DS. Yay new things!

I think the sickness might be a sinus infection, though. I'm going to make a doctor's appointment and get it checked out. The fact that I've had a stuffy/runny nose, headaches, and frequent dizzy spells for over two weeks makes me nervous...

To end, Ohio State's going to the BCS Championships again! Go Buckeyes!