Wednesday, December 24, 2008

All I Want for Christmas

Remember how last post I said that Boston had just gotten its first snow of the season? Well, apparently, the weather gods decided they'd make up for the lateness of the snowfall by dumping 2 feet of the stuff on us in one weekend. There are still piles of snow as high as my waist along my street. At least everyone here will have a White Christmas, though.

Our anniversary weekend was a great time. Friday night saw me and Yuval head to the Stone Zoo for Zoo Lights with Adrienne and Deanna. I like Cincinnati's Festival of Lights better, just because it's longer and covers more of the zoo, but Zoo Lights had its charms. Such as the creepy wonderland of Christmas toys in cases moving to music. They had marionettes. Marionettes! Why would anyone display a dozen of the most horrifying toys ever created, dancing to crackly Christmas music? I closed my eyes and moved on, not looking back.

The actual night of anniversary celebration, the 13th, was wonderful. We had a posh room at the Mariott (for free!), ate a scrumptious dinner at The Fireplace (for free!), saw Slumdog Millionaire at the Coolidge (for free!), and ate ice cream afterwards (not for free). Then we went back to our room and vegged out with the free movies on TV. And the next morning we had (for free!) a full hot breakfast made to order from the hotel restaurant. All in all, it was a great way to spend a weekend.

I'm heading home this afternoon, back to Cincinnati to see my family. For some reason, I'm way more excited and full of anxious jitters than I was at Thanksgiving. Maybe because this time I'm getting presents? Who knows. But I can't wait to give my family their presents. Honestly, I truly enjoy giving presents more than receiving them because I love seeing the looks on people's faces and knowing that I got them something they actually enjoy. I picked up the "good at picking presents" gene from my mom, so I've never gone amiss with a gift exchange. That's not to say that I don't also very much enjoy receiving presents, though. Who doesn't, man?

And so I'm off to make sure I've packed everything I need and check it twice. I hope all of you have a (safe) wonderful holiday, wherever you're spending it.

Merry Christmas!

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China by Leslie T. Chang

Slumdog Millionaire
Love Actually
Liar Liar

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Christmas Song

Boston had its first snow of the season on Sunday! Yuval and I woke up to big, fat flakes falling from the sky. Needless to say, he was overjoyed and promptly started acting like a kid on Christmas morning: grinning nonstop and laughing for no reason. Have I mentioned how much I love this guy?

We went to Harvard last Thursday night to hear Shai Agassi, CEO and founder of Better Place, speak about how he and his company are working to end our addiction to oil. How? Electric cars. But for real, not in the pipe-dream sense. Israel's his first testing ground, and they're rolling out the electrical network there sometime next year. Denmark is following, and then Hawaii and San Fransisco. And Australia. Basically, you buy a car, but you don't buy the battery. Better Place supplies the batteries. Sort of like when you buy a phone, Verizon supplies the network it runs on. Your car charges in its parking place by literally plugging into the electric network. And if you need a full battery right away, you can swap it out for a new one at a changing station (like Valvoline oil changes). Oh, and all Better Place electricity will come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar. There are some definite flaws and problems with it--will we become just as dependent on electricity as we are on oil? will electricity prices see price gouging just like gas? will the network function in bigger places like the US?--but all in all I think it's a brilliant solution.

I wasn't so fond of Mr. Agassi himself. He was clearly convinced he is one of the most brilliant men of our time, and he never actually directly answered any of the audience's questions. It was like watching PR acrobatics worthy of the White House. Also, this is a man who made a fortune as the next-in-line CEO of SAP, the largest business software company in the world. He is an entreprenuer first and foremost, and it became evident to Yuval and me that his interest in this "electric car business" is, above all, about money. I read an article about him in Wired a couple months back, and I learned a lot more about his mission and the company in that article than I did hearing him speak.

Dylan and I got to have some play time on Friday night, which was an absolute riot. He's almost 1 1/2, and knows lots of words and can understand most everything that's said to him. He also loves dancing, especially to "Supercalafragilisticexpialadocious." Kid loves his Mary Poppins music, even though he's never seen the movie. He's also very fond of taking things apart and putting them back together--I see a future in engineering.

Saturday was the Immunology Division's holiday party, which was held at the Belmont Hill Club (the country club Dr. Geha belongs to). There was delicious Lebanese food, karaoke, and dancing. Yuval and I had a good time. The highlight was definitely getting to see my 63-year old Lebanese boss sing "Oops...I Did It Again" while adding in some dance moves. It was a performance for the ages.

Yesterday was a strange day for me. I guess I was sick? But I didn't really feel very sick. My legs felt really weak all day long, my brain felt like it was detached from my body, headaches came and went, it hurt to turn my neck, and I never got hungry. At all. I ate some yogurt right before I left because I was going swimming, but I had to force it down. However, my swim lasted only 15 minutes before I had to stop--I felt like my head was going to explode it hurt so bad. I promptly headed over to Yuval's, where he greeted my frozen and hurting body with pizza naan and spaghetti with sausage meat sauce. He even ran to the market next door to buy me a Coke. Full of yummy food, we watched some of Season 2 of Arrested Development on Hulu, then went to bed early. Just what I needed.

I feel better today, although I still feel a little sensitive about my head and neck. I'm hoping to get my hair trimmed this week, as I realized I haven't been to a stylist since I chopped off 8 inches for charity back in April. E-gads!

Congrats to Nathaniel, Luca, and David Tyler for finishing NaNoWriMo! Quite the feat. So when should I look for these novels at my local bookstore? ;o)

Mothstorm by Philip Reeve

Arrested Development: Season One

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'll Be There

I gained 3 pounds over my Thanksgiving holiday. What did you gain (or lose, if you hurled after eating way too much food)? Aside from that, my time home was wonderful, relaxing, and made me wish Christmas was sooner so I could go home again.

I hate that my updates are sparser than they used to be, but that's because I don't have the calm, carefree leisure time at Children's Hospital that I did at Boston University. I'm constantly working, man! It sucks! Not really, but I do wish I could have a chance to check my Gmail once in a while during the day.

So! Since our last adventure recap, I've seen two of my friends (both from kickball, one of them my 6'3" captain) perform in Needham Community Theater's production of Titanic: The Musical. The audience didn't really start laughing at anything until after the boat hit the iceberg--before that, none of the jokes hit home because we were all just waiting for that one "Oh, shit!" scene at the end of Act I. It made me want to go home immediately and watch good 'ole Kate and Leo. The next day, Saturday, Yuval and I journeyed to the Newton Juried Crafts Fair, which we discovered was less of a crafts fair and more of a really expensive way to fund the apathy of rich, bored, somewhat artistic Newtonians. We left after about 15 minutes.

In exciting news, I won a raffle! The Hospital had their own craft fair a couple weeks ago, and there was a raffle where all the proceeds went to the Employee Emergency Assistance Fund. A good cause, so I bought 4 $3 tickets for $10 (because I'm a sucker for a deal). And I won one of the prizes I put in two tickets for! "A Night In Coolidge Corner" includes 1 night's stay for 2 at the Courtyard Mariott (including parking and breakfast), tickets to the Coolidge Corner Theater, and dinner at The Fireplace restaurant. Go me! Yuval and I are using this to celebrate our 1 year anniversary in mid-December, which is why I bid on it in the first place. :o)

November 24th was my last Chinese class until the next semester. We had a test that I was freaked out for, but it turned out to be less of a "test" and more an "assessment of our abilities." I really want to continue and take the Level 2 class, but I don't have the money right now. I'm hoping my parents will chip in half as a Christmas present to me. If not, Yuval's offering to make me a loan. At least it'll be more secure than the loans that are sinking this economy these days!

And speaking of the economy (officially in recession, did you hear?), here's my Christmas Wish List:

1) Microsoft Zune 30GB
2) 3 new bras
3) MST3K: The Movie
4) The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass
5) Avatar the Last Airbender: Season 3
6) Fables: War and Pieces (Volume 11) by Bill Willingham
7) Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara by James Gurney
8) Suzhou River directed by Ye Lou
9) Shark Week: 20th Anniversary Collection

Let's hope my family decides to get me some things off this list. Dad rolls his eyes at my Wish Lists because they're always "full of books and DVD's and stuff" (said in a very condescending tone). He thinks that's boring and dumb. But these are the kinds of things I have to talk myself into buying because they're not essentials! Well, except for the bras. But I never buy myself new good ones because I get sticker shock from looking at them! So I feel perfectly justified in putting them on my list.

Thanksgiving week was a two day week for me. Hurray! I headed home on the morning of the 26th, and came back in the afternoon on the 30th. I almost had to come back on flight Monday morning leaving Cincinnati at 7am: my flight to JFK aiport in NYC was cancelled, which meant I wouldn't be making my connecting flight to Boston. I got put on standby for a 1:15pm direct to Boston, though, and luckily got a seat (in the exit row, no less!).

So I ended up getting back to Boston about 3 hours earlier than my original itinerary had planned. Which meant that Yuval and I had time to meet his parents and his sister, Tamar, for dinner at Daikanyama (our fave sushi place of all time) in Lexington. Delicious, free sushi--there's nothing better after a day of traveling. I then proceeded to re-arrange the furniture in my apartment (with Yuval's help) to open up some more space and make it less dorm-like. Now I just have to figure out where to put the new computer desk that I'm going to get...

The temperatures are having some mood swings, but the trend is generally turning colder. No snow yet, though we may get some flurries this weekend. The Immunology Division holiday party (which I planned!) is this Saturday night, and I'm actually looking forward to it. Catered Lebanese food, karaoke, dance contests, and free wine will be present, and my 63-year old Lebanese boss is starting off the karaoke with his rendition of "Oops...I Did It Again." Which, by itself, makes going to the party worth it.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

Don't Mess With The Zohan
House (Season 4)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wish You Were Here

As I type this I'm sitting on my bed, side by side with Yuval, who is programming on his computer. We finished watching Dark City not twenty minutes ago. What a couple of nerds we are, right?

I apologize for the long absence. It's not like I can harp on others about their lack of posting and then not post for ages myself, I suppose. Much has happened, though not anything huge. Halloween was more tiring and stressful than I thought it would be, as Goodwill decided to defy business logic and close early and all costumes had been raided. I ended up wearing just a towel--you know, like I was just in the shower? If I'd been more in a creative mood I could have spread some fake blood on myself and been the girl attacked in the shower in Psycho. But alas, I didn't think of it until much too late. Yuval went as Levi Johnson (Bristol Palin's fiance) by wearing a hockey jersey under a sport coat with jeans, carrying around a hockey stick, and wearing a sign I made him that had a drawing of Alaska (with Wasilla pinpointed, of course) that said "I *heart*Bristol." The Halloween-ness happened at Chez Anthony in the form of a Vampire party (The Bloodsucker's Ball). There were vampire-themed movies playing constantly in the background with the volume turned down low, thus leading to much MST3K-ing. I can tell you that I feel so good about not paying money to see Van Hellsing. We pooped out early, around midnight, as we were both exhausted. Me just because I always am after 11pm, and him because he'd just gotten back from LA on a red-eye the day before.

November 1st saw the dawning first day of NaNoWriMo, though I actually didn't get a chance to start until November 8th. I'm way behind and not going to finish 50,000 words by the 30th unless I magically type my hands bloody over Thanksgiving, but it's fun to once again be writing something, anything. Adrienne and I saw (for freez) A.R.T's production of The Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh, and I can totally see why Turgeon loved talking about that play. It's right up his alley in terms of humor. The accents were inconsistent, but it was still wicked fun. Yuval ended up leaving town again not a week after he got back--he had to journey to Carnegie Mellon to see his sister's senior thesis in theater lighting design. They play she was working on for this project? Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl. 'Tis the year for Eurydice, I suppose, what with A.R.T's production, Kramer's production, and Tamar's production.

I woke up bright and early on November 4th to beat the Election Day crowds, which paid off as I only had to wait for about 5 minutes. People in Boston were complaining about having to wait for 1-2 hours, and I wanted to be all "Dudes, you should have been at Kenyon in 2004. You know nothing of long wait times to vote! Nothing!" I skipped swimming so I could come home and immediately start watching the predictions roll in after 7pm. I was nervous at first, but when they called Ohio for Obama around 10pm, though, I went to Facebook, changed my status to "Erin is glad it's finally over. Congratulatons, Obama!" and went to bed. He had it in the bag after that. I may not have the historical context that my parents and grandma do when it comes to the fact that Barack Obama won, but I know enough to be proud of my country for overcoming a huge hurdle.

On Friday the 7th I made my way downtown to a cocktail/eatery named Flash's in order to celebrate the birthday of one Mr. Ryan Tully Merrill. I got there around 7:30 and didn't leave until about 11:15. And I wish I didn't have to leave because it was a fun party. I just started yawning exactly at 11pm, which meant it was time to go, which made Deanna laugh. I can't help it that I'm so lame and predictable, like a grandma! It's just my body's clock! I'm no longer a spry young college student, able to take naps during the day to recover lost energy. Man, I miss naps. Speaking of naps, I babysat Dylan the next night but he started screaming and crying while his parents were still there. They decided the combination of a bad afternoon nap and his molars coming in was making him super cranky, so they doped him up on Baby Motrin and put him to bed before they left. So really, my only job was to make sure the house didn't burn down while I was there. I did miss getting to play with him, though. At least his mom showed me pictures of him dressed as a turtle for Halloween. A turtle! The cutest idea for a baby costume ever.

Kickball is done as we lost in the first round of the tournament to the 12th seeded team (we were 5th). I was okay with it, though, as I'm kind of tired of playing kickball every week. Also, it was about 30 degrees outside on Wednesday night, and if we'd won we'd have to play again immediately. I couldn't feel my toes through my sheepskin boots by the end of the first game, so I was glad to leave the field. Friday night Yuval and I went out with Big and Asian (otherwise known as Eric and Amanda, our team captain and his wife whose wedding we attended in July). We had dinner at a really yummy Indian place downtown called Tantric, where we received a free plate of appetizer chicken tikka by the waiter's mistake. Then we were off to the movie theater on the Common to see Quantum of Solace.

I liked it. I liked Casino Royale better, but this one was still a fun James Bond. It lacked the emotional heart that Royale so subtly wove into its storyline, but there were explosions and chases and guns and near escapes, so I can't complain. I was also thrilled that Camille turned out to be the first Bond Girl NOT to sleep with James Bond. She was an interesting character, and I appreciated the feminist slant she embodied. I also liked the blatant nod to Goldfinger that shows up. All in all, a fun-filled evening that lasted until (gasp!) 2:00am for me. I was exhausted, but only slept in until 10:45am, believe it or not. Took a nap later, though.

Last night we journeyed to Sophie's for a fall-themed potluck. We had made Shephard's Pot Pie (with ground turkey instead of beef) for the occaision, which turned out deliciously. Must be all the butter. There was yummy chili, pumpkin hummus, cornbread, salad, kugel, apple crisp, dirt pudding, and pumpkin cupcakes besides our humble Shephard's Pie. Adrienne and Deanna had to leave early, but the rest of us stayed up playing an epic game of Trivial Pursuit (Genus Edition from 1970's) until about 12:30am. Then Yuval and I came back to my place and instead of sleeping watched Perfect Blue, directed by Satoshi Kon. I had recently seen Paprika, finally, which gave me a hankering for more of Mr. Kon's work. Plus, it was way shorter than Fantasia. So in the end we didn't get to sleep until 3:00am. And then woke up at 11am. Again.

Tonight we journey to Charlie's Kitchen for trivia and (hopefully) some time with Bob Proctor the Policy Doctor, who is visiting Boston. I have an hour-long test for my Chinese class next week, which is the final day of the class (wish me luck!). And I leave for Cincinnati in a week and a half for Thanksgiving. Let's hope I get some more NaNoWriMo done by then.

Ptolemy's Gate (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book Three) by Jonathan Stroud
Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire

Burn After Reading
Quantum of Solace
Perfect Blue
Dark City

p.s. I also pre-ordered Wall-E off Amazon for $14. It comes out this Tuesday, November 18th. You should buy it just for the Bonus Short Film called Burn-E. Hilarious. Adorable. Amazing. Like all Pixar.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Shining Star

I have had a headache and nausea since last night, but the worst part is that it's not an uncommon feeling for me to have. This fact combined with the episodes of House that I watched yesterday has of course led me to one inevitable conclusion: I have a rare form of brain cancer caused by any injury to my head when I was 14. That, or the fact that I'm now drinking caffeine-free Coke is starting to catch up with me.

Let's see, my adventures since my last post. I saw the dress rehearsal of Opera Boston's Der Freischütz at the Majestic Theater, courtesy of Adrienne and her new-found office assistant powers therein. I very much enjoyed the show, my first opera in German. The description on the website overviews it thusly: "To win a marksmanship contest and the hand of his beloved, a young ranger makes a deal with the dark side. From its famous overture to its exciting conclusion, Der Freischütz is a seminal work of German Romanticism."

So basically that means there were many rousing beer hall-like chorus numbers, women in Bavarian beer maid costumes, mysterious walk-on appearances by the Devil, magic silver bullets, a dream sequence, and lots of crazy lighting. However, nothing compares to the moment that a mounted deer head nearly fell--antlers first--onto the male lead in Act II. Apparently in opera, dress rehearsals are actually what they sound like: rehearsals in dress. The lights weren't finalized and so kept changing constantly, stage hands made a few appearances to adjust prop placements, and of course there was the "OSHA no-no" (as it was labeled by Adrienne's boss) with the antlers. I think I actually enjoyed it more this way, because it reminded me of how everything on a stage is the result of a long process and a lot of work by many, many people. Plus, the opera itself was awesome.

Of course, since I was at the opera, I didn't play kickball that night or watch the last presidential debate. But as I heard it from people who did do those things, both were kind of a wash. Plus I got to see/read the highlights of the debate the next day, so it was all good.

I finally got to see Sophie's lovely apartment on Beacon St., doubly exciting since Ms. Northway has just received her fine couch the day previous. Adrienne and Mags came over to see my apartment (I finally let them), where we watched Sophia Copolla's Marie Antoinette. The company was good, but the movie had a lot more potential to live up to than what it did. Kirsten Dunst was fabulous as always, though. The following day I had Chinese, as I always do on Monday nights, and I'm growing more and more confident in my ability to hold a simple introductory conversation in Mandarin. My pronunciation of the four tones is still amateur at best, but I think a native speaker would at least understand what I'm trying to say. Reading the charactes, however, is another matter entirely, one that I think will be tackled in higher-level classes.

Peapod delivered my second order of groceries on Tuesday night without incident, mostly due to the fact that I was actually home this time. To anyone living in the Boston area, I highly recommend this method of grocery shopping: the delivery fee is only $9.95, and you don't have to lug bags and carts everywhere on the T. The rest of the week proceeded normally, with the exception of our kickball game on Wednesday night when it SNOWED during the middle of the game. Not much, just flurries, but it was snow nonetheless. Dammit, Winter, can't you let me have my favorite season for just a little longer? Please?

Friday night I journeyed to the Loews AMC on Boston Common with Yuval, Sophie, and Adrienne to see Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, a thoroughly delightful movie that simultaneously managed to showcase every reason why I despise the thought of living in NYC. The traffic, the expense, the noise, the crowds, the filth, the crazy people...all of it was in this movie. At least the characters reveled in it instead of hating it, like me. Want more of my opinion (and who doesn't?), then read my review.

I met Deanna and Adrienne on Saturday morning at the Common once again, this time for GuluWalk Boston. The event is a 3.5 mile walk--the same distance children in Northern Uganda had to walk every night from their villages to safe houses where the Lord's Resistance Army couldn't kidnap them--that seeks to raise awareness and funds for the children who suffered as a result of the 21 year civil war. It was the most interesting charity walk I've done yet simply beacuse of the route we took and the vocalness of the organizers: we walked through the ritzy shopping area of Boston, shouting about wanting peace in Uganda on an otherwise quiet Saturday morning. Some of the shoppers/brunchers were excited by our cause and high-fived some walkers, some glared openly at us for disturbing their peace, and most of all them stared as this crowd of 150 people in bright orange t-shirts marched by Burberry and Valentino stores.

It was satisfying to be a part of something that literally jolted people out of their routine in order to direct their attention to a worthy cause.

That night, Yuval and I had planned to join Mags & Co. in Jamaica Plain for the Latern Parade, but bad weather forced a postponement and sapped our motivation to continue on to an early Halloween party with some of his friends from work. All this turned out well for us, though, as it gave us time to just spend together before he left on his business trip to LA really early Sunday morning.

Today featues a doctor's appointment and Chinese class. Tomorrow I will (hopefully, assuming I feel better) be attending a press performance of The Lieutenant of Inishmore with Adrienne at New Rep. And of course, Halloween is this Friday! Which means Yuval and I will be at Anthony's Bloodsuckers' Ball dressed as (vampire) Luigi and Mario.

Happy tricking and treating, y'all!

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
Marie Antoinette

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Take On Me

I write to you today with an achy head and slightly stuffed nose, so forgive any non-sensical things I might say. Although you could argue that everything I say is non-sensical, really.

The vice-presidential debate turned out kind of lame, but it provided ample evidence for two things: 1) Joe Biden is really smart and knows his shit. 2) Sarah Palin is completely off her rocker, but a really good public speaker. I spent most of my energy whilst watching the debate keeping up with the live-blogging posts on The Economist blog and Jezebel. Live-blogging makes the debates so much more entertaining, no joke.

Yuval and I went camping during the first weekend in October, and it wasn't until we stumbled out of the tent bright and early on Saturday morning at 9am that I realized how much I've missed camping. It made me want to go camping with my dad, which was something he did with my sister and I every summer before we went back to school. The tradition died off a little when we got to college because of summer jobs and such, and then I moved to Boston.

View Larger Map

We stayed at Salty Acres Campground, a campground near Kennenbunkport, Maine (home to George Bush, Sr.'s summer home). The site was a mile walk from Goose Rocks Beach, and Saturday afternoon saw Yuval and I taking a stroll along the lovely shoreline, hudding in our hoodies against the wind. We sat in the sand for a while, his head in my lap and hoodie completely covering his face, while my head was down with my hoodie up, all to protect us from the wind. So of course neither of us saw it coming when a super cute, super friendly German Shephard bounded over to us to say hello. I looked up, and the dog took that as her cue to push me over and start licking my face. I laughed, Yuval got jealous that the dog was paying so much attention to me, and then the dog gave him the same treatment as I. Only after we had been thoroughly slobbered upon did the owners manage to catch up with their puppy and exclaim, "I hope you're both dog people!" Um, yes we are. Just a little bit.

We spent the weekend sitting by the firepit, building and re-building the fire, eating Italian sausages cooked over said fire, making s'mores, drinking hot cocoa, and snuggling (aggressively, on my part) to keep warm at night. Saturday night I nearly pushed him off the air mattress in my blob-monster-like attempt to leech all the warmth from his body in my sleep. We never showered, brushed our teeth once, and saw infinitely more stars than we ever could in Boston. All in all, it was an amazing trip. Except when I woke up Sunday with a splitting headache, stuffy nose, and nausea (I blame the seasonal changes). But that all went away by the evening when we went out to a delicious Czech/Greek restaurant to celebrate Tsachi's (Yuval's dad) birthday. Tani and Michal got him this for his present. I geeked out when I saw it and told him I'd seen one in action and they are just about the coolest toys EVAR. I'm not sure if he believed me, but he really liked it regardless.

I went to see the doctor that Monday after work to talk about why I am so goddamn tired all the time. Things have gotten to the point where my sleepiness is interferring in my ability to do my work: I frequently "crash" in the mornings and afternoons, where I feel like I hit a wall of exhaustion and cannot keep my eyes open no matter what I do. And I've been experiencing this kind of thing since high school. Not normal, right? My doctor agreed and said it probably had something to do with me getting the wrong (too little) dosage of my meds, which can cause aggressive fatigue. She ordered a blood test just to be sure it's not anemia (and it's not, because of course that would be too easy to fix!), and I'm keeping a daily diary of what I eat, what exercise/activities I do, and how much sleep I get to see if there's any kind of pattern. I'm going back to see her on the 27th, when we'll confer and see how much of a higher dosage she wants to try with my meds. I really hope this works, because if it doesn't I'll have to go get a sleep test done to see if there's anything more seriously wrong with me, like a sleep disorder. :o(

I also had my first Chinese class that night, in which I learned how to read pinyin Chinese and hold a basic "Hello, how are you?" conversation. Chinese is so difficult to learn for me not because of the characters or pronunciation, but because you have to use very specific vocal tones for each word to convey the proper meaning. I didn't have my second class last night because it was Columbus Day, even though I still had to go to work. Stupid Columbus. Also, why can't we rename it "Native American Day" or something like that as a gesture to show we're not completely overlooking the mass genocide that 'ole Christopher's "discovery" started? And there could be special educational and cultural activities in every city to disseminate information about Native American tribes that used to live in that area? I guess it would be too much of a pain in the butt for lawmakers.

The second presidential debate was a total bore thanks to the "town hall" format. What's the point in calling it a "debate" when the candidates aren't even allowed to talk to each other and are encouraged to just read talking points the whole time? Lamesauce.

This past weekend saw some more fun activities. Friday night I had a one-hour facial for only $45 at a salon in Chinatown called CoCo Beauty. It was the best beauty treatment ever! They don't just slather your face in creams and lotions and send you on your way like high-priced salons do. Oh no. They use steam to open up your pores, use a machine to suck out all the stuff in your pores, and then use a special tool to literally pull the blackheads out of your pores. All this is then followed by a soothing cream and a face massage, a cooling peel mask, and really super smooth skin. The rooms are small and it's not fancy at all, but who cares? It's only $45! I totally recommend it to everyone in Boston: the part where she picks out your blackheads hurts like hell, but the rest is so good you won't care.

Saturday Yuval and I headed out to Topsfield for the Topsfield Fair, the closest equivalent to a County Fair that MA has (Ohio, I miss those!). It took over an hour to go the last 2.5 miles since it was a two-lane road and the fair's busiest day. However, it was totally worth it. SO MANY cute baby animals, so much fair food (I got cinnamon roasted almonds, fudge, rock candy, and a corndog), and much laughing. I can haz farm, plz?

Sunday brought another wedding to attend. This time it was for Yuval's co-worker Matt and took place in Chelmsford, MA. The service was Catholic, not uber-so, but enough to put me off the rhetoric. Courtney, the bride, looked beautiful. Matt started crying during the ceremony he was so overcome. The reception was extremely nice and held a fancy country club in Andover (for those not familiar with the area, Andover is a ritzy place to live). There was a turkey dinner, complete with stuffing, apple turnovers for dessert, and much dancing. Yuval won the centerpiece at our table, which of course really meant that I won the centerpiece. A good thing, too, because I was considering taking it anyway. Very pretty.

So here we are, another Tuesday. My plane tickets home for Thanksgiving and Christmas have been purchased, as has my ticket to Kenyon in February. The 25th I'm doing the GuluWalk with Dena. And life is good. Exhausting, but good.

Also, in reference to the title of this post, everyone should go watch this video right now:
Take On Me: The Literal Video Version

The Golem's Eye (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 2) by Jonathan Stroud

The Big Lebowski
Good Will Hunting

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

This week has found me more wiped of energy than usual--so I guess it's a good thing I'm going to the doctor on Monday to talk about my chronic sleepiness. But! Since last we blogged, much has happened.

The Green Team (my kickball team) won the division championships! We got a trophy and everything. And we're still doing really well in our fall season. Yuval and I went to see his friend Elaine perform in a cabaret concert that was raising money for a new piano at a UU church. The amazing thing about her performance was not only her voice, but the fact that just the day before she had been bedridden from a spinal tap (lumbar puncture for those of us who watch House) gone wrong. That's right, the hospital messed up the endgame and spinal fluid started leaking into her back, which they had to stop by forming a blood clot via 9 tubes inserted at various places on her body. Oh, and she still had the migraine she'd been living with all week before that. She almost passed out a few times during the show, but she managed to make it all the way through--but she couldn't bow at the end, because it hurt way too much to bend her back.

Talk about dedication to your art!

The week of the 21st wasn't packed full of activities, though I did see more of my Boston crowd than I have in recent times. I continued in my new swimming routine, much to my delight. Yuval and I hunkered down on that Thursday to watch the presidential debate, which turned out to be much less exciting than everyone was anticipating. All polls pointed to Obama as the winner, but even if he hadn't been the "clear victor", a tie in a foreign policy debate would have been a win for Obama and a loss for McCain anyway. Both debators made good arguments at points, and both succumbed to punching out a few low blows. Overall, though, I was more impressed with Obama because he stayed cool and collected and, unlike McCain, didn't begin all his answers with an insult about his opponent.

That Thursday was also Tani's (Yuval's mom) birthday, which meant that Saturday morning saw us over at his parents' house for the delicious brunch that has become their traditional way of celebrating a birthday. Lox, bagels, eggs, bread, mackeral, tomatoes, cheeses, and pastries--so yummy! That night we had planned a movie date night so we could watch one of the movies on our Movie List: The Godfather. I had never seen all of it, and he found this to be a crime, so I got it from the library. I loved it, but for my full thoughts read my review. We also started watching Arrested Development on Hulu, and now I'm totally hooked. Why the show was cancelled I'll never understand. The movie watching continued on Sunday, when we watched Brazil, Terry Gilliam's most famous film. Again, I loved it, and again, you can read my review for my deeper thoughts. Of course, more Arrested Development was watched.

Having a fairly lazy weekend was a nice change of pace after having completely full weekends for so many weeks. I highly recommend it.

Monday the 29th was supposed to see me at my first Chinese class, but it was Rosh Hoshannah and I celebrated with Yuval's family instead. And I'm so glad I did! It's an awesome holiday, very happy, and filled with yummy food that all revolves around apples and honey (the theme foods for the holiday). I discovered my new favorite (healthy!) snack: apple slices with honey. Delicious! We retired early because it was a school night and both of us were exhausted to boot.

Tuesday I was supposed to see a free sneak preview of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist with Margaret, but even though we got there at 7:15 for an 8:00 show all the seats had been taken. It was a promotional event that I found out about in the Metro, and they warned that more seats were "sold" than available, but still! 45 minutes before the show! It was especially disappointing because, since we've both read the book, we were so eager to see how it was adapted to the big screen. Discouraged but not disheartened, we instead purchased tickets to The Duchess (with Keira Knightley), expecting a fun, corset-ripping costume drama. Well, it was corset-ripping, but fun and a costume drama it was not. However, it was extremely good and I highly recommend it, despite the media's lukewarm reviews. It will certainly make you happy you are not a woman living in 18th century England. For my thoughts, again, read my review.

Kickball got rained out last night, which was fine for me since I had the worst of all days yesterday. I signed up for Peapod, a grocery delivery service, since there is no (open) grocery near me that's T-accessible. Not understanding that I had to be physically home to accept the delivery, I scheduled it for the night Mags and I were to see the movie. I left a note for the driver as well as a tip, but came home to find the note/tip gone and no groceries. I called Peapod the next day, expecting to arrange another delivery attempt, only to be told that I would be charged a $50 restocking fee for not being home and forcing them to take the groceries back. What?! I explained what happened, the lady I was speaking to sympathized, and she managed to find out that driver had in fact left my order at my house. Now the only explanations were that it was stolen (not likely in my neighborhood) or one of my housemates took them inside by mistake. She said she would call me back when she had spoken to the driver and found out exactly where he had left my order, but only after did I realize that my phone was nearly out of battery and my charger was at Yuval's, across town. Oy vey! I resolved to get it after work.

I got home, and discovered that my kindly upstairs neighbor had merely moved my groceries inside the front entryway of the house so they didn't get rained on. Yuval came over to lend me his phone for the night, but there was no longer an urgent need to have a cell phone. I called Peapod to let them know everything was fine, but decided, since I rented a Zipcar anyway, I could just drive Yuval home, get my charger back, and drop off some overdue DVD's at the Newton library. All went well, until I left Yuval's house: I got turned around trying to find Route 16 West, wasting 20 minutes in rush hour traffic. I got lost several times down streets that had the same name as the ones I was looking for, but finally made it the library at exactly the time I was supposed to have returned the car. Knowing that no one had booked it after me, I decided it would be fine if I was a little late returning it--the library isn't far from the rental garage. But of course, as I had forgotten to print directions from the library to the garage, I got majorly lost, crying in traffic, and ended up returning the car 34 minutes late. I thought it would be fine, no one was there waiting, but Zipcar must have a transmitter or something because they knew exactly how late I was and charged me the $50 late fee accordingly.

I wouldn't have made it back to garage at all if it weren't for Yuval and his patience with giving directions to his hysterical girlfriend. He even left me a message after my phone died (but I had already found my way), making sure I was okay. Have I mentioned how much I love this man? After I got home, plugged my phone in to charge, and had a bowl of cereal (since I hadn't eaten dinner), I watched the season premiere of Ugly Betty, which cheered me considerably. Then I washed my hair with my new, totally natural shampoo w/vinegar rinse (it's really good, I highly recommend it!), and went to bed at 11:30pm.

I'm exhausted today, but in relatively better spirits. And the VP debate is tonight, so that should prove entertaining/infuriating!

Oh! And for those who are still at Kenyon or around the area: I will be visiting February 13th-16th. I wish I could come the following weekend so I could see Ken and Griffin's theses, but I can't. So put it on your calendar, Kenyonites! :o)

The Godfather
Arrested Development: Season One

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thank Goodness

This isn't really going to be an entry. I just had a couple things that I HAD to share with you folks out here on the intarwebz.

1) I have a new blog! Don't worry, I'm still keeping this one. My new one is just a place for me to review movies (and possibly books) using the criteria I judge to be of value. You have to read to find out what those criteria are.

And the blog's name? Erin's Reviews.

Short. Simple. To the point. Much like my cooking.

2) Jezebel (my favorite blog of all things modern and feminist) recently created a list with the help of its readers entitled 75 Books Every Woman Should Read. While it's not intended to be an end-all-be-all of reading lists, I think it's got an amazing collection of prose. Check it out and see how many you've read!

Oh, and guys, it wouldn't hurt for you to read these books, too. ;o)

3) A friend of mine posted this on Facebook, and it made me laugh so much I had to immediately share--but on my blog, because re-posting a link on Facebook that someone else has already posted is lamesauce.

6 Saints Who Could Kick Your Ass |
6 Saints Who Could Kick Your Ass. These Saints make Rambo look like Gandhi.

Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer

Various episodes of The Office: Season Two

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Everything Comes Down to Poo

I've fallen behind in my once-a-week updates, and for that I apologize. Not that any of you are suffering greatly because of my lack of self-indulgence.

Mom came to visit the 6th-8th, and it was a rollercoaster of a weekend. It was wonderful to see her and spend time with her (and we saw Frozen River, which I HIGHLY recommend), but she forced me to confront some things that I've been locking away for a while. Essentially, she told me that I don't seem happy. I used to go out and do a lot of things when I first moved here, and she saw that my activities had slowly dwindled until all they consisted of were kickball and Yuval. I seemed constantly stressed about the future and unable to have rational discussions about my place in it. My mom compared it to the kind of person who sits on a train and thinks only about the destination she's heading towards, as opposed to the other person on the train who looks around and admires the scenerey and the journey.

She was, of course, totally right: I have pulled away from friends, I have given up lots of activities in order to spend more time with Yuval, and I have become unhappy, fundamentally. I'd discovered that spending time with Yuval made me happy, so I came to rely on that to provide me with a sense of happiness and fulfillment that I should have been seeking from within. None of this was Yuval's fault. I'd just let my love for him turn me into exactly the kind of girl I hate: a dependent, needy girl. The kind who needs a man to make her happy. I used to not be like that.

So I've taken steps to get back to myself, something that I discussed with Yuval and he fully, totally supports. I'm actively seeking out more time with my friends, I've joined the YMCA and now go swimming at least three times a week, and soon I'll be starting Mandarin classes. All of these things are things that I've wanted to do for a long time, but lacked the self-awareness necessary to realize that I was stalling. For what, I don't know. Wish me luck as I try to get re-connected with myself. And to the friends that I've pushed away: I'm sorry. I got a little lost.

This whole post-college life is a lot more difficult than anyone told me it would be. But then, that may be because I promptly moved to an entirely new area of the country after school instead of staying in Cincinnati, an environment that's completely familiar and safe for me.

In other news! My Summer kickball team is in the Division Finals, being played tonight! GO GREEN TEAM! The Fall league has gotten off to a great start for us, with Raining Sideways 2-0 so far. I went to an amazing classical music concert that was organized to raise money for Obama's campaign. Nearly three hours long, but entirely enjoyable and well-worth it. I've babysat Dylan twice, and he continues to crack me up with his silly baby ways. Dad celebrated his 55th birthday on Monday.

And Yuval and I saw the dress rehearsal of Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl at New Rep on Tuesday night. Who's doing that for their senior thesis at Kenyon this year? I forget. But Jeff, while I watched it I couldn't help but think of how you would have directed it. New Rep's interpretation had very 50's costumes. The set was abstract, consisting of a back wall painted like sand seen through water and many silver poles hanging down from the grid that criss-crossed and had three illuminated spheres that changed color depending on the scene. And lots of water onstage. They had a working water pump that flowed into a trough constructed in the stage floor! And an elevator that unleashed a shower on its occupant when it opened! And rain! Made me think back to Kramers' Measure for Measure.

Massachusetts' Primary Election Day was this Tuesday, and I went to the polls around 7:30am so I could make it to work in time. And for the first time, I did research on everyone on my ballot, down to the Register of the Probate. Yay informed voters! Oh, and I still hate the McCain/Palin campaign with the passion of a thousand burning suns.

Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams by Alexander McCall Smith
Starcross by Philip Reeve

Frozen River

Thursday, September 4, 2008

American Woman

Backstreet's back. All right.

I'm much more comfortable in my new job than I was when I last wrote. I know my way around procedures and personnel, and I've taken full control of a few projects. Hurray for time! That's not to say that I haven't continued to make blunders, but nothing that would warrant me getting fired. So that's good.

Many, many adventures were had in my absence from the web. During the last weekend in August, Yuval and I traveled to NYC via BoltBus (which made it in an illegal time of 3 1/2 hours) to meet my parents for a night. They put us up in the same hotel they were in, the Dylan Hotel, which used to be a meeting place for chemists until 30 years ago. They nod to their chemistry roots in every room: the glasses by the sink are beakers, the soap dish is a glass Petri dish. The best part was by far the blackout curtains--I couldn't tell if it was noon or midnight at any time, and that helped me sleep like a rock. I want some for the single small window in my room.

While in New York for the weekend, we visited the 86th floor observatory in the Empire State Building, took a carriage ride through Central Park, ate at a fabulous and tiny Italian restaurant, saw what we could of the under-construction Met Opera House, saw "The Marriage of Bette and Boo" as performed by the Roundabout Theater Company, and dined at a breakfast placed smooshed under a bridge near Grand Central Station. All in all it was a packed weekend that left me exhausted--although I'm tired all the time, so no real change there. While we were waiting to board the 6:30pm BoltBus back to Boston, a girl in line lept into the conversation Yuval and I were having when she overheard that I hate Apple. Apparently East Coasters see this as totally normal behavior (Yuval thought nothing of it), while my Midwestern etiquette wanted to know what the hell business this girl had interrupting our conversation. Anyway, it was clear she was an Apple fan girl by the way she dismissed my legtimate claims and focused on the fact that I also hate their "Mac vs. PC" ads. I wanted to take away the Shounen Weekly she was holding and punch her.

That week after we got back saw us playing in not one, but TWO kickball games. We had to make up for a Week 3 game that got rained out a while ago. We won both, because we're awesome like that, and now we're #1 heading into the divisional tournament this week. Our first match is tonight. Wish us luck!

And the fun with the kickball team was not limited only to games. Labor Day weekend saw our whole team travel down to South Harwich, Cape Cod to stay at the vacation house of one of our teammate's parents. Beer was drunk, beer pong was played, the beach was visited (in the dark and in the light), late hours were kept, and much grilled food was consumed. And of course, underwear was run up the flagpole in the front yard. A riotous good time was had by all, minus our disdain for this one obnoxious British kid that our teammate invited.

Tomorrow night we were supposed to go see a play at the Grand Opening of the Central Square Theater, but instead I'm babysitting Dylan because I love that kid (and I need the money). Then Mom is coming in for the weekend on Saturday morning because Delta decided to have a sale on flights between BOS and CVG. Yay! We were also supposed to attend a lamb roast hosted by the Shavit's Greek family friends, but it was cancelled because the sky is going to be shitting on us all weekend. But at least that means more time with my mom!

Now, for something that's really driving me crazy. If you don't like political rants, then skip down to the end of the post.

Sara Palin. Are you serious, RNC?

I've had a vendetta against this woman for a long time, long before her name was ever mentioned as a possibility in this presidential campaign. I'd written several letters to Congress and to the elected officials in Alaska regarding something that Sarah Palin holds near and dear to her heart: aerial hunting of wolves in Alaska. What does aerial hunting mean? Essentially, hunters are allowed to chase wolves with helicopters--sometimes upwards of 10 miles--until the wolves are too tired to continue. At that point, the hunters shoot them with machine guns mounted on the helicopters. They don't distinguish between males, females, pregnant females, or pups. Aerial hunting is something the people of Alaska have banned twice via voting, and Sarah Palin has been one of the key figures in the fight to overturn and reverse and sidestep this ban. Before the close of the 2006/07 aerial hunting season, Governor Palin put out a bounty of $150 for every severed left leg of a wolf killed by aerial hunting that a hunter brought her. The aerial hunting "season" goes until April 30, well into denning season when mothers are giving birth to pups.

She (and other proponents) claim that this is "wildlife management" and necessary to keep the wolf population under control. By "under control" they mean cutting it by 80%. And they don't even bother monitoring the population levels or keeping accurate records of how many wolves they kill. This summer, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game illegally killed 14 wolves and 14 wolf pups as part of their efforts to boost caribou numbers. They shot the pups in the head, point blank.

This is how I was introduced to Sarah Palin, someone who describes herself as merely a "hockey mom" and someone who the RNC is trumpeting as an agent of "real change." She's demeaned Obama's experience as a community organizer by saying that she was "a mayor, which like being a community organizer, but with responsibilites." To borrow directly from Yuval:

"...As mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire the town's librarian after asking her to ban books, that she asked the town's top officials to resign as a loyalty test, or that she wants to teach creationism in public schools. People should give her credit for reining in big oil in Alaska and cutting down on government spending, but those efforts came at the expense of nearly everything else, according to Gregg Erickson, a columnist for the Anchorage Daily News."

She's slashed funding for teen moms in Alaska and opposes comprehensive sex education in schools, but touts her daughter as an example of why choosing life is the right thing to do--never mind that Bristol's child will be well cared for and benefit from her mother's huge bank accounts. Sorry, Sarah, but not every teen mom is as lucky as your daughter to be born into a rich family, so please don't use this as an excuse for more "Choose Love. Choose Life," rhetoric.

And from Jezebel:
"In her speech last night, Palin said, "I signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids' public education even better." Her focus on public education in Wasilla really paid off when she was mayor: during her tenure researchers at Johns Hopkins deemed Wasilla High School "a dropout factory." Apparently 60% or fewer freshman who start off at Wasilla High go on to graduate. "

And the people calling her a feminist? Oy vey! For those (mostly Republicans) making the arguement that McCain's choice was anything but blatant pandering to Hillary supporters, I defer to the Grand Dame of Feminisim, Ms. Gloria Steinem. "This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need," Steinem argues in the L.A. Times. "Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere."

And then she gets up onstage at the RNC last night and delivers a well-articulated speech stuffed to the brim with outright lies.

I can't even articulate my disdain for the people who think her nomination is the greatest thing to happen to American politics in 30 years.

--------END OF POLITCAL RANT---------

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Haunted Knight by Jeph Loeb
Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis by Ali Smith

Old School
Death to Smoochy
The Birdcage

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Sorry for my prolonged absence, friends. I know you were all just waiting on the edge of your seats for me to update. Well, now that I have a brief (rare) lull in my work, I can share with you some of my recent adventures.

The new job is going well. I was absolutely terrified on my first day: scared I might screw up, scared I'd screw up and ruin my boss's day, scared I'd screw up and ruin the Chief's life, etc. However, the girl who had the position before me has come in twice to show me the ropes and help me figure out all the little details. She's been a lifesaver. I'm jealous of the fact that she left the job so she could go to India for at least four months and set up an environmental policy program at a school there with one of her friends from college. Someday I'll get to do cool things like that, too.

The Chief is hilarious and one of the most brilliant guys I've ever met (as is necessary when you're a world-leader in Immunology research). He believes in yelling in place of intercoms, and often requests green tea in the afternoons. I think I'm going to like it here very much, though that doesn't mean I don't still live in fear of screwing up. I've just gotten better at hiding it.

This past weekend saw some very fun events. Friday night I got to see Dylan for the firs time since mid-May. God, that boy has grown! He's now standing on his own and running around like a speed demon in plane pajamas. He can even eat entire peaches on his own (one of the cutest things ever, as long as you take it away before he eats the pit). And the faces he makes! He's at the point where he can understand what's being said to him, but can only respond non-verbally. So basically, if you say something he doesn't like, he give you a frowny-"you're crazy" face. He screeches a lot, too, meaning he's right on the verge of speech but gets so excited to say something he just lets out sound instead of words. I'll be seeing a lot more of him as the summer winds down and fall heads towards us.

On Saturday night, Yuval and I went to his parents' annual BBQ, which was mostly overrun with friends of his sisters' from HS. I was intimated by their brazen hookah-smoking, something I've never done. But there were also some adult-types there, family friends, who were very engaging. I met a Greek man who worked at the company that, back in the 70's, invented what we now call "e-mail." He also invited Yuval (and I) to his annual lamb roast in September. Though I won't be eating the lamb (as I don't eat any baby animals of any kind), I will be partaking in the roasted chicken and other sundry items. I'm told it will be the most delicious meat I will ever have in my life.

Sunday saw me try something I've never done before: fly in small, one-engine aircraft. Yuval's Dad, Tsachi, is certified to fly one-prop, single engine planes, and so he took the two of us up in a Piper Cherokee Warrior III towards North Adams in the Berkshires. His mom had made plans for us to see an exhibition of Australian performance art called "Swoon!" at the Mass. Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA), so she and his sisters' drove there while we flew. It took me a good 20 minutes to stop being terrified of the way the plane swooped and trembled with every tiny gust of wind: nothing reminds you you're 4,000 feet in the air quite like a small plane. But it became a game to see how the wind would blow us about, and I ended up enjoying the flight immensely. Plus, western MA is beautiful from the air. The performance itself was short, but amazing. Made me want to go back in time to Movement for the Actor and introduce the concept of 15 ft. bendy poles for us to strap ourselves onto. If Australia's Strange Fruit are ever anywhere near you, go see them! Totally worth it. Daniel Kramer would flip out over them.

And that's all I got. I need to get back to work anyhow, seeing as this is the longest break I've ever taken in my almost-week on the job. Hospital's are busy place, dudez!

The Amulet of Samarkand (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1) by Jonathan Stroud
Larklight by Philip Reeve
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation by M.T. Anderson

Deadwood: Season 3
Maxed Out

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The One

So! I'm all moved into my new place. A photo tour is available on Facebook, of course. I forgot how physically exhausting (and painful) moving is, and I definitely wouldn't have been able to do it without Yuval and Elaine and Brian. I love my new place, though! Small but cozy, I think. And since it's in the basement of the house, it stays cool without the need for air conditioning. I won't be hosting huge parties here or anything, but I think it's perfect.

Also in the world of new developments: I've got a new job! I start work on August 18th as the Administrative Associate II in the Office of the Chief of the Immunology Division at Children's Hospital Boston. I'm nervous about it, of course, but I think it will be a very good experience for me. More career-oriented, more experience in how a non-profit works.

Thursday morning Yuval and I leave for Cincinnati to visit my family for the weekend. We're going to see a Reds game on Friday night (yay!) and I'll be dragging him all over town to show him my old haunts. So excited!

And now, I leave you with a meme as copied from Adrienne.

44 "Odd" Things About Me

1. Do you like blue cheese? Not on its own, but as a dressing or mixed with other things.
2. Have you ever smoked? Yes. I used to be a (light) smoker my freshman year in college. Then I figured out it's really gross and not at all pleasant when it's hot outside.
3. Do you own a gun? Nope. Despite being from Texas, I've never even held one.
4. What flavor Kool-Aid was your favorite? Any kind that wasn't lemonade flavor.
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? No, unless I'm going in for something I'm not sure about--then I always start imagining the doctor's going to tell me I have cancer.
6. What do you think of hot dogs? Yummy. I don't care what's in them. My dad and I used to eat them raw with cheese when watching football.
7. Favorite Christmas movie? Duh: A Muppet Christmas Carol.
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Sometimes iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts, but mostly milk.
9. Can you do push ups? Yes, but only a maximum of 15-20: it depends on when my stomach gives out.
10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? The pearl necklace my late grandmother gave to me when I graduated high school.
11. Favorite hobby? Reading. I do it a lot.
12. Do you have A.D.D.? Nope. One of my problems is that I have "tunnel vision" and tend to focus intensely on one thing at a time. Unless I'm at work, where I can multi-task like a mo fo.
13. What's one trait you hate about yourself? My proclivity for freaking out about the little details of things.
14. Middle name? McGinley, after the clan in Ireland that my mother's side is descended from. Also my mom's last name.
15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment. 1) I'm really, really sleepy. 2) I love the Backstreet Boys. 3) I should be doing work instead of filling this out.
16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Coke, juice, milk. Trying to drink more water at the insistence of a certain someone.
17. Current worry? That I have a cold sore developing. Probably from all the stress of moving. Damn.
18. Current hate right now? I agree with Adrienne: money. Money and my lack of enough of it to assuage my worry of constant impeding financial doom.
19. Favorite place to be? My apartment, cuddling and watching something on the TV.
20. How did you bring in the New Year? Dinner with Yuval at Uno's in Porter Square, a brief stay at a party hosted by Margaret's non-friend near MIT, and finally wine and champagne at Kat and Garrett's place in Davis Square where we watched the ball drop.
21. Where would you like to go? To Cincinnati to visit my family. Thankfully I'm doing that this Thursday. After that, North Carolina to visit Melissa.
22. Name three people who will complete this. Mayhap Anthony and Ryan will fill this out and make satirical comments along the way? And um...possibly Ken.
23. Do you own slippers? Not slippers, but mukluks. My uncle got me hooked on them. So comfy and warm!
24. What color shirt are you wearing right now? Fuchsia.
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? No, too slippery. Plus I'd feel like a hooker.
26. Can you whistle? No. I can force air from my mouth in a way that vaguely resembles whistling, though.
27. Favorite color? Blue and green. Blue green?
28. Would you be a pirate? Much as I'd love to the awesome ass-kicking powers of a ninja, I have a low pain tolerance. So yes, I think a pirate's life is the life for me. Dabloons and high seas!
29. What songs do you sing in the shower? Usually pieces I learned in my one year of voice lessons. And Disney songs, of course.
30. Favorite Girl's Name? Piper, Madeleine, Kate (just Kate, not short for anything)
31. Favorite boy's Name? Elijah, Caleb
32. What's in your pocket right now? Nothing. These pants don't have pockets.
33. Last thing that made you laugh? Learning that there's a new show on VH1 called "I Want to Work for Diddy."
34. Best bed sheets as a child? Soft ones.
35. Worst injury you've ever had? Probably the hit I took to the face from a broken broom handle being used as an improvised pinata bat the day before 2nd grade started at a new school. Nearly took out my eye, required six stitches along my right eyebrow and a butterfly stitch right below my eye. Also directly led to the worst first day of school ever.
36. Do you love where you live? I do now! Newton is much prettier and quieter and cleaner than Allston. Sure, there's no longer 8,000 restaurants around, but that's fine with me. Makes me less likely to spend money.
37. How many TVs do you have in your house? Just the one.
38. Who is your loudest friend? I would say Margaret. Loud in the best way possible.
39. How many dogs do you have? One back in Cincinnati, none in Boston. But, oh, how I want one!
40. Does someone have a crush on you? I would assume Yuval does. I hope.
41. What is your favorite book? Well, there are three titles that I can read over and over (which I do) and love each time. 1) The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, 2) Howl's Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones, 3) The Wrinkle in Time quartet by Madeleine L'Engle.
42. What is your favorite candy? Snickers and 3 Musketeers.
43. Favorite Sports Team? Cincinnati Reds. I will always have a soft spot for them.
44. What song do you want played at your funeral? "September" by Earth, Wind, & Fire.


Enchantress From the Stars by Sylvia Engdahl

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Is This Thing Called Love?

OMG, a teaser trailer for Disney's The Princess and the Frog! I know Ryan already posted this on his blog (being that he is far more attuned to these kinds of things than I), but I must include it here as well. For my own fulfillment.

Watch now and be filled with joy!

This past weekend was one of fun times and frivolity. Saturday afternoon, Yuval and I journeyed north to Canobie Lake Park (which I will always mispronounce) for half-price tickets after 5pm. Now, it was no King's Island and definitely not a Cedar Point. BUT! It was wholesome and fun and hilarious riding mildly thrilling rides and not having to wade through 8 billion people to get in an hour-long line for something. Thankfully Yuval didn't seem to mind my habit of cackling in happiness and hilarity when I experience that "stomach dropping out" feeling. We timed the end of our visit perfectly: we were able to watch the fireworks from the ferris wheel. We left, exhausted, 5 1/2 hours after we'd arrived, completely happy with my decision to give this a shot.

Sunday was a big day for my friends Eric and Amanda: their wedding. I put on the dress I wore to graduation, some ballet flats, and we headed downtown to the Chinese restaurant/banquet hall where the reception was held. Apparently, if you're Chinese, you're not allowed to exclude any family member--no matter how distant--from your wedding guest list. Good thing the room was huge. There was a 10 course meal (a tradition), dances a' plenty, wedding cake, an open bar, a photo booth, and lots of good times. I got "drunk" for the first time in over a year ("drunk" because just about every time I was drunk in college my BAC level was higher than what it was at this wedding). Girly as it is, I actually teared up a little during Eric and Amanda's last dance of the night--I was thinking of how happy they are now, how happy they're going to be, and how happy I was that I could witness all of it. I've always had a good time at weddings, and this one was no different.

Congratulations, Big and Asian! Hope you're enjoying yourselves in Bermuda. :o)

At this time next week I'll be in my new apartment. Adrienne's moving on Friday, I'm moving on Saturday, and our apartment is in a general state of chaos. I've got most everything packed that can be packed and simply await the arrival of my U-HAUL truck.

Also, I found this to be hilarious: Hamlet (Facebook News Feed Edition)

The City of Ember by JeAnne DePrau
Paper Towns by John Green

Deadwood (Season Two)
The Usual Suspects

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stone Cold Fox

I went to the orthodontist this morning to see if anything could be done about the gaps between a couple of my molars and pre-molars.

Good News: I have one of the best results of orthodontics that the doctor has ever seen. He called my overbite and underbite "perfect." He said whoever did my braces deserves a pat on the back for a job very well done.
Bad News: My perfect teeth means I cannot get any kind of further orthodontics: no retainer, no InvisiLign, nothing. Apparently the gaps are just a result of a few of my teeth being smaller than they should be, and attempting to move any of them would ruin my whole bite. So I either just have to live with it or get my dentist to just put a little filling material between the teeth.

Oh well. It's nice to know I've got perfect dental structure, at least!

That's about all the news I've got--boring, I know. But now I leave you with an (educational) funny video that explains what exactly caused this whole subprime mortgage crisis this summer. I promise you do not need to know anything about mortgages or finance or anything to find this video funny. Great British dry humo(u)r!

What Created The Subprime Mess

Batman: Dark Victory by Joseph Loeb and Tim Sale

The Dark Knight
Kung Fu Panda

p.s. Heath Ledger deserves that Oscar 100%. He'd deserve it if he was still alive, and still deserves it in death. Transformative performance.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bring On The Rain

Today is Friday for me, hurray! I don't have to come into work tomorrow, thank Allah, since things are so slow around here. I anticipate getting a lot of reading, laundry, and maybe even some writing done tomorrow. As Robin Hood would say: Oo-de-lally!

Tennis is going well, as is kickball. We routed our opponents last week in the first game of the season, 9-0. Let's hope The Green Team can keep it up today! This weekend will hopefully give me a chance to attend a screening of Michou D'Auber at the 13th Annual Boston French Film Festival. I loves me some foreign films.

Next Tuesday I have a consult with an orthodontist at BU's Dental School. Hopefully there's a (relatively) inexpensive way to correct the spaces between some of my bottom molars that have been pains dans ma bouche for years now. I hope so. Speaking of BU schools, I've started looking into another interesting possibility for grad school: an MA in International Relations and Religion, or an IRRN (one subject, not two). It's a year-long program that would let me focus on either a region (Africa) or a functional specialty (e.g. development). I'm most interested in specializing in West and South Asia, which means studying how Islam affects the region. With everything that's happening in the world right now, trying to change America's general impression of the region and its religion is something I am really passionate about.

And now, I leave you for the weekend. Please enjoy the following clip of Cookie Monster's appearance on The Colbert Report back in mid-June.

Shattering the Stereotypes: Muslim Women Speak Out edited by Fawzia Afzal-Khan

The Bourne Ultimatum

Friday, July 11, 2008

Deja Vu

Once again, my love of Deadwood brings me joy. Specifically through a hilarious McSweeney's piece entitled AN OVERHEARD CONVERSATION AT THE SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOOD POOL, IF THE SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOOD POOL WERE IN DEADWOOD.

TGIF, man. At first I spelled that TFIG, which definitely means I need a weekend of rest.

Today I officially registered for the MSPCA's Walk For Animals being held on Sunday, September 7. I wish I had a dog that I could bring along for the walk, but I'll just have to content myself with being surrounded by them instead. I think I'll live. If you'd like to donate or join my team, that would be super. Helps some puppies & kitties & other cute nom nom's! And for the sake of completeness, I've also created a Facebook Event page for it with more information.

Although if you're reading this blog, changes are I've already harassed you about this through the Book of Faces.

If you're the kind of person (like me) who loves magazines and having information arrive in your mailbox on a monthly or weekly basis, then check out two new magazines I've discovered. Ode Magazine has a tagline of "For Intelligent Optimists," which I think describes a lot of you readers. Good Magazine's tagline is "For People Who Give A Damn," which I think also applies to a lot of my friends. The former plants a tree when you subscribe, while the latter donates 100% of your subscription fee to a non-profit partner of your choosing. Both are very interesting and very refreshing in this world of "You're Too Fat!" consumer magazines and "The World Is Going To Hell!" news magazines. Give 'em a shot!

Spirited Away

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Put On Your Sunday Clothes

I'm listening to Fresh Air on WBUR (Boston's NPR) right now and have developed a huge crush on the guest. Andrew Stanton, director and writer of WALL-E, is a super cute geek who really loves what he does. Also, it makes me want to see the film again--not that I didn't already. I say all this whilst stealing loving glances at the plush Wall-E on my desk (thanks, Yuv). Obsessed, me? Maybe a little.

I hope everyone had a fun and happy and safe Fourth of July. Having a day off from work at the end of the week pretty much ensured that I would enjoy my day no matter what. I slept late; met up with Margaret, Adrienne, Dena, Danielle, and Bruce; and followed them to a delightful spot on the bank of the Charles where they would have a magnificent view of the fireworks. After reveling in their company for a couple hours, I bid goodbye and made way across town to Newton for a celebration with members of my kickball team. Once it started getting dark, some of us decided to take up another team-member's offer of a roof party to watch the fireworks. We made our way to what turned out--to my great surprise--to be Beacon Hill (which, for those non-Bostonians, is a ritzy brownstone part of town where many politicians live). We had a great view of the fireworks, but alas there was no wind to disperse the giant pillar of smoke that resulted from the colorful explosions. The finale ended up looking like a big light-up cloud with very few fireworks actually visible. Still a fun time, though!

Saturday was mostly spent with Yuval and his family: a brunch and dinner. In between, while he was out bike shopping with his family, I went home to nap and clean in preparation for a visit from my aunt and uncle. Dinner was followed by a viewing of The Prestige, which I forgot how much I enjoyed. It kicks The Illusionist's ass, regardless of the latter's inclusion of one of my actor-crushes, Edward Norton. However, on the way home, Yuval and I got into quite the argument over our interpretations of the two main characters (Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale). That part of the evening wasn't so fun, but it was only a bump in an otherwise very fun day.

My aunt and uncle (one of my mom's older brothers) were in Boston over the weekend and I spent most of Sunday with them. I took them to see one of my favorite Boston sites, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, followed by dinner at Upstairs on the Square and ice cream at Herrell's. A wonderful and delicious time, and I managed to navigate us all around Boston by car without once getting lost! A big achievement considering I don't know that much about the roads here since I don't drive.

I went to the dentist for the first time in Boston on Monday, and there was good news and bad news. Good news: my hygiene is excellent, and I got compliments on my good-looking teeth. Bad news: I have two cavities developing between my lower molars. They're not actually cavities yet, since they aren't even halfway through the enamel. But it looks like I'll eventually have to get them filled, ending my lifelong streak of never having any cavities. Damn. One of the problems is that, since it's been a while since I had braces/a retainer, my teeth have spaced out slightly, which makes it very easy for food to get caught and my gums to get infected or sore. That's where the pseudo-cavities are. So my dentist recommended an electric toothbrush, a prescription mouthwash with super-fluoride, some Super Floss, and a consultation with an orthodontist to discuss some retainer-like options for my teeth. I have an arsenal of mouth-care now, so prepare to be squashed, plaque!

Tonight is the first game of the new kickball season. Most of the members of our old team are back for this one, known as The Green Team. Very excited, though it's frustrating because there's a Farmer's Market near my apartment that I'd love to go to but it's only on Thursdays and I have no time between work and kickball. Hard knock of life, y'all.

This weekend is when I reveal Yuval's long-awaited Birthday Surprise by kidnapping him. Sort of. I mean, I'm taking him somewhere, but not blindfolding him for the journey. Much.

Also, Nate's coming to visit Boston on Monday. Yay! But I can't see David Flaherty tomorrow for lunch. Boo! Them's the breaks, I guess.

Crossing Midnight Vol. 2: A Map of Midnight by Mike Carey
Fables Vol. 10: The Good Prince by Bill Willingham

The Secret Life of Alex Mack (Season 1)
Mulholland Drive
The Prestige

Monday, June 30, 2008

Better Days

So. Wall-E. One of the greatest movies of recent years, and definitely in my top 5 favorite movies of all time. At heart a love story, I cried at least 6 times at how Pixar managed to convey everything that love is/was/will be in the smallest of ways. No other movie imbues the simple act of holding hands with the kind of emotional weight achieved in Wall-E. And the amazingness doesn't pertain only to the love story: there are political messages about the way we're living our lives, the way corporate America is taking over, and the way we're abandoning our environment. I wouldn't even classify this as a kids' movie--all the parents around us were constantly explaining what was going on to their little ones. On the surface, Wall-E is just another cutesy computer animated movie with a charming main character; on the inside, it's easily Pixar's best movie.

Speaking of amazingness, did anyone else know that practically our entire childhood Nickelodeon canon is available on DVD? The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, The Secret World of Alex Mack, Clarissa Explains It All...they're all available! And there's rumors that Salute Your Shorts and Hey, Dude will be making their way to DVD as well. Who else out there thinks that Nick hit its peak in the mid-90's?

I've discovered that 95% of the DVD's I've burned are bad because I burned them on too high a speed. So that means I'm re-ordering them all from the library, slowly but surely, so I can do things right. I tried to watch some season two of Deadwood last night and could only get about 1/3 of the way into an episode. Damn.