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.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Back 2 Good

During my K-12 school years, my schools closed for snow days, heat days, flooding, and a tornado. Never, though, did I experience a school closing due to a ninja sighting. As my boss pointed out, the person who spotted the ninja and panicked clearly wasn't thinking straight. Because if it had been a real ninja, said spotter wouldn't have been able to see the assassin at all. Ninjas are silent and stealthy like the night wind, man!

I cost my team the winning spot in trivia on Tuesday night because I was not aware that Gone With The Wind had won a Pulitzer. Needless to say I felt like a sham of an English major. Perhaps I was a teensy bit prejudiced because I find Scarlett O'Hara to be obnoxious and irritating and therefore not Pulitzer-worthy? Oh well.

This news story served to reaffirm my love of two related things: country music and Tim McGraw. Apparently a front row male fan at his concert in Washington got a little gropey with a female fan and wouldn't stop. Tim got angry and hauled the guy on stage by the straps of his wifebeater. Read the rest here. He's dreamy and chivalrous and badass, y'all. That's how we roll in the South.

Big news! I found a studio apartment that I can actually afford and will be moving in during late August! It's further west of Boston than where I live now, but still right on the T so completely accessible--and the D line is much faster than the B line anyway so I should actually get places in about the same amount of time even though the distance is greater. The best part of this place is that I don't have to pay a single utility: nada! There's no stove, but that's what toaster ovens are for, and only one window (it's a garden-level, basement apartment), but I'm not about to pass up a place this good for lack of a couple windows. The landlady is a nice Chinese woman who lives with her family in Boston and rents out this house to about 7 tenants. So, this is where I'll be living in the fall:

View Larger Map

So excited!

I've signed back up for another round of tennis clinics. I'm really enjoying the sport again, but it's becoming really frustrating in a way. I've played tennis for over 10 years, off and on, and used to be pretty good back in high school. So my brain and instincts know exactly what kind of shot I should hit where, but my skill level isn't what it used to be so I always end of messing up the point. A case of "the mind is willing but the body is not," indeed.

A side note: if I have to hear the song "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles one more time I think I might firebomb all radio stations ever. That is all.

Last night I watched the last episode of the 7th season of The West Wing: an era in my life has come to an end. I'm a little sad there's no more political misadventures for me to watch, but I think the series ended strongly. They didn't wrap up every little thing, but I had a good idea of what was in store for the characters. Goodbye, President Bartlet. You and your staff will be greatly missed. Strangely, your successor's story on the show seems to be playing out for real in the candidacy of Barack Obama...

To wit, I leave you with the story of Hope, a Maltese dog born without front legs. Watch the video, learn the story, have your heart warmed, then go look at more pictures and watch another video at The Daily Mail. So. Amazingly. Cute.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

The West Wing (Season 7)

Friday, June 20, 2008


Another not-post post. This is a checklist for myself for the summer. If I don't write these things down somewhere I'll forget them and never do them!

Movies To See
The Forbidden Kingdom
Baby Mama (x)
Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day
Spiderwick Chronicles
In Bruges
Chicago 10
Paranoid Park
Under the Same Moon
The Flight of the Red Balloon
Iron Man (x)
Speed Racer
Prince Caspian (x)
Wall-E (x)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (x)
Children of Huang Shi
The Happening
Get Smart
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (x)
The Dark Knight (x)
Mongol (x)
The Incredible Hulk

Things to Do
Go camping
Visit Cincinnati (x)
Reunion 2008 in Cleveland (x)
Go to Tanglewood (x)
Write my sister every week of camp (x)
Visit the New England Zoo
Sign up for tennis clinics (x)
Attend Asian & Big's wedding (x)
Write three short stories/one really long one
See The Mysteries of Harris Burdick at Barrington Stage Co. (x)
Buy a Zune
Go to a theme park (x)
Donate platelets to the Red Cross every 2 weeks
Visit the Cape and/or Martha's Vineyard
See a Red Sox game (x)
Donate to Barack Obama's campaign (x)
Shop at the new Goodwill on Comm. Ave
See a Boston Cannons game
Move to my new apartment (x)

I'll probably remember additional things as the days march on, but that's the initial list. Man, I'm going to need a lot more money...How much do you think a human kidney would fetch on the market these days?

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

S.O.S (Rescue Me)

Flocke (Germany's newest baby polar bear!) discovers her image in a mirror. SO CUTE! I can haz 1 plz?

I did it again. I slept for 15 hours last night. The lack of sleep over the weekend made Monday a particularly rough day, and I decided that--rather than go to tennis--I would go straight home from work and nap immediately to make up for lost sleep time. Clearly, I accomplished that goal. My head hurt upon waking, but I think that was because of allergies and lack of food as I ate and took three Advil and feel fine now. My nose is stuffy, but that's to be expected on these high pollen count days.

So, this past weekend. Reunion at Nate's family farm in Huntsburg, OH. One word: Bangin'.

At one point Anthony said something about how he didn't feel super special happy to be there, but rather that it just felt natural. Like this is the way things are supposed to be. I agree with him, although I was definitely on a happy-high for the entire weekend. The 10+ hour drive wasn't so bad with Anthony and I switching off, and on the way there we stopped over at his parents' house in Binghamton for delicious tomato basil soup, mixed green salad with strawberries, and grilled cheese sandwiches made with Munster and one other special cheese and thin apple slices in the middle. Then there were the brownies with Ghiradelli chocolate frosting, dried cherries, and chocolate chips in them. SO GOOD!

We spent the weekend playing Rock Band/Smash Brothers Brawl, eating, swimming in the pond, visiting the farm animals (where I got mauled by goats while trying to feed them), going to a drive-in for Kung Fu Panda, and (of course) drinking and talking late into the night. At the high point we had about 15 people there and it was so good to see everyone again that I nearly combusted from nostalgia. These reunions should definitely be a yearly thing! For Nate's parents' sake, though, I'm trying to think of other places we could do this so the burden of dealing with 15 crazy twentysomethings doesn't always fall on them. Anyone got any suggestions?

I'm doing my first platelet donation in over a month today. The guilt finally became too much to handle--I've missed my last two appointments. But I'm getting back on the Good Deed Train! Tonight is also Trivia Night, although it'll probably be another round of "Speed Trivia" since the Celtics are playing and the bar wants to pack in the patrons for that.

The weather's beautiful. My sister's starting her first summer as a camp counselor at the Episcopal camp that was the highlight of our Jr. High/High School years. Yuval and I are going to see my family in Cincinnati in August. The Celtics are up. And I just spent a weekend with a lot of my precious people.

Yeah, life is pretty good. Skidoosh!

The New Policeman by Kate Thompson

Kung Fu Panda

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Where The Waters Meet

Hooray, my knee no longer kills me when I walk! I think I walked about 10 miles, in total, on Sunday, because apparently walking is a rabid disease with the ability to hold on like a Great White--once you start doing it, you find yourself walking everywhere. So my knee felt like I had arthritis for a couple days and I had to wear a removable knee brace for a bit. But, I'm better now! And the walk itself was...well, I can't say "fun" because I was sweating and hot and my legs felt like they floated away after the 3rd mile, bit it was certainly fulfilling and well worth my time and effort. I'm totally doing it again next year. Thanks to all who donated: you guys are super.

So even though it's only Wednesday, it's my last day of work for this week! Tomorrow morning Sir Anthony and I will embark upon the journey to Ohio. More specifically, to Huntsburg, OH, where we shall be joined by a bevy of beautiful maidens (and gents) for a weekend of frolicking, swimming in a pond, playing with baby goats, and (inevitably) video games. To say I'm excited is a gross understatement.

Speaking of trips, Yuval and I are planning on visiting my family in August, before my sister heads back for her junior year at IU (holy crap, my sister's a JUNIOR!). It's a 13-hour car ride from Boston to Cincinnati, but we'd be borrowing his parents' tricked out hybrid Camry so it will be as comfortable as a road trip possible. I'm very eager to introduce him to Graeter's, Aglamesis, Skyline, and the Reds (an MLB team you don't have to mortgage your house in order to see).

On a whim I decided to take the 57 bus home from work instead of the train yesterday. Maybe I secretly knew something unusual was going to happen? For as I got off the bus where Brighton Ave. meets Harvard Ave. and turn onto the latter street, I look up and see hundreds of people crowding the sidewalk and smoke billowing a little ways up the street. It's only then that I notice the 7 fire engines and several police cars clogging up the road. "WTF?!" I thought. Turns out the Greek diner was--as Dane Cook would say--"fully on fire." I've never been one who takes a perverse pleasure from watching destruction, so I continued shoving my way through the throngs watching the building blaze and smoke. I wanted to yell at them, "Don't you people have anything better to do than watch a family's livelihood get burned to the ground?!" But I knew no one would listen. I could feel the heat (impressive, as it was already about 98 degrees and humid) of the flames from across the street. Regardless, I kept my feet resolutely going forward the 500 or so yards to my apartment building. Sitting by my window, fan on full blast, I could hear the whine of even more fire engines and police cars and ambulances rushing down Commonwealth towards Harvard.

That is the closest I've ever been to anything remotely that destructive, and it was all rather surreal. Like I was on a movie set. Funny how disasters seem so incongruous in real life but perfectly at home on the screen, huh?

And now, I leave you with the cuteness that is Cinders, the pig who is afraid of mud. So Cinders wears two pairs of tiny Paddington bear Wellington boots to protect her cute little hooves from the ick. [The hearts were added by the ladies at Jezebel, where I found this.]

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Friday, June 6, 2008

Wild Mountainside

Time for the end-of-the-week-cute-animal feature. This time it goes to Inukshuk, an orphaned baby polar bear. His story goes like this:

"Animal Planet ran a special on a baby polar bear named Inukshuk, who was orphaned at just 10 weeks old when his mother was shot by hunters in Ontario. He was rescued by a police officer and sent to a zoo in Toronto, where he was raised by zookeepers until he was old enough to be placed in his permanent home in a habitat in another Canadian zoo, where he currently lives with two other orphaned polar bears. In the clip, Inukshuk bonds with his zookeeper, who is torn about becoming too attached to the baby bear because he will eventually leave her. Having never been around any polar bears since he was an infant, he has begun to take on some human attributes…like talking!

Here are photos of when Inukshuk spent the night in the police station with the officer who rescued him. Confused and upset, he cried until the policeman sat and cuddled with him until he fell asleep."

How much do you (and I) want to be that cop in these pictures? You should definitely follow the link to watch the video clip: it's nothing short of criminal how cute this little 100 pound guy is.

The Red Sox game I went to on Tuesday turned out to be pretty exciting for a couple reasons. 1) Somehow the Tampa Bay Rays, laughing stock of the AL, were ranked #1 in the AL at the time of the game. 2) During the 6th inning, a man dressed as in Celtics jersey jumped from the seats onto the right outfield, sprinted the couple hundred yards across the entire outfield, dodged 3 security marshals (one of whom took a flying face dive in an attempt to catch the running man's knees), and dove into the stands by left field. The 3 marshals dove on top of him at that point, but he'd already completed his historic run across the outfield. Strangely enough, the Red Sox (who were on the field at the time) just stood around watching all this like they were super bored and this happened every day. I swear if any of them had been wearing watches, they would have been glancing at them. Good times!

And of course, now the Sox are back up to #1, where they should be, after trouncing the Rays.

In a very exciting turn of events, Ms. Deanna Lesht graced Boston with her presence this week for the annual City Year convention. Adrienne, Mags, and I got to hang out with her for a couple hours before she had to return to her fascist dictators by midnight. It was so wonderful having all of F-6 back together again, even if it was only for a short time. And (hopefully) Dena will be moving up to Boston this summer! Note to all other '07 (and '08) Kenyon grads: Boston is clearly the post-graduation place to be. I'm just sayin', we've got the numbers to prove it.

Tennis is more fun than I remembered (my volleys are the best in the class!), and I'm going through serious Thursday-night withdrawals now that Lost is done for the season. Sad times. But! There is this show starting on June 24th, which--while certainly in an entirely different universe than Lost--will definitely keep me entertained for however long it's on. Seriously. I've always wondered how Americans would fare in a crazy Japanese game show...and now I'll find out! Thank you, ABC, for creating something to fill the void you're airwaves left behind when they left The Island. Who else will be watching I Survived A Japanese Game Show? I know you will!

NSTAR's Walk for Children's Hospital Boston is this Sunday, June 8. I'll be huffing and puffing through 7 miles for charity in 95 degree weather, so wish me luck! And hydration! If you haven't donated to support me, and you want to, follow the banner at the side or click here. Thanks in advance for your support!

TGIF, dudes. For serious.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
The Diamond of Drury Lane by Julia Golding
Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman