Friday, December 22, 2006
[and i haven't even mentioned the quirkiness that is the downtown drafthouse because, well, i'm lame and i haven't been there yet. that one is a little different, though, and they generally do special events more so than show regular movies. BUT! supposedly they sponsor sing-alongs (including LITTLE MERMAID sing-alongs; did i mention how much i love this place), videoke (like karaoke but to movies), comedians who comment on movies, theme nights (italian menu for da vinci code premiere), air guitar championships, etc, etc, etc.]
back to tonight, though -- i had a ROOT BEER FLOAT while i enjoyed my movie tonight, people! a root beer float! they have a long wine list, an enticing beer menu, a CANDY menu, gourmet pizzas, sandwiches, salads, various tempting desserts and a million different appetizers (last time i got hummus and falafel that were quite delicious, and tonight the chips and queso of the dude sitting next to me smelled completely amazing).
i think it's safe to say that when i leave austin i will definitely "remember the alamo."
on a side and completely unrelated note, why is it that the girls in bond movies always get the short end of the stick?... even the smart ones who are there for more than just sex appeal? they're always pawns in the man's game.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
please forgive me for the delayed response to your interesting question. this blogger has been too busy attending various holiday parties, going to the Austin Ballet, having culinary successes (i roasted my first chicken! and then made a chicken soup from the bones! i RULE!) and taking one-hour lunches in the middle of the work day (that didn't start until 10:30, ahem) to update her blog.
so, then, to answer your question:
thank you, the end.
(who wants to ask the blogger next?! especially since i give such satisfying answers to questions??)
ok, well then i'll answer a question that absolutely nobody asked and tell you how to roast a chicken instead:
- buy a chicken from the grocery store (very important step)
- rinse the chicken in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. consider giving him a name. always good to bond with your food and appreciate the animal that has given up its life to satisfy your gastronomic needs.
- oh yeah, preheat the oven to 475 degrees. and make sure nothing's in there (i.e. a stray pan or something) because that would lead to major suckage.
- also, make sure you have a roasting pan. and a nice rack too (of the cooking variety, not the breast-related variety! geez. get your mind out of the gutter).
- okay, back to the chicken. pour some olive oil in your hands (you might want to wash them first, you dirty, dirty person) and then slather it all over the birdie.
- on the washing hands thing, make sure you clean everything a billion times so that you don't get salmonella poisoning (salmonella!! is very fun to say).
- next, cover the birdie with a million spices. you can keep it nice and simple with lots of s&p (i used sea salt and freshly ground black pepper), or mix it up with lemon pepper or whatever floats your boat. the olive oil should help the spices stick to the chicken. don't skimp out on the seasonings or else you will have a bland, sad chicken and NOBODY LIKES a bland, sad chicken.
- take some fresh herbs and stick them into the hollowed-out cavity (btw, if your grocery store leaves in the innards then... throw them away. or gross out somebody that annoys you by putting them in a pretty gift bag and leaving it on their doorstep. or whatever. but don't forget to take them out of there). i used lots of fresh rosemary.
- next, take a bunch of garlic cloves and stick them in the little nooks and crannies of the bird (in the thigh crook, wing joints, etc etc etc). as you're looking for garlic hiding spots try not to look at the hole where the poor birdie's head would have been, because that will make you feel bad. alas.
- wow, good job! now stick the bird in the oven for 20 minutes or so so that the skin can get nice and brown and crispy.
- drink several glasses of wine and prep some potatoes to toss in with the chicken (with s&p and olive oil and maybe some leftover rosemary).
- turn the heat down to 400-ish and let roast for another 45 mins to an hour (i think the rule is 20 minutes per pound of chicken or something like that). oh, and toss the potatoes into pan.
- finally, check with meat thermometer to make sure it's cooked thoroughly (an uncooked chicken is even worse than a bland, sad chicken) and look to see if the juices run clear, not red. if it's done, take it out and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before cutting.
- have some more wine, pull off some yummy chicken parts and hot potatoes and enjoy!
Monday, December 18, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
EXHIBIT A: THE OFFICE HOLIDAY PARTY
being the advertising whore that i am, the ingredients of a typical office holiday party generally include the following: a chilly night in a fairly chi-chi spot, an open bar, some hors d'oeuvres, maybe a DJ, lots of black clothes and slinky scarves and thin-stemmed martini glasses. people generally stay out late, gossip about what everyone else is wearing, meet each other's significant others, and eventually take a drunken cab ride home.
or, if you're in texas, the office holiday party looks something like this: afternoon party, 80-degree weather, huge pits of texas bbq, beer, live music, jeans, frito pie, mac and cheese, and deep fried turkey. if i had decided to wear heels (i didn't) they would have just sunk into the grass, and if i had decided to wear all black (i didn't) i would have melted in the 80-degree weather. you will be sad to know that our gingerbread house did not take home first prize (there were some amazing entries... stupid creative advertising types), but since we worked on our entry right next to the bbq pits, i got the special bonus prize of smelling like bbq for the rest of the day. even my hair smelled like bbq sauce, and i think that may have been responsible for all the drool on my pillow saturday morning. hmm.
EXHIBIT B: CHRISTMAS SHOPPING
sat afternoon i decided to finally get my shit together and start my christmas shopping (since it is, well, one week away). being in a thrifty mood, i headed down to the sarn marcos outlets, dreading the crowds and hoping for the best. let me tell you something: shopping for christmas presents in a huge concrete jungle with vast parking lots (in which every space is filled with some gas-guzzling SUV or truck, of course) while wearing flip-flops and a t-shirt because it is 80 BLOODY DEGREES OUTSIDE is a really, really strange experience. the christmas music being piped over the speakers seemed to be messing with my mind, seriously.
still, i'm not complaining. i went for a jog this evening along the trusty hike-and-bike trail on town lake wearing shorts and a t-shirt and smiled at all the dogs traipsing around the dog park and all my fellow joggers and bikers who were out soaking in the early evening sun, and i have to say...
i've got a feeling we're not in DC anymore...
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
i drove home in a fitful and restless mood. as previously mentioned, i've been in a bit of a quarterlife crisis/funk lately, and i honestly felt like the sunny day (temp = mid-70s, for those of you that are keeping track) was mocking me somewhat (but the oh so faithful jammin 105.9 was playing NO DIGGITY by BLACKSTREET. man i love that station). what is with my generation, anyway? on paper, i have more than most other people have at 25. a great job in a "trendy" industry with high-profile clients, a fantastic apt, a loving family, fantastic friends, good health, a good education, etc etc etc. heck, i even have a fish! so what the hell is all the fuss about? wouldn't a majority of twenty-somethings kill to have my situation?
that's the thing, though. i feel like so many 20-somethings are raised to think that they can "have it all" and that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to. furthermore, i've been lucky enough that i have accomplished a lot of things that i've set out to do: i got into a great college and had way too much fun while there, i've built meaningful relationships, i've traveled to other countries, yadda yadda yadda. the funny thing is, though, that when you're taught to think you can do anything and you're lucky enough to be reasonably talented at several things -- it ends up being somewhat paralyzing. it's the paradox of choice that i know all too well. when i wander the incredibly well-stocked aisles of the beautiful monstrosity that is the whole foods corporate headquarters right across from my office @ 6th and lamar, i often end up wasting a good six or seven minutes while i try and make what should a simple decision but ends up boggling the mind instead. do i want OJ from concentrate? not from concentrate? organic oranges or the nectar from regular old pesticide-covered pieces of crap? oranges from FL? everyday organic, which is more reasonably priced? or should i go for the calcium-fortified option, since, come to think of it, i really don't drink all that much milk and OMG what if i have ostoperosis or something horrible? calcium it is.
the number of choices (for both OJ and other such difficult life decisions) is often incredibly overwhelming, and i think way too many well-educated and generally lucky 20-somethings in my position would agree. when you're taught to think you can do anything, it's really hard to decide what the hell to do with your life, anyway. neurosurgeon? writer of the next great american novel? corporate sell-out advertising whore? artiste? perpetual student? saver of the american community? exotic dancer, to rebel against my otherwise comfortable upper middle class upbringing? full-time mommy of two precocious kids? and then the strange and powerful forces of ambition (i'm going to change the world!) and laziness (well... after i take this nap, that is) set in and you end up feeling you haven't made any progress whatsoever.
...all of which were on my mind as i decided to clear my head a bit during a long run. i headed outside and was randomly overcome with the desire to run to the capitol and back. so i proceeded to do exactly that. i ran straight down south congress, over the congress bridge where the city lights were twinkling against the inky colorado river and then further down congress ave until i ran smack into the capitol building, towering symbol of texan bravado and spirit that it is (in case you didn't know, it looks exACTly like our nation's capitol, only bigger and well, pink). i've actually never been that close to it before, and it was incredibly beautiful at night -- a few cop cars here and there but otherwise open to the random jogger and/or happy couple taking a million pics with their digital camera -- and i took a break to walk around the huge front lawn (it's true -- everything IS bigger in texas). it reminded me of the DC monuments and how beautiful they are at night, and i had a flashback to a few warm summer nights that were spent wandering around my favorite FDR memorial, gazing out onto a moonlit tidal basin and wondering what had been accomplished in the city that day. from the steps of the capitol, i had a view of the city that i had never experienced before, and it was truly refreshing. i looked around, breathed in the clean air, appreciated the friendly faces that i saw along the way, relished the fact that i could wear shorts on a december night and pretty much thanked my lucky stars for my good fortune. it's only because i have been so fortunate that i even have time to have a stupid quarterlife crisis, you know?
the big question still looms, though. what the hell should i do next? i like austin and i like my company, but the story doesn't end here for me. i came to check it out, not to stay. and i came, i loved the mild winters, i soaked up the hot sun, i became obsessed with breakfast tacos and the difference btwn "tex-mex" cuisine and "interior mexican" cuisine (learning that they both have pretty fucking delicious margaritas so who really cares anyway), i embraced the joy that is chips and queso, i went to ACL, i listened to live music, i enjoyed the laid-back culture and friendly people. i came, i saw, i conquered, etc etc etc.
but what's next? THAT'S what i want to know.
oh well. i guess that's a decision for another clear, starlit night.
now please excuse me while i go pour myself a glass of orange juice (organic, not from concentrate this time).
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
so i know i talk about the weather a lot on this here blog, and i REAlize what a lame topic that is, but seriously, how can a girl NOT bring it up when faced with a weather forecast that looks like this:
in case you cannot view the image properly, let me point out that the temperatures are supposed to be in the UPPER 70s this week, with a high of 80 DEGREES on saturday. this is not normal. this is december! it's supposed to be cold! we're supposed to be wearing layers of clothing underneath bulky coats with staticky hair and cold hands and chapped skin to boot!
instead we've got warm sun, cool nights and winter weather that is absolutely, gloriously mild. the mind, oh how it boggles.
you'll be relieved to know, however, that the purpose of this blog post is not just to talk about the weather. instead, the purpose is to make some lame-ass analogy between the return of the sun and my overall state of being (a dubious victory at best, i realize).
but it's true. the last few wks have been filled with self-doubt and navel-gazing and insomnia-inducing pondering about the meaning of this and the significance of that and WHY GOD WHY and WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
...thankfully, however, that managed to get really old really fast and with the return of warm weather comes the return of a (marginally more) sane person. one who hasn't necessarily figured out all the answers yet but chooses to focus on the positive instead by soaking up the warm weather, and following the tried-and-true recipe for overall mental well-being... which, in case you're wondering, is to realize that you may not have all the answers, so until then, all you can do is:
1) eat healthy
2) sleep well (a big glass o' wine will help with the insomnia)
3) exercise with some semblance of regularity
4) do something fun already
5) clear up some head space by writing it down in a journal instead
i'll bottle my solution and sell it for millions. whaddaya think?
Monday, December 11, 2006
i now return you to your usual family-friendly blogging content...
(thanks for the link, E)
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
man that's a good song. i still knew every single word, down to the all crazy shit he does at the end "i don't know what i'm gonna do! i don't know what i'm gonna do cuz i know i've come to the end of the road, the end of the road. omg. OMG. help me out of this one, baby."
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
i made the last-minute decision to go watch them @ the frank erwin center last night (UT's basketball stadium, it reminded me of going to the outkast concert my second year of college at UVA's old u-hall stadium) and let me tell you, friends, they did not disappoint. first of all, natalie maines was surprisingly hilarious. she had all this funny quips about britney and k-fed and paris hilton that was sprinkled appropriately throughout the concert in a way that was amusing and kept things lively but didn't take away from their performance...
... which, to put it succinctly, rocked. their harmonies work so well together and they are all such talented musicians and they give such a great performance. there were definitely a few songs that gave me chills, which is pretty impressive when you consider the fact that i was practically sitting on top of the roof. i find it amazing how people can forge a connection with you when they're standing on a stage under bright lights and seem so far away.
so, in summary, yay for the dixie chicks and their ability to put on kick-ass shows. and their ability to realize that george bush is stupid and stick up for that belief despite stupid crazy dumb americans threatening them with crazy shit.
on a completely unrelated note that i am only including because i thought it was funny and this is my blog so there, i had a silly conversation with the lovely diane-marie about the ridiculousness that is business jargon. she had objected to my use of the phrase "key deliverables" in my last post, so i shot back with the following:
"you know you love the key deliverables. and the net net of situations. and when you have to close the loop on something, but you don't want to re-invent the wheel, so let's you just have to keep your eye on the eight-ball and move forward."
one of my old co-workers back in DC had this game called "bullshit bingo" where you had all these stupid business phrases in the grid and you had to keep track of which phrases were used during a meeting and the first people to receive five in a row got to yell "bullshit bingo!"
that game sounds fun.
Monday, December 4, 2006
but i've emerged from the corner, so fresh and so clean clean, and am back to bring you all up to speed on the joy ride that is my life. that is, if the joy ride looks something like this:
- come into work early
- leave work late
- work hard
- focus on one key project and watch as other work piles up
- frantically try and get key deliverables out the door
- notice lack of overall progress
- notice lack of contribution from key colleagues
- begin the frequent cursing and rending of garments
- take frustration out on unsuspecting colleague
- get it done already and go home
it was one of those please-kill-me-now weeks where you're really not sure if you're going to get everything done but hell as long as friday is around the corner you're really not complaining.
and thus the wknd began. fri night involved some much-needed post-work vegging in front of the television (abc family was running a harry potter marathon, which pleased me immensely) and then a promised appearance at a high-end birthday party. people, this birthday party was so high-end it had a theme: a country club bash. and the costumes did not disappoint. there were tennis whites, there was plaid, there was much argyle-ing and pearl-ing and oh-dahling-have-you-seen-the-pool-boy-ing. it felt like my college years all over again, as i dug around my jewelry box for my tiffany's bracelets and pulled out the pearl studs and re-introduced my cable-knit sweaters to my button-down shirts.
sat involved the usual sleeping in, cleaning of apt, running of errands, and jogging of the town lake trail. sat night brought me delicious gastronomic adventures in the form of interior mexican cuisine @ manuel's, followed by a fantastic U2 cover band at an irish pub. sun brought... well, more work. some more sleeping in, some more cleaning, and then a few hours at the office. because, you know, nothing says "weekend" like a few hours of catching up at the ol' office. didn't you receive the memo?
there was also much deep-thinking and navel-gazing and soul-searching and daydreaming and wondering about the meaning of life, but again, nothing says "weekend" like a little self-doubt, no?
and thus begins another week. one which promises to be marginally less horrible, what with the prospects of a dixie chicks concert (tonight, although since it IS texas, maybe the stadium will be empty in protest of their gasp! liberal leanings) and a much more manageable workload. huzzah for small victories, indeed.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
so it should come as no surprise when I meet another Jennifer Kim. or people mention that they know someone with my name. or people confuse me with another Jennifer Kim they've met at some point in their lives.
for some reason, though, since I've moved to Austin, there are two things that irritate the fucking hell out of me:
- there is a woman on Austin's City Council that shares my name. I know nothing about this woman, but I think her one claim to fame is that she passed some ordinance making it okay for dogs to hang out in outdoor areas of restaurants (or something like that). you can read more about her here. the ultimate insult, though, was when someone mistook me for her (after he heard me say my name to another person, he interruped me to tell me his name and where he had met me). I (obviously) set him straight and set off fuming b/c! bitch please! woman isn't even cute! *huff*
- there is a woman in my company's Chicago office that is named Jennie Kim. that's her official name, that's her email address, that's how she's listed in the system. but I get calls and emails for her CONSTANTLY. and people always laugh when I respond with forced politeness that they must have me mixed up with Jennie Kim, I don't work in media, and I don't work in the Chicago office. I think the extra insult here is that I've never liked the name Jennie (or Jenny, for that matter). now Jen is fine, you can call me that until the proverbial cows come home. but Jenny? hell f'ing no. sorry. no dice. and no, I don't have the details on the WSRX-JLA buy or the schedule of spots in the Spokane market from last week. GO AWAY AND DON'T COME BACK.
phew. that felt good. now back to work (three posts in one day, can you tell that someone's procrastinating?)...
...and although it is bittersweet in certain ways, you have to admit that there is nothing funnier than receiving a legitimate piece of business e-mail with a subject line that reads "Input for Toilet Project."
...you couldn't make this shit up if you tried, dude (pun intended).
is my career going down the drain?
am i flushing away my future?
should i start praying to the porcelain god?
oh man, the bad jokes just keep on a-comin'...
a few highlights from the wknd:
first and foremost, the delicious thanksgiving dinner. my parents hosted thanksgiving this year (for the first time ever), and my mom cooked her inaugural turkey (affectionately dubbed theodore, or teddy for short). we smothered olive oil, we sprinkled spices, we stuffed cavities, we hovered by the oven, we worried... and the result was delicious. roasted turkey, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans sauteed with slivered almonds and wild mushrooms and some shallots, corn muffins, two kinds of stuffing, fresh cranberry sauce, an apple tart and pumpkin pie, vanilla ice cream, a few token korean dishes (heh), etc etc etc... yum.
then there was brunch with my high school buddies at a place called "eggspectation" (dare i say that the food was speggtacular?), girls i've known and loved for over a decade. at one point i looked around the table and felt impressively inadequate. i was surrounded by one soon-to-be-JD from upenn that will clerk for a judge trying terrorism cases, one masters-of-education girl that is saving the world one naughty kid at a time (man those naughty kids make me laugh), and three (three!) future MDs that will dole out meds to psychiatric patients, deal with infectious diseases and handle emergencies. and then there was me. with my bachelor of arts in english. that works for the man and makes ads for a living. sigh. stupid magnet high school with its overachieving dorks.
and of course i can't forget the wedding of a family friend, in which i managed to sing a song that is actually a duet and half of which is sung in italian. i know! didn't you know that i'm italian and can split my voice in two? well clearly you don't know me very well. i am an italian-singing, two parts managing wedding singing beast. in that vein, i also came up with a brilliant business plan... i am going to open a half-half consulting practice, half of which will be all things wedding (i can bridesmaid, i can sing, i can play piano, i can coordinate, i can plan, i can sorta-kinda do calligraphy... i've got to get SOMEthing out of all the weddings i've done) and half of which will be getting people into grad school (so far i've got a 3 for 3 success ratio). it will be called "dreamz r us" to help people realiZe their dreamZ whether those dreamZ are weddingZ or buZiness school.
...not a good idea? maybe i'll stick with working for the man for now while i finaliZe my plan.
i will end this post with a shout-out to my awesome cowboy, who managed to survive my week-long absence without dying. i walked in the door yesterday fully expecting to see a floating fish body and steeling myself for the inevitable fishy funeral... but no! he was still alive and kicking! swimming around his bowl with a vengeance, showing me his fins and darting away every time i came too close to the bowl surface. well played, cowboy. well played indeed.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
to continue the boring theme that i've established (hi, welcome to my blog. sit back and let me bore your pants off), i'm here to talk about the weather (no, wait! don't click away! come back!).
ok, kidding. well, sort of. i'm just intrigued in this whole texas winter thing. it's chilly in the morning (40s), chilly enough to warrant a light coat, but then it warms up and hits high 60s/70 during the day, and what with the sun is doing its bright/warm thing, you feel rather sheepish carrying a coat around and end up schlepping it all over the place instead... which, overall, is a very bizarre and disorienting situation to someone that is more used to the ass-cold that one associates with the winter season.
what's an east coast girl to do?
this wknd i did a lot of sleeping, a lot of laundry, a lot of errand-running and a lot of jogging outside to take in the golden rays of the texas sun. is it true, then? have i truly succumbed to the religion of boredom? (our mantra: your god can beat up my god? that's nothing, mine can put you to sleep. who's your daddy now?!) the most thrills i got this wknd were when i slept all day on saturday (it's like our version of church) and when i went out for a bit on sat night (when i felt like a boring old curmudgeon again b/c the party i was with was all up in arms about some drama or another i was all "hi, i'm not interested in your stupid immature drama, let's just have a drink and have fun and stay away from the drama that threatens to overtake this otherwise lovely evening").
oh, and i also learned that i am a bad painter. in a stroke of design genius (inspired by an old episode of "queer eye for the straight eye," if truth be told), i decided that instead of painting a wall i would do a triptych of solid-colored canvases. oh the bold strokes of red! oh the splashes of color! it will be simple but brilliant!
...but apparently painting three canvases red requires more skill than i require. canvases #2 and #3 don't look too bad because i had sort of got the hang of things by then but #1 is definitely a bit strug(gling). you know you're lame when you can't even paint a blank canvas one solid color.
perhaps this blog should be re-named "jen sleeps in texas?"
Friday, November 17, 2006
oh but it gets better.
so the entry for yesterday would have started off on a very similar boring note. hi. today i went to work. i had a few big meetings and some stressful things but otherwise it was fun. i had some delicious vegetable lasagna for lunch. then i went to watch a movie with some friends. it was cold outside. [insert typical joke about texans not being able to handle the cold here] then i went home and watched the DVR'ed grey's anatomy [insert sandra oh joke here].
still bored, right?
prepared to get even bored-er.
because last night? whilst snuggled up in the loving embrace of my wonderful bed? i had this dream?
WHERE I WAS CLEANING MY BATHTUB.
holy crap. it doesn't get any lamer than that, does it? fast times over here in ATX, people. aren't you sad you're missing out?
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Thursday, November 9, 2006
at this point I was RAVENOUSLY hungry ("lay off me I'M STARVING" -- for all you SNL fans out there) and decided to scope out some delicious seafood (which is exciting enough for a foodie like me but even more exciting given the fact that my client is vegetarian and I would have felt bad suggesting a seafood place had she still been there). I talked to a couple of the locals (more support for my theory that being relatively young, female, bikini-clad and alone tends to improve the service you get, regardless of what country you're in) and heard about an area called the "fish fry" where they have a handful of restaurants with all the freshest seafood.
I ended up at a place called the "seafood haven" with a booth all to myself on their upstairs back deck. their motto was "it's so fresh that to get any fresher you'd have to go deep down and spear it yourself" (or something along those lines) and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. I started with an ice-cold Bahamian beer and a cup of fresh conch chowder. the entree itself was a huge platter of fresh grilled grouper with onions and bell peppers, a pile of rice and beans and a few plaintains. seriously? freaking delicious. the grouper was so fresh it was practically still swimming on my plate, and they gave me several wedges of lime to squeeze onto everything (as well as some hot sauce). I was in seafood heaven and would have eaten every single morsel had it been humanly possible (it wasn't -- trust me). the whole area was just charming -- lots of shacks selling fresh conch, seafood, drinks, the whole deal... all with a cool breeze blowing through and the warm sun shining down (it was about 80 degrees today -- warm but not too hot).
I took a long walk along the shore back to the downtown Nassau area and poked around the shops for a bit (best part was this market where practically everything was knock-off Gucci/LV bags -- felt like I was in georgetown or NYC) before getting back on the ship. now it's catch up on email time and go to the gym time before probably doing some work tonight.
oh, and one more edict for the future of the American people before I forget -- white people? please? STOP GETTING YOUR HAIR BRAIDED. DO NOT LET YOUR DAUGHTERS GO THROUGH WITH THIS TRAVESTY. you look RIDICULOUS. and by ridiculous I mean STUPID AND UGLY.
thank you, that is all. oh, one more thing -- thank God scary Rumsfeld is out (although did Bush really HAVE to make his nepotism so blatantly obvious by picking another TX buddy?). and thank God Bush's people are starting to lose control in the Congress -- seems like some of our fellow Americans have actually started to pay attention to what's going on in the world around them and finally decided to do something about it.
... said the girl who's on a cruise ship all week and therefore did not vote. d'oh.
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
- if our people don't lose some serious weight and continue to look like beached whales while they sit out by the pool, then i should not have to look at them. not that i am some swimsuit model, but seriously? put that shit away. it's nasty. i'm not talking about a bit of cellulite here or a bit of a bulge there, i am talking about out-and-out, body parts that are so big that you can barely walk, who-knows-you-could-be-hiding-chicken-legs-in-those-rolls-of-fat type of fat. gross. and PLEASE, i bet of you, stop taking the bloody elevator to go up or down one deck. it's called the stairs. they're good for you, i promise.
- if our children don't stop being ridiculously obnoxious and irritating, i may not ever have any. so seriously. stop being unforgivably bratty and start behaving. apparently this week is teacher-week for the state of new jersey, and it seems like the entire under-16 population of the great state of new jersey has decided to sail with us this week and make it their sole purpose in life to irritate the hell out of me.
- if you've smoked to the point where your voice sounds like sandpaper and you can't complete an entire sentence without hacking a lung, you MIGHT want to think about that cigarette before you light up for the umpteenth time in one hour. i'm just sayin'. listening to you speak should not make me fear that your lungs are going to end up on the conference room table.
a positive note: you'll never guess who i encountered yesterday as we were leaving a work function in the pan-asian restaurant on-board. i had heard rumors that he was on this ship but had yet to see him, so i wasn't sure if the rumor held any truth. but yesterday, leaving the teppenyaki grill room in a blue track suit, i saw none other than the man in charge of "run's house," the reverend himself of run DMC fame. and when i said "hi, reverend" and gave him a tentative smile he nodded at me and said "bless you, child."
i've been blessed! by reverend run simmons himself!
and thus, my business trip becomes complete.
Thursday, November 2, 2006
some drunk girl on 6th street took a look at me and said "OMG! you look JUST like her!"
right, because I'm such a dead ringer for the lovely Sandra Oh:
here's one of the whole team. bring on the medical emergencies and the soap opera-esque drama, stat!
[from L to R: Meredith, Izzy, McDreamy, Cristina]
hope everyone had a happy Halloween.
Wednesday, November 1, 2006
today is the first day that i am wearing REAL SHOES (boots, in case you were wondering, although sadly not of the cowboy persuasion) with REAL SOCKS and a REAL SWEATER.
that's right, people, you heard it here first. as the guy on NPR said this morning, summer in texas is officially over and we are heading into a stretch of cold weather where temperatures might get as low as the low 50s (the horror!) and possibly even the HIGH 40s (say it ain't so!).
now that thanksgiving is practically around the corner, i have to put away my tank tops and flip flops and start wearing clothes with actual sleeves and shoes that actually zip shut instead of shoes that just slide on and can show off my pedicured toes.
... but not for long, though, b/c within a few days i'll be on another business trip that will involve cruising around in the crystal-blue waters of the bahamas... which means, then, that the tank tops and flip flops and pedicured toes don't have to be retired completely -- they just need to be relocated to the side of the closet for the time being until i need to retrieve them for my business travels.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
here are a few pics from the trip:
*EDIT* blogger is being dumb, so i'll have to upload pics later...
i was pretty much attached-to-the-hip of my two teammates 24/7 for the entire week (although since they both work for the client and not for the agency i guess they're not exactly my "teammates" but the working relationship was very friendly and low-key), and now that i'm back, i have to say that i'm pretty content to lay low and just hang out w/myself for a bit. it's not that i'm anti-social, but i'm the first to admit that i need some me-time once in a while... even if i'm not doing anything particularly exciting i just need some time to veg and recharge.
today's big activities included sleeping late in my delicious, delicious bed, doing piles of laundry, cleaning my apt, sorting through a week's worth of mail, going to the grocery store and cooking a big vat of turkey chili while watching an incredible movie -- hotel rwanda. seriously, don cheadle is the man (although it goes without saying that the actual man that inspired don cheadle's character is obviously the real hero here). it's a fantastic film if you haven't seen it.
watching the movie tonight and being on a huge cruise all week with 2,000 of my closest friends made me pensive about people. we're so different in so many ways (we passed a funeral procession in the tiny and winding streets of acapulco, and it made me think about the different ways that cultures observe the ceremony of death), and divided by culture/race/socio-economic status/education/sexuality/religion/whatever (tourism sign seen in acapulco touting a gay tour -- "cum party on the beach with us!" in sparkling glitter on a rainbow-colored sign. subtle, no?), but at what point do all those fall to the wayside and we just become fellow humans? just people who want fame, glory, family, love, money, power, success, whatever? seeing that movie and keeping an occasional eye on the news makes me feel like times of crisis bring out the worst of those divisions instead of highlighting the humanity that unites us all.
ANYWAY. i was so not planning on going there and pretending like i am all deep and shit. just thoughtful, i suppose. also -- the vat of turkey chili was a success. it's definitely still mid-80s and sunny during the day here, but the evenings get nice and cool. it's not quite cold enough for a jacket or anything (right now i am sitting in my living room with the porch door open so i can feel the cold air but i am also wearing a tank top, so it's not exactly frigid temperatures or anything), but definitely cool enough to enjoy a steaming cup of hot chili and a tall glass of red wine. yum.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
but you don't really have to suck it, b/c things are going really well, i'm spending a lot of time with my team, the project is a success so far, and we're taking our first break this afternoon in acapulco.
the plan is to spend some time on the beach (it's going to be 88 degrees and sunny), some time eating fresh mexican food, and some time watching the famous cliff divers. then it's back onto the ship for a 7:00 appointment and off to zihuatanejo/ixtapa, puerto vallarta, and cabo san lucas.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
first of all, i have an office with a door (perfect for all those days i just really want to curl up under my desk and take a nice little snooze). secondly, the new offices are conveniently located next to austin best bookstore and will soon be neighbors with REI and anthropologie. third and MOST important, the new office has an ESPRESSO MACHINE with free individual coffee packets and milk and sugar. this morning i made a steaming latte with lots of froth and am now sipping happily from a travel mug whilst sitting in my little office, listening to ray charles and getting some work done.
the plan is to bring in some syrups so we can get all fancy pants and start making vanilla hazelnut lattes.
... maybe i should change my title from "brand planner" to "barista extraordinaire."
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
the problem, too, is that when i get into this cycle i usually have trouble falling asleep and subsequently have trouble getting up in the morning. perfect and recent illustration: me lying in bed last night at 1 a.m., staring up at the ceiling and willing myself to fall asleep (FYI that the counting sheep really doesn't work. what a crock)... and then me starting awake @ 9 a.m. realizing the sun is streaming in through the curtains and MAYBE I SHOULD GET UP AND GO TO WORK ALREADY, geeeeez.
i truly believe that exercise and social activity (whether that means a low-key dinner with friends or a night out at the bars that ends in broken teeth) are the key factors to helping you regulate stress, maintain normal energy levels and have a healthy sleep cycle. when my schedule becomes such that those key factors are incredibly difficult to factor in, my overall well-being seems to suffer.
that, and i'm leaving this friday for a week-long business trip that is going to be either extremely stressful or extremely fun, followed by one week here in austin to plan the next week-long business trip (which will hopefully be more fun than stressful that time around), followed by another week in austin to get ready to go home and eat turkey for a week.
mm... turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie... i feel better already.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
but oh boy, do i have a story for you. oh yes. because some CRAZY ASS DRAMA went down this past thursday, and although i must say i am not quite over it and remain rather sensitive about it, perhaps you will be kind and take sympathy on me instead of pointing a finger and laughing like that nelson kid on simpsons (with the nasal "henh-henh!").
scene: a fairly crowded bar on 5th street, d/b/a red fez, austin, texas. thursday night.
characters: yours truly. random bar patron who will heretofore be referred to as trashy ass ho (TAH for short). misc friends of mine who unfortunately did not witness the incident and only witnessed the aftermath (which was not pretty).
i was minding my own business, hanging out and taking in the scene as i raised my nearly-full bottle of beer to my lips to take a refreshing sip. TAH and her TA male companion were nearby, dancing, i suppose, or at least trying to. next thing i know, i get elbowed/pushed/shoved and the glass bottle got rammed into my mouth with enough force to break my tooth. seriously. i shit you not. it felt like i had gotten punched in the face, and the shock of everything made me drop the bottle, which fell to the floor and shattered into a million pieces.
i was extremely shocked (it pretty much felt like i had just gotten punched in the face completely out of nowhere) and was having trouble digesting what had happened (i promise you i was not that drunk). what makes this story even more ridiculous was that when i tried to talk to miss TAH and get her to acknowledge what had just transpired ("hi, i'm an innocent bar patron, you just shoved into me and rammed a glass bottle into my mouth and BROKE MY TOOTH, could you at least do me the favor of acknowledging the incident and apologizing? even if it was an accident or whatever?") she tried to GET UP IN MY FACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the nerve of that ho!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
seriously. it was trash the likes of which i had never quite experienced. i mean... in some seedy bar in a seedy city, maybe... but in friendly austin? where everyone is nice, and chill? where people apologize if they accidentally brush past you in a crowded bar? she tried to talk shit! she was all "bitch, you're trippin, i don't know what you're talking about" and "if you're trying to start shit maybe we should step outside." may i take this moment to say that TAH was about three inches shorter than me and a good 15-20 pounds lighter. she was wearing this cheap-ass ugly tank top and had badly dyed peroxide blond hair and was that pale shade of white that just makes me pity white people who have no melanin (side note to all my dear white friends -- none of you are that shade, just fyi. on you it's "milky" and "creamy" and "porcelain." i swear).
ugh. i was honestly so upset and shocked and disoriented that i could barely respond. i could feel myself quickly getting really upset and i didn't want to cause a scene, so i finally just walked away from her and went to the bathroom to make sure i wasn't missing entire sets of molars or anything... where i confirmed that the corner of my front right tooth is definitely missing. gone. chipped at a jagged edge.
honestly, all juicy story-telling and dramatic hyperbole aside, it was awful and upsetting and i felt like i had just been assaulted or something. i couldn't believe she was trying to start a fight with me (how stupid can you be?) and decided to just leave and go home, where i couldn't talk to anyone about it because it was nearly 2 a.m. austin time which is almost 3 a.m. for most of my east coast-based buddies and had to comfort myself with some DVR'ed grey's anatomy and popcorn instead.
the positive note is that at least i have my halloween costume ready... i can wear my orange dress from my friend megan's wedding and walk around with a big smile on my face and be a walking jack o'lantern. done.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
the soup was...
hurray for me and my incredible culinary prowess. it was deceivingly simple to make, although there are a few things i may have done differently next time. i started with the "holy trio of soups" (chopped carrots, onions, and celery -- phrase i borrowed from a food network host, i forget which one), sauteed for a bit and then added water and chicken parts (i had a somewhat picked over rotisserie chicken to use). lots of salt and pepper and then some fresh herbs (i used thyme, dill, parsley and some garlic), bring to a boil and then simmer. add some uncooked rice after a while, taste and adjust seasoning.
et voila. bowl of homemade comfort, ready to go...
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
if you haven't yet experienced the magic that is this song, GET THEE TO ITUNES AND START DOWNLOADING IMMEDIATELY.
seriously. holy crap. HOLY CRAP, i tell you. if you aren't incredibly moved by this song, there is definitely something wrong with you. what the hell is wrong with you? get the hell out of my blog (kidding! i heart! i heart having readers! except who really cares!).
---seamless topic change---
the weather in austin today is gray and rainy. at this exact moment in time, all i want more than anything is to be sitting in my apt in some comfy drawstring pants, sipping on either some hot soup or some hot tea, listening to imogen heap and reading a good book. and possibly tapping on the glass of my fish bowl to irritate cowboy. hehe.
yet here i am, working away like the good worker bee that i am. oh well. at least it's an interesting project.
tonight's after-work agenda: my first attempt to make chicken soup from scratch. will it work? will it be deliciously soothing? or will it taste like ass?
... stay tuned for the dramatic conclusion.
Monday, October 9, 2006
since i am a bit out of it, in lieu of a proper post, i give you two completely unrelated stories that have managed to amuse/befuddle me greatly in the recent past:
- when we finally in austin last night around 1:10 a.m. (original landing time be damned), you could tell the passengers were all relieved to finally be home and antsy to get off the plane. of course, since i was sitting in the airplane equivalent of the nosebleeds (row 36, in case you were wondering), i had a while to wait and started looking around surreptitiously at my fellow passengers. there was a large, overfed woman in the next row over who had one of those obnoxiously loud voices that she can't seem to control despite the relative smallness of space and lack of buffer zone. as soon as we pulled up to the gate, her puffy white fingers pulled out her cell phone, punched a few buttons, and yelled (and i swear on all things that are holy) "hey bubba, where you at?" into the receiver. seriously. you can't make that shit up. i had to quickly turn away and face the window so that no one could see my attempts to control the laughter that was dying to escape me. "bubba, where you at" in a hick southern voice from an extremely large and loud woman at 1:10 a.m. is just freaking funny. no ifs, ands, or bubbas about it.
- the other morning as i dragged myself out of bed and sleep-walked into the bathroom, i wearily splashed some cold water on my face in a desperate attempt to Wake Up And Get Going Already. i quickly brushed my teeth and reached into the medicine cabinet to get my contact lenses so i could see my way to the shower. when i opened the right side of the case and poked my finger in to retrieve the flimsy disc that would bring me vision, i saw a tiny, perfectly-formed little gnat reposing in the shallow water as if it was his relaxation pool and i was disturbing his zen moment. well, he was dead, so more rest-in-peace pool than relaxation pool, but still. it was a very odd sight to be confronted with in the wee hours of the morning when i am rarely at my best. a tiny part of me was all "ew, gross" but the majority was all "oh well, whatever, hopefully saline solution really does disinfect" and i stuck my finger back in there and deposited the gnatty lens into my poor unsuspecting eye.
and with that, i leave you and get back to work.
Sunday, October 1, 2006
...that is, unless you live in austin, where the concept of fall does not so much exist.
i give you exhibit A: this week's forecast.
highs in the mid-90s does not a crisp autumn make, people. what is this?! i'm so ready to start wearing cable-knit sweaters, to bust out the cute fall jackets... yet i'm still in tank tops and flip-flops. crazy.
on the up side of things, i can still lay out by the pool and wear skirts with open-toed shoes. but i think i'm seriously going to miss the changing of the seasons now that i live in The Land of No Real Seasons. it's a very odd sensation knowing that other parts of the country are going through the normal transition to fall and we're still experiencing 90-degree weather.
anyway. i had a blissfully relaxing wknd, no cruise ships to board, no trips to take, no major responsibilities. instead, i went for long runs, went to the pool, did piles of laundry, cleaned up my woefully neglected apartment, went out for drinks, and spent an hour and a half wandering up and down the aisles of the grocery store (one of my favorite activities in life). i went out with friends, slept in late, and made myself delicious dinners. i cherished every minute of it, knowing i won't be getting another wknd like that for quite some time. i love those wknds that strike the perfect blend btwn relaxing homebody-ness and fun social-ness.
this wknd's highlight: the dinner i made tonight, with seared porks chops in a balsamic/herb marinade, broiled asparagus with plenty of garlic, and a fresh caprese salad. yum!
Thursday, September 28, 2006
(btw, i always thought the lyric was "hello, hello... may i please have vertigo" -- which, when you think about it, makes absolutely no sense but i guess that's what happens when singers don't enunciate properly. silly bono. trix are for kids. and yellow sunglasses look really bad on you, dude.)
apparently, when you take one dazed and confused traveler, throw her on the road for a wk and make her sit in a windowless conference on a rocking cruise ship for hours on end, you end up with some serious vertigo.
the room spins. i still feel the motion of the cruise ship when standing still. my ears buzz, and i have trouble walking in a straight line. concentrating is difficult and headaches are frequent.
if it didn't suck so badly, it would be kinda funny.
so yes. i am back in austin. the austin to miami and back to austin for five hours to pack for vancouver and then board a cruise ship for LA only to disembark and fly back to austin marathon is over. i am tired and dizzy and stressed out and oh, officially addicted to the crack that is known as a blackberry (especially brickbreaker. holy crap. how was my life ever complete before brickbreaker? it's almost as good as that icebreaker game. carpal tunnel syndrome be damned, i must beat my high score).
also, i just had my six-month anniversary in austin. my how time flies. it made me all pensive and reflective and since i am too dizzy to write a really well thought-out post about all things austin, i leave you instead with an outline of the things i would have written abut:
I. there are a lot of things that i like about austin
- austin is very laid-back and chill
- austin feels very safe. terrorism? what? crime? huh?
- people in austin are genuinely friendly (not in an annoying way) and very easy-going
- i have a kick-ass apt
- breakfast tacos
- cost of living, short commute
- very pretty city with lots of active people
- i can stroll into the airport right before a flight and breeze through security
- people are committed to the environment and to local businesses. i like that.
- i've learned a lot about myself
- i've taken some pretty sweet biz trips (what's up munich and vancouver)
- i learned how many things i take for granted
- i'm glad i got to experience life in a diff city
- i miss the energy and pace of a bigger city
- i miss the diversity of a bigger city - seeing diff people, hearing diff languages
- i miss really good ethnic food that is not tex-mex
- i have a feeling i will really miss having seasons
- i feel like i live in this really idealistic bubble that is disconnected from the real world
- there's a lot of creative energy, but very little art
- i've met lots of fun ppl to hang out with but few that are truly quality
- i hate being really far from family and good old friends
- i hate the baggage claim at austin airport. rage. hate. seeeeeethe.
- texas drivers. again, rage. hate. seeeethe.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
so here i am. it was a bit of a headache to get out of austin (the best word that comes to mind is "clusterfuck" -- sorry mom), because i didn't get home from miami until after midnight (someone pls explain to me how an airport as small as austin can be so INCREDIBLY slow about baggage claim. if you're not that big of an airport, shouldn't it be that much faster to retrieve your bags once you've landed? makes absolutely no sense to me), at which point i had to unpack, eat, and then re-pack for the next trip. after about three hours of fitful sleep, i woke up at 6 am and took a taxi to the austin airport only to be confronted with the LONGEST LINE i have ever seen in my six months of frequent visits to austin bergstrom international airport. it seriously took almost an hour to get my boarding pass... damn american airlines and international travel that won't let you check in at the kiosks (shouldn't canada pretty much count as domestic travel anyway?! boo). no need to rush, though, b/c once we made it to dallas we ended up sitting around for over two hours waiting for some crazy-ass storms to pass so we could actually take off (thankfully the waiting took place in the terminal, not on the tarmac). the flight to vancouver was relatively uneventful aside from my four trips to the bathroom to pee (that is just not right) and the eye soreness i experienced after multiple rounds of brickbreaker (blackberry game -- have a suspicious feeling that it is almost as addicting as crack, although this is not a suspicion i plan on confirming at any point in the near future).
once i got into vancouver, it took me almost two hours to get through customs (who'da thunk the canucks take border security so damn seriously), and when combined with the delay out of dallas, i ended up having much less time in vancouver than i'd hoped. the good news it that the afternoon did not fail to disappoint. this is an inCREDible city, people. earlier, as our plane had descended from our 35,000 ft cruising altitude, i had been treated to breath-taking views of vancouver's sparkling skylines, snow-capped mountains, and twinkling blue water, and i was eager to check out the view on-land. once out of the crazy customs line and after a quick trip to the currency exchange for some canadian dollars, i took a taxi to my fancy best western hotel (hey, i'm staying on my own dime tonight), marvelling throughout the ride at the crisp clean air and interesting-looking buildings.
vancouver reminds me of san francisco in a lot of ways, yet it manages to make a really unique impression at the same time. it seems to be an incredibly diverse population -- i hear a ton of languages being spoken, although east and south asian people seem to be the majority. people seem pretty content doing their own thing (i've seen some interesting fashions), and it offers a lot of things that i miss seeing in austin (inter-racial couples for one, minimal frat boys & sorostitutes for another). it's supposedly an incredibly active city (much like austin), and the art scene is amazing (i bought some awesome stuff today -- two incredibly intricate/delicate chinese paper cuttings and an awesome aboriginal-esque print). the weather is crisp and clean, and although the downtown is filled with towering skylines, you never have to venture to find some sparkling blue water and towering mountain tops. i've also never seen more good-looking asian men than i've seen in my entire life... maybe that washington post article should have focused their efforts on vancouver instead?
anyway, i didn't end up "doing" much what with my decreased time in the city, but enjoyed the day nonetheless. after a quick shower in the somewhat-ghetto (oh well) best western and a delicious falafel sandwich from a shop near the hotel, i wandered around trying to get my bearings and ended up on robson street for a while (major shopping area -- felt very much like georgetown). a few lush purchases later, i wandered down to the waterfront to stare at the huge-ass cruise ships (i'll be boarding one of those tmw) and eventually made my way down to gastown, the historic part of vancouver, where i purchased the awesome aboriginal art and watched the gastown steam-powered clock do its thing (verdict: underwhelming). i then made my way over to chinatown, b/c i had heard that the chinese food in vancouver rivalled that of san francisco... and since austin isn't exactly all that impressive when it comes to delicious ethnic food that isn't tex-mex and the weather had gotten even crisper with the setting of the sun, a bowl of hong kong noodle soup with shrimp dumplings sounded like just what the doctor ordered.
but alas, pretty much all of chinatown was shut down and boarded up and i soon figured out that chinatown isn't exactly the best part of town to be in after dark... not that i'm paranoid, but i've been in enough cities, both american and non, to pick up on the signals. when every single shop is closed and boarded up by 8 pm, every alley is packed with homeless people picking through garbage dumps and every corner has questionable-looking characters conducting questionable-sounding whispered conversations, it's time to get the hell out of dodge and consult your big map in the safety of a well-lit taxi. i ended up going to yaletown, which is a formerly industrial part of town that has been re-done to be more of a yuppie-ish neighborhood with tons of restaurants and loft apts as well as cute-looking shops and lots of bars/clubs (sort of old town alexandria-ish but more diverse). i ended up at a thai restaurant (another food i've missed while living in austin), where i had some delicious green chicken curry and a refreshing glass of white wine... but... someone explain this to me... i had to eat it with a fork b/c they didn't have any chopsticks.
anyway, this post is getting ridiculously long to the point where i feel like none of you will read down this far so i will end here. tmw i hope to see more of the city's famous parks and get out of the immediate downtown area... and then it's onto the ship and into meetings i go (hi-ho, hi-ho). i will leave you with one last thought. vancouver a) has breath-taking scenery, b) is close to world-class skiing (whistler et. al.), c) has awesome shopping and an incredible art scene, d) is supposedly a very active city with tons of biking/jogging trails, e) is incredibly diverse and has the delicious restaurants to prove it, f) has a reputation for being very tolerant and liberal, and g) supposedly has a good music scene as well...
HMM, i tell you.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
and so i went, nalgene bottle surreptitiously stashed at the bottom of my backpack beneath my folded blanket and printed-out band schedule in-hand. day #1 was my favorite line-up by far. although an unexpectedly stressful day at work caused me to miss both guster (supposedly they played both "4, 3, 2, 1...." and "either waaaa-yyyyeeeee") and gnarls barkley, i was able to catch a bit of thievery corporation, ray lamontagne (amazing despite his strong resemblance to jesus christ. i was sincerely concerned that his large beard may have been harboring small animals and/or decomposing food items), john mayer (am not a fan of the floppy hair), and van morrison (they totally played brown-eyed girl). i had made the wise decision to go in the not-nearly-as-sweltering evening-time, and i have to say that it was quite nice to sit there in the warm, breezy evening with a great view of the downtown austin skyline.
day #2 was a somewhat less-inspired line-up, but i still had a good time. i saw a band called iron & wine (more jesus-esque beards) and then a lot of willie nelson (who was surprisingly awesome. he is a total bad-ass for his age. and endearingly funny onstage). sunday i pretty much punked out b/c the weather was crappy and i was tired, so i missed out on the main closing act (tom petty) as well as damien marley (who i legitimatedly wanted to see, but he was on at 2:30 in the afternoon -- hottest part of the day).
what was most surprising was how... well-behaved everyone was. sure, people were stepping over each other and almost everyone was drinking, but people were relatively polite and the event itself was very well-organized and civil without being obnoxiously so. i guess that's the laid-back austin vibe for you?
so, for any of you who may be interested in attending ACL at any time in the future, here are my key lessons learned:
1) go in the evening. you will avoid the sweaty masses melting underneath the fierce texas sun and you will be able to last much longer.
2) ride your bike. walking for 40 minutes in huge crowds of people is not fun, and waiting in long shuttle lines is even worse. riding your bike gets you in and out of the festival efficiently and faster than those lame walkers.
3) buy the 3-day pass. this means you can come and go at your leisure instead of being stuck in the grounds the entire time.
4) bring a chair and/or blanket. my $5 collapsible chair was quite effective in keeping me both comfortable and off the ground.
with those pearls of wisdom i leave you all for a week-long business trip. auf wiedersehn!
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
anyway, to distract you from the noticeable dearth of brilliant writing, here are a few pics from my trip to munich:
schloss neuschwanstein in all its picturesque glory (pic taken from a bridge over a gorge)
enjoying the beer garden life at the chinese pagoda beer garden (notice that my stein is noticeably smaller. in retrospect, i feel like a bit of a wuss)
the famous "onion domes" of munich's frauenkirche at night. the colors are almost a bit freaky. is it sacrilegious to say that?
and, last but not least, the old town hall in the historic part of downtown munich
Friday, September 8, 2006
the paragraph that amused me the most was this one:
"Entertainment industry leaders in Seoul credit the phenomenon to good marketing coupled with an uncanny response throughout Asia to the expressive nature of the South Koreans -- long dubbed the Italians of Asia. A hearty diet and two years of forced military duty, industry leaders and fans insist, have also made young South Korean men among the buffest in Asia. Most important, however, has been the South Korean entertainment industry's perfection of the strong, silent type on screen -- typically rich, kind men with coincidentally striking looks and a tendency to shower women with unconditional love."
yes, they are the italians of asia because they are all momma's boys and expect their wives to serve them. the secret behind their "strong, silent type" persona is simple -- there ain't much goin' on beneath that strong, silent facade, so it's either stoic silence or uninteresting conversation. you pick what you want to believe. and buff korean men?! really?! maybe they're all hiding in the motherland, but as a korean female who missed out on the 5'2"-size-zero body type, i must say that the buff korean men are quite few and far between, at least around these here parts (well, koreans in general are fairly rare around these here parts, except when patronizing the local karaoke joints).
the best part was when the single japanese woman who was featured in the article finally got to meet her korean blind date, and he "turned out to be a slightly paunchy Korean computer programmer."
now that's more like it, no?
(side note: i am mostly joking and must note that i have actually never had a korean boyfriend, so you must take my kidding with a grain of salt. i have, however, known many korean males in my lifetime and found the article to be extremely amusing.)
you can enter words, like "BMW" or "texas," or you can enter entire URLs and have it translate the web page.
for instance. here is the gizoogled version of my blog. it is insanely hilarious.
this is my favorite line: "straight trippin' ta you live frizzay tha front lobby of tha shawty hostel i'm steppin' in (i had bizzle stay'n in a bigga hotel when mah crazy ass nigga was here but since he's gone it's onto tha cheapo places fo` me and cant no hood fuck with death rizzow. i'm just a lowly blunt-rollin' exec, not some pimp banka)."
i need new biz cards that say "jennifer kim, lowly blunt-rollin' exec, not some pimp banka." btw, note that "mah crazy ass nigga" = my brother.
Monday, September 4, 2006
for those of you who've never heard of this castle, you'd probably still recognize pictures of it -- it was the inspiration for sleeping beauty's castle in disney world and is one of the most famous castles in the entire world. read more about it on the wiki.
it was about two-hour train ride out to the city of fussen, which is the base for exploring the castles (neuschwanstein is right next to another famous castle, hohenschwangau, which was built by ludwig II's father). i sat next to an aussie girl named natasha, who was on a five-month post-university trek through europe before resigning herself to finding an engineering job (why is this so common in countries like australia and the UK but so much harder to find in america?) in melbourne. we americans have it so wrong. every time i go abroad i wonder why i don't spend more time out there. there's a whole big world -- why stay in my one little corner all the time?
anyway, the ride was amazing -- the weather was absolutely incredible (again), and the german country scenery was ridiculously picturesque and serene. even the cows seemed different -- they wore real cowbells and seemed more placid than those feisty american heifers (hehe). once we arrived in fussen, we had to take another bus to the town in order to begin our trek. and what a trek it was! the tour guide had said there would be some uphill climbing, which was the understatement of the century. we had a major uphill hike up the mountain and we were all dripping with sweat by the time we got up to the top. it was worth it, though -- we had gone to "mary's bridge," a small iron bridge suspended over a towering gorge that gives you an amazing dead-on view of the castle in all of its splendor. the backdrop of tiny red-roofed houses and blue, blue lakes and huge mountains seemed almost fake, they were so perfect and beautiful. i took about ten million pics, none of which seemed to do the castle justice.
we eventually went inside and toured through the castle. now, i've seen a lot of european castles and it's kind of like eh, once you've seen one castle you've seen them all, which is kind of true. this one, though, had a lot of odd things which befitted all of the odd legends that surround Ludwig II (he was in love with wagner and themed a lot of his rooms after wagnerian opera settings, he only made one toilet in the entire castle, he liked to dine alone but pretend that he was having dinner with louis XIV, so he would have his servants set an extra place for louis XIV) and was completely worth the trip. my favorite part: the tour ended in the souvenir shop, which you had to go through in order to exit. they also don't allow you to take any photographs inside the castle walls, thus encouraging you to purchase postcards so you can remember what you saw. if that isn't american/disney-esque, i don't know what is...
the hike back down the mountain was a lot easier but just as breath-taking, b/c most of the hike was down a small iron pathway that had been built into the stone and passed over the gorge and tons of crystal-clear, ice-cold mountain water. it was truly awesome. then it was back on the train for the two-hour ride back to munich (i was asleep for most of it), back to the hostel to collect my luggage, and off to the work hotel for a quick shower and dinner w/my boss.
tmw's installment: i (finally) do some work! stay tuned...
Sunday, September 3, 2006
so, where did i leave off? the bro got in super late on fri night (12:45?) and we were both starving, so we set off to find something that was still open in our little neighborhood. we ended up at this hilarious, super-authentic little neighborhood joint with fantastic bavarian food (i had some delicious french onion soup, a huge pretzel, some pork chops and a beer, of course) and endless 80s tunes (seriously -- we ate our dinner to the sounds of "karma karma karma karma karma chameeeeeloonnnnn," "we are young! heartache to heartache" etc).
saturday was mostly spent roaming around the aldstadt again, but this time we actually went into a lot of the buildings. we began the day with a bratwurst sandwich brunch (heavy on the mustard and sauerkraut, please) and headed over to a few famous spots (the "onion-domed" frauenkirche, the royal residences, a castle called schloss nymphenburg). the frauenkirche had a huge tower you could climb up and we were rewarded with an amazing view of the city sprawled out below us with the snow-capped alps looming in the distance. it was absolutely beautiful... there's something about having city with towering spires and unique buildings, lush greenery and huge parks, water in any form, and mountains all in one view that always gets to me. anyway, after all that sight-seeing we went over to the english gardens (largest urban garden in europe) for a HUGE stein o' beer and some AWESOME roast chicken in munich's oldest beer garden. the area was amazing... TON of tables surrounding a chinese pagoda-style building that was built back in 1791 and an atmosphere that is simultaneously relaxing and fun (perhaps it was the sounds of the lederhosen-wearing oompah band?).
a nap was in order before the night could begin, so we went back to the hotel for a spot of r&r. feeling refreshed, we were hungry again (of course) and were craving... of all things... sushi (all that meat/pretzels/beer will do that to you, seriously). we ended up scoping out this really decent sushi place and then hit a bar that was supposed to have the best cocktails in munich. they were having a special summer festival where they opened up an outside bar in the hofgarten (royal gardens) behind their space, which was awesome. i've been to a lot of bars in my life, but there is nothing like drinking champagne cocktails in the cool grasses where kings and queens once strolled. it was super chic but also just chill and fun. we ended up hanging out with these musicians all night (a soul singer from the UK and his band) who were really friendly and cool and really talented as well (they were doing a bit of jamming and we looked them up online when we got back to the hotel that night). i found myself envying their touring-europe-musician life... what a way to live, no?
between hearing the velvety voice of the lead singer, bonding with the fedora-sporting drummer over our love of that erykah badu song "love of my life", and asking the guitarist what it was like to play with natalie merchant, we ended up staying out past 3 am, so sunday morning was a flurry of sleeping in, packing, and checking out of the hotel. we had one last bavarian meal on the marienplatz* before my brother had to go to the airport, and then i was on my own. today was fun, though. i checked into my little hostel around 2:20 pm and then rented a bike for the afternoon. it was awesome -- i was able to get out of the subways and explore beyond the bounds of the old city and tooled around the neighborhoods of munich all afternoon. i got lost about a million times (i'm very good at asking where things are in german, btw... "vo ist ____, bitte? danke!"), but still managed to see a lot. i spent some time in munich's most famous museums (how is a pile of rocks scattered on a floor "art?" maybe i am just a philistine? maybe i am just dumb?), had some delicious quiche at a little sidewalk cafe in a neighborhood that reminded me a lot of georgetown, found a huge street festival PACKED with people and all kinds of random bands (one that sounded like green day and one with three women trying to sound like a motown group or smthg -- very strange). i also went to the site of oktoberfest and cannot even imagine the craziness that must ensue there.
and there you have it. if you made it down this far, you are fully up-to-date on my munich adventures so far. the plan for tmw is to take a day trip to the famous schloss neuschwanstein, the bavarian castle built in the late 1800s that was the inspiration for the disney castle and is the most famous castle in the entire world. then it's check into the paid-for-by-work hotel and prep for tuesday's meetings.
one last story for you all before i leave: part of the issue with renting a bike was that i had a fairly large shoulder bag and there was no little basket to put it in. i came up with the ingenious solution to put one strap over each shoulder and wear the shoulder bag like a backpack so i could concentrate on not crashing the bike into some unsuspecting german. genius, no? indeed. i was so proud. yet as i was riding away from my museum visits i felt a strange wet, sticky feeling on my lower back and quickly pulled over to investigate what was going on. LESSON LEARNED: brilliant plan is not so brilliant when you've neglected to screw the cap on all the way on your coca-cola light, causing said soda to leak all over the (new) bag (bought to replace stupid ripped bag) and then out onto my back (coke-stained underwear is NOT a good look). i almost cried b/c it got onto my beloved digital camera, but it looks like the camera has survived and the only victims of The Great Munich Coke Leak were my underwear and the shirts i was wearing. sweet.
*main plaza in front of the famous old town hall - there was this anti-meat-eating demonstration there on saturday complete with pics of slaughtered animals - not a good thing when you're feasting on half of a roasted duck for lunch
Friday, September 1, 2006
what a change it was, then, to fly here on lufthansa international business class. i've been fortunate enough to fly international business/first class before, but only a few occasions, all of which were a long time ago. i know it probably pales in comparison to the old days, but holy crap, i could really get used to that kind of treatment. huge leather seat/bed, personal video/gaming/internet system, decent food, super-attentive staff, priority boarding, the whole nine yards. there were a pair of brothers heading to italy that were sitting across the aisle from me, and it turns out that one of the brothers is going to be a recurring extra on the new season of ER. the other brother wasn't so shabby himself, having just landed a new job as a designer for apple, working in the ipod division.
anyway, i arrived in munich around 8 am local time (about 1 am austin time) to a brilliantly sunny and crisp day. i took a ridiculously expensive ride to our hotel in the most pimped-out taxi i've ever seen. the fact that it was a mercedes didn't completely bowl me over (i remember riding in a lot of bmw/mercedes taxis in austria as well) but it was seriously the most luxurious mercedes i've ever seen. buttery leather seats in a black/cream dual tone, chrome highlights, sparkling clean, etc.
the hotel was kind enough to let me check in REALLY early (i arrived around 9:10 and was in my room by 9:45 am... not bad considering check-in time is noon). the plan was to take a quick nap and then hit the town, but the "quick nap" ended up being a 5.5 hour snooze-fest... oh well, i guess i was tired. showered, figured out the subway deal and headed into the aldstadt ("old city" -- historic part of downtown with a lot of important buildings) to see what i could see.
the old city of munich is similar to all the old european cities i've been in... little alleyways like the barri gotic in barcelona and venice, plazas like italy, churches and castles and ornate buildings everywhere you look, and of course, chic little shops and cafes and charm around every corner (and H&M... i definitely bought a few things there. hehe). plus colorful building facades, tons of window boxes with bright geraniums, and live classical music everywhere (similar to salzburg). i saw the famous glockenspiel in the old town hall where the little characters play music and dance creakily, towering cathedrals, and tons of beer halls. i ate a delicious bratwurst sandwich with mustard for lunch and a large glass of radler (beer mixed with lemonade) with some potato soup for dinner. i went to the hofgarten (royal gardens) and sat in the grass, soaking up the warm sun while listening to live classical music coming from the diana temple.
and then it was back to the hotel around 11 pm to wait for my brother to arrive. out for a late dinner and now time for sleep!
auf wiedersehn (darling, like heidi klum says OMG DID YOU WATCH LAST WEDNESDAY angela's outfit was absolutely ridiculous).