Wednesday, May 31, 2006

a wave of relief, "pho" real

one of the biggest things i've had to get used to now that i live in austin is that really good ethnic food is a little bit harder to find. before you gasp in collective horror, let me reassure you that it's not so much a complete dearth of ethnic food as it is fewer options to choose from and less knowledge about which ones are decent. i mean, where is the austin version of tom sietsema when you need him, you know? it takes time to develop trust in a food critic's taste, and i am extremely skeptical of ever finding an austin replacement for my beloved tom.

i am happy to report, however, that for lunch today i had a perfectly lovely bowl of the oh-so-delicious noodly goodness known as pho, a.k.a. comfort in a bowl, a.k.a. the world's best hangover cure, a.k.a. the best remedy to a gray and rainy day. the lunch clientele was largely asian (score) and the guy at the counter was actually vietnamese, not some UT student looking for an extra buck. the spring rolls were crisp and stuffed with fresh-looking shrimp, and the pho came with all of the proper accoutrements, including fresh slices of chile pepper, bean sprouts, thick wedges of lime, and fresh sprigs of basil. there was a thick haze of steam when they brought the bowls to our table, chopsticks were stuffed unceremoniously into a container on a corner of the table, and there was plenty of hoisin and srichacha sauce for everyone. the bill for two was less than $20 (including an order of rolls, bubble tea, and two bowls of pho), and you had to pay at the counter (where the guy asked me if i was chinese, which seems to happen at every single asian restaurant i ever go to).

and i was filled with the sweet, sweet sense of relief that i found this place, this haven of aromas and broths and slippery noodles. thank goodness for pho.

("pho" real, man i kill myself)

Monday, May 29, 2006

weekend highlights

the thing about three-day wknds is that they can be a two-faced son of a bitch. on one hand, you have three whole days to spend however you choose, which is deliciously fantastic and wonderful and filled with endless possibilities -- yet on the other hand you have the harsh monday night downer of having to trade in the aforementioned delicious sense of freedom and opportunity for a return to work and stress and endless mtgs and biz trips and gah....

but as i still have a few delicious hours to spare before that harsh reality becomes truly unavoidable, i will choose to focus on the positive and share some of the highlights from my three-day wknd:

fri night - lazy bike ride after work and then a night with the phils (my philips TV and DVD player, remember? you perv). truly relaxing bliss.

sat - a trip to the san marcos outlets, which are a mere 30-minute ride from downtown austin. on my way down there, i saw a billboard for some christian gift store. it listed all the various items that were available for sale (books, keychains, CDs, etc.), and scrolling across the bottom was a line that read "believable gifts at unbelievable prices!" which made me laugh out loud for several minutes. i still giggle when i think about it, actually, b/c it is just that funny. or at least it was to me.

sat, cont'd - so yes, about said trip to the san marcos outlets. i went with the good intention of purchasing items for my still-incomplete apt. i went with a plan to focus on the apt stuff and ignore the seductive whispers of coach, kate spade, nine west, bcbg, michael kors, etc, etc, etc. and... i failed miserably. i came back with hundreds of dollars' worth of clothing and shoes... and one solitary vase / fake flowers thing for the apt, a relatively unnecessary and insignificant contribution to the overall "my apt really needs furniture" cause. alas.

outlets again - there was a gondola ride in the parking lot. wait, can you please read that again? A GONDOLA RIDE IN THE PARKING LOT, PEOPLE. where you pay to hop in this little gondola pushed by a man wearing a striped shirt and red bandana who sings "o sole mio" as he pushes you up and down the "canal" and you sit back and look at the millions of parked cars that surround you. ahh, texas...

sunday - i attended my first ever crawfish boil at a co-worker's lakehouse. wait, can you please read that again? A CRAWFISH BOIL ON A LAKE, PEOPLE. i think this is another "ahh, texas" moment. having grown up eating MD crabs every summer, i was pretty proficient at the whole cracking-open-the-crawfish-and-getting-the-meat-out thing, but couldn't get over the fact that they're known as "mudbugs" and were frequently referred to as such... that name just doesn't do much to make them appetizing, you know? said mudbugs were decent, but nothing like a bushel of steamed crabs... mmm... craaabs....

more sunday - nap by the pool, then met a friend of a friend and went out. wahoo! good times.

today - major news in the apt category. i had my dining table delivered! that is, the dining table purchased from a woman named toni who had a tigger tattoo on her left breast ("tiggers are made for bouncing!"). which, similarly to the christian bookstore billboard, still makes me giggle a little every time i think about that. anyway, it is here and assembled and espresso-colored and pledged to the point of extreme shininess. happiness! i also drove 30 minutes to look at a console table that was advertised on craig's list, only to turn around and drive back b/c the color wasn't right. oh well. you win some, you lose some i guess.

now that it's past 10 pm, i guess it's probably time to get started on some of the work i brought home this wknd... and thus begins the dark portion of my three-day wknd (i.e., the end).

Friday, May 26, 2006

tx finally gets something right

okay not that this is going to affect my life in any meaningful way or anything (because my driving in this area has pretty much limited to my 4 mile round-trip commute and my all too frequent runs to target) -

but i saw this article in our daily news e-mail and thought, "finally! a good application of the whole 'we texans will do things our way thankyouverymuch, so the rest of you fuck off' attitude!"


Texans who brag they do things bigger and better are about to go faster too. State transportation officials are expected to boost speed limits on two stretches of rural highway from 75 mph to 80. It would be the highest posted speed limit in the country. State officials say the roads can accommodate the higher speed, but safety and energy conservation advocates warn it will cost lives and hit drivers in the wallet as fuel prices increase.
Studies show the higher speeds will be safe in the areas they're proposed, Transportation Commission Chairman Ric Williamson said. The 80 mph limit would be confined to 10 mostly rural counties in West Texas. It includes a 432-mile stretch of Interstate 10 between El Paso and Kerrville, and 89 miles of Interstate 20 between Monahans and the I-10 interchange at the cusp of the Jeff Davis Mountains.


for what it's worth, it still makes me laugh / shake my head that the texas state capitol (housed here in lovely austin) is an exact replica of the nation's capital with two glaring differences:
1) it's bigger
2) it's pink (excuse me, rose granite)

#1 i can understand b/c texans are so f'ing obsessed with bigger is better (which seems to apply to state capitols, hair, breast size, and attitude alike), but #2? really? when i think texas, the first color to come to mind is not so much pink... it's more red white and blue or smthg cheesy and lame. pink for the casa rosada in buenos aires, yes. pink hotels in miami, sure. but a pink capitol building? in texas?

kinda makes you laugh, don't it?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

thoughts on the whole blogging thing

in case you've been living under a rock, blogs are not new. blogging is not some random new hobby for a select few. bloggers are not a rare and unusual breed that only travel in certain circles. the blogging community is, in fact, a legitimate group of individuals from all walks of life. there are all kinds of blogs, blogs about people's kids or blogs about politics or blogs about celebrities or stupid blogs about what people ate for dinner (although i really had a fantastic dinner last night. a classic stir-fry. yum). there are even people out there whose blogs are so popular that the on-site advertising is lucrative enough to feed their families.

and then there's me, a relative newcomer to all of this. i don't spend tons of time making this blog uber-special (as evidenced by the noticeable lack of interesting graphics). i don't make it uber-personal, it's not uber-political, nor does it have some uber-important theme (although i guess you could say that i am sometimes uber-repetitive... man, aren't i just uber-funny?). it's more so just a motley collection of my ramblings and random updates on what i'm doing here in austin... with the intent of keeping friends and family in the loop on my new life.

but it's still weird to think that my words are out there for anyone to see. people who don't know me that well and misunderstand my posts... people who think i'm lame and just lurk around on my blog to laugh at me and my silly exploits... people who are just bored at work and would rather read random blogs than do real work (hi chris)...

all of which is why i keep this blog relatively superficial (blogging lite, if you will...?). i don't necessarily pour our my heart and my soul for anyone with a decent broadband internet connection to enjoy. there are bloggers out there, however, who do just that - turn themselves inside out and write with crazy raw emotion and honesty and a clear sense of voice. they develop an audience of thousands and thousands of readers that log on every day to see what they're up to and what they have to say about it. they write posts like these that bare their soul to the scrutiny of the entire world.

and to be honest, i find it to be fascinating - this weird combination of extreme narcissicism and admirable courage. it's really odd to feel an emotional connection with the typed words of some stranger, because there was so much about that post that i related to (although i'm not nearly as bitter about it all, b/c honestly i'm just too lazy to feel that strongly about it). but hell freaking no, i would have never written something like that on a blog. it's just so... personal, and fascinating, and... odd. yet so well-written, and interesting to think about.

anyway. i have no thought-provoking conclusion or neat little bow with which to wrap up this rand0m-ass post.

in lieu of that, i will just inform you that this concludes the interruption in your programming, and i now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging lite...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

odds and ends

i'm back from my brief sojourn into sunny-ish california (i'm goin, goin, back, back, to cali, cali)... back to a hot and sunny austin week and a towering pile of work, that is. quite the reality call, unfortunately.

since i am currently too scatter-brained to write a proper post, i present you instead with a random collection of things that have amused me lately:
  1. the spam email i got today in which the subject line read "grapefruit smugly." you know, b/c grapefruiting is a verb and i apparently need to learn how to do it more smugly. so much more entertaining and thought-provoking than the penis enlargement spam i usually get (b/c that clearly doesn't require much thought, really... apply magic potion, lather in, rinse and repeat, see amazing results "grow" before your very eyes!).
  2. the assortment of things you can find on craig's list, including a gun rack (a lighted gun rack, nonetheless) and monkey decorations.
  3. the woman in LAX airport who was using her (cheap, ugly, bright orange, ill-fitting) cotton orange tank top and her (non-secured, sagging, running wild and free) breasts as a convenient holder for her boarding pass. why didn't I think of that?! it's the female equivalent to the front pocket in a man's shirt. breasts as boarding pass holder. i could patent the idea and make a fortune.
  4. the couple on our cruise that were sporting matching hawaiian-print outfits. oh, yes. they were probably in their early sixties or so, a nice-looking grandma-and-grandpa type who clearly thought their matching outfits were OH SO COOL. grandma was wearing a beige dress with a hawaiian floral print, and grandpa was pimpin' in a beige blazer with the same fabric. several of my co-workers surreptitiously snapped photos of the pair, which i will definitely upload if i get my hands on them. hilarity, i tell you.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

a random sampling...

...of songs recently enjoyed whilst listening to my beloved jammin' 105.9:
  • rumpshaker - "check baby check baby 1 2 3 4, check baby check baby 1 2 3." flash back to middle school and the "dance team" of pre-teen girls with extremely suggestive moves
  • naughty by nature, hip hop hoorayyyy hooooooo hayyyyy hoooo
  • michael jackson, it don't matter if you're black or white! or surgically enhanced! or mentally unstable!
  • michael jackson, got to be startin' something! like my crazy pills!
  • SWV, loooove wiiilll bee right herreeee (be right here)
  • brandy & monica, the boy is mine (not yours, but mine)
  • la bouche, be my lover, oh high school techno music... la da da da da da di daaaa

sigh. sometimes it takes so little to please me.


now this is something i could get used to.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

anatomy of a sandwich

today i am working from home. or should i say, "working from home." i heart working from home b/c i can sit around in sweats, start the day off with a nice walk around the neighborhood and a stop for coffee, and sit on the balcony with my laptop, enjoying the sun and light breeze. much to my surprise, i am also being relatively productive.

one of the best perks of working from home is the ability to stop and make my lunch. today i made one of my favoritest sandwiches ever and am going to devote the rest of this post to telling you the exact contents of said sandwich. no, i am not crazy. just v. appreciative of a well-made sandwich.

how to create the ultimate sandwich:
  1. start with lightly toasted oatnut bread. lightly toasted is key - you don't want it so soft that it yields to the pressure of the contents and you don't want it so hard that it scrapes the roof of your mouth.
  2. apply liberal amount of spicy brown mustard to perfectly toasted bread
  3. add thick slice of sharp cheddar
  4. pile on thinly sliced roasted turkey
  5. add a handful fresh spinach leaves
  6. add thinly sliced cucumber
  7. add a few slices of ripe roma tomato
  8. and the piece de resistance - scoop out some fresh ripe avocado and smear onto one end of the bread.
  9. grind a little bit of s&p on there, b/c s&p makes everything better.

et voila! serve on clean white plate with two crisp, cold dill pickle spears and a glass of fizzy italian lemon soda and enjoy. mwah! 'tis fantastico!

Monday, May 15, 2006

moments frozen in austin time

after a loooong day at work (including a painful 8 am -11 am conference call that we didn't realize would be videoconference, which meant that my co-worker and i had to surreptitiously sneak bites from our breakfast tacos from beneath the table), i decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and go for a run. i left the apt around 8:15, just as dusk was settling in and the sky was changing from one brilliant color to the next in a rapid succession of palettes. the weather was perfect for a run - cool, breezy, and just enough light left in the day before we'd be plunged into darkness.

as i ran across congress ave bridge, i had to wend my way around the crowds that had gathered there in eager anticipation of the nightly bat pilgrimage. austin is home to the largest urban bat colony in north america, and they all live under the congress ave bridge. in the spring season, right around dusk, it's become a well-known tourist activity to watch them come out to go feed for the night, all 1.5 million of them zooming off in crazy patterns in search of a good mosquito feast, i guess, before coming back to sleep through the day.

now i've heard about said phenomenon on many different occasions, but i've never been able to time my jogs/rides properly to actually glimpse it firsthand - until tonight. it was honestly like nothing i'd ever seen before. scores and scores of bats came pouring out from underneath the bridge (and this is an elevated bridge, so there were people looking up from below and people looking down from the bridge, like me) and went flying off into the dusk in a long, streaming, pulsing arc of black dots. it went on for like 15-20 minutes. the thing that struck me the most was how quiet they were. you could hear their wings beating, but it's not like they were honking or screeching like all of the stupid birds out there. reminds me of this calvin and hobbes comic strip where calvin had to do a book report on bats, procrastinated until the last minute b/c he was playing w/hobbes, and then wrote his whole book report on bats: fanged bugs of the night!... and eventually got in big trouble with miss wormwood b/c bats aren't bugs and he had clearly made up his entire book report.

but i digress. i continued my jog down on the trail under the bridge (unexpectedly running into my good friend KAT who is in town for business when i jogged past her hotel - more on that another time), trying out a section of the trail i'd never jogged before. there were still enough people on the trail so that i felt perfectly safe, but it was also empty enough so that i could enjoy the relative peace. dusk was settling in full force and i could still see the bats streaming in the sky above me. at one point i stopped for a breath and a stretch on a little curved bridge and counted no less than 19 turtles swimming in the water beneath me (along with a big-ass fish which seriously was freaking HUGE. like, disalarmingly so).

it's moments like these that make me glad i took the chance of moving out to a city that i didn't know, one that would take me away from the familiarity of cleveland park and dupont circle and bethesda, and plop me unprepared into a completely foreign territory. it's moments like these that i will remember when i eventually move away from here and look back fondly on my runs along town lake where i had to swat the bugs away from my face but i could still admire turtles and bats and enjoy the sunny weather as i dreamed about the next morning's breakfast taco (hopefully to be consumed at the more preferable solitude and freedom of my own desk).

austin - such a mystery sometimes (where are the friends that i can call upon? the bartenders that know my favorite martini? the restaurants where i know what's good on the menu?), yet sometimes so charming that i am completely and utterly bewitched...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

even more progress

today's purchase: a TV stand for the beautiful philips TV and his dear little DVD-playing counterpart. have i mentioned how much i love my TV? he's just so sleek and silver and flat. i think i'll call him phil. and the DVD player will be named philly.

but back to the TV stand. it took me over an hour to put that bitch together, but i was ultimately victorious in the end. y'all would have laughed at me - i took the entire process WAY too seriously, as if it was a test of my intelligence or something. i spread all the components out on my floor, grouped all the little nails by type, gathered my tools, turned on some mood-boosting shania twain, read through the instructions and went to work. and, many minutes later... ta-da! sturdy black TV stand at your service to house my beautiful electronics and completely lame DVD collection. there really is no other word to describe my poor-ass DVD collection - am going to have to do something about that. i did recently join netflix, but i still need to get some of the classics in-house... hmm. oh, and speaking of classics - did you know that office space was mostly filmed in suburban austin! supposedly there is some tour that hits all the important sights... i so need to do that.

so yes, the apt is still relatively empty and there is nothing on the walls and everything is in a place "for now" - but at least there's a couch, a big comfy and cool green chair, a coffee table, a TV stand for phil and little philly (but no cable TV yet), and a kitchen table and chairs on its way (hopefully)... it's coming together, slowly but surely. baby steps, people, it's all about baby steps. it'll probably be at least another month or two before i really start to feel settled.

side note. i will be DC-bound in just a few wks to celebrate my dear friend debbie's wedding, and cannot WAIT to be back in my beloved city! all of you DC folks better pencil me in for that wknd -- june 2-4. plans are obviously still TBD but i'll send an email once i figure out what's going on. it'll be so nice to have friends again...! =P

Saturday, May 13, 2006


attention, people! major news in the story of my apt!

in addition to my recently-acquired television and DVD player, i am now the proud owner of... wait for it... waaaaait for it....

TWO NEW PIECES OF FURNITURE!! (and the crowd goes wild!) that's right, folks, it's true! today i purchased a beauteous coffee table and dining set. the coffee table was a craig's list find, purchased by a seller named darral (actual spelling). he was interesting to say the least. he lives up in round rock, which is where dell is headquartered. tall, kinda lanky black guy with a hint of a southern accent. firm handshake, friendly smile - i later found out that he works in sales for dell and was completely unsurprised. interesting house, too - brand new, beautifully decorated, no detail overlooked. yet how do i describe this house? a series of contradictions, perhaps. his dining room had a beautiful mahogany dining table and chairs - yet the wall featured a framed houston jersey and a mounted baseball bat. the kitchen had a nice table and intricate tiling and matching canisters for dry goods - and a big jar of protein powder in the corner. the living room had matching leather sofas and a coffee table/end table set - and some prominently-displayed nascar flags. the garage held a shiny white corvette and a million different tools - and a huge honkin' truck. clearly he's a young-ish dude who makes decent money and has nice taste but can't quite let go of the texas man in him.

but i digress. so yes, said coffee table is a deep espresso color and is rectangular in shape with a shelf underneath for sundry items. i lub it. as for the table - i have been hunting for a table for weeks and was resigned to either buying an ugly cheap one on craig's list or forking over the cash for a decent table - but then i randomly found this website where it looked like they bought furniture wholesale and then sold it at discounted prices. the website was clearly like circa 1997 and had horrible graphics and poor navigation, but the furniture looked decent and reasonable.

once i had gotten directions from google maps (boo for mapquest, plus, have you all ever tried google text? holy crap i am so converted), i hopped back on the highway to head towards the strip malls. when i walked into the store, it was clear they didn't waste any money on stupid things like store decor or furnishings. furniture was scattered about willy-nilly, a group of couches here, a bedroom set there. the walls were dirty, the ground scuffed. the woman who sold me my table was named "toni." she had this brightly-dyed red hair and super heavy eyeliner. her professional outfit? was white gaucho pants, white sandals, and a pink knit top through which you could clearly see her bra and part of the tattoo on her left breast. all i could see was part of tigger from winnie the pooh and the words "these tiggers were made..." (for bouncing, i guess? i couldn't see the ending and could only surmise as much). what a place, dude. i mean really. signs everywhere saying "ALL SALES FINAL" and "INSPECT BEFORE BUY," all printed on neon 8.5x11 paper. i was honestly a bit concerned but got a great deal on a really decent table - also espresso, also rectangular, with matching chairs. i'm not going to lie, though - i am going to be sweating bullets a bit until that thing actually arrives at my apt - part of me wonders if they're just going to take my money and buy toni another tattoo that somehow manages to combine a sexual reference with a disney character... (maybe a big one on her ass that says these poohs were made for pinching?)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

an ode to cab drivers

now that i live in austin, i didn't think i'd be cabbing it up with nearly as much regularity as i did back in the DC days, which, in all honesty, were mainly for nights when i had gone out drinking and needed to get my drunken ass back home or when it had taken me forever to get back into the city from tysons f'ing corner and i was therefore running late for dinner or drinks and would rush down to connecticut ave to desperately hail a cab to whisk me down to dupont or u street or wherever (and yes, i am fully aware that could possibly win the prize for Longest Sentence Ever). it's funny, mentioning my old commute makes it seem odd that something that was so central to my daily routine -- the daily cleveland park to tysons round-trip schlep -- now seems like such a foreign activity. weird how your daily reality can change so quickly, huh?

but i digress. contrary to my expectation, it feels like i have been quite the frequent rider of cabs lately, largely owing to the fact that i've been on the road so much for work. and when i stop to think about it, that cab driver really does make a world of difference in determining what your life is going to be like for however many more minutes you are in his or her care. if you think about it, the act of piling into someone's cab is an incredible exchange of trust btwn both parties. i am trusting them to safely transport me from point A to point B, trusting that they will neither kill me nor get me lost, and trusting that they will avoid car accidents to their best of their ability. they are trusting that i will have the money to pay the fare and not pull a gun on them or engage in illicit activities in the back of their cab, the cab that represents the very entity which enables them to make a living.

yet the driver. ah yes, the driver. given that all those basic exchanges that i outlined in the previous paragraph go off without a hitch, the driver can then make an incredibly important difference. and it's just so damn interesting to conjecture about the person to whom i have entrusted my precious, precious life for those few minutes. in my humble opinion, the best cab drivers are the ones who give a basic and friendly greeting when i get in and out of the cab, drive quickly and efficiently but not extremely recklessly, and then pretty much leave me alone so they can focus on driving. it really doesn't bother me if they have music or news playing quietly (unless i have a headache or something) or if they're quietly chatting on their hands-free cell phone.

yet that is not always the case, now is it? i recently found myself in a situation where i had take a cab in dallas. finished w/my business, i had driven my rental car back to dallas love field airport (where i had flown in several days before), returned said rental car, and headed to the terminal with plenty of time to kill. yet when i approached the american airlines counter to check in at the kiosk, the agent at the counter gave me a weird look and asked where i was heading. long story short and much to my frustration, it turns out that i was actually booked to fly out of dallas ft. worth, despite the fact that i had flown into dallas love field and had rented a car from dallas love field. a cab was therefore necessary to get me from love field over to DFW so i could try and catch my plane. needless to say, this was a bit of a sticky situation to be in, but i went to the front of the taxi line, made sure he accepted visa b/c i was low on cash and it would be a long ride, and hoped for the best.

so, then. this particular cab gave off an interesting odor that combined cheap car freshener and natural b.o. not necessarily vomit-inducing, but not exactly fresh and breezy either. he was a short and stocky man with pale, freckled skin, pale red hair and weird blue eyes. he had a weird shifty look about him, a rodent-y type dude who can pass in mainstream society without causing serious alarm but probably indulges in some crazy-ass shit when no one's looking. the main issue? HE WOULDN'T FUCKING SHUT UP. he had this weird, overly polite/formal way of speaking that made him sound like he was a closet lunatic (i was reminded of the robin williams character in that one-hour photo movie). he kept saying things like, "i sure do appreciate your business, ma'am. it's because of nice people like you taking cabs once in a while that we can stay in business. so please sit back and enjoy the ride." over and over. then there was the "so, did you have a nice flight? everyone treat you all right on the plane?" which he asked me ON THREE SEPARATE OCCASIONS, even though i told him i had only been at love-field b/c of an error and i was actually boarding a plane at DFW. it was as if he was on auto-pilot or something. all said, of course, in this odd southern accent - the kind that bothers my ears instead of having a pleasing lilt. he kept hunched over his wheel the entire time, but i kept on noticing him looking at me in the rearview mirror as he kept up his steady stream of overly formal bullshit. at first i answered his questions to be polite but eventually started staring out the window at the passing highways, breathing out of my mouth and trying not to think of what crazy things could happen to me. when we finally got to the airport, he had to take my credit card the old-fashioned way where you take an imprint of it. it took FOUR TRIES to get this right, and i was literally yelling at him b/c i had a flight to catch. THEN he told me he had to call the base office to approve my credit card and i nearly had a conniption. i gave him my office number, told him to call that number of the card didn't go through and i'd wire him the fucking money. the entire time he kept fumbling with his machine and saying "i apologize for the inconvenience, ma'am" and i was tempted to tell him to STOP FUCKING APOLOGIZING AND JUST GIVE ME MY CARD ALREADY.

my mom told me when she visited that i seemed nicer now that i live in texas - that i'm more friendly with sales people and strangers instead of just being business-only. good old loyal parents. always thinking the best of their kids, you know?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

up, down, all around

this saturday will mark the two-month anniversay of my move to austin. when i take a step back and try to look at the situation holistically, it's kinda hard to say "how it's been," b/c it's just been so all over the place. what with the struggles of trying to adjust to a new job, learning to work with new bosses, a crazy travel schedule, an empty apt in need of furnishing, stupid austin drivers that crash into my car, some unexpected personal shit, being away from family and friends, and my increasing addiction to breakfast tacos... it's easy to channel your inner drama queen and start wallowing in your own self-pity (i started a blog post earlier today called "teetering on the edge of sanity" but didn't have the time to finish it. yowza).

when your overall situation is so all over the place, the little things seem to take on tantamount importance. the fact that they only have a smoking room available when you've specifically requested a non-smoking room sucks that much more. the fact that you have to take a 7 pm flight out of miami that doesn't put you back in austin until 11:53 pm when your meetings are over at 12 pm seems really irritating.

but then again, the little victories are that much more worthy of enjoyment and celebration. for example, the oh-so-delicious and refreshing iced skim chai that i got on my way into work today. was i running behind schedule? yes. was it disgustingly hot and sticky outside, the kind of hot and sticky wherein you start perspiring in the 24 seconds it takes you to walk to your car in the morning? oh yes. but man, that iced skim chai was tasty. for example #2, i changed my seat to a bulkhead seat when i checked for my miami flight today. (i was also excited to notice that i was actually flying on a big plane! one with two aisles, and TV screens, where you don't feel every single bump and the engine doesn't roar in your ear!) once i got on the plane, i found out that i had somehow lucked out with a BUSINESS CLASS seat! holy moly. i haven't flown biz class in a long time, and i don't remember the last time i was so comfortable. ahh, leather seats that recline and have foot rests... still had to pay $4 for my stupid snack box though.


it's late... i have an early breakfast with my colleague tomorrow... back to the rat race!

Monday, May 8, 2006

and to think how much i loved him as maverick

words cannot describe just how low tom cruise has sunk in my esteem...

it really is that hilarious/awful/train-wreck-ish.

(link should take you to my friend chris's blog, b/c i am too lazy to find the video and link to it myself)

i mean... really. who told him this was a good idea? lordy lordy.

awash in electrical goodies

ahem! your attention please! after a relatively productive weekend with my mom, i'd like you all to know that i am now the proud owner of:
  1. a beautiful 27" flat screen silver philips television
  2. an equally beautiful silver slimline philips DVD player
  3. an even more beautiful b/c it was free silver mini ipod (my mom loves me and gave me hers b/c she she said she doesn't use it that much. and yes, my mom has better gadgets than i do, including wireless internet, a color blackberry, and multiple computers. shuddup)
anyway, hurray! i have a television! and a DVD player! and an ipod! true, my kitchen table still only exists in my dreams, my underwear and socks are piled into my "dresser" a.k.a. beach bag, my "coffee table" is really the empty TV box with a towel thrown over the top, i'm still stealing wireless internet from my good friend "dontworrybehappy," i have yet to purchase a digital camera despite my friend chris's kind attempts to email me all the best deals, and i have yet to find the time to figure out how any of the above purchases actually work -- but baby steps, people. i actually own some shit! things that plug into the wall! things that i will actually take with me if i leave the apt as opposed to leaving them around for the frat boys to dispose of (and yes, i just ended a sentence with a preposition, so what)!

the wknd also consisted of an inaugural trip to a korean grocery store, a tantalizingly delicious home-cooked meal (served on my exclusive white-linen dining table, i mean, the philips box with a free white beach towel bearing the logo of one of my old clients), my mom's first taste of breakfast tacos (she was a big fan - she did think it was weird at first to start brunch with chips and queso but eventually gave in to the lure of the hot melted goodness), and multiple trips to target and wal-mart (naturally). plus motherly love and affection, ice cream, and a conversation in which i had to explain the meaning of the word "phallic" (which i had invoked to accurately describe a famous austin landmark).

but alas, the wknd is over and i am now in dallas for a biz trip. i just got out of a meeting with a travel agent who actually used the phrase "all gussied up" without the slightest trace of irony. she was also missing a considerable amount of teeth, and the remaining ones were quite yellow and sad-looking. i am also a horrible person. oh well, at least i'll have a nice comfy handbasket for my trip to hell (where did that phrase come from anyway?)...

Friday, May 5, 2006

happy cinco de mayo! and happy crazy weather day!

so last night i experienced my first for real central texas late-spring hard-core thunderstorm. and it was no joke. i felt like i was in monsoon season in some tropical asian country or something, that's how crazy it was. i got home from work late-ish and took a leisurely stroll down the street to pick up some dinner (along with hundreds of my closest friends... apparently my neighborhood celebrates "first thursdays" with late hours for all the boutiques, lots of bands, and lots of drinking - pretty cool eh?). the weather was pretty muggy and warm but otherwise nothing out of the ordinary. i get home with my piping hot burrito and enjoy a few episodes of sex and the city on my laptop (b/c i still have no TV, let alone a coffee table on which to rest said laptop - i propped it on a chair, sat on my sofa with my burrito, and was happy as a clam).

next thing i know, though, the floodgates had opened and the sky was doing something fierce (even fiercer than tyra banks). thunder, lightning, crazy winds, TONS of rain, the whole deal. it seemed different from the t'storms back east somehow (for some reason the phrase "back east" sounds very 19th century, circa laura ingalls wilder or something) - apparently austin has occasional tornado issues, and i can now say that i'm not surprised.

this meant, of course, that my electricity went out and i was left with no wireless internet and no power whatsoever. i went to bed with a candle and started writing in my journal... it's interesting how self-absorbed one can get btwn a blog and a journal, and it's also interesting to see what different purposes they serve. the blog is more of a way to keep y'all (hey there texas) posted on what silly things i'm up to... it's also a way for me to tell funny stories and wax poetic about whatever topic happens to be on my brain (like the rumor that britney spears is pregnant again, good lord, someone needs to stop kevin federline from fathering any more children). journals, however, are so much more personal and introspective, the type of shit that you may not tell people you consider to be pretty good friends. or maybe it's just me, and i hold my cards close. i don't know.

i found myself quickly tiring of the introspection, though, and decided to end the night with a refreshing dose of p.g. wodehouse and bertie wooster and jeeves... what ho, jeeves!

oh, last note - today is cinco de mayo and they definitely do it up for real up in hurr. apparently a lot of the facilities/operations folks who work in our building are mexican, and every year they make a big deal out of cinco de mayo... they bring in tons of homemade mexican food (and when i say tons, i mean tons... we have like 600-700 people that work here) and interesting drinks and have a live mariachi band that goes around the building serenading us. good times all around. an excellent way to start the wknd, methinks... should be a good one too. i am hopefully having drinks with the lovely (and soon to be ex-austinite) mary lorraine at the oh-so-cool hotel san jose and then going to pick my mums up at the airport (assuming the weather doesn't start up again).

i'll leave you with a sampling of tunes recently heard on the oh so awesome jammin' 105.9:
destiny's child, say my name
ice ice baby (stop! collaborate and listen)
allure/112, all cried out
warren g, regulate (seriously - that was the icing on the cake)

Thursday, May 4, 2006

remember me?

hi, i'm jen, the author of this blog. you may be wondering whether or not i still exist, and the answer is: yes and no. i am back in austin but feel like my head is wandering in la-la land. shit's been going down, and it's hard to feel like i am living a life of purpose and meaning when i can barely see through a haze of crap. as for this specific day, it's one where i wish i could just hide at my desk and slack off, but: a) no cube to hide in (damn open layout), b) still feel too new to be a slacker, and c) feel like i should be doing the right thing. basically my super-lazy side is duking it out with my goody-goody side in the ultimate battle for supreme power and control. who will win? i have a feeling this one won't be resolved for a while, so remember to tune in for the next episode of Forces of Good and Evil: The Life of Jennifer Kim (so just chillllll.... 'til the next episode).

my trip to NYC was good, i guess - a lot of the usual suspects of a NYC biz trip (inexplicably expensive boutique hotel with tiny-ass room and fun bath products, running around the city for meetings, racking up huge expense reports) and a personal NYC trip (good food - korean bbq, lox bagels, good people, and, of course, a lil' bit of karaoke). but now that i live in austin, it seems like the things that make new york new york stand out in even sharper relief. the smells (the good, the bad, and the ugly). the people (again - the good, the bad, and the ugly). the feeling that oh my god if i don't rush i'm going to miss something supremely important. the feeling that this city is damned efficient and if you are of the laid-back and/or slow variety you better get the fuck outta my way.

amusing NYC side note: one of my interviewees (i was in NYC doing some research) told me that david blaine had set up his latest stunt at the lincoln center, which was just around the corner from our meeting, and that she had seen those "simpson sisters" there. for some odd reason, my brain immediately went to marge's smoking sisters with the raspy voices on the simpsons... before i realized she was talking about jessica and ashlee simpson. and i am not going to lie, as soon as the interview was over i totally dashed over to lincoln center to try and see jessica simpson up close and personal... who cares about that david blaine guy and his random stunts... but they were nowhere to be seen and i was completely bummed (but made up for it by getting a lox bagel and lentil soup - odd combination i know - and eating it in central park. right next to an odd-looking man doing some strange form of calisthenics that involved boxing the air around him and making sudden, jerky movements. and then staring at me as i ate my lunch. good times).

anyway, this blog entry is all over the place. bottom line: i'm overwhelmed to the point of aimlessness, and am extremely glad that my mom is coming this wknd to save me. hurray!

back to my halfhearted attempts to try and catch up on all the work i missed.