Saturday, October 28, 2006

back on solid ground

so I'm officially back from my week-long biz/pleasure trip, sailing out of LA with stops in acapulco, zihuatanejo/ixtapa, puerto vallarta, and cabo san lucas. as i mentioned in my last post, the first half of was legitimately stressful as we scrambled to line up participants for our on-board project, but the last half was -- if you'll excuse the horrible pun -- rather smooth sailing. we didn't necessarily "party" too much but we got to spend time in every port. i saw the famous cliff divers in acapulco, worked on my tan while laying out on the lovely playa las gatas in zihuatanejo, went snorkeling near the famous los arcos rocks in puerto vallarta and... made a beeline for the airport in cabo san lucas.

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

shout out from mexico

greetings from the middle of the pacific ocean, people, where those of you who gave me a hard time that i'd be working OH SO HARD on my TERRIBLE CRUISE TRIP and CRY ME A RIVER can now officially SUCK IT, b/c i've been working non-stop 14-hour days since i stepped on board sat afternoon.

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.

heh, again.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

it's all about the little things

a portion of my company recently had to move offices in order to accommodate the constantly-growing number of employees working for the Man here in austin. i'm now across the street from the main building in a smaller building with a completely different layout. the main con of this move is that i am forced to schlep back and forth btwn the buildings for all my meetings (since the majority of them still take place in the main building), blackberry, bottle of water, notebook and pen in hand. happily, there are also several pros:

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

work, eat, sleep. lather, rinse, repeat.

it's one of those weeks where all i seem to be doing is working a long day... eating a quick bite... spacing out for a few minutes... and then crawling into bed only to do it all over again. no time to do fun social things, no time to go for the long run my body seems to be craving, no time to break open new books for lengthy reading sessions, no time to cook delicious and healthy dinners. just... work. eat. sleep.

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

your very own gay...

...for only 55 cents!

(what a deal!)

(found while perusing the unbelievable collection of crap/junk/antiques with ravi at uncommon objects this past wknd)

Monday, October 16, 2006

you couldn't make this shit up if you tried

sorry for the lack of updates, people. i was hosting the brilliant ravi d'souza at chez jen this past wknd and didn't have much time for blogger between the effort it take to drink enough liquor to fill a small harbor and eat enough food to feed a small nation.

(hyperbole much?)

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

chicken soup sucCESS, bitches

for those of you who waited with bated breath to hear the outcome of the chicken soup mystery, fear no more, the answer is here.

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

i am officially OBSESSED...

...with the song "hide and seek" by imogen heap.

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

bite me atlanta

i'm back from a long wknd back home for the dugan/shelley wedding extravaganza, which went off without a hitch despite the last-minute change in venue and ass-cold weather... no thanks to the combined efforts of delta airlines and atlanta airport, both of which manage to screw me royally every time i make the frugal yet regrettable decision to use their services. am tired, behind at work, and have an apt that looks like a hippogriff stormed through it (you still reading these days M? thought you might like that one) yet am back in business here on

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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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

seasons?! pshaw. i laugh at your seasons

so, october is upon us. the month of trick or treating, leaves in beautiful autumn hues, light cotton sweaters, pumpkins, and hot apple cider...

...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!