Friday, December 22, 2006

remembering the alamo

i just got back from watching a movie at one of austin's famous and beloved alamo drafthouse movie theaters, and in case i haven't said it on here already, i completely heart the alamo and second its entertainment weekly award for being the best theater in america with hearty applause. they have stadium seating, movies for under $10 ($8 to be specific), quirky hipster servers who are actually quite friendly and are willing to scuttle through the dark theater at an angle so that they can bring you your FOOD and DRINKS that are quite tasty and reasonably priced without disturbing the movie in progress, funny pre-movie shows, comfortable chairs, and are just so austin you could die with the happiness of it all.

[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).

[happy sigh]

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


ah, good old Washington D.C.

also, if you're looking for a good reason to procrastinate:

the best of craigslist 2006 is here.

ask the blogger

dear Katie from Charlottesville:

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:
  1. buy a chicken from the grocery store (very important step)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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).
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. have some more wine, pull off some yummy chicken parts and hot potatoes and enjoy!


Monday, December 18, 2006

f'ing hilarious

NSFW (not safe for work, for the unawares) and also NS for, well, people who don't appreciate crude humor.

but otherwise hilarious. and even better that it features an almost-unrecognizable justin timberlake.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas...?

as your intrepid reporter of all things austin, i feel it's my duty to share with you what christmas time looks like around here. as part of my case, i present you with two examples:

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.

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

and thus a day is redeemed

it was one of those days at work where you find yourself staring off into space all too frequently. e-mails went unanswered, phone calls were not returned with the usual urgency. assignments were unceremoniously ignored and i spent the day alternately staring at the clock one minute and then staring at the ceiling the next. the most productive thing i did all day was spend abut 15 minutes thinking about my team's entry into the agency's first annual gingerbread "dream house" competition (who says gingerbread houses need to be all candy?? we are making an oh-so-austin eco-friendly home with broccoli shrubs, matzoh cracker walls, a sesame seed walkway and a blue jello swimming pool with life saver inner tubes floating inside. boo yeah!). by the time 5:00 rolled around, i figured i had wasted enough time staring at my computer and surfing my fave gossip blogs and decided to just end the masquerade already and go home.

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).

an ode to pho, in haiku form

liquid therapy
eagerly i dip my spoon
and savor the taste

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

the sun, it rises

(anyone who reads my blog that went to middle school with me -- didn't we have to read a book with that title back in the eastern eagles days?)

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

talk about a handicap

well, gee, now this is just sad. the average dude has a hard enough time talking to the ladies without the BBC UK publishing articles about their potential shortcomings.

geddit?! SHORTcomings?


i now return you to your usual family-friendly blogging content...

(thanks for the link, E)

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

heard on my fave austin radio station this morning

"although we've come! to the ennnnnnnd of the rooooad. still i cannnnnnnnnnnn't leeee-eeet go. it's unnatural (ooh!), you belong to me (ooh!), i belong to youuuuuuuu."

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

to put it elegantly, holy crap

if you ever have the chance to watch the dixie chicks perform live, GO DIRECTLY TO THE CONCERT, DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200 -- for they are freaking amazing. amazing, i tell you!!

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

behold! she lives!

i swear that i haven't dropped off the face of the earth. really, i was just offended that no one laughed at my lame jokes and chose to hide in the corner and nurse my wounded ego instead of posting updates.

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:
  1. come into work early
  2. leave work late
  3. work hard
  4. focus on one key project and watch as other work piles up
  5. frantically try and get key deliverables out the door
  6. notice lack of overall progress
  7. notice lack of contribution from key colleagues
  8. begin the frequent cursing and rending of garments
  9. take frustration out on unsuspecting colleague
  10. 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.