Wednesday, January 31, 2007
HAHAHA dude. that is f'ing funny.
i told him to bagpipe his heart out and that it wouldn't bother me in the least, because i am busy paying the price for my ode to procrastination.
heh. a poem on procrastination. i'm funny.
heh. a police officer that practices his bagpipes at his side job. that's funnier.
***OMG EDITED TO ADD THAT I CAN TOTALLY HEAR HIM AND HE IS TOTALLY BAGPIPING HIS LITTLE HEART OUT. I AM OFFICIALLY AMUSED.***
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
tonight brings us another culinary victory: cooking fish! i love eating fish, but cooking it at home has always intimidated me for some reason; perhaps it seemed too advanced for the likes of me, or something? i don't know. this weekend, however, i resolved that the million-dollar tab i rung up at the amazing central market grocery store would not be in vain: i would cook some fresh salmon, come hell or high water.
and cook some salmon i did, beyotch! i marinated it overnight in a fresh ginger-soy-brown sugar-lemon juice marinade (in a very fancy apparatus known as "glad-lock-us plastic bag-us." extremely high-end and difficult to find. you MAY get lucky at wal-mart or your local grocery store, but who knows!), and then took it out, blotted off the excess marinade, and covered it with tons of freshly-ground pepper and a little bit of coarse salt. i had some olive oil heating up in a ban on moderately high heat, and the rest was easy as pie... sear on each side for several minutes until the skin is crisp and the flesh has gone from raw-reddish to cooked-pinkish. i also put a lid on my pan at the end so that the heat would stay close and help finish the fish off, but i tend to like my fish slightly undercooked so i didn't leave the lid for on for too long.
et voila! serve with roasted asparagus and a huge glass of wine.
and then get back to f'ing work already, you freaking slacker you.
Let me count the ways:
You make the inevitable seem far, far away
You make me think it’s a sunny day
I get to blog instead of work
(Hmm, even that by itself is a lovely perk)
I get to stare at a big blank screen
And wonder, this life, just what does it mean?
And when reality comes crashing in
You help me block out that noisy din
Deadlines? Ha! Meetings? Please!
As if you would be worried about things like these!
“I am procrastination!” you say, with an important air,
“Try and get me past me, try if you dare!”
Indeed, I find that I’ve succumbed to your power
And find the day slipping past me, hour by hour
Has my deck been written? Have I gotten a clue?
No idea… I’ve been busy writing a rhyme or two.
...which means that the swiss updates, austin-based adventures and miscellaneous stories to will have to wait for another time.
but randomly, you know how on long plane rides? you start to get a little stir crazy? maybe you need to move around a bit, stretch your legs, just get out of your chair for a bit? sure, i get it. but must you really do your entire calisthenic routine in the aisle right next to me? lunges, quad stretches, toe-touching, the whole deal? because that's what this guy did on my plane ride back from switerland. and i really didn't need to see his lumpy ass that up-close... and don't know if i'll ever recover from the experience.
it's just strange how people (maybe it's an american thing) are so concerned about personal boundaries/space... but when they're thrown together in certain forced-closeness situations (like a long plane ride) some people tend to throw caution out the window. i mean, think about NYC. there are a shit ton of people crammed into one tiny-ass space. and sure, you see people jogging along the hudson or doing stretches on a park bench. but do you see people doing push-ups on the subway? yoga on a street corner? no, because it's a public place, and the majority of us are too embarrassed to do such personal things in front of others.
that didn't stop this guy though, who also spent about 20 minutes of the time we spent sitting on the runway picking his nose. and i don't mean a surreptitious fingertip grazing the nostril surface. i mean knuckle-deep index-finger action, complete with inner swirling for better angling, a visual review of his find, and a casual flicking of said find onto the grimy carpet floor.
gross! go stretch in the back while waiting in line for the bathroom and then pick your nose in the privacy of the bathroom like all of the other normal people.
Monday, January 29, 2007
i (finally) saw dreamgirls this wknd (two-second review: i liked it a lot. i didn't love it as much as i loved moulin rouge or chicago, but i definitely liked it and think it's worth watching. jennifer hudson-related buzz = totally deserved, jamie foxx totally creeped me out, beyonce = much improved over previous acting gigs, eddie murphy = very impressive and surprisingly likable in his role. probably not worth best picture though) and am dying to know:
DID ANYONE ELSE NOTICE THE STEVE URKEL CAMEO IN THE BEGINNING???
because that totally made the movie for me.
[cue memories of friday-night "TGIF" line-up, with the adorable blended family drama of step by step, the really not-that-cute laura winslow as steve urkel's love interest, etc etc etc]
Friday, January 26, 2007
(we look very happy together, no?)
my brother and i also contemplated new careers as full-time ice-people models:
...but thought that might be a bit chilly and decided to just stick with being sunglasses models instead:
by the way, speaking of new careers, i spent a majority of my day today interviewing prospective job candidates for an opening we have on our team, and i have just a little tip to those of you out there that may be contemplating a job search in your near future: when you send your resume to your prospective employers, make sure there aren't any typos on there. the "skills" section of your resume should read just like that, "skills," because "skillls" just makes you look kinda careless. and stupid. and this means you are not going to get my vote for the job.
sorry, sucka. better luck next time.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
instead, it's just kind of... vacant. i haven't unpacked. i haven't cleaned my apartment. i started going through my mail and decided that would just have to wait. i was thrilled to find out my hearty little fish was still alive and then neglected to feed him my second day back (sorry, cowboy). i haven't gone grocery shopping and have been living on a diet of canned soup and granola bars (at least it's not meat, which i think i'm giving up for a while... or at least red meat anyway). the most productive thing that i've done is download all the pictures and videos off of my camera and burn them onto a CD. but otherwise? i'm wandering around aimlessly, slowly trying to acclimate myself back into this austin-based life of mine.
switzerland was great. it had a rough beginning and a rough end, but the in-between was all on the up and up. it's a beautiful country, with idyllic little towns, cities that are clean and beautiful and refreshingly modest, staggering mountain peaks and sparkling rivers and lakes. the travel books' claims that you can set your watch by the swiss train system really is true, and things just happen very efficiently overall. it's this strange combination of impressive efficiency / innovation (the swiss ski resorts are incredibly well-designed) on one hand and idyllic nature-centric small-town life on the other (meat, potatoes, hard work, neat and tidy, etc). you get the feeling that the swiss will always do okay for themselves, no matter what. no one's being particularly extravagant, no one's being particularly extreme... everyone just does what they do really well. it doesn't seem like a particularly friendly place, but it's not unfriendly either.
the general itinerary was fly to zurich, take glacier express train to zermatt, spend 5-6 days skiing in zermatt, train to interlaken, two days in interlaken (with a mountain excursion up to jungfraujoch, "the top of europe"), train to zurich, zurich for one night oh just kidding stupid united airlines cracked cockpit window idiots two nights. it was a great vacation -- tons of skiing, tons of down time, tons of eating, hanging out, playing cards, etc. i spent a lot of my down time trying to get through a book called "snow." it won the nobel prize for literature, and very deservingly so, but it's a tough read -- and made me overly pensive for much of the trip.
one of the highlights (i promised a story!) came on our first or second night in zermatt. after a hearty dinner (the swiss don't mess around with their food -- food is served piping hot, in sizable portions, and usually comes with seconds, no questions asked), the fam decided to wander around the little town for a bit to see what we could see. we ended up in the zermatterhof hotel, one of the nicest hotels in town, and went into the lounge for an after-dinner drink (a digestif, if you will -- kat, will you?). the lounge had a token cheesy guy at the piano with a microphone, a synthesizer, and a misguided belief that he was the next burt bacharach, or something. after several drinks i was FORCED by my family to go up and sing a song with a dude... one song turned to two... two songs turned to three... there were several glasses of champagne involved... and then this french-speaking woman at the bar started making requests and buying rounds and making me sing more.
i noticed that there was something odd about this woman. she seemed to have no problem speaking up (asking me if i knew anything by celine dion or requesting a specific carole king song), and the bar staff, although extremely friendly and accommodating to all of the patrons (this was a pretty nice hotel), seemed to jump at her every command. giovanni (the italian burt bacharach, genius of the synthesizer) had told us at one point that he was going to take a quick dinner break but then mysterious french-speaking bar woman requested something and the dinner break was no more.
...turns out that this woman (christiane) is the HOTEL DIRECTOR, and that she and her husband manage this hotel. we chattted for a while (a chance to practice french? mais oui!) and she (very kindly) kept telling me what a beautiful voice i had and eventually told me that she wanted me to come back next winter and maybe work as a singer in her hotel.
from advertising exec to hotel lounge singer... hmm... then again, i'd be in the heart of world-class swiss skiing and working in the best hotel in town... put giovanni/burt out of a job, poor guy... start wearing sequined dresses and beehive hairdos...
career change, peut-etre??
Monday, January 22, 2007
caps lock too much for you all?
long story short, i am supposed to be somewhere over the atlantic right now. i would be a little tired, sure, but i would be comfortably settled on the plane, with maybe a cocktail in hand, finishing up my book and thinking about the two big meetings i had awaiting me at work the next day.
but instead, here i am, in a funny airport hotel with a built-in mcdonald's, and whose color scheme seems to be the more primary colors you can squeeze in, the better. the design is actually pretty neat -- very cheerful ikea meets sparse swiss/german design aesthetic. the shower is a tall cylindrical column with a curved sliding door and built in bench.
but sorry, why am i wasting valuable post space talking about the airport hotel? the reason we didn't make it out of zurich today is apparently united airlines noticed at the very last possible second that there was a "severe crack" in the cockpit window. JUST A TIP, UNITED MAINTENANCE PEOPLE: maybe you should check those things when the plane first comes IN to the airport, not when the plane is about to LEAVE. call me crazy, but that strikes me as a good idea.
many long lines and angry words and frustrated sighs later, they were unable to book me (and my parents) on any flights that would get us into austin (or DC) at any point tonight, so we had to admit defeat and take our stupid little voucher to chez mcdonald's. and here we are.
more on my actual vacation another time, since i am being a typical self-centered american who is hogging the free internet and i am starting to feel slightly guilty about it (then again, it doesn't look like anybody's waiting so who cares?). there are lots of stories to tell, and i want to make sure i do each of them justice, so i will have to save the meat for another post.
in the meantime i leave you with these Tantalizing Glimpses into the coming stories:
1) swiss food = meat, potatoes, and beer. lather, rinse, repeat.
2) i become a lounge singer in zermatt
3) i nearly die on a ski slope
4) glaciers and glaciers of ice
5) the korean take-over of interlaken
6) zurich, city of incredibly clean water and modest buildings
wish me luck tmw. if united doesn't get me out of here on schedule i swear that i will make them RUE THE DAY they decided to cross me.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
be good while i'm gone. and think good thoughts for cowboy. even though those 7-day feeding pellets seem to be working okay, i am always paranoid that i'm going to walk in the door from the airport and find the little guy floating at the top of his bowl.
if time and internet connection allows i will send you all some love from the land of the switz...
so what did i do? did i casually mention it during water cooler conversation? bring it up during post-meeting chit-chat? no, and no. instead, [see post title], i sent them an email about it and i am now going to share that email with you, my lovely three readers!
[can you tell that i'm procrastinating? can you? because i am. and as soon as the hellish dark swirling vortex known as back-to-back meetings starts in the next 30 mins, i am going to be so screwed.]
and thus i present you with my unofficial review of woodland restaurant:
to my fellow SoCo area-inhabiting friends:
in case you haven't already checked it out, last night I went to the new Woodland restaurant (toward the southern end of the strip near the Farm to Market organic grocery store) and I really liked it! the design is definitely a bit kitsch/theme (I mean come on, there's a freaking tree growing in the middle of the place) but it's still warm and inviting and I thought the food was pretty good.
you MUST order the southern friend oysters app -- battered oysters served with this amazing lemon serrano vinaigrette -- perfect light and kicky contrast to the batter. I also had a fantastic champagne cocktail called a French 75 and a delicious blue cheese burger with fries (which, oof. perfectly seasoned burger but I definitely felt a bit gross afterward).
there was a bit of a wait (about 30 mins?), which surprised me for a random Wed night but I'm guessing that people were anxious to check out the new kid on the block. we sat at the bar -- which had a great staff -- and then ended up in a cozy little booth.
anyway, just thought I'd pass that along!
yours in SoCo-area foodie-ism,
(who sometimes wishes she could be a restaurant reviewer for a living)
ONE IMPORTANT ADDITION: i forgot to mention in my e-mail review that the staff was all decked out in woodland-ish gear, e.g. flannel shirts or earth-colored tees, which amused me immensely.
so, despite the fact that i am DYING trying to finish everything so i can leave for vacation with a clear conscience tomorrow, i give you this link:
which i find to be extremely, extremely bizarre. and f'ing hilarious.
E, don't ever say i don't look out for you, man...
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
1) if you chop a lot of onions while making dinner, make sure you wash your hands THOROUGHLY (and by thoroughly, i mean scald those bitches in boiling water and maybe throw in some clorox bleach for good measure) before removing contact lenses from eyes. i'm just sayin'.
2) apparently it is possible to trip UP the stairs. i'm generally not a klutzy person, and i've heard a lot of stories about people falling down the stairs -- but apparently you can trip while going UP the stairs too, and bang the shit out of your elbows and knees (this seems physically impossible but i assure you that it's true). ironically, i think part of my korean name means "grace."
...you can just call me "smooth operator."
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
[END COMPLETELY UNRELATED AND DISGUSTING TANGENT]
[except for the fact that i partly embellished that story for dramatic effect. i haven't actually been associated with an actual ad for a toilet... yet. we've done some toilet strategy, but no toilet ads. heh. i actually really like working on this client, toilets or not. and i totally, totally want a bidet seat. so now you know what to get me for my birthday. why wipe when you can wash, eh?]
[END COMPLETELY UNRELATED AND SOMEWHAT LESS DISGUSTING TANGENT, #2]
the POINT of this already-horrible post was how i am thinking about what i want to do next. i heart austin, austin has the alamo drafthouse, you can wear flip-flops while you christmas shop here in austin, there are dead birds in austin, austin has queso, austin has town lake, you can get your tooth chipped in an unexpected bar brawl in austin... what's not to like? it has clearly been a very full ten months for me (ten months! already! yowza).
but as i sit around and consider the possibilities, oh, the possibilites, i find myself facing a new dilemma: corporate america has made me dumb. i mean, not DUMB dumb. i play a mean game of brickbreaker on my blackberry. i can send a meeting maker on microsoft outlook like nobody's business. i can churn out POVs, creative briefs, powerpoint decks, and research reports in the mere time it takes me to crunch my way through a single bag of cheetos. mm, dangerously cheesy!
yet... i don't know... dumb. my friend di was telling me how she read this article labeling us the zoomer generation to reflect the way we're so used to zooming from one thing to another on our way to the top. and i remember reflecting with my friend erica over this past holiday about how HARD we used to work in high school. as most of you know, i went to a total nerd high school. MAJOR nerd high school, and we worked our ASSES off. i distinctly remember sitting for hours and hours of testing our senior year (to the point where there was a several-week period where we didn't even have any classes, we just sat for AP test after IB test after god knows what other tests), and i also remember enjoying college a lot more than i did high school (although high school was pretty fun, too. we used to put all of our cars together in the parking lot after school, turn up our radios to the same station and have a parking lot party. a PLP, for short. don't you wish you went to high school with me?).
but if you asked me today to sit down and take 10 million tests on 10 million different topics (ranging from the different forms of 18th century sonata to analyzing french literature to chemical reactions, oh man, i was bad at those, to analyzing the causes of obscure european wars, etc.), or thoughtfully analyze some difficult poetry (stupid sylvia plath and her overly dark subject matters. i seriously think that the only reason her poetry is still taught in american high schools is because she had a famous husband and committed suicide by putting her head in the oven. "dirty girl thumb stump" blah blah), or go through the hellish process that was applying to college all over again... i don't know, i just don't know if i could do it.
it makes me wonder if the 17-year-old version of me was smarter than the 25-year-old version of me (yikes), or if my 17-year-old self was accustomed to using my brain in different ways, or if your brain really is a muscle that you can train back into tip-top shape. i like to think of myself as a relatively intelligent individual (i like crosswords! i read books! i listen to NPR! i keep a journal that is full of largely inane but nonetheless well-articulated thoughts!), but when i stop and think about the fact that this brain -- as it were -- is devoted to thinking about the best way to market a TOILET that flushes x amount of bean paste...
well. it's a humbling prospect, to say the least.
maybe it's time to get smart again...?
Monday, January 8, 2007
that is all. oh, and if i manage to stay disease-free and get to make it to switzerland only to discover that the famed swiss alps are completely snow-free (in other words, global warming has f'ed with my vacation) i am going to be even more pissed.
so don't even think about it, m'kay??
on a completely unrelated note, i had another culinary success this past wknd: roasted tomato and basil soup. DELISH. took several hours of effort but the result was worth every minute. yum.
Friday, January 5, 2007
last night i made my inaugural visit to the famous original alamo drafthouse for one of the oh-so-quirky-and-unique special events. the theme was ladies of the 80s sing-along/dance party.
yes, you read that correctly. ladies! of the 80s! sing-along! AND dance party!
i had been completely out of it all afternoon (note to self: when the eye doc says they're going to dilate your eyes and that reading is going to be a bit tough for the next 4-6 hours, they're not kidding. i was driving with sunglasses on AT NIGHT because i couldn't take the reflections of the headlights! and the street lamps! the brightness, OH HOW IT HURTS), and had to drag myself out of my cozy apt to head downtown.
but let me tell you, nothing lifts your (dilated) spirits like some 80s music. and people wearing 80s outfits. the show was PACKED, and by packed i mean completely sold out with a stand-by line that went out the door. admission was a mere $11, and since this is the awesome alamo, i decided to order another root beer float to enjoy with the tunes and the bad hair and neon-colored make-up.
and then the show began. people, there was belinda carlisle. tiffany, who thinks we're alone now. debbie gibson, who gets loooost... in your eyyyyyyes. madonna, who suffers from occasional stigmata. a pre-crack whitney houston with crazy-ass hair. paula abdul! pat benatar! the song from flashdance! kylie minogue, who showed us how to do the locomotion (did you know that you have to sway your hips now?), and during whose song people conga'ed around the theater. joan jett and cyndi lauper and the go-gos.
but the piece de resistance! oh my. after a brief little closing blurb from one of the theater staff, we were told that the final song required some... props. and that props were taped to the bottom of the table in front of us, and that those props would give us a clue as to what the last song was.
so i reached under the table, found the tape, and pulled out... yup, you guessed it, a red balloon. they had spread out 99 red balloons throughout the theater, and when the video began, the balloon war began. people in the back rows batted theirs toward the front, and people in the front rows batted theirs toward the back.
if it any gets better than a ladies of the 80s marathon in an austin institution with a cold root beer float and a balloon war at the end, i don't want to know.
Thursday, January 4, 2007
i am being impressively unproductive at work today. the day has gone something like this:
- alarm goes off @ 7.
- i laugh and roll over and go back to sleep. screw the morning workout.
- i wake up @ 8, then go back to sleep.
- i wake up @ 8:10, then go back to sleep.
- i wake @ 8:20, then go back to sleep.
- etc, etc, etc until
- i finally get out of bed @ 9. oops.
- i drag my ass out of bed. sun is streaming in through the blinds and i've had plenty of sleep, but for some reason getting up is a major chore.
- i thank my lucky stars that i worked out last night and showered afterward, because this means that i can skip a morning shower.
- check blackberry. no major emails yet. hurray.
- get dressed, roll out.
- arrive at work, purchase breakfast taco and diet pepsi, breakfast of champions.
- proceed to waste about an hour wondering why my itunes isn't uploading my new song properly (i burned a bunch of data files to a CD last night but had trouble importing the songs into my itunes library -- any ideas??)
... and then decide to write in my blog instead of attending to the piles of work that are sitting around me. good times.
...but it's not a good post, it's actually just a list of brief phrases and then a photo essay about my new year's eve.
so, onto the pics, then?
INGREDIENTS OF A GOOD NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY:
1) someone with mad martini-making skillz
2) a core party team
3) someone raising the roof, er, i mean pillow?
4) a drunk dog (heh)
5) a pajama dance party
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
since i got really lazy about posting over the holiday, i must warn you in advance that this post is going to be a haphazard collection of unrelated paragraphs with minimal transitional sentences and even less insight, just blather about what i've been doing for the last week.
so! with that caveat, i present you with...
JENNIFER'S HOLIDAY SEASON, 2K6 (does ML still read this? ever? b/c every time i say "2K-something" i think of DEB 2000!!!! hi ML)
we'll go in reverse order b/c that's the most fun.
last night i had a really weird travel experience. now, i've traveled a fair share, and have had a reasonable amount of strange travel experiences (the time a man had to be restrained by the federal air marshal b/c he was freaking out, the time in korea where i seriously prayed for my life b/c i thought i was going to die, riding like a baller in international business class, riding like a loser in tiny-ass little planes that do flip-flops with the minutest shift in pressure change, that one flight attendant who had reggae playing when we walked on-board, he was cool, annoyingly chipper southwest flight attendants, etc etc etc). but this one was a first. we had left our gate @ dulles a little bit late but were heading toward the runway and were #2 for takeoff. turn onto open runway, blast engines on, accelerate, start charging down... and then SLAM ON THE BRAKES and veer off toward the right.
and then go back to the gate and sit there for 2.5 hours while they deal with the "warning message that came up during takeoff about a potential mechanical issue." good times.
instead of coming home around 7:30 with plenty of time to unpack, clean my apt, and cook a nice, healthy dinner, i came home after 11, exhausted, annoyed, and freaking LAY OFF ME I'M STARVING.
(by the way! cowboy survived the nine days without me! he is a serious pimp.)
okay so that's enough about my weird aborted take-off story. so, holidays? were great. chill. started off slowly with kim family fun (including a karaoke contest -- i got the highest score, boo yeah!) and then got really packed with fun friend outings (including a night in which i decided to break in my new shoes with ten million hours of alcohol-fueled dancing and a late night ride through the mcdonald's drive-thru. three blisters later, my feet are still mad at me. but the shoes looked good as hell) and ended up with a fun little jaunt to good old charlottesville, which i've heard described as "God's country" and is just so true. the hills! the smudgy blue ridge mtns against the gray sky! just gorgeous, seriously. i also learned that i am a MASTER MARTINI MAKER, y'all! seriously! i mean i knew i had CONSUMED a lot of martinis in my life but i didn't know that i could actually MAKE them! i was so impressed.
um, so what else did i do? i spent a lot of time at home with my parents. we made a huge birthday feast for my dad's birthday. i did some shopping. i bought three pairs of shoes. heh. i ate some insanely delicious indian food with the always-fabulous kattyk. i went power-walking around my parents' neighborhood with my mom. i slept in a lot. i had numerous conversations about marriage and relationships, which were thought-provoking and eye-opening. i visited cleveland park and had amazing italian food and delicious martinis in all of my old haunts with my good buddy nay. megan and i discussed the meaning of "til death do us part" in the overwhelmingly yuppie neighborhood of downtown bethesda (i didn't think it could get any yuppier, but it surprises me every time). i went to a james bond themed party and dealt a killer game of black jack. and also had a pajama dance party. i hung out with little people on christmas and got farted on by a deliciously scheming three-year-old (it was hilarious). oh yeah and i saw JIM VANCE!!! he is totally attractive. (this will only mean something to fellow DCers).
it's always strange to come back to austin after an extended visit home, because i feel like my life at home is very different from my life here in austin. life in DC = very full. friends, family, food, fun, all the F's crammed in as tightly as possible. it's vacation. i'm not working. i'm busy, but with mostly enjoyable things. it's lots of familiar faces and places. life in austin = a lot quieter. a lot newer. more work, less fun. less familiar faces, and more new experiences. things move at a quieter pace, and i am in control of most of the variables. it's different from going home in college, because i feel like i have an established life here in austin, but i'm visiting a life i had established in DC as well -- if that makes any sense.
it's good to be back, but i'm glad i went home.
happy new year, people.