Thursday, June 28, 2007
if you need a good movie recommendation to keep you company while I'm gone, I just re-watched Monsoon Wedding last night (a Mira Nair film). loved it -- the pace, the energy, the chaos, the intertwining stories, the mood of the piece -- absolutely fantastic.
if you need a good book recommendation to keep you company while I'm gone, I just re-purchased my copy of The Red Tent by Anita Diamant... it imagines the story of a forgotten character in the Old Testament, is earthy, passionate and rich.
cross your fingers that the non-stop thunderstorms will stop long enough to let me fly out of Austin today...
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
- my unhealthy obsession with jane austen movies. i FINALLY got around to watching the bbc version of the mini-series and was blown away by the colin firth / jennifer ehle duo. then i watched sense & sensibility (major girl crush on kate winslet). then i re-read pride & prejudice. then i read little women (not austen, but you get my drift). they're just so... charming. simple. wholesome. with great characterization and plot.
- i bought a knife sharpening steel at bed bath and beyond this past wknd, and holy moly. it's like i have a whole new kitchen. if you suffer from dull knives, get thee to the nearest store and buy one of these babies. they work miracles, i tell ya. plus you feel like a bad ass when you stand there making malicious knife-sharpening steel. mwahaha.
- inspired by my sharpening steel, i made a delicious dinner on fri night: lime & honey glazed salmon over a black bean/corn/spinach salad. delish.
- the weather in austin for the past week or so is best described as "swampy, humid, stormy rainforest" - and it looks like it's here to stay, wtf? i don't think it's rained this much in the entire 15 months i've lived here. good thing i'm escaping for vaca!
- saturday night i went to my first tx lonestar roller girls derby. let's just that if i ever meet any of these girls i am going to do my best to stay on their good side. the best part was when they settled penalties with arm-wrestling matches or pillow fights. the mother fucking holy rollers ended up upsetting the putas del fuego, but it was a vicious fight to the end... and when i say vicious fight, i mean vicious fight. it went wayyy beyond the realm of thrown elbows and pulled hair -- we're talking full-on wrestling on the ground in roller skates, throwing punches and slamming helmets. yowza. this clip isn't fantastic, but it gives you a sense of what it's like. check out some of the fights that happen at about 2:00 left in the video:
they really take the whole "keep austin weird" thing pretty seriously, dudes.
Friday, June 22, 2007
if you let society's institutions and laws decide the matter, I am definitely an adult. I pay taxes, I am entrusted with responsibilities at my job, I can vote, buy alcohol, gamble, watch R-rated movies, buy cigarettes, drive a car, rent a car, get married, or even adopt a child. or hell, I can blow that all off and buy alcohol, gamble, smoke cigarettes, hop in a car, and avoid paying taxes -- but then I'll be considered an adult if I ever get caught.
it's weird, though, because on one hand I really do consider myself an adult. I pay all of my bills on time, I do my taxes myself, I check on my credit score, I get my oil changed every 3,000 miles (well, close enough), I have renter's insurance, I work hard at my job -- well, when I'm not blogging, of course -- I try and treat other people with respect and kindness, I have an apartment that has more than just milk crates and rock-band posters and ramen noodles. but on the other hand, I feel like a total kid. I spend a lot of daydreaming about what I want to be when I grow up, I marvel at my friends who've made the decision to get married or are (gasp!) even considering children, I eat cereal for dinner if I feel like it, I go out drinking and come back to blog about Dick Cheney and halibut (naturally), and I feel stunned when I realize that my mom was already married at my age.
I wonder when it all "comes together" and you feel like a legitimate grown-up. is it the realization of how many responsibilities you have? is it when you make the incredible decision that you're ready to become responsible for the life and growth of another human being? is it having a strong sense of self? is it maturity, or the way in which you treat other people, or not thinking about your self all the time (said the girl who has a blog, which is pretty much the 2007 definition of incredible narcissism)? is it when you realize that you and only you are responsible for your actions/happiness/life, so you can either shape up and take some ownership or just float along for the rest of your life, blaming other people when things go wrong?
what do you think? what makes a grown-up? and is it weird that I only sometimes feel like one, despite the fact that all the numbers point to yes?
also, is this the face of a trustworthy, responsible, legitimate grown-up (featuring a cameo by the lovely courtney botts-now-schaefer on the eve of her bachelorette party)?
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
i decided that enough was enough and that it was time for me to be an adult about it and go up there to meet my upstairs neighbor. i hoofed it to the third floor, resolving to be polite but firm, and knocked on their door (again, dreading that it would be some 600-lb morbidly obese fellow who clearly could not help sounding like an elephant/basketball star as he tried his best to walk around his apt).
the door opened... and a nice, normal, cute guy answered the door. my heart sank. damn! why did he have to be cute? but i stuck to my guns, apologized for barging in on him like this, introduced myself as his downstairs neighbor and then asked if he wouldn't mind keeping it down just a bit. he was extremely nice about it -- it was obvious that he and his roommate (girlfriend? no idea, i didn't see the roommate) had just moved in, and he said they didn't realize whether they were being loud but that they would definitely keep it down. i thanked him, said that i didn't realize he had just moved in and that i totally understood there would be some moving noise for a while, and we parted ways amicably.
so there you have it. score one point for polite, mature, adult-like behavior on my part...?
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
separately: the guy who lives above me is driving me CRAZY. i don't know if it's a new tenant b/c i've lived there over a year without any major problems, but whoever is living there now stomps around all day like the world has done him a major injustice. i am seriously considering going up there, knocking on their door, and politely asking him to try and keep it down. he may hate me and express his rage by stomping even harder, but i'm seriously going to go postal if i don't do anything about it... or at least try. my only fear is that i get up there and he turns out to be some 600-pound morbidly obese dude who is just trying to get around his apt. that would be bad.
i'll keep you posted.
Monday, June 18, 2007
yes, friends, it appears that i have regressed back to my college / just recently graduated days in which any day that started with "thurs," "fri" or "sat" was a good day to drink. it was good times all around but i am clearly out of practice and need to ramp up the boozing if i plan to keep up with this pace (note: i don't).
thursday's booze-fest centered around a milestone alamo drafthouse event: my first-ever boy band sing-along. now, if you're one of those too-cool-for-school types that cannot appreciate the sheer beauty and emotion in an entire theater full of people standing on their feet, singing backstreet boys at the top of their lungs while the video blares on the movie screen -- i don't want to be your friend. because, people, it was an emotional moment. there was new kids. there was boyz II men. there was new edition. justin timberlake made several apperances (via video, of course). once the sing-along was over, we decided we had not had enough quite yet and ventured up to north austin to the open-until-4-am-because-that's-how-we-koreans-do karaoke joint to sing our little hearts out some more.
you'd think that i would take a break on friday (which i sort of did if you count my 10:30 arrival time to work), but there was a huge happy hour planned for a few co-workers' birthdays and i did not want to miss out. no major shenanigans here... just a ton of (really cheap) drinks and drunken memories with work buddies at the preferred watering hole (key bar, for you few austinites that read this -- it's co-owned by some work people).
saturday was one of those "i promise i didn't plan to get drunk" evenings. it started out innocently enough -- a movie and some beers at the alamo on south lamar -- and then progressed into a full-on multiple-martini kind of evening. we saw "knocked up" (absolutely hilarious although i could have done without the overly graphic birth shots) and then made a tour of austin hot spots (apple bar for caramel apple martinis -- delicious cocktails + excellent people watching, six for a really quick drink -- crowd was totally wack we didn't stay long, and then cedar street to see some 80s hair band -- some strong mexican martinis and sweaty crowds).
sunday included some much-needed r&r, which including sleeping in, re-watching the BBC version of pride and prejudice (i'm obsessed), swimming some laps at my neighborhood pool and stocking up on groceries at the cheap grocery store (not to be confused with the much more high-quality but high-priced central market, which i love dearly, but i'm going through a poor phase). i made a delicious tofu stir-fry and a pot of chicken soup from some leftover rotisserie chicken -- yum!
and thus the week begans. i spent the morning at the doctor's office getting my teeth raped at my six-month cleaning and came into the office for some great news about new business. good times all around. should be a good week...
Thursday, June 14, 2007
i had long been interested in flying them based on many a positive review, and was pleased to discover that my office had booked the first half of my biz trip on a direct flight from AUS to JFK. my pleasant experience began long before the flight itself when i created an account online and became a true blue member. just like southwest, jet blue has bypassed the stupid frequent flyer mileage programs embraced by so many other airlines and done a straight up point system where once you reach 100, you get a free flight. no muss, no fuss.
check-in was a breeze... i'm a big fan of the kiosk system, and the screen savers on their kiosks were programmed with fun and quirky and non-TSA-seeming messages like "hey, what's up?" or a simple but effective "hello." once i got onto the plane, i was pleased to discover that despite its relative smallness (one aisle down the middle, 2-3 seats on each side -- pretty much standard for austin flights and something that i'm used to by now), it didn't disappoint on its promise of leather seats and a TV screen in each seat.
dude. the TV was money. the channels! the fact that you can start watching from the second you can in your seat! i started off with some food network (barefoot contessa, queen of the hamptons) and then decided to pony up $5 to watch a movie (easily purchased by swiping my debit card). i chose to watch the namesake and absolutely loved it. jhumpa lahiri is one of my favorite writers and although i still prefer the book to the movie i thought mira nair did an amazing job bringing the story to life. i even teared up at a few moments.
the service was a hybrid between continental's firm professionalism and southwest's (occasionally extremely annoying) quirkiness -- friendly but not overly so, professional but not robotic. they served drinks and snacks but otherwise left us the hell alone, which i appreciated. once the movie was over, i got completely caught up in TLC's show "miami ink" and started wondering if maybe i should get a tattoo (i haven't... yet).
we landed @ JFK 10 minutes before our scheduled arrival time and had to hang out on the tarmac a bit until our gate became available but all in all i would say that my first jetblue experience gets a 9 out of 10 (not a whole 10 because that just seems silly).
well played, jetblue.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
1) yours truly (YT)
2) dippy flight attendant chick (DFAC, not to be confused with AFLAC)
3) rocker TV producer guy (RTVPG)
4) evil, evil continental airlines (EECE, who i generally love and who my friend di is genuinely obsessed with)
EECA: "attention, ladies and gentlemen. we just wanted to come on the PA to let you know that we hate you. i know you're tired after a long day of client meetings. i know you are going back to austin against your will and that you'd rather stay in NYC to play with friends and enjoy the sunny-but-disgustingly-hot weather. but mwahaha! we are delayed."
YT: "hate. hate for everyone. i know austin has made me chill and whatnot but still. haaaate."
EECA: "ok, it's not that bad! i know your flight was supposed to leave at 8:15, but newark is a giant cluster fuck that was thrown off by a teensy bit of weather. it's 8:45 now, let's board."
YT: "not so bad. haaaate is diminishing somewhat. may make it home before midnight! rejoice!"
(we board airplane)
(sit at gate)
(sit at gate)
(meet seatmates, DFAC, who is very earth-mothery looking with a fantastic complexion and RTVPG, who is very tan and tall and fit-looking)
(one hour has passed. we still have not yet left gate.)
(movement! hurrah! the plane groans its way toward the tarmac.)
EECA: "so yeahhhh, ladies and gentlemen. i know you've been sitting at the gate for an hour. i know you are hating life. i know your seatmates are annoying the shit out of you by their incessant chatting. maybe they will fall in love and become life partners, but still, can't they do so more quietly? i mean really. anyway, so yeah. i've got some bad news. we're going to be parked here on the tarmac for... [dramatic pause] about another hour and a half. we're at the end of a long line."
YT: "rage. seeeethe. hate."
DFAC, talking to RTVPG next to her: "so yeah, i'm a vegetarian. i just, i don't know, the way those animals are killed just seems so wrong, you know? don't get me wrong, i love me my fish. in fact, i had this amazing fish in lisbon the other night, but there were just so many bones? i thought i was going to choke on a bone! and i don't eat shellfish. i mean, don't get me wrong, i've had fresh oysters, and they are so delicious! but then i realized they're fresh out of the water and i just felt so BAD! and how they boil crabs alive? it just makes me so sad!
RTVPG: "mm-hmm, yeah. right. okay."
YT: "hmm. am suddenly craving some MD crabs served with a healthy dousing of old bay seasoning and an ice-cold corona served with lime. or maybe some fresh oysters on the half shell with plenty of tabasco and lemon juice."
DFAC: "i mean, i just think that my destiny here on this earth is to give out peace and harmony wherever i go, you know? wherever i'm heading to next, i want to give out as much love as i can while i'm here. i really think that's my calling. i think it's so important. that's why i love to travel so much. i just feel like i'm a citizen of the world, you know? even though my passport says the U.S.? that's why i'm a flight attendant, although i just have a really hard time with the bureaucracy of it all, you know? all the corporate stuff? i just want to give all my passengers love and take care of them like they're my family."
RTVPG: "mm-hmm, yeah. right. okay."
YT: "excuse me while i barf. the usual austin jen would have said now i'm sure she's a lovely lady and she has great skin and the world needs some more love, kumbayah and all that, but right now? i'm trying to sleep you dippy bitch! shut the f up!!!!!!!"
EENA: "hiiii, ladies and gentlemen. have you gone completely postal yet? okay, so i have great news! we're totally great. we are going to take off EARLIER than we said! isn't that fantastic? i mean, aren't you totally blown away? so yeah, now that it's after 10 pm and you've been sitting here wanting to die for the past few hours, let's embark on a three-hour journey to texas! hurray!"
DFAC: "so yeah, i just don't understand the celebrity stylist thing. i mean, true musicians are supposed to be artists, you know? i'm a singer, and a lot of my friends are musicians. and they're real artists, and their styles should reflect their PASSION, and their individuality. i'm friends with this norwegian band, they're kinda like psychedelic pop? and their leader, he writes all their songs, he wears these great velvet suits which are just so right for their ART, you know?"
RTVPG: "mm-hmm, right. yeah. okay."
so this went on and on and on and on and on until i couldn't take it anymore. i was annoyed, i was exhausted, i had been up since 7 am, the entire plane was silent and dark except for these annoying yahoos who were yammering on like a pair of fools. my ipod was blasting into my ears in an effort to drown these two out, but that wasn't working and besides, my ears were starting to throb and i really wanted to sleep. i finally turned to them, put on a big smile, and said "excuse me, i'm so sorry to interrupt you, but i was wondering if you wouldn't mind speaking a little more quietly? it's just that i can hear your conversation and i don't want to feel like i'm eavesdropping. that'd be greeeeat, thanks. YOU ANNOYING FUCKERS."
okay, so i didn't really say the last part, and about two hours into the flight they finally quieted down a bit and i was able to get some sleep. does saying this makes me a heartless bitch? honestly i couldn't have cared less. i do think i've chilled out a lot since moving to austin but last night i just couldn't take it anymore. who cares about zen when you have annoying DFAC sitting next to you and waxing poetic about the meaning of her life.
Friday, June 8, 2007
things that stood out to me:
- mayonnaise sandwiches in the U.K. - gross!
- the african refugee camp family
- the amount of packaged foods in the american families' pictures
- the amount of neon-colored things in the NC family's picture
- the overflowing amount of fruits/vegetables in non-american families' pictures
- how much $ the germans spend on their food
- how good some of the recipes sounded (i.e. chicken biryana with basmati rice and fried shredded pork with sweet and sour sauce)
- how unappealing some of the recipes sounded (pig's knuckles with carrots, celery and parsnips or bacon & herring from germany)
- how much i loved the ecuadorian family's hats
- how the bhutan family feeds what looks like ten generations of relatives on $5/week
what stands out to you?
IN THE WORLD OF FOOD:
i have revived my love affair with cinnamon toast crunch. it's just so GOOD! the cinnamon-y taste! the crunch of the little squares! feels like a decadent treat, and makes me drink milk. i also tried to grow a basil plant. that did not work very well. i got two caprese salds out of it before it decided to up and die. *sigh* guess i don't have much of a green thumb.
IN THE WORLD OF EXERCISE:
i have recently started up with pilates class. i took a few private lessons (with an ex-ballet dancer of an instructor who told me that she retired at 22 because she was starting to getting arthritis and rewarded herself with a new set of boobs) and a few classes and am officially hooked. i like how strong you feel afterward.
i have also recently started swimming laps in my neighborhood pool (not to be confused with the melrose place-esque pool in my apt complex, where all i do is tan and wish the frat boys wouldn't play their music so loudly). dude, swimming laps is much harder than i remember. i always get annoyed during my workout for two reasons: 1) i think i'm going to crash into the other swimmers in the lane and 2) my goggles always fog up / let in water / feel uncomfortable (i guess that's what i get for buying the cheapest pair). actually there was Major Drama at the pool the other day -- i didn't pay too much attention because i didn't want the guy to feel like a spectacle but i guess some guy was having heart trouble and they had to call in an ambulance and cart him away. not good.
IN THE WORLD OF WORK:
i am heading to NYC for a meeting on monday, and i get to fly jetblue! i am excited. hopefully they will not strand me on the tarmac for countless hours on end. i promise to report on the comfort of the leather seats and the quality of the cable TV.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
today's story: The Time(s) When Mandy and Jen Had A Peeping Tom
this is a double-whammy. one night as I was driving home from work, I got a call from my roommate-at-the-time, the lovely Mandy Corrie (M: do you still read this blog? if so, hi! I'm so excited for the new HP book and plan on calling you as soon as I finish it so that we can trade theories! snape = GOOD OR EVIL? we will now know!). it had been a late night for me and she had already gone to bed, and she was calling to let me know that I shouldn't be alarmed to come home to police officers in our apt. umm, wtf? turns out she had seen a shadowy figure outside her window (that was the first and last time I live in a ground-floor apt) and called 911. they didn't catch him, but we were both thoroughly freaked. there were bars on our windows, so he couldn't necessarily have climbed in... but the idea that someone is watching you while you sleep is still a freaky idea.
time #2: this time we were both home and in our respective rooms, reading in bed. all of a sudden my phone beeped -- I had a text message. it was from Mandy in the next room, and all it said was "he's at my window again. call 911, then meet me in the living room." I dialed 911, asked them in a whisper to send someone out as soon as possible, and stealthily crept into the (dark) living room. Mandy (who had sneakily rolled out of her bed and army-crawled into the living room so he couldn't see her moving -- this is why she is now a special agent for the state dept) met me there and we hid on the living room floor, wondering when the police were going to get there.
when they eventually arrived, they went around back and found his footprints in the snow -- he had been standing so close to Mandy's window that had it been open, she could have reached out and touched him. he had obviously escaped by then and despite their efforts to find someone, it was a lost cause. we told a few of our neighbors about it and they told us that things like this had happened before (note that we lived in a pretty nice part of DC) and that peeping toms would figure out which apts had women and then just hang out, waiting for a glimpse (?).
... which was basically a huge tangent to tell you why I was (understandably?) freaked out to be greeted post-shower with the image/sound of men on my balcony (even though they were being paid to be there). it's a better wake-up call than the smell of coffee, I'll tell you that much.
Monday, June 4, 2007
after the movie we wandered around downtown to take in the scene that is the ROT rally... or, to be more specific, the Republic of Texas Biker Rally. oh yes. you read that right. it could easily be summed up in the following phrase: lots of leather, leathery skin, old and leathery tattoos, and leathery-looking boobs. it was fascinating. there were over 50,000 bikes in town and these people were SERIOUSLY ready to party. they had blocked off a main part of downtown for parades, rallies and speeches... it was like another world.
saturday I went to a pilates class (and my abs are still hurting) and then spent the afternoon recovering by the pool. Texas is HOT these days, people -- it was 90-something and sunny -- and the pool was completely packed. I've said this before and I'll say it again... I seriously live at the modern 2007 reincarnation of Melrose Place. I was the only non-blond non-fake-boobed chick in the place. everyone was drinking beer, listening to music, and tanning their already-ridiculously-tan bodies. I felt like a total academic in comparison with my reading material (a book) and drink of choice (ice water). later on I ended up going to a neighborhood pool to swim some laps and was extremely relieved by the lack of overly tanned fake boobs.
saturday night I had the following conversation with a stranger while on my way to meet a friend for dinner:
(I had noticed that the block was packed with people who were clearly waiting for something to begin)
me: "'scuse me, but can you tell me what's going on? is it the biker rally"
him: "no, it's the gay pride parade."
me: "really?! um... did they not realize that this wknd was biker wknd?"
him: "actually, it's always planned for the same wknd."
me: "on purpose?! get out. that is hilarious."
him: "more leather for everybody!"
(which led to much amusement on my part)
anyway, sat night was dinner + drinks with a friend, after which I fell asleep on top of my covers with all the lights on and my contacts still in. klassy, no? sun morning I had the BEST DIM SUM ever (in Austin! who knew?!) with my buddy Jordan. we were completely blown away by the amount of asian people in the joint... I mean seriously, where have these people been hiding? then I went to a wine-tasting, where I had to watch my intake so I wouldn't end up completely drunk on a sun afternoon.
the rest of the day passed with grocery-shopping, laundry, and errands... all in all, an excellent wknd, wouldn't you say?