Friday, September 29, 2006

What I would be blogging

The beginning of a full quarter and several other school related projects are keeping me from doing my blog duty. What I would be writing about, and hopefully will be writing about soon...

"Bob Costas is Sexy, and Other Odd Things About Me I Can't Possibly Explain"

"The Sandwich Rules: Melt My Cheese Please"

"Top Five Favorite Pieces of Art" (I want to work on this one NOW)

"Potential Research Topics" (I can't post on this one because I need to spend time writing about it for real)

"What Color Should I Paint the Living Room Now that the Kitchen is Dramatic Dark Blue?"

Monday, September 25, 2006

Birthday lists

It's my birthday, and not only that, it's a milestone birthday. Makes me think about life so far...

1 helicopter ride
3 trips to Europe
1 triathlon
1 mile open water swim
1 volunteer vacation
1 drive on the other side of road
1 beloved car
1 parasail
400 trips to the ocean (approx.)
1 summer with the fishes

In the next 35 years I'd like to:

Live in another country for at least a year
Ride in a helicopter again
Go to Fashion Week in NY or Milan
3-mile open water swim
Sprint tri in 1.5 hrs
Trips to Scotland, Nicaragua, Turkey, Samoa, New Zealand,...
Drive through the Deep South using backroads
Hear Pavarotti live
Take piano lessons
Participate in guerilla art
Own an old truck
Finish watching AFI 100
Make a mobile
Make audio recordings (of above, where applicable)
Watch movies in Ray's future movie theatre in Milan

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Oh dear

Like others, I cannot help but watch the trailer for Borat repeatedly. It is embarrassingly tasteless and hilarious. My favorite part is when he talks to the cow.

Oh lord, I have to watch it again.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

But first, I must post to my blog

Today's project: painting the kitchen. I've already spent part of two days starting this project and today is the day that I hope to get most of it done. The kitchen was white and I thought it needed a little livening up. (Livening? Does that look right? It didn't to me, but I spell checked it and sure enough...livening. Do you ever have that experience where a word suddenly just looks wrong, even though you're pretty sure it's right. Strange.)

So I'm drinking Trader Joe's Organic Nicaraguan coffee (I keep asking Ray how to say that right?), which is really good stuff, and trying to get motivated, as this painting project has many little details that require standing on the kitchen counters and appliances. I've already given myself two bruises from climbing up and down, and I'm not looking forward to standing on the stove top.

But, painting is an excellent time to listen to music, especially to unearth some old cds that I haven't listened to in ages. My favorites are the unmarked mixed cds that you put in the stereo not knowing what you're gonna get.

This will be the approximate color of the new kitchen...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Movie rating

Yesterday I saw "The Last Kiss," the newest Zach Braff-y Garden State-esque movie. I added it to my movie list but I have no idea how to rate it.

I saw the movie with a friend, who asked me "How do your movie ratings work anyway?" Um, excellent question. I told her that it's some combination of my level of enjoyment with the movie AND how "good" I believe the movie is...writing, directing, acting, etc. I gave "Good Night and Good Luck" the highest rating yet, though I would not want to own this movie and watch it over and over. But, indeed it was a remarkable film that I certainly enjoyed. Another highly rated movie, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," is not the most artistic movie in the world, but I believe it was extremely well-done. More importantly, it was so entertaining that I've added it to my "comfort movie" collection, i.e. the ones that I will watch over and over again.*

"The Last Kiss" does not nicely fit into my flawed but useable rating system. While the story was compelling and thought-provoking, the movie had a lot of weaknesses and holes. It was not a great movie in the conventional sense, but the way they tackled some of the subject matter and concluded the main storyline was evocative and quite true to life. I enjoyed watching it -- was in fact glued to my seat -- and Zach Braff is cute.

So, I rated this movie on a split scale...5.5 for writing & direction and 7.5 for enjoyment and mental chewiness.


COMFORT MOVIES in alphabetical order, incomplete list
Austin Powers, The Barefoot Contessa, Big Fish, Bollywood/Hollywood, Carlito's Way, Contact, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Elizabeth, Gladiator, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Lost in Translation, Monsoon Wedding, Napoleon Dynamite, Pride and Prejudice (BBC 1995), The Princess Bride, Princess Mononoke, Rushmore

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Let's convince the spousal units/flings of the Bush Administration that this is a great idea (from today's BBC News)...


Wives and girlfriends of gang members in one of Colombia's most violent cities have called a sex ban in a bid to get their men to give up the gun.

Dozens of women are said to be taking part in what is being called the "strike of crossed legs", a move backed by the mayor of Pereira.

The city in Colombia's coffee-growing region reported 480 killings last year.

A city official said the idea came from a meeting of wives and girlfriends over the progress of a disarmament scheme.

"We met with the wives and girlfriends of gang members and they were worried some were not handing over their guns and that is where they came up with the idea of a vigil or a sex strike," the mayor's spokesman told Reuters news agency.

"The message they are giving them is disarm," he added.

Studies found that local gang members were drawn to criminality by the desire for status, power, and sexual attractiveness, not economic necessity, Colombian radio reported.

One of the girlfriends, Jennifer Bayer, told Britain's Guardian newspaper: "We want them to know that violence is not sexy."

Ms Bayer said the women had come up with a strike anthem rap song that included the lyrics: "As women we are worth a lot. We don't want to fall for violent men because with them we lose too much."

Saturday, September 9, 2006


Since I felt much better than yesterday, I decided to go ahead with the 1-mile swim this morning. It had rained all night, but heck, who cares.

My strategy included taking some ibuprofen about 1 hour before the race. As we got ready to head out the door I popped 2 caplets in my mouth, took a gulp of water, swallowed, and thought...uh oh. The caplets that just went down were white and blue, and I think they were suppose to be orange. I looked around on the counter, opened up a few bottles and realized my error. I just took Tylenol PM. The last thing I need is a sleep aid!

Since I'm not a pucker, what's done is done. I just prayed my caffeine-laden Clif Bar would help counteract the sleepy stuff. Oh lord, this was too funny.

We made our way to the beach park just as the organizer was making announcements. "If you've never swam in open water before, today is not the day to start." Sure enough, the wind was whipping and the water was both energetic chop and waves. About 20 people of the 55 who had registered bailed out. The rest of us stood around shivering while they pulled the buoys out to the appropriate positions. The weather was bad enough that they didn't place the furthest buoy, but instead told those of us doing the mile to do the course twice. Several people decided the 1/2 mile was more sensible. I wondered the same thing.

In the end, I decided to keep swimming and finish the whole mile. I came in third from the end and my time was sucky, but who cares. Third from the end was also approximately 9th place! No wonder it looks like I'm swimming alone...

Moral of the story: Be careful about containers of mixed pills AND next year wear a wetsuit.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Bad timing

Tomorrow is the 1-mile swim and I am sick. I haven't been sick in forever. I'm too hot, then cold, then hot again, and the thought of getting into cold water and trying to swim my durndest sounds miserable.

I'm praying for a quick recovery. Being sick is silly.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006


-verb. Slang. To move or act snoopily or stealthily.

This is a good description of Sammy, especially now that she has bubblegum stuck to her right front paw. It smells like watermelon flavor.

Sunday, September 3, 2006


My grandpa drove a pink Cadillac. It wasn't an obvious, garish pink, but more subtle...close to the flat off-white paint they used on cars before the 70s. He must have custom-ordered it, since I can't imagine this color being one of the standard offerings. What I do know is that he did it for my grandma. Her favorite color was pink.

Grandpa made other bold gestures (or sacrifices, I'm not sure which) for my grandma. The family moved out of the city and bought some property near Normandy Park, where Grandpa designed and built a pink house. It was similar to the pink you've seen on those houses built on the hillsides along the Ligurian coast. You know the, mauve, yellow, orange buildings all jammed in together.

Anyway, Grandpa's house was a fascinating place. From the outside I'd say it was your somewhat average (albeit pink) American Colonial style, but inside it included some interesting architectural touches. The most interesting of these was the two separate 2nd floors off the dining room.

If you sat in the dining room, you'd see five separate entryways. The first two were obvious: a few steps down led you to the living room, and through a short wide hallway you'd find the kitchen. On the other side of the dining room was another few stairs going down to the hallway where my Grandparents' bedroom and bath were situated. Then there were two closed doors. Behind the first, in the corner, was a narrow dark staircase that bent around to the right. Once at the top you'd see two dark attic-y bedrooms. These rooms belonged to my dad and his brothers when they were kids, though as I remember it, these rooms were used for storage in later years. Lots of dusty, cobwebby storage.

The other closed doors in the dining room were french-style with white-painted wooden blinds. Open these and you'd see a short but steep and wide set of stairs up to a landing, where an upright piano stood. The stairs turned and continued a few steps more. The room at the top was well lit by the large windows on one side. My grandma's collection of glass bottles sat on the window sills, giving the room flecks of blue, green and other colors. I think there was a small desk and bookshelves on one side, and lacey pillows and quilts lay on some kind of settee on the other. Built-in wall shelves held books and more collectibles: ceramics, figurines, glassware. Continuing down a hallway you'd find a well-lit bathroom and another bedroom. I think this space was especially used by my grandma.

Off the kitchen, down two stairs and through a darkish laundry room lay the pool room. It was a funny rectangular room that held the pool table and not much else. There was just enough room to play pool.

My grandma loved roses, and planted scores which outlined the yard in front of the house. Beyond that was another yard, a square field where we used to throw lawn darts. Beyond this was the shuffle board, the big brick fireplace and the beach house. We'd stay in the beach house sometimes, and my mom would attempt (and likely succeed, though I don't remember) to cook on the ancient stove...the type where you'd have to light an actual fire under the cast-iron burners.

My grandparents died when I was 12. My grandmother had a stroke in the mid-70s, resulting in full-blown dementia for the last 10 years of her life. When my grandma died, my grandpa couldn't live without her, even though she didn't even recognize him in the final years. He died a month later. He just wasn't interested in being without her.

My dad and his siblings sold the pink house and Cadillac sometime after Grandpa's death. By that time, the Cadillac probably went to the wrecking yard, and the house met a similar fate a few years later. You see, my grandpa was a civil engineer, not an architect. That funny pink house really wasn't built well, or on ground that made for a firm foundation. It was used as a rental for awhile, and then some subsequent owners tore it down.

Shortly after I met Jana in college, I mentioned something about my Grandpa's pink house. It turns out she remembered it well as it marked the spot of her Dad's favorite fishing hole in the Sound.

A couple of years ago, Desiree and I drove down the swichback road that led to my grandparents' old property. I knew the house would be gone, but I just had to see what was there in its place. It seems the new owner had combined my grandparents' property with the adjacent lot, and built a behemoth with a five-car garage. The landscaping around the house was all lawn. It looked weird and sterile, and bore no resemblance to the beautiful and quirky place I remember.

I sometimes wonder if my interest in archtecture comes from my grandpa. If I were to design a house, I would want to include some oddities like my grandpa did. Who knows, maybe I would even paint it a subtle shade of pink in Grandma's honor.