Wednesday, June 29, 2005

in search of disparaging remarks

Confession: I'm going through a spell of "blog insecurity" lately. For one thing, I never have time to write anything of much substance. When I do get around to writing I tend to create incomplete top 10 lists or I end up relating incoherent tidbits about banana slugs. The problem with "blog insecurity" is that if you write about it, or share it with others, it sounds like a pathetic ploy to milk compliments from readers. Due to this awkward tendency, I implore everyone to refrain from commenting on this post. In the alternative, if you must say something, make it biting. I don't want to seem like a total loser.

Elaboration: Part of my insecurity probably stems from the fact that I've seen so many awesome blogs in recent days. Chief among them is Veiled Conceit which does a fabulous job chronicling and critiquing the NYT weddings and vows page. I laughed out loud reading some of the Veiled posts. I was also thrilled to see that someone else is as enthralled and disgusted by that section. Perhaps someday I will start a thematic blog - that seems to be hot right now. In other news, if I had the energy I would write about the Supreme Court's Gonzales restraining order decision from earlier this week and about the fact that Oprah was apparently dissed by Hermes in Paris. Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to delve into the Gonzales opinion or commentary. I do know that the Gonzales opinion is a dissapointment and will probably write more on that later. As for Oprah's plight, I have little incentive to write about her unfortunate shopping treatment. Sadly, I have not got the money to shop at Hermes so I, personally, won't be boycotting the store anytime soon. To those of you who shop there frequently... think twice.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

faux pas

Or more appropriately, how to avoid two (apparently common) faux pas:
1. When commenting on how someone's legs are strong, do not feel their flexed thighs and then tell them to "flex." This will merely expose them to unending insecurity about flabbiness.
2. Also, when someone says the equivalent of "Damn, I think my butt's getting big!" - do not, under any circumstances, unequivocally agree.

Finally, I want to point my dear readers to two awesome things I learned of today.
1. German people gesture to indicate quotation marks in a funny, and somehow sort of dirty way.
2. This blog, Anonymous Lawyer is quite hilarious.

Thank you, and good night.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

alaska looks like an elephant

(and seven other not-so-deep thoughts that crossed the space between my ears this weekend)...
8. it's true, if you look at a map of the U.S. and focus in on Alaska, it looks sort of like an elephant's head
7. i saw a real live banana slug in santa cruz this weekend. it was totally sweet.
6. banana slugs look more like yellow jalapeno peppers than bananas, or even plaintains.
5. whole foods makes a pretty good rendition of "cherry garcia," albeit a rendition that is somewhat more fruity and (ever so slighty) less fatty than the original.
4. at first i thought that banana slugs were a pretty ridiculous mascot for a school... then i remembered that "maroons" are even more preposterous.
3. you can make your own chocolate croissant (DIY-style) by inserting hershey's chocolate bars into a plain croissant. it's very satisfying.
2. the word re-rar, should really be used more often.
1. today my waitress took forever to come and take my order and i was like "re-rar!"


And finally, to point to some news that has really got me depressed: Richmond has had eight murders in the past two weeks. This news just breaks my heart.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

barely awake but blogging

Written en route to Berkeley from Mpls...

I shouldn't spend 5% of my waning laptop battery charge on pre-blogging while on a flight home, but I don't feel like working on more pressing tasks so, procrastinate I must.

My weekend recap: Before I embark on this oddly personal travelogue I will (bashfully) share some words from… Jennifer Garner in the pages of SELF (the magazine I felt compelled to buy when I couldn't find JANE anywhere in MSP)… From the (paraphrased) mouth of Jennifer: “For me, one of the things that's most important about… relationships is [sharing] in the minutiae of one another's lives.” Like Jennifer, I've found these times (i.e., summer months as of late) to be difficult because every conversation with friends “has to be about catching up.” Perhaps it is that sense of detachment that is subconsciously pushing me to recount my whole weekend for those in the blogosphere. In any event – here goes…

If you’re leaving San Francisco… be sure to pack some food for along the way…
Flew out of SF on Friday night at around 10 p.m. Out of all the airports I’ve visited recently, SFO is truly the pits. Even after spending 12 hours in Albany, NY over New Year's, which was a harrowing and relatively awful experience, I can say with confidence that SFO is one of the most disappointing airports I've been in for quite some time. Yes, it is worse than Albany. Admittedly, some of my disdain is due to the massive construction at the airport but the rest just comes from the natural vibe of the place. The whole airport is inconvenient and usually smells sort of rank. Moreover, the food prices are totally over the top. You'd think that with such little selection vendors might have a heart and lower prices a little bit but NO, they are (behaving like greedy little rational actors and are) out to milk poor travelers for all they're worth. As an illustration, I spent over $10 on one crappy sandwich and a bottle of water. Despite these downsides, I made the most of my time at the forsaken airport by catching up on US Weekly along with all of the clich├ęd and disturbing news of Tom and Katie, the far inferior "Life in Style" (don’t buy it, there is literally no substance) and the Economist. Question: I wonder if celeb tabloids and the Economist are an unlikely magazine pairing or if many people enjoy my guilty pleasures as well.

Wedding in Indy
Good times were had by all. Although I knew about three people at the event I had a lovely time. The readings at the wedding were darling: Velveteen Rabbit and Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 (?). The bride and groom were fantastic as always and, I must say, the bridesmaids' dresses were cute enough to wear again. I did note, and perhaps this is a misguided observation, that people who went to small liberal arts colleges in the middle of nowhere tend to party harder, drunker, and louder, than most of my friends who have tended to graduate from state schools, nerd emporiums or breeding grounds (i.e. Chicago), or Ivies. I’m sure this mostly stems from selection bias (that is only nerdy nerdalicious nerds choose to go to places like Chicago and as one of those nerds my selection is similiarly biased) and not from actual intrinsic levels of maturity, but this caused me to wonder: Does attending college in (for instance) Nowheresville, PA, naturally instill in alumni an aptitude for crazy dancing, clapping while dancing, and general flirtatiousness?

Northwest Airlines definitely not my fave airline
Oh, NWA, you almost convinced me to get one of your credit cards so I could start accumulating miles to fly home with more cheaply. Now there’s no way. Since when did caterers take over an hour to deliver sodas to a boarded and ready-to-go plane? Since when did you start charging a dollar for sub-par trail mix instead of giving everyone the same mediocre peanuts? Your seats are uncomfortable, your flight attendants mostly unimpressive from what I saw this weekend, and your prices are outrageous. I object.

The best THREE HOUR layover ever!
While at MSP for a long layover I convinced my family to come out and visit. It was so wonderful. They brought me PBJ, yogurt, Dove Chocolate and a water bottle. Everyone came, including my Yia-Yia and my aunt and uncle. My little bro, sadly, was in San Diego en route to Tijuana. As is usual with my family, the whole event was captured on film. My mother even decided that it was critical to document me eating my sandwich. Mouth full and all. These pictures are sure to be fabulous, just like my wacky and delightful clan.

At this point I really must begin doing my work before my battery is completely drained. Adieu.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Darlin' don't you go and cut your hair

I realized something, all over again, when I recently cut my hair. I really chopped a lot of it off and like the results. It was a good move. No matter what though, whenever I get a haircut, I get a little self-conscious. I believe this all stems from the fact that if you change your 'do, and especially if you make a dramatic change, people are almost required to notice. When most people notice drastic alterations, they also feel obligated to voice their opinion. The thing is, no one ever tells you if your haircut is awful. The only thing you can say is when observing someone's new hairtcut is some variation of "I like your new haircut" (to varying degrees of intensity). Because this is the standard, called-for remark, there is really no way of knowing whether people honestly think you look alright, awesome, or totally doofy. This causes me some concern and makes me very bashful. One might think that ignorance, when it comes to knowing what people think of you, is bliss. Au contraire, mes amis, it's nerve wracking.

On a different note, tonight I watched Gilmore Girls for the first time. It was an old episode, second season perhaps (?) when Rory goes to a school dance. I've more or less sworn off the WB since the second season of Dawson's. However, I have heard good things about the WB as of late from people I deeply respect. People who know television. People like M. Rup. and NRF. Nonetheless, I was skeptical of Gilmore Girls. My tredipidation proved me wrong because the show was kind of awesome. I may be back in the WB fold.

The dialogue, as critcs have acclaimed, really is fast-paced, witty, and real. Overall I was struck by the sort of after-school special feeling of the show. Perhaps a regular viewer can confirm or deny whether this is typical of the show as a whole or just intrinsic to the subject matter of this particular episode... On the other hand, the after-school special characteristics of this episode might have been enhanced by the fact that I watched it with a friend and her 14 year old daughter. Viewing the episode in that setting made me want to own the DVDs when I'm a parent someday. I can just envision sitting my little Dirteeny down to watch this very episode the first time she breaks curfew or doesn't come home. It brings a wee tear to my eye.

Finally, to explain my sudden Gilmore Girls attraction I have to confess that I thought the soundtrack was intriguing. The slow dance was not Keith Sweat circa my Junior High days (now remastered on I Tunes which makes me feel OLD... maybe that song was played in 6th grade? My aging memory fails me...), nor was it 98 degrees or whatever the kids are listening to today. No, the slow dance was Mazzy Star "Fade Into You." What an incongruous choice for a slow dance. TV producers, even Josh Schwartz, can't seem to master the art of an accurate school dance track. On GG, "Fade Into You," was followed by another older slow song (possibly) a la Mazzy Star. I searched in vain for this song, I remember it from ages ago, on Google and I-tunes to no avail. This is really bothering me. Please, GG groupies, send me the title of this song. It is a duet with a male and female singer. Although I suck at deciphering lyrics and usually make up my own (e.g., until two years ago I thought "Glory Days" by Springsteen was "Forty Days." For this I blame too many Sunday School lessons that focused on Noah's Ark or Jesus in the wilderness). Despite my tendency to screw up lyrics, I am virtually certain that the woman sings "You ran away but now you're back" at one juncture. My guess is that this song is featured on other soundtracks too. That is all. Please do assist me in my quest. Many thanks.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Party of Five Things

Much to some readers' potential dismay this post will have nothing to do with the show from the Nineties featuring Jennifer Love, Neve, Lacey, and some dudes I haven't seen since. I was not a fan of this show and didn't watch it much so thank your lucky stars that I decided not to write about old episodes. I hold out hope that this post will be more interesting than something about PO5.

The folks over at Nuts and Boaltsbrought this to my attention. The object is to "List five things that people in your circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but you can't really understand the fuss over." As pointed out on Nuts and Boalts, this task is significantly more difficult that addressing generally popular crazes. I tend to appreciate what my friends are crazy about but I will give this challenge a try anyway.

1. Newspapers other than NYT and (well the Chicago Tribune and the Star Tribune) I wish I were smart enough to read papers like the Washington Post or the Financial Times. Confession: I bore immediately at the sight of those peach pages. I suppose most of this probably boils down to an affinity for hometown newspapers but I don't see why I should read anything beyond the New York Times. I'm sure this opinion is open to much critique and ridicule but I posit that all the rest of the news that's worth reading is found within the pages of sweet sweet US Weekly. If I could only find my own insider "source" for celebrity gossip I could stop guiltily stocking up on US and In Touch whenever I'm in an airport. On that note, I'm looking forward to my flights this weekend despite the fact that I'm paying a ridiculous amount for approximately 30 hours in one of my less favorite States. I digress.
2. Gin. I swear it tastes like Pine Sol. Disgusting. Perhaps I and gin are something like the poor souls who detest cilantro and claim they don't have "the gene" for it.
3. Fancy cell phones. It's all about functionality people. With digital cameras who needs crappy picture phones? After all, if you're not in LA you're unlikely to run into any celebs on the street. Also, the advent of digital cameras has done nothing but proliferate the number of crappy photos of me. Somehow, on a digital camera it is easier to catch me chewing, with my butt in the air, or generally looking doofy than with conventional cameras. For that reason, cell phone cameras and fancy phones have got to go.
4. Intellectual Property (or fighting that whole notion of IP). To be honest, I'm starting to get this craze. I definitely respect my friends who study the field and know it well. When I came to Boalt though, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
5. Driving. Although I haven't tried driving since I was 15 in a parking lot with an ex, I stand behind my assertion that driving is overrated. While public transportation can be smelly and inconvenient, it instills great virtues of patience, focus, and navigation in its devoted users. I wouldn't trade my AC Transit for a car and am proud of my little baby bike too. Not many of my friends in the Bay Area, or in Minneapolis for that matter drive often, but I am one of the few and proud who don't drive at all. [Hopefully, this will change soon. I've got to learn but want to go out proud.]

Sunday, June 12, 2005

trendsetting

I have never been much of a trendsetter. I never wore a Generra Hypercolor t-shirt in elementary school; never had Guess jeans until they were no longer cool; and I definitely never got to wear British Knight sneakers. In my own way I thought I was awesome in my raspberry colored Converse hi-tops but I was never a "cool kid."

My lack of trendiness carried into High School, College, and beyond. I was way behind the curve on getting a cell phone. again, I thought I was hip for holding out but... in reality I was just out of touch and hard to reach.

Now, I am considering purchasing an i-pod. Until thursday, I thought that _perhaps_ I had hit a trend somewhere near its inception, i.e., early enough to be halfway edgy and noticable. Unfortunately (?), on Thursday I was heading home from work on the BART and sat down in one of those groups of four seats across from a woman with an i-pod. During my recent commutes I have discovered two species of i-pod owners. First, there are the indie kids who are probably rocking out to the Postal Service on their way to a consulting or tech job. Then, there are the older (usually) male professionals who I imagine listen to the Boss or jazz on their way to bank or litigate. My fellow commuter on Thursday was of a whole new breed. She was middle-aged, matronly and carried a cheap knockoff purse. Unlike my "Prado" it was lumpy, brown and relatively un-cute. To my great surprise, in her purse were two "Pink" CDs. She had her i-pod cranked up and was totally dancing along to that terrible music. It was awe-inspiring and ridiculous. It also defeated all of my hopes of breaking into the i-pod trend on the early side. Alas, I am not meant to be cool.

[Sidenote: Who thought it was a good idea to _carpet_ BART? Public transportation naturally tends to the smelly. Carpet retains odors. Together, carpet and trains make one nasty combination. I miss the in-your-face dirt of the CTA and the unmasked dirt on those linoleum floors. CTA definitely smells more often than not but the smells aren't as stale as the ones on the BART.]

[Endnote: Maybe I wasn't allowed to wear British Knight shoes because of their reputed gang connections? That's about as unlikely as the rationale for prohibiting my burning desire to have a golden front tooth... Also, anyone know what size 4.5 (British) is in American shoes? There's a sweet pair of BK trainers on eBay...]

Sunday, June 05, 2005

some scattered thoughts and observations over the past few days

10. My reaction to the following comment = possibly a little overboard: Overheard in reference to either Sandra Day O'Connor or Ruth Bader Ginsburg - "You know, I never hear much about her husband. He must be really confident to marry a woman like her. I mean, can you imagine having to say, 'Yeah, my wife's a Supreme Court Justice?'" Perhaps it's this attitude and this sort of male anxiety about being a breadwinner that keeps corporate America looking the way it does.
9. Biased comments from a former vegetarian: I think, in some cases but not all, people go vegan because it gives them something to talk about... all the time. Needless to say that is sort of a pet peeve. A friend offered another interpretation which I also find valid. She thought that the choice to go vegan and consequent obsessive chatter about that choice can be a good cover for a serious eating disorder. GP.
8. Wine tasting snobbiness from a 2 buck chuck girl at heart: Napa ain't got nothing on Sonoma. Although I visited Sonoma with my darling roommates on a weekday, which automatically gave it an edge over crowded Napa on Saturday, in my opinion Sonoma is sweeter, smaller, greener, and in most cases tastier than Napa.
7. Cowboy Ninja Bear: Deserves the hype. Courtesy of this site the rules of the game are: i) Cowboy beats Bear (because of his pistol), ii) Ninja beats Cowboy (his stealth allows him to kill the Cowboy in his bunk), and iii) Bear beats Ninja (it's a bear, end of story).
6. Possibly the sweetest website ever: One of my former economics professors, Steve Levitt, has been getting a lot of favorable press on his new book, "Freakonomics." I hope to read it soon so I was checking out more reviews on the book's home page. On that page there was a link to his blog which took me to this phenomenal site, The Baby Name Wizard. I could play with this gadget for hours. You type in names (even just the first few letters to see a cluster) and can gauge the popularity of the name over the past century of American babymaking history. Dirtina did not make the list. Dirk, its closest cousin peaked in the 1960s at number 471. I was disappointed to see that my choice name for a potential future daughter is on the upswing but happy to note that the probable name of my first born son is still pretty darn archaic.
5. I should stop playing with this name generator and help jdm pack his room in boxes.
4. I am hungry so I'm going to stop now.
3. This top ten list will remain incomplete. Sorry.