Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009, Hello Something (hopefully) Better!

So I preyed to the 6lb 8oz baby Jesus and he responded by giving me a half day at work. Yea! Thank you Jebus! I don't really have anything planned for today's post- no open letter to 2009, no more best/worst of lists, nothing. However, as the last day of the year and the end of the decade, I feel compelled to write something, even if it's dribble.

* So, thanks to twitter for successfully helping me waste small amounts of time at work. Today was a gold mine of information:

DitaVonTeese Violet syrup for my Cointreauteese~ I use this syrup for violet whipped creme & violet champagne too! Chic! [I have always wanted a collection of flavored syrups. I'm not sure what I would do with them, I don't make coffee at home. However, perhaps I could start making fun "Dita" cocktails or Italian sodas. Sampler kits are available, and they have a really neat holiday one on sale- 12 flavors for $9.99.]

hijinksensue the music is trying to tell me that what Im watching is playfully sinister, when in fact it is shittastically craptacular. [he went on a rant about "American Psycho 2" which was hilarious. Check him and his hilariously geeky comic out. If anyone wants to by me a Team Edward (Adama) tee, it would be much appreciated. I wear a men's small. thank you]

Okay, so maybe I do have a bit of a list in me. I joined Twitter this year because I could get on it at work. Since I do not have a fancy phone with things like "web browsing", or camera with flash, or the ability to stay on mid-texting; I figured it wouldn't consume too much of my time and could be fun. Also, I was tired of /film retweeting celeb and director tweets at me. I can find them on my own now thank you!

* I also got turned on to this via twitter: The Daily Contributor . Some of the articles are pretty funny, especially under the "How To" and "Dating Advice" headings. You're welcome in advance when, come next year, you're bored in your cubicle and need something new to look at. Look at this.

* In my final au revoir to 2009, some of my fav comics of the year. Hope you and yours have a safe, fun, possibly naughty New Years Eve. Remember, beer before liquor never sicker, liquor before beer in the clear.

Finally, 2009 was the year I finally discovered what the elusive baby squirrel looked like:

Thanks 2009!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Nouvelle Vague

So, I've discovered the problem- I've become a romantic. I don't know how it happened. It's so unlike me. I'm kinda depressed about it.

It all started around 1 AM last night. I was flipping through my DVR looking to delete movies I was no longer interested in, and also something to watch (Bye, Bye "Puppet Master" and "Hellraiser III"). The available space on my DVR is laughable, though for those of you who know how many movies are on my Netflix queue, you would hardly be surprised.
[side note: did you know there is a maximum number of movies you can have in your queue at any one time? I do. Twice]

So I decided to watch "Toi & Moi" because it had been collecting dust in my DVR since I got cable 7 or 8 months ago and it was only 90 mins. It's the typical romantic comedy as told en francais: Guy and Girl bumble back and forth until on day, just as one is about to leave, the other grabs and kisses them full on the mouth. Depending on what film you're watching, they are either long lost loves ("A Christmas Tale", "Love Me If You Dare"), have never met before ("Amelie", "Happenstance", "Y tu Mama Tambien", "la Dolce Vita"), or one, or both, are married or in relationships ("Indochine", "Love Songs"). The last being the case here (and I think very French indeed). I squealed in delight at this very act! Like, a girl.

My life is the sad, poorly written indie film you turn off 15 minutes in; when it longs to be un film français. Passion. Heartache. Betrayal. Redemption.

We live in a bubble. Never socializing outside our group, we wouldn't even know how to begin, driving everywhere, afraid to eat alone. We, I, am closed to new opportunities. Instead, I sit in near dark, drinking Whiskey, and writing in my notebook. I get hung up on things that never were and completely blasé about those that have happened. A French film would be great for me- I can be self-indulgent, depressed, smoke. At a crucial point, not too far into the narrative, a lovely, handsome, loner type guy will show up and we'll walk awkwardly down the street or drink coffee in a cafe. He could even turn out to be someone I already know, now we're in the right place to admit our feelings to one another...

How can one person be capable of holding grudges and complete apathy at the same time? I can, although it is always safer to assume I'm over whatever "disagreement" we may have had, rather than believe I still harbour some ill will. Most likely, I didn't care either way in the first place.

For that's the truth of the matter. I am selfish and vain. I don't care for the misfortune of strangers. I care only about what effects my directly, and even then only in the moment. I always wondered if you could be borderline sociopathic, but the DSM-IV doesn't recognize that condition so I guess not.

And that, is why I must live in a movie, a foreign film, where relations are much different. People aren't weighed down with empty talk simply to fill the air. Everything that's said has weight. More is often said in the space between words then in the words themselves. In this fantasy, I'll have a casual job that affords me to work from home, and live over a grocer, and spend the evenings sitting at home or in a cafe drinking and smoking and arguing with friends. It seems like something I should be able to have here, in reality. Yet, I spend my evenings as described above, or if I do go out, the conversation usually stays "safe" and "simple". The last time I tried to get in a metaphysical argument, the other person left (and not just the room).

C'est ma seul rêve, ma rêve isolé.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Can It Still Be A Guilty Pleasure If I Share It With All Of You??

This post was supposed to be another depressive ramble about regret and decisions and the like, but while writing it I just couldn't take it anymore so I'm bumping up Sundays list because this is my blog and I can break the "rules" if I want to. Not to worry, sad musings on the state of my life will certainly rear their ugly heads in future.

While I understand "guilty pleasures" are by definition secret, who would I be if I didn't put your mind at ease that there is someone equally disturbed, if not more so, than yourself? As #6 will attest, I love lists. This being the end of the year, we are inundated with them and for that I am thankful.

2009's Guiltiest Pleasures (as told by me to you)

1. Young Adult Literature: This year I found myself reading more and more books designed with the "tween" population in mind. Part of the reason was I was sick of some of my favorite adult books becoming too "adult" and losing track of the story that was supposed to accompany the romance (I'm looking at you Laurell K Hamilton). Also, these books are a quick and easy read and sometimes that's exactly what you're looking for. I've always been a quick reader- I was always proud to display the results of my reading levels to my folks as they were well above my educational level- and as such, I missed out on a lot of the books young people are supposed to read. Sure, I had my fair share of R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike books, but no where near the volume of more mature fare I was consuming. This year, I seemed to be destined to correct this error. My favorite new series are "The House of Night" book's written by mother/daughter team P.C. and Kristen Cast. It takes place in a world where vampirism is a genetic curse that raises it's ugly head around puberty (symbolism anyone?). The main character, Zoey, is "marked" one day at school with the half-moon tattoo that denotes fledgling vampires and carted off to a boarding school to learn the ways of her new life. Chaos ensues and fun is to be had by all. There are about 6 or 7 books so far, and I'm really enjoying the afternoon of easy fun they afford me.

2. Bravo TV- Damn you Bravo for your marathon's of crap television that I am compelled to watch when I'm home from work. Sure, you give us gems like "Top Chef" (which is not embarrassing at all), but what about "Million Dollar Listing", "The Millionaire Matchmaker", and "Tabitha's Salon Takeover"? This is not to mention "My Life on the D-List" (which shouldn't count because I actually record these and heart Kathy Griffin), "Flippin' Out", "The Rachel Zoe Project", and "NYC Prep". I hate you and I hate that I MUST watch these marathon's when they come on. I can't help myself. I feel dirty afterward, and I lie about what I'm watching when friend's call. You are the black hole of TV and I love/hate you for it. If I can just keep myself from being sucked into your numerous "Real Housewives" marathon's I may just keep my sanity and a bit of my dignity.

3. Lady Gaga- I don't care, I'm a bit obsessed right now. I think she is so fascinating. What helped was reading an article with her in Interview that helped shed some light on what's going on in her bizarrely coiffed head. She is in on the joke people- though I think the Kermit outfit was still a bit weird. She has a great voice, it translates well to live tv, and great stage show. I can't help bopping along to her songs when they come on the radio and now, through my sister, I have "The Fame Monster Deluxe" and can coo anytime all day long. Is it only me who tears up a bit to "Paparazzi"?
"I'm your biggest fan, I'll follow you until you love me...Promise I'll be kind, But I won't stop until that boy is mine...Chase you down until you love me, Papa-Paparazzi"

4. Okay, so maybe this isn't so guilty as I've told anyone with a love for crazy photo blogs, but it is certainly my internet find of the year. Disastrous realtor listings featuring everything from porcelain dolls galore, gross bathrooms, and the funniest thing I've seen all year: Modesty Chair . It will eat up an afternoon and you won't even notice. Enjoy!

5. Farkle- I don't know where you came from Farkle for Facebook! You used to be an innocent dice game I played with my friend Head Mess Mistress at Spider House in Austin; now you've taken over my Facebook time as well. Damn you for being so addictive and so much more difficult to cheat at!

6. Best of Lists- Surprising, I'm sure, but I can't turn away a good list. /Flim seems to post all of them, from John Waters to Tarrantino to AFI, and I eat them up. I'm sure this has something to do with how much I like to create lists.... Which segue perfectly into...

7. Award Season- I haven't missed an Academy Awards telecast since I was born, and I'm not going to start now! All year the anticipation builds- Who will be nominated? Who will be drunk at the Golden Globes? What stupid and only slightly hilarious premise will they unveil at the Spirit Awards? One of the best presents I got was a coffee table book featuring all the nominees and winners of the Oscar since it's inception in 1929 through 2002. Since then, I have carefully torn the ballot in Entertainment Weekly, marked the winners, and stowed it away for safe keeping inside the book jacket. I should really take bets... I'm usually about 85-95% accurate with the winners. Oscar night is always spent with the folks, but recently I've started a tradition of a Golden Globes party. Nibbley-bits, champagne, hilarity, is always a great recipe for a good time with friends.
[side note: Dallasites- if you too love watching the drunken antics of the Globes while getting a bit drunken yourself, let me know. I've gotta lock down a location for this years fete as people have moved-boo!]

8. Daydreaming- Specifically, intricate daydreams involving attractive famous men and the relationship we have in my head. It's kinda sad. We go to dinner, visit each others family, hang out with friends. Pathetic. This years recipients of the "It's-Only-Creepy-If-We-Ever-Meet-Or-You-Somehow-See-This" award go to:
and my current favorite:

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Random Christmas

* Had a very traditional Christmas yesterday- opened presents, went to movies, drank too much, ate too little, passed out around 1:30 AM. I hope you all got what you wanted. I was surprised to find a food processor under the tree for me, it's lovely when your family (or anyone for that matter) remember something you said in passing. I haven't really looked at it, but am super excited about all the things I can make more easily now. I also received "Inglourious Basterd's"- there would have been hell to pay if I hadn't. My fav gift, however, came once again from my sister. She gave me this: It may seem weird, demented, freaky to you; but it fits right in at my house. I always wanted a skull, a real skull, and figured with a sister that's a vet, I should be able to get one! Yea! Now, I just have to figure out where to put it that it will be safe but visible. Next step, one with horns of some kind.

* Our Christmas movie this year was "Sherlock Holmes". We loved it- funny, smart, good action. I'm so glad Robert Downey Jr got his shit together because we is one of the most talented actors period. Jude Law was a great Watson, and Mark Strong as the baddie is always good. Let's get him in more movies please! Rachel McAdams as the love interest was the only weak link, but really, who cares? It's the Holmes & Watson show anyway.

* Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins officially announced they have broken up over the summer. I'm kinda bummed. I don't really care for Robbins, but they were one of my poster children against marriage. Now what? Certainly, they still qualify- breaking up is always better than divorce I say, but who will take their place? Don't let me down Kurt & Goldie, Brad & Angelina! Don't break up!!

* My gal Jennie's word of the day is: discombobulated (pretty good choice for today too!)

* I recently wrote about our annual Elf watching party and the wonderful food we had there. My friend Lauren (lover of baby goats and amazing baker) brought her now famous cake balls. Deliciously moist red velvet cake coated in dark and white chocolate. They were so lovely, I thought they were truffles. For Christmas, I decided to make some myself as she said they were messy but easy. I should state now that I am not now nor have I ever been a baker. Anything past tearing off pieces of cookie dough from a tube (most of it going straight into my mouth and bypassing the baking sheet), is lost to me. I see Nigella making beautifully simple cookies and cakes and meringue's, and I want to make them too. However, I simply don't have the baking gene. Give me a good steak or potato and I'll whip up Steak Dianne, but baking flour and baking soda? Oh dear. Needless to say, they didn't look like truffles at all:

I hope they tasted nice, I didn't even get to try them...

* "What do you call an illegally parked frog?"


Thursday, December 24, 2009

An Open Love Letter to Australia, or What I Thought About "Avatar" 3D

Dear Australia,

I would like to thank you for what ever genetic operation you have going on down there. I understand that many attractive actors I consider Australian were in fact born elsewhere, usually England (hola Sam Worthington), I assume the air or the water in Perth or Brisbane or Melbourne is the cause of their good fortune. So, keep up the good work and keep sending them stateside.

Last night, a bunch of buddies and I went to see "Avatar" in 3D (not IMAX, I just can't spend $15 on a movie just yet. Sorry). I wasn't expecting much. Depending on who you read/trust, it was either cheesy/juvenile dialog/boring waste of 3 hours (reviewers) or the greatest thing since sliced bread (entertainers). I've gotta lean more towards "awesome", let me explain.

Was the dialog sometimes a bit over the top, cheesy even? Sure. Was the movie, and the creators of the movie, totally aware that was what they were doing? Absolutely. Show me a war movie that doesn't cash in on one cliche and I'll give you a nickle. On the same note, what SciFi movie isn't rife with absurd one-liners and winking glances? Not a one.

"Avatar" is a message film you don't mind, even if you don't agree with it's message (which would make you a war-mongering, anti-environment, racist). So... If you have been living in a cave, or simply hate movies (and therefore are probably not reading this entry), "Avatar" is about a joint military-science mission to Pandora, a plant rich with a fuel source we desperately need on Earth as we've used all of ours up. The problem is, Pandora is home to the Na'vi, a tribal culture who is not keen on the "skywalkers" making a muck of their planet. The whole thing is underlined with thoughts on god, life, religion, race. Humans can't breath the air on Pandora, so they've designed these Avatar's that look, move, are, just like the indigenous people. Through a bio-link, humans upload themselves into these creature shells and try to interact with the Na'vi.

Pretty standard story, you can imagine what happens, but you get sucked into the beauty of the world, the decent to great acting, and the overall joyful spirit of the movie.

Cameron has spent years trying to develop the technology needed to bring this story to life. He finally succeeded in what is the most brilliant 3D images I've ever seen. this new tech brings the whole picture to multi-dimensional life with out the bells and whistles usually reserved for 3D. rarely does anything leap out at you or go running right for you. It happens, but very organically, not for wow factor. It takes about 15-20 minutes for your eyes to totally adjust to the glasses (which is fine as the movie is 3 hours- side note: even I couldn't find where to make cuts. 3 hrs probably IS the edited time). The tech isn't perfect yet, objects moving faster than a walk tend to blur unnaturally and other objects that move too close to the camera get lost and actually take you out of the 3D experience, but that's not much of a criticism.

The way the trailer looked online/TV/2D lead to the bummed feeling I had going in. However, and there's a lovely quote from Worthington about this somewhere, the movie was meant to be seen in 3D, in IMAX, it doesn't translate well to your computer. I thought, like my friend Phillip, that the animated portions would look like an extended video game trailer. They don't. Period. However, this 3D only thing will become a big problem when DVD sales roll around, though we are supposed to have 3D HD televisions come spring (but I'm sure I won't be able to afford one). They'll have to sell the movie with multiple glasses and make spares available for purchase as well.
A big congrats to Stephen Lang for his Golden Globe nomination. I guess this proves you can be in an FX latent movie and get recognized. He did a great job, and it's only a shame some of the other actors weren't as well. It must be hard if your performance is entirely motion capture (Zoe Saldana) or at least majority (everyone else). Oh well... baby steps.

With that, I'm off. I hope you all enjoy your free day/holiday tomorrow. May I suggest you see Avatar 3D during the boredom that is Christmas afternoon? I will be at Sherlock Holmes. Here's hoping it isn't as rubbish as the reviews are making it out to be.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Eye of the Beholder

We judge people constantly- I'm thinner than her, taller than him, better looking than their last girlfriend/boyfriend. First impressions count as much as we try to deny it. We are biased people.

As children, we're told judging people is wrong. However, sometimes you should judge a book by it's cover: I don't care how nice looking he is, never take candy or drinks from strangers. As I always say, Ted Bundy was a nice looking guy, so you never know! Instead, we should teach children that this is a natural biological response. The key is not to act negatively or impulsively toward these imperfections (except in the case of what I call the "crazy vibe". Then you should just run away).

I asked some of my male friends what kind of guys they were: tits or ass. Personally, I keep going out with ass men which is funny as I don't have one to speak of. Every one of them answered, "face". Is that wrong? Should they be admonished for it? I found it refreshing. Honesty, it's amazing how often we deny ourselves that.

I had to agree with them. If asked what my favorite male feature was, I would respond "shoulders". I love broad shoulders and a strong back. See: Burt Lancaster. However, if you asked me what I noticed first, it would be face and skin. Men look at the same thing. Clothes can hide a multitude of sins. Modern fashion can give you bigger breasts, thinner waist, longer legs. Make-up can only cover so much. Every women's magazine talks about the importance of "radiance" as a turn on. When shown a set of pictures- one plain, one with a bit of highlighting cream/power on- of the same woman, they picked the highlighted one. Radiance equals health, which equals fertility, which equals babies, and not an early death. This is biology.

As much as we may try to deny it, that we are "better than that", we aren't. We want to find the best possible mate, and that isn't found in the cerebellum. Personality (it goes a long way you know), is secondary to attraction. Of course, what we find attractive differs slightly from person to person. I don't care how charming he is, if you don't like the look of him, you wouldn't stick around long enough to find out. Fact.

So, what's my point? No idea actually. It just got me thinking. Why do the guys I like never seem to like me? How do I avoid the "friend zone"? Why can't I get asked on a date? It's easier to think they just don't find me attractive than to think there's something actually wrong with me. I'm not attracted to everyone I meet. Hell, it's been a while since I was attracted to anyone (thank you Bolsa for ending that dry spell).

I guess in the end, I'm thankful this holiday season for my friends and their brutal honesty. I'm even more thankful that they keep that honesty to themselves unless provoked.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Best Of 09

It's that time of year again when every magazine, website, and Stephen King post their Best of 2009 lists. Why should I be any different?

First, here is AFI (that's American Film Institute, not the band) official selections for 2009. What do you think?
Here are my choices for Top Movies of 2009:
[side note: Have you seen the Golden Globe nominees? Should be a very exciting, and drunk, evening. I'm already thinking about the watching party I'm going to have]

My Top Films of '09:
- (500) Days of Summer
- Away We Go
- Inglourious Basterds
- Star Trek
- Zombieland
- Watchmen
- Trick 'r Treat
- District 9
- The Hangover
- Julie & Julia
- Easy Virtue
- The Edge of Love
- An Education

In all fairness, there is still some time left this year so the list could change. I haven't seen "Up in the Air" yet (calm down, I'm going Monday), but from what I'm told it will make the list. There's still "Sherlock Holmes" and "Nine" and a plethora of other films I haven't gotten to yet.

Why do "best of's" always come out before the year is out?

And now, the worst:
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
- Friday the 13th (please stop remaking these movies!)
- Angels & Demons
- Saw VI
- My Bloody Valentine 3D (3D is not a magic fix all, in fact, it only makes things worse)
- Drag Me to Hell
- Push
- Donkey Punch
- New In Town

(I see a bit of a pattern here... Why is it so hard to make a good scary movie? I don't even mind if it's a bit dumb, really, that's kind of a turn on. However, these are just so ridiculous I could have cried).

To make the list, movies had to have been released in the US in 2009 and I had to have seen them. I could make a whole other list of movies that just looked awful, therefore I didn't see/rent them.

What was the best and worst you saw this year??

Hola Saturday

* I'm really tired of movies with beautiful actresses and actors who can't seem to find love. I'm sure it is hard to be Cameron Diaz, her love life isn't the best example I've seen, but she'd probably do fine if she weren't famous. Hell, I don't even go that way but if an unknown Cameron Diaz chatted me up I'd be tempted to go. She gorgious! So, Hollywood, lay off. We feel bad enough about ourselves as it is that we don't need to be reminded the beautiful people find love hard too. See: The Holiday, Bridget Jones (if that's fat, I'm a porpise), The Object of My Affection (Jen Aniston can't get a straight man so she tries to change her gay friend? Come on), I think I Love My Wife (poor Chris Rock and his hot wife), Love Potion #9 (Sandy Bullock has glasses and is therefore unattractive. I actually like this movie, but still!), and on and on and on.

You know why Twilight is such a hit? Because Kristen Stewart is average- average looking, average acting, average. We, the audience, can transpose ourselves onto her performance and become the object of desire. We, the lonely outcast Garbo-esque waif, who's caught the eye of the most beautiful boy in school. Which leads me to my next problem- that doesn't happen either. A 10 doesn't date a 6 and vice versa. Unless your rich. Or famous. Or rich and famous. Either way, I prefer this model to identify with and would like more of the same in the future. Perhaps Kate Winslet could star.
* Best thing said to me by a firefighter this week: "I love egg shaped balls"
* As promised, my Welsh rarebit recipe:

* Last Friday, my friend had baby goats. Well, she didn't have them, one of her goats did. It is amazing how close the wilderness and outdoors are from the city. In less than half an hour, my buddy Lauren and I were running and jumping with the little kids. I even made up a song just for them: "Baby goats! You're just a bunch of cute little baby goats! You like to run and jump and, baby goats! Baby goats! Your momma's not so good, oh baby goats. That's why we're here to play with baby goats!" Clearly, I should be a song writer. Never the less, I know want a goat.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Read My Lips

(I aploogize to any male readers in advance. You might want to skip this one and go here instead)

Like many girls, I loved to play dress up when I was little. Any excuse to clop around in heels and wear lip gloss was a happy occasion. Friends had whole trunks of costumes to play in and make-up, but my sister and I had neither. We had to make due with a couple of our grandmother's heels from the 40's, my Mom's hippie clogs, and Tinker Bell perfume. Maybe this is another reason I love Halloween so much. It certainly plays into how I spend my nights alone.

I wait until the last possible second to wash my face and remove my make-up at night. Almost as if I'm still amazed I get to wear it that I want those moments to last as long as possible. It's funny to me- When we were younger, my sister had all the make-up. She and her friend's saved up allowances for Bonus Time at the cosmetics counter. She had an abundance of eyeshadow quads, lipsticks, sample mascaras and perfume, you name it. I, on the other hand, spent my money on god knows what, so I had very little. Flash forward a few years and I'm managing a cosmetics counter and my sister hardly wears any make-up (not like she needs it that bitch).
Sometimes, when I'm alone at home at night, a glass of wine in a tumbler, my Netflix's queued up; I put on lipstick- bright, vibrant shades of red lipstick. I may be in my PJ's, but my mouth is ready to party (that sounded better in my head). I've even been known to throw on some Velvet Kiss and jump in the shower. I have an unhealthy love for lipstick.

On special occassions some girls buy new shoes, some get their "hair did", some buy lingerie, I buy lipstick. I've been meaning to count them but it seems too donting, there must be well over 50 tubes in various spots around the house and car.

There's something about lipstick, like even if everything else is plain and depressing, you're still a bit glamourous. That feeling of dress up never vanishes.
Somewhere in the back log of Twitter, the lovely Dita Von Teese said something about never being without her lipstick (MAC Russian Red- so delightful). It is a true sign of femininity that can be so empowering. The more bold the colour, the more bold the woman. I feel unstoppable and confident when I where lipstick. I never feel ugly, it doesn't make you look fat, and regardless of how often you wear it, if you try something new people notice.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

That Yoda Dude Was Smart

The subjects of fate and choice have been coming up in conversation a lot this week. I guess the holidays are as good a time as any to reflect on your life and where it may be going.
A couple days ago, I was at my parent's house for dinner when the topic of fate came up for the first time. I can't even remember how (which is how the best conversations start), and barely remember how it ended (which is how the best conversations conclude). What sticks out to me was my father seemingly befuddled by fate entirely.

"Fate is unpredictable and unchangeable. Try as you might, what is meant to be will be. The more you fight it, the longer this process will take, and the more exasperated you will become."

The Webster's definition of fate is quite long:
1 : the will or principle or determining cause by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do : destiny
2 a : an inevitable and often adverse outcome, condition, or end b : disaster; especially : death
3 a : final outcome b : the expected result of normal development c : the circumstances that befall someone or something
4 plural capitalized : the three goddesses who determine the course of human life in classical mythology

Those who believe in fate know that nothing is important- your choices are meaningless because they have already been decided for you. Therefore, why worry or complain or get upset? This is the way it was meant to be. Others believe that we make our own destiny and dismiss "fate-ologists" as loony and misguided. The true believer in fate simply smiles back at them.

Last night, at a friend's birthday party, I walked into a conversation about fate verses choice. The main speaker kept saying that fate is a series of choices of need verses want and that all wants are needs and vice versa. Uh... Don't think so. Need and want are not synonymous with each other. Need is something that you must have/do to survive. Want is the little things that make life that much better. The example given: You don't need to climb up on the roof, you want to. Unless of course there is a baby up there at which point you need to climb up and rescue the baby. (I really liked this analogy).

My own beliefs on the subject wax and wane depending on my mood and how I feel about life at the moment. It's nice to relinquish control of ones own life to a higher power be it God, Buddah, or the 3 Fates themselves. However, as a meticulous planner and worrywart, this doesn't really fit into my scheme of thinking. I would prefer a balance between the two- Your fate is mapped out for you in advance, but the choices you make along the way can add consequence or celebration to your destiny.

It's this want for clarification that first drew me to quantum mechanics, string theory, Schrodinger, et all. The thought that each choice we makes splinters reality and creates a new one is unbelievable. Imagine: That time you crashed the car, gone. When you broke up with the love of your life, your still together. When you turned left, you also turned right. I want that to be the case. I want to live forever, even if it's in an alternate plane.
[side note: who watches "Fringe"? Seriously, it's never too late to DVR it]

Eddie Izzard's 12 Days Of Christmas

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I Blame Gordon Ramsey For This!

Last night I went to a birthday dinner for the lovely shine at Bolsa. The best things about the restaurant were the bartenders and our waiter Ben, a younger, more handsome, slightly ethnic Henry Thomas. The restaurant was packed when we got there at 7 PM, so we sidled up to the bar to peruse the cocktail menu. They have an extensive list of wine and spirits available. As soon as I saw the Applejack Sazerac I knew I was set. I asked the bartender if I could have a traditional Sazerac (my favorite cocktail!) and off he went. A few seconds later, the bar manager came over and said, "Who wanted the Sazerac?" I raised my hand, "Where have you been all my life?"

He was charming and peppered us with trivia knowledge about the drink and it's origins. "People say I make the best Sazerac this side of New Orleans."

"We'll see, sir," I replied "We'll see."

I was not disappointed- It was delicious!

Once we were all assembled, we took out seats on the patio and set about ordering. Not a small feat I assure you- 16 guests, 2 picnic tables= slightly awkward.

One of the things that impressed me about Bolsa, and a reason I always wanted to go there, is their commitment to local and organic produce. The menu changes daily based on what is available at market that morning. However, when our food finally arrived, I wondered if their idea of organic meant "sans salt". The problem with the dishes is that they are conceived and created as a whole, not as individual components that compliment one another.

I had the good fortune to sit next to my friend Natalie, vegetarian. As I had already consumed enough red meat to last a month, I decided to go in on a veggie plate with her. Our delicious waiter assured us this was "not [his] first time at the rodeo" (love!), and the kitchen would be happy to assemble something for us. What we got was the Twigs & Branch flatbread (arugula, goat cheese, grapes), marscapone polenta, ratatouille, and haricot verts in a salsa verde.

The polenta was bland, which is too often the case, and adding marscapone to it doesn't help. How about a little salt? Maybe some pepper? The green beans were delicious (yum, garlic!), and thank god for the grilled onions in the ratatouille which really helped liven up the flatbread.

I just don't understand a chef who's afraid of salt or seasoning. Our friends who ordered protein fared a bit better, as there was sauce to flavor the polenta and sides. The Braised short rib was delicious, but the risotto that came with it was a bit sad. I've never seen such a uncreamy mess in my life. This is why I don't try to cook it at home, I don't have the chops. Perhaps they should hold off as well. The Coq au Vin looked fantastic. The bruscetta appetizer was hit or miss. The toppings delicious (smoked salmon, apples and honey, prosciutto and figs), but some of the bread was soft, and some crispy. A bit of an execution error there.

I would love to go back to Bolsa for drinks, and I would try the food again but only after looking at the menu ahead of time to see if it was worth it. Regardless of the food, I had a lovely time with my friends and hope to do it again soon. I was totally serious about the girly slumber party!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ode to a Saturday Afternoon

* Last night was the 2nd annual "Elf" watching party at my friend P's house. We never anticipated it being an annual event, but with the success of last night I think it should be. The formula is simple: booze (preferably wassle), nibbily bits, and "Elf"= laugh riot. I decided to make something new and settled on Welsh Rarebit (or Rabbit depending on who you ask). I originally wanted to make chipped beef (aka SOS, aka Shit on a Shingle), but had difficulty finding the salted meat product and then felt bad subjecting it on others. It is an aquired taste afterall. The Rarebit came out wonderfully, though a bit runny. The problem, I deduced, was in my attempt to double the recipe. This is always dangerous if you've never made it before. I thought I would be safe! The recipe said it served 4, I needed to serve at least twice that. Oh well, it was still delicious and everyone liked it. I will post the recipe later- it's great for parties or a snack while the weather is cold.

* The word of the day is: Biscuit. (An aquantince was trying to describe this danish-like creation and Jen decided it was "smaller than a bundt but bigger than a biscuit")

* Dear Half Price Books: If there is one negative thing I could say about your store, and I know this is unsolicited, is the price stickers you use are crap. You can't remove them easily, and if you do manage to free your book's cover from one you're left with a square of goo that attracts every particle of dust and filth in the world. Now, you have only two options: Either everyone knows how much you paid for the book (and that you didn't pay full price), or a permanant square of black sticky fuzz attached to the corner. It's a lose-lose situation. Please switch to a less gooey sticker or get a whole new kind of sticker. Quit it!

* While browsing the Criterion store, I came across this poster:

I want now!!!! PS- If you haven't seen this beauty by Goddard, put it on your Netflix NOW! You'll have to search for it under the translated name, "My Life to Live".

* In my love of John Cusack, I will watch anything he's been in even if I don't want to. I'll watch it a second or third time, even if I didn't like it the first time. I can't help myself! (No, I haven't seen "2012" yet, it's a video movie. Though, people with opinions I respect have said it's not that bad). This lead me to sit in a vegetative state on Wednesday watching "Max" on IFC. I like this movie, in fact, I think it's a really good movie. I'm just not sure how many repeat viewings it requires. The movie is about a Jewish art dealer Rothman (Cusack) who befriends a young Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor in a remarkable turn), and encourages him to focus on his art, not politics. It is a wonderful portrait of two men- one crippled both physically and emotionally, the other torn between the easy route to money, power, and politics, and the less sure path that leads to artistic and personal recognition. My only problem with the film is Leelee Sobieski who I really wish would stop making movies. There is a line in the movie that I had to write down immediately so I could share it with you. Rothman is tucking his son in for bed, telling stories. He says, "Words are magic. Sometimes, I think the whole world is strung together by words." I think this is just beautiful.

* My lovely friend Natalie recently wrote on her blog about her reevaluation of the qualities she looks for in a guy. Her conclusion, she needed a "throwback kind of guy".
"...a clean-shaven crooner who has style, grace, and knows how to make a mean dirty martini. (Extra olives, please.) In short, I'd love me some Michael Buble. "
I couldn't agree more (except on the Buble part). It recently dawned on me that I need to meet a young Christopher Plummer:
Now that you've digested that morsel and taken a cold shower....

* Now that I'm not weighed down by reality TV, I can refocus my energies on the shows I love but have missed all year. Namely, "30 Rock". I heart you Tina Fey! I want to go to there! This week, I almost rolled off the couch three times. The best line of the night: "Why don't Catholics eat meat on Friday? I'll tell you- Because the Pope owns Long John Silvers." Thanks Tracy Jordan! See also "sharkfarts" as my new favorite non-cuss cussword.

* Thank you Russell Howard for introducing me to "yawn rape".

* I'm calling this a photoshop disaster:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Play Some Skynard!

I gotta keep this quick, as I just got the good word that I could take a half day and start my mini break (re: extra two days off this week) a bit early. I am super proud of my friend Gofahne and her blog. (I went looking for a pic of the two of us and I couldn't find any without other people in them. Let's rectify that next time I see you!) I love the new layout and her quirky mind. Check her out!
[side note: I am super proud of all my friends who blog and follow me- you can see their lovely faces to the right]

On my way to work this morning, I was rocking out to some Rilo Kiley and a thought hit me, two thoughts actually. "Who the hell have I become" and, "Man, do I love B-sides".

If someone told me 10 years ago that I would listen to and love indie-rock, contemporary folk music, I would have punched them in the face. I was a punk rock/grunge chick who used profanity a lot and was weary of showers. As you get older though, I guess it is more than your taste palette that expands and changes. I still don't like most "indie" music (What does that mean anymore? How can you be indie if you latest album came out on Maverick? Which reminds me, I read a wonderful article in MovieMaker about Truffaut being the last independent filmmaker. More on that at another time). Anywho, I don't watch music TV (if there is still such a thing) and I rarely listen to the radio. All my current music comes from friendly suggestions and magazines.

It started innocently enough- I was reading an issue of Bust when a review caught my eye and I thought, "My sister would like this". So, for Christmas, I bought it for her. It was Neko Case "The Tigers Have Spoken" and it was the beginning of the end for me. I heart her. I quickly copied the CD into my computer and have bought every one of her albums. I went on a date with the music editor of the Dallas Observer that year to one of her shows. Poor thing, I dumped him with my sister and moved as closely to the stage as I could get. goosebumps ran up and down my arm. I can't remember when that has ever happened before. Her music, lyrics, stage presence, overwhelmed me. This year, she's up for a Grammy ("Middle Cyclone" Best Contemporary Folk Album, and Album packaging), and I got so excited.

From there, I finally gave in and shelved the latest from Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis, Neko Case, Amy MacDonald, The Kaiser Chiefs, Thao & The Get Down Shake Down, etc. right next to my Horrorpops, Tiger Army, and Avenged Sevenfold. I can now stand tall and proud and declare, "If you make music with a steel guitar, accordion, banjo, or ukulele, I want your album".

For as long as I can remember, I've been a fan of B-sides. I love when artists release "Best of" CD's composed entirely of B-sides (big thanks to The Pixies for one of the best ones). The B-side of a tape (or the back half of a CD) is where the actually artist lies. It is comprised of the songs you know they had to fight to be included. They were not singles, they may have detoured from the expected sound, they were personal. I find myself listening to tracks 7-12 most often. When in doubt of what to listen to, I pick Track 9- It's almost always spectacular!

So, point two: My love of B-sides. This came into my head while listening to Rilo Kiley's "More Adventurous". I already knew I loved the "forgotten tracks", but this album was a bit different. I like the A-side so much better. Songs like the "Portions for Foxes", "Does He Love You", and "I Never" are the reason I love this album in the first place. Towards the end, it gets a bit murky and laconic.

In the spirit of Sunday (and again stealing from Stephen King's EW lists), here is a small list of what I've been listening to most this month:
* Neko Case
* Rilo Kiley
* AMP presents: Psychobilly
* The Cardigans
* The Kaiser Chiefs
* Francoise Hardy
* Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood
* Johnny Cash
* Marianne Faithful

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going home to enjoy my 2 1/2 days off! See you Saturday.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Saturday Took a Holiday, Hello Tuesday

I took the weekend off but missed my Saturday ramblings so much, I'm making amends and doing it on Tuesday.

* Be careful when quoting a movie on your facebook, as it will inevitably be misunderstood. We all know that sarcasm does not translate, but neither does ignorance of the movie you're quoting. Case in point: I said, "I have a bit of a drinking problem", to which I was met with support for admitting it (it is the first step after all), fellow "drinkers" offering me a cheers, and a sincere attempt at rehab. Problem: I love "Airplane" but apparently, none of my friends have seen it. I didn't mean I had a "drinking problem", just that it was 9:30 AM and I'd already spilt coffee down the front of my sweater. Hence, drinking problem. In closing, when quoting a movie line that may be misinterpreted, always site the movie.
[side note: My favorite line from "Airplane" is: "So?" "Sew buttons!"]

* Sometimes you find the most interesting writing in a bathroom stall at a bar. The other day I picked up this gem: "Sometimes I get so bored with the people I'm with, I guess thats how the [say goey, hih]. I have no idea what they thought they were writing at the end, probably "saying goes, huh", but that is not what was written. Delicious!

* I keep a notebook with me at all times to record the hilarious things I hear or witness. At the present moment, I have 3 of them in my purse. The biggest problem is I don't always write a date or I forget to cross off the ones I've already used. Also, they are sometimes not accompanied by an explanation. How am I supposed to remember what "ow, my urethra" was in reference to? It's hilarious, but could certainly be more funny. The last entry in my favorite notebook is: "'I'm just being me" is no excuse to be an asshole. Maybe he's too nice. maybe you're a bitch". I think this was about some girls I overheard (eavesdropped on) talking. Whatever it was, it sounds like solid advice.

* In preparation for the new year, I am starting my resolution off with a bang- I want to do something that is out of context for me at least once a month. This seems pretty open to interpretation, and therefore may actually happen. Hopefully, it will lead to hilarious stories and not jail time.

* This weekend, I saw "An Education" with my folks. It was a lovely movie, truly one of my favorites of the year. The story is as old as time: young, naive girl falls for charming older man and chaos ensues. What is wonderful and different about this film, is the thoughtful direction, clever writing, and genius acting. Oscar buzz is already generating for Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard- it is well deserved. My favorite character though is played by Rosamind Pike- the ditsy blonde girlfriend who means well but is thick as a board. The look on her face when taken to a classical music concert is priceless! I laughed, giggled, and was embarassed for the characters several times. Fun for all ages!

* Related note: When is "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus" opening? I saw a great trailer in front of the movie and could not be more excited. Then, no release date. Can this come out before I retire? Hopefully, this will be a success for the genius (and birthday buddy) that is Terry Gilliam.
[side note: If I say "Monty Python" and you say "huh?", keep walking]

* My Yahoo! home page wants me to know about a couple in New York who live with their two cats in 175 sqft. I don't know why this is news, except to say that apartment probably really smells like scat.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Secret of Opera Length Gloves

Kind of a slow news day here. I'm counting down the minutes (134) until I can leave for Happy Hour and a weekend off. I can't remember what those were like. I know I just had one for my birthday, but it doesn't count- I was very busy cleaning and drinking Bloody Mary's. This one has no direction, except the movie theatre. Couple of good titles opening this weekend. I'm deciding between "Brothers" and "Up in the Air". I'm leaning towards the latter now that the National Review has named it the "Best Picture of 2009". Those are pretty bold words, and I'm pretty sure I already saw the best movie of the year, but I can't seem to remember...

It's finally getting cold here (38 degrees), so I will now produce my annual rant on the wonder of winter clothing:

I can’t help it. I’m a little bit trashy, a little bit rock n’ roll, I’m a little bit classy, I’m a little bit of a girl. It’s getting cold outside, which means two things: gloves and scarves.
I only own opera length gloves. I heart them. They instantly class up the place and add warmth to a notoriously uninsulated area. Unfortunately, as a very tactile person (and a smoker), gloves are the bane of my existence. It’s a true love hate relationship. That’s why I still mourn the loss of my fingerless gloves (a little bit trashy, but with a demure Fair Isle skull and cross bones motif), all the joy of knitwear, with only half the chance of frostbite. Dear Santa: please bring me a new pair for Xmas.

The biggest problem with opera length gloves is they were designed to be worn with a formal gown- they’re fake sleeves! Now, as a modern woman (or whatever that really means), I don’t have much call for formal wear. However, my love of long gloves is stronger than any current fashion trends. Observe:

Opera length gloves are best when worn with short sleeves (i.e. to make the outfit winter appropriate). If wearing with long sleeves, grasp the end of your sleeve in your palm. Push hand through glove, releasing sleeve only when the hand must be extended to fit into palm of glove. Enjoy!

It may be sad that I’ve spent time perfecting this technique.

From a not too distant “Oprah”, she revived her boutique segment to talk about the best shoes for the season. I taped the episode because they were supposed to talk about fun new ways to wear a scarf. Uh… I’m still waiting. You mean I can tie it in a knot at my neck? Or double it up, pulling the end through the loop? I thought we were going to get a lesson is chic, European style! I was truly bummed out at the end of the episode, then even more bummed when I realized I was bummed because of Oprah. That bitch!

Okay, I'm going to stop this nonsense before it gets any worse. Happy Weekend!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Misconceiving Texas

In my growing effort to dispel the myths of being Texan, I’ve decided finally to “take it to the blog”. It has amazed me for years, the common misconceptions people have about my great state. From New York to California to Tennessee, the number of amazing, and sometimes ridiculously ignorant, questions I have received have overwhelmed my brain; nudging out important Jeopardy trivia facts, names of acquaintances, and my entire 3rd grade year.

What other state requires two years of state history? Texas. I know more about the Alamo than I do about recent American history. I never made it past the industrial revolution in school, but I have two years of Alamo, American Indian War, Mexican-American War, and annexation, but no years of Roosevelt or Kennedy. Kinda sad, right? Not if you want to indoctrinate your citizens with an overwhelming pride that could only possibly be matched by New Yorkers.

Welcome to "Misconceiving Texas".

Misconception about Texas #3: It's always hot.

First off, not true. Sure, we might not have the snowed in trials and tribulations of the Midwest and Northeast, but that doesn't mean we don't experience winter. This isn't California! Texas has four agreed upon regions that comprise it's almost 262,000 square miles: Coastal Plains, Interior Lowlands, Great Plains, and Mountains and Basin Range. Each has a unique topography that mimics the rest of the country. How can a state so large be lumped into only one category? It's impossible.

In the Coastal Plains, winters are pretty mild. Encompassing, Houston, Corpus Christi, to San Antonio. Tropical winds moving in from the Gulf of Mexico keep the coast line humid.
From Abilene to Dallas and down towards Waco, the Interior Lowlands are what I call home. Very hot summers lead to crisp winters. No one who lives here should have any argument against the existence of global warming. When I was in grade school, we had snow days and ice days. I can remember crunching through the ice towards home from school. Now, the winters are cold but mostly dry. We haven't had a real winter since the Ice Storm of 2000. That being said, 30⁰F is cold anywhere in the world.
(Yep, that was my car earlier this week. Like the beginnings of Lake Murderville in the background?)

In the Great Plains region, they wouldn't know snow if it knocked on their door. When I lived in Austin, I was surprised at how warm it was in January. I asked them if they ever got snow or ice. My friends who grew up there looked at me like I'd sprouted a second head! This is not to say the freak snow storm doesn't pop up from time to time. My sister said there was one a few years ago that disrupted finals at A&M, however it is uncommon.

On many maps, the Great Plains reaches up into the Texas panhandle. Here, snow is a completely different story. Lubbock and Amarillo lie in the same plain as New Mexico and parts of Colorado, so they get a good dose of snow in the winters and have temperate summers.
In the Mountains and Basins region, snow is a foreign word. Sweeping up the Western portion of the state along the Rio Grande to El Paso, like other desert regions, it gets cold in the winter but nothing more.

Where ever you're from in the U.S., there is a part of Texas that will make you feel like home. Enjoy hiking and being outdoors? Check out the central part of the state. Are you a snow bunny who wants winter or bust? Move to the panhandle. Fishing, snorkeling, and bad surfing can be found along the coast. For those of you who want the Texas you see in television advertisements, check out the Rio Grande.
And yes, Virginia, it gets cold here too.