Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 13: A fictional book

When I was looking at that 30-day blogging list, I wondered if this meant a book in the genre of fiction, or a book that was not actually real. I'll go with the first, and make this post a review of the most recent book I read.

Review: Kushiel's Dart
By Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel's Dart is quite the epic tale, at 700 pages, and still just the first in a series. A young girl, Phedre, is sold into the Night Court because she has an unfortunate blemish: a red dot in one pupil. It is revealed that this is in fact a mark of the divine, Kushiel's dart to be precise, and shows her to be one of Kushiel's chosen. Without going into too many details (the back story is an involved mythology), this means she likes pain, in a sexual way. She finds herself in the household of one Delaunay, who trains her to garner political knowledge while going about her ways as a famed courtesan.

A lot of things happen and I'd rather not spoil them. The story takes place in mythical France (not called France, but it is anyway), and the way this version of Europe is depicted is intriguing. It's quite a good read, though due to her particular pleasures I wouldn't call the sex scenes all that stimulating. Also, the religiosity and the nationalism get at times a bit heavy-handed. Finally, I thought the book could have ended sooner; in fact, I'm not sure if I want to continue reading the series because I'm so tired of the character of Melisande. I just looked at Wikipedia and it looks like she continues to play a large role in most of the rest of the series, so I may just have to give it up. My final criticism is that there's very little magic. Which doesn't actually detract from the book; it's just sort of annoying since the cover seems to suggest magic is important.

Rating: B+

(And yes, I'm picking up the 30 day blogging thing again despite months having gone by. I think the prompts are nice.)

Some Catching Up

So, let's see... the last thing I really posted about was in late July. Yeah, so I guess moving and then my computer ceasing to function has had a big effect on my blogging (or not that much, I haven't been keeping up very well anyway). Also, I know I haven't even posted about Costa Rica, but now I have the excuse of lack of access to my pictures.

I guess the only way to do this is to give you a nice synopsis, and go into detail when I have pictures available.

August: I started working full time at the History Museum and looked constantly for a new place to live. Late in the month we moved from Fairmont to 11th and Irving, which is where we are currently. It's a basement apartment and is much nicer than our previous digs! I also now have my car parked in an alley spot.

September: Settled into the new apartment. The weekend of September 11 Jeff and I went to the river with Stan and Carla, who nearly didn't make it due to illness. We ate at Southwind Pizza, went to Mathews Market Days, and kayaked. Suz came over Saturday night for Stan's birthday dinner. It was a great time. The following weekend, Jeff and I went to St. Louis for his family friend Anne's wedding. We went to the zoo, the Gateway Arch, and the City Museum, as well as to the wedding (I'd like to do that one more in depth later).

October: This month involved some fun foodie activities! We went to Taste of Dupont, where we got to try 5 different Dupont Circle restaurants in a brief two-hour period. More on this later. We also went to the Curbside Cook-off, which was all the food trucks in a big parking lot, though the lines were incredibly long. We tried poutine from Eat Wonky and empanadas from DC Empanada. Pics and things later for that too. We also played lots of board games and went to Kostume Karaoke.

The first week of November: This past weekend has been full of activities - Saturday night we went to the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center with Steph and Greg, and last night we went to see the play My First Time in Adams Morgan. We are in the process of applying for Korea teaching jobs.

So, yeah, there's been a lot of goings-on, and I have been watching a whole lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I'm on the 3rd season currently). I've also done a lot of reading. I hope to increase the amount of posts on this blog, especially as the Korea thing develops.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Capital Fringe Festival

Through the month of July there is a Fringe Festival in DC. It’s full of shows that are not your standard theatre fare. I heard about it on DCist and saw several plays I wanted to see. One day Jeff asked if I’d like to go to “The Horrors of Online Dating” with him, that very night. I was off work that day and the show was at 1409 Playbill which is right at 14th and P so I said of course.

I got to the theatre to meet Jeff at about 7 and when he got there we tried to buy tickets. We were told they’d be selling them at about 20 ‘til 8 so we went and got salads at Whole Foods for dinner. When we returned there was a line for tickets so we got in it. There were no tickets left but we got on the wait list (second and third people on it). It turned out that everyone was able to get in. However, the plastic sheets that they were giving out (for splash protection) were all gone. Jeff and I got a seat front and center (I suppose, due to the “you may be covered in fluids” warning, people tried to avoid the front).

The play was a musical horror comedy about a crazy girl who kills people that she meets from an online dating site. It was hilarious and gory (lots of fake blood!). It was also pretty intense to sit in the front row since we were so close to the stage fighting and to things such as a gun with blanks being shot (though it was a black box theatre so nobody was far away).

We really enjoyed it, and left covered in fake blood, which made people’s reactions in the grocery store and on the street afterwards really amusing.

Jeff was conveniently wearing a white t-shirt.

I got wounded on the leg, pretty awesomely.

That was on a Thursday, and we kept doing a lot of things all weekend. Friday – a burlesque show (which I neglected to bring my camera to: it included fire spinning, walking on broken glass, climbing up silks, hula hooping, and more) and Saturday – karaoke with Steph, Greg, Suz, Nate, Carla, and Stan (again, forgot the camera – boo). It was basically amazing.

[The play was July 8, for reference.]

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fourth of July

It’s been a couple weeks since July 4th happened, but I haven’t written about it yet.

I had to work on the fourth, naturally. The day before we had had a going away party for Evie who is now working at Reagan airport. There was a ton of food and Megan came with her new baby.

Coworkers feasting 

Work was actually pretty slow on Sunday during the parade (which I didn’t know about), though it picked up considerably in the afternoon. I was working dog tags, and Shelly had given me festive eye shadow.


Me at the Masonic Temple, with patriotic accoutrements.

After work I went down to Alexandria and stopped by Whole Foods to get a salad for dinner. Then I met up with Stan and Carla (Jeff, by the way, was in Norfolk all weekend).

Stan had a great hat.

Carla also wore it well.

We went up onto the steps of the Masonic Temple, which seemed to be a popular option, including with this really absurdly muscle-y guy:

He was posing for a photoshoot just before this.

We were there at 8, and by the time the fireworks started it was very crowded. As the sun began to set, you could start to see fireworks along the horizon.

Not to mention that the sunset itself was awesome.

Finally the big show down by the mall started, and it turned out we were not at all in a good spot. We moved around so that we could take not-very-good pictures of the fireworks (which still looked big even from so far away).

You could call this 'artistic', I suppose.

We almost left but then suddenly a much closer, much more awesome fireworks show started in another direction. My camera ran out of batteries, so there are no photo attempts from it. We suspect it was from Ft. Belvoir, but we’re not sure. We were basically able to see two good fireworks shows as well as tiny bursts from many other ones on the horizon. It was a really cool place to be.

After everything seemed to be finished, we walked back to Carla’s place and watched the excellent (read: terrible) movie Troll, in which Harry Potter Jr. (seriously – this was from the 80s, too, so maybe it inspired JK Rowling…) helps a witch battle the troll that is possessing his little sister and taking over their San Francisco apartment building (it has a sequel too, apparently).

I then went back home, nearly running right into some fireworks being shot off down the block along the way. I couldn’t stay up to wait for Jeff to get home (he got there at about 3 in the morning) since I had the final day of the Folklife Festival to go to in the morning. Basically, it was a great fourth of July, and continued Jeff and I’s streak of usually not being together on July 4.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Killer Mockingbird

Sunday, I walked home from work like it was any other day. I didn't know that this day had something special in store. Special like a bird attack.

I crossed Fairmont and turned to walk up it, like usual. I was looking at flowers and thinking about the temporary nature of beauty, like always. Suddenly, I felt an unusual light scratch against my left arm. I looked, expecting to see a branch or something I had absentmindedly brushed. But instead I looked straight into the beady, murderous eyes of a mockingbird.

At first, I felt like laughing. I thought, seriously, did that bird just bite me? But then it started flying at me again. I said "Jesus, what the hell is wrong with you?" and ran away a little. Then I thought about what this must look like (dumb; a little crazy) to anyone watching me out their window, and I stopped running.

But the bird was not done. I noticed its assaults seemed largely directed towards my purse, so I held it away from me awkwardly. I walked as quickly as possible and made sure it wasn't following me. Finally it did stop and I ran into my house and stood behind the door. I still felt a little like laughing, but I was a little freaked out, too. I realized then that I could have used my massive purse as a weapon if necessary. I also thought, this is going to make a great story. And indeed, I hope that it has.

It was like this, sort of. Also see this Guardian article.

Sidenote: Tuesday morning I saw the bird attack someone else. I have decided to walk on the other side of the street, and find myself flinching a little whenever birds fly near me. They could be out for blood, like this mockingbird. You can't be too careful.

Second Boyfriend

It was a Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy party.
Zach and I in freshman year, with Tim on the side.

I'd like to share with you an anecdote I find amusing. At one point at Amnesty I was trying to tell my fellow interns something and I said "one of my boyfriend's brothers-" and I was interrupted by Warren saying, "wait, you have more than one boyfriend?" Immediately I lamented the ambiguity of the English language. But then I remembered my joke second boyfriend.

It all started my last semester at college (last fall). Well, I suppose it started in freshman year, when my main group of friends was mostly made up of guys. Sure there were some girls that we hung out with off and on, but the main group was Tim, Zach, Steve, Jeff (current boyfriend) and occasionally Trevor. As so many groups of friends are wont to do, this group drifted apart. Last fall, Tim was taking the semester off (and had already left the group mostly for a frat). Steve was, as was so often the case, mired in doing schoolwork, running, and playing video games, so he hung out less. Jeff had graduated. That left Zach and Trevor. I had drifted apart from them, too - Zach, mostly because of a girl, and Trevor, for various activities. Since many of the people I had been hanging out with had graduated, I decided to hang out with Zach and Trevor again.

Zach had a new girlfriend and we soon became friends. Then they broke up. I stayed friends with both of them. But Zach and I mostly hung out alone. At first, we just met up at the dining hall for dinner once a week or so. Then we would occasionally go out to dinner together. Someone assumed we were dating. We laughed. We went to see (500) Days of Summer together. I said, "Zach, I think we are dating." And thus was born the joke of the second boyfriend. Basically, a friend, who you go on dates with, but it's not romantic or anything, but everyone else thinks you're dating. I suppose we are now on-again, off-again, though Zach has asked to resume our dates via Skype due to him being in . He wanted to be my first Skype relationship, but I reminded him that my boyfriend and I were long distance for two semesters. Sorry, Zach. It will still be special.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Last weekend I went to Ocean City, and this Monday I head off for Costa Rica - thus the lapse in posting, which will only be continued.

Ocean City was quite fun and relaxing. It was a cruiser weekend so there were lots of classic cars there. I picked up my car Wednesday, thinking I could just park at work and it would be easier than picking it up Thursday night. Well I couldn't park at work and had an awful time of finding a place to park. I did eventually though and picked up Jeff after work and drove to Melfa.

Friday we met my parents for lunch at the Harborside Bar and Grill, which they like. It was really good. They have a lot of seafood and the mahi mahi sandwich was awesome.

The view from Harborside

Then we went to the condo after some light shopping. We stayed at Somerset and 2nd and the condo was huge. It was 3 bedrooms and had a large common area, and 2 balconies. It was fun to watch people on the boardwalk. We didn't do anything noteworthy that afternoon, and later we had dinner at Shenanigan's. After that Jeff and I went to the arcades with my brother. We played a lot of skee ball. I was the champion, with this rockin' score:

forgive the blurriness.

We got some sweet prizes like 4 hacky sacks, 2 mini frisbees, a power squirt (aka squirt gun), and a magical fortune-telling fish.

The next day we went to the Sunset Grille for lunch and Atlantic Stand for dinner. In between we did some shopping and walked around and stuff like that.

Junk fries and a grilled cheese from the Atlantic Stand

The following day was pretty foggy. Jeff and I searched for bagels and found an okay place somewhere and misread the sign, thinking half a dozen were $4.99 but really that was for donuts. So we got too many bagels, I guess, but that was okay. Anyway we went to check out the car show which was cool but we didn't go in the parking lot because they were charging $10 for admission.

Still got some sweet shots though...

Then we went back to Harborside and this time I got nachos. And an Orange Crush, their signature cocktail. Which is rather strong. So we went back to the condo and played the game Red Dead Redemption for Xbox which is really great. My brother and Kristen left that evening and my parents and Jeff and I went to Tony's Pizza for dinner because it was pretty much the only place open at 9 on a Sunday.

Mounted police running down the beach - lucky.

The next morning we went to Bagels and Buns for breakfast (amazing bagels) and then headed home, stopping in Salisbury and at the Prime Outlets in - get this - Queenstown, MD. Jeff snagged a hat, hiking shoes, and pants, while I found... nothing. Oh well. Good trip!

And, like I mentioned, Monday it's Costa Rica! Stay tuned for updates on that trip.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's really over

(Day 12 of the month of themed blogging is a whatever you feel like day)

Sunday morning I went down to Williamsburg to attend the Classics graduation ceremony. I wasn't going to participate, just watch and catch up with friends and professors. My mom and brother happened to be bringing my grandmother a TV so I got to see them and we went to lunch at Firehouse Subs, which is pretty good. Not long after it was time to drive onto campus to go to the ceremony at the Campus Center.

I got the program and noticed I was on the list of degree recipients! I should have written a paragraph and walked across the stage like everybody else.... oh well. I sat in front of Callie and got to talk a little bit of Doctor Who with her. Got to see people like Lauren, Maggie, Natasha, Lena, and Meg, and some other people I sort of know. What was mind boggling was there were classics majors there I didn't know! Out of 19 graduating students, there were at least 2 I'd never seen before. Crazy! Talking to profs was cool too.

After that I was just going to go home but was able to get up with Zach and went and hung out with him while he packed. Trevor was there for a bit too. Eventually I headed home after saying bye to my grandmother, and got gas at Wawa and dinner at Taco Bell.

But what this whole thing really drove home was the fact that college is really over. Sure, it's been over since mid-December for me, but the people in my year were still in school that whole time and I could visit and it was like a semester away, sort of; at least that's how it felt. But now that they've all graduated it really feels like I'm done. And I miss it. Mostly, the people. And the abundance of free time, and the proximity and availability of friends and all that. I didn't feel like I missed Williamsburg per se, or being in classes, but just the whole experience of being in college. It's a chapter of my life that has ended, and that's weird. Sure, high school ended but then there was just more school. Now, most likely, school is over. Even if I go to grad school one day it'll be different.

I'm a little bit sad. I'm a bit in mourning, you could say. I will miss my college friends - will any of us keep in touch? These are really good friends, great people, many of whom I've known for 4 years of my life or longer. Isn't it strange that suddenly, many of us will drift apart and possibly never see each other again? It seemed bad enough for the people I'd bonded with in one semester in New Zealand were gone from my life, but now I have to face up to that with even closer friends... but I've kept in touch with some people from New Zealand, so I'm confident that I can keep in touch with some people from college.

The other night I had a dream about riding and realized I miss that part of my life, too. I want horses to be part of me again. I think it was part of this feeling like I'm letting things go, and I just don't want to. If I try hard enough, I probably don't have to. I'm planning on riding in Costa Rica at least once. And I'll Skype with at least one person this summer. That's my goal.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Day 11 — A photo of me taken recently

This is me at Busch Gardens in the fall with a Guira Cuckoo cuddling on my shoulder. Such a sweet bird!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 10 — A photo of me taken over ten years ago

This one had to be early too, since I'm going down to Williamsburg for graduation tomorrow. Here you go:

This was with my cat Sassy, who despised me, possibly, it would seem, with good reason...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Day 09 — A photo I took

Okay, this time, I'm doing this early, because I have to work tomorrow and probably will not do much after work. So here is a photo I took.

Sure, I have photos I consider better quality, but I just really like this one, for its bizarre factor. Also, it looks like the guy is posing for me. I'm pretty sure he wasn't, though... he had the chicken pointed at the Hollywood sign.

Day 08 — A photo that makes me angry/sad

For this I've chosen a photo that makes me sad. And it's a montage from a Doctor Who episode. Relevant dialogue quoted below.

The Doctor: Here you are, living a life day after day. The one adventure I can never have.
Rose: Am I ever going to see you again?
The Doctor: You can’t.
Rose: What are you going to do?
The Doctor: I’ve got the TARDIS. Same old life. Last of the Time Lords.
Rose: On your own? I… I love you.
The Doctor: Quite right too. And I suppose… if it’s my last chance to say it… Rose Tyler… [disappears]

I cried when watching this.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 7: A photo that makes me happy

I know, I know. These are really long days, or something. Day 6 was 'whatever tickles your fancy,' so that was my Firefly review. Here goes the next one!

When Jeff and I were long distance, I had to come up with quick ways of getting happy, because sometimes having your boyfriend thousands of miles away just bums you out. Since I'd rather not venture into the area of mood-altering drugs, I needed something else. Luckily, someone introduced me to Cute Overload, which delivers adorable photos regularly.

Just try to scowl at that sloth. I dare you.

The only thing I don't like about Cute Overload is the captions. Very occasionally, they'll have a witty reference that I like. But, for the most part, they are kind of annoying. So, luckily for you, dear reader, I have just yesterday found a new site, which has pictures that are just as cute, and doesn't have the obnoxious captions! That site is ZooBorns, which chronicles baby animals born at zoos.


Even godless killing machines can be adorable!

So, the moral of the story is that cute things make me happy. It's great to find websites that never fail to make you smile!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Review: Firefly

Year: 2002
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau, Alan Tudyk, Jewel Staite, Morena Baccarin, Gina Torres, Adam Baldwin, Sean Maher, Ron Glass
Created by: Joss Whedon

Firefly is one of those shows that got canceled too early and, like many of those (the good ones at least), has sort of a cult following. From my point of view, it well deserves that following. It was a great show, and it's really a shame that it didn't even run a full season (just 10 episodes). I am really glad a followup movie was made, at least.

So why, exactly, is it so good? Well, for one, it's a sci-fi western. How cool is that? If you've seen the video for Muse's "Knights of Cydonia" you sort of know what that's like. This is the most believable scifi I've seen - basically, technology has advanced enough in the future to allow space travel, and since Earth was all used up, people moved on to a new solar system. There are no aliens, just some people that were driven crazy and turned into creepy killing machines. There's some laser technology in guns, but only the central planets have the best tech, while the outworlds are backwaters with little sophistication and often beyond reach of the Alliance law.

Anyway, so our heroes are the crew of a transport ship that takes miscellaneous jobs, mostly on the outworlds. Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Fillion) was a sergeant in the big war for the Independents, and so he has attracted a crew that mostly eschew Alliance control. The crew includes a pilot, Wash (Tudyk), his wife who fought with Mal in the war, second-in-command Zoe (Torres), a Companion (basically a courtesan) who rents out one of the shuttles, Inara (Baccarin), the tough guy, Jayne (Baldwin), and the mechanic, Kaylee (Staite). In the pilot episode they pick up a Shepherd (pastor), Book (Glass), and a doctor (Maher) who has taken his sister (Glau) out of an Alliance camp where they've been doing things to her brain.

The characters are done really well; they all seem real and have interesting relationships, and develop as the show goes on. Everyone is either likeable or amusing, or both. The show is thrilling, engaging, funny, and just generally delightful. It's quick to watch but, if you're like me, you'll wish it just kept on going.

Basically, I loved it, and on a few different levels. It was entertaining but also just a great story, and there was action and romance and humor... oh I just can't say enough!

Now, go forth and watch! You won't be disappointed, I feel. It's on Netflix streaming now.

Grade: A+!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 5: My favorite quote

No fanfare needed, here's just a few quotes I love.

"You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness." - Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

"We save our lives in such unlikely ways." - Neil Gaiman

"I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars." - Og Mandino

"Brighten the corner where you are, and you will light the world." - Dean Koontz, From the Corner of His Eye

"Now I'll only think about you if it's raining or it's not." - 'Jolene' by The Weepies

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 4: My favorite book

I almost blogged yesterday. I was this close. Oh well.

So, my favorite book, eh? My canned answer (as in, the one I tell myself is true for ease of answering such a question) is Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. And it's a great book, don't get me wrong. But I read it years ago; I think when I was a college freshman. I've read a lot of great books since then, and there were plenty of lovely ones before. Middlesex is deep and kind of heavy, but still I love it. It's about hermaphrodism, incest, sexuality, and acceptance. It's a coming of age story. And yes, it was an Oprah Book Club choice (I'm okay with that).

Another great book is The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Yeah, it's about a guy who can time-travel, but it's not a scifi. It's a drama and a romance. It's about what it's like to love someone who uncontrollably disappears sometimes, and lives his life out of order. It's sweet and tragic.

Poster for the recent movie, which I thought was enjoyable.

But I don't just like books that are kind of a bummer. And I don't just like books that are considered 'literature'. I like popular fiction, too. I don't really buy into the distinction. I mean, sure, there's a difference in the writing styles, but I don't think that you should bother with making yourself 'look good' by only reading 'literature'. I will read anything, as long as it's halfway decent or at least entertaining. I do follow the practice of ditching a book if I'm not into it by 50 pages (not a hard and fast rule - I've quit books after 100 pages or even halfway through). The latest book I've stopped reading was Atonement by Ian McEwan.

So, some other stuff I like: the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett (hilarious satirical fantasy), From the Corner of His Eye by Dean Koontz (good thriller), anything by Neil Gaiman (invariably fantasy, sometimes a bit creepy), The Stand by Stephen King (a huge apocalyptic novel), Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson (great fantasy with some romance thrown in), the Harry Potter series, and Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (awesome techy scifi).

There you go! A sampling of some of my favorite books! I think you should just read whatever suits your fancy. Even if it's Twilight, because yeah, it was addictive.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 3: My favorite television program

Yeah, so, I'm awful at posting every day. Anyhow, here is the post in which I will go on and on about Doctor Who! And possibly some other shows.

But first, Doctor Who!

A promo for the 2005 series

So Doctor Who is an old British show; it started in the 60s. I wasn't aware of it until rather recently, when the new version which started in 2005 had already had 4 seasons. So I started with the 2005 season with Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler, his companion. I was hooked almost immediately. It didn't take me long to power through the first season, at the end of which the Doctor, a Timelord who can regenerate with a new face and personality, does so. So the second season has a new actor playing the Doctor: David Tennant.

David Tennant as the Doctor

At first I thought, oh no, it will never be the same, but then I started liking Ten even more! Season Two was great, then Season Three had a new companion, Martha Jones, played by Freema Agyeman. I loved Rose and hated to see her go, but Martha was alright. The best episode of the season by far was "Blink," which was the first episode I saw and also written by Stephen Moffat, who was the creator of the show Coupling, another UK show I love.

Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones

The fourth season featured another new companion, Donna Noble, played by Catherine Tate. The character had appeared once before in the Christmas special before season three, and I didn't much like her, but she was much better in this season. It was a pretty good season, though it had some very bad episodes as well.

Catherine Tate as Donna Noble

The fifth season has just started, with a new producer, the wonderful Stephen Moffat himself, a new Doctor, Matt Smith, and a new companion, Amy Pond, played by Karen Gillan.

There have been two episodes so far, and so far it's brilliant. Love it. I already really like Matt Smith and Karen Gillan as well.

From episode 2, "The Beast Below"

So, basically, to summarise: Doctor Who is a British sci-fi show mostly directed towards kids. However, it can be deep and scary and often has elements of romance, so plenty for me, as well. Also, it is silly and campy and sometimes quite hilarious. There is a wide range of tones depending on the episode. It really has something for everyone (people with completely opposite tastes have been known to like it equally). It varies widely in quality, but overall is very good. You do not need to like sci-fi whatsoever to like it! So give it a go! The fifth season would be a fine place to start if you don't feel like playing catch-up.

From the opening credits

I will briefly go over a few more shows that I love.

-Veronica Mars - A high school girl works at her father's private detective agency on the side. It's funny, sassy, dramatic, and very compelling. Kristen Bell stars.

-Skins - Follows the lives of teens in Bristol, England. Quite engaging, dramatic, sometimes funny and quirky. Very addictive.

-How I Met Your Mother - Sitcom about a guy telling his kids how he met their mother by showing what led up to it (hint: it's the fifth season, we still haven't met the mother). It's absolutely hilarious.

...And that's about it for right now! There are other great shows, but those are the ones I've been most currently into.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 2: My Favourite Movie

Well, crap. I already missed a day. But that's because we did trivia last night, and I didn't have time since I didn't go home first. Trivia was in Alexandria this week, and it was pretty decent, though the place got pretty smoky at 9 o'clock. So anyway! Time for: my favourite movie. So for a while now I've been saying it's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It's sweet, but also weird. A bizarre love story. I like it a lot.

But there are certainly other movies I really like. The Lives of Others is one of those, as is The Talented Mr. Ripley. Those are kind of darker, and very clever. I enjoy a clever film. I also like watching sweet romantic comedies like Love Actually, or mindless action like, most recently, the new Clash of the Titans (though that last is definitely not a favorite). So it would be a lot easier to pick my favourites from each genre (and even then, still hard). I know "it totally depends on what mood I'm in" is a crap answer, but there it is, the best I can do.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Cover songs of note

While I'm thinking about songs I would like to share with you some cover songs I found thanks to Lists Galore.

First up, this cover of Hey Ya! by Matt Weddle of Obadiah Parker (no, I've never heard of them either). It features a big bushy beard guy singing a folk version of the song quite beautifully, and the video uses clips from the original video in an interesting way.

Kind of completely opposite almost is this screamo version of "Such Great Heights" originally by the Postal Service. I found it amusing and was surprised that it worked as well as it did for me.

If you haven't already heard of the YouTube sensation that is Julia Nunes, you should definitely check her out. She is cute and talented. Here's her cover of "Accidentally in Love."

I was already a Jonathan Coulton fan but I had never heard his version of "Baby Got Back"! It is fabulous and you will love it, I hope.

And, finally, I never thought I would say this, but there is a version of Single Ladies that I actually kind of like. And here it is (it's by Pomplamoose, how cool is their name?).

Day 1: My favourite song

If you know me, you know I find it hard to choose favourites. But I'm going to try.

There's one song I can listen to over and over and over again and still love, so perhaps that's my current favorite. It's "Nineteen" by Tegan and Sara. I love them, I love their atypical voices and alternative style. Their songs are so simple but so infectious.

This acoustic version is a bit different than the one I have but you can see how awesome they are here.

Jeff and I have also been really obsessed with Laura Veirs lately. Here's the video for "Cast a Hook in Me" which I've been humming almost constantly.

One last song to make note of is "The Taste of Ink" by The Used. It has been one of my favourites for a long time and is the inspiration for my blog title. Despite no longer really being into screamo or whatnot in general, I still love The Used.

Trying to get myself to write...

So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to complete the following 30 days of blogging meme:

Day 01 — Your favorite song
Day 02 — Your favorite movie
Day 03 — Your favorite television program
Day 04 — Your favorite book
Day 05 — Your favorite quote
Day 06 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 07 — A photo that makes you happy
Day 08 — A photo that makes you angry/sad
Day 09 — A photo you took
Day 10 — A photo of you taken over ten years ago
Day 11 — A photo of you taken recently
Day 12 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 13 — A fictional book
Day 14 — A non-fictional book
Day 15 — A fanfic
Day 16 — A song that makes you cry (or nearly)
Day 17 — An art piece (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.)
Day 18 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 19 — A talent of yours
Day 20 — A hobby of yours
Day 21 — A recipe
Day 22 — A website
Day 23 — A YouTube video
Day 24 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 25 — Your day, in great detail
Day 26 — Your week, in great detail
Day 27 — This month, in great detail
Day 28 — This year, in great detail
Day 29 — Hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days
Day 30 — Whatever tickles your fancy

Starting, well, today, probably! And hopefully I'll be able to blog for 30 consecutive days. (PS - got this meme from here)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wonderful Williamsburg for the Weekend

So after that awfully alliterative title, perhaps I should finally tell you about my trip to Williamsburg this past weekend. On Thursday night, Jeff and I trekked over to his parents' house and ate some yummy home-cooked chicken and slept. In the morning I got up to get my truck inspected. I took it to this GM dealer (after all it's a GMC), except it wasn't a GM dealer anymore - it was a Hyundai dealer. Luckily they were still an inspection station so I still got it done there. Had to replace the wiper blades, so they now have the Hyundai symbol on them which amuses me for some reason. After that we headed down to Richmond to Thai Diner Too to have lunch with Jeff's friend Savannah. However, on the way, we discovered that Savannah had to stay home with her sick kid so we went to Thai Diner Too by ourselves. It was good! Then we went to Savannah's house in Church Hill which is a nice neighborhood. She has a really sweet pit bull named Will, and she lives with Thomas and his son Silas who is an adorable toddler and he was a bit sick. But I made silly faces at him and he liked us. Savannah is also pregnant with twins, and studying to become an art teacher. Pretty cool.

After that we drove on to Williamsburg, and went to dinner at Sal's with my grandmother. It was good as always. From there we drove to campus, then rounded up the troops to spend a Green Leafe gift certificate. Megan, JG, Trevor, and Will ended up coming. We ate cheese fries, had some beers, watched some basketball, and generally had a good time. After that we ran into Ashley and Margaret who were going to the drag ball, so Jeff and I decided to go too. It was great - Will Martin picked me up and carried me almost all the way into the room, and everybody rushed up to us when we got there and gave us a gigantic hug. The Lambda people are so awesome. Also Rachel A, Erica, Pablo, and Alex Y were there. After drag ball ended only an hour later (sadly) Jeff and I went to Rachel A's room with a group and hung out for a while, then went back to bed.

On Saturday we were supposed to meet Suz in CW but she didn't make it. Instead we met Zach and Trevor in CW and had a Cheese Shop picnic on the Palace Green. It was lovely. After that Jeff and I went to Jamestown Beach because the weather was so nice and read in the sun. Then we went to Zach and Trevor's room to watch with them and Mel the adult musical comedy version of Alice in Wonderland and eat pizza. Next we drove to the Huttons' house off campus for the yearly Classics banquet, which just happened to be occurring (fortuitous!). It was cool to see classics club people and my profs. Also Sam Angley made an awesome Pantheon cake and an awesomer penis-shaped cake (which was also delicious!). After that Jeff and I met up with Minda, then went to the UC which is now the SC to grab Kat, and Mel was there too. We talked for a while then went to Wawa where I sadly did not get mac n cheese because I was too full. Or a milkshake even! Wawa run fail. Oh well. Then we sat on the Sunken Gardens until it was too chilly, and after that we went to Landrum and met up with Suzy as well as visiting Katy, who rooms with Catherine Cole who also happened to be there! We hung out for a while in the basement then left for sleeps.

Sunday we headed to Newport News to meet Suz and my mom for lunch. Managed to catch Suz this time, but my mom couldn't make it because of traffic - ugh. It was pretty unfortunate. We went to a Mexican place in City Center called Salsa's which was decent and quite cheap. Then we walked around for a while and then headed out to try to make it to a dinner party in DC with Jeff's APCO friends (at Karly's house), which we did make, though we were late. It was yummy and then we walked to Eastern Market to return some library items. Basically, a jam-packed fun weekend!

Since then:

Monday - there was THUNDER! For I think the first time since I've lived here.
Tuesday - trivia! Carla came with Mary and Rob. We did terribly; the picture round was female tennis players, and basically just blonde Russian ones. It got better from there though, just not better enough. Before trivia I went to MLK library and read, which was a good way not to go home.
Wednesday - work was great because I got to hang out with my supervisor while he did database stuff then he took me to get a burrito at CalTort! Also it was nice out so we ate at the Sculpture Garden by the now-closed ice rink which, I found out, is actually in a giant fountain! Cool. Then after work and stopping by home I met Jeff at Mt Vernon Square, and we went to the DCist Exposed Photo Exhibit's last day at Longview Gallery. There were some cool pictures and all for sale for a mere $100 or more. Way out of my price range. Then we walked towards home and found ourselves in Logan Circle, at which point we realized we were close to the Whole Foods. We followed the trail of people with Whole Foods bags to the store and decided to grab salads at the salad bar for dinner - and they were awesome. So many toppings... mmm... On the way back some guy outside of a personal trainer place asked us if we worked out but didn't try to sell us anything and then some nice middle-aged ladies laughed with us about it.
Today - nothing special.

As for the future:
Tomorrow - dinner at the Melting Pot! Karaoke!
Saturday - kite festival! possibly Good Stuff Eatery!
also... how long can we manage not to go to the grocery store? It'll have been two weeks since we went tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 15, 2010

DIY: Air Mattress Pump*

*all genius belongs to Jeff.

As I mentioned in the last post, Zach and Trevor came by and stayed over not this past weekend but the weekend before. Jeff and I had thoughtfully bought an air mattress, so when added to our Love Sac that equaled two makeshift beds. We were looking in Target and the cheapest one didn't come with a pump. I voiced mild concern that it would be annoying to blow it up by our own lung power but Jeff was certain it wouldn't be too much of a problem. So it came time to set the thing up and there was a problem, only not one we had expected. The little air hole thingy that you usually use to blow things up with was clearly designed with only letting air out in mind. You literally couldn't get air in it - we thought maybe it came with the hole not opened but that wasn't the case, it was just somehow designed to go only one way. I was ready to give up and go buy an air pump. However, Jeff had an idea. He asked for two items:


It worked really well, actually, as a makeshift pump! Now, if you're going to do this at home, you need a hair dryer that has a 'cool' setting. I wouldn't try it with the hot air unless you want to risk that fragrant smell of melting plastic (and you don't, plus busting the air mattress is no good either). You can use any old cardboard tube, and I'm betting you have one around somewhere. Open up the place where the pump hose goes, put the cardboard tube over it, then hold the hair dryer against the tube, blowing in cool air, and there you go - a relatively decently inflated air mattress! I'm happy that my boyfriend is so creative!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Let's face it... I'm a slacker

Yes, I'm going to admit it right now. There's something in me that's patently lazy. Maybe it's just the weather - after all, I have done a lot during all the nice days we've had, at least. Maybe it's the still-early-darkening of the days. Maybe, for this week in particular, it's the fact that I've been sort of sick. But anyway, there are a lot of things I haven't been doing. One of them is writing in this blog. I hope to change that. I get distracted every time I'm online, especially by my RSS feed which has the effect of 'oooh, shiny...'. Also, playing Robot Unicorn Attack hasn't helped (I see you clicking that link. Go ahead... it's fun). And I just decided to really start up my Flixter account, to feed that need to put star ratings on everything I do ever - so that covers movies now as well as books and food/businesses/museums not to mention the site I use to simply catalog everything I watch or read. So I'm a little addicted to social media sites, including Facebook and Tumblr too, which sadly has made me neglect my blogging.

I also haven't been exercising like I should. Yes, last weekend I walked from my house to U Street to Dupont Circle then from Metro Center to the Washington Monument to the Capital building to Union Station then from Woodley Park to Adams Morgan to home again... but then I woke up the next morning to find that my knee hurt. So I need to be doing stretches and purposeful knee exercises. And going out dancing whenever I'm feeling better from this mystery illness.

Another thing I haven't been doing is applying for jobs. My AI internship is coming to a close at the end of April, and I'd really like to have something part-time lined up by then. I am also going to apply to this sweet Sierra Club internship, but that is basically a shot in the dark. But if I got it - oh man, two months in SF plus hiking and rafting and traveling? AND a whole bunch of free North Face gear? Awesome. Basically I gotta get on the making-another-video thing. I just don't want to give up. Of course, it's also come to my attention that I should probably be thinking about the future. The Sierra Club internship wouldn't really help there, unless I really go for my dreams and try to make some sort of career out of travel or the great outdoors in one way or another (kayak instructor? horse trek leader? ropes course facilitator? travel writer? suggestions?). Maybe I could be the next Randy Drake, who knows.

Here are what I have in mind for possibilities of what I might do in the future: library or archival work, museum stuff, teaching of some sort, or maybe something with computers, maybe even specifically social media. It's still pretty broad and each thing is even too general. But at least for most of that stuff I am on the right track - the Smithsonian internship is really broad, enough to cover most of that stuff. I need to do some informational interviews with some CFCH employees to see what they really do and if I might like it. I want to work in a library, I really do, to see if that's the kind of thing I might like. And of course there's the hope that Jeff and I will be teaching in South Korea next year which would cover the teaching possibility, and allow me to see if I like it.

Here's a quick overview of what I have been doing:

-Obsessively watching the entire three seasons of Veronica Mars (oh wait, there is where all my time has gone recently!) But I'm done now. Kind of sad.
-Languishing on my computer.
-Reading the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson (partway through book 2 of 3 now).
-Feb. 27 - my parents came to visit. Ate lunch at Capitol Brewing Co., walked around the mall, went to the National Botanic Gardens, played some Phase 10 at home, ate dinner at Ray's Hell Burger.
-Feb. 28 - parents still here, and my grandparents came in along with Uncle Jamie and Aunt Kathy and we went to brunch at Jaleo which was absolutely amazing and decadent. Then my parents and Jeff and I went to the Newseum. I returned the next day since the admission gets you in two days in a row. It was great.
-March 6 - went into AI really early to help Keri with a meeting. Then went over to Old Town Alexandria and watched a St. Patrick's Day parade, met up with StephGreg and Suz and Nate and had some lunch and some cupcake. There were shriner cars and storm troopers in the parade!
-March 7 - Zach and Trevor came to visit and we did the aforementioned walking around, going to Ben's Chili Bowl for lunch, Firehook for a cookie, and Bukom, a West African place in Adams Morgan, for dinner.
-March 8 - I went to Pollo Campero by the metro for lunch with Zach and Trevor then finally finished Veronica Mars, leaving me time for a life.
-This Wednesday started getting dizzy spells so I didn't go into work Thursday, and went in but left early Friday, and didn't go to the rally yesterday. I'm feeling better now and we're supposed to visit Williamsburg this weekend, so I hope I really am better.

Sorry this post was so long, but I had a lot of catching up to do.

Jeff GIF

Just testing out some online GIF animators. Hopefully this works!

gif maker

And this might just be a little better:
gif maker

(made them at Picasion)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Curling, a Parade, etc

This past week has been mighty eventful. Let's see... there was trivia on Tuesday, a Tegan and Sara concert on Wednesday, a conference call on Thursday (not exciting), finishing season 1 of Veronica Mars on Friday, failed attempt at curling, a walk to the Jefferson Memorial, and dinner and a movie with Suz, Steph/Greg, and Stan Saturday, successful attempt at curling, Chinese New Year Parade, and Nat'l Museum of Crime and Punishment with Stan and Carla on Sunday. Need I even mention that Jeff was involved in all but the conference call?

Trivia went well - we got fifth place! Now onto the more interesting stuff. Jeff had bought me tickets to see Tegan and Sara for my birthday and now the time was upon us! We headed to the Warner Theatre after eating at Chopt which was yummy. They had assigned seating and we were on the balcony. The opening acts were Steel Train, an all-guy band that I really liked, and Holly Miranda, a band with a chick lead singer who had an amazing voice but thanks to me being tired the mellowness of that act nearly put me to sleep.

Steel Train

Holly Miranda

Then Tegan and Sara came out. They started off playing a lot from Sainthood, then started interspersing it with older stuff. They played a lot of songs I really like, including "Hell," "Nineteen," and "The Con." I was only disappointed that they didn't play "Take Me Anywhere," but that's okay. They are amazing live. They do a lot of funny bantering, and interact a lot with the crowd. After leaving the stage they came back on without their band for an acoustic set which included the popular "Living Room" which I didn't know I knew, but I did. Basically, I loved it.

Tegan and Sara

One weird thing did happen at that concert - Erica clone was there! She's this girl who goes to W&M and looks exactly like my friend Erica and she was standing really close to us. Bizarre. Skipping to Saturday... Jeff and I tried to go to the Capital Curling Expo but there was a three hour wait for curling. Instead we wandered towards the mall, finding a big giant map in a square...

Jeff is totally inside the Capital Building here.

Next we decided to wander towards the monuments, after looking at an imposing-from-afar building which turned out to be the EPA. We walked by the Washington Monument and then I realised I had possibly never been to the Jefferson Memorial, so we walked there. We walked by the water where the cherry trees are and noticed a lot of storm damage, including to a great big lovely elm that is apparently well-known. We noticed there's paddle-boating you can do so that might be something to remember (though Carla says you can do it for cheaper elsewhere). Anyway, we made it to the monument and admired how tall Thomas Jefferson was.

It was a nice day and we walked a lot. From there we walked to the Smithsonian Metro and met the people mentioned above for dinner at the Arlington Diner, which was mediocre or less but cheap. Then we went to Greg and Steph's apartment and watched Away We Go (review to come), which Jeff and I really liked.

On to Sunday! We made a second stab at the Capital Curling Expo and this time were some of the first people there. Jeff, Stan, and I gave it a go, though it was fake ice and no sweeping.

Stan curling

Basically it was a little taste and I learned a lot of things, including that you can go curling for real in Laurel, MD, which I'd really like to try. Next we ate at Subway, then went to the Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown, which was pretty cool.

Lion Dancers

Next we went to the Museum of Crime and Punishment which I got into for free with my Smithsonian badge. It was decent but not the best museum I've been to.

Jeff on a police motorcycle

Today I got a haircut at Bang Salon on U Street. It's fabulous and was inspired by a girl I saw at the Tegan and Sara show. Now here's hoping this week is great as well!