Monday, December 24, 2007

Go Away, Dalai Lama

My only motivation for posting today is to get that picture of me and the Dalai Lama off my frontpage. I hope this post is enough to do it. So let's see. What have I been up to lately.

Well, about a week ago I got promoted at work. So that's kind of nice. Although it gives me that icky feeling that I somehow have everyone fooled that I give 2 cents about finance, when really I could care less. And yet I've been promoted. Seeing the disconnect here? I guess it's just about the fact that even though I don't care, I still give it my all. How I manage to do that I'll never know. I'm still waiting for inspiration to strike. Where are you my perfect job??

I've been reading quite a bit lately. I just finished Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire, also the author of the more widely read Wicked which I read last year. I really enjoyed Stepsister. As the back-story of Cinderella, it spins a dark, gritty reality that brings the fairy tale down to a relatable level. No longer is Cinderella a poor unfortunate child who was taken advantage of by her evil step-mother, but rather, a petulant self-centered child who let life take advantage of her, rather than ever attempting to chart the course of her own destiny. Her run in with the prince was constructed by one of her step-sisters in an attempt to save her from a life of ruin. I recommend it as a quick, entertaining read. Just before that I finished Life of Pi by Yann Martel, which IMHO deserves all the praise it's been getting. A fascinating examination of the implications of the food chain! :) I'm currently working on The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, which has been on my 'to read' list for ages. It was a gift at last year's Hanukkah celebration. Speaking of Hanukkah, I'll have plenty to read when I'm finished with Bees. My brother gave me several new ones on my to read list last night at our family's much-belated Hanukkah celebration. I received Neuromancer, I am Legend, and The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, by William Gibson, Richard Matheson, and Roddy Doyle respectively. I'll admit a little ashamedly one of the reasons I'm so keen to read Doyle is that J.K. Rowling cites him as her favorite author. I'm eager to see if I find any stylistic similarities in their works.

So that's reading. Let's see. I also finally gave in about 2 weeks ago and downloaded I-Tunes. The Queen of all illegal internet downloading has thrown in the towel. Tired of switching sites every few weeks as they get shut down, tired of hoping I was getting the radio edit, but actually getting the Live edit, tired of poor sound quality. These were my reasons (plus a fully exhaustive list I'll spare you) for just deciding to make the switch. I was so pumped the first week, and gleefully downloaded 37 songs. Then I looked at my playlist and thought, "Gee, even though I like all these songs were they really worth $40?", then "I can't believe I just spend $40 on something completely intangible." then "Oh man, I miss free downloading." Although it is nice to hear songs completely free of pops and clicks and to not have to fill in tons of tag information for them on my own in order to get them to sort appropriately on my mp3 player. So I guess there are pros and cons to both legal and illegal downloading. My wallet regrets the choice, but in the end it'll probably be worth it. Some of the songs I am obsessed with right now: "Take You There" by Sean Kingston, "Piece of Me" by Britney Spears, "Don't Stop the Music" by Rhianna, and "Sexy Lady" by Yung Berg. I am in a HUGE pop swing right now. I go back and forth in wide swaths of genre. I just finished about 4 months of being stuck on Q104.3 (classic rock) and being nauseated by any other music station. Now, suddenly as a lighting strike, I have an insatiable appetite for pop. Funny, eh?

OH! I don't think I ever posted about this in October, but I bought a new car. I sold the Sentra to my brother, who's car was totaled by a driver who fell asleep and hit it on the street where it was parked. I bought a Nissan Versa. It looks basically just like this:


I LOVE IT! It's so cute and tiny, but still really spacious inside. And my insurance company (USAA) hooked me up with one of their preferred dealers who gave it to me at cost + $300. So it's got all these crazy features I never would have gotten if I actually had to pay for them but are REALLY nice to have. It's got built in bluetooth, so I don't have to talk on the phone any more or even use a headset. The calls come through over my car speakers. Which, by the way, include a BOSE subwoofer. If I turn the bass up all the way it's a bit deafening. My other favorite feature is "Intelligent Key." It's that sensor in your keys where your car can tell if the key is within 3 feet of the car and it will automatically unlock if you push a button on the door handle. It makes carrying the groceries out to the car SO MUCH EASIER. I no longer have to shift all 10 bags to one hand while digging around in my purse or my pocket to find the keys. Plus, were I ever alone in some dank parking garage being pursued by a kidnapper or rapist, I wouldn't have one of those 'movie' moments where the keys fall underneath the car and I'm blindly reaching around for them while the killer pulls me back out by my ankles. So it's all good. His name (my car) is Eugene Morris Jerome. After one of my favorite plays "Brighton Beach Memoirs." When I first got the car it screamed NWM (nerdy white male) to me, but at my brother Seth's urging I waited a few months before naming him. But Eugene just stuck!

Anyway, I'm sure there's lots more I could write about everything under the sun, but I'm trying to make a 1:15 showing of "Atonement" at my local theater so I must go. It's oscar season so that mad movie seeing pace has begun. Ta-ta for now!

Monday, November 12, 2007

A fascinating history of the keyboard...

...written in comic book form. I highly recommend it. It's got me considering making the switch to Dvorak from QWERTY.

Reading More Again

Yesterday I read an entire book in one day. It has been years since I have done that. Other than the fact that by the time I had finished, I realized I hadn't eaten in 5 hours and was starving, it was an extremely enjoyable way to spend the first half of my day. The book was one that many of you out there have already read. An important hub of the science fiction canon, which I myself am only now reaching (having just gained an appreciation for sci-fi a few years ago). The book is Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.

I know, I know. I should've hit this one a long time ago, but to my credit, I do already have under my belt: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I Robot, Snow Crash, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Slaughterhouse Five, A Wrinkle in Time (in my mind more like fantasy but included anyway on many top 100 sci-fi lists), Cat's Cradle, Timequake, and several others. Some clearly screaming holes in my experience author-wise include Asimov (I Robot being the only of his offering I have read), Heinlein (haven't read any), Bradbury (haven't read any), Arthur C Clarke, and from the old school Jules Verne. Some other canon I clearly have to hit book-wise (and plan to soon) includes: Dune, Foundation, Neuromancer, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, The Martian Chronicles, Cryptonomicon, and Hyperion. Anyway, the point is, I'm working on it.

As for Ender's Game itself. Well, clearly I enjoyed the book and found it to be an engaging page-turner (or I wouldn't have gone 5 hours without food!) You know what? Gotta get back to work, more on the book later. A sneak peak to my reaction? Speaker for the dead = SILLY.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

This is pretty amazing.

Clearly I'm not having a very productive Sunday. Regardless, you should check this ad out, it's pretty wild -


Apparently, even with long hair I still look like Gary Oldman, but now also look like his holiness the Dalai Lama, a backstreet boy, and Johnny Carson. Hrmph, I say again. I am beginning to think this tool is dubious. It did a REALLY good job with the woman from whose blog I took the link, but it's striking out with me. Anyway, here are the long haired results:

Should I be offended at this?

I found this cool website (I thought!) where you upload a pic of your face and it makes you a little collage of all the celebrities you look like. Unfortunately when I uploaded a pic this morning without any makeup or hair alteration, my celebrity lookalikes came up 90% male. Hrmph. Maybe I'll try it with an older pic of me where I have long hair and see what I get. At least if I had to have males, the one closest to me is Gary Oldman, who I happen to think is hot. So there!

Gallery of FOs

So in craftster, there's a shorthand for finished objects you've crafted - FOs. So I have in the spirit of showing of my crafty prowess (haha) created a quick little website with some albums of FOs. So far I've only got stenciled shirts and earrings up there, but eventually I hope it will be a full gallery of all my crafts. I'll probably even put a special section up for the craft fair in October. So anyway, here it is now, in its incompleteness.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Today, there was something different in the air. It was fall. Despite the fact that today, by all appearances, was another lovely summer day in the month of September, I know the truth. Today was the first day of Fall. It announced it's presence by adding a crispness to the air that only true autumn-lovers can detect in such early stages, but it was there, and I detected it. It gave me a rush of joy, autumn being (despite the increasing amount of darkness) my favorite season. I am content.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Some US Open Pics

Sunday I went with my family to the 3rd (for Men) and 4th (for Women) round of the US Open. My Dad's friend manages Arthur Ashe stadium. He gave us AMAZING seats. On my ticket stub (which I shall save forever) it says "courtside box." I used multiple exposure mode on my camera to take most of the pics below.

Venus Williams Serving:
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Rafael Nadal serving:
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Serena Williams serving:
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The fam:
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It was a really fun day.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

John Larroquette

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Taking a cue from wonderturtle, this blog decides to (ironically or not) adopt one of its favorite character actors. We had a hard time choosing, and we think in the end our selection was biased based on all the episodes of West Wing we've been watching lately. Regardless, Run Bethie Run chooses John Larroquette. John Larroquette of a long stint on Night Court, a (so far) short stint on Boston Legal, 5 emmys, and various tv show guest appearances fame. My favorite of these guest appearances is when he threatens to kill John Spencer (a.k.a. Leo) with a cricket bat in an episode of West Wing. This fabulous moment is captured here. Apparently this is many other people's favorite John Larroquette moment, as when he's google searched, it's the third result! Also, he speaks loudly and carries a big stick, and you know you can never go wrong with that bit!!

I'm going to the US Open today with my family, which I'm totally pumped about. But hopefully I'll be back later, because I have a new movie review: Dial M for Murder.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

a recent recipe

i took a picture of this the other night when i made it, because i promised my brother i'd post it, but i can't seem to get it to come off my camera at the moment. so picture forthcoming.

Linguine with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce

  • 12oz uncooked linguine
  • 1 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (i like it spicy, you can use less)
  • gorgonzola cheese, about 1/4 cup, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3-4 medium dried fig(s), coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives, minced

Cook the linguine according to package directions; drain and keep warm in a large bowl. (I don't do this now that I know how long the other part takes, I do them concurrently. But this is probably a good plan for your first time).

Meanwhile, with a wire whisk, combine the milk, half and half, and flour in a large skillet, blending unitl the flour is dissolved. Add the salt, pepper and cayenne; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is bubbling and thickened, about 5 minutes.

Add the Gorgonzola and Parmesan cheeses to the milk mixture; cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese melts. Stir in the figs and chives. Keep on heat 1 minute longer.

Pour the cheese mixture over the warm linguine; toss to combine.

Points: 8
Serves: 6

new craft project

i entered a swap last week called "OTT 14." for those of you not in my immediate family or on craftster, a swap is something organized by my favorite web forum,, where people who make stuff swap crafted goods with one another that are organized around a theme, in this case OTT. ott stands for one tiny thing. craftsters use one skill that they're really good at to make one TINY (4x4" or less) item to send to their partner. since lately, i've been getting really into (and decent at) jewelry and beading, i decided to use that as my skill. plus the partner i was assigned had a beaded bracelet on her wist. (wist, also for those who don't know is a site that allows you to capture thumbnails of any picture on the web and add it to a wishlist, with both crafted and manufactured items as well as books, people, and whatever else appears on your ultimate wishlist - found at so i made her the beaded bracelet you see below. it was my first of this style, and i'm pretty pleased with how it came out. i brought it to work today, and two of my coworkers said they'd pay between $15-20 for it. if i get accepted to the craft fair again this year i might have to make some. they'd bring a much tidier profit than my plastic rings of yore.

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on my wrist (please ignore how hairy it is!):
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what do you think?

Douglas Adams

The caffienated libarian who I found courtesy of my brother provided me with a great quote today to describe how I am feeling about work. Douglas Adams gave us, "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." I have just started (last week) my first official full time "job." Not that the Analyst Program I just graduated from wasn't a job, but it had definitive start and end dates, and limited me in the scope of what I could achieve by the 8 month time frame in each rotation. Also, in the two years I was doing it, I sometimes had to work on stuff I didn't care much about, or better said, couldn't be passionate about. But now, I think I have found something that is not only interesting enough that I won't dread coming back to work every morning, but also is going to give me skills that will be useful in whatever field or industry I move to next (since I know financial services is not the last stop for me). To do a quick description my job is basically a hybrid of three things: communications, training, and sales. All of these jobs give me a chance to use both my organizational skills (since they are by nature multi-tasking roles) AND my presentation/communication skills. That pang I felt during the first year after graduation where I realized it was the weekend, but I wasn't getting to debate? I just ignored it, instead of saying, hey this probably means I'd like to be speaking or presenting more often in my job, since I enjoy it so much. But now that I've figured that out, it's all good. And so for the time being, I'm still with my same firm (a.k.a. "the man" for the purposes of this blog), and I'm actually happy about it.

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It's almost my birthday!

Practical stuff:
- Dust buster or small vacuum cleaner (I could REALLY use this!)
- step stool (this TOO!), preferably one that closes up (i.e. doesn’t have to stay open all the time) (THANKS MOM & DAD!)
- splatter guards for frying pans
- gift cards to any of the following supermarkets: trader joes, shoprite, a&p
- gift cards to any of the following craft stores: joann’s, Michaels, ac moore
- gift cards to any of the following home goods stores: target, bed bath & beyond, linens n things, kohls

- vegetable harvest by patricia wells
- canyon ranch cooks: more than 200 delicious, innovative recipes from america’s leading health resort by barry correia and scott uehlein
- the golden door cooks light and easy by michel stroot

other books: (used or new)
- the woman who walked into doors by roddy doyle
- the children of men by p.d. james
- life of pi by yann martel (THANKS, MOM AND DAD!)
- now discover your strengths by marcus Buckingham
- wild swans: three daughters of china by jung chang
- from the mixed up files of mrs. basil e. frankweiler by e.l. konigsburg (THANKS, MOM AND DAD!)
- storm front (the Dresden files book 1) by jim butcher
- Walden two by b.f. skinner
- Never eat alone by keith ferrazzi and tahl raz
- America, the Book: A citizen’s guide to democracy inaction by Jon Stewart et al
- The complete book of sewing (new edition) by DK publishing (THANKS, SETH!)
The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
I am Legend by Richard Matheson
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Neuromancer by William Gibson
The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman

- the devil wears prada
- any animated Disney movies of my childhood (except Cinderella, lion king, and beauty and the beast, which I already have, and Dumbo, which I hated) (some favorites include Aladdin, mulan, sword in the stone, fantasia, robin hood) (THANKS KEITH AND MOM&DAD!)
- seasons of buffy the vampire slayer (not season 1 or 2, just 3 thru 7)
- my big fat greek wedding
- monsters inc
- mary poppins
- seasons of animaniacs or pinky and the brain
- extended editions of LOTR: two towers or return of the king (already have fellowship)
- the brave little toaster

cds: (bought or burned, no difference to me)
- b’day by beyonce
- a fever you can’t sweat out by panic at the disco
- liz phair by liz phair
- melankton by kate havnevik
- lafcadio by as tall as lions
- eyes open by snow patrol
- the white album by the beatles (THANKS AARON!!!)
- futuresex/lovesounds by Justin timberlake
- breakaway by Kelly Clarkson
- the kink khronicles by the kinks
- something real by meg & dia
- princesses nubiennes by les nubians
- surrealistic pillow by Jefferson airplane
- the high lonesome sound by roscoe holcomb
- film soundtracks: lost highway, cool world, natural born killers

Board games:
- settlers of catan
- balderdash (THANKS RACHEL!!!!!)
- clue
- boggle
- stratego (THANKS RACHEL!!!!)
- battleship
- jenga (THANKS KEITH!!)
- Othello
- mastermind
- catchphrase
- cranium
- apples to apples
- scattergories
- monopoly

Card games: munchkin, chrononauts, fluxx, uno

video games:
- lego star wars (for Nintendo gamecube)
- new super Mario brothers (for Nintendo DS)
- cooking mama (for Nintendo DS)
- elektroplankton (for Nintendo DS)
- beyond good and evil (for Nintendo gamecube)
- karaoke revolution party bundle (for gamecube) – this is considerably cheaper than anywhere else when bought from (THANKS KEITH!!!!)
- brain age (Nintendo ds)

computer games:
- “sid meier’s pirates!” by 2K games
- “zeus expansion: Poseidon” by Vivendi Universal (this is REALLY hard to find, and is more a ‘dream’ than anything else)

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Kentucky Derby

I don't like horse racing anymore. I can't explain it, but I can't watch it anymore without crying or tearing up. I just feel so bad for the horses. I don't know. I can't explain it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Cookies and Such

Did you know that 1 girl scout tagalong cookie is 2 points? I find this offensive. I love tagalongs. How dare they be so pricey in points! In light of this new information, the rate at which I was able to stuff these down my throat as a child now seems quite alarming. Each cookie hold 75 calories and 5(!) grams of fat. 5 grams in one cookie! Madness!

Life is going to be insanely busy in the next few weeks. I am participating in 3 swaps for craftster, and organizing a 4th. I will be making all of the Morris Knolls GSA t-shirts for AIDS walk on May 20th. I'm having a dinner party on Friday for my fellow analysts from work. My family celebrates mother's day and 2 birthdays in the month of May. Craziness!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Soooooo much

Ok, I stink. I haven't updated in a million years. And I have so much to say! I think that's why, actually, because I can't face all the updates I have to give.

Let's see, first off - Storey you can definitely yell at me this weekend. You are totally right. I suck. I just didn't know the rules with business vs. socializing when away on the company dime, plus I was super busy. We would have been diner-ing it at 2 in the morning or something (which would have been fine, which is why I suck). :-( So sorry!!!

Ummm, cooking! I have made a bunch of new recipes lately, including Chicken Tetrazzini, soy-honey-ginger steak, honey roasted asparagus, and more. But I won't bore you with those now, but (theoretically) post them at some later date (haha).

Sports! I am SO EXCITED FOR THE RANGERS!!! I have watched every minute of every playoff game so far, and am feeling like something of a Rangers expert these days. My new favorite is the youngin Ryan Callahan. Just a solid workhorse, it seems to me. And has made a few really clutch plays at unexpected moments. Though much must also be said of [relative] newcomer Avery - we really really needed someone to be the "hey-you're-not-going-to-push-us-around" guy, and he is just that. I'm actually writing this in between periods 1 and 2 of game 4 tonight. I'm sort of glad it's not turning out to be the same sort of slaughter as last night. I think the sweep will be even sweeter if we have to work for it! Btw, I love the "Bobby Granger" rangers commercials - they're hilarious!

Work has really been picking up in pace lately and it's been a bit stressful, but I'd rather be busy than bored (as I think I've said before). Getting ready to start thinking about what I'll do with myself when my analyst program is up in July. I feel like I barely have enough room in my head to even start though, let alone devote a substantial amount of meditation (which is what I really should do.) Moving on.

I've seen some pretty good movies since I last posted. Supersize Me (long overdue) was as important as people said, but not quite as 'shocking' as I was expecting from the hype. Stepford Wives premise was a little far-fetched for me (the woman turns into an ATM, and then is A-OK to become herself again, just like that?) but was still cute overall with some fun performances (especially from Bette Middler.) The Notebook - I LOVED this movie. It was sad, but also so beautiful and meaningful. The lead actor, Ryan Gosling (who when bearded is a Christian Bale clone, btw) was not so good, but I thought Rachel McAdams performance was quite feeling. The cinematography was top notch, and the early romantic scenes were much enhanced by it. All around goodness. I should read the book by Nicholas Sparks now. I also saw Big Night, which my parents have said for years is one of their favorites, but I wasn't so impressed.

Oh, news! My mom was published! Well, sort of. Indirectly. Her friend Gail Brenner wrote a book called "Women's Rites of Passage" for which my mom wrote a story about her midwife birth of my brother. Gail ended up not using the whole story verbatim, but rather, pieces of it. But she gives my mom's name in the book. So that's pretty cool for my mom. She's actually an excellent writer (clearly I missed out on that gene!) and I wish she would write more often!

I took a faboo vacation to Chicago with Keith. We went for a long weekend, Thursday to Sunday. We wanted to go to Miami (for Winter Music Conference) but it's too expensive in April (spring break and all) so we got super cheap tickets & hotel reservations for Chicago (where we had talked about going awhile ago). It was lots of fun. The museums weren't too busy (except for the Science & Industry Museum, where we missed out on tickets to go on the U-5 submarine.) There were literally maybe 20 people in the impressionist wing of the Art Institute (which has some of the best paintings of that movement.) We even got to take a Ferris Bueller esque photo by the statue of that guy with his arms crossed. We had an awesome dinner at Smith & Wollensky, though we missed out on a few jazz opportunities because of closed clubs, long lines and rain, and other things. But that was okay. We walked everywhere, and we really just loved the city so much. I think I'd like living there if it wasn't so damned cold in the winter. Just too much snow. But it was a great trip. 4 days was too short, and we'll have to go back again.

I have been devouring my latest issue of Ms. magazine (an awesome unexpected gift last birthday from my sister) and have paragraphs upon paragraphs to write about what I've read there, but I think I'll save that for the next entry too. The game is coming back on!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Basketball, SF, and Movies

So I'm pretty much fucked. Two of my final four didn't make the cut, and I was only 5/8 in the conference semi-final participants. My champ, Florida, an unpopular pick so I'm told, due to the idea of winning 2 years in a row, is luckily still in. But I don't think even picking the champ will get me back where I need to be in points at this point. Se la vie. Still had fun doing it.

Was in San Francisco for most of this past week on my first work-sponsored business trip. It was really fun. Even though I really saw very little of the city, being someplace warm was nice, and I got a real thrill from representing my company at such a high class event. Can't say much more about the content than that, unfortunately, without risking venturing too far into work-content-land. Don't want another bit o trouble. Had a very lovely dinner with coworkers the first night I was there at a swanky restaurant called Boulevard. As I understand it, this place is up for the James Beard award this year for best restaurant in SF. For my app I had a caesar salad, which instead of utilizing the typical heavy creamy type caesar dressing, actually boasted a lovely tart caesar vinagrette. For my entree, I had wood oven roasted halibut, encrusted with a combination of walnuts and minced porcini mushrooms. It was served over a bed of asparagus and potato puree, with a sauce called (on the menu) a "green garlic beurre fondue." I'm still working on googling all these terms to find out what they mean, but it was tasty as heck. And I'm not normally a huge halibut fan. For desert I went with a classic pick - vanilla ice cream. Nice and simple. Great meal, good company.

Saw two movies in the last week, and just short reviews for both. Talented Mr. Ripley - can I just say - weird?? What a strange movie. 50 First Dates was the other and it was adorable.

Well, gotta dash for now.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

12 Down, 4 to Go

So with 12 of today's 16 first round NCAA games down, I'd like to state for the record that I'm 9 and 3. Which I feel is pretty darn good. My mistakes were in the GW-Vanderbilt game (I had GW), the Butler-Old Dominion Game (I had the latter), and the Texas-Tech - BC game (I went for Texas). I'm happy to say that only 1 of these 3 misses carries beyond the second round, and that one only to regionals, not as far as the sweet 16. I have to say I'm pretty proud of myself for picking that Duke would go down in the first round. That's not something that's easy to write on a picks sheet. You feel some serious hesitation in your hand while jotting down anyone over Duke in the first round! I took a similar strategy with the Indiana-Gonzaga game, but after the first half it's looking like that might be my fourth loss of the night. We shall see. After all, VCU only took it in the last minute or so of the game! I'm also pleased that MSU managed to take down Marquette. Not that it was by any means clear who would win in that pairing, just happy I made the right choice. Anyway, I'll keep you posted on my progress, but I'd say so far, 75% correct isn't too shabby. After all, the only pool I'm in is with 20 coworkers. It's not like I'm competing against 10,000 people on Yahoo! or something. Then, 75% would be a different matter.

Saw a few movies last week. Keith and I watched the Island which was a bit long, but overall enjoyable. Kind of exactly what I predicted when I first heard about it: The Matrix meets Brave New World meets Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery." An interesting flick. Also saw with Keith 13 Conversations about One Thing which hot on the heels of Little Miss Sunshine I wanted to see in order to get more Alan Arkin. We really enjoyed this film. There was one line spoken by John Turturro which particularly affected me. I'll have to look it up before I quote it though, because I don't want to bastardize it. But it certainly was a movie that gave you a lot to think about. Which I always enjoy in movies, especially when it's not coupled with continual utterly depressing moments. There were a few sad parts, but by no means overwhelming. On my own I watched two more, both older flicks. First, Network which I have to say was a very odd movie. It was neat to finally understand where that "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore" cut scene shown at Rangers games (and every oscar montage) comes from, but the rest of the movie was so so weird. They couldn't decide whose story they really wanted to focus on (i.e. Faye Dunaway vs. Peter Finch vs. William Holden). Plus I came into it thinking the movie was about the shift in network news from the positive to the depressing/grotesque/shocking. That is NOT what the movie was about. It was about a newscaster who went wacko and started preaching on television. Not his "prediction" that news would get darker, as the video's description advertised. Over all, I wouldn't recommend it. Too long, too all over the place. Though interestingly, filled with great talent and HUNDREDS of "that guy"s. Also saw Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, a movie which has been on my list forever. I can't say enough good things about how awesome this movie is, and I won't do it justice unless I do, so I'll just say "If you haven't seen it - see it!" B/c it rules. I repeat the fact that I love love love Michelle Yeoh.

Tried a new recipe too this week which I quite liked. It follows below. I haven't been able to get my act together with weight watchers lately and I can't figure out why. I'm trapped in the horrible cycle of "Feel bad - eat - feel bad - gain - feel bad". But I can't seem to find the motivation to launch myself out of it. It sucks. I put on about 6 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years, and while I've at times taken parts of it off, they've come right back on the next week for the most part. I guess there's just so many things in my life right now which are unstable and throwing me off balance overall as well as in weight loss. I'm going to be traveling a lot for work in the next 2 months so I think that's contributing to my feeling of intimidation about going back on program. Anyway, enough about that depressing stuff, here's the recipe:

Farfalle with Asparagus in Cream Sauce
Points: 5
Serves: 4

  • 4 cup cooked pasta
  • 1 cup asparagus
  • 1/2 large vidalia onion(s)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp table salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
1. Trim the asparagus and chop into 1 inch pieces.

2. Cook the farfalle.

3. While pasta is on, heat olive oil in pan on medium heat. Add onion (finely chopped). Cook till onion is softened, 2-3 minutes.

3. Reduce heat and add broth and half and half. Stir constantly until sauce is reduced by about half, around 10 minutes.

4. Drain pasta, place asparagus on top, and pour sauce over. Toss to cover and top with parmesan cheese.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Apartment Stuff

Two pieces of exciting news, both shopping related. (1) I finally bought a coffee table. This is totally wack, but I actually purchased the sucker from Walmart. After spending a few hours this past Monday with Mom looking (in three different stores!) I thought I had found a contender at Target. But I soon decided to check out Walmart just for kicks, and found this. They technically call it a TV stand, but it was just the right dimensions and look for what I had been seeking, so I went for it. It should arrive sometime next week. Once it's here I can take some pics of my mostly complete apartment and post em.

Also arriving next week will be ...(drumroll, please)... my new computer! (Boy am I going to have a painful credit card bill this month!) I have owned my current laptop for almost four years (it will be four this April) which as most of you know is around the usual lifespan of a PC. It has started to get very unreliable when playing DVDs or burning CDs, which is a pain, but bearable. Couple this, however, with its shaky security history (2 crashes, once with an unbelievable 156 pieces of spyware) and you can see why my mind has been leaning towards upgrading. Another factor that influenced my decision was that my laptop was never quite capable of the gaming I wanted to get out of it. I purchased CounterStrike: Source and Half Life 2 my senior year of college for I think around $80 and was never able to even open Half Life and had CounterStrike crash on me all the time. I am eager to get back to them both, as well as to finally purchase the copy of "The Sims: 2" that Keith has had on hold for me for ages at GameStop. I might finally get a clue about what had Lydia glued to the computer our freshman year of college. And with my new system (specs forthcoming) other games I've always wanted to play also become feasible: Civ 4, Age of Empires 3, Age of Mythology, and maybe I could even try to play DOTA with the boys now and again! Or at least go on and talk to them. So, without further ado, the specs:

- Operating System: Windows XP Media Center 05 (fuck that Vista shit…for now at least)
- Memory: 1 GB DDR2 SD RAM 667MHz
- Hard Drive: 250 GB (7200 RPM)
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 (1.8 GHz)
- Video Card: 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 Graphics Card (I'm told this is pretty good)
- Drives: 48X CDRW/DVD Combo Drive and 16X DVD +/- RW Drive
- Bluetooth Keyboard and Optical Mouse
- 17 inch flat panel LCD monitor

It's nice, yeah? What I found amazing was that it is already (pretty much) impossible to buy a new PC that has XP not Vista. So I decided to go refurbished. I had been thinking about refurbished already anyway because of the price, but it's my first time so I was a bit nervous. Hopefully it should be fine. I had some help from Randolph in picking out my machine. In the end it cost me a grand for everything. Which I think is pretty good for what I ended up with. A little more than I wanted to spend, but the price I paid for avoiding Vista. The new PCs actually cost less in some situations, because there are all these Vista promos out right now. Although most of those computers don't have a graphics card as good as mine. Anyway according to Mrand it should be a "beast of a machine" once it's all nice and cleaned up. As for speakers and a printer, I'm going to use the ones I already had to go with my laptop, since the PC didn't come with and I don't want any more costs right now. So it's been an exciting week of spending, and hopefully now I'm done for awhile.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Now...debate online!

Holy god, just wait till the debaters get their hands on this one...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Nike does it again + Quiz Show

Nike has traditionally been one of the top 10 companies with regard to both expenditure and creative use of advertising dollars. On this note, I have to jump in and say that the ad I saw yesterday (for their new XX2 Air Jordan) captured me so thoroughly I immediately turned on my PC to see if I could find it on youtube and watch it again. However, though youtube does have a copy of it, it's poor quality and can be seen easier here. This ad is genius. Not only does it make use of one of my favorite pieces of all time, Mozart's Requiem (the Lacrimosa movement) it is a very artistically shot piece as well. It uses real looking people in a common situation, but arts it the hell up with some classical music. Love just the concept alone. Also, whoever did the sound editing was very smart. First, the vocals enter the piece just as the opposing team comes out of the shadows to steal the ball. Next, the music is ascending the whole time said opponent is soaring upwards towards the basket, and concludes its theme just as the ball goes in. Then tragedy strikes, felt in the dark overtones of the Lacrimosa. I especially love the shot of the guy ripping his jersey, and the wildcat head rolling on the floor. Great stuff. My only complaint (with the sound editing) is that the transition into Lacrimosa's concluding "Amen" could have been a bit smoother at the end. They sort of cut off the dark buildup before it climaxes. Feels a bit rough. But otherwise, I totally love this ad. A way to merge pop culture with older culture and create something accessible to a wide range of people. Well done, Nike.

On another note, watched "Quiz Show" on Friday nite, and loved it. The ending made me a little sad, I have to say, but what an entertaining movie! I've never been a huge fan of Ralph Fiennes, but I liked him in this. I've never seen "The English Patient" (it's in the queue) which seems to be one of his most loved roles. Though Lord Voldemort might win out by the time the HP movies are finished. The most memorable other things I remember seeing him in were "Red Dragon" which I absolutely hated, and "Schindler's List," which I mean, c'mon, who sits down to watch that on a regular basis? Great movie, but not something you have a strong desire to watch again. Apparently he's in "The Constant Gardener" which is also in my queue. So maybe I'll have to reform my opinion once I see two more with old Ralph. But anyway, back to "Quiz Show." Now there's a movie that's rife with "that-guys." You know, the one's you point at during the movie and go "HEY it's THAT guy!!" For example, Timothy Busfield, totally a that guy. I don't think he even has any lines in "Quiz Show" - maybe one. Same goes for William Fichtner, the Kevin Bacon look-alike who's always turning up in random movies (i.e. Armageddon, Contact, etc.) Actually I'm pretty sure he didn't actually have any lines in this movie, he was just in the background of a lot of shots at NBC. Also, Paul Guilfoyle, who I know mostly from CSI, it was totally random to see him. He played one of the legislative oversight guys, but again, hardly any lines. Anyway, I'm off the point. Crazy full cast, really cool story, very good film.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Holy Carp it's February 16th!

I can't believe February is more than halfway over. Where does the time go? This year is flying by. I haven't even used any vacation days yet. I could really use a small weekend getaway, but I just have been too busy at work. Plus I haven't really wanted to spend too much money, since I've been spending a lot on things for my apartment lately. I did get a snow day this week (on Wednesday) which was nice, except I got a little bored after spending the whole day in my apartment. I baked some Valentine's Day cupcakes to amuse myself, and I did have Keith around for half the day. I started a new video game - BTVS, Chaos Bleeds. It's ok, just a hack and slash basically, but it's kind of fun to hear the characters talking. They weren't able to secure all the actors to be voice talent for the game. Xander is definitely himself, but Buffy and Willow are sound-alikes (if there is such a thing). Giles I think might be himself too, and Spike definitely is done by James Marsters. What's weird is that the game combines plot elements from like the first 5 seasons, at least. Kakistos (Faith's vamp from Season 3 ep 3) makes an appearance, but so does the Magic Box. And Anya and Tara both exist, but Dawn doesn't. It's wacky. It's fun to turn on now and again though. I also finally started Chibi Robo (which Keith gave me for Hanukkah.) It's fun, but man, the sounds the characters make are SO annoying, and they won't let you advance the dialogue faster, or skip cut scenes. Arg. But I love Chibi - he's the cutest. And it's fun to explore. However, I'm stuck at the moment. I can't figure out how to get upstairs. I got down to the basement with no problem, but upstairs seems to be missing a step. Grr. Keith says I should just give in and go to, but I insist that it's cheating to check that site. He disagrees. Se la vie. But back to vacation, there is one that I'm thinking about. Besides hopefully going up to Beantown the third weekend of March, Keith and I just got an intriguing idea from Shaun the other day. We're now considering going to Ultra 9 in Miami. We went to the first Ultra NYC and had a great time, but the lineup of the NY show doesn't compare to what they've got going in Miami. It's just so much more established down there, plus it coincides with Winter Music Conference - gear and tunes at the same time, you know. Anyway, I'm trying to convince him that we should go down. The lineup is literally insane. They've only released 2/3 of the lineup and it goes something like this: Tiesto, PVD, Morillo, Sasha, Digweed, Ferry Corsten, Deep Dish, Sander Kleinenberg, Fat Boy Slim, Carl Cox, Danny Tenaglia, Richie Hawtin, Mauro Picotto, Timo Maas, BT, and so so many more. There are a bunch of Drum and Bass people that Keith likes too (most of whom I've never heard of.) It's two days of electronic music heaven. Way way better than DEMF. The only problem is that trying to fly to Miami in March is really expensive, and it's hard to find flights that aren't at 6am or 11pm. And hotels - foggedaboudit. Very very expensive. So I dunno what we'll do. If only I knew someone who lived down there that we could stay with. Or if other people who we liked were going that we could shack up with for rooming. Like 4 people in 1 hotel room or something. We'd be too tired from dancing all night to want to do anything but sleep, so I don’t see privacy being an issue. I'm sure Keith won't want to stay with Whippany guys if they're going down, though. Anyway, food for thought. I have a crazy weekend ahead of me. Party tonight at my sister's friend (and my old Piano teacher) Peter's house. I've gotta bake cupcakes and put the finishing touches on his stenciled shirt when I get home from work tonight, and then head to Montville to pick up Keith and go down there. I'll put up a pic of the shirt later (and maybe the cupcakes too!) For now, I should get back to work. Since it's crazy busy.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Good Morning Vietnam

Haha, if you thought I was late on the last one, you'll see I'm really late on this one. Actually, I guess I don't intend to really review this movie, since it's so old. But I did want to go on record as saying I'd finally seen it, and that I quite enjoyed it. There was one thing, though, that I thought was weird. It may be due to the era we live in and that we're so used to scenes of war, or that I've seen quite a few Vietnam movies besides this one (Platoon, Apocalypse Now, Forrest Gump), but I felt like this movie did not really portray the horrific magnitude that said war had. I know that that wasn't really the main focus of the movie. The character of Adrian Chronaur was the main focus, but he was also being used as a metaphor for what was wrong with the whole way we approached the war (I think that was the intent, anyway.) And so if you're going to do that, you have to show something a little more real. I feel like I saw the same 2 cut scenes a hundred times; it was either the one of marines boating through a tributary or the one of marines laying on their Jeeps in the sun listening to the radio. I mean c'mon. The bloodiest the film ever got was the explosion at Jimmy Waa's. Not a real good portrayal of the war. But overall that's my only real complaint. Otherwise, a funny yet poignant movie.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Spinach, Tomato, and Feta Pizza

Tried this recipe tonight, and loved it! These little suckers are really filling, and full of healthy but tasty ingredients!

Spinach, Tomato and Feta Pizza

4 large wheat pita(s) - I use Thomas' Sahara Wheat Pitas
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
10 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained of excess water
1 can of petite diced tomatoes, drained - I use Hunts
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
dried oregano, to taste
garlic powder, to taste

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Throw pitas in oven while it's preheating (for about 10 minutes, so they crisp up a bit before we put the ingredients on.)

While this is going, I prefer to use fresh spinach instead of frozen, so I cook the spinach during this time. First I wash it (a 10 oz bag) and then, with just the water that clings to it, cook it in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally until all the leaves are wilted. Then I roughly chop it up a bit.

Take pitas out and place on a baking sheet. Spoon ricotta over pitas, to within 1/2" of the edges. Top with spinach, tomato and feta; sprinkle with oregano and garlic powder.

Bake until edges of pitas are golden, about 12 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Delicious!!!

The Departed

Keith and I went to the movies today to see this. And we both liked it, though we disagreed a bit about how it should have ended. My argument was that it ended the only way it could have to leave watchers feeling justified about each character's appropriate ending. Keith wanted certain characters to survive, but mostly for the frivolous reason of thinking we could maybe get a sequel. Anyway, it was a little bloodier than I prefer my thrillers or mob movies, but I lived. And I thought it was an excellent story. And pretty impeccably acted. Even by old Jack (who's getting a little too old to play a badass in my opinion). Stellar supporting turns from Mark Wahlberg and Alec Baldwin (who says my favorite line in the movie - "The patriot act! I love it! I love the Patriot Act!" -- You have to see it to get why it's funny.) And oh man, just like that, btw, all Leo has to do is take his shirt off onscreen and I'm back in Romeo and Juliet la la land where I have a huge crush on his poor soul. Aaaanyway. Weird to see Matt Damon so dark. He was the one character I wasn't entirely convinced with. Every once in a while I felt like he let his acting guard down, and I didn't believe he was that bad.

The movie theater in my town, btw, is really cute. It's only 6 theaters, but they tend to play decent stuff (a mix of popular and art-house), and pretty comfy seats. Small theaters too, but with big screens, making for an up close and personal (but not too close) movie-watching experience. Plus there's a starbucks less than a block away, where Keith and I happily went for a coffee afterwards. Then I made us a yummy dinner, which will be a separate post, because I want to share the recipe!

Oh, also, final note: Keith and I checked out today, and holy shit there are some great ones. I highly recommend "Tea Partay" and "Condoms." We were rolling on the floor.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Crusted Honey Mustard Chicken

Had my parents over for dinner last night - grand old time. They really enjoyed seeing the apartment, and I enjoyed having some company! It was especially nice to have someone to eat with. Also nice for them to see that I really am living in a nice place. Hopefully it made them feel good to see that I am living comfortably and enjoying myself. And that it hasn't been a struggle to make it happen. I tried out a new recipe, and give it two thumbs way up!

Crusted Honey Mustard Chicken

2/3 cup lite honey mustard dressing
1/8 tsp table salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 tsp dill, freshly chopped
1 medium scallion(s), finely sliced
1 cup cornflake crumbs
1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, four 4 oz pieces

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. In a small bowl, combine honey mustard dressing, salt, pepper, dill and scallions.
3. Place corn flake crumbs in a shallow bowl. Dip chicken breasts into dressing mixture, then corn flake crumbs. Place into shallow baking pan well coated with cooking spray.

4. Drizzle any remaining dressing mixture over chicken breasts.
5. Bake until chicken is golden and no longer pink, about 15 minutes.

I served this with twice baked feta-cheese potatoes, and some steamed broccoli with garlic.

Thursday, February 8, 2007


I know, I know. I'm about 5 years too late on this movie. But that makes it no less reviewable. Maybe there are others out there like me who missed it the first time, and then the next 25 times people were watching it in the college dorms. Maybe. Anyway, this was a real gem, as many already probably know. I was a little afraid to watch it at first, because of how hyped up it had been from friends. A story about the lives of ordinary people has been the setting for many a movie, but Amelie uses beautiful cinematography and images, and stellar acting, to art-up the seemingly mundane focus. The movie starts with back-story to explain how Amelie got where she is today (on the day that changed her whole life). One thing that I think is weird about Amelie as a character though, is that she grows up from someone who was starved of human contact, to be someone who avoids human contact. I would think that someone deprived of affection, attention, and all that other jazz would be absolutely desperate to seek that kind of connection as an adult (and probably would be seeking it in all the wrong places). But instead, Amelie isolates herself from other people. And they try to explain that to you in a way that it makes sense, but I had a hard time at the start buying into it. I soon realized, however, that I was going to have to buy in to move forward with the story. And it does eventually make sense. Even though she pursues the "album owner" (let's call him, to not spoil it) in a way that is secretive, avoidy, and beat around the bush-like, it's because she really does want human contact but she's afraid of it. All the characters she interacts with in the film are well imagined and interesting. For example, I loved the dude with the tape recorder in the café. And of course, I also loved "the glass man" - how could you not? I also really appreciated some of the creative story-telling techniques used in the movie. Like this: instead of developing a character over a long time by gradually revealing to you their innermost idiosyncrasies, they announce these facts upon the first view of the character. This is Amelie: she enjoys cracking crème brulee with a teaspoon, skipping stones, going for walks in the sunshine, and trying to guess how many people in Paris are having an orgasm at the same time. It's great to have that feeling of intimacy with a character as soon as you meet them. Anyway, to cut this ramble short, it was a lovely film, and comes highly recommended from me and countless others.

Friday, February 2, 2007

The Devil Wears Prada

Note: Semi-spoilers to follow. I love love loved this movie! I can't even tell you! Meryl Streep is a goddess. I love her wig in this movie; I think it's a good look for her. She plays her character so so well. She's cool as a cucumber, only revealing emotion through the most minute and rare gestures or looks, that if you blink, you could miss. Although in the book (apparently, I've never read it) she is a totally unredeemable ice bitch, the movie garners some sympathy for Miranda Priestly through some added plot elements (her divorce) and a more sympathetic take on Andy. Let's talk about Andy. Everyone harped on Anne Hathaway's performance, but I thought she did an alright job. To be honest, her character wasn't the most important character in the story, and the writing reflected that. On the plot, I think it's a little silly that in the end Andy and her beau end up sort of patching things up - I mean he's going to live in Boston for cripes sake. But if the writers really felt the need to tie up the 'romantic' vein of the story line I can't really complain too much, since it didn't affect the main plotline. On another note, the woman who played Emily (what was her name? IMDB, hold on…) - Emily Blunt - she was frickin awesome! She stole every scene she was in (or at the very least, the best lines were written for her!) Some of my favorite scenes were: when Miranda goes on a rant about Andy's "cerulean" (*not blue*) sweater, the scene with Emily and Andy before Andy's interview, the first shopping of the "runway closet" with Andy and Nigel. Some things that bothered me: they did NOT have to make Andy end up a size 4!! The message they're sending there is that she accepts it's totally not okay for her to be a size 6 and that's fuckin ridiculous. Also, the fact that she sleeps with Christian. Anyway, these are mostly minor things. Overall, I thought this was a highly entertaining piece of film, and would suggest a view to any readers who missed it.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

On Leonard Bernstein

Sometimes when I'm listening to Leonard Bernstein I get confused. At first I think I'm listening to Copeland. Wide, rolling harmonies, and subtle folk influence. Then, a little while in, the piece will suddenly take on a jazzy swagger, and I'll think I'm listening to Gershwin. I mean, there are a bunch of reasons for that feeling - Gershwin and Copeland shared a teacher (Rubin Goldmark), and as a conductor, Bernstein loved to conduct both Gershwin and Copeland's works - but it makes the feeling no less remarkable to have explanation. This morning it was Bernstein's "On the Town," a piece written for ballet (I believe) that was evoking Copeland/Gershwin memories in me. I always thought that, in addition to being a Copeland fan, Bernstein's works had been slightly influenced by Copeland. But in doing a brief search and bit of reading on the net, I can't find the evidence to support my recollection. Perhaps in looking deeper or longer I'd find something, but I should be getting back to work. You know, as a point of interest related to this subject, when I was about 4 or 5 years old I had a list of favorite composers. Copeland was #2 (second only to Debussy). I'm sure on my modern day list he'd still be somewhere in the top 10. I should work on that list one of these days.

Also, as a random side note, I had a weird, scary dream last night where I killed a bunch of cows by cutting their Achilles tendons. And then a bunch of people that I work with got sad about the dead cows, and started jumping out the windows of my building. I decided to leave the building then, but it only made the people at work more antagonized, so then they started trying to jump on to me when they jumped out the windows. It was freaky. Aiiight, peace.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

You know you're busy at work...

...when you have to schedule time in Outlook with yourself.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

NJSO - Shoes all shined up

Wow. Keith and I went to an NJSO (New Jersey Symphony Orchestra) concert tonight at NJPAC (New Jersey Performing Arts Center), and boy have they shaped up! Not only are the renovations to the theater absolutely beautiful, but the orchestra itself is blooming under their new conductor, a personal favorite of mine, Neeme Jarvi.

Let me start at the beginning. First of all, the NJSO has a great student program with regard to ticketing. Keith and I were able to purchase what's known as a "Class Pass." Costing $32 per person, a class pass is 4 vouchers to future concerts that can be redeemed as tickets are available. So Keith and I redeemed our first set of tickets to this past Saturday's concert - "Russia's Mighty Five." We were seated (for our $8 each) in row T of the orchestra section. Now most people would probably be impressed with the quality of seating given to student ticket holders, but true aficionados of the symphony know the best acoustics are actually in the balcony. In row T we had a wall just 2 rows behind us, off of which the percussion section's sound was bouncing all night, causing an abundance of beat for Keith and I. But that was okay because we knew it was the fault of the acoustics and not the orchestra.

The lineup of the concert was based on a group of composers credited with developing what we think of as "Russian sound," and known as "Russia's Mighty Five" or "The Big Five." These composers are (in decreasing order of fame, to most): Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Modest Mussorgsky, Mili Balakirev, Alexander Borodin, and Cesar Cui. A lot of pieces with which I'm very familiar, but have never heard live, were on the lineup. The first portion of the concert was a solo pianist (who I've never heard) Jie Chen, performing works by Mussorgsky, Cui, and Balakirev. After the first intermission, the orchestra came on stage and performed the same Balakirev piece Chen had just finished, "Islamey," as it was orchestrated after his death by one of his students, Liapounov. Neeme OWNED this piece. He was a sprite, a pogo stick, a ringleader on the podium. He really made you know just what you were supposed to feel from the piece, and he interacted so dynamically with his musicians you could practically see wires connecting them to each other. He was like a puppeteer. And "Islamey," what a piece! The next piece, was the posthumously well known "Night on Bald Mountain," given more widespread exposure through Disney's "Fantasia." I thought that Neeme missed the mark on this piece. He seemed, in the most climactic parts, to be blunt - too eager to "blow his load" as it were. And he lost touch with the orchestra, in my opinion, because of this eagerness. They weren't as clearly with him as they had been in the last piece. Also, he over dramatized the contrast between the climax sections and the slow interludes, and build-up sections. I dunno, it just wasn't doing it for me. Leopold Stokowsky pretty much takes the cake on that piece. After Mussorgsky was Borodin's appearance with the "Polovtzian Dances" from Prince Igor. I was pretty pleased with these, though I thought the second dance (more of a pavane than a dance) was a little (again) rushed. Mostly, quite beautiful though. There was a second intermission at this point, followed by the epic (42 minute) Scheherazade of Rimsky-Korsakov. Though the two main themes of this piece are clear and quite dominant throughout, it is still captivating for all 42 minutes, changing tone and feeling quite often. For me, at least.

So overall, I'd say a stellar concert. Also, I forgot to mention that before the concert they now do "concert talks" where they discuss some aspects of note in at least one of the works they intend to perform. Very cool, and very much in the spirit (which I appreciate) of make classical music "more accessible." So in short (or long) I can't wait for my next NJSO concert!


I have cable!! The cable guy just left my apartment. Thankfully, he was nothing like Jim Carey's version of this occupation. He was totally normal, and other than being late, right on. I'm just excited I can finally watch CSI in syndication on SpikeTV again. I'd been missing the opportunity to watch it. I never saw it when it was on primetime (or is it still?) because I didn't think I'd like it, but I've been watching it on Spike and I LOVE IT! However, I gave two of the spin-offs a try, and PU! No good in my opinion. Alright, gotta run. Honey and I are going to a concert at NJPAC tonight. The NJSO perform's "Russia's Mighty Five." Be back with a review later!!

Friday, January 26, 2007

The many uses of dryer sheets

As I reheat my fusili leftovers, allow me to preach for a moment on the many uses of fabric softener dryer sheets. There are SO many things you can do with these frickin things. First, obviously, put them in the dryer so your clothes come out smelling nice and feeling fuzzy and wonderful. Next, use the sheets to clean dust off of sensitive television and computer screens. They have no abrasive parts to their surfaces and their negatively charged static state encourages the dust to hop off the screen onto the sheet. Similarly, if wet slightly, they can be used to clean/dust horizontal blinds with great success. Again the negative static thing is helping to pick up the dust, but it's also transferring some of that property to the blinds and encouraging them not to attract dust quite as much as before. But perhaps my favorite use of dryer sheets is on my hair. Yes, that's right, my hair. Did you ever have a morning where you get up and your well tended coif is static-y as hell? And every time you run the brush through it the hairs just stand up higher? And you think, well maybe I can wet the brush just a little and it will tame the static. But, OH NO, you remember, your straightened hair is only staying straight because you blasted it with heat and then flattened it with an IRON. And if even the slightest degree of moisture gets back in it, it will wave (or curl depending on your hair) back into the rat's nest it was pre-straightening. (Why we never straighten our hair on really humid days too.) Well I have a solution for you!!! Take a (fresh, not old) sheet of fabric softener and gently rub it down the sides of your head. This will tame your static infused hair, and leave your hair perfectly straight. Woo! I'm sure there are even more ways to use dryer sheets - experiment and love their wonder! (yes, I'm aware this post makes me a total freak!) :-)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Little Miss Sunshine

I really liked this movie. There were a few things that I thought were a little weak about it, but overall I think it featured stellar performances, a clever and entertaining story, and a good time. It's always amazing to me when so many bad things can happen in a movie and yet you're left at the end feeling good, happy, and satisfied. I don't even know which of the actors to rave about first, perhaps Greg Kinnear as the success obsessed (but totally unsuccessful) father who tries to parent out of a book. I thought Toni Collette was also awesome as a totally frazzled, desperate mother, who's willing to show she does NOT have all the answers. Interesting to me that the actors who got the nominations, however, were child actress Abigail Breslin, as Olive (little miss sunshine contender herself) and Grandpa, or Alan Arkin, for his heroin-addicted fuck-em-all grandpa. Craziness. I'm almost still too full of the movie to really give a cogent review. My favorite character might actually have been Dwayne, the son. I've never seen him in anything before, but I thought he did an amazing job. That climactic seen in the van just before they reach the pageant. Whew. And he and Steve Carell achieve a great dynamic together. Although one of their scenes is one of my complaints. I felt like that scene on the dock was also supposed to be sort of a climax, not so much for Dwayne or Frank, but representing the whole family's attitude change. And I thought the script (for such an important point in the film) was actually rather weak. "Fuck beauty contests. Life is just a long series of beauty contests." I'm not sure I think that quite sums it up. But maybe I misunderstand the point of the scene and it is just more Dwayne resolution. Anyway, the movie was great. Go see it if you haven't yet.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Fun New Time Waster!

The WSJ had an interesting article today about a really cool tool that's new to me. As the article is appropriately subtitled, "Time Waster," I can see myself wasting quite a bit of time with it. The tool is a history of presidential buzzwords. It scans all the major presidential speeches from our history (state of the union addresses, inaugural speeches, war declarations, etc) and indicates which 100 words appear most frequently in a given speech. Then it uses a format called "Tag Clouds" to show which words have been used most frequently out of the 100, and which of these words are newest or oldest in the overall presidential lexicon. Use the slider to change speeches. Links to all speeches (usually hosted by Britannica) are at the bottom left of the page.

It's a cool project that this guy has thought of, so check it out. I know I'll be perusing it for the next few days. Another fun trend I've already noticed besides the ones discussed in the article, is that Teddy Roosevelt's favorite word seems to have been "corporations" which soon fades with Taft, makes a slight reemergence after the stock market crash in '29, and then completely falls off the radar again until like Reagan or so.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


So I took a step forward into the 21st century today (a small one) - I joined Netflix . I think it's probably the right move. While occasionally I'll have the month where I only rent 1 movie, far more often Keith and I will rent upwards of 4 or 5 movies in a month. So to counter those months when Keith and I aren't doing a lot of movie watching, I've got a bunch of films in my queue that are just things I want to see (and that he doesn't care about.) So I'm going to give it a shot. I get 2 weeks of free trial, and I'll probably stick it out for another month after that, just to see how well it works for me. I picked the $14.99 plan, where they send you 2 dvds at a time and you can have an unlimited number sent to you in a given month. I'm excited. My list of "movies I need to see" is long and diverse. I'll be happy to start knocking some off the list. Plus they have TV!! Which is great, because recently I've been getting Keith into Buffy the Vampire Slayer (we just finished season 2.) And I was thinking, "Damn, I really can't afford to buy any more seasons of this right now, so what are we going to do?" but now I can just happily borrow it from Netflix! Woo! I'll keep you posted on how it's going, and I'm sure you can also expect many movie reviews to start appearing here. My first 2 dvds are supposed to arrive on Thursday! :-)

Monday, January 22, 2007

I remembered! Pilates and Dinner!

One thing just to throw out there quickly. Ever since the second week or so of December I've been off program. For those who don't get what that means, I'm referring to Weight Watchers. I've been doing it with my Mom for the past three years. Usually when I tell people that I've been doing it for a couple years, they express extreme surprise (since I've only lost about 30 pounds in that time.) But my feeling on that subject is that I'm doing it the right way - changing my whole lifestyle and not just "dieting." Plus weight that comes off too fast is less likely to stay off. Regardless (I'm off topic here) I have been needing to get back on program in a serious way. Even though I'd been walking consistently through most of December (as in walking for exercise) my food habits were all over the place. So I figured I might feel more encouraged to get back to better foods if I kicked my exercise up a notch. Explanation for this being that I am actually less likely to go crazy with food if I feel like I have some behavioral leeway from my exercise. So the whole point of this is just to say that I went back to my hour long pilates class at the gym today, and it felt great! I hadn't been since somewhere around last August (06). My abs, of course, had something to say about it which was "WHY???? OH GOD, WHY?!?!" but they'll get used to it again soon I hope.

The other reason for the post was that I made an awesome awesome new recipe tonight. Extremely healthy and very tasty. Here it is:

Fusili with Yellow Pepper Sauce

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 large yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 plum tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 2 cup uncooked fusilli
  • 4 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, minced
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste (I used more)


  • Combine water, pepper, onion, tomato, oil, salt, and ground pepper in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender and liquid evaporates, 15 to 18 minutes. Add more water, 1/4 cup at a time, if liquid evaporates too fast.

  • Meanwhile, cook fusilli according to package instructions. Drain and put in a serving bowl.

  • Transfer vegetables to a blender or food processor. Add ricotta cheese and purée. Pour over fusilli and toss to coat. Serve, sprinkled with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

If yellow peppers are unavailable, red or orange will work just as well. But steer clear of green peppers - the flavor is too strong. Also, if you're a weight watchers member, this can either be 2 dinner sized servings for 8.5 points each (and 2 veggie servings!) or 4 lunch sized portions at 4 points each (and 1 veggie serving.)

So there you have it - I highly recommend it, and hope whoever reads this will give it a try!

Visit Picture and Else

Had a great time visiting with my cousins in Riverdale yesterday. I don't have too many cousins who are young so it's fun to play with kids every now and again. I took a bunch of pictures, but rather than subjecting you to all of them, I'll just throw one up here. That's my sister, brother, and cousins Henry and Lucy preparing for a group nap. As it turns out, the nap never happened. Henry perpetrated an alien invasion and Lucy's hand had a tug of war with my foot instead. And then chocolate chip cookies were brought out (baked by my excellent Mother) and all hope for a nap was lost. :-)

There was something else I wanted to post about today, but I can't remember what it is at the moment. Perhaps I shall post again if I remember. Somehow I think it had something to do with politics. Sigh. Mind of a sieve.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

We lost

Gawd dang-it. But at least it was kind of an exciting game. Jagr's goal in the 1st period was a beaut, though I have to say that both goals scored by the Thrashers were kind of lame! One was a slow drift through Lundqvist's legs that he ended up turning around and tipping in with his stick (though it was going in anyway). The other showed an Atlanta player tap it in while deflecting it off Lundqvist's legs. There was a very exciting moment in the second period where Lundqvist had to face down a penalty shot (and did so successfully) because the ref decided Tyutin threw his stick forward to stop a Thrasher who was on a breakaway. Seth and I thought the call was dubious, though my Dad (who says he saw the replay on TV about 15 times) thinks it was definitely Tyutin's fault. Though he has some Tyutin issues anyway, and might be letting his bias get in the way. Anyway, Seth and I had a grand time despite the Rangers' loss.

More fun plans for today. My immediate fam (minus Aaron) are going into NYC to visit my cousins who just moved from Manhattan to the Bronx. It's really my Dad's first cousin, though I think of him as my cousin, and his wife and two kids. The kids (Henry and Lucy) are ADORABLE! I might have to post some pics when I get back. Actually I should be running, I'm late for my weight watchers meeting in Fairfield!!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The other thing that annoys me + Hockey!

(About blogger that is): There is so little room for creativity if you don't want to mess around with stuuuupid cascading style sheets. Arg arg arg. Just had to throw that in there. I guess I'll have to dig out my old programming book from freshman year and take a look. Because I don't think I can handle this cookie cutter nonsense.

In other news, I am totally pumped today because I am going to the Rangers game with my brother. I bought him tickets for Hanukkah, so I've been waiting for over a month for today to come!! I have been watching many of the games this season on TV with my Dad and having such a great time. I sort of lost interest for a couple of years when the Rangers were so so bad, but there was a time when I was 10 or 11 and could recite the whole lineup. They're playing Atlanta today, who I've never seen in action, so that should be fun. What I know of their team is that they're a bunch of young guns with a lot of energy, and that they've beat the Rangers all three times they've met so far this season. Which hopefully means I'll be doing a lot of cheering to urge us on! Another new fun thing is that I'll be sitting in a section of MSG I've never sat in before (for a sporting event or concert) - the 300s. Back when my dad used to work for Ogden we always sat in the 100s, and ever since then I could only afford the 400s, so this will be a new experience. I wonder if I'm allowed to bring my camera? It would be neat to document the view. I can supplement my old collection of pics from my younger days - I have on where I'm about 10 inches (and a layer of glass) away from Jeff Beukeboom - a hulking former defenseman of the Rangers (now retired.) He was on the 94 cup team.

Alright, enough for now. I'm heading over to my parents house (ha! so funny to say that now that I have my own place!) to get some more stuff I forgot, and then I'll be off for the 1 o'clock start!

Friday, January 19, 2007

And here we are

I'm annoyed that I have to do this, but so it goes. My company that shall remain nameless (and in fact never be talked about again after this post) has stalked me worse than big brother and limited my ability to be truly honest in my blog, so I've had to move. And will have to remain anonymous. If you know me, you know it's me. So hello. I'm back. Yee-ha.

Ok...I guess adding a picture doesn't make me that anonymous. But it has no caption, and the file title is "short hair" so it'd be pretty hard to google just my picture. So I have two identifying elements - my first name in the title, and the picture. Three I guess if you count the fact that my profile name is the same as the name of the old journal. But I had to give people some way to find me. "You get the idea....Goulet." Alright, enough messing around for tonight. Peace.