Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Leaving home

As much as I love my LA life, I really hate leaving Texas at the end of a visit.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Advent Conspiracy

I'm a big fan of the message behind The Advent Conspiracy. Since we don't yet have kidlets I don't know how exactly Will and I will celebrate the holidays as a family, but I know that I want it to have a strong theme of giving to others, rather than just gifts, gifts, gifts! The we have so much more than the vast majority of the world and I think that's something that we need to remember all year around - but during Christmas it comes naturally with the message of the season.

If you've not seen the video before, it's below.

'Tis the season

So here we are 4 days to Christmas, but it didn't really start feeling like it until Sunday, when I went to Disneyland with a couple of friends. I couldn't find people to go with last year, but two years ago I'd gone and really enjoyed how Disney does Christmas, so we were excited to go again.

We did the Haunted Mansion, which turns into Nightmare Before Christmas Mansion, and It's a Small World, where we snarked our way around the world where every culture (represented by stereotypes) celebrated Christmas. But it was still fun. And we also watched the holiday fireworks, finishing with snow represented by tiny foam bubbles. Marci heads home to Ohio, and Sara to Montana, where they will get real snow, but since I head off to Austin tomorrow, that was the whitest Christmas that I'll get.

I'm also really excited because it's Will's first Christmas in Texas - two years ago he joined my family in Puerto Rico, but Christmas there is always a bit different, and even moreso last year since he and I stayed in a hotel instead of Abuela's house. But this Christmas we get the full deal - Midnight Mass at St. Theresa's and everyone getting to unwrap one present when we get home from Mass and mom's pernil (though we're doing it on Christmas instead of Christmas Eve this year.)

So I may have been wearing flip-flops the day before yesterday, but 'tis the season nonetheless. Best wishes to you and yours!

Monday, December 7, 2009

My cooking habit

So I really enjoy cooking, even if I'm less than thrilled about the grocery shopping beforehand and cleaning afterward that always go along with the act. However, I try to do it with at least some regularity, because it's relaxing and fun and at the end of it all you get to eat, so who could really ask for much more?

Will and I have decided that this January we're going to try to go tv-free (even though Marci thinks there's no way in hell we'll be able to) and today we had a bit of a practice because I was home earlyish and there was absolutely nothing on our tivo to watch which, seriously guys, it never happens. And there's only so much ant observing a person can do (even though I'm still totally fascinated by these things) and I've sorted through all the recipes that have gone up on my google reader over the past few days, and now I have the urge to cook. Something with chocolate chips. But not cookies.

So I've been searching for muffin recipes, and came up with a couple of possibilities, but we don't have most of the ingredients necessary for them. So I think I'm going to go with chocolate chip pancakes, because I am insane.

From this I have determined that on February 1st Will and I will be less addicted to television, but significantly heavier. Maybe February we'll focus on going to the gym.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ants!

So when I was growing up I always wanted an ant farm, but my mom was pretty opposed to it, since in Texas pretty much the only kind of ant you can get is a fire ant, and for some reason she was very strongly opposed to having them in the house. Go figure.

I mentioned this to Will a few weeks ago, and when I came home the other day there was a package waiting - he'd bought me an Ant Works farm!

Now this is no ordinary farm with dirt and whatnot. The ants live in this gel that was developed by NASA to study how ants would do in a weightless environment. The gel provides both food and water to the ants, and it also is see through, so even if they burrow through the middle of the farm, you can still see it.

We tried catching ants, but the ones we cought were too small, so we mail oredered some (who know you could mail order ants?!) and they got here today. Will dumped them in as soon as he got home, and now they're eating away, and have just started to dig along the sides of the farm.

It's pretty cool, and because I'm a total nerd, I'm super excited about it. Updates are forthcoming!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bruce Willis!

In true LA life fashion, Bruce Willis was in the dining hall today. I didn't notice him at first, but then Marci pointed him out, and I stared for about 10 seconds trying to determine if it really was him before she told me to stop. It was him though.

We went to the table and told everyone there that he was in the building, but he'd left before most of them could see him. The rumor was that he was there with one of his daughters to scope out the university for her, but I'm pretty sure we were the ones that started that rumor, so I don't know how true it actually is.

It was pretty cool, and my most random celeb sighting, since most of the other ones have been at concerts or while in Beverly Hills, both places you're expecting it a little more. In the Lair on a random Friday was definitely not expected, and therefore totally more cool.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Giving up on NaBloPoMo and OKC in review

So I've more or less given up on NaBloPoMo. I didn't really get to update while I was at my in-laws, and while I could go back and write stuff, I'm way too lazy to do that. Hopefully, however, I've gotten more in the habit of updating, and I won't just update every few months. (Though, realistically? We'll see how that goes.)

We had a great time in Oklahoma, though, and really enjoyed spending time with the family. With both of Will's brother's there and their significant others, along with two grandchildren, it makes for a full house, which I love the feeling of. The day after Thanksgiving my mother in law had someone come and take family portraits, which was pretty cool.

Highlights of the holiday weekend include:
  • My ridiculously cute 7 month old niece, who was the happiest baby I've ever seen
  • My ridiculously cute 3 1/2 year old nephew, who was constantly chatting, even if he was the only one in the room
  • Watching Will play with the aforementioned niece and nephew
  • Megan's Texas Sheet Cake (or, as it was also called, Chocolate Bomb Cake, because it's da bomb)
  • The UT snuggie Charlie bought for his dad
  • My first custard "concrete", which is basically like a DQ blizzard, but made out of custard, and thicker


For Christmas we're going to Austin to spend it with my family, and I'm equally excited about that. Dani will be back from London, PLUS my mom's pernil, PLUS a likely trip to the Salt Lick. Awesome!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

OKC and Dale Chihuly

For some reason, every time we visit Oklahoma City, we go to the art museum. This might be because there aren't heaps of things to do here. Once you've done the Oklahoma City memorial and the Cowboy Museum, you've done most of the tourist attractions. So today we found ourselves at the art museum.

My favorite exhibit there is this glass art by Dale Chihuly. He has these neat art pieces that are blown art. Once I'm on a legit computer rather than typing this on my phone, I'll post pictures.

Aside from that, Oklahoma is great! Enjoying family time, and we went to a restaurant for lunch where they had queso! I hearted it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

San Fran recap

Flying when your ears are congested might be the most painful thing ever. I mean, I've never given birth so I can't say for sure, but it's pretty intense. I had that reaffirmed this weekend, when I flew home from San Fran and almost started crying as we descended. Dear Lord, that hurt.

Aside from that, the trip was pretty fun. Mary Anne and I went to the Academy of Sciences on Saturday, where we saw some exhibits and then went to the planetarium which was awesome because I am a dork. Though they always make me feel a little small and insignificant. We had Thai at this really great place near our hotel, and then on Sunday we went down to Fisherman's Wharf. The sea lions were there, but smelly.

I failed to take any significant amount of pictures, because I just didn't think about it. There's one from us at the pier, though, with Alcatraz in the background.

Fun weekend, though! However I need to go back there for real, rather than just for a trip that is under 48 hours, which has happened the past two times.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

San Fran!

I'm spending this weekend in San Francisco with my friend Mary Anne. Well, by "this weekend" I really mean "most of Saturday and a bit of Sunday" because that's the way that flights were cheaper. I've only been there once before, when Will's brother and his wife were in town so we went up for another short stint. Apparently I do best in San Francisco if I'm there for under 48 hours.

I'm excited, though, and with any luck will have pictures and whatnot upon my return. YAY taking advantage of living in California!

Werewolves vs Vampires

Tonight on the way home from watching New Moon with some friends (yes, we did go watch it on opening day. Does it help that we didn't watch it at midnight?) we got into a heated vampires vs werewolves debate. (Okay, I suppose that right there ruined any credit we got for not watching it at midnight.)

I find Edward to be incredibly annoying and emo - the only person in the series who is MORE annoying is Bella. Why do I like this series again? I mean, they are the two main characters. So I am obviously more of a fan of Jacob, and am therefore a werewolf girl. It also helps that vampires are always described as being cold and marble-like, and as I am always cold, I would much prefer a werewolf as they are always warm. Granted, I am married to a human, so I suppose that it's a decision I'll never actually be faced with. Marci said that Will looks a little like Edward, but I wasn't quite sure what to do with that information.

Am I really typing this out for public consumption? Luckily, only 11 people read this blog.

Anyways, Marci seems to prefer Edward to Jacob, and Briana said she'd have to think about it. Jen was rather quiet on the subject, and then we got sidetracked and started discussing whether or not we thought that, if He lived today, Jesus would be a socialist. On that I think we found more common ground, deciding that He would probably not get involved in politics, but that His ideals would probably be more in line with socialism than capitalism.

And that was my Friday night out with the girls.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Library Fun Part 2

I'm considering checking out Going Rogue from the library out of sheer curiosity. (Also, why do I keep wanting to type it as Going Rouge? Do I secretly think Palin needs more makeup?) If I do, though, I need to find a good book with alcohol in the title to pair it with, so as to continue confusing the librarians. Perhaps It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita? (Or perhaps not, as the title alone makes me want to rethink ever having kids.)

I actually have a pretty significant list of books that I want to check out, but I think my next one is going to be Escaping North Korea. I've had this fascination with the country recently, and Will and I have watched a couple of documentaries about it - one about an American who defected during the Korean war, and another about two young gymnasts who were preparing for the mass games. It's fascinating, really. And a bit scary.

Also, I just googled "documentaries about North Korea" and am off to add new titles to our Netflix list.

xkcd

Another day with nothing to really post.

So instead I'll leave you with this xkcd comic. While I love them in general (as anyone who is on my google reader friends list knows, since I share them all the time even though most of you probably have them on your list anyways) this is the only one that I've actually printed out and put next to my computer. Because it is SO TRUE. And, as a comp sci major, I am the default computer help person for many people.

[here]

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Going TV-free in January?

Will and I were talking tonight, and are toying with the idea of going tv-free in January. We'd still use our tv for movies, but we'd basically unplug our coax cable. Things we really want to watch we'd watch on hulu, but as I mentioned before we watch way too much tv and it'd be a way to wean ourselves off it.

We actually would need to unplug the coax cable, since my instinct when I sit down on the couch is to turn the tv on, so I'd need something to remind me to stop rather than just sheer willpower. I don't do so well with willpower.

We're not completely set on it, but I think it's probably worth a try. Now just to come up with some board games that we can play instead. And that way we'd actually interact more than just "hey, can you fast-forward through this?"

The Stoning of Soraya M

Today one of my RAs brought to campus the movie The Stoning of Soraya M., which is a movie based on the true story of Soraya Manutchehri, a 35 year old woman who was stoned to death after her husband falsely accused her of adultery so that he could marry a 14 year old girl.

It was a really good movie, albeit a gory one - I didn't watch most of the actual stoning scene, because I have a weak stomach and a tendency to have images stick with me for a really, really long time.

The director was there and answered some questions from the audience. The movie is based on the book of the same name, written by French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam. The part that I found most interesting was probably the fact that he said that practically all of the conflict that was shown in the movie within any of the men of the village came for dramatic effect, not from Sahebjam's research. In the book, which is non-fiction, there's no conflict from the men in the village - they're all for it. But in the movie, to deepen the characters a bit and in order to keep from villainizing Iranian men, they added some conflict, specifically in the character of the mayor, who ran the "trial" (if you chose to call it that) in which she was eventually found guilty.

Good movie, though it'll stick with you for a while. And don't be ashamed to look away during the actual stoning scenes - I had to.

Monday, November 16, 2009

There's money in the banana stand

Will and I have started watching old episodes of Arrested Development because (a) I've never seen it, but everyone says I need to, and (b) Will saw it a few years ago and said I need to. Everyone who told me I need to watch it was right - I do really enjoy it.

I also enjoy the fact that I'm starting to catch references that I'd never caught before. I think Dani used to have a shirt or something about Steve Holt, one of my lj friends had an icon that was Buster, and facebook groups that I used to just pass over finally have a context.

One of the coolest parts, however, is that it was filmed near where we live. The "bay" in the show where the yacht is (was) located and the banana stand is was actually filmed at a marina about 5 minutes from where we live. Today we went down there and wandered around with the specific intention of relating it to Arrested, rather than just eating Mexican food (which is usually why we go there). We found the spot where the banana stand is, to which Will said "That's exactly where the banana stand is!" And then we went home and watched an episode and, sure enough, that's exactly where it was!

So props to us for recognizing a filming location. If that's not LA life, I don't know what is!

Also, if you haven't watched Arrested Development yet, you should.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Holiday Decorations

Ha! Another clever and creative way of not decorating your house for Christmas.



Since we're limited in space, we'll probably just decorate a mini-tree and put it in our window. Maybe our neighbors will do the ditto thing, through.

12 Dates of Christmas

Last year, Will and I decided that instead of giving each other gifts, we were going to do "The 12 Dates of Christmas," and go on 12 dates in the month of December.

It didn't work.

First I'd like to add the disclaimer/public service announcement that I know that the 12 Days of Christmas are the 12 days after Christmas, leading up to Epiphany. But these are the 12 Dates of Christmas. That's different.

Part of the problem is that we didn't come up with enough things to do in LA, and part of the problem is that we're lazy bums who sometimes like our couches and our computers too much.

I'd like to try it again this year, so I've started looking for things we can do on our dates. One of them will be an at-home date - pizza and FINALLY finishing Secret of Mana. We started this game in 2004 on an emulator on his laptop, and then stopped, and then got it for our Wii and started again, but then stopped again. If we do nothing else this Christmas, we will finish the game.

Aside from that, though, I'm not entirely sure. There has to be some sort of Trail of Lights or something like that in LA like there is in Austin, we just need to find it. And some sort of neighborhood that goes all out with the Christmas decorations, like that neighborhood in the mountain in Austin. The one where some friends of the family decided to go the humorous route and did it halfway, and then put a mannequin up in ladder and then wrapped the lights around him, so that it looked like someone got all tangled up while trying to put them up. It's a clever and creative way of only decorating half your house.

Aside from finding those things, which I am assuming exist in LA, I'm not entirely sure what else we'll do. I'm sure we can come up with something, though. I mean, that's already 3, so we only need to come up with 9 more.

ask for suggestions

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cooking time! Sesame Chicken

After Lauren posted recipe for Sesame Chicken the other day I decided I ought to try it. I've been a HUGE fan of sesame chicken since I was in middle school and my family used to go to this all you can eat Chinese buffet. Probably once a week I'd tell my mom I had a "craving" for sesame chicken, so we needed to go back to that place. It's amazing my parents still like me, considering how much I used to whine about wanting to eat it.

I was a little intimidated because the picture was just SO PRETTY but I decided to give it a shot and make it anways. Survey says? It was GOOD. So good, that Will even ate the broccoli in order to consume more sauce. Anything that gets Will to eat broccoli is pretty amazing.

I followed the recipe almost exactly, except that I used more vegetable and less sesame oil for the frying, and a dash of sesame in the sauce.

No, seriously, you need to make this. Recipe is here.

Thanks, Lauren!

Improv Everywhere

So recently I have fallen a little bit in love with Improv Everywhere. I mean, how can you NOT fall in love with a group that does spontaneous musicals ?

Unfortunately I can't ever keep a straight face, so I'd never work as a comic actor/improv everywhere agent. But a girl can dream, can't she? And their stuff is way fun, so who wouldn't want to be a part of it?

I think my favorite thing that they did was the surprise wedding reception. And the couple that got it is just the cutest. I mean, if you're going to do the courthouse thing, this is the way to do it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NaBloPoMo wears thin

So I went 10 days before I really struggled with what to write. I think that's a promising start, at least, and hopefully I'm getting my creative juices running enough that I won't have to write too many posts this about how I'm not motivated to write.

I actually have about 4 posts in my drafts with ideas of what to write about for days like this, but my main problem is that today I don't really have a desire to write, rather than not having anything to write about.

Three paragraphs counts as enough, right? I will leave you with two things:

a) I named my Droid! His name is R2D2. Will went with Bender.
b) I really enjoy the below scene from the Thomas Crowne Affair. There's some commercial that has music that reminds me of this movie, and as a result I've watched this scene like 3 times in the past week. (*SPOILERS* if you've never watched the movie. Which you should.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Queso in Cali

Yesterday I had a craving for queso and did some googling and yelping to figure out if there's a restaurant in LA that has a good one. What I discovered is that restaurants in LA lack queso in general, much less good queso. Apparently it's a uniquely Tex-Mex thing, and pretty hard to find in California. Especially now that On The Border went bankrupt.

There was one thread in yelp where someone asked (a transplanted Texan, specifically) and all the results were "um, there are lots of places in LA that have cheese." PEOPLE. QUESO DOES NOT JUST MEAN CHEESE. It is also a creamy spicy cheese dip to be eaten with chips or tortillas.

After some failed searching (the only non-Chili's place I could find was only open for brunch) I decided to find a recipe. I was specifically craving Kerbey Queso, so I went with this white queso recipe that google provided me with. It was fancy with a roux and whatnot, and ended up feeling a bit grainy, but wasn't too bad. However, next time I think I'm just going to go with the Velveeta recipe I got from twitter. Definitely easier, and I have a bit of a soft spot in my heart for Velveeta so there's really nothing to lose.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Droid!

I got a Droid yesterday! And I'm super excited about it. I'd been wanting to get an iPhone but kept putting it off and off and just never got around to it. But then the Droid came out and I was talked into it. Verizon works better on campus than AT&T anyways, and I like how customizable the phone is. I've spent way too much time already using it and tweaking it and whatnot, and I'm sure there's a lot of tweak time in my future as well.

Now the REAL question is what to name it. Names I'm considering:

  • R2D2 - for obvious reasons

  • Lal - Data's daughter. I'm a bit hesitant to name it after someone that didn't "live" for more than a week, but I've always been a bit of a fan of the

  • C3PO - but he whines a lot

  • IG88 - but do I want to name my phone after an assassin?

  • something else I haven't thought of?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Job Search (and do I even need one?)

I hate writing cover letters.

No, like, I REALLY hate it.

Though it's a bit early for me to be making firm decisions on what I'm doing next year, I'm kind of taking a shot at something that I don't think I have much of a chance of getting, and it requires a cover letter. I can usually do relatively well with the 'meat' of the letter - why they should hire me. But the intro and closing paragraphs are a STRUGGLE.

Now assuming this opportunity doesn't pan out, I don't really know what I'm doing next year. Part of me doesn't think I'm quite ready to give up being a Resident Director - I really love my job, my students, my staff, and the school I work at. I'm relatively sure that my last year at this school will be my last year as an RD, and probably my last year in a live-in position, and I don't know if I'm quite ready to give that up yet. Even as I go through the year I tuck little notes away to myself "for next year" - that I should do this or that or tweak certain things. And I'm really loving this year and what I'm able to do now that I'm 3 years into the job. I'm loving the theme community I run, and I feel like I'm really starting to get a hang of my building board.

But at the same time, I don't want to stay, but then be completely over this job by October of next year, and then be an ineffective supervisor or halfhearted coworker. I don't think that would happen, but I don't really know for sure. At this school, most RDs don't stay in the position for four years - last year we had someone stay for a fourth year and he left in December, to a new position across the country. From talking to my cohort it looks like a lot of them are planning on staying a fourth year, partly because of the economy and partly because they just love the jobs. I think I'm the only one that's seriously considering leaving the school. But I don't know if I'm ready to give up being an RD.

And now I'm repeating myself.

Part of me would definitely like to move back to Texas to be closer to family. And have a house. A REAL HOUSE! Or at least an apartment with more than one room, as Will and I are getting tired of tripping all over each other. Maybe a full-sized fridge, and a washing machine? And satellite TV for Will! Wouldn't that be nice? Is it completely pathetic the sorts of things that I get excited about?

But I love my job, and my students and my staff and the university. I don't know if I'm ready to give up being an RD!

In January is when they ask for our letters of intent for work, so I really need to decide by then. So I have another couple of months to do some soul searching. Oh, and talk about it with Will, since he's kind of an important part to this decision making as well. Hopefully by then I'll have a better idea of what's best, not only for Will and me, but also for my career and the next steps and growing up or whatever all that being a responsible adult jazz is all about. And hopefully by then, I'll have a better idea of whether or not I'm ready to give up being an RD.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hunger Banquet and Oxfam

Last night I went to an Oxfam Hunger Banquet that was held on campus. Oxfam is a confederation of 14 organizations that work in over 70 countries to fight poverty. The Hunger Banquet is an event that happens with the intention of teaching people about the unequal distribution of food resources around the world.

Basically, the way that it works is that when people enter they draw a ticket that has an income class, as well as name and information of a person somewhere on the planet. The income levels are high, middle, and low, and the descriptions briefly talk about themselves, their families, and their financial situation. I was middle income, and had the following card:

I am Deng

I live in Vietnam on a very small farm. During times of drought I must survive on loans from local moneylenders who charge 30 to 40 percent interest per month.


It started out talking a little bit about the distribution of wealth and resources around the world - the distribution of tickets at the event mirrored the distribution worldwide. 15% of the people had 'high income' tickets, and were seated at tables with white tablecloths. In the real world, those of us who fall into the 15% consume approximately 70% of the world's grain - mostly through grain-fed meats. They were served 3 course meals, with water and ice tea, salad, pasta, and dessert.

25% of us were 'middle income' and were seated in chairs around the edges. Most people in the world who are considered middle-income have no property, and education is not that common. We were given water in a cooler and got to eat rice and beans from a buffet line (those of us at the end got mostly rice, because the people in the front ate most of the beans.)

Everyone else (approximately 60% of the group) represented the 'low income' group, and sat on the floor. They were given a few large trays of rice, some brown water, and cups as their only utensils.

As they talked about the different groups what blew my mind was what was considered 'high' and 'middle' income. Worldwide, anyone who makes over $9,000 a year is considered high income. I'd always considered my family more or less middle class as I was growing up, but on the worldwide scale, we were ridiculously high income.

Middle income is anyone from $9,000 a year down to $900 a year. $900! I made more than that as a counselor at Texlake! I knew that the distribution of wealth and resources was out of whack, but I didn't realize that someone who made $1000 would be considered pretty solidly middle income. It kind of blows your mind.

Did you know a child dies every 2.9 seconds due to hunger? How many seconds have passed since you've started reading this? And that women living in poor countries are 250 times more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth than women in rich countries? TWO HUNDRED FIFTY TIMES. It's kind of ridiculous.

One of the things that I really liked about tonight was that it was more than just "this is what's going on in the world" - there was also information for action. Representatives from local organizations that fight hunger such as the LA Foodbank were there to talk about how they need help. They gave information on the "Feed the Hungry" that happens on campus every Tuesday afternoon where you can come make sandwiches and then go deliver them. And entry to the event was a $2 donation that goes straight to Oxfam.

So... yeah. That was my evening. And now that I'm done with my preaching, I'll leave a little video for someone else to do a brief 1:08 of proselytizing and then be done!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

TeeVee

Will and I watch a lot of television. Well, if I were being fair, I'd say that I watch a lot of television, and Will sits around while I'm doing it. I don't know why I'm such a tv watcher - I think part of it may be that I consider myself an observer of the human condition, and tv allows me to observe without really participating.

But it's probably not that deep.

There are something like 50 shows on our Tivo Season Pass, and I'm not even exaggerating. (In fact, I just checked, and it's actually 62.) Also, a lot of it is junk. I will totally admit to having The Girls Next Door and Real World Road Rules Challenge. I feel the need to note, however, that the former is one of the shows on my list where Will has stated that "he's okay if I watch while he's around." I mean, he doesn't actually like it or anything, but if I like it and want to watch it when he's around, he's not going to complain. He will complain, however, if I watch 18 Kids and Counting or The View. Those are strictly for times when he's not around.

Luckily, one of the places where our interests converge is Sci Fi. When we grew up we both watched Star Trek: The Next Generation, and when we got married, we got ourselves a joint birthday present that was the complete series, and watched the whole thing. It was deliciously nerdy.

We also were really big Stargate: SG-1 fans, though neither of us really got into Atlantis past the first season. Our plan is to DVD them at some point now that the show is over. We've just decided to give Stargate: Universe a shot, since that's new, and we now have a hole in our Friday nights since BSG is over. (Dancing robots?! Really? REALLY?!) Will was a big fan of the book that Flash Forward was based on, and we think that show has promise, though Will's losing interest quicker than I am.

And our most recent foray is V, which we just watched last night. This one also has a lot of promise, and you kind of have to give a show that has two Firefly alums a shot, right?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that Will and I are nerds. So it's lucky we ended up together, or else his wife would all "ew" and my husband would be all "aren't guys supposed to be the ones that like this?"

Though sometimes Will rolls his eyes at me when I talk about my May the Fourth Star Wars parties, so maybe we're not compeletely matched.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bouchon

Authors note: After I read this I realized how pretentious I sound. Apologies in advance.

Will and I are foodies-in-training. Will would probably say that we actually are foodies, but I'm going to keep us in the "in training" category for the time being. We did eat at Iggys over the summer when we were in Singapore, which was ranked the 45th best restaurant in the world in 2009, so there's that. We are also big fans of Tom Collichio's Craft (though I did get really sad when pasty chef Catherine Schimenti left - to the point that I found out her name so that I could see if she was working somewhere else, because I REALLY miss the Peanut Butter Cup dessert she made), and have gone to Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood a couple of times. The one time we went to Mario Batali's Osteria Mozza we were less than impressed, but we loved Brandon and Moye's wedding reception at Christophe Émé's Michelin-starred Ortolan (we were with them at their initial visit to the restaurant, a year prior to them getting married). Michelin-starred Joe's is another favorite of ours (though we haven't been there in a while - Will, let's change that), and I'm pretty sure I got a glimpse of heaven when we had a 12 course meal at Providience (which currently has TWO Michelin stars). Guys, one of the first courses were these upscale jello shots with liquor INSIDE the jello. And a cheese course! It doesn't GET better than that.

Have I dropped enough big names yet? (The self-conscious part of me wants to point out that we've had 2 1/2 years to do this tour of foodie LA.)

One time, when we were at Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood there was a couple next to us who were probably new to this fancy eating thing (I can understand that, having once been a newbie myself) and I heard one quietly ask the other "Where's the salt and pepper?" I rolled my eyes and whispered to Will "Did you hear them? They're looking for the salt and the pepper!" Because, seriously, you you don't season your food. Your food came the way Gordon Ramsay wanted you to eat it, so eat it that way! And then I was immediately mortified at myself for being such a food snob.

I don't know how these things happen! Just 3 years ago I was irritated that Will took me to Spago when I really just wanted an In-n-Out burger. The last time I was home I was talking about one of my friends about all these nice restaurants we were eating at and she reminded me that before I'd moved out here I SWORE up and down that I didn't understand eating fancy food. I mean, it's only in your system for what, 24 hours? Why not just have a good burger? Oh, how things change.

ANYWAYS. One of the things we've said we want to do is go up to norCal for norCaly-type stuff, but also, The French Laundry. I mean, Thomas Keller's restaurant is pretty well known even among non-foodies, moreso than Per Se, even though in recent years that one has become more popular among some foodies. So when we found out that Thomas Keller was bringing a restaurant to LA, we were crazy excited.

Bouchon is opening the 18th, and after some persistent phone calls, Moye managed to get us a reservation for the 29th. I know it won't be the same as The French Laundry or Per Se (the latter of which Brandon and Moye actually went to when they were in NYC earlier this year), but I'm still really excited to go.

I don't know when I became such a food snob, but I think I'm okay with it.

Oh! And since this is an LA thing, I can even say that this post goes along with the original theme of this blog! Sweet!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Exercise

So you know how this summer was supposed to be "The Summer Of Fitness"?

Yeah, didn't happen.

I guess I just have to figure out what exercise I enjoy enough, or at least get enough out of, that I'm able to overcome the dread that I have every time it's time for me to go do it.

The month or so before I went to Australia my junior year of college I was living at home, since school in Australia goes March-November, as their summer is flipped from the US's. While I was living at home, my mom made me go to Jazzercise with her regularly, which I originally hated her for, but then, in spite of myself, ended up actually enjoying a bit. Which begs the question:

Is Jazzercise the only kind of exercise I will ever enjoy?

At one point I looked up nearby Jazzercise places, and one of them had a picture of women all excited to be doing Jazzercise.

Old women.

Not old like you, mom. Like, really old. Maybe in their 70s.

Am I too young for the only kind of exercise I will ever enjoy?

I suppose I should look at other options. There are exercise classes here on campus that I could look at. Each semester they also have the Try-Athalon, where you (and a buddy or two, if you want) have 3 weeks to do the equivalent to an Iron Man. I mean, between Will and I, we can totally swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles in 3 weeks. Right?

I think we're going to give it a shot. And actually do it this year, rather than just say we're going to do it and then fail to darken the door of the gym for the entire time that the Try-Athalon is happening.

So we're going to do it.

For reals.

Stop rolling your eyes.

Monday, November 2, 2009

My blog

When I told Will I was joining NaBloPoMo, after he checked to make sure I wasn't having a stroke or something, since saying that outloud sounds pretty odd, his next question was "who reads that blog anways?" Well, according to Google Reader there are 6 people using GR on it. My guess is that I have myself, Will, Mom, Dad, and Dani, which makes me wonder who the 6th person is. Unless it's myself, but under my old gmail address before I switched from my maiden name to my married name.

My LJ was totally public for a really long time, and then it went mostly-private and now I don't use it at all (just ignore the fact that it says it was recently updated - that's an automated thingie). Part of it is that I know I ought to watch what I say in case some student I work with or potential future supervisor or someone else comes across it. My facebook is pretty guarded for the same reason - I occasionally have to unlink myself in pictures or delete the posts of friends or random JCers that I think may be inappropriate. So part of it is the question of what I need to do in order to keep it job-friendly, especially since sometimes I think that things that are job-friendly don't appear to be in hindsight. I tried the whole 365 Recipies thing since food is generally generic enough to not be troublesome, but that failed miserably. My hope is that, at one point, possibly years from now, there will be 365 recipes on it.

I've considered snarky book reviews, like BSC Revisited or Sheep Are In. But then I need the time to both read a book AND review it. Food obviously loses my interest. I can't write about entertaining student stories (or, at least, I can't publicly post them) because of FERPA and privacy and whatnot. And my life in general isn't all that entertaining, though Will and I are trying to work on living it up a bit while we're living in SoCal, since we don't know how much longer we'll live here.

So my guess is that this blog will be a bit of a combination of everything. Some cooking, when I get around to it. Snarky reviews of books (and, apparently, movies based on Disney television shows). A dash of work, when appropriate. And a smattering of my life, when it's been entertaining enough to merit it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

NaBloPoMo

So I am nowhere near the writer to consider doing NaNoWriMo, which is National Novel Writing Month, where people try to write a 50,000 novel in the month of November. Nor do I particularly have the desire to. However, I've been doing this blogging/journaling/whatnot thing on and off since 2000 when I discovered livejournal as a wee little freshman in college. And lately it's been more off than on. One of the blogs that I follow said that they'd be participating in NaBloPoMo which is a totally ridiculous shorthand name for National Blog Posting Month. Ridiculous name aside, I'm going to give this thingie a shot.

I don't know that I really have enough to say to post every day for the month of November, and this may prove a bit difficult on my busier weeks or weekends, and when I'm out of town, but I'll give it a shot anyways. So, let's see if this lasts a day, a week, or I actually make it through the month!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Lizzie McGuire Movie

So I've been sick for the past few days and after watching countless episodes of Charmed (which apparently I watch now) and playing hours upon hours of Farmville on facebook (come be my neighbor!) I've started watching movies we have around the house.

It started with The Thomas Crowne Affair, which is always fun. Then Will went off to watch some deeply disturbing movie that he didn't invite me to because he knew I'd probably never recover from, and I decided to go the opposite route and watch Center Stage. Which is always a fun dance feel-good movie. Then I discovered that I also own The Baby-sitters Club movie, which, who knew? Also, did you know that they have episodes of the tv-show on YouTube? Now I know what I'll be watching tomorrow!

I'm currently watching The Lizzie McGuire Movie, which I also didn't realize I had. This movie? Is kind of ridiculous.

So Lizzie graduates from the eighth grade (which, am I the only one who went to a school that didn't have an actual graduation for the 8th grade? The first time I got to wear those fashionable gowns and flat caps was when I finished high school) and then went on a school trip to Rome, with her bff Gordo (who has a crush on her, but she doesn't know it) and her archenemy Kate (who she ends up rooming with, of course). As with most 13 year olds who go on school trips to Rome, it turns out she looks EXACTLY like a Italian signer that's one half of a famous duo, except Lizzie's a blonde and Isabella's a brunette. She meets Paulo, who's all "Hi strange American girl who has never heard of me, let's go around Italy alone together." And Lizzie's all "Sure!" Because she is an idiot. She hops on his little motorcycle thing and goes through the streets of Italy, with a strange boy, basically unsupervised. What are these people thinking? This is a REALLY BAD IDEA. Anyways, Isabella's MIA for some reason I didn't catch, but they're supposed to perform at the The International Music Video Awards so Paulo convinces her to perform with him, saying she can lip sync and they'll play a track in the background.

As a side note, I fail to understand why, if Isabella is such a HUGE musician that she's presenting at the The International Music Video Awards, why no one has told Lizzie that she looks like her. I mean, they may live in middle America, but these people sing English songs, so I don't know why there's not one person who hasn't seen a picture of her before and was like "Hey, Lizzie, here's your double, but with brown hair."

So anyways, Paulo and Lizziebella go around town, because apparently they have lots of free time that they don't need to spend learning the choreography for the awards show, and pose for pictures and sign stuff. At one point, when she's signing some guy's arm she writes Liz, then realizes she's supposed to be Isabella, not Lizzie, and then scratches it out and writes Isabella. Why are these people so stupid? That's totally obvious. I mean, she dyed her hair AND she forgot her name in the same week? Something is up, guys.

They spend an afternoon on the choreography for the show, because apparently that's all they need, and Paulo teaches her that when you lip sync you should sing also, because it looks more real, and the volume on your mike is down anyways. While they're out doing that, the teacher decides to go check on Lizzie and realizes she's not there, and then Gordo said it was all a ruse so that HE could sneak out, and the principal in charge of the trip, instead of being all "Um, that makes no sense, because she's not here, but you are," is all "I KNEW you were trouble!" and sends Gordo home.

Apparently when you send a 13 year old boy home from Rome it consists of buying him a ticket and dropping him off at the gate, without ensuring that he actually gets on the plane. Because, sure enough, he doesn't, because he runs into Isabella who tells him Paulo is trouble - he always lip syncs, but he's not going to put the track for Lizziebella this time, so she will singing for real, sound horrible, and ruin her career. But they find Lizzie in the NICK of time at the concert, and Isabella uses her own voice to cover for Lizzie, and turns down Paulo's track, so the world hears his voice.

And damn is it bad.

How is Paulo SUCH a bad singer? (see 1:15) Like, I could get that he's not amazing or whatever, but this boy sounds like a 13 year old whose voice is in the middle of cracking. It's really, really bad. How did he become a singer in the first place? Of course he gets found out, and then Isabella convinces Lizzie, who as far as I remember has never had any singing training in the series (and I'd know, because I watched this show regularly when I was in college) to sing onstage, sans track, in front of thousands. And sounds good. What? I mean, I get it, Hillary Duff needed to boost her singing career, but can we have a little setup or realism here? Also, Paulo should have probably found out whether or not Lizzie's voice was good, because since she's apparently amazing his plan wouldn't have worked anyways, since Lizzie can actually sing.

After the performance they go back to the hotel, and Lizzie's parents (who flew all the way to Rome because they missed her, which, WHAT? and then managed to get to the performance in the NICK of time and see it) tell her she's grounded for the rest of the summer and she kisses Gordo on top of the hotel looking over Rome. And then there are fireworks, which I'm not sure if they're meant to be metaphorical or if that was just really good timing for the kiss. Aaaaaand, credits.

This movie is completely ridiculous. And I own it. And will watch it again. Go figure.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Discoveries in LA

Yesterday on our way to dinner with some friends at Umamai Burger (omg, I love this place) Will and I passed through the Byzantine Latino Quarter. I didn't know such a place even existed!

And it smelled really good.

We have decided that we ought to explore later, during the day.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I run now!

I ran the Disneyland 5k today! Well, I walked/ran it, with my goal to be under 45 minutes, and ended at 43. My coworker Jen and I had been talking about it for months, so I'm glad that we finally did it! She ended in 38 minutes, and Will ended in 34.


Will and me before

Jen and me after


Of course now I'm all sore and wishing I'd signed up for a massage or something tomorrow, but I should be fine by Monday, when I'm going back to Disneyland (this time the park itself) for my birthday.

Because I turn 28. And feel oooooold.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Overheard at the campus convenience store today:

five guys, huddled in a corner, right by the plastic cups
guy 1: Is this enough?
guy 2: Dude, you totally need more than one pack to play beer pong
guy 3: Sh*t! There's the RD!
guy 2: Just buy the one, let's go before she hears us.

(she heard them)

They live in my building, but I don't know faces to names yet, so I couldn't track them down. Let my RAs know, though.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Library Fun

So I've been going to the library with some regularity over the summer to borrow books as opposed to buying them, reading them once, and then letting them gather dust on the shelf. Since the way the books are set up is kind of annoying to me as far as browsing is concerned, I've been just putting books I've found in their catalog on hold, and then coming to pick them up when they're ready.

I noticed today, that I've been a little thematic with my books. Last time, I picked up three books: Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism, and the American Girl, Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement, and Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite.

Today I picked up 2 more books that were thematic, but were a completely different theme: Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea, and Wishful Drinking.

So either they think I'm a fundamentalist evangelical with a drinking problem, or an alcoholic who is trying to find God.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pictures!

Pictures from our trip have been posted! I'm still working on entries, which I'll backdate, but then post about at the top.

Pictures!

I didn't leave the apartment at all on Tuesday, but was forced out on Wednesday in order to go to the gym (still sore!) and then to dinner at Umami Burger which has risen to the Best Burger In LA According to Carmen (even though their sides leave something to be desired). Really good. In fact, kind of craving one today...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

River Kwai and POW Museum

Showering on a train - not that bad. It helps that there are handrails all over to grab on to when the train jerks to a sudden stop, or moves forward really quickly all of a sudden.

They came over the loudspeaker to tell us to meet at the center of the train to disembark for the River Kwai station. From there, we took a barge down the river to a Chinese temple, and loaded busses to take us to the POW Museum and cemetary.


our train on the bridge over the River Kwai


The river was scenic, and there were all kinds of houses along it. While we were on the barge, one of the founders of the museum spoke to us about the history of the bridge and the events leading up to it. It was pretty fascinating.

The museum was really interesting, but also really depressing. They had displays about the POWs and the situations they lived and worked in. Most were Australian, British, and Dutch, but there were also a few Americans, and a large number of Asian workers that were not POWs but lived in similar (and often worse, because they didn't have a military hierarchy to help develop a structure) conditions.

The cemetary was huge, and, of course, a bit depressing. There were flowers that had been placed in our room the night before, and we brought them with us to place on the graves.


POW Cemetary

After the cemetary we boarded the train again, and finished up our Malaysia and Singapore paperwork so that we could pass them and our passports to our Steward for border issues. I'm apparently a bit of a control freak, because I wasn't thrilled with the idea of giving the passports to someone else, but we went ahead and did it. And then I napped, as it is a favorite passtime of mine.

Lunch, again, was amazing, and then we went to the bar car for a tropical fruit exhibition. I always thought I wasn't a big fruit person, but apparently I make exceptions for South East Asian fruit, because it was all pretty amazing.


lunch menu


We got afternoon tea served in our cabin, and are now just lounging around, reading and typing up entries on Defiant (the name of our laptop, which I have nicknamed Little D), while observing the awesome Thai countryside. Will's doing his nap now, since we have another 9:15 call time for dinner, and have been told that this meal we'll be seated with another couple (we were alone again for lunch), so we need to make sure we're awake enough to be *on*!

Morning on the Train...

We woke up early this morning because we're traveling over this rocky and mountainous bridge thing, and we wanted to see it. Well, that's not entirely true. We planned to wake up early this morning in order to see the scenery, but we actually woke up about an hour before we planned because the train did one of those jerky moves that it does every once in a while.

I once again proved that I am blessed with the ability to sleep anywhere, and Will once again proved that he is not (poor thing). He woke up a number of times, but I only did a couple, until the 5am train-jerking that had us open the windows and peek outside.

When we went to sleep we were still pretty much in the city, or at least the equivalent to the suburbs, but this morning we're definitely not. There's a lot more open space, and we see the occasional villiage, but overal, it's pretty empty.

Our steward, Chiang, knocked on our door at 6am as we'd requested in order to wake us up so that we could get dressed and make our way to the observation car to see the cliff-traversing the train was going to do.

The observation car was already pretty crowded but we got a spot near the front, right behind the locomotive, which they attached so that we could go the opposite direction. We started moving again around 6:40 and soon we were hugging the edge of a cliff, overlooking a river and riding over pretty much nothing. It was definitely cool.




Our next stop today is the River Kwai, so it's time to actually get ready (and try showering on a train for the first time!) so that we can disembark and do some site-seeing!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Train Trip Day 1!

So Peter picked us up around 3, and we headed over to the train station, where we went to this fancy-schmancy air conditioned waiting room and checked in. We did the regular checkin stuff and then proceeded to another table where they took our preferences for dinner - we said we wanted the late seating (9:15 rather than 6) and that we were open to sitting with another couple.

We'd gotten there about 2 hours early, so we said our goodbyes to Peter and then sat around and people-watched. There were a lot of British couples there, and the two couples sitting right near us were talking about how it was impossible to understand Americans, how we had no sense of humor, and for some reason had this really strong dislike for the Carolinas because they kept bashing them. We dubbed them "the Monty Python Group."

The average age was probably 15ish years older than us, but there were a few other couples around our age, one of who had a guy who I decided must be line to the throne (British, of cousre) so I dubbed him and his wife The Duke and Dutchess.

I am totally clever with naming, right?

We boarded around 5:30, and went to our cabin, which was the third in car A (cleverly named 3A). We had a middle-sized cabin, but it was still pretty snug. The daytime configuration is a little couch-thingie, a comfy chair-thingie, a table, and a moveable chair. We've got an ensuite bathroom, and in the main room there are shelves at the top of the cabin where we pseudo-unpacked our things to.

We headed to the observation car at the end of the train for when we pulled out, and waved wildly at people who probably didn't really care, but indulged us and waved back. Then Will and I headed back to our cabin to settle in and view the countryside from our window.


we got champagne for our second anniversary - which
is the excuse we used for going on the trip


We headed to the observation car again a bit later and chatted up one of the stewards there, who has been working for the company for 17 years. After a little bit we headed back to the cabin to dress for dinner.

(Okay, we just went through a tunnel. It was kind of creepy.)

The dress code for the train is "smart casual" during the day, which we've taken to mean nice shorts/pants/skirts and non t-shirt tops. For dinner, however, guys are supposed to wear jackets and ties and girls are supposed to wear the equivalent. However, there are totally some people who ramp it up a bit, because we saw a guy with a tux, and girls with pretty fancy dresses. It was totally the perfect opportunity for Will to wear one of his new suits from Bangkok, and for me to wear my new sapphire necklace!


will's stylin' new suit

We headed to the bar car for a drink before dinner, where there was a pianist playing showtunes and other songs and a few couples either having a drink before the late seating, or after the early seating. They announced the start of our dinner, and we went to the restaurant cabin. Even though we'd asked to sit with another couple, they sat us at a fourtop, but alone, which was actually kind of nice because (a) we got a lot of extra space, (b) we were exhausted and this way we didn't have to be *on* for other people and (c) we didn't have to sit with people who hated the Carolinas.

Dinner was kind of amazing.


the menu for the first night


We, however, were kind of pooped. It was all we could do to make it back to our cabin, which had been made up to the night setup, and promptly collapsed into our beds.


nighttime setup

Sunday, June 14, 2009

We're in Bangkok!

I added a couple of pictures to previous posts, so check that out if you're interested!

So we're in Bangkok, a fact that has not yet sunk in entirely, based on the fact that every fifteen minutes or so I tell Will "Hey, guess what. We're in Bangkok!"

We survived the 7 hour layover and the following 2 1/2 hour flight, sleeping the majority of the flight, and arrived at Bangkok rather refreshed and awake, which I think was a pretty big deal considering the fact that it was after 26+ hours of traveling. We were picked up by Peter, who will be our guide on Monday through the tour company, and a driver, who took us to our hotel, which was about 45 minutes away from the airport. On the way he talked to us about the city a little bit, and also found out what we were interested in doing while we were here. We decide on a plan for tomorrow which is the flower market, the Grand Palace, and the Wat Phra Kaew, also known as the Temple of the Golden Buddha, the only place in Bangkok that can be found in Unforgettable Places To See Before You Die, which is a book that I have the goal of seeing all the places there. Will also mentions that he's interested in tailoring, because a friend of his that is Thai suggested getting suits made while we're there. So Peter tells us that he'll have a ride from a tailor pick us up around 2.


lots and lots of fabricr

So the next thing I know, we're not only in Bangkok, but we're at a tailor shop, being talked into buying suites. And apparently there's something about South East Asia that makes me less of a penny pincher, because not only is Will getting two suits and a shirt, but I'm getting a pinstripe suit with pants and a pencil skirt, and a silk shirt. Tomorrow at 2 they're doing our final fitting, and the suits will be delivered to our hotel tomorrow night.


will getting fitted

thai beer!

Bizzare.

Afterwards we can have the tailor drop us off wherever we want, and we mention the place that Peter had suggested to us, but the guy we've been working with (who is the master jacket-maker) tells us we should go to the Sunday market, becuase it's only open on Sundays, and this is the one Sunday that we'll be here. So we roll with the punches and decide to go there.

The Sunday Market is the world's largest fleamarket and was pretty awesome, but soon we're getting tired and hot because it's all outside and crowded and under tents, so we decide to head to another place closer to the hotel. The guy at the tailor had told us that we could just take the Skytrain (a monorail) back, but after walking around for about an hour we'd passed the subway station twice, but not seen the Skytrain at all. So we considered what our guide, Peter, told us about the subway (don't take it, it's too confusing) and we decided that we were tired of walking, but not about to take a cab, so we were going to do the subway!

The subway wasn't all that confusing - the only part that threw us off was the fact that they gave us what looked like a little token, but you don't put the token anywhere when you're entering - you just put it on this pad and it reads it or something, and let you through. We took the subway one stop - to where it met up with the Skytrain station - and then hopped on that until we got to the transfer station. Will was incredibly excited to see an advertisement with a football (soccer) player he is a fan of (because he's a football (soccer) nerd like that). We decided to look around near the transfer station and saw that it was right by a big mall, which we entered in order to find some water, and ended up drooling over some donuts that they had with random toppings, like white chocolate and cheddar, and caramel.


Cesc Fabregas pimping Pepsi

We got back on the subway and headed to our stop on the river, so that we could catch a water taxi back to our hotel. Right when we got to the pier, the sky opened up into a torrential downpour. It was covered, luckily, because it was really kind of insane how intensely the rain was coming down, and how it came out of nowhere. Or maybe I'm just saying that because I've gotten spoiled from living in LA, and had I been living in Texas for the past two years, I'd be thinking it was no big. But anyways, it was pretty intense for us. It let up just a bit after a few minutes, and our taxi came up, so we hopped on and crossed the river, mid-downpour. Pretty fun!

the rain was significantly more downpoury than it appears here

We got back to the room and changed out of wet clothes, then headed downstairs for dinner. One of the restaurants at the hotel has really good Thai food, so we went there, and ordered a 3 course pre-fixe menu that looked good.

Unfortunately, about 3 minutes after we ordered the food, we began to crash, hard. We lost our appetites and just wanted to sleep, because we're pretty sure our bodies were telling us "Ummmm, it's 5am. Why are you trying to feed us instead of letting us sleep?" We did the best we could eating the food (which was pretty awesome, so it was a shame that our appetites weren't cooperating) and then went upstairs to crash, around 8:30. My goal had been to stay up until at least 8pm, so I figured the fact that we lasted an extra 30 minutes was pretty impressive. (Will was saying that 8pm was going to be no problem, and though I was silly for thinking we'd be tired so early, so I guess I showed him!)

All in all a very fun, succesful day in Bangkok!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Singapore Airport Con't

We just walked by a bar that had two monitors with sports playing - table tennis and EPL soccer. I think Will is considering moving here.


Singapore!

So we've safely landed in Singapore, and are now just waiting for the 7 hours of our layover to pass so that we can hop on our plane to Bangkok. Unfortunately, all the official sleeping places in the airport are booked up, (probably because it's 2am local time) but we found a lounge that has semi-comfy chairs, free food and drinks, and (most importantly) free wi-fi, so we're hanging out here for a bit. Will is passed out in a chair, but I'm up because I slept on both legs of our previous flight, so I'm not particularly sleepy at the moment.


doesn't he look comfy?

The LAX to Tokyo leg was pretty uneventful. We got bulkhead seats, which was pretty awesome because we had mad legroom, and the other guy in the section of our row was from Conroe, Texas. He works on oil rigs and his last stop is Indonesia. He's been all over the world - he said that he rarely works in the Gulf of Mexico, but instead spends a lot of time in Brazil and West Africa, as well as time in other places. Like Indonesia.


us in tokyo. do we look like we've been on a plane for 12 hours?

While we were waiting to check in they had those big screens with their advertisement pictures, and of course showed all the business and first class seats - recliners and little cabins that turn into beds and stuff like that. There was only one picture of coach, which we thought was pretty funny, since that's what we were obviosuly going on. The plane was pretty intense - we didn't do the A380, but it was still a 747 with personal monitors where 100+ movies and tv shows were on demand. So we entertained ourselves with that, and the food was pretty decent also. They only had two selections if you didn't pre-order (International and Japanese) but you could pre-order with a kind of ridiculous specificity. The people in the middle section of our row had gotten what I'm pretty sure was the vegitarian Indian, and it smelled amazing.

(Will is totally snoring)

When we got to Tokyo we originally thought we could stay on the plane but then they told us that we couldn't. Which caused momentary panic because neither of us could find our stubs of our boarding passes, since we'd not put them in a special place, because we were originally told we could stay on the plane. But we went through transit security and showing them our baggage claim ticket was enough, and then I found my stub and they just wrote Will out a new one. So that was pretty painless.

(Actually, it's the guy behind Will that's snoring, not Will)

The second leg was pretty easy as well - we had the same neighbor, and we both slept for a good portion of it. Now we're in Singapore, just waiting for our Bangkok flight. I kind of can't believe that it's 2am on Sunday morning, but I suppose that's the international date line for you.

Yay to the first part of the first leg of our trip being over!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Travel Prep

Okay, so in 2 days we leave for our summer adventure in Bangkok, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Amount of packing done? None. However, I called our credit card companies yesterday to tell them that we'd be abroad so that they wouldn't shut our cards down when we used them while we were over there. And it seems like we're going to be using them a lot, since at the moment it seems like our plan is to just bring nothing and buy everything while we're over there.

The dollar is strong right now, right?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

#38 - Volunteer at the Bread and Roses Cafe

So this morning I went to the Bread and Roses cafe in Venice to volunteer with some of my coworkers, and it was a really great experience!

Bread and Roses provides food for the poor and homeless, but does it in a restaurant/diner type setting, rather than a soup kitchen format. Patrons need to call and make reservations ahead of time, and there are three seatings: 9:30, 10:30, and 11:30. Volunteers help with food prep or serve food to the people.

Today the meal was fajitas, and I helped with some of the food prep, as well as serving some of the food onto the plates. It was a lot of fun, and I got to chop cilantro, which I totally love. Also, it put me in the mood for fajitas, so that was what we had for dinner.

Also, when I was at the grocery store I saw that they had a sale for yogurt, so I decided to try all those crazy flavors that I've seen commercials for. So far I've tried the Chocolate Mouse Whips and the Strawberry Shortcake - loved the first, and the second was just okay. I got 8 different flavors so it'll be something fun to work my way through over the next few days!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hump Day

Monday has been my most productive day this week. I cooked yesterday, and did some cleaning around the apartment, which was good, and I'm off to the gym this afternoon, but nothing as good as Monday was. Does downloading the first 5 episodes of Australia's Next Top Model count as being productive? Oh, and I've tweeted more today than I have any other day, I think.

I did get Will to compliment me on my doing nothing productive yesterday. I told him that I'd considered lying and saying that I'd done out of the apartment things, since he wouldn't know the difference, but that I decided not to. So that's how you get a compliment for doing nothing!

It thundered this afternoon, which was really weird as I don't think I've heard thunder here since I moved to California. Some rain, but nothing torrential like I'd like, but I'll take the thunder if that's all Mother Nature's going to give me.

Oh, and props to New Hampshire lawmakers for passing same sex marriage. Still disappointed in the decision that Cali made in November.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Salt Lick

I suddenly have a craving for Salt Lick brisket. Which is weird, because my favorite things there are the sausage and ribs.

SO GRUMPY that the grocery store near us that used to sell their barbecue sauce stopped selling it. And I find it very unlikely that I'm going to be able to find another place in LA that does.

Monday, Monday...

Yesterday I attended my first yoga class, and in doing so gained a greater respect for my sister who does this sort of thing regularly, for fun. There were various parts throughout the class where I was shaking from having to hold a pose, and though I didn't get as dizzy as I thought I was going to, it was just not an overall pleasant experience. I'm going to try to keep it up throughout the summer, but I don't see it becoming a regular thing.

I also went to the nearby branch of the Los Angeles library and got a library card! I haven't had one since maybe high school, when I had one for Austin, so I figured 10 years was a long enough break. I want to read more this summer since I don't really get to during the year, and time spent away from the computer and breaking that habit is a good thing.

Today I'm scheduled for day 2 of running in the couch to 5k program, but I'm still really sore so it's going to take some effort to get it done. I also need to do my apartment cleaning, since I didn't get to it yesterday, and a few other tasky items around the apartment and the building. Oh, and I want to swim laps at some point, but the weather has been all gray and overcast (June gloom) so it hasn't happened yet. It's a heated pool, but getting up the effort to go swimming is hard enough, much less when it's all icky outside!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Weekend in review

I had a very productive weekend! Things I did:

1) Made a list of all the things I'm going to get done Week 1 of my summer leave, and figured out which one of those things I'm going to do on Monday.

2) Bought a new camera for our upcoming trip to Bangkok, Malaysia, and Thailand (my old camera was a Christmas present in 2003, so I figured I could justify getting an upgrade).

3) Bought a netbook for our trip as well. It's a 10 inch laptop that we'll use so that we don't have to carry around either of our big ones, and is supercute (and is also faster and has a larger harddrive than me regular laptop. The speed at which technology improves is kind of ridiculous.)

4) Did the first workout for Couch to 5k. A few friends and I are hoping to do the Disneyland 5k (you run through the park!) so I need to be able to keep up a 15 minute mile pace by my birthday.

5) Started watching season 3 of How I Met Your Mother, because, who doesn't need a little HIMYM in their life?


See? Productive!

Finally, I bring you the first picture I took on my camera:



And a picture of Will using our supercute new laptop:

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Summer Vacation!

So unlike the other post-grad jobs that I've had, my current position is a 10 1/2 month position, which means that I have the summer off. When I found that out I was kind of mixed - I liked it because, who doesn't like 6 weeks off, and I was a little concerned because I felt like I'd be totally unproductive during the summer. However, the 'liking it' part totally won out, so I didn't pursue the summer positions that were available (and though I did pursue a summer position in other departments, none ended up being available) so for the second year in a row, I'm starting my summer break! I know that it's very possible it'll be my last one because who knows where I'll be a year from now, so I'm going to take advantage of it!

To celebrate the end of the contract, the 8 of the Resident Directors that were in town went to The Melting Pot where we had half-price cheese and chocolate fondue (yay happy hour!) and a drink or two. It was lots of fun, and a good way for us to send off Patrick, one of the RDs that is going to be working on Semester at Sea in the fall, to the envy of most of us.

So now it's summertime! However, I'm still going to make an effort to be productive. I have this whole FitWell thing for work, which I'll hopefully keep up with, and a couple of my coworkers and I have been talking about volunteering at the Bread and Roses Cafe in Venice. I also have vacation plans for Southeast Asia with Will, and Austin to visit family. And there's work stuff I need to do, such as cleaning my office and working on revamping the lesson plan for the theme community I run.

So... here goes nothing!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Summer of Fitness!

So one of the benefits of living on campus is that you have a gym right near you. However, I've been living on a college campus for the past 9 years, and I've never really taken advantage of it.

I went to the Trinity gym maybe 2-3 times while I was a student, and twice when I worked there. I went to the Texas State gym once for a class (classes were free the first week of the semester) and then 3 more times for a personal training thing that I got as a present from my parents. And then I've been to the LMU gym twice for a spin class (only attended one class, though - the other was full) and then maybe another 2-3 times, usually kicking and screaming as Will dragged me.

But! The plan is to start going regularly this summer. To ensure that I do this, I've paid $75 for 10 small-group fitness classes that I can take throughout the summer. And as some more motivation they did a body composition analysis whose results I won't share, but I will note that they were unfavorable enough that I decided to go ahead and DO something about it.

Also, I'm doing it with a buddy, Jen, who is way more upbeat/optomistic/generally happy-type person than I am, so that will help. And I even used the treadmill for half an hour today! So I think I'm off to a good start.

Now, just hoping that this will last for more than a week...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tourist Time!

So Dani is coming into town this week, which means that I'll get to play tourist for a bit, which should be fun. She already sent me a list of things to do, which include:

Drag Queen Bingo at Hamburger Mary's
Stalking Violet Affleck at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market
Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles
Pink's famous hot dogs
Whimsic Alley, the Harry Potter store

Oh, and classy things like the Getty, and Craft too.

It should be fun!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Living Spa Life

So before moving to LA I'd never had a massage, and I'd only gotten my nails done twice (both times it was only my hands) - once at my cousin's wedding, and once while working at Trinity. But in my first month at LA, during RD training, there was one day when training got out early, so I went with my boss and a handful of coworkers (both guys and girls) to get a mani-pedi. No, seriously, we left work early to get our nails done. This should have been the first sign that this part of my life might change.

I now get a mani-pedi a few times during the summer, because how can I wear open toed shoes with anything other than perfectly done toenails? If you had told me I was going to do this 5 years ago, I'd have called you crazy.

For my birthday that first year in LA, Will got me a gift certificate to a spa, and then let me know that I could get whatever I wanted, but in case I was interested, that the cost of the gift certificate was exactly the cost of a couple's massage. Smooth. We got a couple's massage.

It was pretty awesome, and since then we've had two other ones - once on our honeymoon, and once when I discovered that one of the rewards you can get on our credit card is a gift certificate to Spa Finder. The past couple of weeks have been pretty stressful for me at work, so I decided to do a first - get a massage on my own.

The two massages that I'd gotten before were Swedish massages, but because my back has been hurting some, I went with a deep tissue massage, with a hot stone add-on. I am SO chic, in case you couldn't tell. I went to Beach Massage which is where we'd gone for our Spa Finder gift card massage, and it's not really a fancy *spa* experience, but the massages are awesome. This was no exception - I'm a little sore, but I totally feel like she worked out some of my kinks, and the hot stones were amazing.

After lunch I was all in a healthy mood, so I picked Will up and we went to The Veggie Grill where we had sandwiches that tasted like they were chicken and steak, but they were actually vegan. It was kind of amazing - I could totally become vegan if all their food tasted like this.

Dinner was a pizza place where they have bbq chicken pizzas with french fries, and nacho pizzas with chips. Also amazing.

The perfect day? Quite possibly.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

BBQ in LA?

Will and I have been trying to find good barbecue in LA, and that's proving to be difficult. Tonight we tried another place, Baby Blues BBQ. Rating? Pretty good (for LA).

I'll give them that the meat is pretty good. We got the sausage, baby back ribs, and pulled pork, and were impressed by all of them. As sides we got their cornbread, mac and cheese, and coleslaw, and those three were all good as well. However, the sauces left something to be desired.

They had an apple vinegar that was pretty good with the pulled pork, but didn't really taste bbq-y, just more general yummy. And their other two sauces (regular BBQ, and XXX BBQ) were both vinegar based. I'm not a huge fan of the vinegar based bbq sauces, but the XXX is good and spicy, so the vinegar-osity isn't as obvious.

We'll definitely go there again, but it's still no County Line, Salt Lick, or Rudy's.

On a completely unrelated note, I've tried (and failed) the One Hundred Pushups program a couple of times before. However, today I'm trying a new, similar, but different program - Two Hundred Situps. I did my initial test today, and managed 11 crunches (when they say situps, they really mean cruches.) So we'll see how long that actually lasts.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The List

So what are the things I want to do while I live in LA? Below is The List, which will likely keep growing as I think of more things, or do things that I later realize can make The List.

1) Disneyland
2) Universal Studios
3) Hollywood Boulevard
4) Rodeo Drive
5) Venice Beach
6) Sunset Boulevard
7) Knott's Berry Farm
8) The Queen Mary
9) Six Flags Magic Mountain
10) Griffith Observatory
11) The Hollywood Sign
12) Watch at TV Taping
13) La Brea Tar Pits
14) The Getty Museum
15) The Getty Villa
16) Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument
17) California Science Center
18) Attend a bonfire at the beach
19) Attend an LA Galaxy Game
20) Attend a Ducks game
21) Drag Queen Bingo at Hamburger Mary's
22) Eat at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles
23) San Diego
24) Santa Barbara
25) Palm Springs
26) San Francisco
27) Drive up the Pacific Coastal Highway
28) Drive down the Pacific Coastal Highway
29) Mulholland Drive
30) Catalina
31) Channel Islands
32) Big Bear
33) Drag Show at Rage
34) Sprinkles Cupcakes
35) Eat at Pink's
36) Santa Monica Farmer's Market
37) See a famous person
38) Volunteer at the Bread and Roses Cafe

Living LA Life

Having just recently signed an intent form to come back to my current job, I realized that this upcoming academic year may be my last year living in LA. Before moving to LA I had a whole list of things that I needed to do while I could, because my plan isn't to live here forever. However, a year and a half in to my LA Life adventure, I've barely scratched the surface.

So I'm starting over again, and this time I'm documenting it. I'm going to make sure that I do everything (or almost everything) on my list at least once. There are a handful I'll probably do more than once, but we have to start somewhere.

So this is me. Living LA Life.
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