Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008, a year in review

I just re-read my 2007 year in review blog post to check out how well I did with my resolutions. My '08 resolutions were 1) finish my book, 2) work out, and 3) eat more citrus (this was posted while combating a wicked cold). And I'm happy to say that I did accomplish at least one. My book is done! Hurrah!! Old Glory is currently in the hands of my editor, Mr. Wolf, who will hopefully love it. If he does, then maybe I'll start sending it out to real editors/book companies and then start praying. For those of you who want to read it yourself, too bad! I'm still feeling a little uncomfortable with my fiance reading it, so you'll have to wait until I get a review from him. If he likes it then... maybe.

Through the process I learned a lot about what it means to be a writer. I'm getting into a rhythm, I'm developing self-discipline, and I can tell that every day that I stick with it my writing gets better. Writing is like exercise: it's hard to get started, but once you start doing it regularly, you feel better every day and start craving it. I have several other story ideas that I've been keeping on the back-burner which I hope to get started on in 2009.

I called 2007 a great year because it really helped me to focus and get goals and have motivation. 2008 was probably the perfect year to follow that because I worked hard and actually accomplished several of these goals: I got engaged (not that that was a "goal" necessarily, but it certainly was a very large life event), finished my book, and we got our beloved cat Dexter.

Getting engaged was a bigger turning point in my life than I ever could have imagined. At first it seemed like nothing had changed except that I had a little bling on my hand. But everything changed. Wild dreams and goals like travelling the world and becoming rich and famous have been replaced by simpler dreams. Having a home and a family. Growing old with my husband. I'm actually looking forward to a time when I'll be complaining about my neighbors and my biggest concern will be the weeds in my garden. I never thought that these were the kind of goals that I would feel passionately about. I thought it was something that everyone just did. But these stepstones in my life are things I can't wait to see come true, and I certainly care more about that than being able to say that I've been to 30 different countries or some other pointless boast. The most important thing to me now are that I am happy and the people (and cat) I love are happy too.

With every year that passes I get more and more excited about the years I have in front of me.

So, with that being said, here are my goals for 2009:

1. Get married. The date is set- September 13th, 2009! Now to plan the rest of it... :)
2. Lose weight. I know everyone--including me-- says this every year, but I'm feeling like this year I'll actually do it!
3. Keep working hard on my writing. Finishing my book is no excuse for slacking. If anything I hope to write even more this year.

I want to end this by sharing one of my favorite quotes, brought to you by the great Ursula LeGuin: "It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matter in the end." I gotta say, I'm loving the ride that I'm on right now.

Happy New Year to all, and may 2009 be the best year we've had yet!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Survivor: Gabwned

I went from first place to dead last. But I'm not too sorry. (Except for Charlie, I miss him.) I cheered along with everyone else when Crystal got voted out last night. Good riddance. Of the remaining players, here is my ranking of them:

5. Susie (Alia's) - Really has no chance. I think she'll make the final three, but there's no way she'll convince the jury that she deserves the money.

4. Matty (Bag's) - Matty's done well to survive this long, but I don't think he's playing enough of a strategic game to win him enough votes.

3. Kenny (Moon's) - I think if he made it to the final three he'd have a good chance of winning. But I don't think they'll let him get that far. If he does though, look out!

2. Sugar (Alia's) - Sugar has made the plays to earn her the victory and I think she's a shoe-in to make it to the final 3. Her downsides: she's made a few enemies, and I think that people's perception of her as being unintelligent will hurt her chances. On the plus side, a lot of her strategic moves have happened in front of the jury, which will leave a stronger impression than just hearing about it.

1. Bob (Doug's) - Bob went from verge of being voted out to being a dominant force in this game. His insanely large brain makes up for his mediocre brawn. And those who think he's not playing a strategic game haven't been paying enough attention. He laid low in the beginning, but then when he had to he started winning challenges left and right. Look at how far he's gotten and how many friendly faces are sitting on the jury. His Achilles heel is that everyone knows what a threat he is now, so they may drop him before the finals.

We'll see how it goes! The finale is on Sunday night but we'll be watching it Monday at Pamber's before MNF (hopefully... we haven't actually asked them yet). If you're invested or just plain curious, stop on by!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

HBO to Produce Ice and Fire Pilot

It's so weird because I had a feeling that big news was coming from George RR Martin soon. I've been checking his blog every day when I usually only check it once a week. I was hoping that it would be news that the next installation of his series, A Dance with Dragons, was finished and was being sent to the printers, which turned out not to be true. But my instincts were good and I was rewarded for my diligence with the news that I saw today, which is almost as exciting:

HBO has officially picked up the option to turn GRRM's series into a TV series and they just announced that they will be making the pilot! If the pilot looks good then they'll greenlight the show (I think). There've been so many hoops to jump through, so many ifs and buts, but now it looks like it's actually going to happen.

Almost as cool, the producers said that they would take fan suggestions for casting! Obviously the lists that I've made won't fly since most of them are major actors, but it's still cool to feel like we can be a part of it! If you are interested in voicing your opinion, I highly recommend going to this website:, then go into the Ice and Fire forums, and then Game of Thrones: The Series. Cast a vote, and be a dork like me and start joining the forums too! (This is my secret haunt, which is no longer secret. I am officially giving up the claim to knowing the most about a Song of Ice and Fire amongst my friends.)

Wish I could blog more, but now I'm off on a work field trip!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Survivor: Gabwned

Survivor pool updates - don't read if you're not caught up! (Unless you don't care, in which case read away!)

It looks like we're only a couple of episodes away from a merge, and here's who everyone has left:






Unfortunately for both Doug and Bag they are down to 1 pony, neither of whom are in a good position. Up until last week, I'd say that Bag was looking strong, but now he is in a new horse-race: who will be knocked out first. I think that this week's episode will decide that one since right now it looks like both Matty and Bob's heads are on the chopping block. However, while unfortunate, I think Bag's demise was inevitable. The strong leader tends to get knocked out right around merge time when people start to panic about winning individual challenges, and decide to vote out stronger players.

At this point I think Alia is doing as well as expected with her picks. Unfortunately Ace was cannibalized by Alia's own team, so one of her strong picks is gone. However, Sugar's position right now is pretty secure, even though she doesn't really have an alliance, since she has the immunity idol. Her biggest danger right now is of being blindsided, so getting into an alliance is important for her. Susie-- someone Alia didn't even pick, but was instead stuck with-- made a bold play last week that in my opinion significantly improved her position. I still don't think she'll win, but she certainly has a better chance than say, Marcus or GC.

Moon's team is slowly clawing its way up the totem pole. After dumping the dead weight of GC this team has benefited from all of the tribe switches and is emerging as stronger than it originially looked. I think the Marcus vote-off benefited this team the most. It certainly put Kenny in a position of strength, and it gives Corinne a chance to step up and show her merit. At this point I think Alia and Moon are neck and neck for second place.

Obviously having all three of my picks is a huge advantage over the others in this pool. But even better, none of my picks seem to be in immediate danger at this point. Charlie's alliance is shakier than before, however, he benefits in the same ways as Corinne from Marcus' loss. Randy is looking better and better every week. My biggest fear is that he will get too cocky and then his annoying personality will come out. At this point I think he knows he's abrasive and is hiding it pretty well, but if he gets too comfortable and relaxes, he'll put a big target on his back. Crystal at this point is pretty useless, but her position is secure right now, and since she hasn't actually proven that she is a physical threat, she may coast far once they've merged.

Current ranking of the players (this idea is stolen from Moon's NFL blogs):

1. Randy
2. Charlie
3. Sugar
4. Corinne
5. Kenny
6. Crystal
7. Susie
8. Bob
9. Matty

Friday, November 07, 2008

Home is where your rump rests

We just spent most of the week cat-sitting (or cat-neglecting, depending on how you look at it) for Wolf's parents. We moved into their house for the week, brought our cat, clothes, Dr. Mario, Diet Coke. Everything I need. Needless to say, their house is way nicer than our apartment. It has the same basic stuff as we have in the apartment, but it's higher quality, there's more of it, and it's been treated better. But while we were up there I missed our little apartment so much! We got back last night, and I must've spent the first 30 minutes just walking around smiling, and every so often sighing with contentment. Tension I hadn't even realized existed was draining out of my body. I told Wolf, "It's good to be home." And I knew that it wasn't the couch or the teeny kitchen that I missed. It was the feeling of Home.

Home. It's such an indefinable, but special word. A home can be anything from a house to an apartment to a tent or even a cardboard box. I started thinking about what makes our apartment my home. It's certainly not the stuff in it, or the people necessarily, since Dexter and Wolf were both with me at his parent's place. I finally decided that it's the time I spend there with the people/cats I love, and the work that I put into the place as well. Maybe the aparment isn't the cleanest in the world, but when it is clean, it's because I made it that way. And when it's not clean, well, I worked at that too! We picked the color of the walls and the arrangement of our furniture. Everything that's in the apartment is there because we want it there. I feel safe in my home because I know it-- better than any other place. And in some way, I think it knows me too. Certainly the style and messiness-level are a reflection of who I am. It's also full of memories of friends and family coming over and sharing special times.

The first couple of years that we lived in Boulder, I didn't really think of it as my home. I thought of the apartment as a transitional residence, a place to store my crap, and kept waiting for when we'd move on to something bigger and better. As far as Boulder was concerned, I didn't really know it all that well, but by reputation it didn't seem like the place for me. It's a great place to live, but would I ever feel like a part of the community? I didn't know. But lately, I've definitely felt like this is unquestionably my home. And it's nice to know I'm there.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Survivor: Gabwned

The new season of survivor started a few weeks ago, and as usual the Survivor pool has begun again. Here's the line-up:






The coolest part of the picks this year is they lined up perfectly with the tribes switching up right after we made them. So in a season where I already feel it's anyone's game, it made the picks even that much harder to choose well. I'm really happy with my team. I think that Charlie is in the lead right now as most likely to win, but I've got my dark horse Randy in there who I think will do very well (despite being picked 2nd to last) and Crystal, who will probaby get far although she probably won't win (unless all hell breaks loose again).

The second-best picks I think go to Bag. He's got Marcus who I think is really strong and Matty, who looks like he's in better shape now with a tribal mix-up than he was before. Kelly is about as useless as they come, but with two other strong picks, Bag will probably get far in this pool.

Alia I think is the third strongest. Sugar has the immunity idol, which is a huge boost, and I think she's playing the game well besides. Ace is pretty indispensible right now, so I think he'll get further than he would have without the mix-up. Alia got stuck with Susie as the last person picked, but I still think that she is a better option than Kelly and GC, so it could've been worse!

Doug has probably been the most rocked by the tribes mixing up. His number 1 pick was booted the very next episode basically because she was playing the game too well and her new tribe saw her as a threat. His 2 other guys Bob and Dan are both average players, and I think one or both of them will make the jury, but it's unlikely that they will crack the top 4. They don't have the alliances going their way.

Moon I think has the worst team. Corinne is an okay pick, but I think one episode depicted her as being a bigger player in the game than she will end up being. Moon picking GC in the second round was probably the worst move I've seen in the draft, although he did pick Eric "stupidest survivor ever" last season, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.

The prize this season? Probably a dinner paid for by all the losers, but more importantly, the winner will break the current 5-way tie we have going. Everyone in this pool has one once: I won with Danni in Guatemala, Moon won with Yul in the race v. race Survivor, Bag won with Parvati in fans v. faves, Doug won with Earl in Fiji, and Alia won with Todd in China.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

To infinity... and beyond!

I read in the news today that NASA has written up a plan to prepare our astronauts for a trip to Mars. It's one of those moments that I've always dreamed of, but never really could say for sure if I'd get to see happen. This is of couse some REALLY long-term planning. They first want to test the astronauts' voyage through simulations aboard the International Space Station and the Moon (our pretend Mars), which would probably last somewhere between 2-3 years. If that goes well, then they'd begin to put together plans for a real trip to the Great Beyond.

As an avid SciFi fan, I've read and watched about a hundred different writers' visions for what our lives would be like if we lived on different planets in the future. It's one of the final frontiers so the imagination can run wild with what might be out there. To think that these dreams may some day be a reality would be so amazing.

At this point I think that for sure I'll be around to see the first (wo)man walk on Mars. (Barring an untimely death on my part, or the Apocalypse.) And by the end of my life, I think I could even see people living on Mars, creating a new civilization, even. That would truly be remarkable. It's beyond words how I would feel if that happened.

With everything that's happening right now, I can't help but think back to the 50s and 60s, when the Cold War was icily raging, and everyone was living with a slightly nervous edge, or maybe even full-fledged fear. And then JFK turned that fear into competition and excitement when he turned the goal of the Cold War from potentially another world war into a race to the Moon. I think that's exactly the sort of thing we need now. Our economy's in a rut, our country is involved in a war that most people don't even want us to be in, gas prices are skyrocketing, and our politicians keep talking about how terrorists are out to get us so they're going to take away more of our freedoms. What we really need is a distraction from how crappy life is right now. And I think that distraction should be Mars.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Now that's cold...

Just read that Lane Kiffin was fired from the Raiders. Everyone was saying it was inevitable, not a surprise, etc. What I do find surprising is this little tidbit I read on ESPN:

"ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that according to sources, Kiffin was fired via the telephone and without pay....Linehan [the Rams coach who got fired] was allowed to speak briefly with his players on Monday. Kiffin will not be afforded the same opportunity, a source said."

It seems to me if the Raiders are looking to hire a new, good, strong applicant for the position, they should set a good example by treating the former coach with a little more respect than that. The more I see the way the Raiders franchise is run, the more I don't like that team. They're impatient, unsympathetic and most of all mean. The way it's looking now, I'm guessing they only way they'll get anyone good is by throwing a LOT of money into it.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Life and Politics

Okay, so I actually wrote this a while ago, but completely forgot to post it. So I'm sorry if you no longer care but I'm gonna post it anyways.....

I couldn't stop laughing when I heard that Palin's 17-year-old daughter was knocked-up out of wedlock and the response of several people was that it wasn't Palin's fault. After all, no one can control a 17-year-old.

Excuse me?

I'm not sure how that could possibly be considered a good response. I'm not a fan of the word "control" myself, particularly when discussing another human being, but I'm hearing the gist of the message and couldn't disagree more.

Sure, you can't "control" your daughter, but you'd at least hope that in the 17 years prior to the pregnancy both parents would have had some influence over what their daughter's standards and ethics are going to be. Even if by 17 parents don't think they have any influence over their child's decisions, they really should.

I'm not saying that pregnant at 17 is the worst thing in the world, or is in some way "unethical." But I'm pretty sure that the people who are saying that it's not Palin's fault think so.

Anyways, I think one of the most interesting things about this whole scenario is the way politicians handle other politicians' children. It's generally accepted to be a topic that they don't mess with. In a profession where everything tends to be criticized and put under the microscope I find this a nice standard for them to have. At least politics has some boundaries, right? But when I hear people say that this teenage pregnancy news shouldn't even be discussed since it's about Palin's personal life, I start to get upset. After all, it was the Republicans who brought it up in the first place. And it has a very real impact on Palin's message and image.

Palin believes that sex ed in high schools should be limited teaching them only about abstinence. I'm assuming that this was her message in the home as well. And we know what a success that ended up being. Shouldn't this be very real proof that this tactic does not work? And as a woman who has tried to deliver that message and failed, she should say, "Listen, it's a nice idea in theory, I know, but in reality it just isn't effective. So let's move on to something that might actually work." But it appears that she's going to stick to her guns, even though the guns have no bullets. And I can only believe that this sort of behavior would continue, if she became VP.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Feelin' fine....

George RR Martin will be in Denver starting tomorrow, at Denvention 3, a sci-fi/fantasy convention. I want to go for the following reasons:

1. Owning an autographed copy of one of his books would be awesome,
2. This is probably the only time ever that GRRM will be within an hour's reach of me
3. It'd be fun to see the kinds of crazies that go to these sorts of things, and
4. It might be fun.

The following reasons are why I don't want to go:

1. I'd be going to something called "Denvention" which disturbs me to the core,
2. Denver is far away (relatively speaking) and I don't like going there,
3. If I go to see the crazies at the convention, and I'm at the convention, that makes me a crazy by association,
4. I doubt anyone else would want to go with me, and
5. It might be no fun at all.

On an unrelated note, here's the premiere schedule for a bunch of shows I'm excited about. I'm listing them here because I just spent the last 20 minutes at work slacking off and needed something to distract me:

- Entourage starts September 7th
- Survivor: Gabon airs September 17th
- The Office season 5 premieres on September 25th
- Dexter season 3 starts on September 30th, so our cat will actually get to see his namesake soon

Friday, July 25, 2008


I'm sitting at my desk and rocking out to all the Guster that I put on my iPod. I haven't really listened to them since college and I realize now how cool they are. They'd probably be on my top 10 favorite bands if such a list existed. If you haven't heard them before I strongly recommend that you download some. Particularly "Demons."

Can't say much more since I gotta get back to work!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wedding themes?

One of the first questions (after when is the wedding) tends to be "have you picked your colors yet?" Taken out of context, this question makes almost no sense. But in true wedding tradition, most couples have colors matched through their whole wedding. From the invitations to the website down to the napkins at the reception the colors are the same. Some people even pick a theme for their wedding. The more extreme versions of this include Star Wars themed weddings or medieval renaissance weddings. More likely though the theme would be winter, fall, waterlilies... you get the idea.

The question I now pose to you, faithful reader, (okay, I stole that from Stephen King but I always love it because it feels like he's talking directly to me. What a nice guy!) is what do you think our wedding theme should be?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I've started watching "Bridezillas" on WE.

There. Admitting it is supposed to be the first step to recovery, right?

I first put it on because I figured that it was about brides and I'm going to be a bride so it could serve as a warning system for me. If I found myself doing any of the things that I saw these women doing on the show then I'd know I'd gone too far.

But after watching only 2 episodes I know that I will never go that far. This show is like the Real World, except it's so much worse because these brides are doing horrible things to their families and friends, not to strangers they've just met. One instance that comes to mind is when the woman stabs her husband-to-be in the head with a pair of scissors (it was a glancing blow and he was not injured), and then makes HIM apologize to HER for upsetting her so much that she was forced to attack him. If this wasn't a wedding show it would be a Cops episode where the mustached heroes arrive at their house to arrest the woman for domestic abuse.

In an interview with a bridesmaid (for a different bride) she tells the camera that this bride is a Bridezilla 365 because "she's been a bitch her whole life. Or at least since she was 10 when I met her." Which begs the question, why is she her friend?

It's a surprisingly entertaining show. I like seeing how far these women can push the limits and marvel at how much everyone else lets themselves be treated like shit. It's the sort of show I like to watch because it reminds me of how good my own life is. The only thing I don't like about it (besides it being trash in general) is that the narrator has this chirpy little voice that implies with every upbeat syllable that while she knows what these brides are doing is unreasonable, it's okay because it's their wedding day, and we can cut them a little slack, right?

Wrong. I don't care if a person is at a wedding, is drunk at a party, whatever. It should never be acceptable for someone to treat her friends like servants, her family like a bottomless ATM, and her fiancé-- the man she's supposed to be spending the rest of her "happy" life with-- like a puppy she can kick and yell at when there's no one else around to take her abuse.

But in the end I don't feel too bad for these guys. After all, they had to know what these women were like before the wedding and actually liked that bitchy attitude. If they didn't, they probably wouldn't have gotten engaged in the first place, and if by some chance they didn't beforehand, they definitely wouldn't have gone through with the wedding once they saw the Monster come out of its cage during the wedding planning! It's what I like to call the Mel Gibson situation. Maybe it takes a lot of booze or a wedding to bring to the surface the absolute worst in a person, but that nasty aspect of that person has always been there. And the men who are marrying them are attracted to the Monster just as much as the woman.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"When I say Rip, you say Ers"

Our softball team has played 6 games so far and while our record is a paltry 2-4, after last night's game I have reason to believe that this team could be a contender in the play-offs.

Our first game was what some people might call a disaster. We didn't know the rules (two different sized balls threw a lot of people off), our team was disorganized, our hitting was a disappointment, and our pitchers had been practicing at a distance probably a good 10 feet closer to the plate than what it turned out to be. We lost against a team that today we probably would beat.

Since then though, we've grown. Our batting has shown significant improvement, and our pitching is very good-- bordering on excellent. Most important to me, in this last game we made much better decisions than we have in the past. We held the ball instead of throwing it away, and when there were overthrows or misses people were there backing each other up. I think we listened to each other better than we have before.

Our batting was surprisingly poor this game considering how good it's been lately. This is mostly due to low pitching that the ump accepted as strikes, but besides that I think it was one of the best games we've played. It ended up going into extra-inning-overtime, where each batter only gets one pitch. If it's a ball they walk, if it's a strike or hit foul they're out. We really stepped it up and got 5 runs out of them and then played some solid D to hold them for the win.

It was suspenseful and exciting and so much fun. We even had fans-- the Boulderite parents showed up in force to cheer us on. I hope that the rest of our games can be as fun as this one.

We have a make-up game this Sunday: Stazio field 6 at 5:00pm against Intela, a team with a record similar to ours. Should be a good game. If you're around I hope I see you there!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lessons from the Affianced

Zazu: Oh, just look at you two. Little seeds of romance blossoming in the savannah. Your parents will be thrilled, what with your being betrothed and all.
Simba: Be-what?
Zazu: Betrothed. Intended. Affianced.
Nala: Meaning...?
Zazu: One day, you two are going to be married!
Simba: Yuck.

It's been exactly one month since Ben and I got engaged. (If you didn't already know that well...sorry for not telling you. But better late than never, eh?) We knew each other for somewhere between 1-2 months just as friends. Then we dated for 6 years and one month (and 4 days, but who's really counting?). Now we've been engaged for 31 days, and while most of the time things feel pretty much the same, here are a few lessons I've learned already about the differences between "just dating" and "on the road to marriage."

1. The ring, holy crap, the ring!

I've never been big into jewelry, and when I say that I mean that a) my ears aren't pierced and I never wear anklets or bracelets, b) the only necklace I ever wear is a silver chain given to me by Ben, and c) I grew up playing sports, piano, and doing any number of other things that taught me that wearing jewelry will only hurt me in the end (and keep your fingernails trimmed at all times). But man I love this ring. I never knew that I could like a piece of jewelry as much as I do. Point C is still valid-- I've already made myself bleed at least twice that I can remember from this thing-- but the pain is worth it. The ring is gorgeous and every time I look at it I think about what it represents it only makes me happier.

2. There are a lot of ugly wedding dresses out there

Not only are they ugly, but someone out there must actually think they're pretty, otherwise they wouldn't be on the market in the first place. That bothers me.

3. I freak out more easily and more often now

I have two wedding books-- compliments of my mother-- that I am reading right now and coming to grips with the massive task ahead puts me more than a little on edge. One book said (paraphrasing here): "this is the most elaborate, biggest ritual/gathering you will ever host" which, when I think of it that way, is pretty overwhelming. I think my stress level is a notch higher on average than it was two months ago and I expect it will stay that way for the next year or so. But Ben's been a big help in keeping that stress level only one notch higher, rather than 4 or 5!

4. It's not "me and my boyfriend" anymore, it's "We"

Being a united front is key. It took me maybe 30 minutes to figure that one out. It's not something "I" was thinking about, it's something "We" were considering. I think the reason people go through engagements is to practice for raising kids. This is the precursor to the whole parenting technique of agreeing with your partner's decision whether or not you agree with them and then debating it later in private.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Howdy, Duty

About a month ago I got a letter in the mail that made my stomach roil. "Jury Duty" was stamped in clear bold red letters across the front. Ben tells me he's jealous, he's never been called and wants to see what it's like. But I've already been called twice before when I lived in NC and I knew it was no picnic. My experiences in NC involved angry government employees, dirty rooms in hard-to-find downtown administrative buildings.

This time however, was a pleasant surprise. Boulder's Justice Center is located on 6th and Canyon, pretty close to the library, the Boulder creek, and a lovely park is right next door. Parking is free right across the street, and signs are up everywhere so getting there was simple. The building itself is actually really nice too. Windows are everywhere, and if the outside looks a little outdated, they make up for it by providing a very soothing decor inside. I entered and a posse of mustached cops greeted me at the front entrance, waiting to tackle any ne'er-do-wells. They were really polite, directed me to where I needed to go, and told me to have a nice day.

When I got to the jury assembly room a nice lady took my forms and I read a book until they started a hokey video whose message was that being a juror really isn't all that bad. The cast of characters included a white-haired, wise but stern-looking judge, male and white. There were a few women, clerks and baliffs, all white, and then a big, bald and burly black man who played the "law enforcement officer" over the proceedings. Certainly stereotyped, but I found it highly amusing (my standards for amusement are low at 8:30 in the morning). The crazy part though, is that the message got through to me. By the time the video finished I was really excited about being a juror. For the first time ever I wanted to get picked for the jury! Let me do my duty, I want to do my part to keep this country running strong.

The video ended and the woman announced that the defendant had a medical emergency so the trial would not be happening. We were all dismissed. We didn't have to return tomorrow, and our duty had been complete. We wouldn't get summoned for at least another two years.

I walked out of the building feeling really disappointed. Not only had I not done my duty, but I wouldn't be allowed to participate again for two whole years! I started wondering if jury duty was the kind of thing you could volunteer for, before quickly realizing that would be a bad system and not really democratic at all.

It was the first time that doing my civic duty wasn't something that I just had to do, it was something that I wanted to do. Our country doesn't ask much of us, really. We pay her taxes, we obey her laws... mostly... and every once in a while we have to go to a justice center, and help enforce those laws. In exchange we get to live the easy life of a nation that has power, wealth, food, shelter, and all that other good stuff. But I think a lot of Americans are apathetic about their country and the kind of work it takes to make it so good. Maybe what this country needs is to demand more from its citizens. Maybe we should be required to do more for our own country and fellow countrywomen and countrymen so that we realize just how much work it takes to be successful.

This is just a random musing that I haven't thought through at all, but maybe all citizens should be required to do a year of duty in a civil group, something like Americorps. After high school perhaps. Everyone who did it would get paid by the government and work with their community to make where they live an even better place. Or they could travel to other states and help there. I think it could bring this nation together, and eliminate so much of the apathy that has a strangle-hold on our country. People would realize that they can make a difference, and maybe if our people help each other, then we could reach out and help the rest of the world too.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Eating my Words

I saw Across the Universe about a week ago and afterwards I said that I didn't care for it very much. I thought of it as a stoner flick... and I'm partly right. For those of you that don't know, Across the Universe a rock musical movie based entirely on the Beatles' songs. The writers took about 30 of their songs and strung them together (with some dialogue between them) to give it a plot. The plot therefore, has a lot of holes in it that bugged me to no end. They would often sing a song that seemed to have nothing to do with the movie at all, they just wanted another song in there. And halfway through the movie all the characters get into a bus and tour the country getting high on an assortment of drugs. In the middle of the drug tour there's a weird circus scene that I still don't come anywhere close to understanding.

But it's been a week since I've seen the movie and I can't get it out of my head. The songs stuck with me in a way that I never expected. I find myself singing them in my head when I'm at work, and I spent all of last week reading about the movie trivia on Imdb and then Wikipediaing The Beatles, several individual Beatles songs, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Charles Manson (because of references to them in the movie... okay so not Manson, but I was curious!). Last Thursday, I did what any person who wants to get these songs out of their head would do. I downloaded the entire Across the Universe album. Then I downloaded the original Beatles' versions and listened to all of them for probably a good four hours. I thought if I overdosed on it then maybe I'd finally get over it and they'd go away. But it didn't help. Then I found myself criticizing myself for not liking the movie enough in the first place. Why didn't I get it the first time? So this weekend, I bought the movie. I decided that if I didn't get it the first time I could at least give myself the opportunity to better appreciate it the second and maybe third time I watch it.What changed my mind about this movie? I realized that it wasn't meant to be a movie with a great storyline that is particularly coherent. It's supposed to be a reflection on life in the 60s, and more specifically an homage to the Beatles. What's really cool about it though is that they use classic songs but they twist the meaning into something that is often completely different from the original meaning. Which makes for an interesting mind-fuck because suddenly you're thinking not only about what the song means to the movie, but also what the original song was supposed to mean in the first place.

Across the Universe will never be my favorite movie, but I've learned to appreciate it for what it is. I recommend it to others too, keeping in mind that the plot should be taken with a grain of salt. But beware of the potential risks and side effects, mentioned above.

Favorite character: Max
Favorite song based on the twist of meaning: I Want You (She's So Heavy)
Favorite song based on song: I Want to Hold Your Hand

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I was in a meeting this morning where several random facts were revealed by various co-workers that were basically helpful little life tips. Things like how to keep your computer healthy, and which vacuum cleaners are the best (the robot ones that automatically clean your floor). At the end of the meeting someone said, "before we go, does anyone else have any words of wisdom to share?" and the only thing I could think to say was "there's no sex in the champagne room." Thank you Chris Rock.

Friday, April 11, 2008

ASOIAF Casting: Part X

In King’s Landing:

Varys: Philip Seymour Hoffman
Littlefinger: Edward Norton

Grand Maester Pycelle: Ian Holm
Barristan the Bold: Sean Connery
Gendry: Logan Lerman
Jaqen Ha’gar: Billy Crudup
Thoros of Myr: Ken Watanabe
Beric Dondarrion: David Wenham
Syrio Forel: Ben Kingsley

Rhaegar Targaryan: Jude Law
Mad King Aerys: Christopher Lee

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Top Things making me Happy right now

8. Someone at work called me a genius

7. I played Catan for the first time in months and almost won

6. Summer is just around the corner

5. The promise of volleyball

4. Dexter

3. Softball!

2. I bowled a 200 on Monday - my best score ever

1. For our anniversary Ben got me a trip to my favorite place with my favorite person

Friday, April 04, 2008

Goodbye sweet Coke!

Since before I can remember I've always had a Coke for lunch. Maybe not in elementary school, when my parents probably gave me juice boxes, but definitely in middle school and beyond. It was the same every day for 7th through 12th grade: a can of coke (with a straw... I've had that habit since childhood), turkey sandwich, pretzels, and 2 Milano cookies. And since I've been regularly employeed, the sandwich has changed, but the soda remains the same... only it's Diet now.

But one day not so long ago I didn't have a can and I got a caffeine-deficiency headache. I told the Wolf that it proved how much I really needed caffeine. He said that it proved how much I really need to stop drinking so much caffeine. And for once I actually listened to him. I decided to start being a healthier person. I dropped my Coke addiction, and swapped it for V8. I used to hate V8 but I've recently discovered that it's not so bad as I remember. I haven't completely given up on soda, but this will significantly cut back on the amount of it I consume.

The most shocking part is how little I miss that Coke. I thought it would be hard, but it's really not. And it makes me happy to know that I can still make these sorts of adjustments to my life. Sometimes I feel like, even at 24, I'm set in my ways. It's a comfort to know that I can change. I know this is a small thing, but I still consider it at least a medium-sized step.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

ASOIAF Casting: Part IX

This is the second-to-last posting, so those of you who don't care/like these posts anyways, have hope!

Arryns and Associates:

Mya Stone: Emmanuelle Chriqui
Lysa Arryn: Kirstie Alley
Robert Arryn: Charlie Tahan

Martells and Associates:

Arianne Martell: Mila Kunis
Doran Martell: Geoffrey Rush
Areo Hotah: Javier Bardem
The Red Viper: Hugo Weaving

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A nicer Haiku for Zoe

Lips oh so floppy
The long claws of stretchiness
Zo Zo Zo Zo Zo

Monday, March 24, 2008

Haiku to Zoe

Zoe’s farts are rank
So much so they wake me up
I want to kill her.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Poker's a lot like...

It's my favorite Poker TV phrase. No matter what your profession, the interviewer always gets you to start a sentence like that. Like "Poker's a lot like playing professional soccer" or "Poker's a lot like being a waste manager for the city of Chicago." At some point it reaches a ridiculousness level where you either have to just laugh or cry. I choose laughter. (For a good poker analogy, check out the Kermyfrag's latest blog.)

All this stuff led me to think about what I would say if I was interviewed. Back when I was working at the wildlife rehab place I had a great line: "Poker's a lot like rehabilitating wildlife. Some days are rewarding, but other days you just get shit on."

Now that I work in a more mainstream line of work, that line doesn't fly quite as well. But the other night while we were bowling, I picked my new poker analogy.

I will never claim to be a good bowler. I think I'm averaging a 130-somthing, which is actually really good for me. But for some reason I'm leading all the women in our league with the most games won. I have 25 wins under my belt out of a total of 33 games played (I think... correct me someone if I'm wrong). And I roll against good bowlers too! But for some reason they keep bowling badly against me and I keep scoring the big Ws.

How is this possible, you may ask. I can't rightly say, but I will give you my theory. I show up to bowling on Mondays, grab one of the alley's 12-pound balls, and during warm-ups consider myself lucky if I get one spare. My opponent thinks, sweet, here's an easy 3 points for me. But then the real bowling begins. I go out and get a few spares, maybe a strike or two, and they realize that I'm not quite as bad as I first seemed. Then they get all thrown off that this mediocre chick is beating them, and they just get worse. Perhaps they start drinking more heavily to try and deal with the pain they are feeling. By the end of the night they are both wasted, and they got their ass handed to them by a girl who doesn't even know how to put spin on her ball.

By the end of Monday they leave broken men. And the Pickett racks up another 2 or 3 points.

So... in my future poker interview, I'll say: "Poker's a lot like my bowling league. I'm such an unassuming person that other players think I suck. They'll go easy on me because they think I'm out of my league. And then before they know it, this young lass with a beguiling smile has taken their stack. And their dignity along with it."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

ASOIAF Casting: Part VIII

Baratheons and Associates:

Robert Baratheon: Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Stannis Baratheon: Gerard Butler
Melisandre: Famke Janssen
Davos Seaworth: Gary Oldman
Patchface: Zach Braff
Renly Baratheon: Joseph Fiennes

Monday, March 17, 2008

ASOIAF Casting: Part VII

At the Wall and Beyond:

Jon Snow: Justin Long
Ygritte: Reese Witherspoon
Sam Tarly: Jonah Hill (okay, I don’t really think he’d be that great for the role, but he’s the only fat actor I could think of)
Jeor Mormont: Brian Cox
Allister Thorne: Nick Brimble (John Little from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves)
Maester Aemon: Anthony Hopkins
Janos Slynt: Alan Rickman
Mance Rayder: Jim Carrey (think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)

Craster: Willem Dafoe
Rattleshirt: Steve Buscemi
Dolorous Edd: John Turturro

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Across the Narrow Sea:

Dany: Michelle Williams
Viserys: Elijah Wood
Ser Jorah Mormont: Jean Reno
Khal Drogo: Sala Baker
Mirri Maz Duur: Kathy Bates
Illyrio Mopatis: Vincent D’Onofrio

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Good Communication

A couple of my co-workers went to a "good communication" seminar, and they relayed what they learned to us in a meeting this morning. One thing that really caught my attention was this fact: only 25% of what is communicated by the speaker is actually received by the listener. So my question is, if they only got 25% of the info from their session, and I'm only getting 25% of the info they're telling me, how much am I honestly getting out of this meeting?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Top 10 Drinking Games

10. Drinking Ro Sham Bo
9. Olives to Olives
8. Power Hour
7. Flip Cup
6. Drinking Jenga
5. Quarters
4. Hat Game (when applicable)
3. Kings
2. Short Bus
1. Beer Pong

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Growin' Up Ghetto

Alizzle, Kermy, the Zo and I watched Step Up tonight— a movie that I enjoyed, despite it being a mediocre movie that has a plot that’s been reused at least a dozen times now. A boy from the ghetto meets a preppy girl and they dance the night away, falling in love with each other despite their different backgrounds because they love dancing so much. The part that caught my attention was, beyond mocking the generally lame parts of the plotline, Alizzle and Kermy criticized the ghetto boy’s clothes. Everything he wore was too baggy, and why on earth was he layering a t-shirt over a long-sleeved shirt? To which my thoughts were, why wouldn’t he wear that? I went to a high school where that was generally accepted to be the cool outfit. Even better if topped off with a toboggan (ski hat) with three tassels bursting from the top.

I usually don’t think of my childhood as particularly unique or special by any means, but tonight I was very aware of my roots.

I spent years 2-12 growing up in small town Vermont. It was 99% white, upper class, rural America. We lived in a town of 3,000 people. The nearest movie theater was a 30 minute drive away. We only got a handful of radio stations, and so I spent most of these years listening to my parents’ cassette tapes. I grew to love Paul Simon, Johnny Clegg, and Peter, Paul and Mary. But once my sister and I reached a certain age, my parents decided to move—for a number of reasons, but amongst them was so that my sister and I could experience what true diversity was. When I insisted that I did know what diversity was, my mother said, “You don’t even know any black people” to which I replied, “Of course I do. Mei Jing is one of my best friends.” The fact that Mei Jing was an adopted Korean girl only furthered my parents’ resolve.

I was just starting 7th grade when we arrived in Durham, NC. I had more culture shock then than when I studied abroad in Kenya. Everything was different. First of all, there were so many people! The middle school I attended probably had more students in it than my entire elementary school. One class I remember in particular was my 7th grade Social Studies class, where the boy sitting behind me would every day pull out his compass from math class and poke me in the back with it to try and make me bleed, while one of the kids in the back would try and get high on his asthma inhaler, and the teacher got fired because she was caught dealing pot to her 12-year-old students.

I took Honors classes, but I was very careful not to stand out too much. In Vermont you were encouraged to be smart, but in my middle school, smart kids were ridiculed and left friendless. We had a spelling bee in which I purposefully misspelled the word “herring” because I knew that if I spelled it right I’d be outed for what I truly was.

High school was much the same. Parents tended to choose which high school their child went to based less on which school was the most academically sound, and more based on which school had had fewer knifings. I had a solid group of friends, all of us pretty dorky, but I was on the softball team too, which certainly added cool points in my favor. (At least I like to think it did.) But even among talks with my fellow nerds we were more likely to be discussing whether DMX or Jay-Z was hotter rather than Hollywood celebrities. (I thought DMX was, because Jay-Z did too much “white” rap.) While most of the friends I have today were listening to Dave Matthews and Matchbox 20, I listened to Tupac, DMX, and Master P. And the louder your car stereo system was to blast this music, the better. Everyone cruised around town with their drivers’ seats pushed way back, so it almost looked like you were trying to catch a nap while you drove home from school. It was the cool thing to do… only later did I learn that this style originated because when your seat was that far back the side bar between your front and back seats would protect you better in a shooting.

Not that I was ever shot at, or even was worried about being shot at at any point in my life. In general I was simply a good student, an athlete, and led a very sheltered life. This is just to show how much the “ghetto” lifestyle infiltrated my entire school, down to the lowly geeks. The boys in our school would inevitably be wearing outfits exactly like the guy from Step Up, only showing a hell of a lot more underwear. My most-worn pair of pants was sweatpants that almost enveloped me, accompanied by wife beaters. Once I even gave myself corn rows.

After high school my ghettofication stopped almost instantaneously. I went to Duke, then moved to Boulder. I gave up rap and started listening to Dave, Michelle Branch, and other groups that I can’t name. I turned in the sweatpants for more form-fitting jeans. But there are still some times when I find myself in the confused, either about a huge gap in what I know, or a huge gap in what other people know. I can't name most bands or their songs to save my life. Or when my friends don’t understand people wearing baggy clothes or I meet someone who’s never drunk sweet tea or know what Bojangles is.

I neither miss my “ghetto” life nor do I resent those years. I think back on that part of my life as an adventure, sometimes wondering if that really had an impact on who I am; maybe I’ve gone back to that Paul Simon-loving child of 15 years ago. But then I’ll be driving and listening to my radio and Tupac will come on. Without even realizing it, I sing along, and I still know all the lyrics. That ghetto girl is still inside me, and I like it when she visits.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Survivor: Season XVI Picks - Go Chet!

Alia, defending champion:

Pickett, putting all her hopes on Ozzy:

Dr. Coins, who likes the chicas:

Moon, picked the fluffy-haired guy first... enough said:

Bag, likes beauty and brawn but not brains:

As far as strength of each team, I think that I'm in the lead, only because Ozzy has the immunity idol. Then Alia, with no serious stand-outs yet, but all with the potential to come on strong (plus, as defending champion, she's always dangerous). Then Bag and Dr. Coins, each with 2 solid picks and one who probably will go out sooner than Chet. Last, and I must say least, is Moon. Out of his three picks the only one who's gotten serious air-time is Chet, and that's only because people keep talking about how horrible he is. Fluffy hair aside, I think this team has no stand-out potential.

p.s. Kathy was the only one not picked, and rightly so, I think. This woman has less chance of winning than Yau-Man, and he's already been voted out.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

ASOIAF Casting: Part V

The Ironborn and Associates

Asha Greyjoy: Maggie Gyllenhaal
Damphair: Guy Pearce
Victarion: Ray Stevenson (Titus Pullo from Rome)
The Crow’s Eye: Russell Crowe
The Reader: Michael Caine
Theon Greyjoy: Jonathan Rhys-Meyers

ASOIAF Casting: Part IV

Tullys and Associates

The Blackfish: Jeremy Irons
Edmure Tully: Michael C. Hall
Hoster Tully: Christopher Plummer
Walder Frey: Zeljko Ivanek

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Racism at CU

There's a lot of hoopla going on right now about an editorial that was published in the campus newspaper a week or so ago. It was by a white boy who claimed that all "Asians" hate white people. (I put "Asians" in quotes because what does that really mean? Asian Americans? Actual Asians? If he means literally people who originally lived in Asia-- not children of people who originally lived in Asia, well, there just aren't that many of them in Boulder and I highly doubt that he's talked to more than 4 of them.) Anyways, it rightly got a lot of attention and flack. What I find interesting is that the paper published another editorial right alongside that one from an Asian American student that seems to support the original editorial's opinion, and in my opinion is equally offensive. But this one's getting almost no attention at all!

If you go to this website: there's links to the two editorials. All I can think is there must be monkeys running the campus press, because no one in their right mind would publish either of these articles without expecting a lot of backlash. Perhaps they were supposed to be sarcastic and satirical, but in today's world where it was a Korean student that shot up Virginia Tech, this sort of satire is not welcome. There is enough racial tension in the US without poorly-expressed editorials like these fanning the flames.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscars Reflections

We had a girls' night last night and watched the Oscars. I got pizzas, Alizzle made sangria, and Amber brought Zoe. It was a great night, with altogether too much snarkiness regarding the celebrities' outfits and too much pizza... at least for me! Some majors points that I got from the evening:

1. Sangria is delicious. Rock on wine and rum!

2. John Travolta dressed like a woman for his last movie Hairspray, and decided to continue the trend by wearing a LOT of makeup to the Oscars.

3. Tilda Swinton wore no makeup to the Oscars. Her coollness level skyrocketed when I found that out. But perhaps she and John Travolta should take a page from the others' book and switch that trend up. John at least would benefit from the lesson.

4. A lot of the ladies went with the classic Hollywood look on Sunday. I thought they looked more beautiful than usual. I hope this trend keeps up.

5. John Stewart is frickin' hilarious. I hope he's the new Billy Crystal and they keep bringing him back.

6. I'm very grateful that the writers' strike is over. I hope they got a good deal out of it, but I'm really happy that they ended before the Oscars. It's such a fun night! Plus, it means that awesome shows like The Office will be starting up again soon!

7. Papa Murphy's may be my favorite pizza in town. Abo's would normally be number 1, but I've been disappointed with them lately. Their pizzas aren't as crispy as I like.

8. I really need to see No Country for Old Men.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Gods Must be Angry

I played in the uber-crapshoot yesterday, the 10k FPP turbo tourney on PokerStars. 9600 ppl registered, although there was room enough for 12k. The top 4,000 people cashed, so it was a juicy tourney to play, even if it was a turbo. I managed to qualify for it in a 2k FPP 6-man qualifier, and joined the Wolf and Bag for what I predicted to be a wild, but fun ride.

It started off so well. I doubled up early and kept building my stack the way my bludgeoning style does so well. I was especially proud of the hands I didn't get involved in. Sometimes I get so excited about playing that I'll jump into pots I shouldn't... but not this time. I was up to 24k when the average stack was about 8k, and then made what I hoped would be the play of the tourney. Two players ahead of me with average stacks both went all in, and I called on the button with 99. I was wavering on the decision of whether or not to do it, but then Wolf said, "folding here is a fine play, but if you're playing for the final table, picking this pot up would be huge." And I always play for the final table. I called and the others showed A9 and KQ. I somehow managed to dodge all the high cards, and BLAMO! I'm at 42k.

This is when the poker gods got angry.

Apparently that was too much success, because I don't think I won a pot after that. And I was playing good hands. I lost 99 to KQ, KK to JT, AK to QJ, AK to J5, AK to AA, JJ to A4, and I'm sure plenty more that I've stricken from my memory. These were all in pre-flop. The only hand I didn't lose was when I got AK in against AK, and even then I was seriously worried, until the flop came rainbow for the split.

I managed to finish in the 750s for a pretty decent score considering that I put zero dollars into the tourney, but I found no joy in it. I was playing a great game, had a great stack size, and lost it all to an insanely bad run of luck. Even when I was crippled, with a measly 1200 stack when the ANTES were 400 each I got it in with Tc2c against KT. I thought that there'd be a little mercy at the end when the flop came 3 K x with 2 clubs. The turn was 3c and I had a flush to bring me back to 6k (certainly no reason to hope for a comeback, but it would've been a moral victory) but then the river brought the dreaded third tre and I was gonzo.

What's the lesson of this story? I have no idea. If you can find one, you let me know. The best I could come up with was that maybe I'm not meant to have a huge poker score, maybe the gods want me to be a small fish in a big pond. But I'll be damned if I stop trying.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Top 10 No-Thinker Games:

These are games that are good for slacking off at work, or when you just wanna zone out. Other game lists pending.

10. Mahjong
9. Free Cell
8. Solitaire
7. Bounce Out
6. Alchemy
5. Minesweeper
4. Web Sudoku
3. Daily Jigsaw Puzzle – shout out to Dr. Coins for getting me obsessed with this one
2. Spider Solitaire
1. Text Twist

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


There are so many things to say about Sunday's Superbowl, and I've heard many of my own thoughts echoed on ESPN, in Moon's blog, and talking to friends. I won't repeat it again here. What I wanted to add was a quote that came to me while watching the game. It's from Miracle, the movie about the USA hockey team that beat the Soviets in the Lake Placid Olympics. I love that movie because it shows the side of great sports moments that are so often neglected by other sports movies. It shows that it's not just talent but working your ass off that'll get you that far. (I've never seen another movie devote so much of its time to sprints.) And it also shows that sometimes working that much harder, and having team unity can overcome a more talented team. That's a lesson that everyone should know, because-- if you're not Tiger Woods or Roger Federer-- there's always someone more talented than you playing your sport.

"Great moments... are born from great opportunity. And that's what you have here, tonight, boys. That's what you've earned here tonight. One game. If we played 'em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can! Tonight, WE are the greatest hockey team in the world. "

Nice job Giants.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

ASOIAF Casting: Part II

Now for the "good guys," the Starks. This was my favorite House to pick, although they were also the hardest. I have a very specific idea of what they should look like. However, I think I've been very successful (if I do say so myself).

On a side note, how hot would the real children of Clive Owen and Cate Blanchett be? Wowza!

And I know that Brienne of Tarth isn't a Stark, but she was tied to Catelyn for a while, so I figured I'd just stick her in here.

Starks and Associates:

Ned Stark: Clive Owen
Benjen Stark: Ryan Gosling
Brandon Stark: Christian Bale
Catelyn Stark: Cate Blanchett
Robb Stark: Michael Anganaro (who you might recognize as the young William from Almost Famous )

Sansa Stark: Hayden Panitierre
Arya Stark: Hannah Marks
Bran Stark: Cayden Boyd
Rickon Stark: Spencer Fox
Lyanna Stark: Eva Green
Maester Luwin: Dan Futterman (seen in The Birdcage and A Mighty Heart)
Rodrik Cassel: Donald Sutherland
Roose Bolton: Kevin Spacey

Ramsey Bolton: Topher Grace (picked solely for his creepy resemblance in facial expressions to Kevin Spacey)

Old Nan: Maggie Smith
Hodor: Tyler Mane (seen as Saber Tooth, from X-Men)
Meera Reed: Jena Malone
Jojen Reed: Liam Aiken
Brienne of Tarth: Charlize Theron (think North Country)
Jory: Adam Baldwin (obviously the man has to be in here, and maybe one of the real Baldwins too...)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Song of Ice and Fire casting (it’s a fantasy series, so this is my fantasy cast): Part I

For those of you that don't know the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin, you won't understand this, and I pity you greatly. You should go read the series, and then come back and read this blog. HBO recently bought the rights to the series, and since then everyone's been talking about which big name actor they want to play the major roles. I decided to make my own, rather extensive list. So I've split it into the major Houses/groups and will be posting them over the next several posts. Obviously, I have to start with one of the biggest, most powerful houses in the great land of Westeros, the dreaded Lannisters. Hope you enjoy!

Lannisters and Associates:

Tywin Lannister: Rutger Hauer
Kevan Lannister: Paul Giamatti
Jaime Lannister: Aaron Eckhart
Cersei Lannister: Rachel McAdams
Tyrion Lannister: Tommy Flanagan (with a lot of special effects, of course)
Joffrey: Max Pirkis (Octavian from Rome) Myrcella: Jenna Boyd
Tommen: Chris O’Neil
Bronn: Cillian Murphy
Lancel Lannister: Ben Foster
Shae: Jamie-Lynn Sigler (seen in Sopranos)
Shagga: Vince Vaughn
Conn: Owen Wilson
Timett son of Timett: Ben Stiller
Osney Kettleblack: Liev Schreiber
Osfred Kettleblack: Charlie Sheen
Sandor Clegane: Daniel Craig
Gregor Clegane: Vinnie Jones
Illyn Payne: Daniel Day Lewis
Vargo Hoat: John Malkovich

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Aussie Open!

I have so many fond memories of the Australian Open. Two years ago I was working a 2pm-10pm job, so watching the 1:30am games live was both doable and exciting. There's not usually a lot of good TV on at that time, so it was great to have something to watch. The Australian Open is without question my favorite of the tennis majors because of it's casual atmosphere. It has none of the stodginess of Wimbledon, and fans go to support the players, not just to watch the game. They hoot and cheer, and boo when they don't like someone's attitude. I find myself cheering right along with them, even though I know they can't hear me through the TV.

I haven't been able to watch as much of the Aussie Open lately, now that I have an 8am-5pm job, but what I've seen has been really exciting. At the beginning of the year I'm sure everyone predicted a Federer-Nadal match for the men and Henin-Williams for the women. But none of those names are in the finals. Tsonga's putting on a show reminiscent of Baghdatis' run a couple of years ago, and Djokovic just crushed the mighty Federer. The women's matches have been equally exciting, with Sharapova looking to take it all against the young Ivanovic. As Moon would say, it's the hottest women's tournament ever.

At first, I was wondering what I would be doing this weekend with no football on, but then I remembered tennis finals. Am I more excited about the Superbowl or the Australian Open? I really couldn't say right now. I love cheering on the underdogs, and each weekend has them. I'll be rooting for Ivanovic and the Giants for sure, and maybe Tsonga too. It's been a great year for sports so far. I only hope the rest of the year is as exhilirating!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Coat rack reviews

I found myself yesterday afternoon engrossed in customer reviews on regarding coat racks. That coat rack is perfect, but it costs too much. That coat rack’s legs are noted as being unstable, I wonder if wood glue would fix the problem? This coat rack has good reviews but I don’t like the color. I want a coat rack that goes with my new end tables. But maybe in a few years the end tables and coat rack won’t be in the same room anymore, so does it really matter? I couldn’t help but laugh at what a sad and sorry person I’d become.

My life has changed a lot of late, seemingly overnight and inexplicably. I find myself going to bed at a reasonable hour, and being completely exhausted the next day if I don’t. When I drink I’m responsible about it and don’t find myself hugging a toilet all night or waking up to a massive headache. Just enough to get a buzz, thank you, and no more than that. I have a lot of errands to run tomorrow and don’t want to feel fuzzy. I watch the news every morning so that I can be a more informed citizen.

Less than a year ago I could stay up til 3am, wake up at 7 and be fine for the rest of the day. I’d get smashed every weekend and laugh at the stories we’d share for the rest of the week before a new drunken adventure would grab our attention.

A lot of you are probably thinking that these are all good things and why am I complaining? Yeah it’s probably healthier and I’m living a better lifestyle in general, but that’s not the point. When I graduated from college I moved away from home, got a job, paid taxes and did a lot of the regular domestic things: complained about gas prices, did the laundry, went to the bank. But I'd still party til dawn, hang out with friends, eat frozen pizzas around the clock. So I still felt young too.

Before I felt like I was growing up, but now I feel like I’m growing old. Maybe responsibility is a good thing in the long run, but I thought I’d have at least a few more carefree years before I started worrying about wobbly coat racks.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Old Me v. New Me

Whenever I write notes to myself I always use the second person, for example, “call your sister tomorrow and tell her happy birthday.” I used to try and be cutesy and write “I need to call my sister so I can say happy birthday!” but I hated writing it and hated reading it even more. I was indignant that the old me would presume to refer to me in the first person! But why would I hate that? I mean it’s not like I’m writing a letter to someone else; I’m writing it to me. So why would I phrase it like I was someone else?

That set me to wondering if maybe I was writing to someone else. Sure, I’ve got the same body as Future Me, but I’m not the same person that I will be tomorrow. Maybe tonight I’ll finish a puzzle, and that means that Future Me has accomplished more than I have now, and knows more that I do now. And has more memories than I do too. And I don’t think of Past Mes as the same person that I am now. I draw from the experiences the Past Mes have had and I share the same memories, but I don’t think I’m the same person that I once was. High School Me was shy and quiet, tried to keep a low profile, and quite frankly probably knew more academic knowledge than I know now. Today’s Me is much more outspoken, honest, and more experienced, and I like that.

I know this all sounds really dumb and more than a little weird, but I find it comforting. I picture Future Mes who have successful careers and spend fabulous vacations sunbathing in the Caribbean or wine tasting in Italy. I see a Future Me with a rambling country home and a yard full of dogs. I imagine a Future Me going on a book tour with agents and managers that I haven’t met yet. I see a wise and serene Future Me surrounded by grandchildren that I buy presents for that they don’t appreciate. I know that even if I’m not all these things now, someday I could be. I take comfort in knowing that I can change for the better, and hope that I will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Top 10 Friends Episodes

Making this list turned out to be incredibly difficult, because I love Friends so much. Probably too much, really. But I finally got it down to ten episodes with only four on the honorable mention list. Apologies in advance to all those good episodes that didn’t get mentioned, but believe me, a lot of research went into this post.

Honorable mention:
The one with Princess Consuela (season 10, episode 14)
The one with five steaks and an eggplant (season 2, episode 5)
The one with the giant poking device (season 3, episode 8)
The one with Chandler in a box (season 4, episode 8)

10. The one with the jellyfish (season 4, episode 1)
Noteworthy moment - Ross and Rachel getting into a fight after he admits that he fell asleep reading her letter. Rachel: “Yeah, well it’s not that common, it doesn’t happen to most guys, and it IS a big deal!!”

9. The one where Ross finds out (season 2, episode 7)
Noteworthy moment – has one of the greatest ending scene during the credits, when Chandler bums Monica out by reminding her how much life sucks so that she won’t force him to work out. Only rivaled by the one where Ross pushes a mannequin down a flight of stairs as a practical joke and Rachel thinks it’s him.

8. The one with the holiday armadillo (season 7, episode 10)
Noteworthy moment – The episode ends with Santa, the holiday armadillo, and Superman lighting a menorah. Need I say more?

7. The one with the kips (season 5, episode 5)
Noteworthy moment – Ross is trying to tell Rachel he can’t see her anymore when she gets a letter from her mother telling her that the family dog, Le Poo, died. Rachel: “It’s Le Poo!” Phoebe: “I know it’s Le Poo now, but it’ll get better.”

6. The one with the prom video (season 2, episode 14)
Noteworthy moment - Phoebe: “It's a known fact that lobsters fall in love and mate for life...You know what, you can actually see old lobster couples walking around their tank, holding claws.”

5. The one with Phoebe’s birthday dinner (season 9, episode 5)
Noteworthy moment – Ross describes the fate of his and Rachel’s child when they’re locked out after Rachel’s imagination runs wild with worry: “The pigeon – no, eagle!—flew in and landed on the stove, bursting into flame. The baby seeing this, leaps to the mighty bird’s aid. The eagle, however, misconstrues it as an act of aggression and grabs the baby in its talons! Baby and bird still ablaze are locked in a death grip, swirling around in the whirlpool that fills the apartment.”

4. The one where everybody finds out (season five, episode 14)
Noteworthy moment – What I consider to be Phoebe’s best episode. She’s both clever, conniving, and witty. Phoebe: “They don’t know that we know they know we know.”

3. The one where no one's ready (season 3, episode 2)
Noteworthy moment - The only real-time episode that all happens in Rachel and Monica’s apartment. And so fantastic – includes the scene where Joey wears everything that Chandler owns. Could he BE wearing any more clothes?

2. The one where Ross got high (season 6, episode 9)
Noteworthy moment - The scene where all the friends start yelling, including… Rachel: “I wasn’t supposed to put beef in the trifle!” and Phoebe: “I love Jacques Cousteau!” Also responsible for some of the funniest outtakes in the entire series.

1. The one with the embryos (season 4, episode 12)
Noteworthy moment - Clearly the only non-noteworthy moment in the absolutely excellent episode is anything involving Phoebe’s plotline. But my favorite quote? “Don’t blame the questions!!!”

Thursday, January 03, 2008

2007, a year in review

Quick version: 2007 was awesome.

Long version: I think I will always remember 2007 very fondly. It was a HUGE year for me, more than I even realized until it was over. I began 07 in the Bahamas-- not a bad start! I went straight from there to my new job, which I quickly realized was a vast improvement for me, both financially and emotionally. Obviously a lot happened over those 365 days, but here's a quick summary of the highlights: I travelled to France, I went to Hawaii, I went to Florida, and I feel like I travelled somewhere else too, but right now I can't remember. I took a day-long writer's workshop, which motivated me to work even harder on my book and set a deadline to have it done by the end of 2007. I celebrated my 5 year anniversary with my boyfriend. I created my own board game. I had some pretty good scores in poker-- nothing huge, but big enough to keep me happy. Then I ended the year by going to a kickass New Year's Eve party, and yet still woke up in 2008 without a hangover!

Downsides to 2007 - obviously it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, so here's a few of the negatives that happened. 1: I didn't finish my book. This is a big one. It's not really a big deal, but I don't like that I didn't reach a goal that I set for myself. 2: I got sick a lot. I actually got food poisoning twice, and I brought a nasty cold with me into 2008 that I'm not pleased with. Plus I think the holidays were a bit rough on my waistline (Florida food is largely based around frying and grease).

I feel like 2007 was the year that put my life in order. I'm finally starting to see a pattern, have some goals for my life that are more specific than, "don't die young, and have fun until you do."

So, taking all that into account, here are my New Year's resolutions:

1. Finish my book! Ideally sometime very soon, but certainly soon enough that I can have my peers read it and get back to me with ideas.

2. Exercise at least 3 times a week. I bought an elliptical specifically for this purpose and then neglected it for the entire month of December. Not good.

3. Put more citrus in my diet. This is especially important in the winter when it's not easy to come by. I've taken to putting wedges of lemon in my water (my illness had me craving lemons) which both makes the drink tastier, and makes me feel better. This is a habit I want to continue long into the future.

These are small goals, maybe, but I feel like at this point in my life that's all I really need to "have it all." I've got good friends, a loving family, a happy home. I have a good job, and a dream job in the works (fingers crossed). I have my whole future in front of me and it's full of potential, and a past that's full of happy memories. What more can a person really ask for?