Sunday, December 27, 2009

The newly acquired Tom Tom GPS from the in-laws this Christmas read Lake Shore Dr (drive) aloud as 'Lake Shore Doctor M.D.' Awesome.
Now, back to months of silence from this blog.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

100 Books We Should Own, But Don't (yet) UPDATED

We have been building our library for a few years now, but recently noticed some key pieces are missing. 100 pieces that we came up with for this year. We plan on crossing off, and adding each year. Hopefully compiling a well stocked library for us to enjoy for years to come. Our goal is to accumulate all 100 by the end of 2010. (yellow ones will appear as we acquire them)

This list is only the books we do not own, and should not be mistaken as those we have not read, actually quite the contrary is true. We have read and enjoyed most of the novels, epic poems and plays on this list, then promptly returned them to our local library, given them back to friends or family or just somehow lost them along the way. Some of the titles we are missing are shocking, more often than not, we actually had to check our bookcases to make sure they weren't there, all the while exclaiming, "how can we not have this!?"

We decided to share this list with friends and family, should anyone ever need gift ideas and also to keep the list close by for all of our Half Price Books and Book Fair adventures.

1. Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
2. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
4. Ulysses by James Joyce
5. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
6. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
7. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
8. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
9. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
10. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
11. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
12. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
13. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
14. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
15. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
16. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
17. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
18. Watership Down by Richard Adams
19. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
20. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
21. Dracula by Bram Stoker
22. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
23. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
24. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
25. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
26. The Trial by Franz Kafka
27. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
28. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
29. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
30. Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry
31. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
32. The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West
33. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
34. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
35. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
36. Nostromo by Joseph Conrad
37. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
38. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
39. The Illiad by Homer
40. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
41. A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
42. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
43. The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
44. The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
45. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
46. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemmingway
47. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
48. The Shining by Stephen King
49. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
50. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
51. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
52. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
53. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
54. Paradise Lost by John Milton
55. Remembrance of Things Past, Marcel Proust
56. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
57. The Republic by Plato
58. Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
59. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
60. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
61. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
62. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
63. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
64. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
65. The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
66. Robinson Cursoe by Daniel Defoe
67. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
68. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
69. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
70. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
71. The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
72. Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
73. On the Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
74. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
75. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
76. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
77. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
78. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams
79. A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen
80. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
81. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
82. Tartuffe by Moliere
83. The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
84. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
85. The Plague by Albert Camus
86. Native Son by Richard Wright
87. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
88. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
89. The Overcoat by Nikolai Gogol
90. Beowulf
91. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
92. Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman
93. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
94. Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
95. Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger
96. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
97. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
98. The Odyssey by Homer
99. This Book Will Change Your Life by Benrik
100. The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Look How Far You've Come...

In the past year, you have:

1.Graduated at the top of your class in a field you enjoy
2.Secured a job in that field ( with awesome benefits)
3. Continued a secure, loving relationship with someone ( and a great dane)
4. Learned new things about yourself, your life and your beliefs

In the past 2 years you have:
1. Learned to focus on completing goals of your choice
2. Moved into a nice, clean, well maintained home
3. Helped raise a great dane puppy

In the past 3 years you have:
1. Moved to a new city, and succeeded
2. Maneuvered your way in tight ( parking) situations
3. Overcome homesickness, to find your own place
4. Made major decisions for yourself, and goals and stuck to them

In the past 4 years you have:
1. Moved to Cleveland for love
2. Fallen in love with someone who loves you unconditionally
3. Survived baby cat attacks
4. Quit smoking

In the past 5 years you have:
1. Moved around, found yourself and your comfort zone
2. Pushed the boundaries of that zone
3. Found out who your best friends are who you will have forever

That is amazing, you have done so much in just a few short years. I can't wait to see what you accomplish in the next few years! Happy Birthday Sweetie. I love you.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


This weekend, we finally had some time to ourselves to recover from a long enjoyable summer of fun with multiple visits from friends and family. We are both overjoyed that so many people in our lives came to visit us these past few months. We had a great time with all of you! But, now that it is Fall the visits have settled down (sort of) and our weekends belong to us again ( kinda). We are looking forward to more visits, family moving into town and travel for girl's nights, and holidays. Halloween is just around the corner and we can't wait... we have already started getting our costumes ready... now if only we could convince someone to have a party we can attend.

This weekend, we had some time to enjoy our neighborhood and its rich culture, great people and art scene. Dave and I took a short walk to the Glenwood Arts District part of our neighborhood and wandered into the No Exit Cafe to partake in a showing of Taming of the Shrew. Now, this particular Shakespearean comedy has always been one of my favorites if for no other reason than it is truly hilarious. The Theo Ubique Theater Company took this classic and turned it into a cabaret, complete with music and "fight choreography" . It was fantastic. We both enjoyed the entire experience, and we weren't the only ones.... the small theater/cafe was so packed they ran out of chairs.

The Taming of the Shrew is a story of love and disguise. (Obviously, it's a Shakespeare comedy). The basic plot line is that everyone is in love with the fair and beautiful young Bianca, but her father has decided that she shall not be wed until a suitable mate is found for her older sister... Katherina the Shrew. Katherina is loud, sarcastic, angry and full of spite, and fantastic crass comments. Eventually, as you can imagine someone shows up, tames Kate and frees Bianca to be married to her true love.

The cast was spectacular, both of us enjoyed the performance of the young man who played Bianca (the lovely younger daughter) His gestures and mannerisms were perfect for the role and added to the overall humor. The cabaret version we attended was excellent and they did a great job involving the audience and use of the entire space, including the outdoor (seen through the large open window behind the stage)

Overall, it was highly enjoyable. Glad we went!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Busy busy busy past few weeks for both Andrea and I . . .

On my end there was a final project presentation (aka. IEEE competition), finals, and graduation blended with a fathers day visit from my folks and twin bro', John. There was also the Printers Row Book Fair (or is it Lit-Fest?) that I am surprised that the nerdy bookhead Andrea has not mentioned.
Enjoy the photos... a more thorough explanation, as well as photos will be posted later regarding my project as mentioned above. I will do my best to degeekify said explanation as much as humanly possible.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"I'm Sorry"

After a little relationship tiff, Dave sent me these beautiful flowers at work. Nice Job Honey! Thank you. I love the fact that you chose non-roses and in tones of pink/purple and even included my favorites : lilacs! You know me so well. I love you.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Shark Fin Soup

If you know me well enough, or have been following this blog you have probably picked up on the fact that my boss is a bit of an interesting character. This makes working for him extremely fun sometimes, though also, a little odd, and rushed. But, what's not to love?

Yesterday, after returning from his trip to Asia, he proceeded to enlighten us on the Chinese delicacies he enjoyed while there. All I could think was that I would never eat most of these things. As he told me about them, I looked each up on Wikipedia (I suggest you do the same) and in most cases was revolted. We decided to liken his food experiences to that of the over the top portrayal of exotic cuisine in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Seriously, how many of you can say your work day included dispelling the plausible moments in the dinner scenes of an Indiana Jones movie.. not many of you I should guess.

Jelly Fish Appetizer: He described it as being similar to the consistency of angel hair pasta, but more translucent and chewier. I asked if it was similar to squid ( as I am a lover of calamari) and he explained that it was a similar texture, but even more tough. I considered the possibility that I would try this one. Of this particular list, probably only this one is a possible one for me.

Duck Tongue: I know what you are thinking, "Ducks have tongues?" but if you think about it for a minute, yes, yes they do. And apparently, these tiny little things are served as a "delicious" appetizer. My boss was not impressed but said it wasn't as bad as he expected.

Shark Fin Soup: I am morally against this entree as I am opposed to catching sharks only to cut off their fins for human consumption. I would not try this one. ( I like my sharks swimming happily and sometimes angrily in the ocean so I can watch them on Shark week) He described it as being like soft noodles all attached together (I was picturing a block of ramen) he said as this was his second attempt at this dish that it was prepared better this time around and tasted fine and even gave him a shot of energy.

Bird's Nest Soup: Apparently this is a soup made of actual saliva created birds nests. Gross. And, expensive.

Durian: believed to be the most awful smelling fruit in the world, it is actually outlawed in many public places due to its offensive odor. Apparently, if you can get past that, it tastes great.

And here I am all excited that I tried a bubble smoothie in Chinatown. Fresh fruit with little black "bubbles" of tapioca Delicious... and about as adventurous as I'm going to get. It's my new favorite find. mmmmm.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Baby Falcons

I've been following these silly creatures for five years now, and for those who have never been over to the site, check it out. It's really cool. The nest is situated way up in the Rhodes Tower in Columbus, OH.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Social Network Sites Fun

Facebook is great for the following:

1. Re-connect with old (sometimes eerily old) acquaintances and friends, friends of friends and acquaintances of friends from elementary school.

2. Accidentally get involved in highly irrational political debates

3. Take quizzes only to discover that you have virtually the same personality as Dave's brother-in-law.

Note posted by Friend #1

"i said some of this like two years ago..."
Alexander Tyler - “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse form the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.” Could Obama be that dictator? Were on year 233, and the way people voted for B. Hussein Obama because he promised middle class tax cut's but instead increased spending to unheard levels just goes to show how dumb people really are. 55 Million of us saw Obama for what he was, all the info was out there on him, yet 65 Million couldnt recognize there own ass from a hole in the ground. Wake up america your freedoms are at risk, but poeple dont seem to care as long as the government takes care of them. "GIVE ME LIBERTY, OR GIVE ME DEATH" Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775 George Mason - “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people.... To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” As it goes i dont blame all this on the Democrats, The GOP needs to pull there heads out of asses and stop trying to be like the Democrats.

Me: this could maybe be interesting if it wasn't riddled with misspellings and obnoxious blatant propaganda.

Friend #1:
like a liberal... focus on the wrong part of the message... its only obnoxious b/c its not what you want to hear... blatant?... i believe it calls out republicans in the last line

a. I never claimed to be a liberal. b. anytime text is in capital letters screaming at me i find that obnoxious, regardless of the message and c.everyone needs to get their heads out of their asses. seriously. The election is over, we have a new president. He may not be perfect, he may not be the one you voted for, but the fact remains that he is the President of the United States and therefore, shouldn't we all stop this bickering and support him, or at least have some respect? I've heard way too much lately. Respect your fellow man, complain all you want, that's your freedom, but stop trying to place the blame on someone else. we're all in this together.

Friend #1:
a) you didnt say you werent either and your language thru-out your reply suggest your are b) then i guess dont read others notes and give unwarrented and unwanted judgement c) actually were not in this all together. the texas house just heard a bill that will start the actions to secede from the US and 8 other states are issuing similiar still has a ways yo go but some ppl like me... are saying enough is enough. i will not get behind an arrogant socialist pop icon that is nosediving the us into a situation that has proven over every democracy in the past to fail. respect is earned not just given. lets put it this way.. there was an election to see if it was a good idea to lock you in your apt and set it on fire. the election results said it was a good idea. now since you lost that election can you just get behind eveyone else and support that?

I admit I freely commented, as I thought that posting such items online for everyone to read gives me the right to do so. I dont give a damn if my opinion is unwanted, maybe yours is too. Luckily we live in society where we can all say what we want. And.. I started my original comment with " this could be interesting" which I still believe. I am .not saying I know what is right or better, I'm just saying I wish there were more like me who would try to listen to both sides equally and come to an understanding rather than just be against it to be against it. I realize you are an extreme case with the whole Texas thing. Which, i admit I have no comment on, as I am uneducated in that particular debate. As for the apartment on fire scenario, whats the alternative? Tortured violent death by aliens? Sometimes you have to check your premises.

And, besides, this argument wouldn't be nearly as fun nor worthwhile if someone didn't stand up and actually disagree once in a while.

Friend #2:
Im glad my words of wisdom bring out the true liberals out there :)

Friend #2:
I love it when liberals try to explain politics, no he's isnt the one i voted for because when it came down to it i did my homework, unlike the people who voted for him.
What has he done so far, he's spent more money than every President before him. Hmmm seems to me he said during the election that he was going to stop wasteful spending :).

"this could maybe be interesting if it wasn't riddled with misspellings and obnoxious blatant propaganda."
if you didnt want to sound like a liberal that probaly wasnt the best way to start, but most liberal's dont understand whats really going on anyway, they just get in line like everybody else waiting for there cocaine....
If more people used common sense and quit just blowing there mouth off, this country wouldnt be in such bad shape.

I would like to here some proof that this is "obnoxious blatant propaganda".

I said more.. but... really, what more is there to say at this point.

*sigh* I should just stick to taking quizzes.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Indians 22 - Yankees 4

True story. I can only remember one time in tribe history that I might have been more proud, and that moment was in early August (or maybe it was September) of 2004 when the Indians beat the mighty billion dollar Yankees into the ground 22-0. (Enjoy the nostalgic photo)

Today's game was a very familiar ass whoopin' (22-4) which once again proves that a clubs ability to buy the best players in the entire league is not always going to prove that their club is the best. The tribe already embarrassed the Yankees in their new stadium home opener a couple of days ago, and this game is just icing on the cake. 14 runs in the second inning . . the most ever scored in a single inning ever against the Yankees. No one likes to see the Yankees win and growing up and spending the majority of my life thus far as an Ohioan, and even a Clevelander for a while, makes me feel all warm inside when a city like poor, dirty, post industrial Cleveland annihilates a big money, endless budget, corporate rich city like New York. Here are a few links to today's awesomeness here, here, and here.

<<<< here are your nuts New York.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I've noticed that when something goes awry in western Europe, they protest a lot more intensely than we do here in the states. The current G20 protests are just an example. There is no peaceful sour faced, scornful brushing-off of big bank executives in England. The crowds burn, break, spray paint, and really draw attention. I don't necessarily support it, but I will admit that it is effective, and sometimes necessary. If only our populace were as passionate, maybe issues could be addressed before they spiral into the disaster they have become. Unfortunately, our country is insanely apathetic.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Film Fest (With Updates)

Lately, Dave and I have taken a break from regular television, and decided to catch up on our film viewing. Personally, I love movies, and I will watch just about anything. Below are some we've seen lately.

The Fall: (*****) Simply stunning. Highly recommended, one of the best films I've seen in a while. For a more in depth review visit the critic here. After reading this review, Dave and I both wanted to see this one, and we were not disappointed. The visual imagery in this film is stunning and breathtaking, and the story and depth of characters is spectacular. Please read the review and rent this one. You will not be disappointed.

*Side note* after watching The Fall, I kept talking about an older film, The Cell. I continually compared the visual images, and repeatedly told Dave ( who has never seen The Cell) that it is the only other film I can think of off hand with equal visual interest. But then, I looked it up and of course... same director.

Changling.(****) It was decent. Better than I was really expecting as I have been mostly let down by Ms. Jolie. However, this one gave us an in depth view into the difficulties of being a woman in the 1920's. It is emotionally intense, and while it is a long film, it captures your attention and hope.

The Darjeeling Limited.(*****) Oh how I love Wes Anderson. He brought us some of my all time favs.(Bottle Rocket, Royal Tenenbaums and Life Aquatic) Perhaps I am biased, but I just can't seem to be disappointed with these interestingly weird films. The characters draw me in, and somehow I become a part of the off-hand world they create. LOVE IT. Highly recommend all Wes Anderson films. Keep them coming Wes, everything you touch is golden!

MILK.(****) Sean Penn won best actor, and I agree, he deserved it. His depiction of Harvey Milk was dead on. The film was overly interesting to both Dave and I as it is based on a true story and the "re-enactment" portions of the film were laced with actual pictures and scenes. Regardless of your political views or stance on homosexuality, you get to know the characters on a personal level and therefore become attached to them, and cheer or cry for them as they progress. The cinematography in this film reminds me of All the President's Men, which was released in the 70's and obviously it also dealt with political issues. (Another one of my fav's in both film and reading genres, simply because I used to be a Journalism student)

Choke.(** )Having recently finished reading all the Palahnuik novels, I felt I needed to watch this one. I wasn't impressed, this wasn't Fight Club. The book was interesting and entertaining and of course provided the classic Palahnuik twists, the film left a lot out, changed some of the characters and well, it was sort of boring. My suggestion: read the book.

Pineapple Express.(***) Yet another movie about weed, that I can't explain why I (of all people) enjoy. Does anyone remember how funny Half Baked was? I loved that one too, again, oddly as I am not at all associated with the drug culture. Pineapple Express is laugh out loud funny, and I couldn't help but "love the drug dealer dude" as I kept saying throughout the film. It's a funny treat, even if you aren't a drug kid.

Role Models.(* )To follow up the comedy in Pineapple Express we opted for a couple of other comedies. Role Models was sort of funny once in a while, but mostly we noticed how irritating the woman was, how ridiculous the plot was and how unlikeable Sean William Scott is (as usual).

Tropic Thunder.(***) Funnier than I expected. I actually enjoyed it. And, I was insanely proud of myself for recognizing Tom Cruise. It is of course meant to be simple comedy, so don't expect deep insight or intellectual character development.

BOLT.(****) The animated dog movie. I admit we got this one to check and see if Wellstone would react to an animated dog as he does other dogs he sees on television. He did. One bark from the dog, one squeak of the toy and Wellstone was off the couch, staring at the screen barking and growling. He eventually sat down, watched it intently then fell asleep. Dave and I enjoyed the film. It's cute and the hamster is hilarious (and for those of you knew Shortcake, something reminded me of her..)

The Village Barbershop (***) Dave chose this one based on the cover. He did a good job. It was entertaining and much better than I had expected. It has an independent-air about it, which is probably why we liked it so much. If you like quirky little indie films, you might like this one.

Quantum of Solace
(****) I love Bond. I have seen every Bond movie. I like this new guy. I am clearly biased. The worst Bond film I can think of is Die Another Day. The best, well that's a little more difficult. Some things in this film are very similar to Casino Royale, which may turn off a few fans, but what you need to understand is, we are getting back the beginning of Bond, finding out why he is the womanizer he has become. It's a decent movie, it's Bond, enjoy it for what it is, and hey, that Aston Martin isn't bad either.

The Water Horse
( *) I often admit that I will watch any movie no matter how horrible, so long as I catch it at the beginning. This movie proves it. It was ridiculous, the acting was bad and it didn't flow very well. But, sometimes the monster made faces that reminded us of Wellstone, so we kept watching until the bitter end.

Twilight (**) Ok, we we had to see what all the fuss was about. It wasn't my cup of tea. I like my vampires dark and scary and well, vampires. I admit that I got sucked into the story and by the end I was wondering what it would be like to fall in love with a vampire. But, in my mind vampires are more: VAMPIRE-Y I like my Shadow of the Vampire, Interview with the Vampire, The Lost Boys, The Blade Trilogy, Underworld and you know, Dracula versions better.

88 Minutes
( **) Al Pacino, how can you go wrong? Psychologically thrilling, again, where can you go wrong? Make it too predictable, that's how. Oh, the car exploded, surprise! Dave and I watched and enjoyed the overall story, but were struck by how quickly we figured out most of the plot, despite the attempts to make it seem confusing.

You Don't Mess with the Zohan
(**) " meow meow meow meow" was the best lined uttered throughout this entire movie mess. Sandler is one of my all time favs ( Billy Madison) and while some portions were hilarious based on the fact that it was Sandler being Sandler.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Brit Lit

I have always enjoyed British Literature, and have found some of my most enjoyable undergrad experiences included my Brit Lit classes. Granted, in that formal setting, we studied formal authors, some of whom I love, others I hate with a passion. Seriously, how many Norton Anthology of English Literature Volumes do you have on your shelf, and more importantly, how often do you pick them up? I admit that I probably have too many volumes, and I only refer to them once every 6 months or so, but this is not to say that British Literature has not remained a part of my everyday reading lifestyle. In fact, recently, quite the opposite is true.

This is not to imply that I have been spending my nights reading classics by Shakespeare and Dickens, but instead suggests that I have found some more modern, pop culture authors to absorb myself in. Namely, Nick Hornby.

I have always enjoyed Hornby's works, and admit that I have been guilty of enjoying the movies made from his novels as well, enough so that they rank in my top 20. ( High Fidelity) and maybe About a Boy makes it into my top 100 films, where as the book scores much higher.

Recently, I have made the goal to read ALL of Hornby's books (since reading ALL the Palaniuk works turned out so well). Therefore I have immersed myself in popular British Culture. His settings are always England, London usually, and his writing style includes typical non-American slang. I have been reading so much lately, that my emails have started including sayings like, " Brilliant!" or on a rare occasion, "Cheers", and I have caught myself saying, "Yeah, course" instead of the typical, " Of course". But these a simply part of what I enjoy about reading, escaping into a world of a novel and living it for the duration of that story.

And, the British invasion doesn't end there. After finishing, A Long Way Down, High Fidelity, About a Boy, How to be Good and beginning Fever Pitch I needed a little break. So, I took this opportunity to make good on a promise.

I had made a deal with a friend that I would read anything he suggested, and he would do the same. I have yet to give him my recommendation, but took the challenge anyway. In one afternoon I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

What you need to understand, is that my "friend" gave me this particular book due to my protests against it. I just do not understand adults reading literature designed for children, turning it into a craze and making the author one of the wealthiest women in the world. It annoys me. I find that I do not typically enjoy things quite this well liked by the majority, especially when it comes to literature. I assumed this book to be childish, and doubted that it was worth all the attention it has received.

And, I took this challenge head on, not only agreeing to read it, but actually to let go of my prior bias, to read the work as objectively as possible. Forgetting, as well as I could the movies, the candy, the money the hype and the sheer lunacy of the whole Harry Potter craze. As it turns out, I wasn't completely right in my initial feelings.. but I wasn't completely wrong either.

My observations are as follows: It is a classic Cinderella story re-developed to include a highly imaginative and detailed fantasy world of magic. Classic good vs. evil themes throughout and good character development (remember, I only read the first one!) I was impressed with Rowling's imaginative detail, especially in the part where she describes the rules and play of the fictional magical game of Quidditch. The detail of the imagery of the entire Hogwart's castle and world, down to the temperature, texture and smell of the rooms is just plain great writing. I can see why this became so popular.

However, I also noticed that as I had suspected, this is meant to be read by a different reading level than I consider most well-read adults. The vocabulary is geared towards a younger reader and the length of chapters, and overall writing style appeals to a pre-adolescent age group. I probably would have loved these books when I was 8-11. As I also suspected, while there are well developed characters and story lines, it doesn't do much for my "deeper thinking" sense. I read it quickly, and superficially, the story remained on the surface, I was not challenged by my moral code, nor was I forced to look at something differently. My world view has not been altered, nor even challenged. It was a good break from my usual reading, but it was just that, a break. I doubt I read the rest of the series anytime soon.

I finished the book with the feeling that it would be a good Chapter book story to read to young children. Interesting enough to capture their childlike imagination, short enough chapters to hold their attention and overall a fun story. I will keep it in mind for the future.

Now, I can peacefully go back to my Hornby and whatever ends up next on my never ending reading list. And, lest we forget, find something truly horrible for my friend to read... I'm open to suggestions...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Elitist in Me Speaks

A little something I had to research myself after hearing about it this morning on A.M.
Fans of Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, and Jay-Z are lowest in IQ as compared to fans of Radiohead, U2, and Bob Dylan who rank the highest. Fans of Lil' Wayne rank the least intelligent of all. A study was done by researchers who compared students SAT exam scores to their favourite music acts. And I quote "Those who prefer indie music are most intelligent, while pop, rock and gospel fans were all ranked at the lower end of the scale." Dave 1 - Majority 0. The article can be found here (source), here, here, and various other places after a google search.
So.. all you corporate pop rock, hip-hop loving brainless drones out there, for instrumental indie I recommend:
Explosions in the Sky, God Speed You Black Emperor, Do Make Say Think, Mono, Pelican, A Silver Mt. Zion, Unwed Sailor, Russian Circles, Saxon Shore, Sigur Rós.. for vocal indie, you're on your own as there are so many good bands out there my recommendations would go on forever.. so if you like any of it.. uhmm what does Beyonce say? Put a ring on it? yeah.. that makes sense..

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Places I Remember: Columbus, Cleveland and Chicago

A post I decided to write in response to Flaky Genius's comment referring to Cleveland...

One could easily deduce that I have an affinity for cities whose names begin with "C". And, perhaps they would be correct, but the debate lies in the fact that I grew up in Ohio and all the decent cities are named with "C"'s for whatever reason. While I never made it to Cincinnati to do more than eat some Skyline Chili, I hear it's a great town as well, but our story begins in Columbus.


The closest city to my hometown. I moved there after suffering 22 years worth of youth, high school, and college in a small town a little south. It was my first taste at life on my own, and therefore it cannot be left out of the list even though I originally intended to only write about Cleveland and Chicago.

Columbus for me was a starting point, a place full of OSU fans and strip malls. Decent restaurants and short North Arts District kept me entertained, for the most part. The problem was ( no offense to anyone there now) I just kept running into the same person in different form over and over again, and I got bored. Everyone seemed to be a carbon copy of each other and while I ended up with a job I enjoyed and an apartment I loved, I knew if I didn't leave, I never would. Despite the shopping choices and a few choice restaurants (The Columbus Brewing Company) Columbus was just too much like home.


I loved, and will always love Cleveland. It has worked its way into my heart where it will always remain. Cleveland is one of those great art cities, which happen to be the type I adore. They offer a world class art museum, which, though i hate to admit it, out-ranks the Chicago Institute. Their symphony is spectacular, and the Fourth of July show outside is a can't miss occasion. My experiences in Coventry remain some of my favorite memories. The (old) Grog Shop, Euclid Tavern and Peabody's some of my favorite venues. The architecture of the city is wonderful, though admittedly dirty. I used to feel a sense of pure peace when driving past that skyline. The people I met and loved and admire who lived in or still reside in Cleveland are among my favorite people. Real people, with heart and soul and an unshakable moral sense. Music is a part of the culture, Art a part of it's heart, History a part of the everyday life. Where else can you find such loyal baseball fans, block parties and fantastic dining? As mentioned before Sushi Rock is delicious, but lets not forget Little Italy and the feast of the Assumption, or really any local establishment. ( the Rush Inn, the Mad Greek ( not the chain, may not exist anymore), The Winking Lizard etc...)

So, why did I leave? Cleveland is great, but it is having a hard time sustaining itself and the livelihood of it's citizens. It is dirty, and poor and Lake Erie may be a bio hazard. And, I just knew, in my heart that I had already done almost everything I was ever going to do there. I needed to move on to a place where I could find what I loved about Cleveland, but also offered me additional choices and more experiences, enough that I couldn't run out for the rest of my life. And, that is why I ended up in Chicago.


The things I love about Cleveland are still here. Music, restaurants, art, the lake (a cleaner one), good people with heart and character, crazy baseball fans, historical reference and, a better opportunity to grow, and explore professionally, educationally and personally. I haven't experienced it all, and I know I will never be able to, and that is why I finally feel at home. Chicago isn't better necessarily, it's just a better fit for me. And, to be perfectly honest, I have always known I was meant to be here. I talked Dave into moving here knowing that he too enjoyed the same qualities of Cleveland I did, and that together we could forge a life here with a better opportunity for both of us to sustain ourselves, each other and family. So far, so good I think. Both of us have grown so much in the past 2 years ( yes, it's almost 2 years here already!) Thank you Chicago!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Final Project

So, the time has come to apply all that I have learned thus far from my technical training in a final project. Most are opting to work in groups to complete their projects, but I will not be taking this route. Throughout my time in school, I have not been in a single group where all have contributed equally, in fact, I have carried several students through the last few classes I've taken with them. Most of the fresh high school grads just text on their cell phones and rely on copying everyone, while the older adult students always show up late (if at all) and use their offspring as reasons for their tardiness or absence. I'm done playing stupid games, and being the one to do all the work. I can do it alone if that's the way it's going to be.
I've decided to make a web controlled surveillance camera. The biggest concern for this project is going to be the interfacing between internet and hardware (the micro controller specifically) . The second biggest nightmare is going to be the coding for the micro controller and working out the communication links between the hardware devices. The idea is quite similar to this, but fortunately, I wont have to construct my micro controller like this guy. This brings up another concern of mine. I'm not sure if the PINK (Parallax Internet Netburner) will be able to communicate with the hardware we have used in our labs such as the ESOC (Cyclone II) board and eBlocks programmable board. Most companies out there make their components proprietary to their own specs, which makes developing your own projects a bitch. God bless the free enterprise system. Only our country could dissuade technological advances because a few don't want to conform to an open standard which all could embrace and build upon, but what do I know with my socialist ranting? And Linux/Unix is for communists too!
Anyways, instead of purchasing a camera that moves up and down, left and right like some upper end models of 'pan and scan' cameras, I will make mine very similar to the previous link I posted. This is where my electronic know-how will come into play. I've read that the step motors in old pc scanner/printers work well to control the direction of the camera. Programmable logic controllers will be used to send these instructions to a hardwired circuit (probably on a bread board) where the motors will work in conjuntion. Limit sensor/switches (which will also be controlled by PLC) will be used to contain the range of motion for the camera structure.
Hopefully the eBlocks programmable board can communicate with all other hardware devices because I would hate to have to code in a language that I am unfamiliar with. eBlocks uses a simple, turbo easy basic programming method that allows one to essentially make a flow chart, and compile it, where it is then interpreted and programmed to the chip. All other coding looks like absolute jibberish to me. The eBlocks programmable board may be used to interface the hand controller to the program that will send instruction over the internet to the PINK to another microcontroller to a PLC to the circuit to the camera. Something like that. . . Like I said, there are some kinks that need to be thought out and worked out.
This is all up in the air at this point because I may be overlooking the complexity of a project like this, but I feel that if the interfacing between the network/internet can be accomplished, then it should be a good project.
*In another note*
Andrea and I went out this past weekend and I had my first real experience with sushi (previously, I had a failed attempt with some poorly made, soggy store bought sushi) at Tank Sushi. It was delicious. I also finally got to see Slumdog Millionaire, and was highly impressed. The music from the film was excellent. See Andreas experience with Tank Sushi, her trip to Vegas, and Slumdog Millionaire below.

Sushi, Slumdog (part II) & Sin City

Sin City:
I went to Vegas, for the first time last week. I had to attend a conference for work, which I have attended two years in a row now. I may be the outcast, but I genuinely enjoy conferences. Great hotels, travel, food and meeting many people. I have a great time, I enjoy the part of my job that means setting up and manning a trade show booth, meeting and greeting prospective clients, chatting and generally having a great time while being professional. We had casino night, where I honed my roulette skills (having learned in Atlantic City this past January). I even won a blackjack game in a raffle (which Dave hasn't put down since I brought it home). The second night, I snuck out.. I mean, I had to, right? I had never been there before and NEEDED to see the Bellagio fountain. ( AT LEAST)

I forgot my camera however. So, I did the most logical thing, and purchased one of those fun saver cameras from the hotel gift shop ( $15!! can you believe that!?) and headed to the fountain. I enjoyed the show tremendously, and could have stood there all night, but being on a limited ( and lest we forget, work) time schedule I used the rest of my time to wander the Bellagio, a little of Caesers Palace, and Paris. And, boy did I make the most of my fun saver camera.

Apparently whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and if using an overpriced plastic camera from a casino/hotel gift shop... even your pictures will not make it home with you. NONE of my pictures came out. NONE. But at least I have the memory. I want Dave and I to go there sometime soon for a couple of days and really get to experience the city. It looks like a lot of fun.

( I did end up winning about $100 at a roulette table in the end, which isn't too bad!)

While at the conference, I had some great sushi and my colleague taught me how to (finally) use chopsticks correctly. Once I made it home, with my new found love of chopstick eating, I decided to introduce Dave to sushi. I'm pretty sure he was convinced that he would hate it. But, we found a cute little place near us, called Tank Sushi. We had amazing chopstick appetisers, and we tried one of my standby favorites and Dave chose a new one ( Latin Heat) which was GREAT! All in all, great picks and great dinner. This sushi place comes in a close second to the number one on my list, and also my #1 pick for best calamari appetiser Sushi Rock in Cleveland. DELISH!

Slumdog (part II):
After dinner, we headed to see Slumdog, since Dave had yet to see it. You'll have to ask him for his review! I was once again impressed with the music and cinematography.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


It was only a matter of time before I posted something about the latest film phenom "Slumdog Millionaire". I have been meaning to write something for weeks, but have been too busy flying to Vegas ( look forward to that post soon..)

I went with a friend to see the "Slumdog" the Sunday of the Oscars. I went into the theater with extremely high expectations. At this point, I had already had the film suggested to me by several friends who found it to be excellent. Everyone I had talked to had described the film as being superb. This is rare, in my circle of diverse friends especially, that everyone said it was amazing, no one said it was " just ok" or " watchable" or gods ( as in greek) forbid " horrible and boring and only for old people" ( As was the case of other critically praised films out now " Benjamin Button" anyone?)

I was also armed with the ammunition that this film was nominated for several academy awards, which I realize is not always indicative of a good film, but sometimes they get it right. In this case, I completely expected to be let down.

And, I was. Ok, so I was only let down by the fact that the theater was PACKED and we had to sit in the second row. I was let down by my unforgiving bend less spine, and watering eyes, I was not however at all let down by the film. In fact, the brilliance of the film made the uncomfortableness of my aging spine worth it. I would like to see it again, though, from a more comfortable vantage point.

"Slumdog Millionaire", the British film directed by Danny Boyle, is an adaptation of the book "Q&A" by Vikas Swarup. ( which I have yet to read). It has become something of a pop culture icon recently with it's award success. The film has won 8 Academy awards, including Best Picture, 5 Critic's Choice, 4 Golden Globes and 7 BAFTA awards. And, this time, those hokey award celebrations actually got it right.

What impressed me the most was the use of music and cinematography in conjunction with the storyline. The film is kept light and enjoyable, with bold color and an intense musical score despite it's depiction of Indian slums, and the children that inhabit them. As you watch, you are drawn into the overall power of the film.

In addition to seeing the film I have also read an interesting article in the February 23rd edition of the New Yorker entitled "Opening Night". This was an article that described the very real situation in the slums of Mumbai during the night when the film was released. It shows an interesting perspective of the children collecting bits of aluminum to sell for profit, in order to eat, while simultaneously the elite walk the red carpet to watch a film depicting the reality. It is an interesting dichotomy and sad reality. Most of us, as middle class Americans, can not imagine living without running water, in constant persecution for our beliefs, and in fear of our lives and the lives of our families. We cannot relate to the character Jamal Malik ( protagonist in "Slumdog") who is raised in poverty and must run for his life, only to be trapped into a life of being controlled by a gangster who "trains" children to make money by various means. We cannot relate, yet this film makes these issues come into sharp focus. However, in many cases such as these, we view these disturbing scenes and situations as pure entertainment, and give out awards for showing us the truth, yet, do nothing to correct the real problem in areas such as the one depicted. For example, don't major cities in our own country boast some of the highest poverty levels? ( 1. Cleveland, OH with 31.3% living below the poverty level (which pains me personally) 2. Newark, NJ at 30.4 % and 3. Detroit, MI at 30.1 %)

But, I've gotten off topic. The film is a must see, if not for the artistic brilliance, or the musical showcase, or even the controversial topics, at least for the entertainment value and humor in the "outhouse scene".

I urge you to go see this film if you haven't already. This is the best I have seen since "Dark Knight" which is a completely different genre, but one of the best summer blockbusters/artistic visions into the underworld lifestyle of ( arguably) one of the best super heroes of all time. I have seen in recent years, therefore making it a benchmark for truly good films. "Slumdog" is at the top of my list. It will encourage you to volunteer in your community ( at least it did for me) while at the same time inspire you artistically.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

For Mary

You're right. After rereading my post, I realized...
What? What am I talking about?
I can't just post random inspiring youtube videos.
I don't really have anything going on worth mentioning.
My mind has gone numb.
Give me a month or two.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hermit, Recluse, Etc..

I can recall times that my mother would go on trips to Georgia to visit my Aunt Jill and Uncle Howard. During these trips, she would be gone for only a week at most. My pop's would start to go weird with worry and separation anxiety. In fact, it got to the point that whenever mom would leave, she would tell my brother and I to keep him company. This is odd because he would keep himself busy and distance himself from all of us while everyone was at home. I don't know if it were some sort of loner mentality, or the need to have privacy, however, when she would leave he would change and one could tell that he really missed her.
Andrea has been gone now for seven hours, and I'm experiencing the same things I'm sure he felt. I've already accomplished the things she wants done before she returns from her business in Las Vegas. I'm bored and lonely, and have no one to talk to. How pitiful am I? On the drive back from the airport the wave of snow that has since accumulated into about an inch and a half, was just beginning to fall. Even if I wanted to go outside to keep my mind from weirding itself out, I would have to face twenty degree gusts of bitterly cold lake effect Chicago snow. At least I have Wellstone, Gizmo, and this. I guess that what I'm really trying to say is that phone calls are more than welcome.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Update on Dave's whereabouts

Pardon my hiatus, I have been very busy for a long time now. I've had a very demanding semester. Lets address the things listed by Android.
Lets see here..

School and Honor Societies - I have a 3.7 GPA and could have been a part of Alpha Chi's honor society, but unfortunately I am in an associates program, and couldn't participate. Should I decide to continue (which I am unsure of at this point) in the electronics engineering field or tech management field I could join. My motivations of late have been to obtain a few certifications upon graduation starting with Cisco's 640-802 CCNA, and probably the easier Comp TIA A+ Essentials/220-602 to get my foot in the door to the IT industry. This is not set in stone because I will be lucky enough to obtain anything with the number of people being laid off across the country.

Stephanie Miller - She is probably the highlight of my morning on progressive talk radio station AM 820 here in Chicago. Why are the lefties always so much more satirical and hilarious than the right wing nut jobs? Does that question really need to be answered? It's because the lefties are smarter. True Story. Andrea and I usually get a cup of coffee, and flip her show on for the drive down to her (Andreas) work. It has become a morning ritual for us.

Soccer - The Rangers tied Celtic in the last Old Firm Derby on the 15th. It was a boring game, and the light blues and Celtic alike looked to be prancing around like a bunch of girly-wirly's. My light blues are still trailing the savages in the Scottish Premiership.

Great Dane Puppies and their growth - why won't Wellstone's head and size match his height? He is proportioned like a greyhound. Skinny wuttle' guy.

The New York Post cartoon - Tasteless, violent, racist. A blatant presidential death threat thinly veiled as satire. (You can no longer link to it, but if you're to search February 18, 2009, you can find it still posted.)

The Morse Theater - The Morse Theater reopened October 2008 after a six million dollar renovation. It is a historical part of the Rogers Park community, and after some trouble with a silent investor, will be closing... ALREADY. I never even got to make it down there (few blocks) to see the venue and perhaps a show and dinner in the Century Public House. I was really looking forward to spending some time there, and it disappoints me that all attempts to enhance this community and attract new people to this area are foiled before they even leave the ground. There are even historic structures that were taken down that could have easily been refinished and preserved to attract people to the area such as the Adelphi Theater. Hopefully, someday, things will come around and this area will get its long deserved chance to attract new business, productive residents, and perhaps finally, positive people, unlike the majority of the bloggers here in the neighborhood who bitch about affordable housing, while at the same time bitch about the crime. You must choose between one or the other. You can piss and moan about gentrification, or you can welcome the quality of neighbors you're gaining. On the other hand, you can continue your affordable housing arguement and continue to bite your tongue and allow the section 8 relocations, slum lords, and CHA attendants to move into this neighborhood, spray paint gang symbols on everything, and litter your front lawn with Cheeto's bags and gin bottles. I've gotten off subject, but my point is that this is a very very good neighborhood. Close proximity to the lake, the red line, easy driving distance to the burbs, easier parking, artsy and eclectic Glenwood Ave, and so much more.

The View ( just kidding) - Funny Andrea, funny. Sometimes I watch 'The View'... so what? I just like to see Elisabeth Hasselbeck make a fool of herself for thinking and speaking. I feel embarrassed for humanity anytime she says anything.

Sears Tower and $50 million - The New York based owners of the Sears tower want to spend fifty million dollars to paint the building silver. They think it will save on the costs of energy consumption. Really, what? Seriously? I guess I need to see their heating/cooling/electric bills to see if these numbers will effectively be worth the cost of making the biggest light reflecting eye sore created of any major city.

Jaydiohead - A weird concoction of Radiohead mixed with Jay-Z lyrics, that, despite being a complete butchering of Radiohead ideology, goes great with running. Hip-hop.. I hate it, but I can stomach something that keeps my legs moving as long as I can hear familiarity in the background.

Navy Seals training/working out - Why do they combine multiple agonizing exercises into one thing? Seriously, how do they do it? Oh I know... they're freaks.

Lent - Now I do not require paganesque cult-like ceremonial traditions associated with the most brainwashed of Catholics with the ash smearings on the forehead or the meat fasting thing, but I do try and half-assed consider giving something up to remind myself that I do deep down understand that there is someone I must thank for providing me with my life and existence (other than my mother and father obviously). I originally declared that I would not drink soda, but have already failed when J.B Alberto's delivered a free one-liter with pizza last night. So, I will not drink a beer until Easter. True story.


Dave? Are you alive?

Where have you been? This blog has turned into nothing but my own pointless ranting.

Here are some topics I know you have thoughts about ( since we talk about them often)

WRITE SOMETHING... we miss you!


School and Honor Societies
Stephanie Miller
Great Dane Puppies and their growth
The New York Post cartoon
The Morse Theater
The View ( just kidding)
Sears Tower and $50 million
Navy Seals training/working out

Ok that should be enough to get you started.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ah, Romance, you have eluded me again....

Typically, Dave and I do not get into Valentine's Day, aside from the fact that we also started our relationship very close to it. Basically, we lump our anniversary together with it, go out to dinner and generally have a good time. This year, I made the mistake and wanted a "Romantic Weekend".

Romance has never really agreed with me it appears.

Dave tried, but his effort was thwarted before it ever had a chance.

Our Great Dane, Wellstone , likes to play with his toys. He has a habit (which we are trying to break) of putting said toy on you, then lunging for it before you can grab it. Sometimes, not often, but sometimes, he accidentally nips your hand, or leg or stomach. Friday night, the night before the big romantic weekend was scheduled, Wellstone decided to play with his kong. He threw it onto my lap, and despite his progress in the "grab-back " habit breaking, he lunged at the kong, but instead of his k9 coming down on the specifically designed to be " extra durable" rubber, it landed... well... elsewhere. Somewhere much worse, somewhere painful and equally as embarrassing.

Aside from the screaming in agony, all I could think was, "WHY! WHY in God's name would ANYONE EVER get this PIERCED??!!"

And there I was, with my "broken headlight" if you will, bleeding and swelling and screaming in pain. The course of treatment we chose included ice to stop the bleeding/swelling, antibacterial ointment and a trip to Walgreens for some large bandages. The first portion of the treatment was almost as uncomfortable as the injury itself, but I soldiered on. Until, I became so nauseated that I had to go to bed at 8 pm. The rest of the weekend, I re cooperated. ( mostly).

Dave tried, he brought me flowers, and dinner and watched chick flicks with me all weekend while I recovered from my post on the couch.

Romantic Weekend FAIL.

But, then again, what did I expect? At least Dave has never said, " Valentine's Day is a holiday I choose to ignore" as I've heard so many times in the past.

As it happens, neither one of us really knows what a Romantic Weekend should involve anyway.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th & Facebook

Happy Friday the 13th! Be careful out there, don't walk under any ladders, let a black cat cross your path, or you know, get otherwise killed by Jason.

Today, I wish I was elsewhere. Driving aimlessly through the countryside, watching the sun set over the mountains ( to those of you actually doing this... I hate you!) I think I just feel like I need a break from normal life. Things have been stressful lately and I would just like to get away. My only distraction as of late has been facebook. ( which I realize is sad and pathetic)

But here is the thing about Facebook... I generally get annoyed. While I enjoy reading everyone's chain letters/random personal information notes ( lately: 25 random things, 15 movie quotes, ipod shuffle, albums that changed my life, new names, do you remember high school.... just to name a few) I rarely fill them out for myself. I did the 25 random things, I cant think of only 15 movies to quote, I dont have an ipod, I would probably be ridiculed for my album choices ( bon jovi was inspirational when I was young, and my la bamba cassette changed my life) I have no interest in figuring out what my gangster name is based on my favorite color and street name. And, yes... thanks to Facebook, I remember high school.

I have not spoken or associated with anyone from the first high school I attended(with one notable exception, but technically she and I didnt become friends until AFTER high school) since, well, I left. Yet Facebook has brought these people back to me. And, I can't decide if this is something I wanted, or not. Was I curious about what happened to everyone? Sure. Did I need to befriend my old chemistry lab partner, re-kindle a pseudo relationship with the best friend that stabbed me in the back, accept a friend request from the kid that bullied me for years? Yeah... probably not.

I find myself asking, is it morally right to join a group dedicated to the graduating class of that high school... when I technically didnt graduate from there? Is it necessary to be reminded of my awkward nerdiness?

Basically, Facebook has turned into an everlasting reunion. And, while I can't help but be fascinated, I wonder if my self esteem will suffer? Will I resort back to feeling like a misunderstood teenage girl with braces? I certainly hope not.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

So what else is new?

Ah, the economy. It has finally hit home. While I am doing well personally, and have even gotten a slight raise for the year, it came at a price. Two of my co-workers were laid off. And, while I completely understand the reasoning, I have been sad nonetheless. They were my two best friends, and really all I have here other than D. But we have survived. We have moved on, and decided we can still be friends.

Additionally, I have started this somewhat out of character behavior as of late. I am working out and even purchased an elliptical machine. Also, I have discovered that I enjoy tofu ( when cooked correctly). Both of these go against my overall laziness and meat loving personality.

And, finally, upon the "request"/"suggestion" of our dear friends, we have created two log in names for the blog, so that it becomes easier to tell who is posting. Enjoy!

I hope to have brighter news, and more inspiring things to say soon.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Discussion Sidenotes

1. I am absolutely thrilled with the participation and active discussion taking place in regards to the "debate" we have touched upon. I am overwhelmed with thankfulness that I have in my life so many intelligent, well spoken, opinionated people. THANK YOU.

2. Debate really means Discussion in my mind.

3. Can someone else please explain to D. that this is not anger driven, hateful, or attacking... that I was in fact trying to facilitate a discussion of interest/communication with his family members (and others) and thereby creating an even stronger bond between us? Please. I cannot seem to make this point.

4. Critic, I enjoy your book reviews, but I am horrible with comments. I regularly read them, often agree, and use as a guide when I need a new book. Most recent case: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, I read after reading your review, as a direct result, actually. In many cases I will be standing in the book store, staring at a shelf and say, " Didn't he just review that one?" I may not comment but isn't knowing that your words are making a direct impact on my life much better than a silly comment?


Monday, January 26, 2009

Oh, It's On... Debate War

Disclaimer: Since it is usually necessary in the case when I decide to test the water and use my Internet blog as a sounding board for my personal opinions and ideas, please allow this brief disclaimer to provide comfort that a. I am not personally attacking anyone, b. It's ok to disagree, c. I enjoy debate and d. if you don't like it, don't read it. (A.)

As is customary in our household, we make a point of reading our friends/family members online rantings, and we hope that others do this with us as well. One page we frequent, and we frequently comment on is our dearest critic. On many occasions we are blessed with humorous anecdotes, current events and excellent book reviews. Also, on several occasions, the postings/comments lead us down the path of DEBATE.

Personally, I love these occasions. I love to disagree, and argue my point until I'm either deemed correct beyond argument or swayed to see the other sides. Usually, I admit, I like to play devil's advocate and offer multiple sides. ( apparently, this is infuriating). D. is a little less enthused by the debate side of my personality, as he would rather avoid conflict of all types at all costs. Thus, he has been very patient with me these past few years, and has even offered some opinions up to the "chopping block" if you will just to keep me satisfied. I truly believe that spirited debate is a valuable human capability, and that it allows us to truly better understand the world and the people we surround ourselves with ( or choose not to surround ourselves with). I believe that debate in a relationship keeps things alive, and the passion thriving. And, as I have said before, I just have that type of personality that needs a good fight once in a while.

That said. Please refer to the critic's remarks and the comments on the book Twilight before proceeding. Thus bringing us to the current debate topic.

D. has requested to be left out of this debate, but I'm going to put my home life happiness on the line and try to drag him back into it, as I think this one could get very interesting. All people involved have strong opinions on this one. ( D. don't be mad, I just think you have valid points to make and I cannot make them for you)

As it relates to the comments made by flaky genius ( D.'s sister) regarding the differences in adolescent girls and boys:

The luxury of being a boy in this country is that you are constantly reaffirmed—everyone tells you you’re special, and you believe it. Trust me, you believe you are special and entitled and superior. Girls live the opposite. So there’s Bella—the girl who thinks she’s invisible, the purported nerdy girl, the quiet, plain one, an outsider, the girl reading the book. But despite her beliefs about herself, she’s clearly wrong, as many of us hope to be. And just how wrong is she? Not only does she become the center of someone’s life, but this guy is a godlike creature, he is perfection. And he listens to her. This mythical god wants to know her favorite color, her old school buddies, the mundane details of her life. Girls aren’t usually listened to even when they’re saying something important.
Upon first reading this portion of the comment, D. was outraged and thus spawned his comments back which basically insist that this is not at all the case, and Flaky genius just wants to believe that girls had it worse because she is a girl.

This has led me to say, YES! Also, as a woman, I agree with her statements, she nailed it. (please read her ENTIRE comment in context) Men just cannot understand what life was like for women as young girls, because they did not have to endure the same ridicule from their peers. ( this relates to my theory that there is nothing in the universe, real or mythical or imagined that is as mean as a teenage girl)

Not to say that we as women completely understand the teenage life of a boy. But what I argue most enlightened adult women DO understand is that women's minds/emotions are very complex compared to that of men. And it was these complex minds and emotions that we were just learning how to control and understand as teens, and therefore, it was in fact harder for us.

Fire away. I want to hear it. I'm ready. Let the Debate begin!

To D. :Sorry Honey, but I WANT to hear your thoughts. Please don't see this as confrontation, the main characters involved in this one all happen to love each other very much and have a mutual respect for one another, so I highly doubt that anyone is personally attacking anyone or that this will cause major uproar. ( I could be wrong, but I feel like this particular debate is safe)I love you.

To Flaky Genius & The Critic: Thank you for your insight and comments, I hope to hear more from you! Keep it coming! I envy your ability to debate with grace!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Garfield's Favorite...Changed?

We love Lasagna. To be honest, we love most pasta, and most food, but this particular debate centers entirely around Garfield's favorite meal.

Classic Lasagna is made in layers, and creates a huge pan full of food for two people. While this seems like a great idea since it will feed two numerous times, and can be frozen, it still leaves the problem of feeling like you must eat it in a relatively short time span ( so it doesn't spoil) which essentially leaves you eating it every day for a week. D. will tell you this a wonderful thing about lasagna. I will tell you that even though I love it, I don't want to eat it every day!

D. is also hard core, original recipe. Basically, he freaks out any time I try something new. Granted, I have made a few mistakes ( mint lemonade) and have skimped where I shouldn't have ( spinach lasagna without enough sauce) but usually I come up with some pretty good stuff (taco bake, short bread cookies, enchiladas, guacamole etc.) *Note: D. LOVES mexican food, therefore most of my creations are mexican inspired*

Our mutual love of original lasagna is not to be understated. In fact, D. made me one of the best birthday meals of my adult life last year when he crafted what ended up being the best lasagna I've ever had ( sorry Mom). I realize that changing that faithful recipe is a difficult thing to consider... however...

This brings us to the new lasagna recipe I have discovered. Everything remains the same ingredient wise, the only difference is, instead of layering the noodles, you roll them up. Thus giving you the advantage to make as little or as much as you want.

D. is appalled. I am excited. Most people tell me it seems like something will be missing. But, I intend to TRY.
Tonight, I will make the questionable lasagna, and the debate will be settled.

The picture to the right is of the new recipe.
Nothing looks missing or wrong to me, in fact it looks delicious. But would Garfield disagree? Would he turn up his nose in disgust, or would it all be the same, just with a twist?
I guess we will find out tonight.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I am ...venting.

As we round out the first full month of 2009, I find myself wrapped in a myriad of emotions. So much, yet so little has happened.

I am happy. In my personal life, things are somewhat stagnant. My job is steady ( which I realize is saying quite a lot in the current economy). I still enjoy my career, and we aren't planning any major moving for a while. D. is finishing up this round of school this June, Wellstone is growing nicely into a well rounded, spoiled great dane, and Gizmo remains, well... Gizmo ( if you know her, you know what that means) We have what we need to get by, are no longer struggling with no hope and no money. We are looking forward to watching the superbowl on our new plasma ( or lcd.. yet to be determined) television. Things on the homefront are everything we could dream. I am very happy. D. and I both feel we are headed in the right direction and only positive things are ahead.

I am hopeful. I listened to the inaugural speech today while working, and felt exactly as I have felt each time our new president speaks. He is the message of hope and I am willing to believe in him, and the future of our nation. Things will get better, and we will rise above the difficulties we are now facing. I hope, we are not let down.

I am sad. This past week my great grandmother passed away. She was 103 years old. How much she saw in her lifetime, the Great Depression, both World Wars, and the evolution of industry and technology. Just think what the automobile has evolved into over the past 100 years. She was a great woman, whom I did not spend entirely enough time with. She was funny and as a result one of my favorite people. I have been fortunate that in my lifetime I have only lost 2 relatives. Both of them wonderful, inspiring, bright women who made up part of the woman I am today. As I think back on both of them, I try to remember their brightest days, their wise eyes and their warm smiles. I should, I realize take more time to get to know my still living relatives, and learn from their vast knowledge, before it's too late.

I am worried. D.'s grandmother has fallen ill again. I have spent time with her, and have come to feel like she is an extended part of my own family. My heart, and I am sure D.'s heart, is with her now and we both wish her a speedy recovery.

I am angry. I am so angry I can't stand it. I can't seem to release the anger, though I have tried. I have been betrayed, lied to, and therefore confused. I do not know what to be other than angry. Even though, I am trying with all my power to be understanding, to educate myself, to listen, I am angry. I will forever be angry that someone hurt you. I will always have the feeling that I need to protect you, or save you from harm. I am angry that I cannot save you now, and that you do not want me to. Please understand that I am trying to overcome this, but I have to let it out.

I am understanding. I do understand. I am listening. I know that I need to be here for you, and I am. I am here for you to trust. I do understand, how could I not? You have to follow your heart now, just as I have so many times in the past. I understand.

I am health conscious. I made it my 29th year resolution to finally care about my outer self. I have never been a woman to put much effort into physical appearance, or healthy practices. This year, however, I have decided to overcome that. I have begun a Pilate's workout everyday, and truly do feel a lot better. I will work on eating better, though to be honest, thus far, it hasn't happened. ( burger king just tastes SOOO good sometimes)

I am in love. I love D. more now than ever. I am truly happy to have found in him a person who can put up with all my craziness, my opinions and my outbursts. Not to mention my tendency for clutter, and reluctance to do household chores like laundry.

I am nervous. About what, I don't know. I just feel anxious all the time. I seriously need to relax.

And there, I have vented. About everything, perhaps not. About enough, definitely.

And on that note: I leave you with this scene ( a dream I had the other night)

The wind, the sand, the water, the sun.... ah.... paradise. Relaxing, isn't it? If only I could feel that way in my waking hours.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dreams to Remember

Apparently, the feeling of being carefree, and driving a 1960's Aston Martin convertible through the French Countryside is something I long for.

Meanwhile, who knew I knew what a 1960's Aston Martin looked like, or the French Countryside for that matter, enough to dream it perfectly... or that I would be lucky enough to find pictures of exactly those things, as they appeared in my dream... weird...

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