Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In case you missed it....

So many things to love about this clip:

Jon Stewart
Bruce Springsteen
New Jersey
President & Mrs. Obama
The Obamas high-fiving Bruce Springsteen after Jon Stewart tells a joke about Springsteen and New Jersey.

The only way it would have been better is if JM performed "I'm On Fire" instead of Ben Harper and that Sugarland chick. Their version was pretty awesome, though.

However, not loving Sting's beard.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


As you probably know if you have been reading my blog for eleven months or more, I usually do a Best-of pop culture list for the year, which will be coming in the next few weeks after I've seen the 800 movies that were released in December. But in the meantime, I've been thinking about what I have read this year that I have loved enough to make it in my list. That's when I realized that I had read several books by one author, some of which I read for a second time. That's pretty unusual for me to do.

So, who is this author that I couldn't get enough of? Chuck Klosterman.

Fargo Rock City -- basically this is a whole book about the history of hair metal bands, with a little of his own history mixed in. Although I didn't even know many of the bands he talked about, I thought this book was immensely entertaining. It also made me realize for the 650th time that people will always like the same music that they liked in high school. Even if it was really the worst music on the planet, you'll always like it.

As soon as I finished reading Fargo Rock City, I really wanted to start right at the beginning again. But at the same time, Jill came to visit and returned Chuck Klosterman IV, which I had read a while ago, so I just decided to reread it, and enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time. Stories about Britney Spears pre-breakdown, Billy Joel post-breakdown, Morrissey fans... all good.

Next was Downtown Owl, which is CK's first novel. This one was only okay.

Then over Thanksgiving, I was visiting Val & Greg and noticed Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs on their book shelf. I took it off the shelf because I wanted to reread one of his stories about "Saved by the Bell." Yes, that's right. I was compelled to reread an essay about "Saved by the Bell", a TV show that I never felt compelled to actually watch. I took the book home with me to read on the plane.

This was the first book of his that I read because Greg shared with me the first story about how all women who were born in the 70's will always compare men they date to Lloyd Dobler. And I thought, "What a brilliant observation!"

Next up, Eating the Dinosaur, which I just got for Christmas.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas movies

This was the first year since I've lived in NYC that I stayed in town for the holidays. I wasn't so sure how I would feel about it, because I do enjoy being with my family on Christmas. But I hate traveling in all the chaos of the holidays. Plus, I often get sick over the holidays. This year I got sick, as did everyone else in my family, and I was really relieved not to be dealing with crowded airports in that state. The report is that staying in New York for Christmas is fantastic! My goal was to do three movies in three days, but it didn't work out since I wasn't feeling well. But two movies in one weekend is still pretty good.

First was It's Complicated. Yes, this movie has been previewed to death. I think I could quote the trailers. Usually when a movie is hyped this much, it is disappointing to actually see it because you've already seen all the best parts. Although that is kind of true with this movie, I still laughed at all the same lines that I had seen 800 times in the commercials. Alec Baldwin was hilarious. John Krasinski was adorable. I quite enjoyed it.

Next was The Young Victoria. I had high hopes for this movie and I did enjoy it, but not as much as I had hoped. I would still recommend it. Emily Blunt was nominated for a Golden Globe for this role and it was well deserved.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

best reviewed movies of the year

Besides Precious, which I loved, I've seen a few other movies that have been praised by the critics. My review on all of them is "Really? What's the big deal?" That includes:

Up in the Air. Yes, George Clooney looks great in a suit and I do like the relationship between him and his protege. Other than that? I feel like it's a story that's been told before.

Broken Embraces. I found myself trying to read my watch during the movie. I guess some people are comparing this movie to Alfred Hitchcock movies, which I admit, I've seen very few of. But still, I wasn't really entertained.

A Single Man. A beautiful exploration of grief. But kinda boring. Still love Mr. Darcy, though!

None of these movies would beat out a good night at home, watching Friday Night Lights!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Glee quote of the week -- 12/10 Sectionals!!

Did we have any doubt that our friends at McKinley high would win sectionals? Even without performing "Don't Stop Believin'" which, we know is the #1 downloaded song in iTunes history (loved that self-referential quote). Rachel's song was fantastic (which she's been rehearsing since she was 4). "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was okay, but I thought the real winner was "My Life Would Suck Without You" performed for Mr. Shu at the end.

Quote of the week goes to Sue Sylvester when she said, "I am reasonably confident that you will be adding revenge to the long list of things you are no good at. Right next to being married, running a high school glee club and finding a hair style that doesn't make you look like a lesbian."

I honestly don't know how Mr. Shu could listen to that delivery without cracking up!

30 Rock quote of the week -- 12/11

the new guy: "Are you being sarcastic? Canadians have a hard time recognizing it because we don't have a big Jewish population."

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Office quote of the week 12/3

from Dwight: "In an ideal world, I would have all ten fingers on my left hand so my right hand be a fist for punching."

Friday, December 4, 2009

30 Rock quote of the week -- 12/3

While Tracy and his wife are arguing about her need to get her hair "did," Liz asks, "Maybe we could 'undid' these handcuffs?"

Tracy: RACIST!

Sherri: CRACKER!

Also, Frank turning into Liz was brilliant! As was the hi-def camera (Liz looks terrible, Kenneth is a Muppet, Jack is Jack Ryan in The Hunt for Red October).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Glee quote of the week -- 12/2

Can you believe it's December already??

Sue had a few good ones this week. How can I choose?

A: "I had myself a bit of an eyelift. And while they were in there, I told them to go ahead and yank out those tearducts. I wasn't using them."

B: "All I want is just one day a year where I'm not visually assaulted by uglies and fatties. Seriously, these retinas need a day off."

and, of course, the hair comments...

C: "There is a stack of mattresses in the choir room piled as high as the empty bottles of hair gel in the dumpster outside your apartment."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Glee quote of the week -- 11/25

Okay, so I'm a week behind. Since I was out of town, I didn't get to see this episode until last night. I was so looking forward to the Grease thing, which they teased for a few weeks. My thoughts? Eh! Also, I really thought there would be more story between Puck (my third favorite character) and Quinn. Is that really over? And in such a lame way?

Since this was another Sue Sylvester lite episode, I have depend on my go-to guy, Curt, for the quote of the week.

Rachel: Curt, why did you volunteer to give me a new look?
Curt: 1. I'm a sucker for makeovers. 2. You need something to distract from your horrible personality.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving wrap-up

I went back to Ohio for Thanksgiving to see Val&Greg and the kiddos. We had lots of fun, lots of laughs, and, of course, lots of FOOD!

Thanksgiving dinner (we're a pretty informal family)

On Saturday, we went back to Pink Moon. Here are "The Buckeye", German chocolate and Carrot cupcakes.

And because that wasn't enough, we made Whoopie pies on Sunday night to finish off the weekend!

For his birthday, Greg got The Beatles: Rock Band, so I like to think we burned off some of those calories playing every night for a few hours.
My nephew is completely obsessed with The Beatles now. He says their names with a British accent and tries to give me a history lesson any chance he gets. "Here they are with long hair." He also has decided that he's going to be in a rock band when he grows up. It's pretty hilarious to hear a 6 year-old boy sing, "I want you, I want you so bad..." Actually, he's not supposed to do that one, but I didn't know until it was too late. I have to say, although I never really want to hear "Yellow Submarine" again, I quite enjoyed myself. (It totally beats Mario Kart, which was last year's game.) Of course, my nephew was a guitar hog, so I didn't get much of a chance to practice that, but I kind of liked the drums the best, anyway.
Now I just want to get them some Springsteen songs!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Finally, there is a name for it: Palin Derangement Syndrome.

Apparently, I have Palin Derangement Syndrome, as defined in this episode of The Daily Show (which shows a clip from some other guy from Fox "news" or something). Watch it to find out what the syndrome is (around 6:50). I'm pretty sure it's going to be in the new DSM.


Here are a couple of pictures I took at last week's concert. They all came out blurry, so these are the best I could do.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I have been meaning to post something about some movies I've seen lately, but haven't gotten around to it, so here goes....

1. I saw An Education while in London, and LOVED it. The coolest part is that there is a scene where the main characters go to a concert at this place in London, where I happened to be earlier in the day. But... I digress. Peter Sarsgaard is one of my favorite actors, and he was so good in this movie because he plays the role perfectly. Between this movie and Mad Men, I am so in love with the 60's fashions, but it does feel better to be a woman in the 00's. Although it takes place in the 60's, there are so many things that feel timely about this young woman's story.

2. You might have heard of a little movie called This is It starring a little performer named Michael Jackson.... I thought I'd enjoy this movie, but I liked it even more than I thought I would. It is easy to forget how great these songs were/are when his music has been out of the spotlight for a long time, but hearing it all again was fantastic. And the dancing? Amazing! There was a point where I was thinking, "Okay, we get it." And then all of a sudden, he goes into Billie Jean and I wanted it to keep on going.

3. Precious. This is getting tons of press and it is well deserved. I read the book and thought it was an okay book, but the movie really takes the story to a new level. Yes, these girls could be my clients. The only negative thing I could say is that I was with the most annoying audience. Not to give anything away, but there is a part of the movie where the main character, Precious, is smiling. The woman next to me is saying, out loud, "See? she's happy now. I can tell by her face. She's happy." I wanted to tear my hair out!!! Some people will say, "You only like depressing movies." It's pretty much true, but there are plenty of bright spots in this one.

Now is the time when all the best movies are coming out. Have you seen anything good lately??

Monday, November 23, 2009

A little something I whipped up this week


Jill came to town for the Springsteen concert, and as we were planning what we were going to do before the show, she asked, "Have you heard of Crumbs?" Apparently someone that Chris knows told them about it. Even though they are not my favorite cupcakes, I took them anyway. And you know what? They were deee-lish!
This was soon after the World Series, so they had these "Let's go Yankees" cupcakes.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Return

All my Springsteen shows are over. Now it's Mayer season and I went to two shows this past week. Tickets are on sale right now. I totally recommend you get some! (I'll be going to 6 shows total.)

I didn't get to see JM play on Letterman this time around because they taped early in the day. I consoled myself because I was able to go to this show. You might see me and Kathy among the crowd off to the left for a second while he's walking into the studio (around 1:02). Yes, I almost fainted.

Here's the performance that I didn't go to. Although I don't like this new song very much, I think the live version is actually pretty good.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

30 Rock quote of the week -- 11/19

I love how this show gets so many things right about living in New York. "With Manhattan real estate, there are no rules." When Liz Lemon faints after finding out that the guy upstairs had a two bedroom, that might have been a slight exaggeration. However, I once went out with a guy because he had his own two bedroom apartment, even though he defended Pres. Bush, and worse, Cheney.

The quote of the week goes to Jenna: Drama is gay man Gatorade. It replenishes their electrolytes.

Glee quote of the week -- 11/18

Okay, I admit it. I LOVE the song "Endless Love." There. I said it.

This week's quote is from Finn, who went to the bathroom to call Curt while having a panic attack at his girlfriend's house, said, "I have to go. They'll think I'm pooping."
(so, I like adolescent boy humor.)

Monday, November 16, 2009

This is wrong. It feels wrong.

I'm sure you can imagine how I feel about this new show.

Number 1 -- GMA

I know you've been on pins and needles waiting for my #1 pick, and here it is!
Another Eric Clapton song in my countdown... this time with Eric Clapton!

(yes, I was here, too!)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

30 Rock quote of the week -- 11/12

Jack tells Liz Lemon about his idea for her "Dealbreakers" TV show, Liz responds, "Spit take! Are you serious?"

Also, Liz asks Suree "Do I look okay?"
Suree responds, "That's exactly how you look."

Glee quote of the week -- 11/11

As they are auditioning new students for the Cheerios....

Mr. Schuester: Just let them express themselves.
Sue Sylvester: I'm about to projectile express myself all over your Hush Puppies.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Number 2 -- with Brad Paisley

Here's JM with Brad Paisley, during a CMT show where they sang each other's songs (although in this clip, they are singing an Eric Clapton song). I guess they do that on CMT sometimes.

(yes, I was at this show, in the sixth row. btw, when JM tells BP that he got the words right, he was actually wrong.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Number 3 -- Clarity at Red Rocks

This is a performance from another short-lived TV show called Pepsi Smash. I think it was just some show they did on Sunday evenings one summer. I was this close to being at this performance, because it was at the Red Rocks theater outside of Denver and I was going to go visit Jill and make her go with me to the concert. but I decided not to go, for some reason. Then when I watched this performance on TV, I was kicking myself.

This is another one of my favorite songs. Possibly my most favorite. It was the ringer on my phone for some time, so that means something, right?

Yes, just listening to it right now, I think I can say it's my favorite. Plus, I like this little interview with him at the beginning.

Here's an acoustic version of the song, which I also like:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Number Four -- Belief live from Abbey Road

"Belief" is another one of my favorites. He often opens with this song in concert, which I love.

Monday, November 9, 2009

London -- the cupcake report

Yes, the cupcake craze has made it across the pond. I did my usual online search for cupcakes and found three places, and one bakery was even featured in our guide book. However, we stumbled across Ella's bakehouse while shopping in Covent Garden and decided to go ahead in. We got this specialty cupcake which was called "Maltese" or something like that because it was malted flavor.
The verdict: No good.

It pretty much exemplifies why the cupcake craze has gone so wrong. They had a fantastic location. The cupcakes look good (they even have some kind of glitter that you can't see in this photo), but don't taste good. The cake was dry and tasteless and the frosting was not any better.

Next, we tried the cupcakes at Harrod's. Betcha didn't know they had them at Harrod's! I certainly didn't. We visited this most famous of department stores and literally never left the food court. Of course, this was Heidi's decision to go to this place in the first place and she was in heaven! I finally just gave her my camera because I didn't want to take picture of vegetables.
Each room has a theme (meat, vegetables, what have you), but I was not interested... until we found the chocolate room and then the baked goods room.

Here is their display of mini-cupcakes (the top photo is of the regular sized cupcakes). We asked for a vanilla/chocolate and a coconut cupcake. We received a chocolate/vanilla and vanilla/vanilla. Many people that work there are from elsewhere, but the woman that waited on us was the only one that appeared to actually speak English as a first language, so I don't know what the problem was.
The verdict: Okay.

Despite not getting what we asked for these cupcakes were a step above the last.

Last up was Hummingbird bakery. This is the only place that we actually sought out (featured both on the cupcake blog and in our book) and they were worth it! Heidi thought these were some of the best she'd ever had, although I don't think I'd go so far. Still, good taste, texture and moistness.

She got red velvet (left) and I got vanilla/vanilla. And then I said, "No more cupcakes!" ... For now, anyway...

Springsteen -- the final show (for now)

yes, even I am sick of my own blog posts about Springsteen shows. But this will be the last one, I promise.

On Saturday night, I went to my fifth show of this tour. Jill flew out and went with Chris, but I wasn't with them, unfortunately. Madison Sq. Garden is notoriously impossible to get tickets for a lot of things, but especially for The Boss. In the past, the show sells out superfast, and then scalpers sell the tickets for thousands of dollars. But I was able to get two tickets the traditional way when the concert went on sale, but they were single seats so I didn't get to sit with my friend, Shauna, either. Instead, I was sitting with the lamest audience that only seemed to be excited when the band played songs from Born in the USA (which, you may know, contains my least favorite songs).

Leading up to the show, Jill, Chris and I were talking about how we were hoping that he did another album from beginning to end. Of course, we hoped it would be "Born to Run" again. At dinner before the show, I was saying how he did 4 of the songs from "The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle" at the Izod Center back in May and Chris said he didn't like that album... well, sucks for him because that was the album for this show! I loved it!

At the end, Elvis Costello joined the band on stage. Of course, I was hoping they would do this:

But instead they did a cover of a Jackie Wilson song. Still good though.

Set list:

Prove It All Night
Hungry Heart
Working On A Dream

*The E Street Shuffle
*4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
*Kitty's Back
*Wild Billy's Circus Story
*Incident on 57th Street
*New York City Serenade

Waiting On A Sunny Day
Raise Your Hand
#Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street
#Glory Days (dedicated to the Yankees)
Human Touch
Lonesome Day
The Rising
Born To Run
Wrecking Ball
Bobby Jean
American Land
Dancing In The Dark
(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher (with Elvis Costello)

* The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle
# Requests

Do you think I have now made up for the fact that I did not see Springsteen perform at all in the 80's or 90's?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

30 Rock quote of the week -- 11/5

Dedicated to all of us New Yorkers that live in fear of getting bed bugs....
Jack: "I do not have bed bugs. I went to Princeton."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Number Five -- Why Georgia

"Why Georgia" is my favorite JM song, depending on the day you ask me. This is a performance from some show, but the one I was looking for was from years ago when Ryan Seacrest had a little afternoon variety show. I don't think this one is as good, but it will have to do. (I think he was wearing this same t-shirt, though.) JM was one of his first (and only) guests before it was cancelled a few weeks later. Since I can't find that performance, I'll post this one instead. You definitely get to see a lot of his facial expressions, for which he is well known. They don't bother me. But he has made some progress in that area in recent years.

Friday, November 6, 2009

30 Rock quote of the week -- 10/29

Liz Lemon and Jack continue their argument about "real America" as they are driving to Georgia to find a new actor for the show that will appeal to a broader audience.

Liz says to Jack, "There are plenty of American values in New York. But there are not restaurants called 'Fatty Fat Sandwich Ranch.' Turn here !"
Jack says, "Lemon, if this is going to play out like lunch, I suggest you crack your window now and save yourself the embarrassment in 20 minutes."
(I'm laughing now as I think about that one!)

a continuation on the theme, Liz says, "All of humankind has one thing in common. The Sandwich. I believe that all anyone wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich."

I love that quote because it reminds me of one of my all-time favorite episodes, "Sandwich Day," which was on in the second season, and which was playing on my trip to and from London. And yes, I watched it both times!

The Office quote of the week -- 11/5

Michael, offering Pam a raise so that she will forgive him, first for going out with her mom, and then breaking up with her on her birthday: "With this raise, there are strings attached and the string is attached from my heart to your mean attitude."

How could she not forgive him with that charming line?

The Office quote of the week -- 10/29

I caught up on "The Office" last night. Vacation is good, but I hate to have my shows stack up!

Michael: "I'm not usually the butt of a joke. I'm usually the face of a joke."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

London -- our favorite things

In 1998, Esther and I did a British Isles survey, visiting London, Wales, Dublin, Edinburgh and Sterling, all in about a week. I left that trip feeling a little underwhelmed by London because it didn't seem all that great in comparison to the other places we visited. At the same time I was overwhelmed because it is so big and we barely scratched the surface, so I felt like I didn't really get a sense of the place.

This time, I felt totally different. It is a very fun and exciting city, with lots to do. I kept finding myself saying, "Well, we don't have time for that this time, we'll have to do it next time," whereas last time, I never even thought there would be a next time. In fact, that first visit, I may have even spit on the ground, as the people of Scotland did, whenever we mentioned London. We had (mostly) great weather. And it's the first time that I came back from a vacation and didn't think, "How do I live in this crazy city?" because London is kind of like this crazy city in a lot of ways.

My top three things:

1. Does it sound lame to say that my #1 is their subway system, the tube? It is so easy, fast, clean and comfortable. With the unlimited fare cards, it could not be better getting around. Anytime we arrived just as a train was pulling away, there was another one 1 minute away and a third train 3 minutes away (I know because there is a sign that says when the next train is due to arrive. although this was nice, I still think it's a little bit pointless and I don't think we need them here in NYC, which has been discussed. but that's another story.) The only negative thing I could say is that we almost never got a seat. But that wasn't too bad because we usually were only on for a couple of stops.
This is a picture of me at the Waterloo station (obviously), where I went to see the play Inherit the Wind at the Old Vic Theater, which was great.

2. The National Gallery. This is one of the most interesting and best-laid out museums I have been to. Here I am in front of it. I also enjoyed the Portrait Gallery next door, with an awesome museum shop.

And here is Trafalgar Square, which faces the museum

3. Shopping. Everyone knows that I'm a sucker for an outdoor market and/or street fair and we went to two in one day. When we arrived, Heidi and I had some slight disagreements about what we should do. She said we had to go to Borough Market and I said we had to go to Portobello Market, and neither of us had heard of the other's market. The conversation went a little something like this:

Me: "The Rough Guide said that Portobello was their #1 pick. We have to go."
Heidi: "My Time Out says that Borough is a foodie paradise. We have to go."

So, we did both.

Here is Borough Market from above. Although this is a "foodie paradise" we ate at a regular restaurant first, so this is a picture from their window. Then we got a piece of cake from the market afterwards, but there was a little bit of everything there.

You can get a sense of the market, divided up into stalls, here:

Behind the market you can see a pub, which will be revisited later in this post.

This is Portobello Market. The stores along this road are open all week, but on Saturday and Sunday, they put some of their wares outside on tables, and more vendors fill in the gaps. I bought some china at the market, and Heidi bought a Shetland wool scarf.

The advantage of going to this market is that we got to see the area of Notting Hill, which turned out to be my favorite neighborhood. So cute! No wonder they made it the background of the silly and annoying, and yet watchable, movie starring Hugh Grant & Julia Roberts.

Heidi's faves:

1. The Tube (seriously, it's awesome). Also note on this sign: public bathrooms all over the city. Which is something that I really appreciate in a city. They are clean, had soap and TP and were almost always empty (which would not be the case here, I'm sure).

2. The Thames Pub walking tour. My friend, Trevor, who visits London often, recommended taking a guided walking tour. Our first night we decided to do this one. It appealed to me because the views along the Thames were supposed to be great (and they were). It appealed to Heidi because she was interested in the pub culture, which is huge. Here is Heidi in front of pub #2, with a local beer. This is also the pub that was pictured behind the Borough Market above. Isn't it quaint looking? I didn't try the beer, but did use the bathroom.

Along the tour, the guide pointed out some of the sights, including this one. This was Bridget Jones' apartment in the movie, which is a much better movie starring Hugh Grant.

The last pub that we visited had also been featured in some movies, including some Jane Austen movies (my favorite!) and maybe the books, too, but I didn't get a picture of that.

3. Regents Park. It is a lovely park, that was only about a 10 minute walk from where we were staying. Despite all the walking we did, we decided to go there a couple of times to run the track around the perimeter (believe it!!). The reason being that we did a lot of eating. A lot. Which is what I thought would be in Heidi's top three, since she's a foodie and all, but it wasn't. (more on the food, including cupcakes, to come.)

So, since the visit was technically supposed to be about exercising, I didn't take pictures, but there are plenty online, and here are some of them:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

London, baby! Part II

Here are some examples of conversations I have had with Heidi (who is traveling abroad for the first time) leading up to our trip:

Heidi: "my friend Susan told me that I should call my bank and credit card company and tell them that I will be out of the country so that they will know that my cards are not stolen when they see activity coming from London."
Me: "Yeah, I've heard that, but I've never had any trouble before."

Heidi: "I am going call my bank today."
Me: "okay. I'm not going to do that, though."
Heidi: "Really? I read that we should."
Me: "I'm not worried. But you can."

(At the airport in New York.)
Heidi: "Oh, there is an exchange place. Should we exchange some money now?"
Me: "You can if you want, but I'm just going to get money from the ATM at the airport."

Heidi: "I called my bank and credit card company, so I'm all set for the trip!"
Me: (thinking 'Good for you!')

We get off the plane in Heathrow. I head straight to the ATM to take out some money. My card is denied. I figure they are just out of cash. I go to a different ATM, where my card is denied again. I go to a third ATM, and my card is denied for a third time. Heidi has to pay for our cab. Once in the city, I try the ATM of a bank that is partnerned with mine in The States, figuring that the problem must be that my bank card is not recognized by their ATMs. Again, denied.

I call my bank, on the verge of swearing up a storm, and am told that they saw some suspicious activity on my card and put a hold on it.

Me: "WHAT??"
Heidi: "Told you so."

(Can I just add that in 2009 alone, I have been to Rome and Montreal twice and have not had a problem?? Grrrrrrr......)

Guess which one of us is Joey (super excited) and which one of us is Chandler (Westminster crabby) in this scenario.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Number Nine -- Conan O'Brien

This is short, but sweet. JM shows up around 2:40.

London, baby!

So, tonight I leave for London, and it got me thinking about the other times I have been there. The first time was many years ago and it was the first of several fun trips that Esther and I took together. She was planning to go to visit her friend, who was doing a study abroad program there, and invited me. She was traveling from Washington DC and I was traveling from New York, so we had to meet up there, obviously, where we would stay two nights at her friend's place. When I got off the plane and went through customs, the guy looked at my passport and found that I had a visa from the time that I lived in Norway. He asked if I planned to stay in England for a while, as I had in Norway. I said no. He asked where I was staying. It wasn't until this point that I realized that I had absolutely no idea where I was staying. I was being picked up at the airport by Esther and her friend. I started to wonder what would happen if, somehow, we did not find each other. I didn't have an address, a phone number, didn't know which school she was at and didn't even know her last name! All I knew was that her name was Becky, which may or may not be short for Rebecca. This was not very smart of me, and yet pretty typical. Fortunately, they were at the airport waiting for me as soon as I got out of customs, and it was the beginning of a super fun week touring the UK.

The next time I was in London was just a stopover on my way to Ireland. My former roommate, Julia, had been in Ireland all summer, once again for a study abroad program, and I came over at the end of her program to tour the countryside with her. My plan was to meet her at the dorms where she was staying in Cork, and this time I had all the information -- address and phone number. But somehow, I left all the information safely posted on my refrigerator at home. The bigger issue is that I missed my connection from Heathrow to Dublin and had to call her to let her know that I was not going to be there until the following day. As luck would have it, at that time, Julia and I had a subletter, who happened to be Jason, recently of my Montreal postings' fame. I called him from a pay phone to get Julia's phone number. Since I did not even have a pen on me, I had to use my eyeliner to write the number down. Talk about being prepared! It all worked out, though, and again, we had a fabulous time.

Trip number three begins tonight. I am traveling with Heidi, who befriended some Londoners who were in NYC for work some months back. They decided to do an apartment swap. So, once again, I'm traveling to London with no idea where I'm going or where I'm staying. I just hope she remembers to bring the information with her!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Glee quote of the week -- 10/21

The plot line between Noah and Rachel is my second favorite of the series so far. (my favorite was the one when Curt "auditions" for kicker and later comes out to his dad, all while being accompanied by "Single Ladies.")

I also loved that Sue fell in and out of love in one episode, giving us the little treasure of Will & Sue dancing together, before turning back into mortal enemies after she gets dumped.

The other great number is the Thong Song, which will always remind me of a conversation I had years ago with Esther after she first heard the song. I totally did not believe it was a real song, and kept saying, "Are those the real words?".

So, my quote belongs to Finn, who says to Curt, right before throwing the slushie in his face: "I know how picky you are about the products you use on your face."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

30 Rock quote of the week -- 10/22 -- That's a Dealbreaker!

So many quotes, so annoying to have to take so many notes while watching TV.

Liz, after having an altercation with the book store guy: "Blammo! Another successful interaction with a man!"

Frank: "If your man collects action figures? That's a dealbreaker? Last week, I picked up this girl after practicing Jedi moves in Prospect Park..."
Liz: "Also a dealbreaker."
Frank: "... took her back to my house on the handlebars of my bike..."
Liz: "As is that."
Frank: "... snuck her inside past my mom..."
Liz: "Whoa! That's four!"
Frank: "... she sees my mint condition Hellboy figurine and starts quoting your book!"

And one more from Devin (Will Arnet): "It was a year ago that you kicked me to the curb. I started plotting my revenge that very day. I knew that I had to align myself with something more powerful than GE, and since American Idol is not on till January, that left the US Government."

Yes, I will be saying "Blammo!" from now on.

Number 10 -- VH1 commercial

John Mayer has a new album coming out November 17. To get in the spirit, I'm going to post my top ten JM TV moments. Here's number 10.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fall treats

Everyone has been posting their fall photos, so it was time for me to get on the ball and post mine.

On Saturday, Heidi, Kathy and I rented a car and drove to a farm in NJ. I got 15 pounds of apples. Yes, FIFTEEN pounds.

The two animal lovers.

Afterwards, we stopped by Princeton University to take a look around. The whole time, we commented on how it just doesn't compare to the beauty of BYU. ha ha.

so homesick afterwards. *sniff*

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cupcakes -- Montreal take two!

Last time I went to Montreal, my efforts to try a cupcake north of the border were thwarted. This time.... we were able to get cupcakes from THREE different bakeries. Stop #1 was a place that J had not tried yet called Les Glaceurs. It was next to the Notre Dame Basilica and it was a winner!

Above is my cupcake (Vanilla/Vanilla) which was beautifully decorated. J and Kathy both got red velvet with cream cheese frosting piled high. I may have stolen a bit of their frosting because there was a lot of it and it was really good. They didn't have a big selection of cupcakes, which is usually fine for me, but I was in the mood to try something different. Also, it may sound strange coming from this New Yorker, but their customer service really left a lot to be desired.

Next up was Petits Gateaux, which is the place closest to J's apartment. We went there with low expectations, but a plan to get a dozen minis so we could taste all of their different options. I had high hopes that at least one of those options would be maple flavored. We should have known better. When we arrived, we found that all their options were sold out for the day... except for these three. Only one flavor of mini remained and two flavors of regular cupcakes. Our favorite turned out to be the Tea Cranberry Violet (the purple one on the left). The Vanilla/Vanilla one on the right was pretty good, and the two mini ones in front were so unremarkable, I don't even remember what that flavor was. Vanilla cake with some weird spongy frosting with some other fruity thing baked in. When you touched the frosting, it didn't move. I don't know what that whole thing was about.

The following day we hit the mother lode when we went to Cocoa Locale! We went early to be sure we did not suffer the same fate as last time. We met the owner and I might have said something like, "I recognize you from your website!" like she was some celebrity. They have three flavors, Lemon coconut, Vanilla/Vanilla and Chocolate Chai. All three were delicious and really blew the other two bakeries out of the water. Honestly, that Vanilla/Vanilla is definitely top five in my book (although my photography is not). The cake is the perfect moistness and the perfect density. Actually it reminded me of Magnolia in flavor, but the texture was different. The frosting is the perfect sweetness. Some people complain if there is too much frosting, but I don't think anyone would complain about the amount of frosting on these cupcakes, even someone that thinks the cake is just a necessary evil to get to the frosting (like me).

I don't always go for chocolate because often it is too rich for me. These Chocolate Chai cupcakes were really good, and yes, really rich chocoalte with a hint of spiciness, so after my sample, I left them for Kathy who thinks "why bother?" when dealing with desserts that are not chocolate. The Lemon Coconut was also to die for, even the next day, it was the perfect moistness.
I look forward to my next trip north.... which will not be happening until after winter!

The Office quote of the week -- 10/15

Dwight: "Criminals are like raccoons. Give them a taste of cat food, pretty soon they will be back fo the whole cat."

Friday, October 16, 2009

30 Rock quote of the week -- 10/15 season premiere

I'm thrilled that my favorite show started last night and it did not disappoint! Of course, my quotes of the week have to do with the real America/fake America argument that Tina Fey has been mocking since she first donned her Sarah Palin wig (and probably before that).

Jack, raising a glass, "To TGS! We'll trick those race-car loving wide-loads into watching your lefty-homoerotic propaganda hour yet!"
Liz Lemon: "You don't like anybody, do you?"

Jack: " We have lost touch with the heartland consumers....with real America."
Liz Lemon: "That's a nonsense term. All of America is America."

Jack: "Our new mammogram machine is called 'The Git-R-Done 2000."
and I can't forget Jack's reference to "Comrade Obama"!

plus, here are two from Tracy:
"I can't eat this! I'm a foodie." (that one is dedicated to Heidi. I, however, would probably like the hot dog wrapped in pizza.)
"Have I lost touch with my roots? I better talk to Rabbi Schmuley about this!"

Glee quote of the week -- 10/14

Within the first few minutes, I was pausing my DVR to write down funny quotes. But then I was too tired to keep watching and I knew I didn't want to miss a thing, so I waited until Thursday to watch the whole thing. Here's the first:

Jacob: "Have you been reading my blog?"
Rachel: "Of course not. You're a gossip monger and your blog is nothing but trash and lies, many of them about me."
Jacob: "Well, you'll be happy to know, the one I'm working on now has nothing to do with you or your rumored lust for Jew 'fros."

Sue also had several good ones, for example:
as Will approaches her in the hallway, "I thought I smelled failure."
"I know I'm not like the rest of you hippies, caring about kids feelings as if they're real."
"I love minorities so much, I'm thinking of moving to California to be one."
...and of course... "I don't trust a man with curly hair. I can't help picturing small birds laying sulphurous eggs in there and I find it disgusting."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

140th anniversary

This past weekend was the 140th Anniversary of my agency. It sounds like it was a great reunion!

Montreal 2.0

I made my return to Montreal over the Columbus day weekend.

... hung out with Jason.....

.... enjoyed the city....

... and the food...

(remember Poutine? below is the 3 meat version -- sausage, bacon and ground beef-- which still contains the french fries, cheese curd and gravy. yes, it's delicious.) (a crepe with strawberries and Nutella. yum!)

... and came home with some maple products. Thanks for giving us a holiday, Columbus!

(stay tuned for the cupcake report!)