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