29 August 2008

I Like Cake

29 years ago today, I discovered my love for cake.

26 August 2008

Those Epic Music Videos

Today it is raining buckets (yay!) and it made me think of the video for "November Rain." Oh how I loved that video. Since I've been listening to Muse the past few days, the thought of the video for "November Rain" made me think of this most genius of videos:

24 August 2008

Sucked In

And I do mean that quite literally.

Earlier this month, 2nd of August to be exact, I went to a book release party for Stephenie Meyer's new book, "Breaking Dawn." Unfamiliar with the author or the book, I was informed that "Breaking Dawn" finished a series of 4 very popular books about vampires (mostly good), high school students and the love story Bella and her Edward - a love story to transcend the ages (mostly because vampires are immortal). I had read of Ms. Meyer and her popularity in The New York Times some time back and when the words "youth" and "high school students" were mentioned, I quickly surmised that this series of books would not be for me.

At the release party, my suspicions were temporarily confirmed. As I scanned the very crowded Barnes & Noble looking for the friend who invited me, I saw clusters of middle school and high school kids dressed in everything from A&F polos to head-to-toe black to prom dresses. Yes, prom dresses. It seems these readers really get into character.

My friend and I laughed about how we probably identified more with the parents who brought all of these kids than with our fellow book-release partygoers. But as the night continued, we learned there were many others our age waiting patiently for 12:01 to strike.

There was a contest to celebrate which attendee knew the most about the books, there was a dress contest for the girl who most looked like Bella in her prom dress, and there were homemade T-shirts emblazoned with either "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob." (I quickly wondered if I should have worn a "Team Aniston" or "Team Jolie" shirt to prove that I, too, once held an allegiance to a love triangle that was not my own). Oh the chatter, the constant chatter about characters that seemed more alive than any of us in that store. Heated debates flared around me about who was kinder to Bella - Edward or Jacob? Some of the guys in attendance contemplated the real life of a vampire. Would they shy away from sunlight, as myth would lead us to believe? Would they really not have a taste for soda and pizza or is that just playing into the stories created by frightened farmers living in the Transylvanian countryside?

But then my friend said in all seriousness that she really enjoyed these books and they were really well written. This friend has impeccable taste in books, I must add. I didn't buy "Breaking Dawn" or any of the books that night. Instead I picked up a fantastic biography on Chairman Mao I had been eyeing for quite some time. I did promise that night to read at least Twilight, if not the series.

So with little expectation, I began to read "Twilight," the first book of the series, on Friday night. Today is Sunday and I am a quarter of the way into the second book, "New Moon." (Thanks to another generous friend and fan of the series I was able to borrow the second book yesterday, avoiding the danger of having to wait any time at all before I could continue reading the series).

I must say it is an interesting story Ms. Meyer weaves. Sure the dialogue is at times over-the-top and melodramatic, but that's to be expected of characters in high school. And this Edward seems completely unbelievable at times with his unique talents and gifts, but that's to be expected as well. I think the magic of this book, if you'll pardon the pun, is that the story moves quickly and the writing style feels more like a personal email from your new friend Bella detailing her journey through the murky waters of senior year in a new town. Ms. Meyer doesn't go overboard with physical descriptions of the character, which allows you to slowly draw the faces of each person as the story unfolds. And that explains why so many girls at that release party entered the Bella-look-alike contest. Because they all could have looked like Bella as they read their books.

So if you're just about done with your summer reading list and you are looking for something appropriate for autumn, may I suggest a story of vampires surrounded by the scenery of Washington State?

18 August 2008

Three Decades Worth of Thought

For a lot of people, the start of a new year is cause for reflection. You know the drill - regrets, achievements and resolutions all washed down with a thin glass of bubbly. I've never been huge on resolutions, though. Sometimes I consider declaring the upcoming year to be the year I will try to learn more French or I will learn piano. While I may say these things to myself, I never say them out loud to other people. I treat such statements as guidelines or a gee-that-would-be-nice goal. Life is too short to stress out about resolutions made while a stereo blasts Prince in the background and you wear a paper tiara.

But birthdays are another matter. To be completely honest, I've been dreading this year's birthday (30) for over a year. Now, I know what you're thinking, 30 isn't such a big deal! In fact your thirties are the time in your life when you finally come into your own. It's not the number that fills my stomach with dread but rather where I am in life.

Before I moved to Belfast, I thought about what I would do once my year abroad ended. Would I return to L.A.? Would I move to another city? Or would I move back home to S.C. I felt that I had missed too many things in the lives of my sister and brother and that I would welcome a holiday that didn't involve LAX, so I chose to move back to S.C. While I am glad to be near my family, I feel completely like a fish out of water in my hometown. It seems that no one wants to hire a girl from L.A. who worked in the record industry for a time. And they certainly don't want to hire a girl who volunteered for a year for Habitat for Humanity in a country that, to them, doesn't really seem to need a lot of help. This market is too small for event planners and youth marketing specialists and guerilla marketing agencies. It is a round hole and I am a square peg.

In just under two weeks time I will turn 30. I will be living in my brother's old room in my parent's house. I will probably have no new freelance work lined up and, since my temp agency seems to be M.I.A., no temp work on the calendar. My dwindling savings account will continue to dwindle and the maintenance-required light will still be shining in my Civic. I will celebrate without my brother and sister because they are in the habit of doing other things on August 29th.

But honestly, who needs a house of one's own at 30 or a corner office or a picture-perfect family sitting like ducks in a row on the front pew of church? Who needs a BlackBerry bedazzled with crystals or a Polo-clad boyfriend driving a Range Rover? Not me.

No, I will enjoy things they way they are because I know this is exactly where I am supposed to be right now. I am thankful for the opportunity to get to know my parents even better that I could have living 3,000 miles away. I am thankful for the wee bit of freelance work that has come my way. I am glad to be rid of selfish and unkind friends. And I am so very honored for the incredible friends I have scattered across The States and Northern Ireland.

Besides, I hear 30 is the new 19 or something like that.

13 August 2008

Cute Enough to Eat!

How do I love etsy.com? Let me count the ways.

If you have not discovered to joy to be found at etsy.com, may I please take a moment to unabashedly promote this online storefront for literally 100,000 artists selling their handmade wares. Oh I how love it.

Take the photo above, for instance. It is of a satin cupcake that is not only cute but also poses no threat to upgrade the size of your jeans. Who knows why the heck you would ever need a satin cupcake, but it is nice to know that satin cupcakes are out there somewhere in the world.

Here is the link to the artist's site: eatmenot.co.uk. To buy, visit: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5068220

May I also proclaim my love for the etsy site for Luxedeluxe: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=62605
Oh my word how I love this Edinburgh artist and her gorgeous affordable jewelry. If you've got some time to kill, please take a look at all of the pretty, pretty things.

12 August 2008

And Then There Were Three

A while back I introduced you to my brother's new puppy, Moses. Well, since that time we have added two more pups to our household.

Right now, as I sit in the sliver of shade provided by our patio umbrella, the two puggles are running absolutely berserk. The boston terrier is trying hopelessly to keep up despite his small size; he is a few weeks younger than the puggles and is the runt of his litter.

I've picked a few photos that seem to represent their personalities and two photos I took 10 minutes ago that capture the puppy madness that whirls around my feet today.

Here is one of Moses taken about a week ago:

Abigail, Moses' sister, on her first day home:

And our mighty little Boston Terrier Winston:

Here is what they've been up to this morning:

11 August 2008

America Apparently Doesn't Like Gossip Girl

Check out this hilarious clip from The Soup. As you watch it, pay close attention to America Ferrera's facial expressions.

Love it!

10 August 2008

If You Have to Spend 5 Hours on a Runway

Here is what I saw for 3 of the 5 hours I sat on a runway at Boston Logan Airport:

Now, if you have to be confined to a teeny tiny airplane seat on row 22 for 5 hours due to inclement weather, it is best that that name on the plane is JetBlue. If you are travelling with your 20 year-old brother, you must ensure that the name on that plane is JetBlue. Why? DirecTV. Think: 4 channels of ESPN, Bravo, 3 music channels, The Food Network, and some other channels I clicked thru by using the handy dandy control panel on my armrest.

My brother and I travelled to Washington, D.C. on Sunday of last week to see Coldplay perform for exactly 86 minutes before a 4-minute encore that included a shower of colorful paper confetti. The next morning we arose at 5 a.m. to catch a JetBlue flight to Boston to see Coldplay play another 86 minutes before a 4-minute encore that included a shower of colorful paper confetti. Now before you get any grand ideas about the two of us being crazed fans that follow the tour bus across the country, please note that a) we aren't rich people and b) the original Washington, D.C. date was cancelled only to be rescheduled after we decided to see them in Boston instead. Both sets of tickets were valid and both shows would be back-to-back. We thought, why tha heck not.

Back to JetBlue.

So, on the way back to D.C. from Boston, our flight was delayed for 30 minutes due to thunderstorms. Then the flight was delayed to 90 minutes because of incredible thunderstorms. Then a 3-hour delay and so on and so forth. To be perfectly honest those hours kind of passed me by in a blur of TV that included: "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List" episodes, Tyler Florence showing off his perfectly roasted pork, U2 rocking out in Harlem back in the 80's and endless reports of Brett Favre joining the ranks of the NY Jets. It was only when I noticed that I couldn't feel my tailbone that I started to get antsy about taking off. And as for my brother, he was OK once he finished ranting about never flying again and swearing to change the weather patterns of the entire East Coast.

It seems pretty obvious that flying will either become more and more like taking a Greyhound or it will become a privilege only the uber wealthy enjoy - at least that's what Anderson Cooper says. I think he places most of the blame on fuel prices, but nevertheless I think passengers would put up with the $4 diet cokes, $12 boxes of crackers and cramped leg quarters if each passenger could possess the power of flipping through 30 channels of entertainment. While you can't do anything about the weather grounding your flight and you certainly can't stop chatty Cathy from loudly talking on her mobile phone while reclining her chair in your lap, you sure can exercise a wee bit of control over the small screen centered on the back of the seat in front of you.

And a message to Mr. Chris Martin and gang, I'd like to request that maybe you shake up the set lists a bit. D.C. and Boston were the.exact.same.show. With the exception of one song. And the lead-singer-to-crowd banter? The same for both shows. No joke.

But it was a good time - if only for the chance to get reacquainted with my brother after many years of living in different cities.