30 October 2008

Hey Brandon, I'm Dancer!

Ok, Ok. I'll admit it -- I like the new Killers song...a lot. I was a hater back in the day because all I ever heard was "The Killers are the next big thing" followed by their many, many, many singles that never stopped.

But today is another day. And I love this video. And I love the fact that the chorus is:

"Are we human or are we dancer"

Me? I'm dancer! (not to be confused with prancer or whatever)

My old friends at Universal won't let me embed the video, so here's the link:


And here is what it might look like when the band plays the song live:

28 October 2008

Who Says Vodka's Just For Breakfast?

When you look over your work history, is there one job that you wish you could just blot out entirely? Maybe go back in time and tell your former self, "Pass this one by. Don't take it. You'll thank me later."

There is exactly one job on my CV that I wish I could blot out. It wasn't all doom and gloom in the trenches of this job -- I did make a great friend out the experience -- but for the most part, it was hell. The reasons for such a sour outlook on my experience can be detailed later, but for now I am focused on the idea of learning from past mistakes.

So, yesterday, I had a 2nd interview for a job that was pretty much administrative and required loads of computer time. The company is one that evokes warm and fuzzy feelings as it does good work throughout the county that neighbors the county I live in. (trying to be cryptic here) While I would have enjoyed about 2 months of this job, I saw yellow flags somewhere around the 3 month mark. Early mornings. Long commute. Very formal office attire. Upping the prescription level of my eyeglasses from all the hours in front of a monitor. I saw these warning flags after the first interview and voiced them to my "employment peeps," but I was encouraged to go on the 2nd interview anyway.

Before my second interview, I thought long and hard about how to strike the balance between blowing the interview entirely and subtly suggesting that I might not be the best candidate for the job. Here are a few things I came up with:

1. Laugh like Janice from Friends
2. Eat blue cheese and roasted garlic just prior to the interview
3. Curse
4. Talk about drinking, specifically mentioning that Vodka isn't just for breakfast anymore. No, I love it right after lunch!

I did none of these things. I did, however, turn the job down. Today I send out emails looking for more freelance work and wonder, but only for a half-second, if I made the right choice. Then I sip my after-lunch martini.

24 October 2008

Living In A Deluxe Condo

If any of you have ever had the joy of house training a puppy, you will be familiar with the term "cage training."

What a cruel-sounding thing to do to a puppy!

At our house, we don't tell the pups to get into their "cage." No, we prefer the term "condo." When the pups come in from the great outdoors, we enthusiastically say, "Go to your condo!" The pups run right into their spacious condo (two former cages joined together to make a penthouse condo) and pick up their favorite chew toys (a pink stuffed stiletto with the label Bark Jacobs or a brown stuffed purse with the label Chewy Vuitton). The life of a pup - ain't it grand?



22 October 2008

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be A Riter.

When I was about 6 or so, I sat down on my bed with a Hello Kitty notepad determined to choose the course my life would take. I made a list of possible occupations that included:

- Teacher
- Nurse
- Vet
- Riter

Then, I asked my dad to review my choices and tell me which he thought would be the best choice. I'll haven't forgotten his reply after reading over my options: "Well if you want to be a writer, you should probably know that writer begins with a "W" and not an "R."

Tomorrow I head to an interview for a job that I really could care less about. It's a position with a company that does good work so it's not like I am interviewing for a job in a chicken factory or something horrific like that, but it's been a long time since I felt excitement about a job. I blame this on my decision a few years back to stop allowing my job to define who I am as a person. It's hard not to fall into this trap when you live in the States. One only needs to attend a dinner party to see what I mean.

"Hello, nice to meet you so-and-so. And what do you do?"
"Oh, I'm an advertising exec."

See? Right there this person has said, "I read 'Vanity Fair,' wear edgy glasses probably made in Germany and listen to Joy Division in my Audi. (OK so maybe the Joy Division thing is more graphic designer than ad exec, but you know what I mean). We all put people in boxes according to information we receive about them -- their profession, the car they drive or the church they attend. It's normal. It's healthy. But for some reason, I don't want to be defined by a job anymore.

Back to that list I made way back when. I don't know if I'll ever become a "riter," but I did join a writing group recently. I am currently working on something that provides a necessary escape from the often-mundane life I now lead, and this project promises to provide a creative outlet even if my job does not.

Now, let's hope that bit about my terrible spelling doesn't come up in a session with the writer's group.

20 October 2008

Continuing The To Be Continued...

OK so when I last left the story of my recent holiday to Ireland and London, my friend Karen and I were camped out at a Dublin hospital. Apologies in advance, this post will not have very many photos.

May I take a moment to point out that the hospital we visited, St. Vincent's, is located in one of my favorite parts of Dublin, Ballsbridge, which is a second-runner up to my most favorite part of Dublin, Sandymount.

The wait for Karen to see a doctor took many hours. Once Karen saw a doctor, the wait continued for many hours. Lucky for me, I brought Anna Karenina to read on this trip. I powered through almost 300 pages while waiting at St. Vincent's that day. To sum up the experience: the staff was friendly and very busy, the waiting room was like an off-Broadway play, and the casualty area (ER to us Yanks) was crammed full of beds and people.

After leaving St. Vincent's, leg brace and Atari joystick in-hand, Karen and I made the drive to Belfast to visit the fantastic Williams family (minus Anna because she was enjoying her first week at Trinity). We ate delish food and caught up on the events that had passed since I last sat at their kitchen table back in December. From this point, my story seems to have a theme: cute kids with even cuter personalities belonging to friends I made last year.

First, there was my friend Victoria's baby boy Judah. He was born this past summer so this was my first chance to meet him. He was full of smiles and sat on my lap straight away. Next, I caught up with my friend Clare and her daughter Martha. Martha, like most babies, had changed dramatically in the year since I had last seen her. She was standing and laughing and scrunching up her nose when she smiled. Adorable. The third baby I saw was Josh, the son of Peter and Tracy. What can I say about Josh that won't sound like a paid endorsement? This kid was so very cute (in a Baby Gap way) and always seemed in good form even when he had a cold. Josh laughed at my weird faces and endured my strange voices -the ideal audience.

I've never really been one of those people who goes ga-ga over a passing stroller / pram, but with after spending time with these kids, I can see why people would light up at the site of a Bugaboo. Although, I put my foot down at baby voices. I just won't do them.

The last leg of my trip was spent in London. There is an expression I agree with very much and that is, "tired of London, tired of life." I've been to London several times and each time I leave the city with a longer must-see list than when I first arrived. I was very lucky on this trip to be able to meet up with Katherine, a friend I made in my hometown earlier this year. Katherine is currently pursuing a Ph.d at St. Andrews in Scotland. We had a fantastic time exploring the British Museum, trying out new dishes at Wagamama and talking about books, books, and more books.

We also spotted two of England's finest thespians while we were walking through the West End: Jude Law and Rupert Friend. (they weren't spotted together. mr. law was walked past us and mr. friend was talking to several people outside a theatre while waiting for their play to resume)

It was hard to end this holiday, but my seat assignment for my journey home made it bearable. Seat 4A, folks. It will probably be the only time in my life that I will travel across the Atlantic with a wine glass in my hand and my legs stretched out completely before me. I see why people say that Business Class is a necessary indulgence.

Peter, this photo was discreetly taken with you in mind:

15 October 2008

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

I returned from my trip to Ireland/N. Ireland/London this past weekend and have loads of adventures to share. So many, in fact, that I think I'll tell my tale in more than one post.

My journey began with an 11 hour layover in Newark on a Thursday. I'm not a huge fan of sitting in awkward pleather chairs for hours on end while being inundated by announcements about watching your luggage, so I took the train into the city and had lunch with my friend Sarah. (quick shout-out for her super blog: www.sarahisabadass.blogspot.com)

Delicious lunch and fantastic conversation - that's what every long layover should include.

I spent my first weekend in Belfast with two good pals: Elizabeth and Ben. We ate good food (a priority for a good holiday), listened to loads of new music and checked out a Belfast band called Ten Gallon Hat & The Big Salute. Great show.

After enjoying a coffee with Elizabeth at Belfast's best local coffee shop, Clements on Royal Ave., I left Belfast for Dublin to meet up with my pal Karen from L.A.

Karen and I spent Tuesday running a few errands in Dublin City Centre before visiting a gorgeous Georgian house just outside of Dublin called Castletown.

Castletown House

I believe this is what Jane Austen had in mind when she described Pemberley.

And here's a nice shot of Autumn on the grounds of Castletown

While in Dublin, I was able to catch up with my friend Anna who just started at Trinity. As Anna is still getting the lay of the land in the way of discovering Dublin's best cups of coffee and spots for dinner, it was important to me that I assist her in searching for her new favorite spots. Our "research" concluded that Bewley's on Grafton Street consistently serves up delish lattes and mochas as well as mixed berry scones.

For dinner on Tuesday night, I insisted that Karen and I meet Anna at an Irish burger place called BoBo's on Camden Street. The place is within walking distance from Anna's new flat and I am sure that she will be back for more BoBo's. (Anna, I think the life changing powers of that burger have yet to be felt). I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a really good burger with a bucket of hand-cut chips.

(I took this photo last year. Bet you never thought of Dublin as a good burger destination!)

On Wednesday Karen and I travelled south to Co. Wicklow to see some of my old favorite spots.

The best Irish shop, Avoca in Co. Wicklow

This isn't actually the shop but it does make for a nice picture. Avoca started way back in the 1700's as a woolen mill and today they still make beautiful scarves and blankets as well as gorgeous food. (and I mean gorgeous. even their soup looks like it came outta Gourmet Magazine)

The Meeting of the Waters, also in Co. Wicklow

Glendalough, another Co. Wicklow gem

On our third and last night in Dublin, Karen and I walked to dinner from our hotel in City Centre. Normally a walk to dinner isn't a highlight of a vacation, but this particular walk sure won't be forgotten by either of us for a very, very long time. Karen is usually very timid about crossing city streets unless pedestrians are given the green light, but for some reason she was especially daring as we crossed a street in front of Trinity College. A woman on a bike came out of the darkness ringing her bell shouting, "On the bike! On the bike!" Seconds later, the woman on the bike was no longer on the bike and Karen was sitting on the curb. The woman on the bike rode away with a torn glove and ripped jeans while Karen hobbled away with a fracture just below her knee and a chipped elbow. I know this because we visited a Dublin hospital the next day where Karen was X-rayed and outfitted with a leg brace that velcroed up the length of her leg and one crutch that looked like an Atari joystick.

Here is Karen post-accident, pre-hospital paraphernalia

And that is where I will leave this story for now.