Thursday, August 31, 2006

Taking a break from TV

I am completely out of original thoughts today. Plus, I need to get back to my Veronica Mars first-season marathon, so that I can hopefully finish the second season before the new season starts up on October 3. So, I'm just going to post this nifty thing I found at

The top ten reasons why liberals are better than conservatives:

10) Liberals prefer to be sensitive to the issues of various groups of people, while Conservatives deride sensitivity as “political correctness.” (”Macaca,” anyone?)

9) Conservatives prefer cutting taxes on the wealthy even if it creates deficits. Liberals believe in paying for what you spend.

8) Conservatives prefer to thumb their noses at the rest of the world. Liberals remember that America is the leader of a community of nations.

7) Conservatives prefer to shoot first and ask questions later. Liberals prefer to ponder the long-term consequences of their actions before using force.

6) Conservatism cares most about what is best for the individual, and is therefore inherently a selfish philosophy. Liberalism cares most about what’s best for society and the environment as a whole.

5) Conservatives prefer to prey on the environment for the sake of industry. Liberals understand that without a healthy planet and environment there can BE no industry.

4) Conservatives want to legislate morality to other people who may not share their views. Liberals prefer to live and let live.

3) Conservatives believe that majority rules. Liberals understand that the Bill of Rights was crafted to protect minorities from the predations of majorities.

2) For conservatives, religion and politics are like bread and butter. For liberals, they are like oil and water.

And the top reason in my mind why conservatism is backwards and Luddite:

1) Conservatives prefer looking to the past for guidance on solving today’s problems. Liberals understand that times change and often require new approaches to problems not envisioned by our forefathers.

I also can’t help but toss in one last one for the sake of humor:

0.5) Have you ever known anyone “hip” who was a conservative?

Fun with celebrities

We've been talking about it, but today, we actually did something about it: Justin's fantasy celebrity league.*

I have no idea how it'll work, but it's free and sounds promising.

*It's the Kirk Cameron 4 MVP league.

Reality TV update

I'm too upset to really talk about Rock Star. (Boo! Ryan! He was so intense and, uh, hot. Why not crazy-eye Storm or midget Lukas?) And, Inbal managed to beat me to blogging Project Runway. (Yay! Angela and her weird-ass bubble skirts are gone! Uber-cool rock-n-roll designer Jeffrey won a challenge!)

Instead, here's an excellent Entertainment Weekly article on why Project Runway is "sew addictive." (Despite the bad pun, the article is still quite good. Seriously.)

History of Dara, part 2

As I said in my prior post, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. My family always noticed it, and to some extent, always assumed I’d be a writer. I don’t know if my daily legal writing really counts.

Anyway, my great-grandfather bought me my first "grown up" journal, shortly before he died when I was 8. Up until that point, I had a little purple diary with a lock and key – like all little girls – but I never had a journal for the express purpose of story writing. I didn’t write in it at first, because I didn’t really know what to say. But I vaguely remember writing my first story in the journal a couple years thereafter – but only because I remember reading it to the assembled family at some kind of holiday get-together, before we moved from New Jersey to Florida. Based on circumstantial evidence and contextual clues, I am fairly certain that I wrote it when I was around 10 or 11.

Anyway, here it is, in all its glory -- and with no editing. Enjoy.

When the letter arrived she recalled the moment. She had been barely more than a child at the time when it happened. She was 13, and she saw a man suffocating inside a burning building. She dragged him out, and then called an ambulance. When he came to, he thanked her and requested her name. She answered, “Josephine Anne Smith.”

Now, she was 21 and an heiress to a great fortune left to her by her parents. She lived in the mansion on their estate, Foxwood Estate. She also owned and operated her own business started by her father J.B. Smith Fashions, Inc. She called herself by her old knickname, JoAnne.

Her company had been in need of a new warehouse and when the letter came, she felt relieved for it said, “Dear Miss Josephine Anne, You are the only heir of Mr. George Donaldson, the man you rescued from a burning building 8 years ago. He left his entire fortune to you if you stay in his estate, Donaldson Woods for at least one night. After this, the estate along with the sum of 2 and one half million dollars are to be yours. If you do not, the inheritance will be given to certain specified charities. Yours truly, Geoffery P. Chantler, lawyer.” She then thought, “I’ll leave tomorrow.”

While our heroine lays sleeping, let me describe her to you. She was very attractive, dark blonde hair, blue eyes, and a peaches and cream complexion. Her hair was long and usually fell to the bottom of her back neatly braided. She had a fine wardrobe, ranging from the newest things off the rack, to ancient ball gowns. She had a slight Southern drawl, for she grew up in Georgia. Her parents had come from Georgia, while her mothers parents came from England, and her fathers parents from France. Her family had been rich for as far back as her great-great-great-grandparents could remember, and therefore had would up with an extremely large fortune.

In the morning, JoAnne dressed for the trip down to Brunswick. She got dressed in a black dress, and put on black gloves and a black hat with a veil of the same color. As she put on her black shoes, she surveyed herself in the mirror. “Perfect, “ she thought. She then packed her overnight bag. She grabbed her purse and her bag and climbed into the backseat of her limosine to go to the Atlanta airport.

When she finally arrived at Donaldson Woods, a storm was starting up. The eerie sound of the wind made JoAnne think of all the things that could go wrong. Her mother had always warned her to think carefully before making a decision, except, JoAnne never did. Why didn’t she just put it off? Why did she come on such an eerie night. Just then, a bolt of lightning hit the house. JoAnne jumped. “Oh no!” she thought. “Not another thunderstorm.”

She got nervous. “What happened if . . .” She thought of possibilities, but she got up anyway and thoroughly inspected the house for leaky faucets or loose floorboards. She was looking through what appeared to be an antique bureau, when she found a yellowed piece of paper which read “Beware! This home is haunted by the ghost of Oliver S. Donaldson, born 1691, died 1784. JoAnne was scared. She ran out of the room and tore up the paper. Then the storm eased, and the full moon shone through the clouds. JoAnne thought “The storm is over. I am safe now.” But she didn’t notice the short white creature slowly inching down the stairs.

The End . . .
. . . Or is it?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Speaking of Lawyers . . .

. . . check out the article from today's New York Times about how the Supreme Court is suddenly hiring fewer female law clerks.

My New Favorite Site

Check out Above the Law.

It's clearly intended for lawyers and our groupie(s) -- but still, it's pretty darn cool.

What's my Monster Name?

Your Monster Profile

Evil Nightmare

You Feast On: Peanut Butter

You Lurk Around In: Movie Theaters

You Especially Like to Torment: Dentists

Peanut Butter: Check.
Movie Theaters: Check.
Dentists: Well, uh, if you count my cousin, then check.

Guess it's right, then.

(Thanks to Casual Slack for this diversion.)

Ways to pass the time at RFK

I love going to baseball games with Justin because we have the most nonsensical and bizarre conversations. Especially when the games are bad, or excruciatingly long – and both were true last night. Anyway, here are just some of the hot topics of discussion -- other than the actual baseball game and the availability of tickets for upcoming games:

(Justin, now you really have to post the Penn story.)

Since I haven't posted enough video clips today . . .

Since I went to the very long (and very bad) baseball game with Justin tonight, I didn't get to see Rock Star until just now. Personally, I liked Toby, Dilana, and Magni best, in that order. And there's just something about Ryan . . .

But I'm generally wrong.

More importantly, I found that Dilana has a video on YouTube. I'm not all that impressed (read: I think it's crap), but you can judge for yourself.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Fun with the Smoking Gun Archives

In general, I adore The Smoking Gun. But what I really love are its collections of horrible celebrity mugshots and insane celebrity contractual demands. I mean, who would have guessed that Boy George needs "high quality lager beer" and an electric kettle or that Ricky Williams looked like this when he failed to sign a traffic citation?

In case you missed it . . .

. . . here is Conan O'Brien's controversial opening skit from the Emmys:

(Thanks, Joe!)

Ringtone dancer

Has anyone else seen the ringtone dancer videos yet?

Now that I've seen these, I have to resist the urge to do the same thing.

My brother, the burner

According to my parents (who are about to get hit by yet another hurricane), my brother took two weeks off of work to drive out to the desert to attend Burning Man. (Note: I didn't speak with him this week, so I cannot confirm the hearsay. But, since he's gone out there every year for the past several years, the information has the indicia of reliability.)

I don't think I'm actually jealous of the Burning Man thing, since hanging out in the middle of the Nevada desert without bathrooms while having to barter for stuff isn't exactly my idea of a smashing good time. But, as anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis can probably guess, I am acutely jealous of his ability to just take that much time off of work to do something random. The last time I did anything like that was in January, 2003, when I took 6 sequential days off in order to go to Israel.

I wish I felt like I could do something like that now. I think I'd go to the Greek Isles, Italy, or Australia. Maybe North Africa, like Morocco or Egypt. But definitely not the Nevada desert. Well, unless Vegas counts.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Re: Forbes

Forbes might be on the wrong side of the battle of the sexes, but at least they've got one thing right: Milwaukee is America's drunkest city.

Milwaukee ranks high for its drinking habits across the board. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey 2004, more than 70% of adult Milwaukeeans reported that they had had at least one alcoholic drink within the past 30 days--the highest percentage on our list. Twenty-two percent of Milwaukee respondents confessed to binge drinking, or having five or more drinks on one occasion--also the highest on our list. And 7.5% of the population were reported as heavy drinkers--adult men that have more than two drinks per day, or adult women who have more than one drink per day.

A Query

How are they possibly going to make a sequel to Heathers when Christian Slater's character blew up in the end?

Lunch at a different Cosi

FYI, my infamous Cosi is being rennovated.

Not that it's really the reason, but I had lunch at the Cosi by the White House today. Unlike my typical experience, it was neither crowded nor disorganized. Is this what all the non-Metro Center Cosis are like?

Anyway, while walking back, amongst the typical crowd of tourists, I walked right by a guy reading out loud from the (seemingly Christian) bible to the White House. I'm not sure if he was worshipping the damn thing or conducting some kind of protest. Either way, I found it a little disturbing.

I also saw a woman, her hair wrapped in an American flag scarf, bending over into the railing, talking quietly to the grass. I hope they can hear her.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Goo Goo Dolls and Counting Crows

I just got back from the Goo Goo Dolls and Counting Crows show out at Nissan Pavillion.* The Counting Crows' set was a little mellow for my taste, but as always, the Goo Goo Dolls played an incredible show.

Let me start by telling you how much I love the Goo Goo Dolls. Forget about the fact that I actually own all of their albums -- even the ones from before anyone knew who they were -- I once saw them three times in various places in Florida during the same tour. Twice in one week. In fact, they are now, officially, the band that I've seen the most live.

And, yes, they are one of my all time favorite bands -- right up there with U2, Bon Jovi, and the Cure.

Anyway -- even though I'm sure Inbal's pictures will be better than mine, since I only had my camera phone -- here are my pictures:

And here are two little video snippets. As usual, the quality is very bad:

So, now I'm reconsidering starting a blog campaign to get a date with John Rzeznik. What do you think?

* Yes, the traffic was horrible. We didn't get out of the parking lot until 12:15, and god only knows what time we actually got onto I-66. But at this point, I know that it's just part of the deal and that it's a waste to even complain about it. So, instead, I just stopped planning on going out there on a weeknight.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Mixed messages

I'm sure by this point in time everyone has read the Forbes article that advises men not to marry career women -- or at least the piece discussing it in Slate.

I am a little concerned. I mean, for my entire life, I've been pushed to do well in school so I could go to a good college, good graduate school, and eventually, get a good job -- in order to be successful. Now they're saying that if I wanted to have a successful relationship, maybe that wasn't the right route?

Not like my life isn't challenging enough as it is -- now I have to now worry that it'll be impossible for me to have a relationship because guys will be concerned that I will make more money than them, won't have enough time for them, cheat on them, and will resent our eventual, theoretical children.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Stupid links I click on

So, I check out this random site -- The Death Psychic -- and, as advertised, it predicts my death as "While taking a leisurely stroll down a country road, a distracted farmer runs you over with his combine, shredding your body into ribbons."

I always knew I hated being in the country. Now I know why. (Note to self, stay away from farm equipment.)

Seriously, though -- I keep clicking on this type of stupid shit, thinking that it'll amuse me, and therefore, the blogosphere*. Mostly, it just makes me wonder how so many people have so much free time.


*God, do I hate that word! But I couldn't think of anything better.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Book Club Progress

While I was at my parents house, I made some progress on Operation: Smartypants . . . er, I mean the blah blah book club. I managed to read two more of the books on the Modern Library's list: I, Claudius and The Good Soldier.

The first was historical fiction based on the life of the Roman Emperor Claudius, and the second was an interesting Edwardian novel about the relationship of two couples. They were completely different, in tone, style, and substance, yet I liked them both.

Next up is A Passage to India, and after that, it'll likely be Henderson the Rain King and Light in August.

If you're trying to catch up, or just curious, these are the 30 books I've finished reading and their corresponding position on the list:

2. The Great Gatsby
4. Lolita
6. The Sound and the Fury
7. Catch-22
10. The Grapes of Wrath
13. 1984
14. I, Claudius
15. To the Lighthouse
18. Slaughterhouse Five
19. Invisible Man
22. Appointment in Samarra
28. Tender is the Night
30. The Good Soldier
31. Animal Farm
41. Lord of the Flies
42. Deliverance
45. The Sun Also Rises
46. The Secret Agent
55. On the Road
63. The Wapshot Chronicle
64. The Catcher in the Rye
65. A Clockwork Orange
67. Heart of Darkness
72. A House for Mr. Biswas
73. The Day of the Locust
74. A Farewell to Arms
81. The Adventures of Augie March
94. Wide Sargasso Sea
96. Sophie's Choice
100. The Magnificent Ambersons

Music, life, whatever

I am not a morning person. No matter how much sleep I get, I am always completely discomboblulated for some time after I wake up. This often has a strange effect. For example, sometimes, in the morning, when I'm still tired and groggy, I hear songs on the radio differently. Maybe it's because I'm not quite conscious yet, or maybe it's because I'm not yet conscious of anything else.

Either way, I heard Dancing in the Dark this morning, and, even though it's a song from an album that my uncle bought for me for my 10th (maybe 9th?) birthday, I really think I deeply understood it for the first time. Maybe it's because of my frustration with my life as it is, or maybe it's some kind of realization that I need a little more than just work, family, friends, and writing -- I need to go somewhere or do something.

I get up in the evening
and I ain't got nothing to say
I come home in the morning
I go to bed feeling the same way
I ain't nothing but tired
Man I'm just tired and bored with myself
Hey there baby, I could use just a little help

You can't start a fire
You can't start a fire without a spark
This gun's for hire
even if we're just dancing in the dark

Message keeps getting clearer
radio's on and I'm moving 'round the place
I check my look in the mirror
I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face
Man I ain't getting nowhere
I'm just living in a dump like this
There's something happening somewhere
baby I just know that there is

You can't start a fire
you can't start a fire without a spark
This gun's for hire
even if we're just dancing in the dark

You sit around getting older
there's a joke here somewhere and it's on me
I'll shake this world off my shoulders
come on baby this laugh's on me

Stay on the streets of this town
and they'll be carving you up alright
They say you gotta stay hungry
hey baby I'm just about starving tonight

I'm dying for some action
I'm sick of sitting 'round here trying to write this book
I need a love reaction
come on now baby gimme just one look

You can't start a fire
sitting 'round crying over a broken heart
This gun's for hire
Even if we're just dancing in the dark

You can't start a fire
worrying about your little world falling apart
This gun's for hire
Even if we're just dancing in the dark
Even if we're just dancing in the dark
Even if we're just dancing in the dark
Even if we're just dancing in the dark
Hey baby

So what does all this mean? I have no idea, but I think it just boils down to the fact that I am bored, bored, bored.

But then, this morning, I read Page Six, only to discover that they're reporting that Bruce and his wife are having marital problems and that their kids go to the same fancy private school that my brother went to when he was little and we still lived in the Garden State.

So, I wrote about this, because I'm a fan of synchronistic events. I'm also a fan of Synchronicity, which I have on record. Maybe I'll listen to that instead.

Interesting quiz

Speaking of advents in science, here's a fun game for everyone to play: HeMale or SheMale?

Somehow, I only managed to get one wrong -- and I'm just about the least observant person ever.

Latest important scientific discoveries

Each day, all over the world, scientists discover things that make our lives so much better. Forget about all the new planets -- this week we're discovering that mothers prefer the smell of their own baby's poop and that cows moo with regional dialects.

All hail the mighty DVR!

I love my DVR. I've only had it since December, and already, I can't fathom how I ever lived without it.

Since I didn't get home from work until 10:30 this evening, I missed both Rock Star and Project Runway. But, in the space of 2 hours, I've managed to eat dinner and learn that Patrice (yay!) and Robert (boo!) were eliminated from their respective shows.

If I didn't have to work tomorrow, I might have even stayed up to watch 30 Days. But, thanks to my magical DVR, I'll be able to watch it tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Weirdest thing on the internet

Clearly, I spend a lot of time on the internet. In that time, once in a while I'll find something memorable -- something that I feel the need to share with others.

Infrequently, that thing is so weird that my friends and I still talk about how disturbing it is.

And even more rarely, it becomes the yardstick to which all other examples of odd behavior are measured -- as in, "Man, that's weird, but not even close to as weird as . . . ."

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the real life Peter Pan:

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Things I am grateful for

Wireless internet access in the airport terminal is great. Especially when you have to get to the airport 2 hours before your flight and can't just go buy a Coke to take with you.

I'm also loving preferred status -- because flying first class rocks!


My dad and I watched Munich on DVD tonight. I loved it, and my dad seemed to really like it, too. But, after going back and looking at the reviews -- which were mixed -- I can see why a lot of people didn't.

The general theme of the movie is terrorism and the reaction to it -- in this case, the 1972 assassination of the Israeli Olympic team by Palestinian terrorists, and the Israeli response thereto. (For those who haven't seen it yet, I'll try not to get too specific.) Ultimately, the movie presents the conundrum of how to react to violence -- whether more violence is necessary or right, and whether it even works.

I'm not sure I agree with Spielberg's conclusion, but I have to respect him for making a serious movie that will make everyone think about the dilemma.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Vacation -- and gas leak -- update

So, here I am, sitting in sunny South Florida -- actually, it's cloudy -- and what have I done all day? Absolutely nothing.

I did a lot yesterday -- I went to lunch with my parents, grandparents, sister, and brother-in-law. I visited my great-uncle in his assisted living facility. I even went to the gym. Alas, I didn't take any more fun pictures, but here's a picture of our very old family dog, Remy Martin:

Since yesterday afternoon, I've been sneezing. It's probably allergies, but . . . in any event, I'm trying to take it easy. Plus, the swelling in my elbow and numbness in my fingers is back -- although I'm sure that my clenching my fist in my sleep has something to do with it. So I'm doing as much nothing as possible.

Actually, that's not true. I checked my e-mail. And I read half of my book.

Anyway, I checked my voicemail yesterday, and got a message from my apartment maintenance that disturbed me. They said that the gas leak in my apartment was actually coming from my neighbors, who had left their stove on, so there was nothing for them to do in my apartment. Which to me, means that they never even looked at my apartment or my stove -- and didn't turn the gas back on.

I just left yet another message with management explaining, as patiently as possible, that even though some dumbass might have left their gas on, when Washington Gas came to my apartment, they actually found a real gas leak in one of the valves of my stove.

Management was quite surprised by this.

So, I told her where the leak was, and asked that she make sure that maintenance take a look at it -- and hopefully fix it and turn the stove back on -- before I get home tomorrow.

I think the odds are strongly in my favor that my stove will still not be working when I get home tomorrow at 8. Anyone want to bet an empanada on it?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Playing with food

My sister and I get extremely goofy when we spend any time together.

We went to Buca de Beppo for dinner last night, and took a bunch of cameraphone pictures -- first with the cardboard cutout of the old Italian lady out front, and then of my sister goofing around with a giant bowl of tiramisu and an equally large spoon.*

But she'd kill me if I posted any of those pictures online.** Instead, I bring you food art:

We also went to the mall, and, while there, surreptitiously took a picture of our parents sitting while waiting for us. Actually, it looks like Dad might be sleeping.

Maybe I'll have something equally funny after lunch.

*Yes, I am 30 and she is 28, and no, this is not appropriate behavior. But my siblings and I have really been this silly our entire lives. Like the time when I was home from college and we stayed up all night making a tape of us burping, which we put in my mom's car stereo for her to listen to on her way to a work appointment first thing in the morning.

** Another funny thing we did was repeatedly announce the various stages of our cell phones while sending things via bluetooth to each other. We'd loudly announce "Seeking," "Connecting," "Approving," "Copying," or whatever, and then laugh.

This annoyed our parents. But I think that's because they were jealous that they couldn't bluetooth with their cell phones.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

South Florida Journalism

With everything going on in the world today -- including terrorism, war, mid-term elections -- do you know what is on the front page of the print edition of the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel? A story about a woman getting killed by her own dog.

I am so thankful for the Washington Post and the New York Times websites.

Why I hate answering services

Last night, I had a gas leak in my apartment.

I got home from work relatively early, ate dinner, and, at about 10 pm, was finishing up the process of getting ready for my 8 a.m. flight to West Palm Beach, when I somehow noticed the smell of gas in my kitchen. I checked the stove, made sure all the burners were all the way off, and still smelled the gas. I looked around to see if there was anything or anywhere else that it could have been coming from, but found nothing.

So, I called the maintenance office. Of course, it was late, so I only got the answering service. The woman on the other end was a complete moron. I had to explain the situation to her three times. The conversation went something like this*:

Idiot: Hello, you've reached the answering service for {insert other apartment name here} apartments. Oh, whoops, sorry, I mean {insert right apartment name} apartments. What can I do to help?

Dara: Hi. I think I have a gas leak in my apartment.

Idiot: What?

Dara: A gas leak. In my apartment. You know, my apartment smells like gas.

Idiot: Is that an emergency?

Dara: Well, yeah, kind of. It's flammable. And, truth be told, it's probably not good for me to be breathing it.

Idiot: So, you want me to call maintenance now?

Dara: Yeah, that would be great.
So, the idiot took down all my information. And I waited, all the while thinking something wasn't exactly right with the conversation. In the meantime, I opened all my windows, turned on all the fans, and turned on the vent over the oven.

About half an hour later, I got a phone call. I was really excited, because I thought it was the maintenance guy, but no -- it was the idiot.

Idiot: So, I called maintenance, but there was no answer.

Dara: Did you leave him a message?

Idiot: No. I didn't know what to tell him. Your apartment was broken into. Maybe you should call the police instead.

Dara: Huh? My apartment was not broken into. I have a gas leak. Something in my kitchen is leaking gas and needs to be fixed.

Idiot: Oh. Well, I guess I'll try to call maintenance again.

Dara: Well, I'm freaking out a little here, because this is a really dangerous situation, so while you're doing that, I'm going to call the gas company. And if they can't help me, I'm going to call the fire department.

Idiot: That sounds like a good idea. But there's no fire.

Dara: Please call the maintenance guy and ask him to call me back as soon as possible.

So, I called Washington Gas. And they sent a guy out to help. Unfortunately, he didn't get there until the beginning of Conan O'Brien. While I was waiting, I called my parents, and told them the story -- and I indicated that my strong belief that the answering service lady was on crack. Of coures, I also told my parents that there was a possibility that I would die in a fiery gas explosion and miss my flight home in the morning. They were not amused.**

Right before the Washington Gas dude arrived, the maintenance guy finally called, and asked me what the problem was. I told him, and he was like "Wow, that's a really big deal! Why didn't the answering service tell me it was such an emergency? I mean, your apartment could explode."

I think, by that time, I was frustrated enough that I actually said "Duh."

He asked me whether I needed him to come up, and I explained that the Washington Gas guy would be there any minute, but that all they could really do is turn off the gas. Sure enough, within ten minutes, the Washington Gas guy had shown me that a valve on my stove was leaking, written up instructions for maintenance on what needed to be done, and turned off the gas connection to the stove.

I got to sleep around 2 and I'm sure I breathed in an excessive amount of natural gas before having to wake up at 6. I was sluggish as hell, but still managed to make my flight.

And, since I had to tell the maintenance office about the necessary repairs, I waited to this morning to call them from the airport -- just to avoid the answering service.

I am hoping that my apartment does not explode in my absence. I'll be checking the Post, just in case.

*This is as close to a verbatim transcript as I can come up with 23 hours after the fact and on 4 hours of sleep. But this is not in any way embellished or exaggerated.

**Really, I should know by now that no one in my family thinks my jokes are funny.

Friday, August 18, 2006


I don't think it would surprise anyone to learn that I'm not functioning at my highest and best level today. I'm basically trying to stay as distracted as possible, until I have actual time to process the news. So, thanks to everyone that's been humoring me today. I'm especially thankful for the comments.

So, here are a couple other things -- other than work -- that have kept me busy or amused for the last +/- 13 hours. Enjoy!

  1. The Wikipedia entry for Snakes on a Plane.
  2. Fametracker's list of the 10 Least Essential Fall Films.
  3. The medicinal effects of T.V.
  4. Warrantless surveilance is, indeed, unconstitutional.
  5. Supreme Court bobbleheads.
  6. Playing with food, internet style.
  7. The history of Play Doh.
  8. Pez theater.
  9. For your inner MacGyver.
  10. Most useful product ever: The beer belly.

Macacagate update

So, I was reading George Allen's blog today, and he makes a pretty good point about why everyone's overreacting to macacagate. His argument is very convincing.

That pie chart says that only 56% of you are aware of the comments I made to my opponent's Indian volunteer.


And this one says that only 2/3 of those familiar my comments think they were inappropriate. And what's two-thirds of 56%?

Thirty-seven point five percent. My friends, that's a minority opinion. It's a them opinion. I encourage the remaining 62.5% of you to put this little blip behind you and return a proud American with real American values to the U.S. Senate.


You mean it's not really George Allen?

I feel so used.

Wide Awake

I was debating what to write about tonight -- or, because I had to bring work home with me, whether to write at all -- when I got an e-mail from an old friend that one of our mutual friends died on Tuesday.

Now I can't sleep.

This is not something you expect at our age -- or maybe at any age. Needless to say, I'm in shock.

I hadn't spoken to him in quite some time, and actually hadn't even thought about him in a couple years. Of course, on a normal day, I would understand that things like this happen when you grow up and move away -- and, in general, lose touch.

Right now, the concept is lost on me.

This was someone that I've known since middle school. Someone who I used to talk to on the phone late at night, almost every night. At the time, he was one of my best friends -- someone that I never thought would fall out of my life so completely.

Life is so peculiar. Once you think you have a grasp on how it works, the ground shifts beneath you.

My thoughts are all jumbled. And writing, which is usually my salvation, isn't helping me figure any of it out. I guess that means that it's time to try to sleep again.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Vacation update

I haven't gone home* to Florida to see my family since November. And, after having a long phone conversation with my parents Tuesday night, I woke up Wednesday to find plane tickets for $168. So, after checking with the kind folks at work, I booked a trip, from Saturday through Tuesday. (Note to self: do not wear gel bra on plane.)

Alas, despite my best intentions, this is my summer vacation. Two whole days off from work!

Coincidentally, Saturday is my Nana's 81st birthday. She has no idea that I'll be there for it -- and don't you go ruining the surprise!

So, this morning, I sent my sister an e-mail to let her know about my last-minute travel plans. It concluded with the line, "Make sure you have some time to hang out. Or I will be very angry." She has not replied.

One of the last times I went home, she and I hadn't spoken for a while -- she's notoriously bad at answering her phone and returning calls and e-mails -- so the e-mail said something to the effect that she better come see me, because I'm one of only two people likely to have compatible organs if she ever needed a donor. It concluded with the line, "Don't think of it as hanging out with me, think of it as visiting your future kidney." Again, no response.

Sometimes, I think she just doesn't get my humor.**

*Yes, it is weird that I am 30 years old and still refer to Florida as home, especially since I haven't lived in Florida for over 6 years, and except for several extended stays at my parents' house, I've pretty much been living on my own since I was 17. It's even weirder that I call my parents' house "home," since I have never actually lived in their current house.

** Everyone else in the family thought this was hysterical, but after they stopped laughing, they all shook their heads and sighed.

Today is Thursday, all day

I have two nominees for FOAD Thursday:

  1. The Project Runway judges for letting Vincent and Angela stay. I know I said that Alison's dress was the worst -- and I haven't changed my mind, even if Tim Gunn would disagree -- but puh-leez. Those two no-talent ass-clowns have been around for way too long.
  2. Senator George Allen. He gives folks with Jewish mothers and Virginians -- well, Southerners in general -- a bad name.

In the spirit of the candy wrapper purse. . . .

. . . here's the "What Kind of Candy Are You?" Quiz. I'm:

Reeses Peanut Butter Cups

Very popular, one of you is not enough.

Recycled fashion

Tonight's Project Runway was all about making dresses out of recyclable materials. I loved Jeffrey's dress, and was a little disappointed that he came in second. But the judges were right -- Alison's dress was by far the worst, easily surpassing both Kayne and Vincent's monstrosities.

Coincidentally, I found this site earlier today, which makes surprisingly cute handbags out of recycled candy wrappers.

This is the one I want:

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

From the home office in Arlington, Virginia

The number one sign that George Allen's "Macaca" comment might hurt him in November:

. . . they're now selling themed t-shirts to raise money for his opponent.

Standing on a beach with a gun in my hand, staring at the sea, staring at the sand . . .

. . . The Cure, Killing an Arab

I don't know why everyone is so impressed that President Bush read The Stranger on his summer vacation. I mean, if I could read it in high school, he can certainly read it now that he's 60. I'd only be impressed if he read it in the original French.

Besides, reading is not the same as understanding.

More significantly, is anyone else bothered by the sheer coincidence that the book is about killing an Arab?

(For a more humorous interpretation, check out Salon for the president's book report. And yes, it's definitely worth sitting through the ad.)

Speaking of el Presidente, the good folks over at Bring it On! think that this video is discreetly making fun of him. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I was very popular today . . .

. . . thanks to Wonkette.

Check it out:


Justin was right: This is a new record.

Rock Star

Just watched this week's Rock Star. I thought the guys were really good, especially Ryan and Toby. But the band really liked Dilana's performance, which I didn't think was anything special. And, for some inexplicable reason, Toby was in the bottom three at the end of the show.

My Predictions:
  • Encores: Ryan and Dilana.
  • Bottom Three: Patrice, Zayra, and Storm.
  • Going home: Patrice.

T-shirt update

I have not had a single t-shirt related post since May. Which is kind of funny, considering that when I first started this blog, I was worried that all I would write about are funny t-shirts -- since I did it seven times in the first month.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I don't really remember the last time I bought a funny t-shirt. It might have been back in January when I bought a Paul Frank tee at Funk & Standard in Red Bank, NJ.

Anyway, I just found a new funny t-shirt site, appropriately named Bad T-shirts. They're not pretty, but they're clever. Here are my 5 favorites:

  1. Maturity is overrated.
  2. Your inferiority complex may be justified.
  3. Keep out of direct sunlight.
  4. To save time, let's just assume that I know everything.
  5. The liver is evil and must be punished.

My brother actually recommended this t-shirt for me the other day, from Glarkware:

I actually like this one better:

But this one definitely fits with this blog:

For the record, Glarkware made my favorite t-shirt of all time -- the one that says "Please touch my monkey" -- but it's no longer offered.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Point of order

I somehow stumbled across this list of the 10 most bizarre celebrities.

Last time I checked, celebrities were actually famous.

Silver lining

Well, at least there's an upside to all the global warming that Al Gore keeps warning us about: It makes good beer.

Tucker Carlson might be the next Drew Lachey

+ =

I've been ignoring Tucker Carlson for a while now. After he had his ass handed to him by Jon Stewart, he pretty much dropped off my radar. I'm sure the move to MSNBC had something to do with that.

But now, he's decided to get back into the spotlight by joining Dancing With The Stars -- along with such notable has-beens and never-was-es like Jerry Springer, Harry Hamlin, and Mario Lopez (Slater from Saved By The Bell).

What a complete joke.

Although, I am now beginning to wonder how they're going to incorporate his trademark bowtie into his dancing costumes without making him look like a clown -- or at least more of a clown than usual.

Update: Thanks to Wonkette for the link. I am very flattered.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Weekend activities

Fifteen things I did this weekend:

  1. Went grocery shopping for the first time in almost a month.
  2. Dropped stuff off at Goodwill.
  3. Had people over for dinner, made a lasagne.
  4. Laundry, lots of laundry. I'm still doing laundry.
  5. Watched 30 Days while doing laundry.
  6. Ate a bison burger and saw Pirates of the Caribbean. As noted below, it was good, not great.
  7. Stumbled across this little work of art, courtesy of Perez Hilton.
  8. Went to the Nats game and saw them lose to the Mets. This only exacerbated my hatred of the Mets.
  9. Did not get a Screech bobblehead, since they were only for kids. Eventually decided that it was not in my best interest to steal one from a child.
  10. Wished that the Nats had really good promotions like the Newark Bears -- who host "Scientology Night" and, as previously mentioned, Britney Spears Baby Safety Night.
  11. Realized that is not really all that funny.
  12. Accepted that Ask Yahoo was right about the fact that there's only about 12 minutes of action in an entire baseball game.
  13. Watched Memoirs of a Geisha. It was really good. Not really a guy flick, though.
  14. Thought about getting a tattoo, but mostly because I stumbled across an episode of Miami Ink while doing yet another load of laundry.
  15. Paid bills.
Ultimately, what this all boils down to is that I realized that even a three day weekend is not quite long enough.

Mystery blog

Hey, guess who else has her own blog?

History of Dara, part 1

I've been writing since I could first hold a pen in my hand. I was looking for something in my file cabinet the other day, and came across a veritable treasure trove of things that I had written in my younger years. I'm hoping to share some of them on occasion.

Alas, I don't have any of the good stories from my early, early years. My nana and my mom have some stories that I wrote back before a lot of kids my age were reading. Apparently one is very funny, because I spelled the word "pop" with an extra "o." Maybe one day I'll get a hold of them and share.

In any event, the only real early writing that I have is My Book About Me. For those that are unfamiliar with this, it is a Dr. Seuss book written as a sort-of questionairre for kids to fill out about them, where they live, and their likes and dislikes.

I got the book for a 5th birthday present from someone named Adam. I don't remember him at all. Whne I got the book, my mother wanted to hold off on filling it out in order to do it right -- to turn it in to a project -- but even then, I generally didn't listen to her. So, when she wasn't paying attention, I filled it out quickly, primarily in crayon, and made up most of the answers as I went along, because I didn't want to take the time to find out the real answers.

For example, I responded to the "How tall am I? " question by responding "I am 301 feet, 401 inches tall." I also wrote that "I think I have about 6 freckles," and "My house has yes steps." I think I was supposed to count the steps.

When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I responded "T.V. Star," although, if you look at it quickly, it bears a striking resemblance to the word "toaster."

I actually wrote that my favorite pet was a cat-fish. I think I was being indecisive, but I really don't remember. And, it's not like we had any real pets until much, much later.

In the story part, I couldn't be bothered to write a real story, so I just wrote mean things about someone named Jane. I don't remember her, but the best part of the story is "No, Jane I hat you. Dont com to my hous." I also drew a picture of a chicken, and named it after my then 3-year-old sister.

Nice kid, right?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I want my real tv!

If you haven't noticed, I've developed more than a passing fascination with reality tv this summer. For years, the only "reality tv" I watched were sporting events.

I started to occasionally watch Celebrity Poker Showdown when it first premiered. Then, last summer, I casually watched Rock Star and 30 Days. During the winter, I became mildly obsessed with Project Runway.

This summer, I'm completely hooked.

I even watched most of the 30 Days marathon while doing laundry this afternoon. It's clearly become an addiction.

This evening, Inbal and I were standing on line at the movies, waiting to go see Pirates of the Carribbean -- which was good, not great. She mentioned watching So You Think You Can Dance. I mocked her a little. She pointed out that my reality tv selections are not all that much cooler. While I beg to differ with her barometer, I'm a little worried that maybe she has a bit of a point.

So, this addiction needs to stop. Now. Before I get too invested in Gene Simmons Family Jewels.

I want my life back.

Friday, August 11, 2006


I took my first vacation day of the year today.

Yes, you read that right.

It was awesome.

Maybe soon I'll try to take a couple of them in a row. And if I'm really daring, maybe I'll even plan on going somewhere -- hopefully somewhere that is not to my parents' house.

Clearly, all of this relaxation is starting to mess with my head. And I know I'm going to start feeling guilty about it any minute now. Maybe I should find some work to do.

Things I learned from this week's reality television

I haven't yet seen this week's 30 Days or the first episode of Gene Simmons's Family Jewels, but I have them on DVR for the weekend. In the meantime, here's what I learned from last night's Project Runway and Rock Star: Supernova.

First, Rock Star:

  1. It's safer to be weird all the time (see: Zayra) than to surprise the viewing audience with an offbeat and artistic rendition of a rock standard (see: Ryan).
  2. It's clear that there are two tiers of contestants left: the good and the just-wasting-time-until-September-sweeps.
  3. I am so awesome at picking the encore. I got both right, without even knowing that there would be two.

And now, Project Runway:
  1. Despite Vincent's best efforts, giant pockets are not ever going to be "in".
  2. When Angela is restricted -- either working with a set image or with other people -- her stuff is not horrible.
  3. It's better to be boring (see:Robert) than costume-y (see:Bradley).
I'll miss Bradley. He always said the most peculiar things. However, I will not miss either Jill or Josh.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Note to Michael Jackson

In the spirit of FOAD Thursday, here's a little note to Michael Jackson:

When I was a little kid, you were so cool. The Jackson 5 were the bomb. Thriller was a fantastic album. But since then, you've done nothing but make a mockery of yourself.

Perhaps you should be a man and stop blaming others for your problems -- particularly your recurring financial woes. Maybe you shouldn't have wasted your money on novelty items like the Elephant Man's bones and excessive cosmetic surgery. Perhaps living on a giant amusement park/zoo is unnecessarily extravagant.

And maybe, just maybe, the payments to all of those defense lawyers and the large settlements to young boys have something to do with your current situation.

Despite what you might believe, it's not a conspiracy.

Consider yourself on notice.


Last night, my office had a farewell party of sorts for the summer interns. I didn't eat that much, but boy did I drink! Between 8:30 pm and 1 am, I consumed the following beverages, in the following order:

  1. 2 Woodchuck Draft Cider
  2. 2 Diet Coke
  3. 2 Grey Goose and Soda
  4. 1 Kamikaze
  5. 1 Melonball
  6. 1 Carbomb

See how I start out all respectable and adult . . . but by the end of the night, I always manage to revert back to my former sorority girl ways.

I'm quite surprised that I don't feel worse today - especially after my last serious drinking episode. Maybe I should get my drink on more often. I hear there's a happy hour tonight . . . .

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Dave Navarro, Rock Star, and Johnny Depp

Even though Justin will give me shit for it, here's my quick thoughts on last night's Rock Star:

  1. I did not think Dilana's performance was as good as the judges seemed to think it was. And her piercings are excessive. Although, in retrospect, it could be worse.
  2. I did not think Toby's performance was as bad as the judges seemed to think it was.
  3. Once again, Zayra was bizarre. But Ryan was unexpectedly weird, too.
  4. Best of the night: Magni. Actually, it's probably Lukas, but something about him annoys me.
  5. Going home: Jill or Patrice, but should be Zayra.

And, if you missed it or want to read a great recap, check out the one at TVgasm. It's too funny.

Anyway, I've been reading Dave Navarro's blog again, and ran into a link to an interesting article about him. On his blog, Dave seems to be a pretty good writer, and is quite open. Plus, he reminds me that I really do like boys that wear eyeliner. Although, my feelings for Johnny Depp might change if it's true that he's making an album of pirate songs.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Error message

I'm off to the Nats game.

Darth Lieberman

In response to an e-mail discussion about the alleged hacking of Senator Lieberman's website -- and who might be responsible -- Ted just e-mailed an interesting photo comparison. I thought I'd share.

Lieberman v. Palpatine:

Any questions?

Blah Blah Book Club

For those paying attention, you'll see a new item in the sidebar: "The Blah Blah Book Club." And, while Amazon might pay me money if you click over and buy something, that is not really its primary purpose. It is intended to keep everyone in the loop as I struggle to finish reading the entire list of the Modern Library's 100 best novels of the 20th Century.

It's also to remind me to finish, since I've now missed my original deadline by about 8 months. I've only finished 30 of the books; I've started more than that but have lost interest. I get too distracted with new books and non-reading activities.

So, if you want to join me in the reading, go ahead. Maybe I'll post blog items so that we can talk about the books. If I ever get back to reading them . . .

Update on cooking class

This evening's cooking class was very fun. It was held by this company called Company's Coming, and we learned how to make a salad with fennel, orzo with red peppers and ricotta salata, and we grilled chorizo, beef skewers, and shrimp skewers with sun-dried-tomato and basil. For dessert, we made a creme brulee of sorts, a yogurt-based filling with peaches and raspberries, topped with brown sugar, and broiled.


Monday, August 07, 2006

Today's arbitrary blatherings

So, I'm taking a cooking class tonight. I'm sure this little bit o' news just made the readers that actually know me laugh out loud.

And, in response to the likely question "Dara, why the heck would you take a cooking class when you cook in your apartment like once a month?" my only answer is "Because it was offered."

I'll report back tonight.

In the meantime, I was going to blog about how crappy all of my friends are because no one wanted to go to tomorrow's baseball game with me, but Inbal -- who doesn't even really like baseball -- agreed to go. All things considered, I probably shouldn't have agreed to take 18 games from our season ticket plan, especially since I work more than anyone else. But everyone's on notice: Unless some things change, I am not doing it next year. My schedule is way too unpredictable.

Has anyone else seen this blog yet? I am very impressed by this woman's initiative. I don't know if there is any celebrity I like enough to start a similar endeavor. Maybe David Boreanaz, John Rzeznik, or Brady Anderson, but I don't think my crushes on any of them rise to the right level of obsession. I would, however, like to have dinner with Bono and discuss the state of the world and music. But it wouldn't have to be a date.

As noted previously, Justin arranged for me to get a phonecall from Samuel L. Jackson on Friday. This morning, he called -- and apparently woke -- my brother, and it's a good thing the call was funny, or my brother would have called to yell at me.

Speaking of fake phone calls, did anyone else see the recent item on "the popularity dialer" on BoingBoing?

Have you ever been in a situation where you wished your cell phone would ring? Maybe you wanted to look extra important or popular on that hot date. Or maybe you just needed an excuse to escape from an unpleasant meeting.

With "The Popularity Dialer", you can plan ahead. Via a web interface, you can choose to have your phone called at a particular time (or several times). At the elected time, your phone will be dialed and you will hear a prerecorded message that's one half of a conversation. Thus, you will be prompted to have a fake conversation and will easily fool those around you.
This seems exceptionally useful.

Thanks to Bring it On for pointing out the list of the right wing's 10 most harmful books of the 19th and 20th centuries:

  1. The Communist Manifesto

  2. Mein Kampf

  3. Quotations from Chairman Mao

  4. The Kinsey Report

  5. Democracy and Education

  6. Das Kapital

  7. The Feminine Mystique

  8. The Course of Positive Philosophy

  9. Beyond Good and Evil

  10. General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

Why do they keep making these lists?

And finally, via Salon and Perez Hilton, I bring you this little bit of nonsense:
Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks introducing their song "White Trash Wedding" at a recent concert: "We're giving a shout out to Mel Gibson for our next song. Not for any reason in particular. But maybe if I claimed I was drunk on stage when I made my comments a few years ago [about George W. Bush], people might not have been as upset with us."

Having seen the concert on Friday -- which was good, not great -- I think maybe Natalie should quit while she's ahead. And when they change up their set list, they should include more of the older, faster songs -- otherwise the concert gets way too sedate.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Weekend stuff: babies, shoes, and Sam Jackson

I decided that there are only two ways to respond to an existential crisis -- self-medication and retail therapy. Since there was a sales tax holiday this weekend, one of the two seemed a more obvious choice.

Then, after spending most of the day at the outlet mall, I went to go see Bo, his lovely wife, and their adorable baby.

Anyway, here are the new additions to the collection:

The first two are Nine West, the middle one is Michael Kors, and the last two are Old Navy.

An aside : Even though I am generally not pro-flip-flop for business purposes, I still understand their utility for weekend wear. And 2 pairs for $4.98 is too good to beat.

Besides, when you are klutzy like me, sometimes flip-flops are good.

I wish I would have been wearing them last Friday, when I went to go get my lunch. On the way back to the office with my sandwich, I got the heel of my shoe caught in the hem of my pants and went flying across the sidewalk. In the middle of Metro Center, with tons of people around. I landed on one knee and one hand, and my sandwich landed about a foot away from me. I was completely mortified.

Of course, I got over it pretty quickly, because when I stopped by my office to scrounge for change for a soda, my cell phone was ringing. It was Samuel L. Jackson.