Monday, April 30, 2007

Eastern Market

This weekend, I must have said that I love Eastern Market -- and want to move there -- no fewer than a dozen times. So, the news of the fire at the actual market is pretty disheartening.



Sunday, April 29, 2007

Friday, April 27, 2007

A final thought for the workweek

A treat, from the girls at GoFugYourself.com, just before we head out for the weekend.

It somehow manages to diss a movie, Paul Giamatti, Michelle Williams, and Gainesville, Florida, all in one fell swoop, and with repeated mentions of Dawson's Creek. Well done, ladies.



Thursday, April 26, 2007

I'm back online! Yippee!

For the record, tech support sucked. She walked me through all the steps and they didn't work. She told me it was a hardware issue, and hung up. She did, however, thank me for being polite and knowledgeable.

Right before I gave up and called the computer manufacturer to demand a new ethernet adaptor, I decided to click on something else and -- wonder of wonders -- it worked! Now my internet works just fine -- even wireless.

I probably should have written down what I did. Oops.



We're having technical difficulties, please stand by

My internet is out at my house. (Yes, I've checked to make sure that the modem was on and even did a shutdown-restart of the computer.) This has been happening about once a month, and it completely sucks. But it'll be over soon, it always is.

In retrospect, it didn't really matter because I didn't have anything important to write last night. And tonight, I'm going to Beauty Night Out. (Yay, manicure!)

Anyway, if you have any ideas of topics I should address once my home internet is working again, leave me a comment.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My sister's funny story

This is allegedly a true story, and it is better out loud. I wish I had recorded my sister telling the damn thing. But I didn't, and it's funny -- so as the next best alternative, here it is in print:

My sister has two friends that work at a restaurant. And she hangs out with them at the bar, with the bartenders, all the time.

One of these times, there was a very drunk woman with a heavy southern accent trying to order a drink. The bartender didn't understand her, especially since she kept on asking for her drink with a "lahyme."

The bartender still couldn't figure it out, and started asking other people if they knew what she was talking about. The woman kept saying it over and over again, and no one could figure it out.

It was going nowhere until finally, she explained. "You know, a f-r-i-u-t."



This picture has nothing to do with this story, but it is pretty funny, too:







Nana and Pop

The rest of my trip to Florida probably wasn't as interesting as it could have been. I spent most of Sunday with my Nana and Pop. This is a little piece of their story.

My mother's parents have been together forever. They've known each other since they were young teenagers, in high school. They were friends. My Nana liked the quiet boy with the wicked sense of humor and ton of dark hair. Then Pop went off to war, they wrote letters back and forth while he was in England and then in France -- and upon his return, they got married. They had my mom about a year later, when they were pretty much still kids. But by then, Pop's hair was no longer dark.

It was a typical marriage of their time. Pop worked and went to college, Nana took care of the kids and the apartment. And from what I've heard, they were poor when my mom was young, until Pop finished school and got established in his career. But they had a lot of family nearby, and a lot of help whenever they needed it.

Their family grew. First my aunt, and then, when my mom was twelve, my uncle. They moved away from their families in the Bronx to Brooklyn. My mother still hasn't forgiven them for taking her away from her grandparents. And then, when my mom was finishing high school, they decided to move to Massachusetts. My mom stayed behind in New York.

Nana got involved in politics. Her father, who I've mentioned before, used to dismiss her activism, calling her a socialist. And growing up, my mother was always a little resentful of the attention her mother paid to politics. To this day, she refuses to engage when Nana starts one of her debates -- usually at the end of a family dinner -- and often leaves the room. Even when she agrees.

They were young grandparents -- in their mid-40s when my oldest cousin was born. And now they're older grandparents, since my youngest first cousin is only five. I feel sorry for him though, since he lives so far away from them. They always lived right around the corner from me when I was a kid.

At this point, my grandparents have been married for so long that they can't function without each other. Even when they argue -- and that's quite often -- they finish each other's sentences. And Pop worships the ground that Nana walks on. My Dad's mother, who divorced my grandfather when my dad was still pretty young, refers to them disparagingly as "the lovebirds." They still flirt. It seems to bother my mother, but most people think it's cute.

A couple of years ago, Nana had a pretty serious brush with cancer, but right now, she's doing really well. It's as close to a medical miracle as anything these days. Most importantly, she was determined to get through it. Pop, on the other hand, spent most of this winter in and out of the hospital. Lymphoma. And then he fell and broke his jaw. He's doing well, all things considered, but it's been really hard. He's still got a long way to go.

My mom and I are convinced that Nana got better so that she could take care of him. But we're also pretty certain that Pop is going to get better -- because Nana decided that it will be that way, and he always does what she says. That's how it's been for over sixty years; why change now?

So, on Sunday, I went to their house. And we sat around and talked. Nana talked about Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the fate of the Democratic party. She told me how they were going to watch An Inconvenient Truth later that evening. Pop sat in his chair and talked a bit about baseball and my work.

And me? I was just happy to be there. Not all 31-year-olds are this lucky.




Monday, April 23, 2007

Back from Florida . . .

. . and way too tired to write anything of significance. Instead, I'll just direct you to this site -- which DSL sent to me last Friday -- which seems to be able to deduce the gender of a writer by the language used.

It's been accurate so far with all that I've tried. But I can't wait to hear how y'all manage to stump it.

I intend to write about the rest of my trip -- and perhaps even tell my sister's funny story -- sometime later this week.



Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunshine State Update

Florida is warm -- and humid. Surprisingly, there is very little sun. But none of this is newsworthy.

Actually, very little of my day was newsworthy. I spent some of the day fixing my parents' computers -- particularly the wireless internet connection -- and some of the day generally helping out around the house. When I was little, I was small and had freakishly skinny arms, so my dad always asked me to be the one to climb into small spaces and/or reach into the narrow area behind relatively immovable pieces of furniture. Today was no different. At one point, I thought I was going to get stuck under the headboard in the guest room, but I made it out okay.

After all the work was over, I hung out with my sister. Tonight we watched The Last King of Scotland on my parents' very large widescreen tv. It's so much better than my tv that I'm a little embarrassed, especially since they're usually about 20 years behind on technology. I mean, I'm sure if I look around hard enough I'll be able to find at least one Zach Morris phone and one of the original JVC VCRs. (I already know where my dad's army boots and his entire wardrobe from the 1970's are stashed.)

Somewhat more interestingly, my sister told a very funny story at dinner -- complete with character voices -- and I'm hoping to get her to post a guest blog, or to let me make an audio recording. If not, I might tell the story for her, which might totally ruin it. But we'll see tomorrow.



Friday, April 20, 2007

I can't believe I waited to watch this!

I heard about this weeks ago, but I just sat down to watch it for the first time today:



It (a) made me laugh; (b) made me like Alanis Morissette again (for the first time since Dogma); (c) made me realize just how dumb Fergie's music is; and (d) made me lose even more respect for Josh Duhamel.


Update: This thing has gotten so huge that it's merited a critical analysis in the L.A. Times.



Thursday, April 19, 2007

Celebrity kids grow up so fast.

Knut is now, officially, the most famous baby bear in the world. Earlier this month, it was appearing on the Vanity Fair cover with Leonardo DiCaprio, as photographed by Annie Liebovitz.



Today, it's death threats.

Next thing you know, he'll be out clubbing with Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears.



Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Second thoughts

Today marked a first for this blog: Someone found it by googling my name.

I don't know who and I don't know why. What I do know is that it worries me.

When I've checked Google before, the blog didn't show up until at least the second page of results. And I was comfortable with that -- since you never go past the first page unless you're very very motivated -- or looking for a specific result.

Today, the blog showed up as #3, right under my old law firm bio and right before a three-year-old court decision.

I shouldn't be that worried, right? I mean, I don't write anything here that I wouldn't say to people's faces, especially since so many people that know me in real life -- including family members -- occasionally stop by and read. And I don't really write about work, or anything too personal. Still, it's a little weird thinking that someone -- like opposing counsel or a judge -- might accidentally happen upon one of my inane little diatribes.

And it's a little scary in light of the fact that other bloggers have had their personal (& private) information posted on the internet as a result of having a blog -- and in this particular circumstance, a blog that they purposefully chose to write using an alias.

To me, the anonymity of the internet is one of the things that makes it so great. You should be free to speak your mind, to disclose what you want -- to communicate -- without feeling threatened. And if you don't use your name -- or your address, where you work, etc. -- that should be your choice, too.

It's a covenant of sorts. Or maybe it's just the golden rule taken to another level.



Go figure

Malnurtured Snay posted this earlier -- and it confirms what we've long suspected:

You Are the Middle Finger

A bit fragile and dependent on your friends, you're not nearly as hostile as you seem.
You are balanced, easy to get along with, and quite serious.
However, you can get angry and fed up with those around you. And you aren't afraid to show it!

You get along well with: The Index Finger

Stay away from: The Pinky




Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Another trip to New York, another storm

I just got back from another whirlwind trip to New York, complicated, as is now my norm, by weather.

So far this year, I've been to the city three times. I'm 0-for-3 with the weather. February: snow. March: flooding rains. April: Nor'Easter. I'm supposed to go again next month, and I'm not sure whether to bet on freak early hurricane or tornado. I think tornado is a safer bet.

Originally, I was supposed to fly up on Sunday -- you know, with the built-in time cushion so I can take the Grandmother for a meal. But then my plans changed, and yesterday, I was forced to abandon the plane, and take the train the Acela. Which was not fast, especially with a switch problem in Baltimore and flooded tracks in New Jersey. But I left early enough that I still managed to take my grandmother to dinner. (I did, however, spend pretty much the entire day traveling, so I didn't know anything about the shootings at Virginia Tech, until I got back to the hotel in time to see the news. It's almost unspeakably horrible.)

Today, I worked all day and took a shuttle flight back. The last 15 minutes or so were really bumpy. As in, "I'm lucky I didn't eat a big lunch" bumpy. I had to put my reading materials away.

Now, I'm just tired. Exhausted, actually. I told my mom that I think that the proof that humans aren't supposed to travel so far so fast is that we're always so tired when we do it, even if we spend the entire trip sleeping. I like to go places, see new things, yadda yadda yadda -- but the getting there kills me. Biologically, I think that means that we're only supposed to go as fast as our legs -- or maybe an animal? -- can carry us.

Still, even with all the hassles, travel can be amusing. Actually, no. It's the other people around that can be amusing -- when they're not annoying. And they continue to say the funniest things. Yesterday, for example, in Union Station, some gentleman waiting with a woman behind me on line said, "Be careful. It (probably New York, but maybe Boston) ain't Iowa. Heck, it ain't even D.C."

Brother, you have no idea. Still, it's good to be home, even if it is just a brief respite before having to head down to Florida this weekend.



Thursday, April 12, 2007

It's because I was born on a Thursday, not a Tuesday*

Here's another thing you might not know about me: I am exceptionally accident-prone. When I was younger, my mother -- who will tell anyone who asks that I "could jump in the air and miss" -- thought that years of ballet lessons would cure it. But all that really did was make me get hurt in a more graceful fashion.

Why do I bring this up? Because I think I sprained my ankle -- again -- and I'm not sure how. When I got home from work yesterday, it was fine. Between then and when I put my heels on this morning at work, something happened.

Now it is swollen and purple and it hurts to walk. So, I'm taking a pain pill and going to sleep.



*If you don't understand the title, click here.




Wednesday, April 11, 2007

So it goes.

The New York Times is reporting that Kurt Vonnegut died tonight.

Update: The A.V. Club ran a list of the "15 Things Kurt Vonnegut Said Better Than Anyone Else Ever Has Or Will." I think this is as good or better than all of the tributes out there.



Don't ask me why I found this . . .

. . . but here is the most scientific approach to making Jell-O shots that I've ever seen.

And if that's not enough for you, here's how to light a Jell-O shot on fire.



Diet Coke v. Coke Zero

I'm pretty sure that I've previously noted my addiction to Diet Coke on this blog sometime in the not-too-distant past. If not, consider this an admission. ("Hi, my name's Dara, and I'm a Diet Coke addict.")

But recently, I was somehow convinced to try Coke Zero. My conclusion: It's not bad -- at least when it's lukewarm.

This disturbs me -- and not just because of my loyalty to Diet Coke. You see, for years I've been making fun of my sister's affinity for warm (regular) Coke, no ice. Perhaps she's not so wrong after all.



Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Dogs are better than cats

I know it's a controversial statement, but let me explain.

When I was younger, I liked cats, but was afraid of dogs. Alas, my dad and I are both allergic to cats, so we never really had one.* Then, we got the dog. And, as time went on, I came to the conclusion that dogs make better pets than cats. Not that I don't think cats make perfectly decent pets, and admittedly, are probably the smarter animal. But they're selfish and aloof. On the other hand, dogs are loyal, trustworthy, friendly -- and usually funnier.

Plus, they can save your life.

Toby, a 2-year-old golden retriever, saw his owner choking on a piece of fruit and began jumping up and down on the woman's chest. The dog's owner believes the dog was trying to perform the Heimlich maneuver and saved her life.


A cat, on the other hand, would probably sit there and watch as you choked to death, silently mocking you.


* When my sister volunteered at the humane society, she brought a kitten home to foster for a while.



Monday, April 09, 2007

Lay your hands on these

Would it be weird to ask for Bon Jovi Action figures for my next birthday?

Seriously, though -- who wouldn't want collectible Jon and Richie?



Well, other than Heather Locklear.



Sunday, April 08, 2007

What I did this weekend

Well, after that horrible baseball game, I mostly worked -- and started cleaning out my closet.

Other than that, I got the third season of Entourage on DVD, and am enjoying it as much as the last go-round. But, as one of the rare people who doesn't have movie channels, I'm a little sad that I won't get to see tonight's premiere until months from now. Especially after the New York Times had this great write-up.



Friday, April 06, 2007

Ugh.

Tonight's Nationals game wasn't just brutally cold, it was brutal. 1-161, here we come.



Best horror movie trailer EVER!

I really really hope this is an actual movie, and not some kind of joke.




This made my Friday.



Thursday, April 05, 2007

Watching time fly, literally

I recently stumbled across this short film where the artist took a picture of her face every day for over three years.



It's gotten mixed reviews on the comment thread. People seem to either think it's beautiful or self-indulgent, with almost no middle ground.

I think it's great. I love the idea of watching people evolve and change.

Yesterday, I realized that I have something kind of like that -- 2 pictures of me taken in front of the same background, by the same camera, for the same purpose -- the first on August 7, 2000, and the second on January 22, 2007 -- almost like photographic mile markers. It's not exactly the same as the video because it doesn't have all of the photos in all of the intervening years -- so you miss that feeling of seeing the evolution as it happens.

Still, it's interesting to see the evolution.



Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Personally, I think "Journey" has a good ring to it

Let me get this straight: A Swedish couple is actually litigating whether it is permissible for them to name their baby daughter Metallica.

Now, I'm all about personal freedom, so I think that they should be allowed to name their kid whatever they choose -- since she can always petition to have it changed to something reasonable when she's an adult. Besides, the courts have bigger problems -- and hopefully one of them is figuring out why the heck these people were allowed to procreate in the first place.



Important legal precedent

Drinking and driving a Zamboni isn't illegal in New Jersey.



Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Proving the rumors are true

You know that old joke about Keith Richards doing every drug known to man, and then some? I think this proves it:


Keith Richards has acknowledged consuming a raft of illegal substances in his time, but this may top them all. In comments published Tuesday, the 63-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist said he had snorted his father's ashes mixed with cocaine.

"The strangest thing I've tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father," Richards was quoted as saying by British music magazine NME.

"He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared," he said. "... It went down pretty well, and I'm still alive."

Richards' father, Bert, died in 2002, at 84.


Update: According to MTV News, Keith Richard made the above comment in jest -- as an April Fool's joke. Still, even if that's true, it's a pretty ridiculously gross thing to say -- or even to think.



Passover confusion

On Sunday, my mother and I were talking about something, and she told me that she bought some frozen vegetable mix to eat during Passover. It included corn.

She was not happy when I told her that, as a grain, corn is not Pesach-friendly. Of course, that was the same thing that happened many years ago, when I told her that peanut butter was not kosher for Passover either.

This year, though, instead of my traditional confusion as to what I can and cannot eat during the holiday, I just decided to give up processed carbs altogether. Tonight I'm eating chicken on a salad with olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Admittedly, my decision is mostly because matzo is gross, and because a strict interpretation of the rules has led me to conclude that everything good is prohibited anyway. But in addition, it's a giant experiment in the Atkins diet. Maybe it'll work and I'll lose 10 pounds, maybe it won't. But at least I won't inadvertently eat something leavened. (Like that time, in law school, when I went to a baseball game with some buddies and had a beer, forgetting that beer is made from grain. Or that not all vodka is made from potatoes -- even though it should be.)

And no matter what, it's better (read: more Jewish) than my brother -- who told me Sunday that he has given up cheese for Lent -- and my sister -- who didn't even remember that it was Passover until we spoke on the phone.

Plus, there was an extra added bonus: Yesterday, I packed up all of the cereal and pasta and cookies, etc., that I had in my kitchen and donated them to Bread in the City.



Monday, April 02, 2007

At least there are 161 more games this season!

Introducing your 2007 Washington Nationals!



(Alas, after today's game, I longed for the good old days of 2005 -- or even 2006.)


Nevertheless, here's my report from the Nationals' opening day:

The good: Face it -- baseball is excellent on a beautiful spring day. Today's weather -- absolutely perfect.



Over 40,000 fans.

Zimmerman looked good, even when he fell on his butt. Dmitri Young looked good at the plate, and didn't drop the ball.

The best part was that I got to meet Dmitri Young, and shake his giant hand. He gave me my free "opening day" cap. Bo welcomed him to Washington. It was a lovely moment.




The bad: John Patterson's performance.

The lines for the food sucked. But then again, so did the food.

Even with over 40,000 fans, it wasn't quite a sell-out. Opening day should be sold out.

The booing of Cristian Guzman. Not cool people, not cool.

And the stupid cheer of "Let's go new guy!" Really, folks -- learn their names or s.t.f.u.!


The ugly: The score.

The injuries.

The scoreboard operators.

Beer spam

From: Ambers and Dark Company
Reply-To: ambersanddark@yahoo.co.uk
Organization: Ambers and Dark Company
To:
Subject: ***Ambers and Dark*** You have been Awarded
Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2007 16:20:13 -0400

AMBER & DARK
***PROMOTION NOTIFICATION***

Dear Winner,


This is to inform you of the AMBER'S PRODUCTS AWARD of Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand Pounds (650,000.00 Pounds) from Amber's Products Company,makers of Amber's Beer Products, Amber Classic, Amber Mocny Red, Amber Mocny, Amber Gold, Amber Mocne, Amber Pils e.t.c. This promotional award is to raise the profile of Amber's beer Products consumer's males / females in rural and urban Areas all over the world.

The online promotions email lists were generated from the World Wide Web. This promotion takes place annually to challenge and to take the market share from the popular Dutch import beer. The tactics included live events, local campaigns and general buzz to establish the brand one neighborhood at a time in major urban / rural Areas.

Your Email Ref Number falls within our European booklet representative's office in United Kingdom. In view of this, your award of Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand Pound (650,000.00 Pounds) will be released to you by our payment office in United Kingdom, Our United Kingdom Project Manager will commence the process to facilitate the release of your funds as soon as you contact him.

Note that if you are the rightfull owner of the email address you are to contact Mr. Robinson Cole for confirmation/verification so as to start the processing of your winnings. Find below the contact details.

A BIG CONGRATULATION FROM AMBERS AND DARK COMPANY



Mr. Robinson Cole
Promotional Officer.
Email:ambersanddark@yahoo.co.uk
Tel: +44 7045714804

Online co-ordinator
Smith Williams



A Russian twist on an old scam

Or, "Toto, I don't think we're in Nigeria anymore."


From: MIHAI ANDREI
Reply-To: mihaiandreipj2007@yahoo.com
Organization: MIHAI ANDREI
To:
Subject: MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL TRANSACTION.
Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2007 12:55:09 -0500

Good Day Friend,

Kindly accept my apology for contacting you via this medium. Although, we have never met before. Nevertheless, I have every reason to believe that you are a highly respected and trustworthy personality. I got your contact through your country's chambers of commerce and Industry.Although, I don't know you personally but I believe God has made this contact possible and also hope you will not disappoint me for trusting you.

Permit me to seek your attention in so informal a manner. I am MIHAI ANDREI, one of the Accounts Directors to MIKHAIL KHODORKOVSKY, the richest man in Russia and owner of the following companies; Chairman CEO: YUKOS OIL(Russian Largest Oil Company) Chairman CEO: Menatep SBP Bank (A well reputable financial institution with its branches all over the world). I seek your partnership in an urgent financial business of US$28 Million. (Twenty Eight Million United States Dollars).

My Boss MIKHAIL KHODORKOVSKY was arrested in October 2003 for his involvement in politics and the financing of opposing political parties (the Union of Right Forces, led by Boris Nemtsov, and Yabloko,a liberal/social democratic party led by Gregor Yavlinsky) which posed a treat to President Vladimir Putin's second tenure as Russian president before he was re-elected On March 14, 2004. You can read more of this on the web sites below:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3213505.stm
http://newsfromrussia.com/main/2003/11/13/51215.html
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0920791.html
http://www.khodorkovskytrial.com

The Russian Government Authority had already concluded plans to freeze all the accounts in the name of Mikhail Khodorkovsky both corporate and personal. However, in other to boost the investor confidence in the Russian Economy, also approved the payment of millions of Dollars to all YUKOS OIL Contractors and Suppliers.

The Fund US$28M involved was approved by the Russian Authorities as part of payments to the various YUKOS OIL contractors/suppliers to prevent them from loosing the money they invested in the numerous contracts they executed for the above YUKOS OIL. I had connived with the Accountant General of YUKOS OIL (who is also my partner in this business) to raise a memo stating that YUKOS OIL owed US$28M to a foreign contractor.

The Russian Authority finally approved this amount for payment after some deliberations. Actually, we have paid all our contractors both local and foreign because they agitated for their payment when they heard that my boss was arrested.

We intend to present you or your company as one of the contractors we owe so that you can stand as the beneficiary of the above sum according to your financial strength or the strength of your company. We will make all arrangements for the documentation, which the payee bank will need to transfer the sum to your nominated account. We have decided to use part of this sum to relocate our families out of Russia due to the present insecurity we face. We cannot lay direct claims to this payment, as we need to present a foreign person or company to stand as the beneficiary.

This business is safe and we will be willing to reward you with 20% of the total sum for your partnership. As soon as I get your willingness to assist us and your direct contact telephone and fax numbers, I will provide more details. Thank you.

Best Regards,
Mihai Andrei.

NB: PLEASE ENDEAVOUR TO RESPOND ON MY PRIVATE EMAIL ADDRESSBELOW FOR SECURITY REASONS: Email: mihai_andrei1@sify.com OR mihaiandreipj2007@yahoo.com