Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Baseball v. Hockey

I went to my first hockey game of the season tonight -- my first game since last season's playoffs -- the debacle that was Game 7. But that's besides the point. Fresh off a horrible baseball season, and in the middle of a football season that I'm not too excited about, I started thinking about why it took me so long to really appreciate hockey.

So I started making a list comparing my favorite sport, baseball, against hockey.

The players:
Baseball -- Southerners, Latin Americans, and the Japanese.
Hockey -- Canadians, Eastern Europeans, and the occasional kid from New England or the upper Midwest.

The fans:
Baseball -- People with crewcuts and old Jewish men.
Hockey -- People with mullets.

The music:
Baseball -- A lot of country, with a little rap and salsa thrown in.
Hockey -- Rock N' Roll.

The weather:
Baseball -- Ideally, warm and sunny on a Sunday afternoon, but mostly hot and humid on a weekday night. And then there are rain delays . . . .
Hockey -- Cold. Earmuffs would have been nice.

The pace:

Baseball -- Leisurely.
Hockey -- Frenetic.

The resolution of a tie game:
Baseball -- Extra innings.
Hockey -- 4-on-4 overtime, and if that doesn't work, a dramatic shootout.

Somehow, I think hockey wins.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I promise I'm not ignoring you.

I'm just really really busy and tired this week.

And the World Series is on.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dreams and Puppies

My subconscious is messing with my head. I had a dream last night -- technically this morning -- that somehow managed to make my already confusing life seem even more confusing.

And no -- it wasn't a sex dream. Or even the recurring dream that I keep having where I get in an argument with my sister and throw a glass of water at her. The main plot of the dream involved me eating a picnic lunch with several friends, coworkers, and random family members. Seems innocent enough, right? But suffice it to say that this dream has altered my perception.

Anyway, onto bigger -- and hopefully brighter things. I think I'm getting myself a puppy for my birthday. I don't know what kind yet, but here are my biggest considerations:

  • I have allergies. So a dog that does not shed too badly or is considered "hypoallergenic" would be good.
  • I am under 5'2", and the condo is under 1300 square feet. So a small-ish dog would be great. Bonus points for one that will fit into a pet-carrier that I can take onboard an airplane.
  • After having one dog that ate linoleum, crown molding, and a Soul Asylum CD, I would prefer a dog that is not likely to chew too much important stuff. And while we're on the subject of that dog, I would like one that does not have too much separation anxiety.
  • No excessive barking, and no biting. I guess that means friendly.
  • The dog should be relatively smart, or at a minimum, easily trainable.
  • Most important: the dog has to be cute. Supercute.

Some of my favorites are Beagles, Puggles, Malteses, Maltipoos, Cockapoos, and Yorkies. But I'd rather not buy a puppy from a breeder when there are perfectly good puppies in pounds. So, if anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

In-Flight Entertainment

I rarely talk on airplanes. I usually sit down, pull out a book or my headphones, and try to relax until I get from point A to point B. Not today.

It all started with my bag. You see, I acquired stuff at my dad's house, and decided to take a bag of it back up with me to DC -- a little blue gym bag that may or may not have been the bag I used for summer camp one year, back in the mid-1980s. Despite the fact that the bag was tiny, it would not fit in the overhead bin, thanks to some oversized suitcases and a whole bunch of tennis rackets. (Note to self: Next time you're in Florida, remember to look for your old tennis racket in the garage.)

So the guy next to me volunteered to let me put it in front of his seat. He then commented that he could judge how stressful someone's job was by the size of their coffee cup -- I happened to be drinking a Starbucks Venti Green Tea at the time. This, of course, started a conversation.

We proceeded to spend the whole two-and-a-half hour flight talking. I quickly realized that he was quite intoxicated, which made it all the more fun for me. And it got better when he found out that the onboard beverage service was cash only.

I think the highlight for him was when we started going through the Sky Mall catalog, only to find that almost every page of his copy had been defaced with hand drawn pictures of male genitalia. He thought it was hysterically funny, so I told him to rent Superbad.

The flight seemed to go by very quickly. Clearly I need to allow myself to be entertained by random strangers more often.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Until today, I never really understood the saying "You can never go home again."

I was in my old hometown today, for the first time in years. Out of curiosity, I decided to drive by the old house. It has a new roof, and new front doors, and a fence around the backyard where there's now a swingset. It's the same house, but it's not my home -- and hasn't been my home for years. Heck, it hasn't even been my family's house for over six years.

It made me recall how, when I was in law school, I had this one particularly horrible semester. I'm not sure if it was classes or something else, but whatever it was, it was really draining. My last exam was Evidence, and after the test was over, I got right in the car and drove the four-and-a-half hours back to Coral Springs -- pretty much on the verge of tears the entire way. And I walked into the house, took one look at my mother, and started crying. Not just because I was stressed out and upset, but also because I was relieved to be home.

I got an A on that exam, just like my mother said I would.

It's different now. In conversation today, I referred to coming to Florida as "coming home," but it's not really true. My house is the condo in Arlington, and the place where my dad lives is just that -- no more, no less. My home, at least the way I remember it, does not really exist anymore.

My mother was home.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Question-and-Answer time

Here it is, the moment you've been waiting for: the answers to the Ask Dara Anything! 2008 Edition Questions.

  1. DSL asked -- well, sort-of asked -- "I would ask if you've ever had jeans hemmed, but you live in VA".

    I fail to see why living in Virginia would make me more or less likely to have had jeans hemmed. But this I do know: When getting jeans hemmed, you should have them take off the cuffs and then reattach them so they look right.

  2. DSL also asked, "Why did you never tell me what you thought of contra dancing?"

    Partly because you posted it as a comment on the other blog, the one I haven't updated in weeks. But mostly because you didn't really ask me. Not in person, anyway.

  3. Violindan asked, "Dara, what do you think DSL's random, forgotten question was?"

    Dan, I think it had something to do with the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow. Or contra dancing.

  4. Miss Scarlet asked three questions: (1) What would be your perfect vacation? (2) Do you like pickles? olives? onions? (3) Do you agree that fall is awesome?

    (1) I thought that driving up the California coast was a pretty amazing vacation, close to perfect. But I love to go to new places. Right now, I think I'd love to take a tour of Italy or Australia or go to Japan, Thailand/Cambodia, or China, or go to Argentina and drink a lot of Malbec.

    (2) I love pickles. Especially half-sours. I like some olives, especially in martinis. As for onions, I generally only like them when they're cooked, but I do love the pearl onions that they put into martinis.

    (3) Fall is awesome: Not only was I born in the fall, but I love fall colors. But, to be honest, I spent way too much of my life living in Florida to be that keenly excited about the colder weather. As long as the daytime temperature stays between 70-80, I'm fine.

  5. Sara asked, "What is you all time favorite comfort food and will you share the recipe?"

    In all honesty, my favorite comfort food is mac and cheese, and when I make it it's out of the blue box. I do love Noodles & Company's take on it, though -- and eat it way too much.

    As for things that I make, the closest thing that I have that is not a cookie is my Nana's recipe for Tuna Noodle Casserole -- and it's the easiest thing in the world. One bag of egg noodles, two cans of tuna in oil, two cans of cream of mushroom soup, one can of peas (drained) and some breadcrumbs and butter. Boil the noodles, and mix everything together in a casserole dish, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and dot with the butter. Bake in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes or so, or until it is browned on top but not too crispy.

  6. TINGB asked "Which is the worst of the "Viva Viagra!" commercials I'm forced to endure during every commercial break of the baseball playoffs?"

    All of them, my dear, all of them. Any time they show any commercial about anything to do with erectile dysfunction, I cringe. For me and for society in general.

  7. Peter wrote to me via Facebook: "Dear Ask Dara: Tonight should I watch the Vice Presidential debate or my Forgetting Sarah Marshall DVD from Netflix? On the one hand, even though I've heard that the movie is hilarious, the debate might be funnier (I enjoy dark comedy). But, if I don't watch my Netflix DVD and return it immediately, I will not be getting the most value for my money out of Netflix."

    Peter, If you are really limited to one or the other, I'd flip a coin -- heads debate, tails movie. The debate is likely to be scary funny, and it is very important, but it lacks plot. The movie is very very funny, but it isn't THAT important to trade in your movies right away (this from someone who has had the same movie since August).

    Of course, the better answer is a compromise: stay up late and watch Forgetting Sarah Marshall after the debate.

    But whatever you do, just make sure the kids are asleep before you start the movie.

  8. Then Anna wrote: "Dear Dara, Should I give in to my husband's demands that I stay up late for the ten cents savings of watching all Netflix DVDs immediately? Besides I hate Sarah Marshall."

    Anna, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a very funny movie. It's worth it. But in general, I'm with you on the Netflix thing. One extra day ain't gonna break the budget.

    (Ed. Note: Then Anna wrote "Um, Actually I just learned Sarah Marshall and Sarah Silverman are different people." So I think it made her decision easier.)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Book Meme

Miss Scarlet posted a meme about books, and for fun, I'm going to do it.

The rules are:
  1. Link to the person who tagged you.
  2. Post the rules on the blog.
  3. Write six random bookish things about yourself.
  4. Tag sixish people at the end of your post.
  5. Let each person know he or she has been tagged.
  6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

So here goes . . .
  1. I have to finish books, even if I hate them. I can't start a new book until I've finished the current book.
  2. I have four bookcases filled with books in the new guestroom -- two short and two tall.
  3. As a kid, my favorite book was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. (If you haven't read it, you should.)
  4. When I was cleaning out my old apartment, I found a ton of the bookmarks that you get for free from the bookstores.
  5. I like to read the book before seeing the movie, but I am almost never one of those people who says that the book is so much better.
  6. In the second grade, I did a book report -- complete with diorama -- on The Thorn Birds. I read the book because my mom wouldn't let me stay up to watch the miniseries on tv. And let's just say that it was completely inappropriate material for an 8 year-old.

Tags: Eh, whatever. Do it if you want to do it.

Vice-Presidential Debate Drinking Game

In a surprising bit of awesomeness, TV Guide posted this Vice-Presidential debate drinking game:

The rules are simple. You take a drink....

If Biden:
• refers to John McCain as "a friend" or someone he respects just before trashing him.
• tries in any way to justify the complete failure that is Amtrak.
• has to explain what his son did for a living after law school.
• says any of the following: "climate change," "biofuels," "green," "ethanol," "drilling," "Big Oil," or "Bridge to Nowhere."
• refers to Palin's recent interview with Katie Couric.
• exceeds his time limit.
• mentions the number of years of experience he has.
• makes any allusions to the pregnancy of Palin's daughter Bristol.
• displays righteous anger.
• suggests a title for Larry Flynt's Sarah Palin-themed adult film.

If Palin:
• invokes McCain's POW history
• mentions her husband or any of her children by name (make it a double if she says "Track in Iraq").
• says any of the following: "pitbull," "lipstick," "hockey mom," "Joe Six-Pack," "maverick," "barracuda," "glass ceiling," or "plagiarism."
• says "gosh," "gee," "golly," "darn," "heck" or any other homespun curse euphemism.
• evades answering a question.
• cries poverty.
• is actually carrying a firearm.
• cites Russia's proximity to Alaska or talks about her great love for the state of Israel in response to a question about foreign policy (been there, done that!).
• mentions by name any animal species native to her home state.
• is wearing a suit that costs more than her plane.

If either candidate:
• says any of the following: "change," "God," "hope," "Beltway," "insider," "lobbyist," "energy," or "Bush."
• says "Delaware" or "Alaska" in a funny accent to sound folksy.
• invokes the specter of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
• actually curses.
• says "Wall Street" and "Main Street" in the same sentence.
• uses hyperbole to talk about the current financial crisis.
• says, "Let me finish."
• mispronounces the name of a world leader.
• milks the crowd for applause.
• mentions Tina Fey.

I am sure that I will have one heck of a headache tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Ask Dara Anything! 2008 Edition -- reminder to submit questions

I know my readership is down significantly of late, but seriously folks, doesn't anyone have a question for me?

Ask me about your taxes or tax policy in general. Ask me about home decor. Ask me about what I ate for dinner or what I watched on tv. Ask me who I think is going to win this craptastic season of Project Runway. Just somebody ask me a question -- by next Wednesday.