Friday, September 28, 2007

Hey! A new post!

Wow, I’ve been MIA for a whole week… my poor blog has been abandoned and neglected. But in my defense, it CAN be difficult to keep this thing consistently updated. I mean, you guys should try it some time. You would all fail miserably. Mwahahahahaha! (Evil dictator laugh… that is NOT to say that I’m an evil dictator, of course… I just happen to laugh like one…) :)

So in case anyone hasn’t heard – the Yankees have clinched a spot in the playoffs! They’re moving on to the post-season! And, if by some miracle they can manage to win their last few games, and Boston loses theirs, they might even be AL East champions again. (Well, now that I’ve brought it up, I’ve completely jinxed it… so that won’t happen. I’ll just be happy with the wild card spot.)

Sadly, however, the end of regular season baseball is also the end of fantasy baseball. It was a disappointing year for me, as my offense started the season with all the power of a hamster in a little plastic ball. They scampered along for a couple months, struggling mightily, until they finally remembered they were men (I think) and not rodents. But by then it was too late, and I was firmly entrenched in the bottom half of the league. A few weeks ago, I took heart in the fact that I was quite safely in eighth place. I mean, I OWN eighth place. Eighth place is MINE. (No, it’s not quite as satisfying as ending up ten points out of first place like last year, but oh well.)

I’m just happy to see the Yankees in the post-season again, in another year when everyone counted them out in the middle of the season. But that’s something that I’ve learned about the Yankees – unless they’re wallowing in last place, twenty games back, with half the team on the DL, you CAN’T count them out. You never know what’s going to happen with them. Which is one of the reasons it’s so much FUN to follow them if you’re a fan. (And if you’re not a Yankee fan, it’s probably aggravating and annoying… and that’s why you should be a Yankee fan… come to the daaaaark siiiiide…)

Of course, when I first started following the Yankees, they weren’t very good at all. They were nowhere near the top of their division, they lost games every time my dad and Eric would go to Yankee Stadium, and I didn’t understand what the big deal was about baseball. It wasn’t until I went to a game myself – until I saw the Yankee Stadium grass and swore it was greener than the rest of the grass in the world – that I started to truly appreciate baseball.

And what’s more, the Yankees WON that very first game I attended. They also won the second game I attended. And the third. Even though they were playing horribly overall, I was convinced that my presence in the stands was the catalyst that brought them good luck. Even at that early juncture, before I understood all the rules or knew all the players’ names, I recognized the value of some good old fashioned baseball superstition. It was ME – I was the reason the Yankees won games. I was their good luck charm, and they didn’t even know it. Eventually they DID lose a game when I was in attendance, of course. Which left me trying to figure out what I’d done differently to change the course of the game…

Don Mattingly was playing when I first started following the Yankees… and Dave Winfield… and Rickey Henderson. And a couple guys named Mike Pagliarulo and Dave Righetti, who were known by the nicknames “Pags” and Rags.” I actually might never have known that had it not been for an unbelievably annoying ad that constantly aired in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. It was a “come to Yankee Stadium and support your last place team!” kind of ad, and at the end, a little kid in a ball cap would exclaim, “Pags! Rags!” in a gratingly jarring way that made me want to throw Righetti’s baseball right at his or her little head. Apparently, I was supposed to set off to the stadium so I could see Pags and Rags in action, and that little kid wanted me to know how exciting it was. And that ad was SO annoying that I STILL remember it. Pags! Rags! Argh! Shut up!

Fortunately, it didn’t deter me from my Yankee addiction, and I can’t wait for the post-season to start. And if the Yankees lose, I’ll know exactly why – it’s because I (their good luck charm) wasn’t there…

Thursday, September 20, 2007

30-minute post...

So the other day when I was in that Borders bookstore looking for the meaning of “Chindogu,” I also browsed through the cooking section. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular – I just like to try new things once in a while, so I wouldn’t mind finding some sort of unusual cookbook with some interesting recipes. As I passed by various titles (“1000 Indian Recipes” – yum, that sounds good… “The Biggest Loser Cookbook” – well, the recipes might be good, but do I really want to feel ridiculed by my cookbook? “The Cheese-Lovers Cookbook” – hey, I know what dad is getting for Christmas!) I found myself in the middle aisle, next to a table piled with books by a single author – Rachel Ray.

And I suddenly realized, as I shuddered at the sight of those books, that Rachel Ray is my Matthew McConaughey. Now, for anyone who hasn’t already heard, Eric REALLY doesn’t like Matthew McConaughey. I mean, he can NOT stand that guy. If you show Eric a picture of Matthew McConaughey, he might very well rip it out of your hands and shred it to bits. Or, if he happens to be near a fireplace in Montana, he’ll just burn it:


Yes, he really WAS burning a People magazine with Matthew McConaughey on the cover. And, if you ask me, he was relishing the experience just a bit too much. Pyromaniac…

And it’s not like there’s any real reason why Eric dislikes Matthew McConaughey so much. I mean, sure, Matthew McConaughey WAS in that horrible movie “Contact”… a movie which should be forever relegated to the bargain DVD bins at Best Buy. But hey, he was also in, um… uh… wait a second, I’ll think of something… uuuhhhhhh… okay, truthfully, I’ve got nothing… But regardless – is a lackluster movie career reason enough to hate the guy so much?

Anyway, like I was saying – Rachel Ray is MY Matthew McConaughey. Because for some reason, I can’t stand her. She annoys me to no end. The mere sight of her picture on the cover of cookbook after cookbook in the middle of Borders made me want to knock over the table on which they were perched. And I’m not sure WHY I dislike her so much. Maybe it’s because she has an irritating habit of saying the word “delish” about five times during every one of her shows… maybe it’s because she maddeningly calls extra virgin olive oil “E-V-O-O – extra virgin olive oil” (yes, she says it in its entirety every time she pulls the bottle out) instead of simply saying “olive oil” or even “EVOO”… maybe it’s because she’s loud and obnoxious and has this bizarre way of over-pronouncing half the words she uses (“I LLLLOOOVVVE garlic!! It’s SO GOOD!!! I LLLLOOOOOVVVE it!!!!”)… or maybe it’s just because her so-called “30-minute meals” would actually take the average person a good hour to cook.

The point is, there’s no really good reason for why I can’t stand Rachel Ray – just like there’s no really good reason for why Eric hates Matthew McConaughey. But as long as pictures of both of them continue to exist, we’ll have plenty of fires to keep us warm in Montana…

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Yes, I'm talking about baseball... and cats...

Well, judging from Greg’s comment underneath that post a couple days ago, apparently my blog is really boring unless I’m talking about fantasy baseball. But he’s right – my own team didn’t do so well this year, and I am firmly entrenched in eighth place at the moment. So I’ll just have to talk about Greg’s fantasy baseball team. HIS team is great. Greg’s team is super special. All hail Greg and his super special fantasy baseball team. Actually, if it was REALLY great, he’d find a way to finish in first place instead of third… because why should Tim the Self-Perceived Doer of No Wrongs in Fantasy Baseball Land end up in first? So I’m rooting for you Greg – find a way to make up that 250 points between you and first place… c’mon, you can do it… :)

Of course, even more interesting than fantasy baseball right now is REAL baseball – the Yankees are finally starting to show their determination to make it to the postseason. Which I’m sure is thanks in no small part to the Yankee Voodoo that Eric and I seem to have perfected over the last few weeks. There’ve been a few close calls – Rivera loading the bases in the ninth inning, that sort of thing – but we’re trying to save up the really potent voodoo for the postseason games.

Speaking of the postseason (assuming the possibility that Boston will be there), did everyone hear about that kid in Boston who got Shelley Duncan’s autograph, but he and his mom got all bent out of shape about it because the autograph said, “Red Sox suck! – Shelley Duncan”? Oh come on – you actually go out and contact the media because a Yankee player wrote “Red Sox suck” before his autograph? If David Ortiz signed my notebook, and it said, “Yankees suck! – David Ortiz” I’d be like, “awesome! David Ortiz signed my notebook! And he has a sense of humor!” If this kid wants to be Red Sox fan for very long, he’d better get used to hearing things like that… it’s just part of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry. If I had a nickel for every time I heard “Yankees suck”… well, I’d have a whole bunch of nickels… If your feelings are gonna be hurt by a silly “Red Sox suck” autograph, then maybe you’d better go be a Pittsburgh Pirates fan or something...

Actually, I have a theory about this whole autograph uproar – I don’ t think the kid was upset at all. His mom, maybe – but only because moms like to try to shield their kids from disrespectful language like “suck” (although if that’s the case, you’d better never attend another Red Sox/Yankees game… I’ve heard worse than that from the mouths of nuns and boy scouts…). No, I don’t think it was a matter of being “upset” about the autograph – I think this kid realized that he had something cool, and the more media attention it received, the more money he could get when he sold it on eBay…

Okay, that concludes the “baseball” portion of this post. I shall now move on to a subject that is much more boring – namely, cute and cuddly kittens. Allegro and Piva are getting along a bit better now, as is evidenced by this picture:


They still have occasional arguments, however – like the one they were having this morning at about 6:30. I think what usually happens is that Piva likes to hide under the black cupboard in the foyer, and when Allegro walks by, she’ll jump out. This does NOT make Allegro happy, and much hissing and spitting ensues. Piva will try to hiss back, but she’s still so small that it ends up sounding more like a little sigh… and it’s much too adorable to be intimidating in any way. And really, how could you EVER be intimidated by this face?

Friday, September 14, 2007

They also have packing tape... and bubble bath...

I had some freelance proofreading work for a couple days, courtesy of Jen up in Chicago (thanks Jen! :)). I read through a catalog full of journals and calendars and photo albums – which, to be honest, was a lot more interesting than the freelance work I get every year from my previous employers. They like to inundate me with 40-page annual reports every winter, each one prefaced with a desperate plea of “is it possible for you to get this back to us today?” Um, no. (Actually, that's not true. It IS possible now and then, especially if I don’t drive all the way home to proof… last year I picked up a report from the bank and then drove to a Starbucks a couple miles away, where I fueled up with a triple-shot caramel macchiato and knocked the whole thing out in three hours flat. I then triumphantly returned the report to the bank, where I was greeted like the hero that I am and carried back out to my car on the shoulders of grateful typesetters. I’m pretty sure that’s the way it happened, anyway. Although I MAY have been imagining that “hero” stuff because of my caffeine high…)

Anyway, the catalog was a nice change from my usual proofreading work. And although I found plenty of reasons to wield my Red Pen of Corrections, I only found ONE misspelled word in the entire catalog. One. I hate it when that happens. I mean, on the one hand, it can mean that whoever typed that thing was a very good typist and speller… but on the other hand, it can mean that I missed all the OTHER misspelled words. What if there were fifteen misspelled words, and I only caught one? What kind of horrible proofreader would that make me? I just know that somewhere in that catalog, “stationery” was spelled “stationary,” and I totally missed it. I skipped right over the stationary stationery. How could I have missed that? Sigh… (I suppose there’s also a possibility that I’m being paranoid…)

After I finished proofing the catalog yesterday, I looked at FedEx’s website to see where I should go to return it to Chicago. And I was happy to see a “Pak and Ship” store listed on the website, located right across the street from my neighborhood, barely a mile away. Well, that would make everything quite easy and convenient. So I went over to Pak and Ship… but as soon as I walked in, I had a bad feeling about the place. It seemed less a packing and shipping store and more a Hallmark and bath store. I’m not sure you should ever see tubs of “body butter” for sale at your local FedEx shipping establishment. What’s more, the store was manned by an older couple, who were apparently going for a “mom-and-pop” atmosphere. But I went ahead and showed Pop what I needed to FedEx, hoping the racks of birthday cards and tubes of hand lotion were simply a fa├žade for what was, in reality, a very professional business. However, my hopes began to fade when he took one look at the catalog and said, “oh, I’m not sure we have a box for that…”

So I waited patiently as he rummaged around on a shelf and pulled out a “small” FedEx box, then held it next to the catalog and said, “nope, that won’t work.” I explained that the catalog had arrived in a MEDIUM box of the same type, assuming he could return to the shelf and bring one back to the counter. Instead, he mumbled something about “I’m pretty sure we don’t have any of those boxes” and disappeared into a back room. When he returned, he confirmed that they had NO medium FedEx boxes in the store, but if I wanted to, I could buy a larger plain cardboard box and use that. But seeing as I was hoping to look at least SEMI-professional with this proofreading job, I declined the plain cardboard box, worrying not only about how a non-FedEx box would look, but also having a slight suspicion that Mom and Pop would slip some jam and Pepperidge Farm cookies into the package…

I ended up going to Kinko’s… specifically, FEDEX Kinko’s – it seemed like a much better choice, considering the fact that “FedEx” was right there in giant letters on the sign over the door. They had plenty of FedEx medium boxes and FedEx airbills, one of which I filled out with several bits of information in the wrong spaces, so I had to cross things out until it looked like it had been filled out by a ten-year-old. As I carried the box to the counter, all I could think was, “these people are SO going to think I’m an idiot…” Is it really THAT hard to fill out a FedEx airbill? Oh well… at least I found a real FedEx box…

Is anyone else having a strange craving for Pepperidge Farm cookies? Maybe I’ll head over to the Pak and Ship… I mean, at the very least I can pick up a tube of lilac hand lotion…

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I'd like to see them try to make a movie out of this...

I have finally finished Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses,” after several months of on-again off-again reading (pausing now and then to read more “mindless” books that required little thought), and searching for commentaries on the text that would not only help me wade through the myriad metaphors, but also translate the many random Urdu/Arabic/Hindi words scattered throughout the story. And now that I’ve finished it, I have to say – wow. I’m not sure what I expected before I started the book, but it turned out to be so different from anything I could’ve envisioned. Completing the book was like reaching the end of some kind of fantastic journey – a trip where you saw so many amazing things, and learned so many foreign customs, and collected so much knowledge and so many memories that you’re almost loath to return to your mundane, everyday existence. There were so many threads woven into this book’s story that I feel like I could re-read it immediately and catch more details I missed the first time – this is part of the reason I took so long to finish the entire book. There were days when I would read a mere 30 or 40 pages, and feel like I’d devoured a wealth of creativity and thought-provoking images. This is not the kind of book you want to speed-read… skip over a sentence, and you might miss something profound…

It’s hard to even say what the “story” was about in this book. The concrete part of the novel is thus: (and this, by the way, is a technique quite often employed by Rushdie in his writing – the use of an introductory phrase, followed by a colon: “This happened: He observed this: Listen:” etc…) Two men – Saladin Chamcha and Gibreel Farishta – are on a hijacked plane, which terrorists blow up over the English Channel. So, at thirty thousand feet or thereabouts, Saladin and Gibreel tumble out of the sky, hurtling toward the earth, obviously in a situation that no one could ever conceivably survive. So what happens? Why, they both survive, of course.

But that is where the “concrete” part of the novel ends and the “what is going on here?” part begins. After they fall to the earth, Saladin and Gibreel both undergo strange metamorphoses – of course, it’s not always clear what is supposed to be a “literal” metamorphosis, and what is merely symbolic or imagined. Saladin, the more reserved of the two, begins to change into a devil-like creature, complete with horns and hooves… while Gibreel – an outgoing, arrogant movie-star – begins to change into a halo-crowned angel (namely, Gibreel the archangel). But is Saladin LITERALLY growing horns and hooves? Does Gibreel LITERALLY have a visible light glowing around his head? Or are these descriptions meant to reflect some of the emotions the men are now internalizing after their brush with death? Is the whole thing simply an illustration of the “evil” and “good” inside all people?

At times the answers are obvious – like one particular passage where Gibreel is certain his archangel status has transformed him into something larger than life. He feels it is necessary to have the attention of the London populace, but even as he looms over the city, casting a gigantic shadow on the highway and watching tiny cars zoom below him, no one pays him any notice. So he decides to take drastic measures and heave his giant feet onto the highway, where he is certain he will crush several cars – but at least then he’ll have everyone’s attention. What results, of course, is not Gibreel crushing a car, but rather a car almost crushing the very-normal-man-sized Gibreel. At other times, however, the answers aren’t as obvious – Saladin does, in fact, take refuge with a kind family who are willing to hide him even when he begins to take on the form of a man-goat, and they do seem to see in him the same things he sees in himself. Eventually, though, his appearance returns to normal – although the “evil” that was awakened inside him later appears again in an attempt to destroy Gibreel.

Saladin and Gibreel take on an “archenemy” type relationship – Saladin hating Gibreel because the latter man never attempted to help him during his bizarre metamorphosis… and Gibreel, convinced he is the archangel, certain the changed Saladin is his enemy. And woven within the entire novel are Gibreel’s “dreams” – stories within the story that at times seem random, but upon further reflection are very subtly and skillfully intertwined to the rest of the book. There is SO much that happens in this book, and, I would guess, so many different interpretations of what everything means…

And I thought it was funny that as I neared the end of the book this morning, I came across this passage, spoken by Saladin Chamcha as he attempted to secure a visa: “’I’ll tell you who I am,’ Chamcha bellowed… ‘I’m the poor bastard who got blown up by terrorists, fell thirty thousand feet out of the sky because of terrorists, and now because of those same terrorists I have to be insulted by pen-pushers like you.’” Interesting, isn’t it, that I should not only read this particular passage on 9/11, but also that this book was written back in 1988? Apparently the disruption of people’s daily lives because of a handful of cowardly, moronic idiots has been a problem for quite a while now… in fact, The Satanic Verses touches on so many timely issues – racism, religious fanaticism, political disputes, actors and actresses in obvious need of rehab – that at times I totally forgot I was reading a book that was written almost two decades ago.

I’d have to say this was one of the best books I’ve ever read, if only for the fact that it’s one of the most INTERESTING books I’ve ever read – it’s unlike anything else in my personal library. I doubt I know ANYONE who would actually sit down and read the entire thing… which is too bad, because it would be fun to discuss it with someone else who’d read it. But in order to read this book, it probably helps to be slightly nutter-butter to begin with – because then all the bizarre imagery doesn’t HAVE to make sense. If it’s a bit nonsensical, so what? It is, in the end, a book about life – and since when does life make sense anyway?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I have nothing to say...

Slow week… I guess I didn’t have much to write about. And the same goes for today – so here are my Saturday random thoughts:

Well, we have now left the house several times while Piva was out of her room, trusting that Allegro won’t eat her in our absence. And so far, everyone has been in one piece when we return home. I think Allegro is starting to understand that this new creature is here to stay, so she is beginning to tolerate her slightly, while still proclaiming her superiority whenever Piva ventures too close. But right now at this moment, Allegro is sleeping peacefully in her favorite place on the couch, and Piva is in the foyer batting around a little fabric mouse with a bell on its tail… (And Echo, as usual, can’t hear a thing, so it’s all good…)

Speaking of Piva, she has an annoying little habit of walking across the computer keyboard when I’m trying to use it. Which means I’ll be typing along quite nicely, and then suddenly she’ll hit the precise combination of keys to cause everything I’ve typed to disappear… or five random windows will pop up… or the Quicktime player will start running… or I’ll simply end up with a word like, “owyeoirh9—uje” at the end of my sentence…

Eric and I have been honing our Yankee voodoo this week, preparing it for possible postseason necessity. It’s actually been eerily on target this week – it began with a game a few days ago when our pitcher walked two batters in a row with nobody out. I sent a hasty Yankee Voodoo text message to Eric, and was immediately rewarded with a pop out and a double play, so the opposing team never had a chance to score. The same sort of situation seemed to be panning out in the next inning, so again I sent my voodoo message… and once again the Yankees managed to work their way out of a sticky inning. I then realized that what we really needed was OFFENSE voodoo – so I sent my voodoo text message. And the Yankees scored TEN runs within the next two innings. The next day, I was a bit late with my voodoo messages, so the Yankees were losing 2-1 as they went into the seventh inning. So I sent Eric some Yankee voodoo, and WHAM – eight runs in the seventh inning. And yesterday my voodoo messages were rather sporadic, thanks to eating dinner at Rick’s parents’ house and me leaving my phone in the living room. But I managed to send enough voodoo to ensure a 3-2 Yankee victory. I only have about a half hour before they play again… I’d better get my cell phone ready… (Eric?? Get the voodoo dolls and pins!)

Has everyone heard of that Burning Man festival in Nevada? It’s like this big gathering of people who fancy themselves artists (I’m sure some of them are… and I’m sure some of them are just people who do things like throw cans of paint at a pile of garbage cans while hula hooping in Marie Antoinette costumes, in an obvious display of anarchic, anti-government, George W. Bush-is-a-moron-and-should-be-impeached, we’re-serious-artists-and-you-just-don’t-get-it-man displays of “artistic expression.”) The whole thing culminates in the conflagration of a giant wooden man, which, I suppose is also some kind of “artistic expression.” Well, this year, some guy decided to set fire to the giant man a few days early – and he was arrested for it. Now, let me make sure I understand this correctly – a guy set fire to the guy who’s supposed to be set on fire, only it wasn’t the right time for the guy to be set on fire, so the fire-setting guy was arrested… right? Um, huh?? If the giant man is supposed to burn anyway, and his burning is an artistic expression, then who’s to say that burning the man a few days early isn’t ALSO an artistic expression? I mean, if the whole festival is about anything goes, breaking all the rules, expressing yourself, then how can there be any justification for arresting the Burning Man Early Burner? Just seems a little nonsensical to me… (but then again, I’ve always hated fire…)

Well, the UT game and the Yankee game are about to start, so I’m off to send voodoo…

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Stupid pretentious flip flops...

Over the weekend, we ate at a McCormick and Schmick’s restaurant that recently opened in Austin. This is not to be confused with Smith and Wollensky, which is a steakhouse… McCormick and Schmick's specializes in my worst culinary nightmare – seafood, seafood and more seafood. (Incidentally, on a side note: the last time we ate at a Smith and Wollensky – in Chicago – it was HORRIBLE. I doubt I’ll ever return there again. Especially when a couple blocks away there is a perfectly wonderful Morton’s steakhouse, where I’ve had three perfectly delicious meals in the last few months, not to mention three perfectly decadent chocolate lava cakes… the Smith and Wollensky across the river pales in comparison… just FYI… in case anyone happens to find themselves in Chicago in the future – Morton’s = good steak… Smith and Wollensky = horrible, inedible, meat by-products.)

Anyway… we ate at a new McCormick and Schmick’s that just opened in the Domain – the Domain is a big shopping center/apartment complex establishment that popped up a few months ago in north Austin. (At least that’s the way I see it – there’s so much construction in Austin that buildings seem to appear from nowhere and the roads are constantly changing direction…) The Domain has a lot of high-end shops like Neiman Marcus – Rick and I went in there once to see why Neiman Marcus was such a beloved Dallas landmark, and I think we decided it must be because so many people in Dallas want so many OTHER people to know how much money they have. If you say, “I bought it at Neiman Marcus,” what you’re really saying is, “I paid about 200 percent more for this than I actually had to, but I’m, like, totally rich and the tag says Prada so it’s, like, super worth it, and anyway, my chihuahua told me I HAD to shop here – didn’t you, Princess Puppy Paws?” Seriously, while we were wandering around the store, we saw various 150-dollar t-shirts (t-shirts – you know, those things you can get for 15 bucks at Gap?)… and, I swear to the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, a 200-dollar pair of flip flops. FLIP FLOPS for goodness sake. Yeah, I don’t think I have a need to prove my loyalty to overpriced, self-important fashion designers THAT much…

But I digress… I believe I was talking about the McCormick and Schmick’s, which, like I said, is famous for its seafood. So out of the dozens of items on the menu, I was left with a tiny little “steaks” section. I ordered something called filet mignonettes – I was worried my meat would arrive tied up with strings in a puppet theater, but it actually turned out to be quite good. Three very small filets, served on a bed of wild mushroom risotto. I was happy to discover that this almost-exclusively fish restaurant could serve quite a decent steak, as well. (My only complaint is that I saw NO chicken or vegetarian options on the menu… which means if I ever go back, I’ll really only have one option for dinner…) This was the second really good restaurant we’ve tried in the Domain – we tried one a few weeks ago called the Kona Grill, which serves all kinds of sushi (I didn’t try any, obviously) and specialized in a macadamia-nut encrusted chicken (finally! Somebody who serves chicken! :)). The chicken was extremely good, and I also had these really yummy avocado eggrolls as an appetizer.

So after these rather good dining experiences, it was interesting that Rick discovered a blog yesterday that was written by “food critics” (really, I think, just people who like to complain) who denounced the Domain and every culinary establishment within it, proclaiming all the food to be “bland.” Their assessment was that the Domain is filled with pretentious Dallas-wannabes who pay too much money for their purchases, and then proceed to pay too much money for “bland” food. And while I can definitely agree that shops like Neiman Marcus have an annoying air of pretentiousness, there are plenty of down-to-earth shops in the Domain, as well. I’m sure there ARE people who shop there simply to show off designer-names to their friends, but there are just as many financially-strapped couples and unassuming families with kids and strollers who are out and about for the fun of it.

And what I found really ironic about this “food critic” blog was that immediately after condemning the “pretentious” shops, patrons and restaurants of the Domain, several of the critics declared their oh-so-obvious knowledge of all-things-food by pointing out the fact that “I used to live in New York City, so I KNOW what good food is supposed to taste like.” And don’t get me wrong – I adore New York City. And I HAVE eaten in some great restaurants there. But I’m also not so “pretentious” myself that I can’t recognize good food in AUSTIN when I stumble across it. Just because Austin isn’t a giant metropolis doesn’t mean we don’t have a few chefs who know how to cook…

Apparently we also have people who are willing to shell out 200 bucks for a pair of flip flops… but I’ll just stick to eating in good restaurants…

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Weekend random thoughts...

Check it out – I finally figured out how to add a picture to my profile… and it only took me, like, five thousand years. Or two years… something like that. Not the best picture when it’s squished down into that little box – the pixels are too pixely or something. (Yeah, I said pixely… it’s a word… sort of… kind of… maybe not…) Anyway, it looks better at full size, but I guess it’ll do for now. Maybe I can find a picture that works better…

So today we were out driving home from Best Buy, and we saw a carpet cleaning truck. Underneath the name of the company it advertised a “24-hour emergency” phone number. And I couldn’t help but wonder – what kind of horrible thing would you have to spill on your carpet to warrant an “emergency” call to a carpet cleaner at, say, 3 or 4 in the morning? I mean, what could possibly happen that would cause you to pick up the phone in a panic and demand, “I need my carpets cleaned NOW!” as opposed to mopping up whatever you could with a roll of paper towels and making a mental note to “call that carpet place first thing tomorrow”?? If you really need your carpets cleaned that badly, I think there might be something going on in your house that the rest of the public doesn’t want to know about… or possibly something the police DO want to know about…

Yankees lost to Tampa Bay tonight – I don’t know what it is about Tampa Bay, but that team could lose every other game of their season and STILL manage to beat the Yankees with some ridiculous score like 17 -1. Tonight it was only 9-1, but really – why do the Yankees have such a problem with this team? They just managed to sweep Boston and now they let TAMPA BAY walk all over them? That just doesn’t make any sense… oh well. Yankees are only 5 and half games behind Boston, and Boston is losing tonight (hopefully they won’t stage a last minute rally)… and Seattle lost, too, which is good, because they’re one game behind the Yankees in the wild card race. I’d just be happy to see the Yankees in the playoffs, no matter how they got there…

I keep hearing about this whole Owen Wilson suicide attempt thing… I’ve heard people derisively remarking that Owen Wilson had so much money and fame and a great job, etc – so why would he want to kill himself? It always amazes me that people still buy (no pun intended) into the myth that money makes everyone happy. Money can only buy temporary THINGS, and that’s it. And “things” can be nice and all, but no matter HOW nice they are, their appeal always wears off. Always. Which is why people who DO believe that money can buy happiness are constantly buying MORE things. Once you have your shiny, sparkly prize, it starts to look a bit more dull and tarnished… so out comes the credit card and another possession is acquired and maybe THIS one will be the one that brings true happiness – but of course it’s not. It never is. When I think about what in my life has made me TRULY happy, more often than not people and relationships are involved. Even when money is required – like for travel, which is one of the things I love most – it’s the people who are with me and the experience itself that bring happiness. So it doesn’t surprise me that someone who’s perceived to “have it all” might, in actuality, be extremely depressed. Money really CAN'T buy happiness…

So I’m sort of half-watching Snakes on a Plane on HBO, and it’s making me never want to fly again. I mean, not only is this plane completely overrun with poisonous snakes, but it’s flying through the worst turbulence ever. Actually, this would be a great in-flight movie… it would probably freak out all the passengers. I was flying somewhere once, and the in-flight movie was “Panic Room” – that movie with Jodie Foster about the guys who break into her house and she locks herself in her protected room – and at a particularly suspenseful part of the movie, the plane started flying through turbulence and I could see lightning from a storm in the distance. And instead of being really scary, it actually made the movie better – we were bouncing around and lightning was flashing outside and Jodie Foster was frantically running from the bad guys and I was like, “argh! She’s not gonna make it! Run, Jodie, run!” In fact, I think if I HADN’T been on a plane flying through turbulence when I watched that movie, I wouldn’t have liked it all that much…

Wow, tomorrow is already September 1st… which means school is back in… which means I can finally once again go to the mall during the week and not feel like I’ve stumbled into the middle of a school field trip to the Gap. Actually, I don’t go to the mall all that often… but when I do, I prefer it to be as uncrowded as possible…

I guess that’s about all the random stuff I’ve got right now. Hope everyone has good weekend. :)