Monday, February 27

Tropical vacations

I've only got a few minutes before 24 starts, but I wanted to get something up here for today. That way, as I'm trying to dig my way out of three days of missed work tomorrow, I won't feel too guilty about neglecting the blog until the afternoon.
So we are back in Boston, and I've got to tell you, it is FRICKIN' cold here! It was like 15 degrees or something when the plane landed this afternoon, and with the wind chill, it was 6 or so. It's just getting colder as the evening wears on, so we're comfortably bundled into our little house with the heater going, staying warm. For some perspective: it's colder here than it is more than a mile high in altitude in the Rocky Mountains. Tomorrow will be all about warming the car for 10 minutes before driving to work (more so since it's sat in the cold for five days); and realizing that it's back to the grind. Brian had his reality check last night when he got to thinking about school so much that he couldn't sleep, and I had mine this afternoon when I remembered that I had to go to work tomorrow.
But the big decision this weekend hinges on the future of vacations for the rest of our lives. No more winter activity vacations. We, from now on, travel only to tropical places where Brian can play golf and I can sit by the beach. Putting on and taking off all that ski/snowboard gear, carrying it back and forth, being cold, and waiting in lift lines has killed the joy of the ski vacation. Brian's proposal: we only golf and beach for vacation. I have to tell you, if it's that kind of choice, I'm totally in agreement.

Sunday, February 26

Closing ceremonies

We'll be contentedly sitting in front of the television tonight for the Olympic closing ceremonies, eager to see what kind of fantastic events the Italians have planned, and to see the proverbial "torch" passed from Torino to Vancouver for the 2010 Games. (2010! Yikes! It'll be here before we know it!) Brian and I slept through Apolo Anton Ohno winning gold last night, and were barely awake for the bronze-medal relay, so we're feeling kinda bummed that we missed it. Is it the extra exercise from hitting the slopes that is making us so fricking tired by 10 p.m.? It's embarrassing! Anyway, we'll do our best to stay on the alert this evening, so we can at least say that we saw the American team carrying the flag into the closing ceremonies.
We all had an excellent breakfast this morning, and wandered around the downtown area of Steamboat Springs, then came back here for some afternoon napping and snacking. Dinner will be within walking distance -- all so we'll be here in enough time for the TV.
We are to be up bright and early tomorrow morning for the trip to the airport and then home. We're looking forward to heading back -- mainly because we miss the beast -- but also because one never sleeps so well as they do in their own bed.

Friday, February 24

24. Two enchiladas, taco

I got all kinds of sunburn on my face tonight. It's all about that crazy feeling of the skin being a bit too tight, feeling a bit too warm, and knowing that, even away from a mirror, it's a bit too red. But, even in light of that, we had a great day up on the mountain today. Brian, Howie and I tore it up at Steamboat, "cruising" as Howie likes to say, but having fun in anyone's vernacular. Really, it was a short day of skiing, since we didn't get all our stuff rented and up on the mountain until close to 10, and we were hungry and done about 1. I know, I know, that's a super short day, and a seeming waste of an all-day lift ticket -- but Howie got either ran into, brushed or startled by a snowboarder, and he fell down, thus effectively ending his good day; Brian's pained knee started acting up; and I was hungry. So we did lunch, came back to the condo to change, and then wandered around shopping in the resort area. I'm on the hunt for a sweatshirt that says, "Steamboat" across it (Sarah will appreciate that), and some sweatpants to wear back and forth to the gym.
Tonight for dinner, we feasted on yummy Mexican food. Mom and Howie ate until they were full, but me and B, the two who can't have good Mexican food whenever we want, ate until it was all gone, and we were full to bursting.

Wednesday, February 22

Toga! Toga!

Such a day today! Not a super whole lot went on, but it kept me busy enough that I wasn't able to blog at all; and that kind of action is simply unacceptable. Our cubicles at work were moved, so I spent a good portion of my day putting all my decor back up on new walls; reading and posting articles; attending meetings; and lunching with my peeps for Sarah's going away.
Tomorrow we head off to Steamboat. I'll try to get some stuff up here while we're there, as there's a business center in the condo complex.
But just in case you have to go a day or two without me, I'll give you a treat and post up a photo of the stage set for the upcoming Academy Awards show, airing March 5. I'm getting pretty excited for the show, and look forward to seeing how this ridiculously garish and wedding-cake-topper of a stage looks on live television. Can't you just see a cool Jack Nicholson, elegant Charlize Theron, super serious Joaquin Phoenix walking across it, or, even better, the musical act for "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" rocking out in this setting? About the only person who would fit in here is Reese Witherspoon, who's so cute and bubbly that she may just be the champagne along with this cake. .... .... Hmmmm. Actually, it's looking kinda Greek too, the more I study it. Perhaps the entire Oscar night will be some kind of toga party. Can we expect to see Otter, Flounder, Bluto and Boone in the background, or a pantless Donald Sutherland?

Tuesday, February 21

Lessons from the three-day weekend

Some people look at a three-day weekend as an opportunity to sleep in, have some drinks with friends, and get in trouble investigating fun-type outlets. Me? I see it as a chance to learn something new. Enhance your education: live the three-day weekend. Here's a random list of things I learned over my weekend, in no real order (even though they are numbered).
1.) Curling is so much better to watch if you really don't get the scoring system. It's an unnatural obsession we've developed, but B and I had curling on television as often as we could over the last three days. Even if it wasn't the U.S., it was better than other things on the tube. Brian tried to figure out the scoring online, but we decided that it's even more fun rolling through the whole thing oblivious.
2.) There are always people as stupid as you are. We figured that, on Sunday when the temperature reached a high of 14 or something, no one would consider walking around the open-air outlet center, so we would have the run of the place with no crowds or anything. We had to park in the outskirts of the lot, and ended up waiting 15 minutes for a table at lunch.
3.) Life, as a young maid/wannabe geisha, is pretty bad. I'm digging in to Memoirs of a Geisha, and have quite fallen in love with it. I'm about 200 pages in, and am eager to pick it up tonight. I can't wait to get farther in because Hatsumomo must, simply must, get hers in the end. Right?
4.) Appreciate your only-childness. If I had a younger sister as messed as Cameron Diaz in In Her Shoes, I might just strangle her. Movies like that, while emotionally touching, really help me out with the whole, "It would be nice to have a sister" thought process, and smack some sense into me.
5.) Shopping on a Monday is the best. There's little more decadent than knowing that some fools are at work while you and your friend are out cruising through shops, trying on clothes and having a beer before noon. I didn't come home with a lot, but the day was stellar and fantastic.
6.) Only having to work Tuesday and Wednesday makes coming back to work from a three-day weekend bearable. We're off to Steamboat Springs, Colo. Thursday morning for a weekend of skiing/snowboarding, eating out, and fun. Some people might use vacation days in the dead of winter to go somewhere tropical, warm and sunny, but not us ... nope, we go where there's more snow.

Friday, February 17

Crushing on Paul Walker

One of my movie star crushes, Paul Walker, has a new movie coming out today. While I try to catch most everything that he's in, I probably won't see Eight Below, since movies about animals beating the odds, facing hardships and ultimately triumphing make me sob. (And this one will end like that, people, it's a Disney movie.) He's pretty persuasive eye candy, but the emotional toll that I know the movie will take on me is keeping me far away.
If I were still in grade school or something, I'd be putting his picture up on my bedroom walls or in my locker, but since I'm a more mature, married woman, I'll instead just gush a little bit in my blog. Scroll through his movie list, which includes both the first and second Fast and Furious, She's All That, The Skulls, Timeline, and Into the Blue (a movie Brian was just as pleased to sit through, as it costarred Jessica Alba), and you'll find a list of instant classics that will cement Walker in pop culture history. Some nuggets you'll discover, should you choose to add these winners to your Netflix queue: he's not much of an Oscar-caliber actor (though each film seems to get better); he said "Bro," waaayyy too much in 2 Fast 2 Furious, but he said it with STYLE; he more than holds his own against rock-solid performances by Vin Diesel, Tyrese Gibson, Craig T. Nelson, Josh Brolin, and Freddie Prinze, Jr.; and his blue eyes are too dreamy.
Entertainment Weekly posted an interview with Walker yesterday, about the doggy movie and another R-rated film that comes out next week. Read it here. And after reading through it, maybe Running Scared is more me and B's speed. He's so pretty.


I spent most of the evening last night on the sofa watching Olympic action. My favorite event out of last night's offerings was "snowboardcross." The sport is a hybrid of snowboard racing and motorcross, where a foursome of boarders fly around turns, over jumps and through straightaways in a race to the finish line. Settling in to it, I thought, "Where, oh where, have I seen this before ... and ad nauseam?" Of course! It's Brian's SSX snowboarding video games come to life! Having established why I have a frightfully accurate idea of how this sport is to be raced properly, I sat back and enjoyed adding my own expertise to the race coverage ... of a sport that has kept me ass-to-the-snow every time I tried it.
My favorite part of the whole thing was how the commentators kept trying to settle down the "people at home" by continually explaining that, "Snowboardcross is a dangerous sport, and the racers do make contact. So should you see them bumping, THAT'S ALRIGHT, because it's part of the sport. DO NOT BE ALARMED if they run into each other. They understand that they have to continually jockey for their positions. That's all a part of this FAST AND DANGEROUS new Olympic sport, called snowboardcross." I swear, if they weren't cracking me up so much with their dire warnings and death-is-eminent predictions, I'd have muted them. All the same, it was nice to see the Americans kick butt and take home the gold.

Thursday, February 16

Orca! Orca!

Those of you that have been with me for a while may recall fondly the "orca phase," when I had almost every orca picture I could find on the walls of my room: cool images taken by Wyland, Lassen, nature shows and the like. Realize that I still have a Lassen up in my living room, and the cool whale hanging statue in my office at home. I still love the orca, and always linger over articles, photos and stories about them. One of the biggest envies in my life is that Meredith was able to just get up and move to Washington, and pursue a desire to lead whale-watching expeditions and such, all to be closer to these amazing animals. (And then there's the movie, Orca, where a male killer whale chases and terrorizes Richard Harris and kills Bo Derek because Harris hunted the whale's mate, killed it, and washed their unborn whale baby off the boat deck.)
Anyway, per this morning's headlines, the Washington orcas are now listed as an endangered species, giving them even more federal protection than they enjoyed under the "depleted species" label. This from the AP: "Since 2002, the orcas have been protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which kept them from being killed or harassed, but their listing under the Endangered Species Act gives them the highest protection available under the law." This new designation goes into effect Thursday. After that, any government agency looking to do anything in the area must have the National Marine Fisheries Service's permission, which will ensure that they won't harm the animals or their environment.
More from AP: "The three pods of orcas that live in Puget Sound from late spring through early fall, known as the southern resident orca population, total 89 whales. That's down from more than 100 in the middle of the last century but up from a low of 79 in 2002. The decline has been blamed on pollution and a drop in the population of salmon, their primary food."
Here's to hoping that they'll increase again with the additional protection.

Wednesday, February 15

"You may kiss the bug-infested bride"

ITEM!: My very romantic Valentine's Day consisted of leftovers out of the fridge for Brian, and me scrounging for something edible (chicken and stars soup, and a cinnamon-raisin English muffin), and a viewing of The Aristocrats, the documentary movie about a really dirty joke told by several comedians. I'd never heard the joke before, and went into this one blind -- completely blind. I thought it was relatively funny (Brian certainly enjoyed it more than I), and I could probably go the rest of my life without hearing anyone ever tell the joke to me in person.

ITEM!: Oh, this one is fun. Yesterday, in a romantically creepy wedding, the Scorpion Queen and the Centipede King got married. This is their official wedding photo. Kanchana Ketkaew, 36, set a world record in 2002 for spending 32 days in a glass cage with 3,400 scorpions (it was broken in '04); and 29-year-old Bunthawee Siengwong set a Thai record for enduring 28 days with 1,000 centipedes. Kanchana's bridal gown was adorned with live scorpions, while Bunthawee enticed his bride by placing a centipede in his mouth. Howie always told me that there's someone for everyone. This is true love at its best.

ITEM!: Pink's new album, I'm Not Dead, is dropping in stores on April 4, and I'm super excited about it. Have you seen her video for "Stupid Girls"? Watch it here. Classic satire based on our favorite tabloid celebutantes and waifs, it skewers most everyone. The CD, I'm sure, will be so worth the wait since we last heard from her in Try This. Pink's never shied away from the controversial topics, and writes from the heart, so this more topical CD should be interesting. (The only other song's name that has been released is, "Dear Mr. President.") Ever since I've really dug into the iTunes, I've denied myself the expensive pleasure of buying actual CDs, and have filled up from the $.99-per-song Web site, but as with Brit, U2, Madonna, and Barenaked Ladies, I'll be putting forth the extra cash for the actual disc.

ITEM!: Lastly, contrary to rumor, and a certain magazine cover (left), Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have not broken up (or SPLIT!). Really, I'm getting pretty bored with the whole "TomKat Watch," and would prefer that the couple either actually do something to earn their place on a rag's cover, or do us all a favor and quietly slip into nothingness.

A belated valentine

I have no idea where, or why, the obsession with David Hasselhoff began ... well, actually, I do ... it was the PowerPoint presentation making the rounds a year or two ago, but as much as this blog has become about everything, it also is about the Hoff.
I know that it's the day after Valentine's, but Melissa came through with this gem of a Valentine's card for me this morning, and it just has to get up here for the world to see.

Tuesday, February 14

Wal-Mart goes "morning after"

Well, I've hit on guns and hunting this week, so I guess the next logical course of action would be to tackle contraception. It's all in my ongoing effort to piss off the religious right. Today, I say "Wahoo!" to the Massachusetts state government for requiring that Wal-Mart carry the morning-after pill at all its pharmacies and Sam's Clubs in the state. Wal-Mart is way too big of a company, institution, what have you, to be trying to moralize the people of this country on contraception. They sell condoms, yes? That, in itself, goes against the teachings and preachings of the Catholic church, so why should the morning-after pill be treated differently?
Three women in Massachusetts sued the company because it did not stock the pills, arguing that state policy requires pharmacies to provide all "commonly prescribed medicines." The state board that oversees pharmacies voted to require that Wal-Mart carry the drug. A letter has been sent to Wal-Mart, who has until Thursday to provide written compliance. According to the company spokesman, the company hadn't yet received the letter, but will comply with the edict. Until now, Wal-Mart carried the pills in Illinois only, where it is required to by state law. Why all the brouhaha? The company has said that it, "chooses not to carry many products for business reasons," but does not elaborate more than that. (And let's not even get started on the fact that they sell guns, too.)

St. Valentine was beheaded

According to romantic legend, Saint Valentine was a kind-hearted Roman priest who married young couples against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II, and was beheaded for his deeds on the 14th of February. We celebrate his death by keeping Hallmark in business; paying astronomical prices on flowers; binging on chocolates; and having sex with our significant others (or whoever the single people may pick up that night). Also, and contradictorily, the legend of Valentine's Day can be attributed to several other stories, and no one knows exactly why February 14 was selected to honor the man, myth and legend. Cupid's association hinges on his role played in stories of love and passion, and has nothing to do with the saint or date listed above.
When I worked in Phoenix, my daily commute took me past a flower shop. Every morning, the marquee outside the shop would advertise the seasonal flowers and their cost. Once Feb. 1 came around though, the "dozen red roses" listing would begin its inevitable rise skyward. A dozen roses in mid-January costs $9.99 or so, but by the time Feb. 13 and 14 came along, the price had taken off into the atmosphere, and was listed around $35.99 or more. This disgusted, and continues to disgust, me. My abhorrence for the increased flower hike was solidified again last night when, on my way home from the gym and passing the flower stand, I saw more than 15 men standing in line, with their wallets out and sporting browbeaten expressions, all of them seemingly wondering how far they would have to bend over to keep their girls happy this year.

Monday, February 13

Hunter is shot; quail rejoice

I love how indignant hunters get when they get shot. I love that they get all, "I can't believe that I was minding my own business out in the woods and some guy shot me!" Hmm. Irony? I think so. I love that we can all say, "Dude! Now you know how it feels to be all sifting through the underbrush, looking for yummy treats, and to have someone shoot you ... with bullets!" I love that, in this case, the hunter lost the contest.
Here's the story: this weekend, Dick Cheney accidentally shot one of his hunting partners during a quail hunt at a ranch near Kingsville, Texas, where the v.p. goes shooting once a year. (This image is not from the incident.) The victim, 78-year-old Harry Whittington, who is in stable condition, had apparently dropped back in the party to pick up his kill, and upon returning to the group without advertising his presence, was accidentally shot by the vice president. Whittington was "peppered" in the face and chest with birdshot from 30 yards away. He never lost consciousness, and was immediately aided by the v.p., the secret service detail, and an ambulance that apparently follows Cheney around from place to place. Whittington was a guest of the ranch's owner, and may or may not have ever met the v.p. before (reports depend on the news outlet reporting).
More than this being a Republican thing about Cheney (although this happening to the pro-NRA guy who thinks the country absolutely must have big automatic weapons on the streets and in homes does add some ironic glee for me), it's more of an animal-hunting fairness issue. It's like the bullfighter who gets gored: the bull wins! In this instance, I feel like it's all the dead birds' karmas committing some kind of vengeance against the hunting party.
Seriously, I think that before anyone is issued a hunting license, they should be shot somewhere -- somewhere relatively unimportant, but somewhere -- so they know what it feels like to be struck by a bullet (or pellets, as the case may be). Under those restrictions, out of that party, only Whittington should be able to ever hunt again, since he knows how is feels to be "peppered," bagged and tagged.

Sunday, February 12

Sunday morning

Okay, okay. So they were right this time. Still, it was super fun being the only voice of pessimism; the only person to say, "Foo," to the snow reports; and half of the only couple in the region that wasn't sure to get to the grocery store yesterday. It's all good though, because once we venture out again, I'm sure we'll find someplace open for lunch and/or provisions.
At any rate, we woke up to a good four inches of snow this morning, and the promise of more throughout the day. (The photo is of Oliver's romping in this morning's snow.) As of now, there's little going on outside except for the absolute silence of a heavy snowfall and the occasional rumbling of a snowplow going by. Brian's curled up on the sofa watching television, I just finished watching The Chronicles of Riddick for the 50th time, and Oliver is playing with a toy, so life in the G household is going to survive this "extreme snow weather" just fine ... once we get something to eat.

Friday, February 10

A snitful of snow

We're supposed to get a huge dump of snow here this weekend; anywhere from five to 12 inches, according to meteorologists' predictions. (Here's the satellite image of clouds currently building over the Northeast.) I don't know, but I think I may declare shenanigans on this one. I mean, how many times have they told us to get ready for some "extreme blizzard" this winter, and had it turn into nothing but an inch or two of quickly melting snow? Well, most of you don't know that answer, so let's just say that it's happened quite a bit. But at the mention of predictions like these, the whole state goes into a hibernation frenzy, with people rushing out for firewood (if they have fireplaces); wine (if they have drinking issues); blankets (if their heat doesn't work properly); snow blowers (if their backs get sore or they have heart issues); and plastic chairs (if they need to "save" their parking spots once they dig their cars out). It's a lot like watching ants scurry around their hill after they've been disturbed. The funny thing is that all this preparation costs money and gets the people amped up, but then the payoff is rarely worth their effort. So even with this "severe storm," I'll be sticking with my weekend plans ... which ... er ... were really nothing to begin with. But it's the principle of the thing!

A lot that you already kinda know

Roberta forwarded on one of those fun questionnaires in this morning's e-mail, so I thought I'd post up some of my responses. Oh, and here's Mom's floral arrangement for the week.
What time did you get up this morning? 6:48 a.m.
What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Brokeback Mountain last weekend. Super good, and worth all the attention it’s getting!
What is your favorite TV show? More than one: Lost, Scrubs, Gilmore Girls, 24, Alias, My Name is Earl, The Office
What did you have for breakfast? Decaf venti nonfat with whip mocha
What is your favorite cuisine? Mexican! I could dig into that every day and be a very happy person!
Your favorite potato chip? Lay’s barbecue flavor.
What is your favorite CD? Currently, I’ve got U2’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb on heavy rotation in the car.
Favorite item of clothing? I simply could not live without a substantial supply of jeans.
What color is your bathroom? Um, a lime green color that I’ve fallen for.
Favorite time of day? Mid-afternoon
Where were you born? Los Angeles
Are you a morning person or night owl? Totally a night owl.
Do you have pets? Yep, The Beast
What did you want to be when you were little? I had four aspirations: archaeologist, astronaut, actress, helicopter pilot
Favorite candy bar? Twix
Ever been toilet papering? Yes, only once, at Kerry Kelleher’s slumber party in fifth or sixth grade.
Favorite day of the week? Saturday
Favorite ice cream? Ben & Jerry’s Brownie Batter
Favorite fast food restaurant? Seriously, it’s McDonald’s
Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? As of today, J. Crew
What are you listening to right now? Shuffling through the iPod, but the last song was Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”
Lake, ocean or river? Always the ocean; preferably, in Hawaii
All-time favorite concert? Gotta say, it would be U2 with Sarah this year

Thursday, February 9

She's just not that into it

So I've been trying to figure out my total and complete apathy towards the Grammys. I talked it through with Sarah this morning, and have come to a, perhaps shortsighted, realization: I like the music I like, dig the artists that I dig, and don't allow time, interest or patience for the music and artists that just don't do anything for me. That's not to say that I don't like a specific genre, because there are good artists with music I've liked in every musical genre. Last night, I enjoyed seeing LL Cool J, Sly Stone and Linkin Park as much as I enjoyed Madonna, U2, Paul McCartney and Kelly Clarkson. The difference, I think, is that music, for everyone, is such a personal love-hate choice. We love some acts and songs, dig videos and tend to appreciate brilliance, but also are able to change the radio station every time a song or artist comes on that we don't like. The ability to dislike an artist or song is easy to adopt, since nothing's simpler than pushing a radio button. And because of those artists that do nothing for me, I have little interest in seeing them winning awards, thanking their agents and God, and performing on national television. (Of course, full disclosure demands that I tell you that I did flip between the awards show and every other channel on TV, just so I could see the bands, songs and singers that I like.)
Now, to turn it all grade school on you, I loved that U2 won so many awards, and, during the televised portion, Mariah was empty-handed.

Wednesday, February 8

The anti-Grammy

I should be watching the Grammys right now. Tonight, Brian and I sat down to watch The Legend of Zorro, and I completely spaced on the Grammys, until Sarah texted me about U2's performance on the show. So apparently, I missed U2, Madonna and Kelly Clarkson. Damn. I suck.
My punishment for missing the first 90 minutes of the show was to be stuck watching Mariah sing into her sparkly microphone. I wish I could get into this, but I just can't.
Brian's playing a videogame, so I can't even watch Lost. I guess I'll head back into the bedroom and make myself sit through the rest of this show; but knowing that there's another 90 minutes to go will make it a lot harder to tolerate. What's wrong with me? No idea...

Six-item lunch special

ITEM!: This is the kind of Vanity Fair attention-getting that I'm looking for. A while ago, I wrote about Vanity Fair's cover model, Lindsay Lohan, and how I felt the magazine was turning into a gossip rag for showcasing more "celebutante" than "celebrity." The magazine's Oscar issue is always a good one, with clever, beautifully photographed, star-studded cover art. This year's issue is no exception to that rule, featuring a nude Keira Knightley and Scarlett Johansson posing with Tom Ford, that month's guest artistic director. For the first time in a couple months, I'm excited to get my issue of the magazine.
ITEM!: Have you seen the ads for the new Kissables candy available from Hershey? They're little Hershey kisses covered in a candy shell in the shape of a little kiss. They're tiny, and super cute, yes? Alice shared some with me the other day, and I'll give you my opinion: Aside from them being a blatant rip-off of the M&M in a new shape, they were yummy, and a new fun candy to dig in to. I recommend.
ITEM!: The Grammy Awards are on tonight, and I'm conflicted as to whether I want to watch or not. Pros: U2, of course; Madonna; unscripted hijinks; watching Mariah Carey lose; something to write about in tomorrow's blog. Cons: Jamie Foxx singing ... again; watching Mariah perform; Bruce Springsteen; everyone thanking God for their talent and award recognition; having to regurgitate it in tomorrow's blog. Good points on both sides. We'll see where the evening takes us, I guess.
ITEM!: I admit to being sucked into Grey's Anatomy, thanks to all the ads for the show during the Super Bowl. I'll be on board Sunday for the second half of the "Code Black" episode. I'm not sure if I hope it will be just as good so I enjoy the show, or worse so I don't have to add another television show to my already jam-packed evening schedule, but I'll keep you posted.
ITEM!: Brian and I aren't sure yet how much time we're willing to devote to the Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. We watched, with interest, the commercials during our hour of Scrubs last night, and discussed the toll such a commitment may take on our already bustling lifestyle. While there was no absolute resolution, we did have kind comments about Apolo Anton Ohno from the last Olympics; recognition of the female snowboarding competitor from the documentary we saw months ago; and a "how are snowboarding and luge real sports" conversation. I suppose that's encouragement enough for our inevitable burst of patriotism next week.
ITEM!: John Corbett, actor from Sex and the City, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Northern Exposure, has released a country album. As of now, he says he'll stick with music as his day job, but hasn't ruled out acting again, especially if the project is right. That's good news, because really, I can't wait for a sequel to Raising Helen.

Tuesday, February 7

More new animals

In my continuing quest to keep you all abreast of new animals being discovered throughout the world, I bring you a picture of a new frog. New species of frogs, butterflies, plants, and yes, even a mammal or two, were discovered in an isolated Indonesian province by scientists exploring the remote jungle.
The expedition to Papua on the western side of New Guinea island was organized by the U.S.-based environmental organization Conservation International and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.
The scientists said they discovered 20 frog species — including a tiny microhylid frog less than a half inch long — four new butterfly species and at least five new types of palms. One of the most remarkable discoveries was the Golden-mantled Tree Kangaroo, an arboreal jungle-dweller new for Indonesia and previously thought to have been hunted to near extinction; and a new honeyeater bird, which has a bright orange face-patch with a pendant wattle under each eye, said Bruce Beehler, co-leader of the trip. Read the AP article: click here.

Monday, February 6


Everyday, it seems, I learn something new about the blogosphere: Alice just taught me how to create a hyperlink in the text of the blog. (Actually, she taught me how to do it on the magazine's Web page, but we both really knew why I was interested in learning it.) This is not "new" news to blogs, completely on the contrary, but I just learned how to do it, so now, if you can believe it, It's all about... will be even more interactive!
And just for being such good little puppies while I learn something new, check this out about the next Harry Potter movie. (Hee, hee! You see how it works?! This is AWESOME!)

The ads have it

That's twice so far that I've been scooped by my blog readers: once by Tara over the Golden Globes, and this morning, by Amy, who wanted to know my take on the commercials during last night's Super Bowl. It was my intention to dive into the ads this morning, after doing some more research, and give you my opinion.
And to kick it off, we've got this from Amy: I pick either the Ameriquest one with the lady on the plane or the Bud magic fridge! G picked Benny Hill; and D picked the monkeys working in the office.
My preference, and the first to have B and I laugh out loud was Bud Light's "magic fridge," and the revolving wall. Brilliant, with just the right amount of guy humor, but still broad enough to appeal to everyone. Another one of my faves was the small Clydesdale trying to pull the Budweiser carriage, and the big horses behind pushing, though he didn't know it. Brian dug the Sierra Mist airport security "beeping;" the touch football game where the guy tackles the hot girl; the FedEx cavemen; and of course,'s breaking tanktop strap. Others that made me giggle: hiding beer in the office walls; the sheep streaking the game; MacGyver; and Kermit's new Escape Hybrid (above, and I'll be checking it out online today).
Some that we didn't dig at all: the Overstock ad (I don't know why, but I hate those ads. So cheesy and breathy); monkeys; Fabio; the Whopperettes and their musical show, yikes (left); Diet Pepsi as talent; Boomer's play-by-play on The Shaggy Dog; and the Escalade on the catwalk.
Movie promotions; razor ads; ESPN phones; and Sharpie ads were fine, but nothing that we wouldn't expect to see during some other event. There was just a lack of huge, big, mega-magic in this year's ads. Notice that there were no erectile dysfunction ads, too, which is good, and minimal toilet humor and boobs. I was really pleased by Dove's self-esteem ad, too (above left), and hope that the spot's positive reaction may actually convince the ad companies that it's not just guys who watch the game.

Sunday, February 5

Super Sunday

It's Super Bowl Sunday, and B and I are getting ready for our hours of pre-game analysis; stocking up on snacks; and preparing our butts for the sofa time. There's a certain beauty to not caring which team wins the Super Bowl, and though most New Englanders haven't felt it in a while, I think they could learn to appreciate it, too. It's just so much simpler to only be interested in seeing a good football game.
I dig watching football. It's like the last bastion of true male competitiveness, where the strong, swift and intelligent survive. Football players are among the last true warriors. They depend on their own physical strengths, and capitalize on their competitors' weaknesses. They compete in every kind of weather, any time of year. (My favorite football visual is the two opposing teams lining up over the line of scrimmage, in cold weather, and you can see the players' breath as they prepare for the play. It's so frickin' masculine that it's almost a turn-on. They're all, "Grrrrrr. I'm gonna tear you up.")
The Super Bowl is something special though, as it's for all the marbles, bragging rights, and swagger that the league has to give out, and the players show it in every run, catch, touchdown celebration and tackle. There's no messing around that this is the biggest game of the year.
What? You want to know if I have a pick for who'll take home the Lombardi trophy this evening? My heart tells me that it would be nice to see Seattle win for the first time in team history, but my head says that Pittsburgh has the momentum, and experience, to take it all. So I guess that's my pick: Seattle should win, but the Steelers will. (All predictions subject to editing throughout the game.)

Friday, February 3

It's the breeze, baby

I was catching up on my My Yahoo! page today, and decided to dig a little deeper into the site's Ask Yahoo! page. Guess what I found! An almost-answer to one of life's big mysteries and an explanation into one of Oliver's greatest enjoyments.
Dear Yahoo!:
Why do dogs love to stick their heads out of car windows?

Everyone has witnessed the rapturous joy dogs experience while sticking their heads out of car windows. Amazingly, we couldn't find any scholarly research to explain the behavior. Here are three theories we came up with...
1. The sensation of a brisk wind against your face carrying with it scents and fast-moving sights is appealing to many humans. So imagine speeding against the wind with the ability to sniff up to a million times better and to perceive movement at a much quicker pace.
2. Everyone wants a better view. Dogs are no different.
3. Dogs sense what every teen instinctively knows: it's inherently cooler to travel on wheels than by foot.

Of course, most vets and animal peeps say that such an activity is bad for the dog, i.e., potentially dangerous to their eyes and ears (infections from dirt, bacteria and the like), and maybe fatal (you know, falling out and everything). In theory, Brian and I have solved both these problems by allowing the open-window fun only when someone's in the passenger seat to hold him, and by purchasing the always-popular "Doggie Goggles," to protect his eyes.
However, Oliver's such an effective whiner that we crack the window even when it's just him in the seat; and he refuses to wear the goggles at all, so he's allowed to stick his head out without them. We argue against the practice, but Ollie tells us that this is what all the popular dogs are doing, and that he'll be able to pick up better-looking bitches if he cools in the window minus the dorky shades.

Thursday, February 2

Groundhog Day

I love that this old-wives' tale still has the legs to be considered a truthful indication to the next few weeks of a season. According to Punxsutawney Phil, and his uncanny ability to see his shadow this morning, I'm told that we will endure six more weeks of winter.
This blurb from the AP, who was there to report on the event:
"It's been really wonderful. This is just a ball. I'm having so much fun," said Nancy Durr, who came from Paxton, Neb., to the small western Pennsylvania town about 65 miles north of Pittsburgh to celebrate her 50th birthday. She had been outside awaiting Phil's arrival since about 2:15 a.m., a rub-on Punxsutawney Phil tattoo on each cheek.
Each Feb. 2, thousands of people descend on Punxsutawney for a little midwinter revelry, celebrating what had essentially been a German superstition. The Germans believed that if a hibernating animal casts a shadow Feb. 2 — the Christian holiday of Candlemas — winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow is seen, legend says spring will come early.
According to the Groundhog Club, Phil has now seen his shadow 96 times, hasn't seen it 14 times and there are no records for nine years. The last time Phil failed to see his shadow was in 1999.

Yet another bad choice

I'd never deny my love and appreciation for the Britney, but I'm beginning to think we need to start classifying her as we do "young Elvis" and "Elvis: the Vegas years." Who didn't fall for the pretty blond when she was rocking out to "...Baby One More Time" and "Oops...I Did It Again"? Even when she started going a bit raunchy with "I'm a Slave 4 U" and, yes, I do dig the song, 'Toxic." I loved that she and Madonna did a slightly disturbing video together. I love that she was all, "I'm a virgin," and wasn't. I love that she was playing the Southern-girl sex-puppet thing with aplomb. (Not a word I use lightly, I'll tell you.)
But then, we suffer through the last few years: The ill-fated marriage in Vegas that lasted 55 hours or so. The rerun Mix CD last year that no one bought because no one knew about it. And finally, and perhaps more damning to her state of mind, the Kevin Federline debacle. This includes, but is not limited to: cheesy music videos; photo ops in trucker hats; smoking like a chimney; um... Chaotic; leaving a pregnant mother in the lurch; "PopoZao" and a rap career; barefoot in a gas station bathroom; and amazing staying power on Go Fug Yourself.
But this latest decision, to guest star on Will and Grace, the show that entices and tosses more guest stars per season than ... well, I can't think of any other show that even comes close. I know that Madonna did it, but her character was stupid. Actually, all the big-ticket celebrity guest star characters are pretty stupid ... and over-the-top ... and, more times than not, entirely outside the realm of the show. Rumor has it that they're teasing Britney's background by casting her as a Christian conservative who will co-host Jack's gay-themed television show/station. Huh.
I'm pretty sure that this whole thing will end badly.

Wednesday, February 1

February avatar

I've decided that this avatar thing is going to be in a constant state of flux: shifting and changing from month to month based on the events planned for me during that time. Two constants, at this point, will be the ponytails and Oliver (whether or not he's directly involved in the event or activity the avatar is endorsing).
So here's February '06...

But he's huge in Germany

Dudes, the Hoff is hooked on a feeling.

"Strong, and will be stronger..."

In this day and age, when information travels faster than the speed of the Internet, there aren't too many people who don't know the state of our union every day. The annual speech, therefore, has become more of a good-intentions initiative, where the president, no matter the party, has the floor and their countrymen's attention undivided and uninterrupted, to share ideas and plans for the coming year. Brian and I did watch last night's State of the Union address, and in so doing, I came up with a fun tally. Here's the State of the Union, by the numbers:
40 -- standing ovations (including 1 from the Dems, who celebrated the failure of the Social Security initiative)
29 -- "spontaneous" displays of applause
16 -- veiled (or not so much) smacks to the opposing political party
15 -- times we heard " 'Merica"
14 -- references to the enemies of freedom
14 -- smirks (including 1 accompanied by a wink)
11 -- obvious intentions to tug on heartstrings
10 -- references to the greatness of democracy
8 -- implications of force against someone who doesn't do what he says
7 -- verbal dodges of anything bad going on in Iraq
4 -- references to God, the Almighty or something along those lines
3 -- new commissions that will solve nothing and cost us in taxpayer money
3 -- slams against gay marriage (including 1 comment about "activist judges")
3 -- anti-abortion comments
2 -- mentions of Sept. 11, 2001
1 -- incidents of trying to shame government officials and citizens for engaging in debate
1 -- mentions of New Orleans, Mississippi, Alabama, and the hurricanes (that's it for one of the largest natural disasters to hit the country?)
1 -- finger wag at the Dems in the hall
1 -- wimpy wave at the end
And finally, my favorite: 2 -- more years of listening to this yahoo.