Friday, October 31, 2008

The day on which we spend too much time and money on costumes and candy

...When we could be spending it on more worthwhile causes. Like clothes for Jason Mraz.

I'm yours, too my love.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Five things my ex-boyfriends should never find out

(1) I use that t-shirt you gave me as an apron.

(2) Remember when I said I threw away my ex's boxers? Well I didn't. They're super comfortable and I still wear them.

(3) My cell phone gets perfect reception upstate, I just didn't feel like talking to you.

(4) You didn't teach me how to drive stick, I learned a long time ago.

(5) That guy in all the pictures from the Motherland... he's not my cousin. And he's the one who taught me how to drive stick.

OMG, stop confusing me

Something very weird is happening in Hollywood. Agents and producers are constantly apologizing. Assistants are getting fired for making mistakes. Crews on sets across L.A. have stopped smoking pot between takes. Because every time they did a bong hit, all the actresses started to look alike. And then one day a boom operator looked up from his bubbler long enough to stop chasing the purple dragon and realized... wait a minute...

Carla Gugino, who plays Amanda, Ari's arch rival, on Entourage

Constance Zimmer, Dana Gordon on Entourage

Pamela Aldon, Marcy Runkle on Californication

Paula Marshall, Sonja, the chick Hank knocked up, on Californication

Elizabeth Reaser, best known for playing that psycho on Gray's Anatomy who had a hysterical pregnancy after getting a new face. Also Bella from my new favorite show, The Ex List.


Dude. Seriously. I am having a hell of a time here. Look at these lovely ladies and tell me that they don't all look alike, at least in some way. Every time I watch Entourage and see Dana Gordon, I'm all, "Marcy, what are you doing in Ari's world? Oh wait, wrong show." And most of the time, I'm not even smoking the herbage!

Here's another pair that really freak me out:

Zooey Daschanel

Lizzy Caplan, who plays Amy on True Blood

I posted these two pictures and then had to go back and check the file names to see who was who. Which is futile because clearly THEY'RE THE SAME PERSON!

So what in Burbank is going on here? Did some studio exec decide that all brunettes on TV must now look like his daughter? Is there a guy out there with a sick fetish for brown hair who's choosing all the actresses? Or has Hollywood become so money-hungry that they find a "look" that people seem to like and just run with it? I'm fully expecting every movie that comes out next year to star either Megan Fox or Angelina Jolie.

Wait, that's not a bad thing...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Burning questions the internet can't answer

Where is Springfield?

How did Tina Fey get her scar? No one knows.

Is Joey Lawrence gay? Whoa.

How many licks does it take to the get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop? And why did the 69 Boyz turn it into a dance? The world may never know.

How did Tom Cruise turn into such a douchebag?

How is alcohol legal but pot isn't?

What was the deal with Wilson always covering his mouth?


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How to annoy me

Tell me I look "healthy" and that Europe really "suits" me.

Yes fuckers, I know I didn't lose those 5 pounds like I was supposed to. That's a little hard to do when the family you're staying with eats 4 times a day and makes things like plum-filled gnocchi with butter and sugar breadcrumbs on top, spaghetti carbonara with pancetta and truffles, and crepes with Nutella. And did I mention the fresh eggs and homemade cheese and sausages and prosciutto? Oh I didn't? Well good, more for me.

And no, the motherland isn't Italy.

It's not OK to wear a speedo. Unless you're European. Or my dad... wait, that's not OK, either...

I like men. I enjoy them very much, actually. Especially the more scruffy-looking ones. Finals time in law school was always my favorite people-watching time of year because for 3 weeks, no one cut their hair or shaved. So it goes without saying that I don't exactly prefer the pretty boys. You know, the ones that get manicures and and shave their chests. But that doesn't mean I'm attracted only to bums and surfers; there is definitely something sexy about a man in a suit.

There are, however, a few qualities about the way certain put-together men present themselves that I really dislike. Like refusal to wear flip-flops. What is that about? Do they think it's un-manly to expose their feet? Flip-flops are not just for chicks, which may be the reason Old Navy and American Eagle have an entire wall dedicated to men's summer footwear. To the dudes who think it's girly to wear thongs: get over yourselves. (Unless you're wearing actual thong underwear, in which case I should probably direct you to the women's shoe department.)

It also really bothers me when men don't wear belts with shirts tucked into their pants. My eye immediately goes to their waistline and I get an irresistible urge to grab them and take them to the nearest Macy's and introduce them to their new favorite leather accessory. This may be the reason I don't like suspenders--not because they look funny, they don't at all; I actually think they make a man in a suit look distinguished--but because if you're wearing suspenders, you're not wearing a belt.

And please. For the love of all things holy, STOP WITH THE THUG WEAR. It's not 1997 anymore. Timberland boots should be worn only on construction sites and by loggers in northern Oregon. Additionally, please pull your pants up. Because our president said so.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Just in time for Halloween

Louisiana is home to some freaky stuff: Voodoo, exorcisms, vampires, and Harry Connick Jr. And it is now home to a new version of weird: a glow-in-the-dark cat. Scientists at the Audubon Centre for Research of Endangered Species in New Orleans have genetically modified a cat to make him glow in the dark. I shit you not.

Now that is something I would not want to see skulking around my front yard. Especially in The Big Easy. Can you imagine sipping a Sazerac on the porch swing after a long day of avoiding zombies and seeing a small creature with a green head creeping towards you? Not good times, my friend. Not good times.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Higher education

Last night at a bar in Queens

Me: What's that guy's name?
T: Which one?
Me: The one in the sweatpants.
T: They're all wearing sweatpants.
Me: Yes...yes they are. The one on the left.
T: That's J.
Me: Ah OK. I thought maybe I went to college with him.
T: Um, probably not.
Me: Why do you say that?
T: Because I'm pretty sure he didn't graduate high school.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How to annoy me

Ask me to drop something off at 9:30 on a Wednesday night (and bring you ice cream on the way home) and then tell me it's perfectly OK to leave the house in sweatpants from 2003, clogs and no bra.

I have boundaries.

How I fell in love with San Diego (or the post wherein I link to 18 websites)

My first-ever post on this blog was about how much I love San Diego. (And I've definitely mentioned how great it is more than few times since then.) In that very first post, I promised to get back to just why I heart San Diego so much. Well here it is, kids: the story of how I fell in love with "America's Finest City." (If it were up to me, I'd call it "The City of Awesome.")

Way back in 2000, I moved onto the 13th floor of Warren Towers, Boston University's biggest, most prison-like dormitory. It was there that I met the uber-cool Liz. Liz and I always talked about moving out to California after college, but I up and abandoned her in 2002 when I transferred to a school back home in New York. Liz went ahead with our plan and drove across the country to San Diego, while I managed people twice my age at a department store and thought law school might be fun. (Not so much.)

Fast forward to the fall of 2007 when I was looking for post-grad jobs. I stumbled across the San Diego Public Defender's Office website and happened to notice a blurb about a winter internship program. With nothing better to do between semesters (and remembering that I hadn't seen Liz in, oh, 5 years) I thought, "Thirty degree weather, or spending a month on the beach...hmm...." A few months later, I was hauling my suitcase up to the second floor of this sweet house in Mission Beach, a block away from the ocean:

The house

A friend from school had also applied for the internship, so we joined forces and spent a month jogging on the beach, walking on the beach, doing cartwheels on the beach, and drinking on the beach. We also did things like drive to La Jolla and walk on the beach, and drive to Torrey Pines and walk on the beach there, too.

The beach by the house. (And the roommate. And the beers....on the beach)

The beach at Torrey Pines

But seriously... San Diego is wonderful for more than just its beaches and great weather. Having spent a lot of time in Europe, I'm very used to a laid back, relaxed culture. And people in San Diego exude nothing but that, as evidenced by the plethora of outdoor cafes and beach-side shops. New York City is so obviously the opposite of that culture, which may be the reason I keep looking to escape it. San Diego has exactly the kind of mellow atmosphere that's hard to find in my hometown.

Also... the food. Oh my God, THE FOOD. Not just the variety, but the freshness of it all. No wonder everyone wants to move to Southern California--you can get a fresh avocado year-round! Here are some of some my favorite local eateries:
  • Ocean Beach Pier Cafe. Everyone I know kept raving about the lobster tacos at this place, so of course I had to try them. I mean, come on--a taco with LOBSTER in it Does it get any better? (Turns out, it does--when you eat three of them.) The lobster was so fresh, it practically melted in my mouth. There was just the right amount of cabbage, and the pico de gallo wasn't too overpowering. I'm not sure exactly how they make the cream sauce that gets drizzled on top, but it added just the right amount of lime to the meal. The tortillas ripped a bit too easily, but I think that can be attributed to the speed at which I devoured them. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: BEST. LOBSTER. TACOS. EVER.
  • Every sushi place on Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach. Not one place disappointed, and I'm pretty sure we tried them all. The Garnet Sunset Roll at Haiku was unbelievable--I had never before tried Jalapenos on sushi, and it blew my mind. The Volcano Roll at the same restaurant was the most elaborate sushi roll I've ever had, and trust me when I say I've had some elaborate rolls. They brought it out on fire. And the taste.... oh the taste. The heat caused the cream cheese to melt around the rice and crab in a smooth, creamy sauce, while the avocado gave it a cool element. While this was our most-frequented sushi spot, another good one is Kabuki Sushi. The prices were right, and the atmosphere was very laid back--one of those sushi bars where the boats of rolls float around a little river and you just pick up the plates you want.
  • Speaking of Pacific Beach, no post about San Diego would be complete without mentioning PB Bar and Grill. This was probably the place where I spent the most time. The entire establishment is open to the outside, with heating lamps for the those freezing-cold 60-degree nights and umbrellas for the three times a year it rains. Happy hour is every day from 4 to 8, and there is always some sort of special on appetizers or beer. I recommend the sampler platters that include one of everything, and the 2-for-5 beers. With over 30 beers on tap and just as many flat screen TV's around the place (showing every single sports game on IN THE WORLD), I can honestly say this place has something for everyone.
  • While we're talking about beer, we have to talk about the Karl Strauss Brewery in La Jolla. This microbrewery/restaurant not only has the best Ahi tuna I have ever tasted, but serves over 20 different kinds of their own beer. I ate there twice while in San Diego, and both times I ordered the beer sampler: six half-pint glasses of the beers of your choice. My personal favorite was a summer ale that tasted like banana.
  • And Ralph's. Ah, Ralph's....only the best supermarket on the planet. I have never purchased better (or fresher) salsa and guacamole than in your store, Mr. Ralph. I salute your superior quality of produce and your ability to sell liquor and shampoo in the same establishment. Of all the venues I have named, I miss you the most.
I've covered the weather, the atmosphere, the beach and the food... I guess that leaves Shamu, the biggest zoo in the U.S., the 15 museums in Balboa Park, the surfing, and the seals in La Jolla.

They were pretty cool

So that's how I fell in love with San Diego: I spent a month there and saw everything. I drank coffee with brown sugar and watched the surfers on Mission Beach. I walked the piers in Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach and rode a bike from Mission to La Jolla. I smoked a hookah at Sinbad Cafe on Garnet Avenue and requested the best song of all time at The Shout! House in the Gaslamp District. And just a few months later, I went back for more: after my last semester of law school, I met a friend in my City of Awesome and we spent five days relaxing at his uncle's vineyard in Ramona. If that doesn't make you want to move there, you'd be hardpressed to find something that does.

And if all goes according to plan, I'll eventually end up living there. Hopefully somewhere close to here:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dear Florida

THIS is bullshit.

Things I never thought I'd like

But it turns out I actually do.

Turkish coffee. Being from a Balkan country, Turkish coffee was ALWAYS served in my house. How does it differ from regular coffee, you ask? Well it's basically espresso, but without the fancy machine: you boil sugar and water in a small pot (a cezve) and then add finely ground coffee beans, pour and serve. No filter, no electricity needed. The grinds sink to the bottom and you just avoid the last few sips.

Winter. After doing cartwheels on the beach in California last Christmas, I realized that I would miss the change in seasons if I moved out there. I still despise the fall, though.

Poodles. I always disliked little yippy lap dogs. All they seemed to do was bark shrilly and bite. And they always had designer collars and little coats that I found just ridiculous. I never met a dog smaller than a beagle that I actually liked....until my aunt brought home Cookie. She's a poodle and she is awesome. She's smart, she does tricks, she obeys commands, she doesn't shed, and you can easily bring her the park. And my house. And NOT the grocery store.


Long hair. Not since freshman year of college have I had my hair longer than my shoulders. For some reason I always cut it the second it grew past a certain length. This summer I let it grow to just above my boobs and I actually liked it. But last month I cut it all off and regretted it the second the hairdresser took the first snip. ::Tear:: I'm now letting it grow out again.

Garden Gnomes. I can't explain this one. I just really, really like them. I have pictures of them, with them, and I plan on eventually having a (tasteful) garden full of them.

Das ist awesome

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

If I were British, I would've told her she was spot on

My cousin, to me: You are the most clueless smart person I have ever met.

An award and a meme... can your day get any better?

*That's not a picture of me

The awesome Red over at Gingers is the Watchword has chosen moi as recipient of the Brillante Weblog Award and I am truly honored. I feel like I should prepare an Oscar acceptance speech... I'd like to thank the Boston University housing department for putting Liz and I on the same all-girls floor back in 2000. Without them, I would have never met the awesome Lizard, who wouldn't have moved to San Diego and started a blog with Red, who wouldn't have been introduced to me and given me this supercool award. Thanks for the shout out, yo!!

Red has also chosen me to complete the following meme list. It's called "One Wonders," and I think I'm supposed to write the first thing that comes to my head when I see the following words. So here goes:

1. Clothes: I hate shopping but I like clothes. Expensive ones I can't afford.

Furniture: Love it. HGTV is always on in this house.

Sweet: Reaction of a frat boy who has just been told everything in his room was destroyed except for his bong.

City: National: San Diego; International: Berlin

Drink: Gin and tonic.

6. Music: Um, perhaps this.

TV Series: Weeds

8. Film: The Big Lebowski

Workout: No thanks. Unless it's swimming in the ocean.

Pastries: YES. Anything with cheese or cherries. Or creme filling. Or a cannoli.

Coffee: Can't function without it.

So I'm supposed to pass both this list and the awesome Brillante Weblog Award onto another blogger, but aside from Liz and Red, I don't really know too many. I was going to choose Steve, but he politely declined because he hasn't posted anything in a long time. But he did suggest his friend/brother from another mother, Ben. Ben is a photographer who lives in Los Angeles and works for (And also happens to be one of the funniest people I have ever met.) His photography is amazing, and his blog is pretty awesome, too. So without further ado, my choice for the 2008 Brillante Weblog Award (and the meme list) is Ben Liebenberg. Check him out at ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS. Congrats, Ben!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My ass is not your stress-relief ball

Growing up in the big city teaches a girl from a young age to watch her back. Watch your purse, you never know when someone will try to snatch it from you. Watch your jewelry, don't wear expensive necklaces or earrings on the subway. Speaking of the subway, never take it alone at night, don't ever walk down the street alone, never count your money in public, avoid bad neighborhoods, don't leave anything in your car, and lock your doors. This is all excellent advice. In fact, if I had taken some of this advice more seriously, my car wouldn't have been broken into and I would have never gotten in the middle of a Blood-Crip war and shot that guy. (Just kidding.)

But for all the times someone warned me about getting raped or killed, no one ever said to me, "Watch your ass, it's gonna get grabbed." No one ever sat me down and warned me that riding the subway during rush hour meant dirty men with greasy hair pushing their crotches into my back and groping my nether regions. Now don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't enjoy the feel of a landscaper who's just gotten off a 12-hour shift in 90 degree weather rhythmically swinging his entire body into my back with every move of the train, the tantalizing mix of body odor and fertilizer mingling sensually in my nostrils, his heavy breathing caressing my ears... no, this is not the problem. The problem starts when he decides the perfect resting spot for his tired, overworked hands is my ass. And the problem continues when he feels the need to stretch his shovel-holding fingers and grab said ass. THAT, my friends, is where the problem begins. When did it become OK to put your hands on an unsuspecting woman for your own personal pleasure? When did it become commonplace to grab a stranger on the train, on the street, in a club, just because you feel like it? I'm sure the same guy who grabbed my crotch a few months ago would not appreciate a random dude grabbing his crotch. But I feel like these men who enjoy grabbing won't learn.

Last year, my cousin got to first base with a stranger on a crowded 7 train. It was not consensual. When the subway doors opened, she pushed him out and he hit his head. It was pretty awesome. But what did he do? Looked at her with this shocked look on his face, as if she was the crazy one. "I grabbed your ass and you have the NERVE to push me? Ugh, how dare you?!" Two weeks ago at a lounge in Queens, a guy came up behind my best friend, put his hands on her waist, and told her she was beautiful. When she politely said she was engaged and pointed to her fiance standing across from her, he pulled her closer and looked directly at her fiance and said, "Your girl is beautiful." When my friend's fiance went bat-shit crazy on the dude, he had the nerve to act offended. Like it was perfectly OK to manhandle someone's girl in front of them and expect them to laugh it off.

Well, dude (and all other gropers out there), let me tell you something: it's not OK. In fact, it's disgusting and disrespectful. Putting your hands on someone else's body is one of the most offensive violations of human dignity. It is a complete invasion of someone's personal space and sense of privacy, and in some cases punishable by law.

I realize that socetial norms are shifting in today's world. The more overpopulated a city, the less expectation of privacy. But that doesn't mean we should expect less human decency. I hate to use the slipperly slope argument (mainly because it's a diatribal excuse for some of the most ridiculous theories) but it seems to make sense here. Forty years ago, if someone so much as brushed past a woman the wrong way in a restaurant, he would've gotten a pocketbook over the head and a stern talking-to. Today, an ass-groping is usually met with a roll of the eyes and is looked at as a minor inconvenience. If it becomes OK to grab someone's ass without fear of reprecussion, then what's next? Strangers walking up to strangers and kissing them? Men unzipping the dresses of old women in the street?

So. I beg you: the next time a stranger puts their hands on your butt or brushes past your boobs in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or sticks their tongue in your ear (yes, that's actually happened to someone I know), say something! Smack the idiot! Report him, curse him out, do something to make him realize that what he's doing is not OK. Because I don't know about you, but I don't really want to see an old lady get undressed in the street.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday night TV

We all know how much I heart San Diego. So it makes sense that I would like a show that takes place in San Diego. The Ex List is about a woman who goes to a psychic for her sister's bachelorette party, and the psychic tells her that she has to get married within the year or it'll never happen. AND the dude who's she's supposed to marry.... she's already dated him. So he has to go back through the dozens of guys she's had relationships with, slept with, dated, etc. to see which of them is the one. Sounds kinda cheesy, but the characters are actually intelligent and the show has some semi-plausible story lines. (Not to mention girls in shorts and bikinis.) And have I mentioned that it takes place in San Diego? That place with year-round temperate weather, awesome beaches and fish tacos?

The Ex List, Friday nights at 9pm on CBS (or watch episodes online here.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Original plots, eh movies

I'm no movie buff. The last "new" movie I saw was Kung Fu Panda and that was on the plane home from Europe. In fact, the only two movies I saw in an actual theater this summer were Sex and the City (loved it) and Indiana Jones (absolutely hated it.) The only movie I regret not seeing was Pineapple Express, and the only movie I'm looking forward to seeing is Quantum of Solace. Like I said, I'm not a movie buff. But I still think I reserve the right to comment on a few films that I hold near and dear to my heart.... films that had pretty original plots, but could've been a lot better:

(1) Sliding Doors. British movie starring Gwenyth Paltrow. Your typical romantic comedy and mediocre acting, but done in a creative way. Parallel stories show what could've happened if Helen had caught the train home on the day she got fired (leading her to catch her boyfriend in bed with another woman, move out, start her own PR business, meet a great guy, but eventually die) or had missed the train (causing her to NOT catch her boyfriend in bed with the American whore, take a crappy job as a waitress, get pregnant, and get hit by a car. But in this version, she lives and ends up meeting the guy she fell in love with in the first version.) It wasn't the best movie I've ever seen, but I thought the whole parallel-story plot was pretty creative.

(2) Face/Off. "I want to take his" Come on, how much better does an action movie get? John Travolta and Nicholas Cage face off (ha!) and literally turn into each other. Show me another movie where they do that.

(3) Disturbia. OK, so it's not the most original plot. It's sort of like Rear Window, in the sense that someone confined to their home watches what goes on in the neighborhood and thinks the dude across the street is killing chicks. But this has a modern spin to it, and is actually pretty funny at times. My favorite thing about the movie is the integration of technology: from the ankle bracelet Shia Labeouf has to wear, to the long distance zoom video cameras, to all the gadgets they use in the movie, it's like James Bond meets Scream, but with far less gore.

(4) Rumor Has It. Not an awful movie, but also not one I'd encourage people to add to their Netflix queue. Jennifer Aniston plays the granddaughter of Mrs. Robinson, THE Mrs. Robinson. After flying to Pasadena for her sister's wedding, the main character learns that her dead mother had an affair with the man who wrote The Graduate right before she married her father, and that the author could in fact be her real father. So she sets out to find him, and then learns that the book (and later the movie) was actually based on a true story--her family's story. Typical awkward Jennifer Aniston humor, which is probably why I somewhat enjoyed the movie. What bothered me the most is that while the movie was released in 2005, it was set in 1996. I understand why they had to do it (because The Graduate came out in 1967 and they couldn't have let 40 years pass since then) but I'm sorry--there's something odd about a movie being set 10 years prior to its release. Nonetheless, I thought it was an original story.

(5) Congo. I actually happen to like this movie a lot and don't think it's bad at all. A group of people find themselves in the Congo for a number of different reasons, and all hell breaks loose. The story involves a talking gorilla, a lost city full of diamonds, an Eastern European hieroglyphics expert obsessed with finding said lost city, African civil unrest, machine guns, and (my favorite part) vicious human-attacking apes that protect the lost city. The scene where the dude walks up to his friend with his own liver in his hand--friggin AWESOME.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Back in the city

So I took the bar exam in July. That was fun. When I recovered from wanting to gouge my eyes out with a pack of index cards, I decided to have a completely different kind of fun. So I packed my bags and set off for the Motherland....the land of wine and food and familiar faces, and a constitution that I would not need to know....the land of pristine Adriatic beaches and towns built in the 1600's and zoning laws that meant nothing to me. For several glorious weeks, I swam in waters bluer than the sky, watched live performances in an arena built in the 1st century AD, and hung out with people who didn't know what "sui generis" meant. It was fantastic.

Aside from a visceral need to escape New York, my other reason for going Home was to oversee the transfer of some of my family's land. Even after it became clear that the property issue would not be resolved in a timely manner (in a Balkan country? I'm shocked!) I decided to stay. And I waited. And nothing happened with the property. So I drank some more wine. Still nothing. Two weeks turned into seven, and before I knew it, my mother was telling people I'd moved to the Motherland. I took that as my cue to come home.

So here I am. Back in New York. The land of Noise and Dirt and all things gentrified. (Although I must admit, eating sushi again is pretty awesome.) Just in case there was any doubt, here's how I know I'm back to my REAL home:

(1) I boarded a plane in Europe listening to fabulous women in scarves speak foreign tongues and watched gorgeous men wearing loafers drape their arms around said fabulous women; I landed at JFK listening to overweight tourists in flip flops complain about how they couldn't get a decent burger in France.

(2) I went out last weekend and got lost on the way home. I called a friend and explained where I was, using phrases like "Sunnaco gas station" and "motel sign that says '$29.99 an hour." A few weeks earlier, I would've said things like, "The cows with the horns, in the field with the pond, by the train tracks" and "The the other church.... no, the one at the bottom of the hill."

(3) I've done nothing but watch TV on demand and on the internet since I've been home, as compared to making pasta from scratch and carrying buckets of water from a well.

(4) I successfully explained the Jewish holiday of Sukkot to a friend instead of explaining how Jewish people marry Catholic people all the time here in NY, and it's perfectly acceptable.

(5) Yesterday while walking on the Upper East Side, I found myself saying the following into my cell phone: "Wait, so he called his therapist and she said what?" Just a few short weeks ago, I would've found myself saying, "Wait, so which beach are we meeting at, the one where you can fish, or the one we have to walk a mile to get to?"

I suppose it's good to be back. But not really.