Tuesday, December 30, 2008

NYC, Baby

I am in NYC. And it is good.

Shopping in Soho. Catching up with old friends. Jumping on the Williamsburg bandwagon. Cupcakes. Roof decks. More attractive people on the street than you might see in Phoenix. Public transport. Bridges. I am taking back NYC in a bag, as seen below.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Home Sweet Home

It’s almost Christmas Eve, I’ve been home for 24 hours and here’s why it’s awesome.

It’s freezing. Like 27 degrees when I landed at 6pm last night. I brought my cute leather jacket cause it’s cute and I don’t get to wear it in Phoenix. I should’ve brought the old huge marshmallow Lands End windproof to -30 degrees coat. It rained today though, so that warmed it up a little.

Mom and I decorated the tree this morning. Haven’t done that in ages. We never really made a big deal of the tree while I was growing up, since we were usually gone to Arizona. But now, we’ve got a real-live, fresh-smelling tree covered in lights and ornaments.

And, now that my parents are empty-nesters, meaning no more kids to ruin the stuff, they’ve got really nice things! I have my share of 2 bedrooms and a bathroom, all newly painted, decorated, and uncluttered. New couches, entertainment system, huge plasma TV, surround sound, two computers, wireless internet, even a new shower head. It kind of rules. Mom and I plugged in the PlayStation tonight and battled on Guitar Hero, too.

I ventured out to the Post Office this afternoon and took a quick drive through town. Some things have changed, but a lot’s the same. My best friend came over for lunch, it felt just like high school when we’d come home and my mom would have something ready for us. Except now I’m here visiting, she came from her law firm, and later will go home to a husband and child, not cheerleading practice.

I’ve already had more than my share of chocolates, chocolate-covered Oreos, fudge, peanut butter balls, etc. I brought freshly made tortillas from the Mexican mart in Phoenix; mom made green chile meat, salsa and tomorrow it’s on to tamales.

I watched The Encounter at the End of the World, focused on the weird things you’ll find in Antarctica, mostly the incredibly odd people who make their way as south as you can go. There’s a reason they congregate together and you’ll see why if you watch it. I also made it halfway through Lawrence of Arabia – it’s 4 hours total. I’ve got a 3-hour Gandhi to go and my movie goals are met.

My dog still loves and remembers me. And she’s funny. After she eats dinner in the laundry room, my parents always give her a rawhide stick for dessert. They’ve taken to hiding it in places in the living room. Today I got to hide it. I parked it on the couch and waited for her to finish eating, and soon I saw her running into the living room, full speed, automatic, nose sniffing everywhere like a machine. She lives for those sticks. It’s funny to watch. Want her to do anything, just say “stick” and she’ll obey.

Yay for Christmas at home!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Musical Monday

I've avoided loving Ryan Adams for a long while, but for some reason over the last few months I've turned to a more mellow sound and he's been at the top of the list.  I'm loving Easy Tiger, especially this track.

I can name the people i know that don't know themselves
Without talking to nobody
I can count to people i know that want to fix themselves
Without taking my hands out of my pockets
I make these promises but all my promises hurt
It's like they never get a lift off
So if i'm being honest with you and it seems like i'm being cruel
At least you didn't get a rip off, a rip off
And you'll know how i feel
I've got faith in you
And it's a little too late for "goodbyes"
Good morning, open your eyes
I can see the tears so long before they know your face
I can almost draw the lines
But when you smile it spins me like a ferris wheel
Washed out to sea in your eyes
I make these promises but all my promises hurt
It's like they never get a lift off
So if i'm being honest with you and i seems like i'm being cruel
At least you didn't get a rip off, a rip off, a rip off
And you'll know how i feel
Like a rip off, a rip off, a rip off

And We're Off...

Headed to OK today, first time in over 2 years.  Kind of amazing.  It's currently 19 degrees there.  I don't do cold anymore.  I have to dig out socks!  They're all in storage.  I don't know how to dress for 19 degrees anymore.

Then back to PHX for 48 hours this weekend.  Then NYC.  Then Belize and Guatemala.  I've got 7 airports and 10 flights to look forward to over the next 3 weeks.  Pray for no weather delays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Get Thee to the Theater

Finally, victory.

I saw Slumdog Millionaire last night.

I’m at peace. It was outstanding. And I wanted to call it a feel-good movie, but it’s really not. It’s gritty and real and I’m amazed that some parts of the world live the way they do. Are we not better than that? This world needs a serious overhaul in many aspects. But that’s another rant.

Even though it was cold and rainy, after the flick I had a craving for, what else, ice cream. I stopped at the store, grabbed my pint and got into the single check-out lane that was open. I watched as the woman in front of me unloaded her very full cart. Almost in slow motion she picked up a 24-pack of Grade A Large Eggs with one hand. Next came the Frisbee move. They went flying. Splat, splat, yellow runny liquid everywhere. The poor cashier tried to mop part of it up with a single piece of paper. We were reassigned to lane 2.

I arrived at work this morning to find a box of the best Tim Tams ever, the double coat variety. Along with a card, stuffed with glitter. It immediately exploded all over me. Blue and gold, in case you’re wondering. Thank you, Australia team, for sending along that goodness!

The work holiday potluck international lunch happened today too. Hallelujah for working in an office where native US residents are outnumbered. Homemade samosas, chicken biryani, tamales, dim sum, dumplings.

Six days til home!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Musical Monday

Thank you, Snow Patrol and Shockhound and Clubhouse venue, for teaming up and having a free concert where:

1) I was able to get tickets
2) I was able to get prime parking
3) I was able to sit in the car and stay warm until it was time to line up
4) it was very, very organized and not chaotic in the least
5) the bar section is in the back of the joint, far from the stage so that when the crowds rushed into the venue and headed that way, I got a prime spot in the 2nd row, center
6) Gary Lightbody and company played a studio masterpiece of a track from the new album that sounded amazing live and blew me away
7) Gary did his little creative twitch and released most of his expression through his eyes and made us all love him even more than we already did
8) I got lots of good photos and video so I can relive it a little bit every day




Movie Mania

So many flicks to catch before the end of the year, especially as the nominations start rolling out.  I've got to be ready for Jacinda's annual Golden Globes and Oscars contests!  I usually place at least top 3, two years running.

This week's probably my last week to get a couple of these in, seeing that I'm going home to Oklahoma on the 22nd and the closest indie theater is oh, probably 3 hours away.  Then I'll be traveling til Jan 11 so I'd better squeeze what I can into this week!

This week I saw:

Australia - expected to hate it, based on reviews, and while it's long and disjointed, there were certain elements that I really loved.  And I could've sobbed through the last half hour.  But I was with a new group of people, most of whom I'd never met, so I held it in.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - I can't stop watching Holocaust films.  This was one of the most intense endings and it's awful, awful stuff.  But I think it's important for humanity that these films are still made.

Yesterday - granted it came out a few years ago, but it's the first Zulu-language film to be internationally distributed.  About a woman in South Africa dealing with AIDS in her family.  I liked it.

I need to see:
Slumdog Millionaire
I've Loved You So Long
The Reader
A Christmas Tale

So it seems Slumdog Millionaire isn't even playing at all in the entire state of Oklahoma, according to the Fandango search I just did. Seriously. Why does this not surprise me?


Monday, December 08, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Musical Monday

A day late, but I went to Coldplay and you (probably) didn't.




From an email I wrote to friends afterward:

They take a piece of my heart every time. I will cry when they're finished.

I took a video clip of most of the tracks. I have realized I should update my camera.

I want one of those revolutionary jackets so I can be Coldplay for Halloween next year.

They did all of the new album, got In My Place and Clocks outta the way pretty early on and encore was a tight, quick, rockier version of Yellow.  They even did Chinese Sleep Chant (the last half of Yes on the album). 

My favorites:
Fix You and the end of Politik (which I underestimated for a long long time), continuing into my newest favorite, Lovers in Japan.

That one got chills from me.

They opened with Life in Technicolor, predictably.

Halfway through they all came together on a small side stage and did some tight excerpts of
God Put a Smile on My Face and Talk.

They also ran through the audience at one point, I thought they were just hi-fiving people, but all of the sudden they pulled out instruments and did The Scientist.

Chris Martin, as usual, made a self-deprecating remark that most of the people at the concerts buy tickets as far away as possible from them, and he hoped he wasn't ruining anyone's experience by treading on their space.

Most talented guy in the band probably goes to Will the drummer. He sang back up on a quiet version of The Hardest Part (a track I don't really care for), but stripped down to just the piano, quite lovely.

Fourth time's the charm. I've seen them on both American coasts, time to see them in Europa

Back to the Balkans! And I'm Getting Married...

Let's try something revolutionary. Let's try writing about a trip immediately upon return! So back in November or something, there...