Thursday, July 24, 2008

My first embedded video!

I even sold another small piece of my soul by creating a YouTube account, just because I seemed to be too incompetent to figure out any other way to post a video here, and because I so love you all that I couldn't bear the thought of not sharing my favorite piece of recorded media from our vacation. You know you want more where this one came from...

(Summary: Nephs headbang. Ethan grooves. R tells K to lay down a beat. K's beat is not fly enough.)

Yikes, been a while. We're back this week from a long and luxurious vacation, where we did such things as lounge on American flag blankets at farmer's markets outside of Seattle. Well, mostly just that once. But I had to include the picture because it's possibly the least unflattering shot R's mom has ever taken of us, and especially noteworthy in that it doesn't have our names photoshopped in fancy fonts across the front of our shirts, and/or one of our heads cropped out and replaced with a picture of us from a different occasion because she thought the lighting was better on that one.

But I digress. We began our odyssey in Oregon, where we flew into Portland late Friday night, attempted to pick up our small rental car, discovered that we had accidentally booked the rental starting a day AFTER we were actually supposed to arrive, grudgingly accepted the elephant-sized minivan they foisted onto us because they didn't have anything smaller left, briefly considered spending the night in the van in order to save on lodging, decided this would be a terrible idea on a number of levels, and drove the 2 hours to our hostel in Eugene. The next morning we got up early to go to the hot springs, where R managed to take this nifty shot of two of the tiered pools (there are actually four pools altogether, but the other two were filled with naked hippies whom we decided not to capture for posterity):

(I'm not sure what I'm looking at. Possibly a naked hippie.)

That evening we went to the wedding of one of R's AmeriCorps friends, and the next morning we drove back to Portland and went hiking along the Columbia River Gorge.

The Portland weekly sing was that afternoon, so we fit in some quality red book singing with Jessica and co., then drove out to a suburb to see the excellent Three Leg Torso, who were playing a free outdoor show that night.

After the show we drove up to Seattle and spent the night at Charlie & Melissa's, which brings me to the part you've clearly all been waiting for: NEPHS!!!!!
(Please admire Gabe's early mastery of the double-fisting technique, even more impressive when you consider the fact that he seems to have stolen not only Ethan's milk, but all of his remaining snack as well.)

Lots of family in Seattle, along with breakfast with one of my former interns and a visit to Gas Works Park, a neat gasification-plant-turned-public-park (file this one under Posing With Rusty Junk):

Finally, I bade farewell to Seattle and took an overnight flight to upstate New York, where I joined hundreds of other lady martial arts practitioners for the annual Special Training weekend put on by the National Women's Martial Arts Federation. It was pretty fantastic. There was also a soft-serve machine in the cafeteria where we ate all our meals - I would be lying if I said it wasn't one of the highlights of the weekend. But all the amazing kickass women teaching and training were pretty excellent, too.

At long last, I made my way back to Texas... ever so sloooowly, as both my flights were delayed 4-5 hours each. No offense to Buffalo, but if I had to spend six and a half hours in any airport in the contiguous United States, I think it would be one with more than two restaurants and one gift shop. Just saying. I had high hopes for my 10pm-1am layover at JFK, but alas, my flight was scheduled to take off from one of those little annex parts that you have to take a special bus to, and I found myself downgraded to one restaurant and one candy shop that sold the world's worst paperback bestsellers. (Seriously, I would have settled for The Bourne Identity, or even a NICHOLAS SPARKS novel, for chrissakes (um, have I said too much?). But the ten books they had weren't even up to that standard. And I use the term "standard" very, very, very loosely. Like, really loosely.)

I finally landed at 5am, caught two buses back home, walked through my front door at 6:25, and decided never to do anything ever again for the rest of my life. Then I took a nap and felt better.

Apologies for the rambliness. I'll sign off with one final picture of - who else - the NEPHS!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"It IS a journey when you carry a nightgown!"

Still no actual update, too distracted by more online enabled reading.

Book Mooch Thanks to A's new keeper of a boyfriend! Now all those books I compulsively rescue from the recycling at work can make someone's day AND get me books I actually want. Love.

Daily Lit Thanks Inder, for yet another way to maximize my reading. Now my compulsive checking of my google reader will uncover daily helpings of classic lit. Democracy in America (Perhaps the most quotable work in American history, but who wants to read the whole thing? A page a day of De Toucqueville is PLEnty. He may have fit two whole sentences into the first installment. Which means there's about 408 to go.) and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (I'm finally over the childhood teasing enough to pick this one up. It's delightful so far. I'll check in again in 88 days.)

Since my phone died I've been leaving my computer on nights as an alarm, and I figured I'd put it to good use downloading. Looking for torrents to add to the queue I found I can easily (cough, totally legally, cough) download both the print version and UNABRIDGED AUDIO of the Economist every week! You know how I like my audiobooks with an accent. Here's to hearing Brits read snotty letters to the editor and snide comments about America and popular trends.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

dog day afternoon

Plans to update dashed by the fact that my idea of how to spend my day off is about the same as the dogs'.

This is about 5 seconds after I let them out, by the way.

Relatedly, I learned last week that I'm one of those people that talks about their dogs ALL THE TIME. And they're not even my dogs. I'm ok with this - I'm the fun aunt who babysits and shows off pictures, but doesn't have to clean up the florescent green puke.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Madder than HOW many dollars?

Phew, a moment to breathe! Since I hit the ground in Oakland at noon on Saturday PST, it's been back to back. Birthday party, work, family bbbq, 8 am job interview, work, singing. Tomorrow is finally my day of rest, so I shall attempt to update for real.


I think that I and my already-temperamental phone charger parted ways in Cambridge. Thus prioritizing my plans to get a new phone and local number. Meanwhile just leave me a voicemail, I'm checking. Or better yet, email.

Amongst the many exciting birthdays today... Mr Woodrow Wilson Guthrie!
Check out this footage. One of two surviving videos.

I'll leave you with a passage from the beginning of his most excellent autobiography Bound For Glory. Turns of phrase to rival KT's recent post. (No clowns, just hobos.)

I sat down with my back against the wall looking all through the troubled, tangled, messed-up men. Traveling the hard way. Dressed the hard way. Hitting the long lonesome go. Rougher than a cob. Wilder than a woodchuck. Hotter than a depot stove. Madder than nine hundred dollars. Arguing worse than a tree full of crows. Messed up. Mixed up. A crazy boxcar on a wild track. Headed sixty miles an hour in a big cloud of poison dust due straight to nowhere.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'm alive tooooooo...

...but leaving tomorrow for 10 days of VACATION: Eugene (wedding!), Portland (singing!), Seattle (Lees - which means NEPHS!), and Geneva (karate camp!). Shockingly, I managed to tie up 95% of all the loose ends at work, which is at least 45% more than I usually manage to tie up before I leave town. But don't get too surprised - predictably, I haven't even started packing yet. Rebecca is so mental high-fiving me right now.

In conclusion, I have no plans to start carrying my blogweight again anytime soon. Hopefully I'll return with piles of entertaining photos from Oregon and Washington and upstate New York. But in the meantime, you'll just have to sit around and be jealous of my VACATION! Did I mention I'm going on VACATION?

Oh, and happy belated birthday to Richard, who finally caught up to me last Tuesday. We went out for tasty Korean dinner and I bought him a 100% wool pillow to match mine. I'd had just about enough of getting home from work on his days off and finding my pillow on his side of the bed with a head-sized dent still warm in the middle of it from his afternoon nap.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Field notes

Singing good.
Food good.
Sleep good.
Children good.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

How many flags did YOU steam clean today?

Happy 4th. Thus concludes the week of high frequency blogging. I hope it compensates slightly for the recent blogslacking and upcoming vacation!

And what have I been doing between blogs?

Picked ALL the loquats.

Dehydrated loquats.

Jammed loquats.

Also got to sit under one of the fancy dryers at the hair salon for the first time, changed a marquee sign for the first time, bought too many vintage dresses, ate too many black eyed peas and too much ice cream, and didn't talk to R and KT enough. Now, packing! Flying! Singing! Friends, family!

Omie offers her usual moral support.

Parenthetical anecdote

I just read an article in which someone was described as "a couple of clowns short of a circus."

Please stay tuned for future blog posts in which I attempt to utilize that phrase as much as possible.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Now, for the awkward.

To fully appreciate this picture, see this epicly nerdy goodreads review of June 12th of this year. In which I admit that "I spent most of the early 90s camped out in the library reading Star Trek novels."


(To be literal about it, I'm camped out at Glacier National Park. August 93.)

This picture is awesome for way too many reasons (please note the bifocals), not least of which is that The Vulcan Academy Murders is one of those books I rescued from the store, as per the epic review above. I was sure I'd read it as a kid, and then my mom promptly provided the photographic evidence! She hadn't even heard tell of my Star Trek relapse or looked at the photos before she got here! Get out!

Well, at least I've come a long way in the last 15 years...

Turn the page

It's Canada Day. Half of 2008 gone. I made two resolutions this year. 1) Watch more TV. 2) Read more books.

#1 is pretty much a wash, unless you count the normal background noise of sitcom reruns and Animal Cops permeating the house. I've turned on the set myself on exactly 2 occasions and soldiered through for an hour or so, but somehow I've lost touch with my inner TV junkie. Too. Many. Channels. Having cable is hard work. And other than working my way through most of The OC season 4, I haven't caught up on DVDs either. The Office? Battlestar Gallactica? 2009 it is.

#2 is looking brighter. I've finally followed in the illustrious footsteps of KT and Art Garfunkel and started keeping a book list. And since Inder introduced me to it, I've been very conscientious about reviewing everything on goodreads.

Yeah. See above for those who have enabled my compulsion.

The point being, for once I have a pretty good basis for reflection on my reading and the ability to whip up a linktastic post for you! Rejoice.

Sooo, I've read 30 books thus far. This is not enough. I aim for 75 by year's end. (Well, at least I've got my New Year's Eve plans all set...)

The current contender for Best of 2008? Hands down, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.
And my other 5 star reads:
Bound For Glory by Woody Guthrie
Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis