Friday, January 30, 2009

There are Machines That Count Your Change for You...Automatically!

I love these things.  The Coinstar machines you find scattered around area grocery stores.  They now figure into what is fast becoming a ritual for Kate and me.  Each night we chuck our pocket change into one of two old spaghetti jars (Prego for the purposes of this story).  And then cart them over to the Coinstar down the street from work once they're filled.

Normally Coinstar charges you, I believe, eight cents for every dollar you dump in.  But, if you have your change converted to a gift certificate, the counting fee is waived.  You get a free, dollar for dollar counting and conversion of your change.  So our ritual ends with a gift certificate to, and a spending spree.  It's a great excuse to go crazy and buy a few small things for ourselves without feeling guilty.

Since change sometimes doesn't feel like real money (and in denominations less than a dime it almost isn't) using the Coinstar sort of feels like playing a slot machine that always pays out.  Like we've found a machine that converts Monopoly money into spendable cash, or a key to the service hatch on one of those robotic arm / stuffed toy contraption filled instead with all the stuff we've been wanting for the last six months.

Really.  Try it if you haven't.  You'd be surprised how quickly pocket change adds up to a big hunk of cash.  This last time, after collecting for somewhere in the neighborhood of eight to ten months we had 133 bucks.  Not too shabby, coming from a couple of spaghetti jars.

One caveat.  Empty your spaghetti jars before placing any money in them.  Otherwise over time the law of displacement will send rancid tomato sauce all over your nightstand, and down into your sweater drawer.  Have you tried getting spoiled Prego out of cashmere?  After the second time, we learned...

Cartoon Hilarity

I'm a huge cartoon and animation fan. Not Japanese animation so much.  More along the lines of Pixar and Disney. I love any cartoon on Adult Swim.  I guess I'm still really a kid at heart. We just finished watching Wall-E, and it was so brilliant. It projected the true nature of human existence in the most extreme futuristic form. All humans become the lazy son's of bitches we're all destined to become if we continue to let technology, entertainment, and food consume our very souls. I haven't seen a live action film depict such truth.

We then watched two episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force on Adult Swim On Demand. A funny as hell cartoon about a crime fighting team made up of Shake, Meatwad, and Frylock.  I've never actually seen them successfully solve a crime.  Usually something goes terribly wrong.  It's a lot of random sick hilarity. Here's to all the cartoonists, animators, and writers of the world who come up with and create these crazy elaborate worlds.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

iPhone, youPhone, we all Phone for iPhone!

So I don't have an iPhone.  But that won't stop me from declaring it the single coolest gadget on the planet.  I want one so badly.  So badly.  If I wasn't locked into my contract with Sprint, and if I didn't really like Sprint, which I do, I would already own one.  Alas, the iPhone and AT&T are a package deal.

So I wait.  And one day I'll wake up, on a day not unlike today except a totally different day at some unknown point in the future, though probably known to someone, and the iPhone will have unhitched itself from its traveling companion and I will be able to buy one!  Oh, imagine the people I'll call, the apps I'll run, and the maps I'll Google.  I'll roam the internet, free of attachments; a digital nomad, powered by my dreams and a little rechargeable lithium-ion battery.  And the reflection I'll see off of my iPhone's sleek black exterior will be the face of a man fulfilled.  One big goofy, toothy, techstatic smile.

C'mon, AT&T.  Do a guy a solid, would ya?  Release the iPhone from your infernal exclusivity contract, and I won't publish those pictures of you and that Peruvian hooker.

I think the day may soon be upon us.

Confident Souls

I like witnessing people that exude true confidence. People that are consistently themselves. People that never bother putting on a front. You can usually hear their confidence in their voice, see it in their walk. They like or at least survive comfortably in their own skin. They know what they want and make it a point to go after whatever it is. I admire that sensibility and strive to be one of the Earth's confident souls. Bonne nuit!

Good Hair Days

I have about a two and a half week window after a haircut where my hair behaves, looks normal, and doesn't have random gamma radiation freak-outs.  After that it's a crap shoot.  I have wavy/curly hair, which is akin to saying that my scalp is like a play-dough fun factory.  Add even a fraction of an inch to a lock of my hair and it can go from "plays well with others" to mad scientist devil horn.  And the further I trek from my two and a half week window, the further into Kramer territory I stumble.

So when I have a good hair day during my post-premium period, I really appreciate it.  Not to sound vain, but checking myself out in the mirror when my hair is looking fly (yes fly...that's how I'd describe my frock today) I get a confidence boost.  A little kick in the happy pants.  And having a good hair day gives me hope that tomorrow may follow the trend.  That there actually is a trend.  That good hair days have been scheduled for me on the calender of fate.  A good hair day is the tonsorialistic equivalent of winning ten bucks from a scratch-off ticket you got as a gift at your company holiday party.  It's unexpected, awesome, and easily lost after too much alcohol.

Mix CDs

I really enjoy listening to and making mix CDs. My love for the habit started when I would make mix cassette tapes for my boyfriends in Middle and High School. I would even create covers.

I love taking up an entire afternoon listening to my favorite music as I create different genre combinations or collect music selects that enhance a mood or an attitude. Sometimes when I'm bored by the music selections in the car, I'll collect a bunch of music from my Itunes and just jumble all the music up and start burning CD collections. It's great not knowing which one of your favs will come on next.  It keeps listening exciting and unpredictable. This is always perfect for road trips.

I am aware that there's this great new technology now called the Ipod, but I have yet to try one out and don't even know if either of our cars have Mp3 capabilities.  CDs are still the way I chose to travel. Until I see and experience all the hype, I'm continuing my old school artistry. Later.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Big Old Comfortable Chair

I was at pains to come up with a suitable entry tonight, when it struck me that I was sitting right on top of it. Our computer chair has been with me since my first apartment, thirteen years ago. My neighbor at the time, Mark, an affable but slightly smarmy guy owned the chair before me. It didn't surprise me when, one day coming home from work, I found all of Mark and his wife's possessions out on the front lawn. I guess they'd been having financial problems, hadn't been paying rent, and, as I learned later, fled.

Point is, Mark's already old but very roomy office chair was now sitting in the grass outside my apartment. I decided to give it one day, and if it was still there, I was nabbing it.

I nabbed it. Made sure to spray it really well with Lysol and flea spray first (affable, but smarmy...can't take any chances.) And here it is now, thirteen years later, with a new (used) wheel base (the original legs broke), a good bit rattier, probably somewhat filthier, and just as comfortable as it's ever been.

I can't explain it. I know it's ugly. It's cat-clawed, mangy fabric is barely clinging to the skeleton in a few places. The padding is worn out, and the springs squeak a bit when you pivot. But it fits me. It knows just how to cradle that nagging spot in my lower back, and how to support my head when I'm stumped for blog ideas (tonight is probably the first night that's happened).

I've seen many potential replacement chairs, and none of them have the "it" factor. And I don't think it's likely any ever will. An old comfortable chair is as much a part of you as your spleen or your liver. Maybe your appendix or one of our kidneys is a better analogy. I could live without my old chair, but I'd be losing a part of myself, and I'd never get it back.

And a chair is too big to fit in a mason jar on your mantel.

Comfy Robes

I have two comfy robes.  One long pink one my dad gave me and one short white robe Karin, Jason's stepmother gave me. Both were given to me for Christmas. I actually really lucked out by getting two very different robes.  The pink one is for the winter months and the other can be worn all year round, except for maybe in the dead of Summer. Both are so extremely soft and unbelievably comfy. I love my robes. Goodnight.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Movie Award Shows

I really enjoy watching Movie Award Shows.  Most likely it's because I adore good cinema, but that's a different entry. Jason will be making fun of me for this, but I like watching everyone walk down the red carpet in beautiful gowns with their loved ones by their side. I love the celebration of really good films, when amazing actors, writers, directors, & producers get cheered on and get nominated for their achievements. The Academy Awards are coming up and like the dork I am I would love to have a party, but I know my house won't be ready. One day my Academy Award Party dream will come true.

Web Video: A Thousand Britney Spears Lip-Synchers Can't Be Wrong

I think the proliferation of video on the web is one of the greatest things to happen online in at least the last five years.  Video has an immediacy that the printed word can't capture.  If a picture is worth 1,000 words (it's probably down to 835 due to the global economic slowdown) a video is worth far, far more.

Yes a lot of the content is specific to a particular audience, often times an audience of one.  Maybe 70 to 80 percent of the video content on the web is useless to all but the few people it was designed to reach.  But the point is that even those limited conversations can happen instantaneously, and meaningfully, for those people.  And the leavings of these closed circle communications comprise and gigantic amount of information and entertainment intended for mass consumption.  Of course you have the big media outlets creating content.  Content normally broadcast through TV or cable outlets has made the jump online, whether legitimately or through pirate activities, creating a whole new way to watch television and film content.

But the really exciting segment of online video is the content created by small organizations, or single individuals.  Small or no budget productions.  Projects that, prior to the web video revolution, would have had no way of reaching a mass audience.  Web video has democratized video content creation and distribution, and allowed any segment of the population the ability to communicate visually with the rest of the world.

Yeah, you're going to get 760 videos of people standing in front of their video camera lip-synching to Britney Spears tunes.  Nobody would want to watch one of them, likely, let alone the whole lot.  But isn't it cool that we have a medium for transmitting even inane video content like that around the globe?!  At no other point in history would that have been possible.  We have the ability to document, transmit and share every useless, pointless, uninteresting thing that happens in our lives with everyone else on the planet.  That's great, because somewhere, in that din, there is really important stuff waiting to be found.  The more content you can create, the more likely it is that interesting and new uses for that content can be found.  It's a beautiful mash-up cycle.

For all those interested, after I finish this I'll be posting a real-time video of myself typing this blog entry.*  Why, because I can.

* I won't actually be posting that video, but only because I don't have a webcam.


I love breakfast food. Today we went to get breakfast at our favorite local family-owned dive, Pete's Grill. We can walk there from our house. It's best when the food is a little greasy. I love home fries, hash browns, sausage, and eggs sunny side up with white buttered toast. Sometimes I'll treat myself to some waffles or pancakes, a cheese omelet, OJ, and always a cup of hot tea with honey.

Breakfast is amazing. Occasionally Jason and I will cook breakfast at home. I make my kick ass home fries and Jason will make some delicious eggs and bacon. We usually tack on mimosas. 

Pete's had just closed when we got there today. Maybe I can convince Jason to get up a little earlier tomorrow and we can eat there before work. That would be a great way to start out a new week. Goodnight.

Flight of the Conchords

This is one of the funniest shows on television right now.  If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend dropping whatever you're doing and pulling up an episode on HBO On Demand.  If you don't have HBO, then I highly recommend you call your cable company, purchase an HBO/Showtime package, along with Digital Cable and then enjoy an episode On Demand.  If you don't have cable, or some cable analogue, then I highly recommend that you continue to enjoy your Barney Miller reruns and your 8-track players, and skip on to the next post.

Here's the premise.  A pair of New Zealand musicians, the only members of a "band" called Flight of the Conchords, come to America and try and make it big.  And it's likely they never will.  Their manager works for the New Zealand Consulate, and conducts band meetings in his office, on company time.  Bret and Jermaine, our two Kiwi musicians, are dull, a bit slow, and not terribly funny.  They're not very good musicians either.  But the magic happens because these two characters are played by Bret and Jermaine, members of a band called Flight of the Conchords; two very intelligent, funny comedians, who write viciously funny music...and play it well.  It's trodding in the territory blazed by "Seinfeld"...a show about nothing.  With musical interludes interspersed throughout.

It's dry comedy at its best.  And unless you still have posters of Abe Vigoda hanging in your rumpus room, you'll probably enjoy it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cover Bands

This hungover chick did not do her entry last night, which is unforgivable. So in the spirit of last night, my entry will be about enjoying a good cover band. With cover bands you know all the words to the music & they provide you with danceable music for hours. That's it for this entry, I must go back to sleep for a little bit. Chow

Magazine Subscriptions

I've read articles pushing the theory that magazines and newspapers are on their way to the dustbin of history, replaced by information on demand, internet-style.  While I don't doubt that readerships are down, I don't see a complete extinction of daily, weekly and monthly publications happening any time soon.  I think there are plenty of people like me that love the magazine format.

I've been getting Discover Magazine since I was in the seventh grade.  I borrowed a few copies from Mr. Stauffer, my science teacher then, and was instantly hooked.  My mom got me a subscription shortly after, and I've gotten it every month since for the last 22 years.  I think I have most of them still, in boxes in the attic.

There's two elements to the attraction.  First, magazine subscriptions give you something to look forward to.  I get a burst of excitement every time a new issue of Wired, or Family Handyman is delivered.  There's the thrill of the unknown, and the hope that something really important or illuminating is waiting just underneath the cover.  Second, just like with books, I love the artifact itself.  I like having the magazine, reading it, and then sticking on a shelf somewhere for perusing years later.  I've gone back and leafed through 10 year old Discover's and have always been shocked to discover bits I hadn't read the first time.

I don't know.  I don't think the internet and digital delivery will ever completely replace print.  The portability of books and magazines, and totemic quality they seem to always form for me keeps magazine and books distinct from digital media.  I think they complement each other, not compete with each other.

Newspapers are a different matter, but magazine aren't going anywhere.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Change is Good

I love changing my look with a new haircut, a new hair color, and new shades of lipstick. I started getting drastic hair cuts in high school. During my senior picture and my prom my hair was super short. Pixie short. Looking back I'm not a big fan of the look. I don't think I had the knowledge back then that I have now.

The first time I dyed my hair was in college during one of my film shoots. We all acted in, shot, edited, and produced our own short films for Ms. Kissel's class (we being Teakneeass Productions- Brooke, Nichole, Chantel, and myself). For continuity sake, my character, Justine, had to keep her hair the same dark red color that I had just dyed it. So I went from never dying my hair to having to dye my hair every 2 weeks for 2 months. I might be a bit off, but it seemed like a whole hell of a lot dying at the time. Well, this started me on the path of changing my hair color every so often. These days I'm sticking to the same short hair length and changing the style up some. I finally have gone back to my natural color, strawberry blonde. I'm getting the itch for a fun dramatic change. Nina, I'm coming and I want chocolate brown with camel highlights.

The Power of Retail Therapy

I'm not one to push consumerism.  Spending money just to spend money is frivolous and wasteful.  But spending small amounts of money on yourself when you need a little boost is great! Down in the dumps?  Boss been kicking you in the teeth again?  Your 401k balance retreating faster than the polar ice caps?  Go buy yourself something you want.  Not need.  Want.

Really.  Nothing big.  I might buy a book, or some socks...or a book.  Getting something new always seems to recharge me.  But I keep it small.  Retail therapy only works if you don't go into debt in the process.  That brings with it a whole raft of new worries, more purchases, and eventually pitches you into a downward spiral which ends with you living on the street, panhandling for socks and books and feeling even worse than you did before.

Just keep your purchases small and sporadic, and you'll be surprised at how much lighter you'll feel.  Let's take Kate as an example.  She's having a rough day and needs a little pick-me-up.  She could sit on a therapists couch for an hour and part with $150.00 plus change for the meter, or she can go to Urban Outfitters and spend $15.00 on a new hat.  It's the same hour, but it costs 10 times less and she has a new hat when she's finished.  You won't get a hat from a therapist.  That's a guarantee.

Or a book.  And after last week, a new book is exactly what I need.  I think I know what I'm doing tomorrow afternoon.  

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sharpie Markers

I know this is sort of an obscure one, but if you've ever had occasion to use a Sharpie marker I think you'd agree with me when I say that Sharpies are the greatest writing implement ever created.  Better even than those astronaut pens that write upside-down in the vacuum of space.  How many people find writing in deep space useful?

Sharpies will write on anything.  I base this statement on my own experience and the results of several scientific studies that I'm making up for the purposes of this entry.  But even without that exhaustive research to back up my claim I stand by the statement.  Sharpies will write on anything, permanently.  I've always questioned the "marker" naming convention, because most implements bearing that name only mark on porous surfaces, and often poorly, taking a long time to dry and inevitably smearing.

But not Sharpies.  They dry instantly and permanently on porous and non-porous surfaces alike.  They'll mark on plastic, paper, metal, wood, linoleum, porcelain, stone...even other markers.  In our business, with tapes and DVDs to mark, blocking to map out, cue cards to write and a myriad of other bits of information to convey on set, Sharpies are a great thing to have.

I think it's safe to say that Sharpie markers are to markers as the Macintosh is to personal computers.  As Yes is to 70's Prog Rock bands.  As mini-marshmallow hot chocolate is to regular hot chocolate.  They are the ultimate realization of the form.

And I bet if you took a Sharpie into deep space it would write just fine.  In your face, Alan Shepard.

I'm a hat chick!

I adore hats. I've been a fan of the hat look forever, but I didn't start wearing them until college. Once I started there was no stopping me. I once yelled out at a company party, completely embarrassing myself, "I'm a Hat Chick." I probably own about 12 or so. I usually have to buy at least one hat every time I travel somewhere memorable. Hats give me a sense of security and comfort. They give me a bit of a unique edge and real fearlessness on occasion.

I've never been very good at haiku poetry, but I thought I'd give it a whirl.

Hats make me happy
Fearless, colorful wonders
Good days come with hats


Good Cry

We had to say goodbye to our dear friend, Banjo today. My entry tonight is the release you feel after having a good cry. Good cries make you let go of all your trapped negative emotions. You shouldn't be ashamed of having a melt down every so often, it keeps you centered and helps you feel alive. The trick is learning to control them and contain them when the heavy moments hit you. I'm still having trouble in this department, but I'm conscience of it and I'm working on getting the kinks out.

Dear Banjo, I miss your amazing energetic presence, I hope your having fun with Holly and Hans. Love you buddy! Here are a few more tears for you. Your dear friend and mom, Kate

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Healers Truly Devoted to Healing

Some of  you already know this, but Kate and I had to put Banjo to sleep this afternoon.  His condition had worsened to the point where the vet felt like no amount of effort, medicine or anything else would ever make him healthy again, and that an end to suffering was more important.

So before I continue let's, all of us that knew him, say a quick goodbye.

Goodbye, old friend.  You're missed.


So, right before all of this happened I switched Banjo and DB to the vet Kate has been taking Midnight.  They were recommended by a friend of ours, and Kate seemed to really like them.  For a number of reasons I needed to leave my old vet, and Banjo's issue provided a reason to make the shift.

Light Street Animal Hospital.  If you live in Baltimore City, we highly recommend them.  What impressed me most was the level of compassion demonstrated by the whole staff.  We had techs coming out and saying hello, and expressing their sympathy.  And John, the doctor, was excellent.  He was extremely empathetic throughout the entire process, especially today, at the roughest point.  He even gave Kate and I a hug afterwards.

I expect a vet to know his or her stuff, medically.  Clearly if they fail that measure they shouldn't be practicing.  But that's really only half the game.  A good bedside manner is just as important.  And I think a good bedside manner has less to do with base personality, and more to do with real empathy.  And really, primary to all of that is a true commitment to healing.  That's a bit rarer, I think, and it's a real gift when you find it.

Thanks Doctor John (I don't know his last name).  You made this whole process a little more bearable.

The Time You Had, Not the Time You Won't Have

So Banjo isn't looking very good.  It's seems a struggle for him just to sit up and walk.  After his force-feeding this evening, Kate said (I missed it, I was cleaning the syringe) that he tried walking in from the hallway and then collapsed flat out, as if he were completely drained.  We're taking him back to the vet tomorrow morning, and I have the awful feeling they're going to recommend putting him to sleep.  And probably right then.

So I was having a tough time coming up with my positive for today.  I considered something goofy, totally out of context from real-life, but that seemed disingenuous.  I decided to focus on Banjo, and came up with sort of a corollary to an earlier post I made.  As I'm facing the almost certain loss of a beloved pet, I should keep my attention on the 14 years he was around.  The 14 years we got to spend together.  The 14 years of friendship.  Focusing on the loss, and his absence once he's gone, accomplishes nothing.

So that's what I'm going to do.  If he has to go tomorrow, I'll let him.  It'll suck for sure, but then he'll be out of pain and I can still keep the previous 14 years in my heart.

I'll just pretend he's living on a farm in Iowa somewhere.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


My favorite drink is V8 juice. My grandparents would always have V8 cans in their frig when I very young and I fell in love with it back then. I love drinking it after a long day at work or first thing in the morning.  Really anytime is a good time for V8. I shouldn't be drinking it so much,though.  Acid is eating away at my tooth enamel, so really I should avoid anything high in acid. I have restricted my soda intake to only weekends. Back to V8, I feel like when I drink it all my ailments disappear. I feel so good after drinking V8. I am always craving the taste and consistency. I sometimes think that I have this crazy addiction to vegetables. I love spinach too. Hey, really all of these likes are pluses in any dietary manual. Veggie Girl Is Out of Here! Chow.

I Love Afghans

Not the culture, although I'm sure some of them are very lovely people.  I love the knitted decorative blanket inexplicably named after them, though apparently not named after them at all. I did some research, and I can't seem to find any information at all on the etymology of Afghan.  This screams cover-up to me.  I'm guessing there actually is a connection between the blanket and the people, but the Department of Homeland Security doesn't want us to know about it.  Why?  Because they don't want us to know the Afghanis have a softer side.  And bureaucrats hate comfort.

I don't though.  While I appreciate Afghans for their decorative potential, it's the comfort factor I'm after.  They are so freaking warm.  My feet get cold all the time, and there's nothing better than wrapping them in a warm, soft, knitted blanket which drove the Soviet Union off its home soil back in the early 80s.  These fierce, mountain dwelling textiles have a long, proud history of self-reliance and come in many bold colors.

Kate's Mom is working on a new Afghan for us right now, and we both can't wait.  Assuming it doesn't get shipped off to Guantanamo Bay for allegedly espousing anti-american militant views we hope to give it a nice home on the couch at the back wall of our living room.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Kind Creatures

My pets fascinate me, so many animals fascinate me. They can be so lovable right when you need them most, they are always there for you and they can be so darn cute. I love my three cats dearly. Midnight, is my cat and she's the queen of the house, she rules the castle by being the moodiest and most demanding. But, she can be the cutest sweetheart if you pet her right and give her food.

Jason's Siamese cat, DB., has the most striking looking features, he is a real cuddle bug and the most endearing cat in the house (he sleeps in-between Jason's legs every night, it can get kind of cumbersome sometimes). Jason and I consider him our baby and until recently he was the one with the most medical issues.

Jason's coolest cat, Banjo, recently started showing signs of illness, when we picked him up a few weeks ago and he was skin and bone. Comes to find out he hadn't eaten at all in the past few days. Now since then, we've been giving him hunger stimulates and feeding him manually, and he still hasn't eaten on his own and is getting more and more sick looking. This entry goes out to Banjo, just a couple months ago he could perform some crazy, scaling acrobatics, he was fearless, and always so chill. He is the King of the House, and really admire his strength and the confidence he always carried. Banjo, I love you dearly. I heard a phrase from my darling sister, who very recently had to sadly put her two loving boxer dogs down; that pets teach us about two things: they teach you how to love and they teach you about death.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Home Depot

Tonight's entry isn't going to get a lot of love because I'm not feeling too well and I'd like to get to sleep.  And it probably won't be popular with some of you.  Those opposed to big box retailers and the destructive effect they have on Mom and Pop stores.  Really, I'm with you there.  I'm not a fan of Walmart for that reason.

But I love Home Depot.  In one place you can get virtually everything you need for home repair.  Today we had an in issue with pipes bursting in the crawl space below our first floor bathroom.  Even on a Sunday, the Depot was open till 7:00, and had everything I needed to fix the problem.

I didn't fix the problem, but that had more to do with my inexperience with plumbing than a lack of materials.  Home Depot, I Heart You.

Creamy Korma

Today was by no means the perfect relaxing Sunday Jason and I had hoped for. We had a sudden catastrophe that involved frozen pipes, leaving us with no running water at the present moment. Surprisingly, Jason and I stayed in relatively good spirits all day despite our horrible luck.

Staying in my lighthearted state, tonight's entry will be about one of my favorite foods - Indian. I love going to eat at or getting take out from a delicious Authentic Indian Restaurant. We splurged a little this weekend, before all hell broke lose and got take-out at our favorite Indian Restaurant in Charles Village, Akbar. I love chicken and now lamb kormas, palak peneer, and so many other amazing entrees. I am a big fan of the rice, creamy sauce, meat, nan bread combination. We had wonderful Indian delivery when I lived in the East Village, this was one of the big things I missed. Akbar may not deliver, but they sure taste as good. Here here to Indian cuisine, I now just wish we had a functioning bathroom, it's going to be a long night.

The Search for Truth

(I have to preface this by saying that I wrote this entry before reading Kate's.  It's funny the symmetry.)

Today Kate and I watched "Six Degrees Could Change the World", a National Geographic documentary on climate change.  I'd recommend everyone watch it.  It's no "Inconvenient Truth", but it turns a pretty unflinching eye on what is probably the most pressing issue facing humanity.  And it got me thinking.

Scientists are the most important segment of today's society, having the most to offer mankind.  This isn't anything new.  They've always been there to push humanity forward.  What makes them distinct is their unbridled enthusiasm for truth.  Or more specifically, the search for truth.  Even if the truth is uncomfortable.  Even if it's the last thing we want to hear, the truth of things has to faced head-on for any progress to be made, and scientists, and the scientific method are most adept at finding it.

Scientists are never satisfied.  They constantly reexamine and critique humanity's entire body of knowledge.  Even well-accepted and well-supported theories are combed through for small nits and bugs.  It's a constant process of refinement.  There's an understanding that no theory or law is more important than the truth, and if, in reexamining a particular belief, flaws are found, scientists are quick to regroup and reevaluate.  They never, never believe something simply because someone told them it was true.  That is a founding principle of the scientific method.  You do not pre-suppose a truth and then fight to make the world fit.  You honestly examine the world as it is and slowly, over time, sculpt theories that reveal the truth that was always there.  It's truth because of the facts, not truth in the face of facts.

I have great admiration for that sort of thinking.  The data doesn't lie.  Gather enough information about a particular system, and the truth of that system floats to the surface.  Then keep looking.  Gather more data.  Ask deeper questions.  Look at interrelated systems.  Examine how everything interacts with everything else.  You may never get to an ultimate truth, but along the way you'll reveal a lot of smaller but equally important truths.

Just keep your eyes open, keep questioning, and never let an answer be, "because I told you so."


I love being around intelligent people. I like soaking up their knowledge, and hopefully letting some of it stick. This probably explains my attraction to older, well-educated men. Jason is 7 years older than me and is very well-versed, as you can tell from his entries. He is also technologically savvy and could have easily been a scientist of some sort if he had pursued it.

I started by dating a college graduate when I was only a senior in high school. All my friends at that time were 24 or older. I worked part time at Barnes and Noble stores throughout my high school and college years and that is where I would befriend or be befriended by so many brilliant people. This was one of the main reasons I enjoyed working there. People came there to learn through literature and conversation. I admire great intelligence.

We are about to have a very wise, wonderfully understanding, and kind man get sworn into the US Presidential Seat. President Barack Obama has the kind of intellegence America has been yearning for. I am so excited to see change happen in this country. Of course we all have to understand that change does not occur overnight, we need to be patient , supportive and proactive by getting involved in world issues and by living a greener lifestyle. Intelligence is very important...and it's sexy.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Reading's Delightful

I love that I can say what I'm about to say again, it's been 10 years since I've been able to truly say that I enjoy reading a good book. I hope I'm not jinxing myself by saying this only 100 pages into the first novel I've really enjoyed in a long while. I did finish reading two other books this past year, one being the Jenna Jameson Bio "How to Make Love like a Porn Star" and "Lovely Bones." Both were pretty good and I was happy I got through them, but neither one truly captured my attention like "Twilight" is doing right now. I feel like others might think I'm reading a teeny bopper book, but it's not and I feel a lot of older women would enjoy it and probably have. It does give you dirty thoughts about hot teenagers. I haven't enjoyed reading like this since I read the VC Andrew's Dawn series in High School, there might have been a few other small delights along the way that I can't recall. Hopefully I keep it up...this blog entry could be a healthy motivator. Reading a beautifully written novel is a wonderful thing. Falling asleep now, losing my abilty to type...Goodnight!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Excedrin, The Headache Medicine

They're not kidding around with that tag line.  Excedrin works!  I don't get headaches that often anymore, thankfully, but when I do I am immensely grateful that Excedrin exists.  Nothing else works nearly as well.  I can take four Ibuprofen and get no result.  But I take two Excedrin, stop moving completely for 20 minutes, and my headache is gone.

Really. I can't imagine how people got by without painkillers.  I suppose we're a bit spoiled.  Because we know that we don't have to live with pain, we believe we can't live with pain.  But even as recently as 150 years ago people had to suffer through surgeries with no anesthesia, and no follow up therapies.  Imagine getting a limb amputated with a saw, with nothing but a few shots of whiskey to dull the pain.  Ridiculous.

I think it's safe to say that anesthesia and general painkillers are on the top ten list for most important human discoveries.  Along with antibiotics and ramen noodles, these drugs make living on earth a far more palatable experience.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Big Old Trees

I like old, established neighborhoods.  Subdivisions that have been around for 50 years or more. Communities where every house at one time had a black and white TV in its living room, or even better, a TV-sized radio.  But I don't like them for technological nostalgia.  That's just a little romantic flavoring thrown in.  The thing I like best about old neighborhoods are all the big, old trees.

Everything about a tall, gnarled tree screams home to me.  When I was a kid I loved climbing them, sitting under them, and occasionally (maybe once) falling out of them.  I think whatever it was that I loved then has stuck with me.  Not that I climb anymore.  I guess I would if I had the opportunity.  It just never comes up.  But I love looking up into the canopy, watching the patterns of dappled sunlight play across a lawn.  I like how big trees partially obscure the view of your house from the road, lending a stately character to your front yard, and becoming almost part of the architecture.

I love the sound of wind blowing through high leaves, wind unhindered by walls and rooftops.  Its like a wind chime, with leaves of different sizes vibrating at different frequencies, accompanied by the creaking and groaning of pliant but slightly complaining branches.  This is especially true in the forest, where all the varying voices come together in a symphony of vegetation.  A chorus performing pieces composed by Mother Nature herself, with squirrels and chipmunks sitting in on bass while wizards weave their magic spells and elves and leprechauns dance together under a harvest moon.

Okay.  Trees aren't that great.  They're just big, brainless multi-cellular organisms rooted permanently to one spot, completely reliant on kismet and a dearth of chainsaws for their survival.

And they're incredibly beautiful.

Mindless Entertainment

I have to admit to one of my most guilty pleasures. Really, if you know me at all you are well aware of my addiction to watching endless amounts of television. Since the minute I came out of the womb of have been glued to the TV. It was inevitable that I get into the entertainment industry. I am into cheesy reality TV like American Idol and Survivor, intellectual dramas like Fringe and Lost, comedies like How I Met Your Mother and The Office. I like good writing, good character development and people making complete fools of themselves. What's not to like and you know what, I'm not ashamed! I am a survivor of a South Carolina Education, TV addiction, and Hurricane Hugo. Beat that, all you snobby librarians!

Solitude, Part Two

I think this is a first for our two week old blog.  Both entries on the same topic.  You should read Kate's entry first, since hers inspired my entry.

I think everybody likes solitude from time to time.  Some more than others, and some to a very unhealthy degree.  But most of us aren't heading for a Unabomber's life in a shack in the woods. It's important, and healthy to have time to yourself, to do your own thing.  I feel the same way Kate does.  A slow evening at home alone is sometimes all you need to recharge.  Plus, having some time away from the people you love helps you appreciate them more when they are around.

If it had been Kate setting up my mom's computer tonight, and I had been home alone, what would I have done?  I probably would have come home, eaten way too much dinner while watching a Family Guy repeat, then zoned out on the tube until I fell asleep on the couch for a half hour or so.  Then I would have poured my third cup of Diet Dr. Pepper, dragged myself upstairs, pulled up some Beck in iTunes, and surfed the internet for the rest of the evening, learning lots of random things about mostly unimportant stuff.  Undoubtedly one of those random things would have been my topic for tonight's post, and you wouldn't be reading what you're reading right now.

And I think it's safe to say that this post is much better than whatever I would have come up with otherwise, hopped up on Diet Dr. Pepper and useless knowledge, so we're all glad it was Kate who had her night off.

But I do love a good evening alone every so often.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Tonight Jason is over his mom's house helping her with her computer. Jason has to be the kindest person I've ever known.  He is always helping his friends and family out and he likes having many projects. I love you dearly honey, but I do enjoy a nice evening to myself sometimes. I love solitude and having only myself to chat with. I'm aware that some qualify this as crazy, but I like to call it healthy. Life is about being yourself and the only way to do that is by getting to know yourself, and speaking to yourself can be very therapeutic and helpful in this respect.

In my time alone tonight, I listened to Counting Crows Radio on Pandora (a 90s flashback of bands like Oasis, The Verve Pipe and Toad the Wet Spocket) while I started getting into the novel, "Twilight"(you should check it out, all the ladies at work are freaking out about this series).

I cherish silence and being at peace by myself. I have been like this my whole life - I started by playing with Barbies alone in my room as a child, then moved to writing poetry and listening to depressing music alone in my room as a teen.  Then I took off to college alone, moved to NYC by myself once I graduated and proceeded to hop around doing various film production work. I guess I was never scared to pursue life's adventures and that's the way I preferred it. Jason, again I love you being in my life, you are my best friend, but I do and will forever enjoy solitude.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reading (on the Cheap) is Fundamental

I'm not much of a shopper.  I tire out pretty quickly and lose interest.  Clothes shopping is the real killer.  Kate can attest to that.  I do pretty well with electronics and oddly, flea markets and art shows.  But stick me in a used bookstore, and hours disappear.  I love regular bookstores, too, but the cheaper than cheap, bargain basement, two steps away from using books as kindling stores are my favorite.

There's one in particular, in Wheaton, that I go back to again and again.  Not only are the books cheap; most paperbacks are one to two dollars, but they're also in decently good condition, alphabetized on shelves, and categorized by genre.  It's a wonderland!  It's as if some incredibly anal librarian with no concept of money let people come down into her basement and shop from her personal collection.  And I'm all too happy to take advantage.

I think what I love most about it, apart from the visceral sensation I get thumbing through racks of books, is the experimentation dirt cheap books affords you.  I can buy books I'd never think of paying full, or even half price for.  Books that I've never heard of but just have an interesting title, cool cover art or an author whose last name rhymes with some funny word.  I've discovered some really awesome books by scanning at random and buying in bulk.  I can't help but walk out every time I go in with a cardboard box full of books.

And since Kate and I have run out of places to store all those books, it's a good thing. Cardboard boxes store much better in the attic than plastic bags.  Who needs bookshelves?

The Rings of my Life

I'm going to lay a little low tonight and express love for an ever present gem in my life: rings. I have been wearing rings for as long as I can remember. Some adjectives I would use to describe my ring style are expressionistic, domineering, silver, sparkly (but not in the diamond sense), puzzling, and colorful (mostly shades of really one color). Interesting..Hmmmm..I don't know what any of that means, but please if you have any inclination of the meaning behind Kate's ring style let me know. I prefer to buy my jewelry from art sales. It's so humbling actually meeting the person who put their heart into making the jewelry you are wearing. I love supporting the artists and buying one-of-a-kind items. My favorite ring is the simplist I've probably ever worn. It's a one inch wide 14k silver band that my dad gave my mom on their 5th Wedding Anniversary. My mom gave it to me 10 years ago and it's been around my left thumb ever since. I love my parents very much and I've been living far from them for most of my adult life and this ring is a nice comforting reflection of them that's with me always.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I Love the Mountains

This is a quick one tonight.

I love the mountains.  I've vacationed a few times in mountainous areas, mainly in West Virginia, and I've always had great trips.  I'm sure it's a combination of the altitude, the quiet, and all the extra oxygen kicked out by the abundant trees.  It's a magical place (not unicorn magical or Doug Henning magical...more like Druid magical.)

There's a solitude you can't find many other places.  I like the beach, but you aren't necessarily going to find a quiet place to reflect there.  I suppose there's a measure of solitude out in the ocean, but it's not the same.  If you meditate out in the ocean, you drown.  The mountains, wooded mountains especially, are much more calming, I find.  You can lose yourself in them, though figuratively more than literally you hope.

It's not so much the climbing that entices me.  I've never been much of a sportsmen.  I'm not that concerned with getting to the top.  I just like being there.  Where I am on the mountain matters far less than that I'm on the mountain.  Of course reaching the top does offer it's own reward, and I appreciate that as well.  I just don't seek it out.  If that's where I end up, great.  If not...whatever.  I guess I have a very Zen relationship with mountains.  Just be there, don't try to hard, and the rest will work itself out.

I think I have that same relationship with laundry.


Dance is my escape. Dancing is my preferred method of exercise. I enjoy all forms of dance such as ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz, African, hip-hop etc. When I was young I took dance classes and I would always drop out right before the recitals. I was always too shy and scared to perform in front of people.

As an adult I love to dance at weddings and dance clubs (haven't been to many of those lately), and a few years ago I started going to dance classes at Dance Baltimore (a non-profit organization that focuses on bringing art and the community together). I managed to get myself through 5 weeks of 2 1/2 hr classes after work for 2 days a week, and made it to the Community Dance Performance. It was a great time and since then the Dance Shows have continued and have grown every year. I have not returned and I do miss it, but the fear I had as a child still lives inside me. I hate feeling all those eyes on me and feeling a sense of ridicule and criticism. These feelings don't make me doubt my love for dancing. I love the energy it exudes. Lauren, one of my dear friends, likes to do the "Kate move" every so often, so I must have some moves. Lauren, we must go out dancing soon! NYC here I come.

Last year for my birthday Jason got us "So you Think you can Dance" live tickets. Yes, I am a dork as well and I totally got Jason loving the show too, he will deny this.

Point is "I just want to DANCE"!

The Electric Car, From Cingular?

I've always been enamored with the idea of a fully electric vehicle.  Hybrids are cool, but most of them don't accomplish much in terms of real world fuel savings.  The technology had promise, but I think it got lost when the world went green.  Suddenly being environmentally-conscious was cool, and any technology displaying even the remotest savings was heralded as savior.  The gloss of green, requiring the least inconvenience, was more important than actual results.  So the hybrids that actually produced these, but were ugly (by necessity) to some people, like the Insight and the Prius, were eclipsed by hybrid versions of existing models.  The hybrid civic for instance.  Or hybrid SUVs.  Hybrid SUVs?  That's like a hot fudge ice cream sundae with Meuslix sprinkled on top.

This post is sounding a bit negative, but I don't mean it to be.  I started it like I did as a counterpoint to what I'm really excited about now.  A fully electric vehicle, and a truly functional network to support it.  This guy named Shai Agassi started a company in 2007 called Better Place, to build an electric car grid based on a concept most of us are familiar with.

A quick explanation.  The grid works like a cell phone network.  Better Place makes deals with electric power grid operators across the country to place charging stations as densely as possible.  It then negotiates with these operators for preferential rates on the power they dispense.  Having done that, they build all electric vehicles and sell them for an extremely low price point, creating demand.  Their goal, ultimately, isn't to make money on the sale of the cars.  In some cases they may, like cell phone providers, give the cars away for free.  They'll make their money selling the electricity used to charge the vehicles.  The consumer gets a free or very inexpensive vehicle in exchange for signing a contract promising to pay so much per month for electricity.

In the end, Agassi sees the per mile price of electricity being a good bit less than gasoline.  So it's a win, win, win.  The consumer wins, Agassi wins, and the planet wins.  I think it's the first truly workable solution to break the world's dependancy on gas.

And if it works other companies will likely start building their own charging station networks, competing with Better Place, driving costs to the consumer lower and lower, while driving battery and vehicle efficiency steadily higher.  Already two countries have signed on to roll out the plan and the cars are going into production.  This is not a pipe dream. It's happening, and I can't wait to buy my first Better Place vehicle.

Plus, the whole system makes "Roll Over" minutes (mileage) really funny.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ellen Degeneres

Ellen's show is so heartwarming and tremendously funny. Ellen is genuinely kind to everyone she meets. I look forward to watching her show when I come home from work everyday. To paraphrase Deepak Chopra "I really admire your show, I love the fact that you're such a non-conformist, and I love the energy and enthusiasm." She is a true believer in staying positive and I have her to thank for giving me so many wonderful laughs and the occasional happy tear. Thank you Ellen, for being you.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Female Vocalists

I've always been a huge fan of female singer-songwriters. The way they use their instruments to express such raw emotion and write such amazing lyrics. As much as I've tried to expand my musical interests, with guy or group vocalists, I always come back to the female voice. I don't know what it is about their sound, and the girls I like are musically all over the map. I will always like the raw intensity of PJ Harvey and Liz Phair. Then there's my forever love for the powerful storytellers: Tori Amos and Ani Difranco. And recently my loves are Jenny Lewis (or her band Rilo Kiley), the brilliant Feist, Brandi Carlisle, Regina Spektor, and the sweet Ingrid Michaelson. Probably like most fans, I desire the talent and strengh to express my emotions through singing. I tried for a few years with Chorus and Choir, but with my low self-esteem I never excelled like I possibly could have. Going back to the positive nature of this entry, I love losing myself in a beautiful piece of music. Female vocalists have the ability to perform with such sensuality, tenderness, and passion. Keep singing your inner truths, ladies. I'll be listening with much anticipation.

Jason Geeks Out, Part 1

This is the first entry in what I suspect will become an ongoing theme.  To christen this new boat, let me say, emphatically, that I love board games!

It's an itch I don't scratch often enough, only because Kate and I can't find other people with the same level of enthusiasm, and playing with just the two of us gets a little boring sometimes.  At one point I almost joined a board gaming group in this area, but couldn't quite bring myself to pull the trigger.  Enjoying board games is one thing...seeking out a group of people who get together on a regular basis for the express purpose of playing board games, and likely carry their favorite, limited-edition releases of old, out-of-print German language games in a hand-stitched leather satchel emblazoned with the family crest of one of the many warring Klingon factions...that's another.  This is "Jason Geeks Out", not "Jason's Geek Explodes Violently in All Directions, Wounding Several Bystanders", after all.

Who knows.  Maybe one day I'll check out the group.  After all, I also almost joined a barbershop quartet choir, so I don't think my leather satchel is that far off.

Still Night Air

I was thinking about this earlier today.  I'm sure many of you have had this experience.  You're outside on an average Spring or Fall day, sometime after the sun has gone down, when suddenly it hits you.  Something feels different...there's an emptiness which seems to completely envelope you.  A profound stillness, as if the air has ceased to exist; like you shouldn't be able to breath, but somehow still can.  It's an oddly beautiful sensation.  As if you're walking in a peaceful vacuum.  I've only experienced it a few times, which is part of the fascination.  It's randomness adds to its power.

Here's my theory.  On certain nights the ambient temperature closely matches the surface temperature of your skin, or at least that layer of air that's constantly being warmed by the heat your body sheds.  And the air is absolutely still.  Not even a slight breeze.  With no temperature differential, and no air motion, your nervous system has no cues to recognize that it's surrounded by anything.  And the dark of night adds a visual element to the sensation of emptiness.  Add to that a quiet rural or suburban setting, and your brain is tricked into sensing nothing.  I love that illusion.


The man I call Grandpa these days is not exactly related to me. Jason's Grandpa, Alex as some folks call him, is a true character. He's kind and wise beyond belief. We have really grown close the past 3 years that I've been with Jason. Tonight we went and had dinner with Alex, Jan (Jason's mom), and Jason's uncle, Gary. What was truly unique about this outing were the family relations. Jan and Jason's father, Lou, have been separated for decades now and Gary and Alex are Lou's brother and dad, but this did not affect this fantastic gathering of genuinely fun conversation. And the true leader and reason behind these lasting friendships is Grandpa. Grandpa, you are the coolest. Goodnight Mr. Awesome.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pasta, Italian for "Hot Damn That's Good!"

You're on a deserted island, alone, shipwrecked far from civilization. Except for the full kitchen located inexplicably on the southern beach. If the ample pantry, located down the hall from the wine cellar, could only contain one food, what would it be?

For me, as long as I had plenty of sauce to go with it, I would choose pasta. It's, bar none the world's most perfect food. It's easy to prepare, cheaper than the water you boil it in (in Baltimore City), and is good with pretty much anything dumped on top of it. I'm just as happy with a labored-over, home-cooked sauce as I am with a can of Chunky brand Chicken Mushroom Chowder glopped on top. Pasta takes the ordinary and makes it...not as ordinary.

Cold or hot, drenched or dry, it doesn't matter. The mouth feel is the same, which is what pasta nuts are after. It's the only food I can think of where shape is just as important as content. Same stuff, different shape, vastly different experience. It's the ultimate tactile flavor-delivery system. By itself it's good, but load it up with passengers, and it's still good, but now it's also great. So try some of your favorite pasta today!

This message brought to you by Chunky brand Chicken Mushroom Chowder.

Tea Please

I so enjoy a hot or cold cup of tea. It's the perfect caffeinated beverage, I probably average 5 cups of tea a day. My favorite present this holiday was a single cup tea brewer from Stephanie and John, Jason's sister and brother-in-law. They sell them at Teavana (the Mecca of all Tea Shops). I say that even though I've only ventured in there once. After I got the brewer I needed more loose tea options, so I went in and was immediately enthralled by all the tea selections. I am also a big fan of honey in my tea. I don't do sugar or cream anymore. I can also do a nice flavored tea by itself sometimes. Jasmine is one my favorites. Currently I'm into the loose Samurai Chai from Teavana. It's considered a mate, which gives you a nice balanced high without any of the jitters. It's been pretty good to me at work lately. I am also real into white and green teas, and I think the next kind I'm going to try is an Oolong tea. These teas are really good for you. Some are known to lower your cholestrol, help burn calories,and a lot contain antioxidants and great minerals and vitamins. Anyway, tea is great and I enjoy consuming it everyday. Oh, Oh have I mentioned the scents, the aromas are intoxicating. Good gift for Kate... loose tea and honey.


I enjoy reminiscing. Tonight I traveled back to my college years and watched a "Making of" video that was filmed while my friends and I were shooting our senior project, "The Brian Lee Story". I miss those times so much, but I'm happy to have videos like that to help reflect. Thinking of the times where all you had to do was study subjects that you were passionate about and then hang out with your friends making short films till the sun came up the next morning. You had this great freedom even though going to class everyday was such a structured lifestyle. Freedom came across in the expression of your art, for the love you had of your studies, and from the amazing friendships you created and hopefully still have. To be honest, all of this makes me a bit sad, growing up can be a pain in the butt, but remembering the adventures you had can be very therapeutic in reminding you that you have the ability and talent in you to be artistic and spontaneous.

Saturday Mornings

I wake up.  Not to an alarm.  Not to any pressing engagements.  I wake up when my body is ready.  Or not.  In that moment, when you first open your eyes and realize that there's absolutely nothing stopping you from closing them again, that moment is bliss.

Saturday mornings are the crown prince of arbitrary time divisions.  Friday nights are a very close second, like the bastard brother of Saturday mornings, tainted only by the fact that they follow directly after a full work day.  And I haven't experienced this yet, but I suspect the King of waking daily segments would be the first Monday morning after retirement.  That is the Emperor of Mornings, a messiah to your misspent work hours.  I would imagine.

For now I'm happy with Saturday mornings.  It's not like the other six are all that bad.  Sunday is much like Saturday, although with a bitter punch line.  And Monday through Friday, while bothersome, have their charms.  Ultimately, I think all six of them exist as a foil for Saturday morning.  That moment, lying in my bed, relishing your freedom, is made possible only by contrast.

Only three more days to go.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Sound of Rain

This is a quick one today, as it's almost two in the morning.

I really like the sound of rain striking our skylight.  I find it very comforting.  Especially a light rain, and especially in the morning.  The quiet patter it creates helps ease me into full consciousness.  It feels as if the outside world is waking up and moving at the same slow, steady pace I am.  Maybe it has something to do with our primal connection to our mother's heartbeat in the womb.  I'm no psychologist or obstetrician, so I don't know.

There's a light rain hitting the glass right now, and I wish I could hear it from the bedroom.  I suspect it would do a nice job of lulling me to sleep as well.

Being Friendly

I like it when people are nice and friendly to one another and I enjoy being nice and friendly to others. This is what I love and miss about the South; people wave at their neighbors, they have small talk in line at the grocery store, they hold doors open for each other. I've noticed a couple times that I've done these type of deeds here (Baltimore) and the person is so astonished that they thank me up and down. Having that kind of reaction to something so easy seems a bit disconcerting...stay positive Kate. I have started making a conscious effort to be more openly friendly to people. It's easy and makes you and them feel good. I've noticed that every time someone is kind to me in a profound way, I run and tell Jason. I guess I get astonished, too. We are all human, we hopefully all have families of our own, in some way or another we can all relate to each other. Let's continue to build those relationships with one another. We don't all have the funds to donate to charities, so the least we can do is be kind and friendly with everyone. A smile or wave goes a long way. Good night ya'll!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I love our cats

Our cat Banjo hasn't been feeling well lately. The vet listed a few scenarios that could explain his symptoms, and so far tests have ruled out everyone of them except for an extreme shift in food preference and cancer. And Banjo's never been terribly finicky. It's a very strange experience. Banjo has been healthy his entire life. I honestly can't remember a time in the last 14 years when he's been even slightly ill. I was beginning to imagine that he was either the feline equivalent of a Highlander, or just too dim to figure out how to get sick (Banjo's agile and friendly...but he's not a triple threat.)

So to suddenly seem him sleeping all the time, not eating, and slinking around with his head low, breaks my heart. In the process though, I'm reminded about just how important he, and DB, and now Midnight (Kate's cat) are to me. I figure I've known Banjo and DB longer than most of the people in my life. In a very real sense, they are two of my oldest friends. And my only non-english speaking friends.

So yeah. I love our cats. It's an obvious positive, I'll admit. But it's not until you're faced with potential loss that you realize fully what it is you have.

Monday, January 5, 2009


I like stretching. Today Jason and I started going to the gym again, and I decided that I like how stretching makes me feel. Knowing now that I enjoy it enough to write about it, hopefully that will make me continue to do it everyday. It relaxes me and makes me feel alive. Tomorrow I start my Yoglates class at the Y.

Let's see if I continue to like stretching. Goodnight.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I like catching up with old friends, and Internet social networks have been very useful here. Tonight I got caught up with my college friend, Nichole on Facebook. It felt as though no time had past. We all need true friendship in our lives, it does not matter if you don't talk everyday, when the time is right, your paths will cross again.

The Ethnic Buffet is My Temple

If neanderthals, roasting a freshly killed elk over an open fire was the beginning of humanity's trek toward gastronomic greatness, then the buffet is the end of the journey.  The buffet, as a concept, is the purest form of eating, entwining mankind's biological and social necessities into one moment of perfect fulfillment.   In fact, I believe the buffet is the ultimate expression of human freedom.  A perfect representation of the central irony of human existence; we are free to choose our path, but have no control over which paths present themselves.

But the buffet in general exists solely to support its most evolved form, the ethnic buffet.  "Buffet" is simply a framework, a set of principles, a philosophy of eating, a shadow of its own potential.  The ethnic buffet is a realization of the promise "buffet" makes with humanity.  While it has many manifestations, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Mexican and Italian (listed in order of importance) there is an inherit sameness.  An ethnic buffet is to buffets in general as humanity is to all lower life forms.  A fulfillment of an eons long evolutionary promise which began when the first multi-cellular creature digested one of its contemporaries.

I may be waxing a bit overly romantic, but I have to say that a good Chinese or Indian buffet is kryptonite to me.  Kate and I rode past one today, and though I'd never entered that particular restaurant, I knew it as I'd know a parent I'd never met.  The thread that binds all ethnic cuisines, and chokes the life out of boring American food, is an anchor for the hungry soul seeking nourishment.

I'm doing it again.  Man I want some all-you-can-eat Lo Mein right now.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I love being an aunt. I love my nephews with all my heart. Today, Kaiden, the eldest, now 3, told me he "loved Aunt Kate" and thanked Aunt Kate and Uncle Jason for his Christmas presents. Of course, I would rather be there to hear them talk to me in person, but in the meantime I cherish every time I hear them over the phone. I love children and watching them grow, even when it's over the phone and through pictures. Sending hugs and kisses to my beautiful nephews, Kaiden and Blake, I love you both with all my heart!

Feeding Seagulls Isn't Just for the Beach

Ever been to Five Guys?  Best burger I've had in a long time.  Fresh, right off the grill, served up with a literal mountain of french fries.  Interestingly though, this isn't the focus of this entry. Hamburgers will probably come up at some point though.

No, I mention Five Guys only because Kate and I met our friend Alicia for lunch there today.  Near the end of the meal Alicia says, "Okay, I want to do something, and you guys have to do it with me" or something very close to that.  I was intrigued.  What else, after eating the best burger you'd had in years, could be left to do?

Turns out Alicia, whose always had a thing for feeding animals apparently, wanted to buy a loaf of bread at K-Mart and go feed the seagulls that hang out in the hundreds around North Point Plaza.  We did, and we had a blast.  By the end, we'd probably collected a mob of 70 or 80 birds, which would take off occasionally, at the threat of a coming car, and then return in a virtual blitzkrieg.  A lot of times the gulls would sort of hover in front of you, right over your head, and pick lobbed pieces of bread right out of the air.

Near the end I pitched a full half a piece of bread into the throng.  A bunch of gulls started fighting over it immediately, pretty viciously.  One of them finally won out and took off, the entire piece of bread in its maw.  The others, not taking defeat easily, launched after him, and the aerial acrobatics the ensued during the high speed chase were worth the entire experience.

They say seagulls are the rats of the sky...they may be, but feeding them is far more enjoyable than I'd imagine feeding their terrestrial cousins.

And to cap off the day, no one got pooped on!

Capturing Moments

I like being witness to thoughtful, meaningful, moments between loved ones, let it be fictional or real-life. Sister's making up, mothers and daughters reuniting, seeing the real closeness and sensing the unbelievable happiness of that one moment. I usually end up in tears- good tears, not bad tears. I want to capture true and amazing moments for people, I want to be around happiness and joy for a living. I saw a fantastic film tonight with Jason called Rachel Getting Married and even though a lot of the film was sad, it was ultimately about families reuniting and new beautiful beginnings. It was an amazing portrayal of the complexities of human nature and human relationships. I love being emotionally affected by other people's happiness.

Christmas Music. Really? Really.

I like Christmas music.  I do.  I'm a sucker for it.  The realization hit me last month.  In fact, it was that realization that spurred the idea for this blog.  Kate and I were donating blood and the donation center was playing some CD of classic Christmas music.  It really put me in a good mood.

It's mostly the classics I like, Bing Crosby, Sinatra, that whole crew.  And I think my appreciation goes beyond the music.  It's everything wrapped up with the music.  The holidays, the change in season, the general good will that floats around that time of year.  It's all sort of encapsulated by the music.  I hear the same songs each year, but I never get tired of them.  I know some people hate it when radio stations and malls start on the 24 hour Christmas cycle, but I think I sort of look forward to it, and I definitely miss it when it's gone, which it now is.

Eleven months to go...

Friday, January 2, 2009

My First Positive

I love comfort food, so much that I started the New Year off with making a home cooked meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and broccoli. May this year be filled with more and more delicious home cooked meals for me and my loved one to share. For anyone who's curious I got the meatloaf recipe from Paula Dean and the potatoes are made with heavy cream, butter, garlic powder, salt, pepper and Dijon Mustard. Everything was absolutely yummy!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I Love Beginning Things - An Introduction

It will be some time before anyone but Kate and I read these posts, I assume.  I'd like to think this blog might garner some sort of audience, but it's likely we'll be writing for ourselves for some time.  But in case we do pull in a few readers, or someone in the distant future recovers the bytes that make up this blog off of a hard drive in some decrepite, post-apocolyptic building that used to be a web-hosting company, I'll introduce myself.

My name is Jason, and in some ways I think I skew toward the negative.  I'm cynical for sure, probably a bit jaded, and sometimes a pessimist.  And from what I've seen, I'm not alone.  As a general rule it seems, humanity tends to notice and remember the bad things that happen to them more readily than the good.  This may be some sort of evolutionary survival mechanism.  It was likely more important for our stone age forebears to remember a sabertooth tiger's deadly fangs, and not its soft fur.  Whatever the cause, it would seem we are programmed to see the glass as half empty.

However, I suspect that this proclivity for the negative is more cultural than genetic.  I think it's a learned response to a dangerous world, and thus, a response that can be changed.  That's the purpose of this blog.

Each day for the entirety of 2009, Kate and I are going to write about one thing that we like. Most of our entries probably won't be revelatory.  Mine may revolve around liking pizza and "Dude, Where's My Car."  But some will delve a bit deeper.  The point is this.  By forcing ourselves, on a daily basis to find something positive, something good in the world, we force our minds to shift focus and see, as an immediate response, a half full glass of scotch, instead of a half empty one.  Assuming the experiment works, I'll celebrate by creating a few completely empty glasses of scotch.

So here's my first entry.  I like beginning things.  I like to have many projects going at once.  I often don't finish most of them, probably because it's the starting of the thing that entices me the most.  It's the adventure, the challenge, and the distraction.  I like that, in beginning something, you had no idea what the end is, or where it lies.  There's that heady euphoria that comes with beginnings, where all of your grand visions for your project still seem possible.  I love the hours of thought that go into planning and fantasizing, imagining where a particular project might lead, and the beginning of the project throws open the door for realization.

I like beginning things.