Monthly Archives

December 2008

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Tune Time: So This Is the New Year

A Light at the End

As preparations are under way to have our first New Year’s Eve barbecue party (hear this, the grill’s not just for summer!), I’ve been doing some thinking about the fact that we sing “Auld Lang Syne” every year without knowing the words, much less the meaning.

So I thought I’d share a few songs that sum up my feelings on 2008 (boo! hiss!) and have just the right amount of optimism for 2009. Lift your glasses for a virtual toast:

May neighbors respect you,
Trouble neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And heaven accept you.

Media Minded: Yes Man

We caught “Yes Man” late Christmas night, and I’m pretty sure I can thank the movie for helping me laugh off at least one piece of fudge from the holiday feast earlier that day. Yeah, yeah, Jim Carrey was funny, but let’s talk Zooey. As in Deschanel.

As I predicted, Husband cracked a joke about how she’s a one-dimensional actress. I guess he just can’t appreciate her awesome deadpan delivery, gorgeous singing voice and fabulous bangs. And of course he poohs the fact that she also is She of She & Him (aka one of the year’s best indie music acts). But what can I say? I’m a fan. In fact, you might as well call it like it is: I have a little bit of a girl crush on her.

It started when I saw her sing in “Elf.” How can you not dig these jazzy vocals?

I’m working on Husband. I finally got him to admit that Zooey is “likable.” Maybe next time he sees her in a film, he’s think she’s downright “lovable” just like I do.

Fashion Forward: Gray nail polish

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If there was anything I accomplished this holiday, it was becoming an expert at hanging out in airports. An easy way to pass the time was to observe my fellow travelers and scientifically break down fashion trends, one of which is gray nail polish. As you can tell by the name of this blog, I’m somewhat a fan of gray. I know, I’m not exactly breaking ground on this trend. It’s been blogged about since February, but I never expected it to catch on in the manner it has. The sheer number of nails donning dove gray, gunmetal gray, sparkly gray, you-name-it gray was overwhelming.

I love O.P.I.’s Sheer Your Toys (right). It seems appropriate now, in the post-Christmas period. I hear bright brights are in for 2009, but I’ll probably let someone else be the guinea pig for yellow nail polish. Wearing that hue just sounds a little … bananas.

Photoshoot: Q Holds Still

A Rare Pose

Q, our rambunctious cat, usually ends up being a blur in most of my photos. It’s rare that I can get him to stay still long enough to take a shot without flash. With flash, his eyes are giant red lasers that pierce into the soul. Scary.

During this impromptu photoshoot, Q was perched on a dining room chair. I pointed the lens toward him and click, click, click. He moved his head around for a few seconds, resulting in the usual blur. Then, miraculously, he stopped and stared at me as if to say, “Alright. Take the damn picture already so I can get back to ignoring you.”

The Airline That Almost Ruined Christmas (a short but long story)

Oh, LAX. How I got to know you so well these past few days. How you need a renovation. How you need new paint, new carpet and, for the love of god, some TVs. You also need to kick out Continental Airlines, the source of all my holiday woes.

Hmm. How can I make this long story short? It’s so absurd it was like being lost inside the movie “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” Only we didn’t make it past the plane stage and we never met John Candy.

After being bumped off our flight at 6:45 a.m. because it was overbooked, we stood in the longest short line ever, all so we could see the all-knowing “missed flights” person. Note I said person, not people. The airline, in all its infinite wisdom, decided to bump people from flights knowing that a single person was behind the re-booking desk. More than an hour later, we have standby tickets.

The next nine hours goes as follows: Stand by gate, wait till flight has boarded, pathetically wait for announcement that the plane is full, go to the next flight at Gate X, flag down a rep and ask the same question over and over (Can you get us confirmed seats on any flight this week? No.) We did this seven times. Us and at least three pages’ worth of standbys.

After the seventh time, the answer to our question suddenly changed to yes. “Yes, I can get you confirmed seats on a flight tomorrow, putting you in your destination city at 11 p.m.,” kind airline rep said. Rejoice!

Turns out kind airline rep was a liar. When we went online to check in, the connecting flight was a mess. We were scheduled to land in Houston at 7:45 p.m. and simultaneously to leave Houston at 6 p.m. I shit you not. An hour of arguing with the airline on the phone later, we have confirmed seats on the red-eye to Houston, which leaves at 1:20 a.m. Or does it?

The airline “lost” the flight crew. I do not know how this happens, but it resulted in a three-hour delay, during which I saw at least a hundred people lose their cool and freak out about missing their connections. After finally boarding the plane, the flight attendant calls out our names and asks us to push the call button.

“Oh hell no,” I thought. “If they try to bump us from this flight, they will have to pry me out of this seat because I will hold on with my kung fu grip till the end of time.” I prepared to fight for my rights for the umpteenth time. Turns out our luck finally changed: We were upgraded to first class. (I have heard about this happening to people before, but I always thought it was as mythical as Santa Claus.)

And, 36 hours after our journey began, it ended on Christmas Eve back home with Dad, where we drank beer, laughed and exchanged gifts by a warmly lit tree.

Moral of the story (isn’t there always one?): If your holiday doesn’t go as planned, it could always be worse. You could be sleeping on the cold, scary floor at LAX or flying Continental Airlines. And if you are one of those unlucky souls still scrambling for a flight, my heart goes out to you. I hope Santa brings you a private jet.

Silent Night

As far back as I can remember, each Christmas Eve my mom would call for silence so we could listen to Stevie Nicks sing “Silent Night.” Mom would close her eyes and sing along with the sultry songstress, feeling a spiritual connection to her favorite musician on her favorite holiday.

This is the first Christmas without Mom, and while there’s a hole in my heart that can’t be filled, I know she would hate to see me sad today. So I’ll do my best to smile even though I miss her more than words can say.

Sleep in heavenly peace, Mom. I dedicate this to your memory.

Gremlins, a Holiday Classic

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If I watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” or “A Christmas Story” one more time, I fear I will be forced to shoot my eye out while running down Main Street yelling “Merry Christmas” to inanimate objects. I know, I know. They’re holiday classics, yada yada yada. They’re also on the depressing side. Which is why I like “Gremlins” instead. Its creepy undertones are comical, and I still have warm fuzzies toward Gizmo. I’d go as far to say I wish someone would buy me an I <3 a="" gizmo="" href="http://tshirtplace.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=56">T-shirt.

If you haven’t watched this movie in awhile, let me refresh your memory.

In other words, William Peltzer gets a mogwai for Christmas with the vague instructions of (a) no bright light (b) no water and (c) no eating after midnight. He is blasé about said instructions, and the mogwai begets more mogwai(s) which in turn beget gremlins. The gremlins then wreak havoc on Kingston Falls. Some of their more memorable mischief includes:

  • Mysteriously turning on “Do You Hear What I Hear?” in the Peltzer house and subsequently getting blended, stabbed and microwaved by Mrs. Peltzer.
  • Attacking a Santa in front of a police car while the police inside roll up their window (very slowly) and refuse to help Santa.
  • Taking over a movie theater to watch “Snow White.”
  • Killing Mrs. Deagle (“oh my heart”) with her way-cool wheelchair elevator.

Well, what are you waiting for? You should be watching the movie already.

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Other holiday movies that haven’t lost their luster:

  1. “Elf”
  2. “Santa Claus”
  3. “Babes in Toyland”
  4. “Bad Santa”
  5. “The Shop Around the Corner”
  6. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”
  7. “Home Alone”

What’s your favorite?

Fashion Forward: Flannel

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In the five minutes I stood in the lobby of the movie theater last weekend, I witnessed at least five flannel shirts. I got flannel-slapped, so to speak. In the week that followed, I noticed flannel cropping up all over the city. Channeling Cher from “Clueless,” is this a renewed nod to the crisp Seattle weather circa mid-1990s? If so, I have a few reservations. The first time around, I wore my flannel much like Tai in the photo above. Not figure-flattering, not cute. I know this because there is photographic evidence from high school. I believe there’s even a group photo where several flannels were involved; maybe I’ll dig it up one day for shits and giggles.

So if flannel is truly making a comeback, let’s try to make it awesome. Check out these modern and oh-so-stylish takes on the old grunge standby (images courtesy the respective artists):

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BABOOSHKA Flannel Plaid Paperbag HiWaist Party Dress by Babooshka
Neck Cozy, Plaid No. 1 by Unspeakable Visions

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Plaid Flannel Lumberjack Tunic w/ Hood by RiotSiren
Plaid shirtdress by Junkhouse Dollyard

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SUMOMOSUKI Wool Flannel Shirt Coat by Sumomosuki
Recycled Necktie Wallet – Blue Flannel by prix-prix

A Week in the Life of Downtown L.A.

Each day last week, I lugged my camera, my bag and my lunch up from the parking garage to my workplace on the 30th floor — all so I could conduct this little experiment in photography. I was loaded up with so much luggage I felt like I was moving in each day, but overall it was worth it because L.A. had an unusually schizophrenic weather week to chronicle.

Each photo was taken with the same setting (landscape), the same zoom, the same view of downtown Los Angeles from the window next to my desk. Below, the dramatically different results and the corresponding weather for that day:

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Monday. Rainy, foggy.

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Tuesday. Partly cloudy. (Note the sun glare in the window that I couldn’t avoid.)

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Wednesday. Steady, heavy-ish rain (for SoCal).

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Thursday. Partly sunny. Note the clarity! Rain washes the city clean!

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Friday. Clear, if not for the return of the smoggy haze.

My Super Messy Recipe for Puppy Chow

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My friend Andi introduced me to Puppy Chow (aka Muddy Buddies aka White Trash) when we used to live a block from each other in Wichita. I have fond memories of standing in her kitchen at Christmastime during a bakefest and feasting on these little morsels, which feature my fave combo: chocolate + peanut butter.

You can Google the recipe in a heartbeat, but I will walk you through my version of the process, breaking it down detail by messy detail.

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1 box Chex cereal (any kind you like)
2 or 3 heaping spoonfuls of peanut butter (creamy not crunchy)
1.5 bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips
A dab of butter
A lot of powdered sugar, most of which will end up all over the kitchen
2 large paper bags (one for mixing, one for the inevitable panic attack)

1. Get humongous pot, add chocolate chips, butter and peanut butter on medium heat. Stir constantly until melted. Taste test. Add more chocolate or peanut butter as desired.
2. Slowly stir in cereal until well-coated. You can make most of the box with this recipe.
3. Systematically transfer coated cereal into paper bag filled with powdered sugar. Shake it, yeah, shake it, yeah, shake it like a Polaroid picture. Dump sugar-coated cereal onto wax paper. Repeat until finished.
4. Enjoy your huge mound of Tony Montana-style Puppy Chow and resist the urge to snort leftover powdered sugar for a “Scarface” photo opportunity because accidentally inhaling it might lead to burning nostrils. Not that I would know anything about that.

There you have it. Wrap in a colorful cello bag for a great stocking stuffer. Or just take the majority of it to the office on Monday and let your colleagues get their feast on, which is what I intend to do.