Saturday, April 28, 2007

carnivore's dilemma

Of late, I have begun to crave a burger and fries.

Not just any burger and fries, mind you. A really good burger with really good fries. (My definition of "really good fries" probably would require some kind of Stephen Hawking-derived mathematical equation, so let's just say crispier than not and leave it for the moment.)

Thing is, I haven't had a burger in ... uh ... a long time. I don't even know how long. And it's not because I don't like them -- obviously -- but rather because every time we go out and I think I'm going to get a burger, I end up tempted by something else on the menu and get that, thinking, "Well, I'll just the burger next time."

Yes, by now I've learned that "next time" pretty much never arrives.

So I decided that tonight, before we go out to see my favorite cover band of all time, we are going to go out for that really good burger.

And here we stumble upon the problem. For, having not gone out in this town for a burger and fries in what we can conservatively estimate as an aeon (cf. above), I don't know where to find the aforementioned "really good" specimen.

I've been springing my dilemma on essentially every friend of mine who gets within hearing distance, with some interesting results.

Rachel, for example, was perplexed. "Why don't you just make burgers at home?" she asked. We weren't chatting in person, but I could pretty much assume she furrowed her brow as she spoke.

"Um..." I replied. "That's actually an excellent question."


Rachel: "Well?" (Did I mention she's a journalist?)

Me: "I'll get back to you on that."

I'm not really sure why we don't make burgers at home, but most likely, the answer is the same as the reason I don't ever order the burger: I'm always enticed by some more complex recipe. That, and we don't grill outside that often up here. Burgers at home are meant to be grilled outside. Because they are. Because I say so. So there.

(Hey. Shut up.)

With some help from Laura, Devin, Jim, and others, though, I'm beginning the hunt to find the best burger-and-fry combo in town. It has to be the two together -- I don't care if I find just the perfect burger, as probably the actual sandwich at Blue Spoon or Caiola's would fit that bill. It must have the right fries to accompany it, or it doesn't quite count.

And before you snort in my general direction, I'll have you know I am in no way alone in this quest. It is a noble calling of the meat-and-potatoes kind, one which I undertake on home soil only at this point in time. Had I taken on this assignment for the Times, I would happily have sought out the ideal steak frites in Paris. And if, to that end, I am the weensiest bit jealous of Mr. Bittman's expense account, that does not prohibit me from saluting another knight's tour of duty. À votre santé, monsieur!

And next time, I'm coming with you.

Friday, April 20, 2007

sunshine and haircuts make me happy

I got a haircut yesterday, and I am so totally in love with it that I took really angsty-artsy self-portraits of it. They make me laugh, and they also make me realize how frickin' pale I am. Yeesh.

Then today the sun came out! So I'm a hyperactive freak of nature, bouncing around, all, "Let's do things! Things! More things! Look, sun!!"

Here, have some pictures. Ignore the deathly pallor, and the insane bags under the eyes. If I ever learn to use Photoshop, I'll fix those. (Heh.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

january 2, 2009

Normally, the second day of the year of 2009 would not be so high on my "looking forward to" list.

First of all, the day after New Year's Day is always something of a bust. Everyone's still vaguely hung over -- if not from alcohol, then at least from the enormous depressive influence of finally realizing the holiday season, with all its concomitant celebrating, has come to a definitive end. Moreover, it's often the first day back at work after the aforementioned extended holiday stretch, and that in and of itself is always at least vaguely disheartening.

It's also my birthday.

And in 2009, it's not merely my birthday. It will be my thirtieth birthday.

(Those of you who have already passed this benchmark, just...shut up. And, oh, congratulations. Whatever.)

I'm not that inordinately focused on turning thirty. What, a blog post nearly two years in advance belies the truth? Ha. I beg to differ.

See, what I'm really doing is giving ample warning, because I have discovered the most brilliant invention ever to find purchase here in life, the universe, and everything.

And it is neither a whale nor a bowl of peonies.

No. It is the Enomatic wine-tasting system.

The Enomatic is awesome. Just the other night, Laura and I were discussing how difficult it is to become knowledgeable about wine, because one must buy it in full bottles -- the mini-bottles are generally not of high quality -- which is prohibitive in terms of risk if not in terms of price. That is to say, sure, you could get through the bottle eventually, but if you hate it, then you're sort of stuck, and you're not going to take that risk on a $50 bottle of wine most of the time. Whereas with beer, you can often buy a single bottle (also known as "a serving, or part of one, depending on how good the beer is and how late into the evening you are drinking it"), and if it's terrible, your wallet is generally none the worse for wear.

The Enomatic solves this by dispensing individual tastings and keeping the rest of the bottle fresh with nitrogen -- or something; I'm not really sure what the nitrogen has to do with it, but I take their word for it. So one can go and taste a wine without the investment, and hence, learn.

Basically, it's like a 24/7 wine-tasting event. Without the spitting. (Or, as Jim just said: "It's on tap.")

Granted, the Enomatic does not actually seem to come in a model for home usage. Oh, it says it does, on one of the (less than perfectly) translated pages on the website, but I'm definitely not someone who resides in a home that could accomodate the device. So, for my thirtieth birthday, I request a trip to any (or all!) of the locations that do currently host the Enomatic.

(See why I'm giving y'all advance notice, here? You have eighteen months plus. Get cracking.)

In other news, my husband has asked that he receive no presents this year. However, he has also conceded that, if pressed, he would not turn down a second Wii remote, a supremely large and expensive* plasma-screen television, or a pink (color, not necessarily label) dress shirt for his twenty-fifth birthday. Let me know if you want more info, such as sizes. Or wall measurements.

*Please, for the love of all that is holy, do not get us a gigantic plasma-screen television. Any of you. Or all of you together. There is nothing we need less right now as Jim heads off to law school. He was totally kidding.

But for
his thirtieth...we'll talk.

me = weirdest. fangirl. ever.

Never thought I'd say this, but: Thank goodness for Sports Illustrated.

(Thanks for sharing, Jasmin!)


This article is absolutely brilliant.

I mean, it's not brilliant enough to get me to watch the cheese, but still.

For example:

"The cheddar is not busy. It just sits there in a dank, climate-and-humidity controlled cheese-ripening warehouse, subtly aging with hundreds of other cheeses. Once a week a man named Gary, Mr. Calver’s cheese-turner, comes in and turns it to redistribute the moisture within. Compared with the cheese-cam, the old Yule Log on television was a roiling hotbed of nonstop commotion."

I don't generally giggle aloud while reading about cheese. Or anything, for that matter. I do, however, giggle when I read things like "Waiting for Gouda" in the Times.

And yes, Mom and Dad, I do think she wants some cheese.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

things that people i've met in maine may not know about me

I have naturally wavy-to-curly hair that is particularly susceptible to humidity. In twenty-eight years, I've yet to figure out how to blow-dry the back of it perfectly straight.

I spent a good portion of my junior and senior years in high school in the darkroom doing yearbook and art photography. The chemicals wreaked havoc on my fingernails and got me started on a lifelong bad habit of picking at hangnails. Still, I prefer to shoot film rather than go digital, and if I had a darkroom, I'd develop and print too. I generally like to photograph architecture.

When I'm really frustrated, I curse in French. And Dutch. And German.

I think of the squirrel that likes our balcony as "Squidge" because I've never been very good at naming pets.

I learned in elementary school drama club that I cannot control my blink reflex if someone tries to apply eye makeup on me. Because of that, I never wore eyeliner or mascara until four years ago, when I realized I could put it on myself.

I used to collect fountain pens, partly because students in France all used them and I wanted to be French.

I know a trick for folding fitted sheets, but I don't generally bother to fold them when I put away the laundry. I do, however, iron napkins.

I write poetry, usually longhand. I also enjoy doing the math sections on SAT practice tests when I'm proctoring, but I find the critical reading sections boring, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that I write them for the curriculum group.

The first time I ever drove a car was in Maine. It was a big conversion van on a dirt road and I was allowed to drive it about a tenth of a mile. I was thirteen or fourteen. I did very poorly.

Three years seems like forever to me. I'm really going to miss everyone I've met here.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

as geeked out as i get

So I'm watching ST:TNG on SpikeTV this afternoon because the weather is a mix of snow, sleet, and soul-crushing general ickiness. Plus, I have nothing else to do at this particular moment in time.

It's the episode called "Starship Mine," which is a great episode in many ways -- not that you care -- but there's a moment near the start that I just realized has always bothered me.

It's when Picard ducks out of the reception because he wants to go riding, and he claims he needs to go get his saddle. And he acts all bumbling and inept about it, which is so not Picard-like, but that's not actually what gets me.

No, what gets me is that Deanna is one of the people who seems shocked -- shocked! -- that Picard keeps a saddle in his quarters. She and Geordi seem to be insinuating that he's clearly lying about his attachment to his saddle just to get out of having to listen to the inane Commander Hutchinson ("Call me Hutch!") and his endless small talk.

But! In Season 2, there's an episode called "Pen Pals" in which Picard tries to go riding on the holodeck. He doesn't quite make it (the actual, you know, plot interferes), but before we get to that, we get a long, presumably necessary bit of character exposition about how Picard has all these varied interest because he makes a point of going to the holodeck with Deanna so that he might explain to her the elements of a true horse-lover's connection to riding and its accoutrements ... including his saddle.

(By the way, is anyone else amused that Marina Sirtis has almost exactly the same body language in these two shots? Weird.)

Not that TNG was ever known for its outstanding continuity, but given that the horse thing was actually a recurring aspect of Picard's life -- I don't know, maybe it represents his "sensitive side" or something equally lame -- the writers should have gotten this a little more right. Yes, it's terrifying and awful that I know this and more so that I care. Yes, I'm That Fan, the one who nitpicks the Nitpicker's Guide. It's even more terrifying and awful that I'm still going to watch this episode. Because I'm sure as hell not leaving my house today.

Canceling cable when we move? Definitely the right choice.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

i love highschool friends

Me: "So, I have to ask. What kind of pain am I going to endure as the wife of a 1L next year?"

Mr. S.: "Wow. Well, do you want the real answer, or should I lie to you?"

Me: "I am not drunk. So ... lie."

Mr. S.: "It's like ice cream and unicorns every day."

Hot! Gotta love your senior year homecoming date.

Monday, April 09, 2007

an entirely pointless post

Planet Earth gets more and more entertaining. Seriously -- the penguins and the eider ducks? Awesome footage. Although we're pretty convinced that Sigourney Weaver's narration is missing big chunks in order to allow for commercials, given that the segues to commercials are essentially nonexistent.

I kind of want a baby musk ox, by the way.

In other news, the Chateauneuf was sold out by the next day. Damn and blast. I should have bought it all when I was there.

Friday, April 06, 2007

shameless plug

So, I'm generally pretty modest about my abilities in just about every area...except stage management. I know I'm a damn good stage manager, and frankly, there aren't that many of us out there. Even while I feel guilty even thinking I'm good at it, I know I am, and it's kind of sustaining.

However, in my theatrical experience, I have met a few stage managers who are as good as, or better than, I am. And one of them is my friend Mel.

We met at the Williamstown Theatre Festival -- hilariously abbreviated among its denizens as "WTF"-- and Mel amazed me from day one with her skills.

She now has her AEA card, which is wonderful except for the fact that AEA stage managers get paid crap, and that's totally unfair and the topic of another long ranting post at some point. In the meantime, she has stage managed or PA'ed (i.e., worked as a production assistant on) many fantastic Broadway shows.

Some clunkers, too, but we'll ignore those.

And today, she sent me this (relevant info at bottom of scrolldown and reposted below):

"A by-invitation-only developmental reading of Craig Shemin's The Green Room will be held April 23 at the 45th Street Theater. Original Avenue Q stars Stephanie D'Abruzzo and Jordan Gelber will be joined by Jimmy Bennett, Tim Cain, John Gaines, Tom Galantich, Tom Mizer and Amanda Weeden for the 8 PM reading. Lisa Gilbar will direct; Melanie T. Morgan will be the stage manager. [...] Interested industry professionals may request tickets by sending e-mailing"

Dude. She got boldfaced on Playbill. And I have a picture of her with Tom Stoppard and David I'm-Blanking-On-His-Last-Name-But-He's-Important. Really.

Mel is my idol.

Anyone wants an AEA SM, you know whom to call.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

whine and roses

I hate hate hate moving. Just, you know, in case you were unaware.

On the upside, I got two bottles of a lovely Chateauneuf-du-Pape for $6.99 each today -- $15 off due to a vintage change.

Wine makes everything better.

Well, and guacamole.

Monday, April 02, 2007


I made really fantastically awesome guacamole* this afternoon.

Guacamole almost (but not quite) demands to be eaten on things that require leavening.

Sigh. Blasphemy, here I come.

*My recipe: One half red onion, minced. One large or two small cloves garlic, minced. One jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced. One half tomato or approximately ten grape tomatoes, diced. Two ripe avocados. Juice of one lemon. Freshly-ground salt. Freshly-ground pepper. Mash roughly with fork. Eat on anything that will convey guacamole to mouth, including but not at all limited to matzah.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

geek acres is the place

Jim and I are getting slightly obsessed with Planet Earth on Discovery Channel.

I mean, seriously. It's frickin' amazing -- evolution really should have no right to have created such amazing stuff on this one little rock orbiting a star in the middle of nowhere.

Also? We have to get our fix while we still have cable. We plan to give it up both to save money and to avoid unwise temptation once school starts come fall.

Although if we buy this particular miniseries on DVD (hi, early Christmas present hint!!), it could conceivably be a write-off in light of Jim's future enviro-policy bent. I can make anything a write-off. I am such a CPA-wannabe.