Thursday, April 21, 2011

I've always wanted to see Macon, Georgia.

I copied this from the Best Study Abroad Blog in the World. It is meant to be a 15 day quiz for Tumblr, but I'm going to complete it all here now. And I'm going to count places in the US as well as abroad.
  1. Favorite place(s) you’ve been to - In the US, the north rim of Grand Canyon. Abroad, Normandy, especially Pointe du Hoc.
  2. Where you’d like to travel next - Hong Kong. My parents are moving there to serve a humanitarian/welfare mission for 18 months. I'm hoping to visit them there.
  3. An adventure/challenge you had while traveling or living abroad - One happened in Mexico and one in Carlsbad, California, but they both involved going on terrifying and iffy looking roller coasters.
  4. A picture of you in another country - I can't find my flash drive with my France photos, otherwise I would have posted a photo of me with a cannon at this museum in France. I'm changing this question to "Where will you travel next?" and that is Branson, Missouri, a city I'm obsessed with for its ability to increase my chances of becoming a total square.
  5. What do you bring with you when you travel? - A journal.
  6. What does “home” mean to you? - My family together, making jokes about members of my family.
  7. Besides people, what did/do you miss from home? - Diet Coke. Coke Zero is not the same, rest of the world. I love other countries and it's not a deal breaker, but it is the one of the few things that makes me feel patriotic.
  8. A favorite food from another country/culture - I liked a lot of the food I had in France and I love Thai food, but the winner is THE BEST WAFFLE I have ever had, from the basement of  Manor in Geneva, Switzerland.
  9. A song you like from another country/language - Ma Philosophie by Amel Bent, partly because I heard it at least three times a week in Paris. A music store in France also introduced me to my favorite band, Pink Martini.
  10. A favorite foreign movie - One of the first Bollywood movies I watched, Rocket Singh - Salesman of the Year.
  11. Did you have any milestones or “firsts” while traveling or living abroad? I visited two Catholic masses at Notre Dame and SacrĂ©-Coeur.
  12. Someone who influenced you to travel abroad - I misinterpreted this as someone who influenced you while traveling abroad, so my answer to that is my host in France, Sophie, who read every book she could get her hands on. Who influenced me to travel abroad, that was a poster in my school's study abroad office.
  13. A favorite travel quote - "In Spanish there is a word for which I can’t find a counterword in English. It is the verb vacilar, present participle vacilando. It does not mean vacillating at all. If one is vacilando, he is going somewhere, but does not greatly care whether or not he gets there, although he has direction. My friend Jack Wagner has often, in Mexico, assumed this state of being. Let us say we wanted to walk in the streets of Mexico City but not at random. We would choose some article almost certain not to exist there and then diligently try to find it."-John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley.
  14. What did you learn from traveling abroad? Don't swing your arm wildly for emphasis when giving a presentation on a paper in an art museum. Even if the painting is in a relatively dark corner of the museum.
  15. Advice to someone who’s thinking about traveling to another country - Do what John Steinbeck said in #13. Know the bus schedule as well as you know the subway schedule.

Monday, January 3, 2011

It's up to me now. I'm Mr. Manager.

Here are my eleven goals/joke goals for 2011, not including getting a job, which is a very important joke goal (I'm still not sure if my mom reads my blog). Also, this blog is going to be at for now. My old domain name is expiring and I'm not planning on renewing it. I might even export the thing back to Wordpress if it ever starts looking easy to use.
  1. Read more about the 11th president of the US, James K. Polk and learn anything about the 11th Vice President George Mifflin Dallas. Most of the latter will be watching a TV show about a paper company founded by a distant relative, Dallas.
  2. Meet Alton Brown or Tony Blair who are both cute and would both be excellent at selling grape juice. I watched The Deal, The Queen and The Special Relationship. Michael Sheen playing Tony Blair while looking like Liz Lemon's ex-fiancé Wesley Snipes is about as close as I'm going to get to Tony Blair.
  3. Play a game of mini golf at Peter Pan Mini Golf in Austin. 
  4. I'm going to Washington D.C. in July. My goals for that trip: visit Colonial Williamsburg (and be disappointed and angry), visit the NMNH or NMAH and  take a tour of the White House and meet President Obama's dog.Revision needed. Instead of D.C. I will be going to visit a city outside of the US. More on that later.
  5. Break in new hiking boots by revisiting the McKinney Falls State Park and trying to stop calling it the McKinley Falls State Park. And to stop asking the rangers what William McKinley had to do with Texas. Half done. I will never stop asking what William McKinley has to do with Texas.
  6. Win a game of Scrabble or Scramble on Facebook.
  7. Visit the LBJ ranch and Texas White House. Done. More on this later. I guess one of my goals should be to blog more.
  8. In December I watched Tron Legacy and I loved it. My favorite parts were the dialogue and Michael Sheen's character.  In 2011 I will finally watch the original Tron. A terrible movie, but man how handsome was Jeff Bridges? How handsome is Jeff Bridges?
  9. Revisit the (Good) Bush Library before August so I can look at dresses worn by former FLOTUS and former White House Press Secretary Allison Janney. Ditto what I said for number 7.
  10. Commit to memory something eloquent and impressive to recite at fancy parties like the Gettysburg address or an episode of Arrested Development.
  11. Get invited to any fancy parties.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Books read in 2011

  1. Medium Raw: a Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook - Anthony Bourdain
  2. Fortune and Glory - Brian Bendis
  3. Americana and other poems - John Updike
  4. Life with Jeeves - P.G. Wodehouse
  5. Spoken from the Heart - Laura Bush
  6. Outliers: the Story of Success - Malcolm Gladwell
  7. Don't Get Too Comfortable - David Rakoff
  8. The Magician's Nephew - C.S. Lewis
  9. Bitter is the New Black - Jen Lancaster
  10. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
  11. Decision Points - George W. Bush
  12. Travels with Charley in Search of America - John Steinbeck
  13. Comeback 2.0: Up Close and Personal - Lance Armstrong
  14. The Horse and His Boy - C.S. Lewis
  15. Prince Caspian - C.S. Lewis
  16. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis
  17. The Silver Chair - C.S. Lewis
  18. The Last Battle - C.S. Lewis
  19. Kapitoil - Teddy Wayne
  20. Twenties Girl - Sophie Kinsella
  21. Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure - Matthew Algeo
  22. Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness - Reinhard Kleist
  23. Being Martha - Lloyd Allen
  24. The Devil Wears Prada - Laura Weisberger
  25. How Did You Get this Number? - Sloane Crosley
  26. Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things - Randy Frost
  27. Freakonomics: a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything - Steven Leavitt and Stephen Dubner
  28. I Was Told There'd Be Cake - Sloane Crosley
  29. The Nanny Diaries - Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
  30. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk - David Sedaris
  31. Assassination Vacation - Sarah Vowell
  32. My Fair Lazy - Jen Lancaster 
  33. Julie and Julia - Julie Powell 
  34. Nanny Returns - Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus 
  35. The Wordy Shipmates - Sarah Vowell 
  36. Kennedy Weddings: a Family Album - Jay Mulvaney 
  37. Cleaving - Julie Powell 
  38. The Partly Cloudy Patriot - Sarah Vowell
  39. Me Talk Pretty Some Day - David Sedaris 
  40. Holidays on Ice - David Sedaris 
  41. When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris 
  42. A Christmas Story - Jean Sheperd
  43. Take the Cannoli - Sarah Vowell
  44. The Wordy Shipmates - Sarah Vowell
  45. The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance - Elna Baker
  46. Unfamiliar Fishes - Sarah Vowell
  47. Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love and Language - Deborah Fallows
  48. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Nixon by Gerald Gardner
  49. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America - Barbara Ehrenreich
  50. Bossypants - Tina Fey
  51. Earth: The Book - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
  52. Eat, Shop Austin - Kate Wellman
  53. Love is a Mixtape - Rob Sheffield
  54. This is a Book - Demetri Martin
  55. The Flags of the Confederacy: An Illustrated History - Devereaux Cannon
  56. What You Should Know About the American Flag - Earl Williams
  57. I Was Told There'd Be Cake - Sloane Crosley
  58. Unfamiliar Fishes - Sarah Vowell

Friday, December 31, 2010

End of the year book survey for 2010

Total books read this year: 180

Best accidental find: Always a Reckoning and other poems by Jimmy Carter. I remember picking this up at the library and wondering if it was just a coincidence. Could there be anything more random and delightful than a book of poems written by a former president? Now I know how the world's biggest Jewel fan and occasional poem reader felt when she stumbled upon a copy of A Night Without Armor.

I don't believe she wrote a word of this:  Miley Cyrus: Miles to Go by Miley Cyrus

So many unanswered questions: Hot Dog! A Global History by Bruce Kraig.

Too many answered questions: Collecting Political Buttons by Marc Sigoloff. Walter Mondale campaign buttons are the most desired of all political buttons, according to Marc Sigoloff: Walter Mondale button collector.

Sarah Vowelliest: The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell..

Gail Collins can do no wrongiest: When Everything Changed: the Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins

Best Collection of EssaysThe Fiddler in the Subway by Gene Weingarten

Reread Book I'll Read Again: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Best Nonfiction: Loot: the Battle over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World by Sharon Waxman

Worst Nonfiction: Confessions of an Heiress: a Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose by Paris Hilton with Merle Ginsberg. I'm not sure what this was, but the fact that it is shelved next to Going Rogue by Sarah Palin at the public library is pretty hilarious.

Best Title: Sabine's Notebook: In Which the Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin & Sabine Continues by Nick Bantock. I look forward to not watching the twee hipster film adaptions of these books.

Worst Title: America by Heart : Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag by Sarah Palin. Reflections on...Flag.

Best Fiction: Room by Emma Donoghue

Worst Fiction: My House in Umbria by William Trevor

Best visit down memory lane: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Worst visit down memory LAME (high-fiving a million angels): Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Best Memoir: Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn't Stop Praying (Among Other Things) by Abby Sher

Worst Memoir: So many candidates, but Stories from Candy Land: Confections from One of Hollywood's Most Famous Wives and Mothers by Candy Spelling and its random and incomplete "food" recipes takes the cake.

Worst book to find a handful of blonde hair in: Diana, a Tribute to the People's Princess by Peter Donnelly

Still no point for existence of TV companion books: The West Wing: The Official Companion

He should definitely be in jail: The Governor by Rod Blagojevich

Weirdest love letter to HEB Inside South Austin: a Guide by Diane Barnet

Funniest: The New York Regional Mormon Singles Dance by Elna Baker

Saddest: Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities by Elizabeth Edwards. Especially if you're reading it on the day she died and have already read the terrible book The Politician about John Edwards.

I think it's cheating to count this towards my books read list: Still More George W. Bushisms edited by Jacob Weisberg

Worst of the Year: The Politician by Andrew Young (Alternative title: Some People With Cancer Are Mean and I Need Cash by Andrew Young). The only thing one can learn from this mediocre and meandering book is that no one involved with John Edward's presidential campaign is going to Heaven. And gross John Edwards was inspired to be in politics after watching The American President, which somehow makes him more gross.

Best of the Year: Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West by Benazir Bhutto. 

First book of 2011: Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

For the first time, our tree-lighting ceremony will be simulcast on internet radio.

This year is the first time I've been in charge of decorating my own Christmas tree. My mom sent me a box of my old ornaments I received as gifts, which is why the theme is Angels and Apples from Elementary school. I'm most excited about being in charge of the topper, which I decided will be something I picked up from the St. Paul Museum of Science. I even filmed my tree lighting and set it to some appropriate music.

Before you watch the tree lighting, a not stupid idea that I came up with for my blog, I would like to announce that the winners of my November Win a Prize with Tad Hamilton giveaways:

The Word Museum will go to Gretchen, whose favorite word is diaphanous, and the winner of the "downgraded to only potentially" stabby Ford necklace is Srah! And now, my tree:

Oooo. Ahhh. 

Merry Star Wars Christmas Special, Everyone!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Valentimes

I love Pink Martini. They're the most NPR band that ever NPR'd and their lead singer China Forbes sang the theme song from the TV show Clueless. Their fifth album and first holiday album Joy to the World is available to purchase now on iTunes or at Starbucks. You can hear part of it on NPR. I highly recommend that everyone buy it and add to their holiday music collection, because this album is literally the Polaroid of perfection.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Today is Emily Elisabeth Day, or as my nephew called me today Cookie Monster (I do love cookies). Thank you for celebrating it by coming to my blog. Happy birthday to my fellow Nov. 28th birthdays, Jon Stewart, Anna Nicole Smith and Not Fergie or from the Black Eyed Peas. I'm going to celebrate it by changing the name of my blog for one of my favorite Parks and Recreation quotes.

Thanks to my four nephews for being especially adorable. It's been so fun seeing them in Houston during Thanksgiving week. I know every aunt thinks their nieces and nephews are the cutest and smartest kids around, but as far as nephews are concerned, they are all wrong. I'm sure your niece Torpal is very talented.

Thanks to  Gretchen and Giromide for tweets that made me laugh. Thanks to Srah for the birthday post. Don't forget to enter to win these November book giveaways at her blog! And check out the best collection of animated gifs on one post. I received a Gerald Ford magnet and postcard with a few POTUS and FLOTUS on it from her. The postcard now lives from on my refrigerator, with the magnet placed strategically to cover up Barbara Bush's scandalously uncovered gams.

I told Twitter this, but since I've met her three times, and most of the time she seemed really mean to both me and Henry Kissinger, I'm kind of obsessed with her. Forget Sarah Palin, Barbara Bush invented going rogue (I wouldn't be surprised if she ever bit someone).  The first time I met Barbara Bush she introduced me to the man who would soon be Teri Hatcher's ex-boyfriend. This will be a really interesting story if I ever meet Tony Parker.

Since today is my birthday, but this is also a post about Barbara Bush, here's a photo of younger me and a picture of two first ladies who seem like they would be much nicer to me than Barbara Bush.