Saturday, January 27, 2007

Notes on a Scandal

Based on Zoe Heller's novel, this movie wasn't as great as I had hoped, but it was still pretty good (or good enough) It's the story of an art teacher Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett) and her affair with her fifteen year old student. Yea, we've heard that before, but there's more. There's also Barbara (Judi Dench), the spinster teacher who becomes Sheba's friend and confidante.

The movie is nominated for four Oscars (maybe more): actress, supporting actress, original score (Phillip Glass) and adapted screenplay. I would be surprised if it won for any of them. But if you're a fan of either actress, then you'll want to see it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Monster from the Deep: The Rarely Seen Frilled Shark

Those gills are the scariest things I've ever seen. More on this prehistoric nightmare here and here.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

They're in. And They're In to Win.

Hillary and Barack. In happier times.

It's just the beginning. And I hope it doesn't get ugly.

I'm coming out early for Barack Obama. I'm excited about him. Much more excited than I ever was for Gore or Kerry or anyone else. He's smart, well spoken, telegenic and likable. Dems need someone inspiring. Someone new and fresh.

No candidate is perfect, but please let's not go with someone old and worn who nobody can get excited about and who has already let us down. (Read: Gore is not the answer. Same goes for Kerry and Edwards.)

I wonder who's the lucky duck who has signed on with Barack to follow him around and do his campaign documentary.

Note the chanchow poll to the left. Vote for your favorite candidate. This poll has been up pre-Bill Richardson, so his supporters need to vote for 'other.'

Sunday, January 21, 2007

In the Market for a New TV

For the last eight years, we've been watching my 27" Toshiba. A regular, perfectly good, twentieth century, 15" thick television set. Even my parents are telling us to get a new TV.

I keep hearing about HD, plasma, LCD. It all makes my head spin. I don't think we need the kind that hangs on the wall, but we want something bigger and not super thick (or super expensive). Any suggestions?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Numero Uno

LA is the hippest city in the world. It's official. With movie folk and beach babes on the westside, indie rockers and hipsters on the eastside, and bourgeois bohemians in between, there really is no doubt. Now with Posh and Becks coming to town, I mean, it's getting embarassing.

On top of all this, Wiki proclaims Eagle Rock as "a center of hipster culture in Los Angeles," which means that Eagle Rock is the coolest place in the entire universe.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lunchtime Dessert

I stopped at Yummy Cupcakes in Burbank on my lunch break today. I bought five cupcakes (not all for me!). I've had one (chocolate with vanilla frosting) and it was yummy, all right. They are $2.50 a pop, so a bit pricey. Cupcake inflation?

Day 7: New Year's Eve

Our last night in Paris. At 10pm we headed to the Eiffel Tower to ring in the new year. We saw more Parisian hooligans there than we did all trip long. And lots of drunk Brits, too. It was a hokey way to spend New Year's, but it was really fun. The city cancelled the midnight fireworks for security reasons, but tons of people brought their own bottle rockets, so there were plenty sparks aflying.

Check out that rabbit compote.
I kept seeing this sticker everywhere. Who is this guy?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Day 6: Les Egouts (Paris Sewers)

The Sewer Museum was one of the two things I really wanted to visit on this trip (the Catacombs was the other). I was a little disappointed once I finally saw it, but it was still interesting enough.

It wasn't that stinky. I think they took great care to have good air circulation. Hands down the best thing about the sewers was the Christmas tree.

Yay, sewage.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Welcome to LA, Posh and Becks!

Maybe they'll name their next kid Eagle Rock.

Day 5: DaVinci Code Wanderings

I didn't go into the Louvre, but I did take this picture. Mr. Octopus and the brothers Octopus visited and I thought about coming along, until I saw the line to get in. Instead, I roamed around the city (mostly the Left Bank) with my friend, making like the The DaVinci Code. Sort of.

I don't know if the dotted line in this picture is the 'Rose Line' from the book. But I took the picture anyway. Later that afternoon, we went to St. Sulpice and looked for the Rose Line there. No such luck. In the corner of the church, there was a small notice saying that claims in an 'international best seller' about the Rose Line and the Priory of Sion were untrue.

Sidenote: my pageturner for the trip was Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. Same protagonist as in The DaVinci Code. Same overall plot, too-- i.e., murder, mysterious codes, secret societies, religion, art history, pretty European girl. DaVinci Code is better, I think.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Routine Maintenance

I'm realizing that I love having a routine. I love knowing when and how I'm going to do things. For example, one of my favorite things in the whole world is Saturday morning. Not only because it's the weekend, but because I wake up, open the curtains in the living room, let the light shine in (pause), and then do the laundry (may favorite chore-- I love my washing machine) and water my plants (also a fave). All by 10am. I really like that.

The rest of my week isn't nearly as predictable, but I'm hoping it will be. I don't mean that I'm going to be on a schedule every day, every hour (8:05 read book, 8:25 put down book and scratch head). I'm not that weird. But having a routine to me means that things are going to happen, that I'm going to be productive. One of my resolutions is to exercise three times a week, so I'm trying to decide which days will be my work out days. I need some sort of schedule or else I'll just procrastinate.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

I liked this movie a lot. An Alice in Wonderland for adults, sort of. There are a couple scary looking creatures, but nothing that will give you nightmares.

Thanks Mr. Cup O Noodles

The inventor of the instant noodles, Momofuku Ando, died recently. What would college have been like with cup o noodles? From the LA Times obituary:
Ando's entrepreneurial genius was to shuck off centuries of tradition and realize that noodles did not necessarily have to be cooked fresh and served only after being steeped in vats of boiling water. After tinkering for a year in his backyard shed, he discovered that noodles could be dried, packaged and rehydrated in a bowl of boiling water in just three minutes — and served almost anywhere.

His gamble with flour, palm oil and MSG created a new food that appealed to tastes across Asia and in the United States. He began exporting instant ramen to the U.S. in 1970 and a year later created Cup Noodle — noodles that could be sold and prepared in the same container — inspired by the way American consumers plopped their noodles into a cup and ate them with a fork.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Day 4: Les Catacombs

On our way to the Catacombs. The Cité metro platform.

Jeepers creepers. Not the most uplifting of tourist attractions, but for whatever reason I really, really wanted to go. The Catacombs are a bunch of tunnels in the 14th district. It began as a limestone quarry providing building materials for Notre Dame and other structures around town. In the eighteenth century, the remains of millions of Parisians were transferred here due to overcrowded cemeteries (also, I read somewhere that many bodies were exhumed and moved there because of some disease spreading around Paris). During WWII, the Resistance held secret meetings there. Today, it's an unnerving collection of bones deep underground.

The bones, meticulously arranged.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Hello, you fool, I love you. Come on join the Joyride...

East Coast pal Guardedly Optimistic tagged me. I'm supposed to list five things nobody knows about me. An impossible task without get too personal, so here goes somethin:

1. I once cut my barbie's hair thinking it would grow back.

2. I played badminton in high school and almost got kicked out of game for excessive profanity.

3. When I was growing up my friends and I formed the "Getaway Gang." One day we were roaming around the woods behind our houses and happened upon a bulk size bottle of wine (probably one of those Ernest & Julio Gallo jugs). We knew it belonged to the kid next door. Do gooders that we were, we dragged the jug to his parents' house and told on him.

4. I 've been wearing sunscreen religiously since I was 15.

5. I went to a Roxette concert in 1991. And I liked it.

Day 3: Musée d'Orsay

Lunch, Parisian style
We started off the day meeting friends for lunch at Au Petit Fer à Cheval (The Little Horseshoe) on nearby rue Vieille du Temple. It was a teeny weeny place with good food and friendly service (yes, friendly!). I had the duck, which was delish (I order duck whenever it's on the menu).

After lunch we crossed the river and took the bus to the Musée d'Orsay (re: transportation, we either walked or took the bus or Metro everywhere; never took a taxi). The museum is in an old train station and is very popular. The top floor has lots of Impressionist work (Van Gogh, Manet and stuff like that). My jetlag hit me like a truck while we were there, so all I could think about was getting back to the hotel.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Days 1 and 2: Flying to Paris

We flew direct to Paris on Air Tahiti Nui. The eleven hour flight felt like forever. We flew during the day and arrived in Paris at 8:30am local time. Once we arrived at Charles de Gaulle, we met up with the brothers Octopus and rode the RER train into the center of town (Chatelet - Les Halles stop). Our hotel was a short walk from there.

Our home for the next six nights was the Hotel Saint Merry. The former presbytery of the St. Merri Church next door, turned brothel, turned gay-friendly hotel, the hotel was small (a dozen rooms), loaded with charm and atmosphere and overall totally awesome. We stayed in room #9, which had-- get this-- a flying buttress over the bed. The medieval, dracula decor was a little creepy at times (especially when my jetlag kept me up late into the night), but I'm happy to say there were no ghosts or other unexplainable phenomena.

Room #9
The hotel had the best location imaginable-- in Le Marais, near tons of great shops, bars and restaurants, and a couple minutes walk from the Seine, Notre Dame cathedral, Louvre and Pompidou Centre.

Determined not to let jet lag get the better of us, we visited Notre Dame in the afternoon. There was a line outside, but it moved quickly. There was also a Christmas Tree (it was the day after Christmas). A small, sparse tree, modestly decorated. More like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree than Rockefeller Center's. (I'm told they use a different type of tree in France).

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Resolutions 2007

I never do resolutions, but I thought this year I would try. I'm hopeful that posting them here, making them public, will help me stick to them. They're pretty realistic, so perhaps they'll become habits before too long.

1. Eat breakfast every morning.
2. Exercise three times a week.
3. Drink a glass of milk every day.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Bonne Année!

New Year's Eve in Paris

Just got back from a week in Paris with Mr. Octopus and his two brothers. Also there were my very good friend HH and her Parisian boyfriend (also our friend). It was a great, social vacation. We stayed in a fantastic hotel. Visited the usual and not so usual sights. Generally had good weather, except for a couple days of rain. I'll post pictures in the coming days.

Hope you all had a great holiday!