Monthly Archives: February 2009

Potpourri for $100, Alex

Prepare for some utter randomness. . . 

Another Coat Sighting

My mom sent me this picture of me with my brother and cousins on Thanksgiving.  Guess what I’m wearing?  Yep, that’s right:  The Gap coat!

Me, Justin, Ryan, Thaddeus @ the Wayside, Pesotum

Me, Justin, Ryan, Thaddeus @ the Wayside, Pesotum

Lent

I’ve decided to give up gossiping for Lent.  I’ll admit that I like a good tidbit of gossip from time to time, but it’s just BAD.  It hurts people.  It sucks to be on the receiving end of it.  I’m just going to give it up.   I’m not Catholic (or Lutheran, or really even that religious), but I just think it’s a good time to start– kinda like a New Years resolution or something.

Speaking of Which…

A quick update on my resolutions:

100% smoke free:   Not 100%, but maybe 98%  (I’ve smoked ONCE since the resolutions post).  This one is the easiest. Probably because I’m not a “real” smoker.  Whatever.  My lungs thank me.  

Avoid fast food: I was on a bit of a fast food kick for a minute, but I’m off that train.  Fast food isn’t really that  good.

Finish more books: I finished 2 books this year, both in the Twilight “saga.” I have a book club book I haven’t finished yet.  I need to.

Learn to write fiction:  I’m enrolled in a non-fiction writing class at Parkland.  Not sure if it’s helping.  Yet.

Watch more movies:  I’ve seen 2 movies in the theater this year:  Slumdog Millionaire and The Wrestler.  Alas, I still have 4 Netflix sitting unwatched.

Be more honest:  I think I’m getting there.   See above about not gossiping.

Appreciate poetry:  Eh… still not quite there.  I got a book of poems for my birthday and I’ve read some of them.  Need to be more consistent.

Fighting Weight:  I think I’ve maybe lost 3 lbs.  Not good.  I  need to step this goal into high gear for a couple of reasons:  1) I’m in a wedding in 6 months and 2) I’m running a 5K in 6 weeks!    

I’ve decided to forego the Couch to 5K program. Instead, I’m working on increasing my running time with every workout in hopes of getting up to 40 minutes.  I figure if I can run for 40 minutes surely I can finish 3.2 miles.   That means I need to work out 15 days in the next 6 weeks.   I think I can do it.    I’ve decided I also need some “incentives” to keep me motivated:

Lose 10 lbs-- New running shoes

Finish 5K-- New bike (and then maybe I’ll start training for a triathalon or something)

Control Debt:   Eh… I’m not doing so hot in this category.  I haven’t even given up all the things I said I would.  Or, really, any of them. No reason, just lazy.  My tax return should help.

Be More Responsible–   I’m doing slightly better at this.   Only slightly.   See above about being too lazy to cancel cable.  Yeah.

Just for Fun

Check out this cool “Man of Honor” speech.  Soooo sweet.  And catchy!  

Foto Friday: I really love my . . . GAP coat

In one of the “Hollywood” magazines I read, they have a feature called “I really love my…”  where they show pictures of celebrities who (gasp!) allow themselves to be photographed wearing the same clothes/shoes/accessories on different occasions.

I’m clearly not a celebrity (nor do I have a celebrity-sized wardrobe), but here’s how I imagine such a feature would read:

I Really Love My . . .  Kelly Green GAP Coat

At Guidos--LAST year

Carich @ Guido's, Champaign--January 2008

 

Tumble Inn, Champaign-- January 2008Tumble Inn, Champaign– January 2008

 

At Rocks in Champaign, January 2009

Rock's, Champaign-- January 2009

Me, Jo, Ron in front of the skating rink at Millenium Park

Millenium Park, Chicago-- February 2009

I really do love that coat.  I saw it in a store window in NYC last November and asked for it for Christmas. (Granted, the store was a GAP, which takes away from the NYC cache a bit, but made for a MUCH easier Christmas gift.)   When I opened the box Christmas morning I think I squealed a little.

I’m sure I’ll look back at these pictures in 10 or 15 years and cringe at my poor fashion choices, but I LOVE IT damn it.   Happy Friday!

Best.Workout.Song.Ever.

I know I’ve blogged about this before, but I’m willing to put my money on Eminem’s Lose Yourself as the #1 best workout song ever. 

Why?

There are a couple of reasons.    One, it has a really strong beat.   Two, the cadence of the song gets faster and faster until the big crescendo at the end (yeah, I just read a little about music theory– but I knew those words from grade school, k?)  

And, finally, the message of the song is Don’t Give Up!!! (You’ve only got one shot/so don’t miss your chance to blow/), which certainly got me through my workout tonight.

So, those of you who are training to run the Illinois Marathon (or the half- or the 5K, like me) or just want some good old-fashioned dance around in your living room and get angry at the world music, I highly reccomend this song.

Any other suggestions?  What gets you through a long run/hard workout/crappy day at work?

About Twilight…

I’ve been sick.  Stupid stomach flu has kept me inside for the last 3 days and I’m going crazy.  This afternoon was the first time I even felt good enough to get online, if that tells you anything.   I watched MOST of the Oscars and took notes but haven’t had a chance to search for/upload pix.  If you’re still interested in my post-Oscar fashion re-cap, let me now. Otherwise I’ll skip it this year.

On to Twilight–    Because I had 3 days of nothing to do and TV made me nauseous, I managed to finish the Twilight series.   I have to say that, as a whole, I was disappointed.   I kinda thought it was a little hokey after the first book, but I promised myself I’d reserve judgement until the end.    And, you know what?  I honestly don’t see what all the hype was about.

Yes, I can see why teenage girls like it.  Yes, it’s easy to read.  Yes, I found myself wanting to know how it all turned out in the end.

But, the problem is:  I really didn’t CARE about any of the characters.  Well, maybe Charlie.  But the rest of them were just prototypes–  The awkward, misfit, “She doesn’t know she’s beautiful”  duckling that turns into a SWAN (Get it?  Bella Swan?  Real subtle),  her dashing “prince” Edward (who is way cuter in the book than in the movie posters I’ve seen btw), with amazing self control, the tortured “best friend” Jacob who just loves Bella more than life itself… yada, yada, yada.  

I also had a problem with the storyline.  Although I did wonder how Stephanie Meyer would tie everything up in the end, there was never any doubt that she would  tie everything up… in a nice, little, no-real-harm-done-here little bow.  It was so simplistic that I was surprised it took 4 books and over 2500 pages to tell the story.   And NONE of it was new– vampires vs. werewolves, shape shifters, vampire “law,” immortal children. I’ve seen it all before, and it’s not like I’m a huge vampire fanatic (although I have read some Anne Rice and I do enjoy the TV show True Blood).

I think the thing that bugged me the most about these books is the fanfare.  These books have been billed as  “the next Harry Potter.”  I think that’s a huge insult to Harry Potter and JK Rowling.    Don’t get me wrong… I wanted to get swept up in Twilight mania. I wanted to find something as lasting and as magical as Harry Potter.  But this, my friends,  just ain’t it.  

The Harry Potter world is true fantasy– filled with all kinds of magical people, places, and things.  This world is our world– filled with people (and vampires and werewolves) that are pretty much just like us.  And I realize that the “realness” of the world is part of the appeal… part of the fantasy that this could REALLY happen, but it also takes away some of the richness and depth.  

For me, these books are more like the “next Sweet Valley High;” fun to read, entertaining, but utterly forgettable.  I know many of you disagree, so please feel free to tell me why you liked the books.   ‘Cuz I honestly don’t see what all the fuss is about.

My Oscar Picks

I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to do my annual fashion re-cap this year.  I might try live-blogging… or I might just sit in front of the TV with my computer so that I’m not transcribing my notes tomorrow at work (shhh….).  At any rate, there will be some sort of fashion coverage, but Iwanted to include my picks for the actual awards.

Full disclosure:  I haven’t seen many of this year’s nominated movies, so some of my picks are either by default or are based on a “body of work” rationale. I realize this isn’t exactly “legal,” but I’m not exactly a member of the Academy, am I??  

Best Picture

I have to go with Slumdog Millionaire.  It’s the only film in this category that I’ve seen and yes, it’s that good.  I really wanted to try to see Milk and Benjamin Button before the awards, but I haven’t had a chance.  I’d be okay if either of those won.   I’m not, however, rooting for The Reader, mostly because I despise Harvey Weinstein.  

Best Actor

Mickey Rourke all the way. I saw The Wrestler and he was phenomenal in it.  Yeah, one could argue that it’s not such a stretch for him to play a washed-up guy making a comeback, but he gave the performance of his life.   I’d be okay if Sean Penn won. He’s a great actor and I hear that he gives a good performance in Milk.

Best Supporting Actor

I’ll be surprised if anyone other than Heath Ledger wins this.  I still haven’t seen The Dark Knight.  (Letters can be addressed to Carich Blogs c/o Under a Rock, IL), but he deserves the win.   Since I haven’t seen any of the nominated films in this category, I’ll pick Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the runner up.  Just ‘cuz he’s always awesome.

Best Actress

Kate Winslet, The Reader.  There was a bunch of hub-ub about Kate getting the nod for this role and not for Revolutionary Road.  And I’ve already said that I despise Harvey Weinstein.  But Kate Winslet is one of my favorite actresses and she deserves the win.  I want her to play me in the story of my life (take that, Toni Collette!!).   If Kate doesn’t win it, I’d like to see Anne Hathaway come home with a trophy.  She’s had a bad year and I don’t want Angelina Jolie to win, Meryl Streep is too obvious and I’ve never heard of Melissa Leo.

Best Supporting Actress

This one’s a toss-up:  I liked Marissa Tomei’s performance in The Wrestler but I’m not really sure it’s Oscar-worthy.  I didn’t see V icky Christina Barcelona,  but I want to.  And I like Penelope Cruz’s accent.  So, either one of them would be fine.   Or Amy Adams. I like her too…

Best Director

Again, this is pretty subjective ‘cuz I’ve only seen one of the movies, but I think I’d like to see David Fincher win for Benjamin Button. It’s hard to take a short story and make it into a believable 3+ hour movie.  Plus, I don’t see this film winning in any other categories, so let’s throw him a bone.    Runners up:  Danny Boyle for Slumdog, ‘cuz everyone likes a good underdog story or Ron Howard for Frost/Nixon, ‘cuz Opie Taylor is still pretty cute, even if he’s now a big-time director.

The Rest of the Categories

I’d like to see Wall*E win for original screenplay, but it will probably go to Milk.  I hope Benjamin Button wins for adapted screenplay and one of the songs from Slumdog wins for best song (they have 2 of the 3 noms, so it’s likely).  Other than that, I have no clue.  But I’ll be watching!

The Hostess with the Mostest– accidents, that is!

I love “entertaining.”  Since I live by myself, I don’t normally cook that much, but I enjoy doing it from time to time.  Plus, it’s just nice to have a full house every once in a while.

This week* I decided to host two events at my house, the rationale being that I’d only have to clean once.  SCORE!!

Thursday night was book club. 

It was one of the best meetings in recent memory.   We read This is Your Brain on Music, which was fascinating, if a bit dry.  But the most fun came when we played songs for one another.  It was really great to listen to some different types of music and to be able to share what we liked with one another.  You can read more about it (and see pictures!) on our book club blog.  (yeah, we’re that cool!)

Oh, and I broke a wine glass that night.  It was my wine glass, so I didn’t feel so bad.  Just a little embarrassed/clumsy.

Friday night was Bunco night! 

We haven’t played Bunco in months so it was good to get everyone together again.  I made a taco/nacho bar that seemed to go over well and, as always, there were lots and lots and lots of drinks.  Unfortunately, there aren’t many pictures.   I was apparently having too much fun playing hostess to remember to take photos, even though I had my camera out.   Plus, there’s the unfortunate situation with my camera cord (see below)  D’oh!!    

For the first time in maybe forever I actually WON!!  I got most wins and a $25 prize.  Awesome!

The “highlight” of the evening came when I decided to sit on my fold-up buffett table.   I had already put most of  the foodstuffs away and we were just sitting around gabbing.   I hopped up onto the table and it decided to fall out from under me… everything on the table (the remainder of the food, the tablecloth, me) slowly but surely slid to one side.  Everyone was laughing so hard they were crying and Kim managed to snap this pic with her cell phone (the quality isn’t great, but I think you get the point)

FAIL

FAIL

After that we decided to go to the local strip club.  Yeah, yeah, I know… but I’m fascinated with strippers… and it’s within walking distance… and it’s a bit of a tradition.

Anyway, this was NOT my night to be at the “club.”   I got knocked in the head by a stripper heel and had to call security on a creepy guy who wouldn’t leave us alone.  

Note to guys:  Just because girls are in a strip club doesn’t mean they want to sleep with you.  Or talk to you.  So when someone asks you to leave, LEAVE!!  Don’t argue, just move on.  Get yourself a lap dance or something.

In conclusion, I had two parties at my house in two nights.  I’m 2-for-2 in breaking things:  first a wine glass, then a table.  Awesome!

—————–

*My mom’s &**%-ing really cute puppies chewed through my camera cord, so I can’t post pictures from LAST weekend, but now I’m caught up.. SCORE!!

30 Days of 30: Last Hurrah in Chicago

Even though my 30 days of 30 were supposed to end on my birthday (Feb 2), my college friends had planned a party/reunion in Chicago for the following weekend.   My friend Lindsay flew in from Virginia and my sister-in-law Jo and our friend Ron drove up with me to celebrate.

Friday night–

Jo, Ron, Kyle, Kenny, Kenny’s girlfriend Sascha and I went to the Cobra Lounge to see some bands play.  Kenny knew the bassist/guitar player of one of the bands and the lead singer of the other band, so that was pretty cool.  It was a decidedly “heavy/alternative” venue, but the music was more punk, so I’m not sure how the regulars felt about the bands, but we had a good time.  

We also played Rock Band at Kenny/Kyle’s house where I got my very first “perfect” in singing.   (Granted, it was on easy,  but a perfect’s a perfect!)  “Celebrity Skin” by Hole is now my official go-to Rock Band song. 

Saturday–

Due to a late evening and the fact that the boys’ apartment is like a cave, we slept REALLY late that day.  We finally got up and went to “lunch” at Giordano’s around 3.  It was good.  Not great, but decent.   Then, since Jo hadn’t seen many of the tourist-y parts of Chicago, we walked around for a bit:

Me, Jo, Ron in front of the skating rink at Millenium Park

Me, Jo, Ron in front of the skating rink at Millenium Park

The Bean

The Bean

Kyle and I in front of the Art Institute

Kyle and I in front of the Art Institute

Saturday Night– PART-ay!!
The party/reunion was held at Moe’s Cantina in Wrigleyville.   Ron T. organized everything and he did a great job.  He was always the social director in college, too and he didn’t disappoint.   Moe’s was a nice, big, open bar.  They served tapas and gave us a great drink package w/o having to guarantee a minimum number of people.   I highly reccomend it.
 More importantly, though, it was great to hang out with so many old friends– some I hadn’t seen in years!
The PRSSA crew: (back) Nikki, Lindsay, Tommy, Me, Buddy.  Front:  Ron T and Janell

The PRSSA crew: (back) Nikki, Lindsay, Tommy, Me, Buddy. Front: Ron T and Janell

Same crew, different camera

Same crew, different camera

My 'home' crew (with the exception of Sascha):  Sascha, Kenny, Ron, Me, Kyle

My 'home' crew: Sascha, Kenny, Ron, Me, Kyle

Nikki, Me, Buddy:  Self-portrait time!

Nikki, Me, Buddy: Self-portrait time!

Jo and I (note the yummy-looking skewer)

Jo and I (note the yummy-looking skewer)

Jo and I "sampling" said skewer

Jo and I "sampling" said skewer

It was a super fun weekend and there are plenty more stories/pictures to share, but I’ll leave it at that.   It was a perfect way to turn 30.
** This now concludes Carichblogs’ coverage of the 30 days of 30.  Really.  This time I mean it**