Karma gets me! Wednesday, Feb 28 2007 

I hate crocs. I think that they are the ugliest shoes ever made, and the fact that they’ve caught on into a disturbing trend says a lot about our society today. I won’t object to nurses wearing them, since they’re “so comfortable” and everything, but when you start seeing Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott picking out tiny blue clogs for their unborn fetus, that the trend has exploded into an insanity that overpowers good taste.

My friend Andy wore crocs to work yesterday. With socks. In the middle of winter. “Yeah, you have to avoid puddles when you wear them, but they’re SOOOOO comfortable,” he told me. I began making fun of him incessantly. Brown clogs with socks, jeans and a button-down? (Or sweater? I can’t remember.) It just looked terrible, and the only thing more insane than crocs in the summer is crocs in the middle of WINTER, days after a snowstorm, when the streets are full of puddles.

So after ribbing him for a while, I get up, start walking, and hear a crunch.

My heel had snapped off.

My beloved, beloved black Bandolino ankle boots have been a mainstay part of my wardrobe for years. However, they’ve also been on their last leg for quite some time. I always wore them out clubbing in Florence, and while that didn’t damage them TOO much, it was the often mile-long walks back to the apartment over cobblestones that really did damage to them. Both heels have been coming loose for months — when I used to work 9 to 5 (ah, those were the days!) and took the commuter rail from Reading, I had to always walk carefully in North Station, because that slippery floor always put more pressure on the heel. Walking outside was always easier.

Since before I even started working in Boston, I’ve been saying that I needed to get them fixed at the cobbler’s, but I’ve never gotten around to that. Not a smart idea. In addition to the heels, the toes have been coming apart a little bit. Even so, I love those shoes!! They are so comfortable, they have a perfect 3-inch heel, and they’re perfect for my nice black pants with my ballerina tops and tank tops….

Anyways, that was karma like I had never seen before. Making fun of Andy for an extremely long time (much more than I usually do), and moments later, my heel is now coming apart.

I got a ride to South Station with Lindsey, and from then I just walked on my tiptoe. I could land on the heel if I did so gently. It was like the sole had come apart from the main part of the shoe.

When I got off at Davis, I continued the careful walking. I usually have a 10-minute walk home — let’s just say that it lasted a bit longer than I would have liked. As I walked, I began to hear an unusual tap-tap-tap sound whenever I stepped with my right foot.

Once I got upstairs to my apartment, I saw how bad it was — the heel was now only hanging on by a tiny thread, and had been turning and spinning as I walked. It looked like a child’s tooth that was about to come out — the kind of tooth that you keep in your mouth but push it around with your tongue, afraid of the pain if you just twist it out. That’s what it looked like.

I woke up today with my right knee in a lot of pain from walking half a mile on tiptoe. I think I’ll have to wear my most casual shoes — the ones with only a 2.5-inch heel. My only shoes without heels are sneakers, and I DO NOT wear sneakers.

Well, I’ve learned my lesson.

Don’t be mean to people, because karma will come back and bite you.

And get your shoes fixed at the first sign of trouble.

Oscar Predictions 2007 Sunday, Feb 25 2007 

I’ve said it often and it’s true – this really is my favorite time of year, despite the terrible weather. I am all about Oscar season.

This season, though, I’ve fallen pretty far behind, due to my schedule at work. Working 2:00-10:30 PM makes it all but impossible to see any movies any day but my days off. But I’ve been trying, and I’ve seen a very good amount of films.

Here is my annual list of picks and predictions. The bolded films are the ones I’ve seen.

Best Motion Picture of the Year:

My prediction: Surprisingly, this is the one race that is pretty wide open. The awards have been pretty spread out — Babel took the Globe for drama, Little Miss Sunshine won both the SAG award AND the Producers’ Guild Award, in a shocker, and The Departed and Letters from Iwo Jima both could win easily. But I have a hunch that the vote will be split between Babel and the surging Little Miss Sunshine, and The Departed will sneak through and grab the Oscar.

My pick: I just saw Babel and loved it — LOVED it — and loved Little Miss Sunshine as well, but it’s all about The Departed this year. That movie is amazing. And that’s not just because the thrown-off-the-building scene was filmed RIGHT DOWN THE STREET from where I work.

Who won’t win: The Queen is the only film I can guarantee will not win the Academy’s top honor.

Achievement in Directing:
Alejandro González Iñárritu – BABEL
Martin Scorsese -THE DEPARTED
Stephen Frears – THE QUEEN
Paul Greengrass – UNITED 93

My prediction: This is Marty’s time. It doesn’t hurt that the award will be presented by Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. Can you imagine?

My pick: Martin Scorsese, 100%. I loved the flow of The Departed, and how everything cut. I loved the performances, even though Jack took it too far. I loved how Boston the film was! He got it perfect.

Who won’t win: Paul Greengrass’ nomination is his award.

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role:
Leonardo DiCaprio – BLOOD DIAMOND
Ryan Gosling – HALF NELSON
Peter O’Toole – VENUS

My prediction: I don’t think Peter O’Toole’s sentimentality will get him through. This award truly belongs to Forest Whitaker, a veteran whose culminating performance IS that good.

My pick: I haven’t seen enough of the nominees to fairly answer this — but I do hope Forest Whitaker wins.

Who won’t win: Will Smith. Though he’s been nominated for an Oscar once before (for Ali), again, the nomination is his award.

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role:
Penélope Cruz – VOLVER
Helen Mirren – THE QUEEN

My prediction: This role has been Helen Mirren’s from the very beginning. Bravo — after a career like hers and a performance like that, she deserves it.

My pick: I do believe that Helen Mirren deserves the Oscar, but I also loved Kate Winslet’s heartbreaking performance in Little Children. Kate is always fantastic at whatever she does, and while this role wasn’t the capstone of the movie like Helen Mirren’s was, she plays the “gray roles” so well — she was perfect as a desperate woman and halfhearted mother.

Who won’t win: Sorry, Dame Judi — you were one freaky lesbian, and you’ve already got your Oscar. We only expect greatness from you.

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role:
Jackie Earle Haley – LITTLE CHILDREN
Djimon Hounsou – BLOOD DIAMOND
Eddie Murphy – DREAMGIRLS
Mark Wahlberg – THE DEPARTED

My prediction: Eddie Murphy, and with a career like his, it’s time. He fit the role of Jimmy Early like a glove. This is becoming one of the tougher categories to call, however, the other performances are universally fantastic, and none stand out over the other.

My pick: All five were fantastic. This is the toughest category this year. I loved Dreamgirls, and loved Eddie Murphy, but I have to give a slight preference to Jackie Earle Haley, who gave one of the creepiest performances I have ever seen as the local pedophile just released from prison — and that scene when he goes to the community pool and swims with the children and none of the parents notice is the most skin-crawling scene I have ever seen on film, period.

Who won’t win: Djimon Hounsou, but only because he has the least accolades of the five.

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role:
Adriana Barraza – BABEL
Cate Blanchett – NOTES ON A SCANDAL
Jennifer Hudson – DREAMGIRLS
Rinko Kikuchi – BABEL

My prediction: Jennifer Hudson has had this sewn up since before Dreamgirls was even released. BUT I wouldn’t be surprised if her overexposure results in an unforeseen UPSET — taken by Rinko Kikuchi, who is the critics’ favorite.

My pick: When I first saw Signs, I was impressed by nobody as much as Abigail Breslin. I knew she’d be going on to huge things — and this nomination proves it. However, while I first liked Jennifer Hudson best, I’m going to have to go with Rinko Kikuchi. Her performance as a deaf teenager who longs for intimacy is Babel’s most stunning performance in a film with stunning performances by fellow nominee Adriana Barraza, as well as Brad Pitt. Every one of her facial expressions demonstrates her inner desperation to be loved.

Who won’t win: Cate Blanchett. She might as well be nominated for three great performances this year (Notes on a Scandal, Babel and The Good German), but none are anything more extraordinary than her Oscar-winning turn in The Aviator.

Adapted Screenplay:

My prediction: A tough call, but The Departed will take this. I seriously doubt that Borat will upset, as some people believe, but if not, it will be Children of Men.

My pick: The Departed does deserve it, but I also loved the dry, witty narrative in Little Children, as well as the flawed characters, none of which you could agree with on any level, yet somehow you rooted for them all.

Who won’t win: Notes on a Scandal. A lovely little British movie (or as lovely as you can get with Dame Judi as a stalker lesbian) — nothing more.

Original Screenplay

My prediction: It’s between Little Miss Sunshine and The Queen. I think Little Miss Sunshine is going to take it.

My pick: Look no further than the dinner table scene in Little Miss Sunshine. In that first scene, you learn absolutely everything about each character and the dynamics in the family. And it’s one of the best-written comedies in years, in addition to being a feel-good movie that will get the Academy voting.

Who won’t win: Babel. Though in another year it could win, the competition is too fierce.

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score):

My prediction: Very tough — but I think this is one award going to Pan’s Labyrinth. If not, then Notes on a Scandal.

My pick: I absolutely LOVED the song at the end of Babel — I remember thinking, “I have to find this as soon as I get home” — but in terms of the best score, I think that Notes on a Scandal was the best of the group.

Who won’t win: The Queen. It will win for other awards.

Best Documentary Feature:

My prediction: An Inconvenient Truth. Many, many reasons why.

My pick: I didn’t see any of them, but I heard that Deliver Us From Evil focuses on the life of an admitted pedophile priest who discusses the sexual urges he can’t control — now, that’s as edgy as documentary filmmaking can get!

Who won’t win: Any of the others.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year:

My prediction: Pan’s Labyrinth will deservedly win.

My pick: I didn’t like Pan’s Labyrinth as much as the masses, but a movie that had that much appeal in the U.S. deserves to win.

Who won’t win: Water.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year:

My prediction: Cars

My pick: N/A

Achievement in Art Direction:

My prediction: Pan’s Labyrinth

My pick: Dreamgirls

Achievement in Cinematography:

My prediction: Children of Men

My pick: N/A (Although, did you know that this is the first year ever that this category does not feature any of the Best Picture nominees?)

Achievement in Costume Design:

My prediction: Dreamgirls

My pick: DREAMGIRLS!!!! Each year has a movie whose costumes I literally drool over — and there were puddles all around me this year!

Achievement in Film Editing:

My prediction: Babel

My pick: Babel or The Departed — both did VERY well, but I’ll give Babel the edge.

Achievement in Makeup:

My prediction: Pan’s Labyrinth. Nobody’s giving anything to Mel Gibson, and Click would be beyond embarrassing.

My pick: Pan’s Labyrinth

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song):
“Love You I Do” – DREAMGIRLS
“Our Town” – CARS
“Patience” – DREAMGIRLS

My prediction: This is hard. I think the Dreamgirls songs will cancel each other out and Our Town will take the prize.

My pick: I absolutely love Patience, but it’s not that innovative of a song — at least Listen is a really, really powerful. Even if you hate Beyonce, forget it’s her for a bit.

Achievement in Sound Editing:

My prediction: Letters from Iwo Jima — military movies usually win this category.

My pick: Pirates!!

Achievement in Sound Mixing:

My prediction: Dreamgirls is the type of movie that usually wins this category, but I will predict Pirates.

My pick: Pirates….arrrrgh!

Achievement in Visual Effects:

My prediction: Superman Returns

My pick: Pirates!! Who could forget the scene with the rolling water wheel?

I’m not predicting the shorts this year — not enough time. And I’m not going to make solid predictions, either — just what I said above.

I actually switched shifts with one of my coworkers so I could see the Oscars this year (Michael Terry is nothing short of AWESOME) and I plan to be watching from my bedroom, splurging on some takeout. Won’t that be fun? I’m toying with the idea of live blogging, but I’m an Oscar purist, so I have the feeling it won’t be happening. I’d rather watch all by myself.

Oh, one more set of predictions: the best dressed tomorrow night will be Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, and Jennifer Hudson. The worst will be Rinko Kikuchi. Heh. She loves her crazy Chanel couture!

Am I not doing enough? Saturday, Feb 24 2007 

I hate it when people make me feel guilty for not doing enough.

I just got off the phone with my mom, and we ended up having a big fight because she doesn’t think that I spend enough time with her.

Up until a few weeks ago, I was spending not one, but BOTH of my days off with her.

And now she says that I spend all my time with my dad.

I went out to dinner with him Thursday night, and Thursday night THREE WEEKS AGO.

That’s it.

And she starts crying and saying that she misses me and I never spend any time with her anymore. And that Sarah doesn’t even call her, ever. (For the record, Sarah keeps one of the busiest schedules I know — it’s not a mom thing; she has no time for anyone.) But that’s not my fault.

It’s just my schedule….first of all, it’s Oscar season, which I go crazy for every year, and each year I try to see all the nominated movies. I never see quite all of them, but I do see plenty. But since I took the schedule of working 2-10:30 PM, that has left me with no time to see movies, because movies never play outside that time (and if they do, it’ll be too late for me to catch the T home). Therefore, I’ve been consolidating my movie-viewing into only one per week or so, but I’ve been making it work.

And further, with working that schedule, I have no time for most normal people, except for those two days off per week. It has been hard enough dealing with just about every single one of my close friends moving away. Everyone has abandoned Boston — or is still in college (mostly with no plans to return to Boston). I’ve been reconnecting with friends I’ve known who are still in the area, but it’s hard consolidating all normal-people socializing time into two days a week. “I can do Thursday, or Saturday, but that is IT.”

And I’m trying. I’ve made some good friends in the past few months, mostly from work, and I’ve been hanging out with them and spending time with them (it’s good to know that some people have as crazy a schedule as you).

And in addition, I just moved to this new place, and it’s like starting over completely alone in a new city. I’m glad I didn’t have to provide any furnishings outside of my room, and I honestly have no desire to buy a dresser (which I need badly) because I’d rather spend the money on my trip around the world.

But here’s the thing — I feel like I’m doing well!

–I have a job that I’m doing well in, and I’m making more money than some of my friends.

–I’m paying my rent and my bills on time, including student loan bills, and nothing has ever been a problem.

–I have absolutely no credit card debt, and have yet to make a single late payment.

–I’ve been saving $340.00 every two weeks and putting towards my year around the world.

–I’m even getting fucking EXERCISE, living a 10-minute walk from the T!

–I’m healthy, I’m getting enough sleep, and I haven’t been having any problems.

–I’ve been spending time with friends, when I can, and with my family.

I think I’ve been doing good.

And for my mom to tell me that I’m not doing nearly enough, it makes me explode.

This past month, I’ve been doing a LOT of overtime, putting in 12-hour-plus days (including commute time) so that I can earn enough money to go to Texas and visit Beth for a few days. And enjoy one night at a “real” spring break destination, South Padre Island, which is something I have never experienced.

I am trying the best I can, and not only am I scraping by, it looks like I’m actually doing well!

And then I get hit with this….I feel like I’m a complete failure. Even though I know that my mom is acting on emotion and is saying things like, “Your sister and I are going to Florida next week and what are you going to do? Are you going to rely on your father to rescue you?”


My dad has not given me a DIME, save a few dinners out, and that’s the way I LIKE it — I don’t want anything from anyone. I am going to survive, AND thrive, through nobody’s help but my own. This is my life, and it’s entirely by my hands.

I’ve always been relieved since my parents got divorced (I had wanted them to for long beforehand), because it alleviated so much of the tension that was always present. But it didn’t completely end at that point. Once my mom moved out, I had to budget my time down to the hour, to make sure that I spent time with each of them was perfectly equal, so neither of them would have anything to complain about, and so I wouldn’t feel guilty in either direction.

It’s so hard to maintain that balance, even now.

I see my mom EXPONENTIALLY more often than my dad, because I know it means more to her, and for her to say that I spend more time with him than her — that is UNTRUE, UNACCEPTABLE, and UNFAIR, as I told her on the phone through tears.

I hate this.

But in all other areas, my life has been going really, really well. I just can’t wait to have $20,000.00 saved so I can take off and wander the world for a while. Fall 2009 can’t come soon enough….

It’s official — Britney Spears has LOST HER MIND!! Saturday, Feb 17 2007 

Just when you thought she couldn’t get any worse, she goes and does something like this.

Last night, Britney Spears paid a visit to a salon in Los Angeles, where she decided to shave her head. She did the shaving herself.

Later that night, she visited a tattoo parlor in Sherman Oaks, where she got red and pink lips inked on her wrist and a black, white and pink cross on her lower hip, a region that she is demonstrating below.

Britney is no stranger to tattoos — off the top of my head, she also has a blue fairy on her lower back, pink dice on her wrist (that she got with K-Fed, then may have had covered up), something right on her crotch, the Japanese characters that she wanted to read “mysterious” but ended up reading “strange,” the Kaballah letters on the back of her neck, and many more.

According to Emily Wynne-Hughes, an employee at the tattoo parlor, as told to US Weekly, “She wasn’t making sense at all and you could tell she’s not in a good place at all, and that she is totally freaking out….She was a nightmare to deal with. She was screaming and flipping out from the pain and wiggling her body all around.”

At one point during Britney’s one-hour visit, Hughes asked Britney why there was a pink stain on her fluffy white handbag and Britney said she had “spilled Nyquil all over it.”

When asked why she shaved her head, Hughes says Britney replied, “I don’t want anyone touching me. I’m tired of everybody touching me.”

Now, I am no longer someone who will jump up and defend Britney (see “Very Open Letters”), but I can actually understand a bit how she feels….now and then, when I feel myself slipping into a sad mood, I sometimes just feel like driving up to a tattoo parlor and getting something pierced. Like my tongue. I’ve been thinking tongue a lot lately. But no more tattoos — until my year around the world, at least.

The thing is, Britney needs to learn that you don’t act on every temptation you have!

Britney continues to unravel before our very eyes. Last week, she arrived at Tenjune in New York wearing a disgustingly tiny red minidress, then decided she didn’t like it and took it off, put on some dancers’ fishnets and USED BIKINI BOTTOMS (beyond disgusting) and danced around in that and a waiter’s white jacket for the rest of the night.

That night, there was also a picture of a puddle of vomit that she left in her SUV before she continued to party.

Rumor has it that Britney has been sucking on lollipops a lot lately, a sign that she may be taking ecstasy on a regular basis. She also has been said to be making frequent trips to bathrooms during her club visits, presumably to do drugs, and having all these sexcapades with other girls.

It’s gotten so bad that her former assistant, Felicia Culotta, said this:

“There’s just so much you can do to help a person….I cannot convince her in ANY way to love herself….I cannot save her from herself, nor can I commit her to any type of treatment program against her wishes and will. I am throwing my hands up and realizing that I am helpless over another.”

So what did Britney say?

“If I were you I’d be unhappy too if I had to read what I’ve been reading every day. But trust me, I get it. I know I’ve been far from perfect and the media has had a lot of fun exaggerating my every move.”

She’s clearly spiraling down to rock bottom, fast. And she won’t spiral until she hits it — and even though I’m no longer a Britney fan, I really wouldn’t want to see her OD. And it’s so sad, because she has THOSE TWO LITTLE BABIES, one of whom is only FIVE MONTHS OLD.

Oh my God, if K-Fed gets custody, it will be so juicy….

But seriously. If there is any chance that Britney has a family member out there who comes across this entry, you NEED TO GET HER HELP. She needs to be committed to some kind of facility, now. And for longer than just a few hours, like that facility she was at in Antigua the other day. God, she’s ridiculous — she checked into a rehab facility and checked out a few hours later!! She needs to go back, and do it for her kids’ sake.

I remember a letter that someone wrote to People back when Britney got pregnant the first time, saying something along the lines of, “Oh, so Britney is going to try out a baby, just like she’s trying out marriage. I hope she realizes that a baby isn’t something that you just try out.” Back in the day, I could see where that reader was coming from, but I didn’t think it would actually pan out like that — I just figured Britney would learn to buckle down and regret having kids so young but would do the responsibility thing.

And was I ever wrong….

Please, Britney, get help.

Photo credit
Story credit

I love when people are nice for no reason Friday, Feb 16 2007 

This is really random, but something made me smile today.

I’ve been part of the Thorn Tree community at Lonely Planet, but I’ve since learned that the BootsnAll community is more in-depth and better (they give you titles based on how long you’ve been a member, and one of them is “Thorn Tree Refugee”). So I joined, and even after I verify my email address, I learn that I can’t post anything until I get my profile further verified by one of the two owners.

Hmm. That’s kind of weird, I thought.

So, eighteen hours later or so, I get an email from one of the owners — and it’s personalized. Here it is:

G’Day Kate,

You recently applied for membership with BootsnAll Travel Forums. Your membership was approved.

Welcome! First off, I’m envious any time I hear someone studied in Italy… It’s my dream to live there, and until I get there I’m just envious of people who have! 🙂

For your upcoming trip, here’s our RTW Travel Guide: http://www.bootsnall.com/rtw/ – you can research destinations, plan & budget, book airfare & accommodations – even start your own travel blog! You can also chat with other RTW trippers here: http://boards.bootsnall.com/eve/forums/a/frm/f/209091657

Anyway, thanks for your application. Congratulations!

Jessie Spiegel
Community Manager
BootsnAll Travel Network

Okay, you might think it’s weird that I really like that, but I do! That’s nice, you know that?

So, which celebrities do I look like? Friday, Feb 16 2007 

I just KNEW that my fellow fivehead Rihanna would be there.

An Entry on the Coldest Day of the Year Thursday, Feb 15 2007 

It is absolutely freezing out, and yesterday, I had the worst two walks of my life. First of all, walking from my apartment to Davis, none of the sidewalks had been shoveled and none of the roads had been plowed, so I just walked through the tire tracks left by previous cars. And then cars going down the street started honking at me! Who does that?!

It wasn’t so bad getting to Davis, but getting to work from South Station — oh, my God. It was raining so hard by then, and it was so windy, so I had my umbrella up, but it literally pushed it all the way out (not a completely unheard-of occurance) but then I suddenly COULDN’T MOVE. I was standing against a building, but the wind was STILL so bad that I didn’t have the physical strength to turn my body around into the other direction. After that, I gave up on the umbrella.

And then I had the Summer Street Bridge.

Rain. Wind. It was like my sister’s rap alter-ego’s paradise. (She goes by Tha Noreastah, and her catchphrases are “High winds! Hailstorms! SNOW!” I’m Heavy K and my motto is “Y’all gon’ eat that?”)

Anyways, by the time I showed up, my boots were full of water (still wearing high heels, because that’s who I am), my hair was completely matted to my head, my suede coat was soaked through, and there was charcoal-gray eyeliner and black mascara all over my face.

I padded around the office in my socks for the rest of the day, and that was actually quite nice.

Enough of that, though. I’ve done absolutely nothing of value today except sleep late, watch TV, read, and continue to plan my RTW (round the world) trip. I can’t stop thinking about it for even one moment!!

I did finish The Drifters, by James A. Michener, which ended in a way that I really didn’t expect it to end. I’ve been reading it forever — ten pages at a time on each ride on the T from home to work, and it’s a 768-page book. My mom loves his books and gave it to me because it’s about a bunch of young people who travel the world in 1969 and 1970. There’s a Vietnam draft dodger, an adventurous Norwegian girl, an Israeli war hero, and more — and they’re all younger than me. It was a great read. They travel to Torremolinos, Spain; Algarve, Portugal; Pamplona, Spain; much of Mozambique, and Marrakech.

I can see myself doing a lot of work around the world, in the middle of my travels, to finance my journey so it can go on as long as possible.

Okay — quick interruption — I’m watching The Insider, and apparently there’s going to be a special about a very special nine-year-old girl named “Brave Jessica” — who is so fat she can’t get off the ground!!!! Ahahahahahahahaha….I’m going to hell….

Oh my God, Howard K. Fucking Stern did NOT sell them video coverage of him rocking the baby and crying and saying, “Mama’s not going to be here anymore….she loved you so much….” That man is a fuck.

He is so going to be found responsible for her death….it’s only a matter of time. Ugh. What a skeevy human being.

I’ve been thinking a lot more about Spain lately. I’ve really never had the desire to go there, but after reading The Drifters and learning about the Camino de Santiago, I don’t see how I can’t go.

Oh my God, I love shows about really, really fat people!! This is hilarious. There’s a thousand-pound man on Entertainment Tonight next!

I think I’m going to make myself some food now….I do miss cooking….but I really don’t feel like doing anything else….

In the meantime, I discovered a great new site, TravellersPoint, that lets you chart your travels through maps. I’ll be posting once I add most of my trips. So far I’ve done my semester abroad, my graduation trip and Gleetalia. There are plenty more to go, both in the US and Europe. Definitely check it out — it’s cool.

A Year Around the World — Today’s Itinerary Sunday, Feb 11 2007 

Every day — sometimes every few hours — I sketch out my route for my trip around the world, which I am aiming to begin a few years from now. When planning out ideas today, all of a sudden it seemed to fall into place — so I’m going to post it here before I forget!!

FLIGHT: Boston to Auckland

New Zealand: Start in Auckland, do the North Island (hopefully including some Maori areas like Whangarei), then down to Rotorua, then extreme sports in Queenstown, then Wellington.

FLIGHT: Wellington to Sydney

Australia: Start in Sydney, then I’m really not sure. Probably go up the coast to Brisbane, Surfer’s Paradise, all that great stuff. I would LOVE to see Perth, but it seems too far from everything, and so does Uluru.

FLIGHT: Brisbane (?) to Denpassar

Indonesia: Bali!! Spend time in that island paradise, then head across Java, visiting Yogyakarta and volcanoes, then stay outside of Jakarta, then fly out of there. (I want to visit Komodo Island, to see the dragons in their natural habitat, but it’s on Sumatra and seems too far out of the way.)

FLIGHT: Jakarta to Singapore

Singapore (briefly)

Malaysia: Head up to Kuala Lumpur, then the west coast, Georgetown, then into Thailand.

Thailand: The beaches and the south, trying to catch the Full Moon Party on Koh Pha Ngan. Then Bangkok, then up to Chiang Mai and the Golden Triangle, which I hear is lovely as well as cheap. Chiang Mai has a great cooking school. Hopefully some isolated areas, too.

Laos: Vientiane, Luang Prabang, which is supposed to be awesome. The Mekong Delta. NOT Vang Vieng, because I hear there are a lot of drugs there. Worse than the Golden Triangle — drugs are EVERYTHING.

Vietnam: Hanoi, then Hue, and down the coast to Phu Quoc, then Ho Chi Minh City.

Cambodia: Phnom Penh

FLIGHT: Phnom Penh to Siem Riep

Cambodia: Angkor Wat, then the isolated villages of the northeast.

FLIGHT: Siem Riep to Phnom Penh

Then back to Bangkok.

FLIGHT: Bangkok to Yangon

Myanmar: Yangon, the stunning ruins of Bagan, and hopefully some extremely isolated areas — I do admit that I want to have one of those “I was in a village where they’d never seen a white person before” moments. And probably Inle Lake or Mandalay as well.

FLIGHT: Yangon to Kathmandu (I have no idea if this can be done. Can it?!?!)

Nepal: Kathmandu for a bit, then spending time in Pokhara and hopefully doing some trekking in the Himalayas, if the season permits.

India: Get to Varanasi from Kathmandu, watch funeral burnings on the river. Then over to Delhi: Rajasthan, the Taj Mahal in Agra, Jodhpur, etc. Then down to Mumbai and possibly Goa (AND I have a connection there). Try to get into the Bollywood scene.

FLIGHT: Mumbai to Beijing

China: Beijing, Great Wall.

TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY: There is a package that stops in Ulan Baatar, Mongolia, and then Lake Baikal in Siberia. I hear it’s amazing. The package costs 675 Euro, which includes getting the difficult visa invitation/documentation, since it’s especially difficult to do so for Mongolia and Russia. It also does the paperwork for the stopovers, which is a difficult thing to do as well.

Russia: Moscow, see Lenin’s body, Kremlin, get lost on the Metro, then St. Petersburg and the Hermitage.

Estonia: Talinn, a major up and coming city, and then the gorgeous Estonian Islands.

Latvia: RIGA!! My family comes from that city!!

Lithuania: Vilnius, although briefly.

Poland: POSSIBLY Warsaw, if time permits. Then on to Krakow, which is an awesome city, and also taking time to visit Auschwitz and possibly Birkenau as well.

Czech Republic: Stopping in on my beloved Prague again! And maybe Cesky Krumlov as well, and the city (can’t remember the name, is it Plzen?) where Pilsner Urquell, my favorite beer in the world, is brewed.

Austria: Vienna and Salzburg, but only if money and budget permits.

Hungary: Back to my beloved Budapest, and the baths at Gellert! Maybe I could get another boob massage — though I’ll know what I’m getting into this time around!

Slovenia: Ljubliana, Skopje caves (which are supposed to be gargantuan), and possibly the coast.

Croatia: (Hopefully it won’t be too touristy by this time!) Split, beaches, Dubrovnik.

FERRY: to Italy.

Italy: This time, it’s all about the south. Apulia, Basilicata, and hopefully discovering more of my roots in Castanea delle Furie, Sicily, near Messina. I’ve got a great story about one of my relatives from way back.

FERRY: to Corfu.

Greece: Corfu, over to Athens, then a bunch of the islands: hopefully Santorini, Mykonos and Ios, at the very least.

FERRY: to Turkey.

Turkey: Istanbul, then overlanding as far as I can go! Possibly Butterfly Canyon.

Syria: Palmyra and Damascus, which should be really exciting.

Jordan: Amman and Petra, the red city!

Israel: Tel Aviv, and possibly part of Jerusalem, depending on how the situation is then. I’d like to see a lot of the holy sites as well.

Egypt: Dahab, and much of Sinai. Hopefully seeing more Biblical sites, then over to Cairo and doing the pyramids nearby (but not all the way down to Luxor or Aswan).

FLIGHT: Cairo to Madrid.

Spain: I hope I time this well, but arriving in Pamplona in time for San Fermin!! My favorite book, The Sun Also Rises, takes place there, as does an amazing book I’m almost done with, James A. Michener’s The Drifters. I must go to San Fermin. It’s vital. After that, I’ll be heading through Basque country (via San Sebastien) over the border to France, and then beginning the Camino de Santiago, the pilgramage across the top of Spain that has been done since Medieval times. I’ll be a pilgrim with a pilgrim’s passport, and I will literally walk across the entire top of Spain to Santiago de Compostela, which is north of Portugal! I would lose sooooo much weight, too! Hehehe. But what an experience — and what a way to end the trip.

FLIGHT: Santiago de Compostela to London. (RyanAir flies that route; it’s cheap.)

UK: London, baby. Yet again.

FLIGHT: London to Boston.

And that’s it.

Okay, I know I’m timing the seasons all wrong, and there’s no way that I’ll be able to do that perfectly. And yes, it will be expensive — but except for Italy, Greece and Spain, and Austria, I’ll be spending my time in universally cheap countries. And nobody’s around the world route ends up the way they planned it.

But at the moment, I am really, really loving this route.

Any thoughts?

RIP Anna Nicole Saturday, Feb 10 2007 

She was so beautiful and so sad.
If only she gave herself as much love as she gave to others.

Amusing Quotes of Lately Wednesday, Feb 7 2007 

I keep meaning to post the quotes that I keep hearing lately, but I forget to put them up….here they are, beginning with two gems from today:

Curran (to a client on the phone): “How are you doing today?….Me, not so good. I just ate a ton of sunflower seeds and my stomach hates me….yeah, I eat the shells, too….”

Andrew (to the IT guy): “Um, just so you know, I accidentally clicked on a gay porn site yesterday….you know….in case it shows up on your screen today or something….”

Eddie: “Yeah, I gotta go cause I just ate a whole pie and I’m feeling kinda sleepy….”

Sars: “Papa John is a childless bachelor.”

Me (looking for leather shops for a client): “Look, this one’s a fetish store.”
Mike: “Maybe your guy wants to flagellate himself.”
Me: “Flagellate….sounds like flatulate.”
(long pause)
Mike and me: “Mehehehehehehehehehe” (Peter Griffin laugh)

(Probably the least funny reading it afterwards, but was, by far, the funniest at the time!)

This has been one of the worst days of my life. Friday, Feb 2 2007 

Today was really, REALLY bad….not nearly as bad as it COULD have been….but it sucked.

First of all, our apartment is without heat.

It’s freezing — and trying to sleep last night was awful, even wrapped in fleeces and extra blankets UNDER the sheets.

It will be fixed tomorrow morning.

Next, I mixed up my doctor and dentist appointments — thankfully got to the doctor’s on time, by 10:15. Early day for a girl who usually sleeps through the first segment of Hot Topics on the View.

I got a tetanus shot (hehehe….tet….anus), which you apparently have to get every ten years, and it doesn’t hurt too much when you get it, but it’s REALLY sore for a few days after. It’s kicked in. I can’t raise my arm.

I made so many strides in getting my insurance switched over so I can actually get a parking permit for Somerville. I finished the quote-by-phone at 3:30 (AND my workplace gives a discount!!), and then the lady I talked to on the phone told me that I could pick it up right away. I ZOOMED all the way up to Danvers in the rush hour traffic.

I got there, and the lady told me that I needed a title with my mom signing over the car to me.

I was furious. I drove so fucking far, ended up on Route 1 South somehow (and you know how hard it is to turn around on that street), and it all ended up being for nothing.

At least the lady took down the other lady’s number and will have her manager reprimand her!!!

I got back just in time to do my dishes and run off to the T.

I left my new Charlie Card at home and had to pay $4.00 for two trips.

And then the train got stuck near Central for five minutes.

I was late to meet Dad and Sars. We did go and have a really great dinner at Rock Bottom, right behind my sister’s dorm, complete with some fantastic beer and some “cheesecake with beer in it.” I forgot to bring my W2s for my dad to do my taxes.

I decided to catch The Good Shepherd on the way back, since I’ve wanted to see it for a while. Now, normally I tend to like really good films that are difficult, but this one SUCKED. I couldn’t stand it. It was so slow, so long, and MATT DAMON KEPT THE SAME FUCKING EXPRESSION ON HIS FACE THE ENTIRE TIME.

I came back to a cold apartment, and am now shivering and shrouded in fleeces as I write this and drink a cup of raspberry tea.

I’m not a pessimistic person. I’m usually the complete opposite. But today really, really got me down.