John McCain has Fewer Fans than Michael Jackson. Monday, Aug 25 2008 

I was browsing the fan pages on Facebook tonight and came across the entire list of fan pages, ranked in order.

Fan pages are allotted to politicians, athletes, movies, celebrities, singers, TV shows, bands, vacation destinations, products and more.  You can become a fan of as many pages as you’d like.  (I’m a fan of Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, Nicolas Sarkozy, Michael Phelps and STA Travel.)

Barack Obama has had the most fans since fan pages began last year; however, Michael Phelps recently passed him (due in part to his sheer awesomeness and due in part to Facebook spotlighting his fan page in a congratulatory message on all American Facebook profiles).  At the moment that I’m typing this, Michael Phelps has 1,448,161 fans to Barack Obama’s 1,396,388.

So, who’s supporting John McCain?

According to Facebook, as I type this, John McCain has 218,592 fans, or just under one-sixth of the fans that Barack Obama has.

In other words, he’s ranked just below CW teen drama One Tree Hill and little-kid-lover Michael Jackson.

Check it out:

You can’t make this stuff up.

Moving day is coming EARLY! Sunday, Aug 24 2008 

I was planning on moving in a week from tomorrow, on Labor Day, September 1st.

Well, that’s out the window now.

My new landlady (who is lovely!) just called me to inform me that the current tenants (two guys and two adorable kittens) have moved out, so Sars and I can move in as soon as it’s cleaned.

That’s fantastic news.  September 1 is going to be a hellish moving day, especially in a college town like Boston, especially especially since our apartment is within a ten-minute walk of around nine colleges or so.

Now, I talked to my dad.  He wants us to move during the week.  Excellent.  It will be much less busy.

However — we can’t do it Friday.  The Red Sox return to Boston that day, and our apartment is close to Fenway Park.  There’s a game Friday night.  It wouldn’t be smart to move in during a game, when the whole neighborhood is crazy.

And we can’t do it Thursday — Obama is accepting the nomination that night, and my mom is throwing a party.

Which means that we have to do it WEDNESDAY, provided that our landlady is able to get the apartment cleaned by that time.

I AM SO NOT READY!!!!!!  THERE IS NO WAY I CAN PACK UP MY ENTIRE LIFE IN THAT TIME!!!!!!

In fact, I shouldn’t be writing this.  My room is a disaster.  (It has been interesting — while I uncovered things like a moldy piece of pie, I also found my poetry portfolio from college!)

But it’s all worth it —

Because within a week, I will live here:

The Back Bay — Boston’s ritziest neighborhood.

And the late-night cabs home will cost $8, not $25.  🙂

I love Joe Biden. Saturday, Aug 23 2008 

Barack Obama has selected Joe Biden to be his running mate, and I couldn’t be happier.  I’ve always liked Biden — he has done fantastic work for this country, and I really like him as a person as well.

I’ve talked to a few people today who are lifelong Democrats but know absolutely nothing about Biden, one even dismissing him as an “empty suit.”  That couldn’t be further from the truth!  If people bothered to do a little bit of research, even just reading his Wikipedia page, they would realize that he has an incredible record.

So I’m writing this entry to teach people about who Joe Biden is and what he has done.

Here is what I like about Biden’s experience:

  • 35 years representing Delaware in the Senate; elected at age 29
  • Chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee three times, including right now
  • Chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee
  • He’s an expert on foreign policy — few people in America are better authorities on conflicts, leaders and current situations around the globe better than Joe Biden.
  • He recently returned from Georgia, visiting at President Saashakvili’s personal request.
  • He has done so much for crime and drug policy, including the Biden Crime Bill, which put 100,000 more cops on the streets, and created the role of the Drug Czar.
  • He wrote the Violence Against Women act! I didn’t know that until this week!
  • Other notable work: he has worked to control the spread of date rape drugs. He was one of the strategists during the war in the Balkans in the 1990s (he even met with Milosevic and famously called him a war criminal to his face).  And he has been an advocate to include sexual orientation when classifying hate crimes.

Now, here’s what I like about Biden personally:

  • He came from a working-class background and became the first person in his family to go to college, working his way through the state university.
  • His wife and baby daughter died and his two sons were seriously injured in a car accident shortly after he was elected to the Senate.  He was sworn in by his sons’ bedside.
  • He raised his sons on his own until he met his wife, Jill, a teacher, to whom he is devoted.  They had a daughter together.
  • He has NEVER lived in Washington — he commutes from Wilmington, Delaware, 90 minutes each way, so he can be home with his family every night.  He knows all the Amtrak conductors by name!
  • He has the lowest net worth in the entire Senate. (By contrast, McCain has the eighth-highest — BEFORE you add his wife’s wealth!  Obama is somewhere in the middle 50%.)
  • And he’s hilarious.

In a nutshell, Biden came from a humble background and lived through unspeakable tragedy to become one of America’s top authorities on foreign policy, while also making a huge impact on domestic issues, especially drug- and crime-related issues.

Just watch him in this montage of his greatest moments in one of the debates last fall:

Watch the whole thing if you want to see how smart and knowledgeable he is — it’s worth watching.

If you just want to see the primary season’s most hilarious moment, fast-forward to 2:55. LOVE IT!

One of the best things that Biden can do is call McCain on his shit.  Very few contenders could do that, and nobody can do that better than Biden.  And if McCain picks Romney, their VP debate will be a BLOODBATH!

I know that people are saying that McCain will pick Lieberman or Ridge, but I doubt that. I don’t think he wants to further alienate conservatives by choosing a pro-choice running mate.  Of course, I can’t imagine McCain picking someone he can’t stand, either, but Romney could be strong where McCain is weak — the economy, not to mention Michigan and Colorado.

Romney does well on the stump, but when backed into a corner, he says the most ridiculous things.  Most notoriously, when asked about Obama’s work with Republicans on nuclear nonproliferation, Romney dismissed it as a “liberal issue.”

Um…I’m glad to know that Romney thinks that securing loose nuclear weapons is just a money-wasting scheme put into play by the latte-drinking, sushi-eating, tree-hugging crowd.

There’s so much more I could say, but I’ll cut it off here for now.

Barack Obama and Joe Biden are an incredible team, and they will make an incredible president and vice president.

CHAOS at the Somerville Theatre! Sunday, Aug 17 2008 

My sister and I went to see Pineapple Express at the Somerville Theatre yesterday.  The movie was pretty funny but not really my thing; if you’re looking for a stoner movie, I think Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle is MUCH better.

But the real drama had nothing to do with the movie.

I adore the Somerville Theatre and not just because it’s in my neighborhood (at least until I MOVE TO THE BACK BAY two weeks from tomorrow!!!!).  In fact, I give it glowing reviews because they show great movies, they have a giant theater where concerts take place (and where you can also watch movies), and they sell beer and wine.

And about 20 minutes into the film yesterday, disaster struck.

Someone actually POURED BEER OFF THE BALCONY and hit the group in front of us.

Can you believe it?  You always picture that happening — I had always imagined it happening since childhood — but you never REALLY expect it to happen.  And then it does.

And of all the stuff to pour off a balcony, could you really do worse than beer?

Here’s the weird part — I would have been hit as well if I hadn’t moved my seat.  The three people sat directly in front of me.  I think that sitting directly in front of someone in an uncrowded movie theater (there were probably 20 people there, total, in a room that could fit several hundred) is a really rude thing to do.

So I made a face at them and switched seats to Sars’s other side so I could have an unobstructed view.  Sars rolled her eyes at the time.

Dude, I am SO glad I did that.

Finding and Fitting the Perfect Couch Sunday, Aug 17 2008 

I just got back from seeing Pineapple Express with my sister after an eventful day of couch searching.

We went to a few different places on Route 1 but found only one that we liked — and when I say liked, I mean ADORED!

Here it is:

It’s called the Amore II.  It comes with a queen sleeper and the chaise part is MOVABLE!  The long cushion hooks onto an ottoman, so you can put it anywhere you want.  Just think of the possibilities….

But it’s more expensive than others — $849, including shipping but not including tax, which would be $891.45 with tax if we don’t buy it today.  (It’s tax-free weekend in Massachusetts, which I consider to be largely a gimmick unless you’re buying a large item like furniture.)

The money for the couch is coming out of our inheritance from our grandmother, who passed away 15 years ago this summer.  (And honestly, Noni would LOVE this couch!  Even more if it came in purple.)  Because of that, money isn’t as much of an object as it would be ordinarily.

The only problem is its size.  My bedroom is about 10′ by 15″, and my existing bed is about 89″ by 62″.  The couch is 91″ long, or just over 7.5′ long.

But I played around with a lot of layouts and found one that I think works well.

Check it out:

Each box represents six inches.  There are two windows on the side with the desk.

Now, it’s time to make some calls.  If we’re actually going to buy this, we have to do it today.  No pressure or anything…

Wordle Fun Friday, Aug 15 2008 

I just discovered Wordle from The Modern Gal today.  It’s a way of turning words into art.  You submit text — either copied and pasted or from an RSS feed — and they turn it into art that you can customize any way you’d like.

It took me a while to keep it from crashing, so make sure your Java is up to date!

I can’t make the images any larger, so click on them to see the full size.

First of all, I call this one Kate’s Weight Problem. This is actually what you get when you just submit my RSS feed. Weird.

Vegas — made from my entries tagged “Vegas” (I also removed our names, but if I hadn’t, there would have been a giant “Lisa” in the middle of everything)

Friends — made from my entries tagged “My Friends Are Awesome”

Friends II — not including any of the Vegas entries

PoliticaKate — made from my “Politica” entries

I love how it says “GO FOX RUN” in the middle of “People”!

Kanye West — Good Life lyrics

Here are some by other people that I loved:

Yes We Can

Obama’s Speech on Race

Oz

This will amuse you for hours on hand! Enjoy.

Searching for a Sleeper Sofa Monday, Aug 11 2008 

It’s getting so close to move-in day for my sister and me!  We move to our new Back Bay apartment on September 1 — Labor Day.  And I haven’t even begun to pack…

We’ve been searching for a sleeper sofa for our place.  However, it’s difficult because we’re living in a two-bed split.  There’s a small foyer (we’re putting our dining table and chairs in it), a small (not eat-in) kitchen, a decent-sized bathroom and two bedrooms.  Hers is about 10′ by 10′ with a bay window; mine is about 10 ‘ by 15’.

Because of this, we need to put the sofa in my bedroom, along with my queen-sized bed, TV and other furniture.  It’s going to be quite a challenge!

We have no furniture other than beds, desks and dressers, so we went with our mom to Jordan’s Furniture in Reading tonight to check out sleeper sofas.  We tried out several of them.

And, fittingly, we began to pose amusingly with them.

Here are the best pics:

CHOFA!

Be an animal!

Yeah, I don’t know.

The Timeless Art of Seduction (George Costanza): the Sars edition

The Timeless Art of Seduction (George Costanza): the Kails edition

We’re probably going to be spending a LOT of time in this position.

My mom had Sars lie down — she’s 5’9″ — so that she could use her as a unit of measurement.  Of course, right after, she checked the dimensions that were printed on the label.

This is how this sexy sofa makes me feel.

Sars: “I wonder if this one comes with the roofies or if you have to buy them separately.”

Here are three that we liked:

Well, at least I liked this modern one.  It’s crazy expensive, and Sars would kill me if I got it for our place!

We loved this little pumpkin one, and it was so comfortable, but it wasn’t made very well and the material looked like it wouldn’t hold up for the long term.

This is the one that we liked the most so far.  The only thing is that I don’t think it will work with my color pallette.  I have a big brass bed and I was planning on decorating my room in cream and gold with lilac and black accents.  A red couch really doesn’t fit into that.

Of course, all of these can come upholstered in a different fabric, but that will take a long time and be more expensive.

Well, we’ve got time to look.  Any thoughts?

How to Lose Weight: Become a Vegetarian! Tuesday, Aug 5 2008 

I’ve been wanting to write this entry for a long time.  I never, EVER dreamed that I would become a vegetarian, but I did — and the rewards have been phenomenal.  I never dreamed that I would lose weight this easily!

My whole life, I’ve been very skinny, and I grew up in a family of skinny people (as in those who say “I hope there’s food left” whenever a fat family leaves a restaurant).

Essentially, in my family, being fat is the ultimate sin.  Gay?  Awesome.  Dumb as rocks?  Okay.  Republican?  Forgivable.  But fat?  NO.  ABSOLUTELY NOT.

I was always pin-thin growing up, and even remained skinny after I got curvy in late high school and early college.  I never gained the “freshman 15” — I maintained my weight while everyone else gained extra pounds.

However, I gained a lot of weight during my junior year in college.  I studied abroad in Florence during fall of junior year, and that’s when the pounds got packed on.  In addition to enjoying the pasta, pizza, wine and fabulous steaks of Florence, I was also binge drinking to the point of blacking out and/or vomiting at least once a week.  It wasn’t healthy; in fact, it was quite dangerous.  That semester, I gained a LOT of weight.

(That’s when my sister and even my parents started calling me Heavy K.  Sarah drew a cartoon of Heavy K at home, complete with a “forgotten pie” trapped between the rolls in her stomach.  I was the fat one in the family.)

The weight came off a bit being home from Italy for a bit, but senior year, I gained even more, mostly due to drinking and discovering how much I liked to cook.

At any rate, I was the heaviest I had ever been when I graduated from college.  I was always the skinniest girl while growing up, but I ended college at 5’4″ and a weight of 142 pounds.  I had started college at the same height and 111 pounds.

Here I am at the end of college:

Fat Kate and roomie Kelly Anne at the Fairfield Senior Ball at Foxwoods

Fat Kate at the Fairfield Senior Ball at Foxwoods

Fat Kate with BFF Kara at the Family Dance at Fairfield

Fat Kate with her girls at the Levee at Fairfield the night of graduation

Six months after graduation, I moved to Boston and started walking at least two miles a day to and from work.  That helped a bit — about 10 pounds came off — but I was still much heavier than I wanted to be.

This winter, my friend Lisa got me the book Skinny Bitch, which is a bestseller in the U.S.  Basically, it’s a bitchy, no-nonsense diet book for girls — and once you start reading it, it actually tricks you into becoming a vegan.  A vegan, for the record, is one who eats NO animal products, including meat, fish, eggs or dairy.

Skinny Bitch is definitely worth reading — it really surprised me with the information it presented.  However, here are a few of the most interesting facts in the book:

  • No species other than the human race drinks milk past infancy — and we are the only ones who drink milk of a different species.
  • Most of the meat sold in this country, along with most of the dairy, is filled with hormones designed to make animals grow fat — which, in turn, makes you fat.
  • The atrocities that animals face in slaughterhouses are infuriating and heartbreaking, even to someone like me, who is ambivalent at best about most animals.

For the record, this book is not perfect.  But it can point you in the right direction.

I never thought I’d become a vegetarian.  I adore bacon more than anyone else I know, I have a soft spot for buffalo tenders, and I grew to adore the bloodiest steaks imaginable in Florence.

I always made fun of vegetarians and called PETA the “People for the Eating of Tasty Animals.” I considered myself the last person to become a vegetarian.

But after reading about the hormones and toxins in meat, I decided to stop eating meat, just to try it out.  And it was so easy!  Once I stopped, I had no reason to start again!  I didn’t even miss bacon!

For the past six months, I’ve been living a meat-free lifestyle. I acquired new staples to my diet like meat-free Quorn chik’n patties and chik’n nuggets, Morningstar black bean burgers and tomato basil burgers, and soy milk and yogurt.  (I still eat dairy, but much less than before, and if there’s a soy option available, I take it.)  I’ve added more vegetables, more hummus and more snacks like nuts and sunflower seeds.

And the result?

Without adding exercise, I lost another ten pounds without any effort.  That’s 8.5% of my weight.

Do I miss meat?  Nope.  Not at all.  I am SHOCKED — I thought I would at least miss it a little bit, but no!  Once you cut it out, you don’t miss it.  And being vegetarian often forces you to make smarter choices, like eating salads more often.

I will admit that I have fallen off the wagon a few times.  I once decided to try a McDonald’s cheeseburger to see what would happen after a few meat-free months.  The result?  It felt like a heavy weight in my stomach and my entire face broke out within a few hours.

That’s another thing.  My skin has been so much clearer since giving up meat.

But — let’s face it — losing weight is the most important part.

So, let’s take a look at the results!

Skinny Kate in Reading a few weeks ago

Skinny Kate with Joshua at a house party in Jamaica Plain three months ago

Skinny Kate with Holly at Kingston Station in Boston two months ago

Skinny Kate with Lisa in Vegas a month and a half ago

I’m not quite where I want to be in terms of weight.  I have another ten pounds to go before I get to my pre-college weight, but I’m pretty sure that’s unattainable, given the changes a girl’s body goes through between ages 18 and 20.

I’ll never be a size 0, at least not without looking like a freak, and I’ve come to terms with that.  Still, I’d love to lose another five or so.

Becoming a vegetarian has been so much more successful than I ever imagined. I can’t believe it was so easy to lose so much weight.

And now that I’m skinnier, I can wear clothes like this:

That’s me on my 24th birthday this past weekend with my mom and my sister.

And you know what?

They haven’t called me Heavy K in months.

The Current Best of Pundit Kitchen Monday, Aug 4 2008 

I absolutely love Pundit Kitchen — it’s one of my favorite Web sites.

I gathered my favorite pictures that have been posted recently.  Check them out!

But the very best one of all:

The very best picture that has EVER appeared on Pundit Kitchen:

In fact, the best captioned political picture of all time:

LOVE IT!

Besides the last one, my favorites are the Al Gore one and the Romney one.

What are yours?