And THAT is how I roll. Wednesday, Sep 30 2009 

Believe it or not, I actually joined a gym.  I’m now a member of Healthworks Back Bay — an amazing and beautiful women’s gym.  I love it already.

Yes, those would be TVs on every single cardio machine. Plus tons of great classes, a eucalyptus-scented steam room, a spa, an on-site chiropractor, and the hands-down prettiest and best-smelling locker room I have ever seen.

Since I’ve never belonged to a gym before, I read up on how to get the best membership deal.  I’ve heard that people who work at gyms are really pushy but if you’re savvy, you can score yourself a better rate.

I brought in quotes from cheaper gyms, plus an offer to start without a fee at one of the fanciest gyms in Boston.  I planned to offer to do a blog entry on The Grammar Vandal, armed with traffic numbers — but then I didn’t have to do a thing.

“Where do you work?” the membership adviser asked me.  I told her and she was actually a fan of our company.  And then she told me she was about to go to Vegas with her girlfriends for the first time.

DING DING DING DING DING.

“You know, I go to Vegas all the time,” I told her. “I could definitely hook you up with one of my nightlife guys.  He’d get you in anywhere you want to go.”

She was so excited, she nearly hyperventilated.

We spent the next ten minutes discussing Vegas — what to do and not to do, the best clubs (Tryst! XS! Body English!), and how to make sure she doesn’t have to wait in a single line.

It was a smashing success for us both.

She left with the number of one of my nightlife guys.

I left with a new membership — plus no initiation fee, a $25 gift card, a coupon for a free eyebrow wax, two more group training packages, two personal training sessions, and extended my access to all five clubs for a few weeks.  That alone is a great deal — and THEN she threw in an entire month for free!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Vegas connections will get you ANYWHERE.

An Open Letter to the State of California Monday, Sep 28 2009 

khloe-lamar

Dear California,

Khloe Kardashian got married last night.  She married Lamar Odom, a player for the Los Angeles Lakers, one month to the day after they met.

Why the rush?  Perhaps because her famous sister Kourtney created a media frenzy when she announced her unplanned pregnancy, then created a new mini-frenzy with dozens of pregnancy statements thereafter.  Khloe realized she could get the same spotlight, minus the stretch marks.

Why are they famous? Well, their sister Kim created a sex tape with Ray-J, pre-“Sexy Can I,” back when he was only known as singer Brandy’s brother.

kim-ray-j

Seriously.  The sex tape spun off into a reality show: Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Anyway, due to her pseudo-celebrity stature, Khloe’s wedding was paid for by E!, the network on which her reality show airs.  250 guests attended, including E! celebrities Ryan Seacrest and Chelsea Handler.  The cost is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $1 million.

After a tabloid bidding war, the newlyweds will be paid $1 million by OK! for the rights to the photos.

No legal ceremony has taken place.  It may not even get that far.

GAY-MARRIAGE

And yet in the very same state, thousands of same-sex couples do not have the right to marry the people they love.  Though same-sex marriage was legal in California for a few months, it was voted down by a narrow margin by California voters last November.

I know that most people who vote against same-sex marriage, in California or elsewhere, are bigots.  Some of them just aren’t aware.  Many of them cite upholding the “sanctity of marriage” as a factor in their decision.

So, California, I’d like to write you a letter to thank you.

Thanks for taking away the right to marry to thousands of law-abiding citizens, California.  Thanks for denying it to people who want nothing more than to live their lives in peace.  Thanks for keeping it for only people who deserve to be married, like Khloe Kardashian.  She’ll be a great example.

Photo of the Week Sunday, Sep 27 2009 

I saw this photo and had to post it:

The Obamas with the President and First Lady of Cameroon.

I can hear it now: “I’M GONNA GET YOUR MAN, MICHELLE!”

Cheap dates in Boston? Yes. Saturday, Sep 5 2009 

Jason and I had a quite unusual but really fun night last night.  Best of all, we spent almost nothing!

After work, we took the T to Central Square in Cambridge and walked to Union Square in Somerville.  It’s a little over a mile.  Halfway, we stopped in Inman Square for sandwiches at All-Star Sandwich Bar.

Then in Union, we made it to the main event: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in Smellovision.

It was way more than just a movie on a screen. Scents were fanned out based on what was happening in the movie!  Oompa Loompas would walk by with giant fans dusted with cocoa powder or pixie stick dust, and it was lovely.

Best of all, everybody who snagged a seat (we made it JUST in time!) got a bag filled with candy.  The Willy Wonka-dressed woman at the front would hold up signs saying, “Eat the lollipop!” and “Eat a chocolate bar!” when they corresponded with the scenes on-screen.  We also blew bubbles during the bubble scene and pulled those exploding popper things at the end.

(Side note: this movie SO could not get made today. Jason and I alternatively winced and laughed hysterically at the numerous pedophily moments!)

After that, we meandered slowly up to Harvard, stopping in a field to look at the stars.

Harvard was our final destination because b. good — an awesome, healthier fast food chain — was having a party!  And with that party, they were featuring FREE BURGERS from midnight until 2:00 AM!

So good.  So, so good.

My favorite part, however, was that the party had a DJ — and he was playing my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE genre of music, 1995ish hip-hop and R&B!  I love it because that’s when I was 10 and started listening to music and discovered Jam’n 94.5. The first song he played was Adina Howard’s Freak Like Me. LOVED IT.

After that, we went across the street to Herrell’s Ice Cream — but realized that neither of us wanted to eat a whole cone.  We each got a free sample and were good to go.

A fun, event-filled night for less than $10.  The only thing we spent money on was the sandwiches at the beginning of the night.  That was IT.  I can tell we’ll be doing more of this in the future!

How to save and have fun in Boston:

  • Visit sites like going.com (by FAR the best!), Yelp and Boston.com events to find out what’s going on.
  • Get half-priced tickets at Gold Star Events and subscribe to Groupon for one huge coupon every day.
  • Don’t avoid neighborhoods if you live downtown — Cambridge and Somerville, particularly Somerville, have quirky residents and quirky events…many of them free.
  • Honestly, ditch the alcohol and get cheap food.  That’s what will always save you the most.

Back to the Blog Thursday, Sep 3 2009 

God, I miss blogging here.  It’s been over a month.  But when you stop for awhile, it becomes SO difficult to pick it up again!

To make it easier, I’ll just do a quick recap:

Birthday

I turned 25 a month ago. It’s the second year that I would have been fine staying the same age.

But we celebrated the best way possible. I usually have some kind of blowout, but I scaled it down this year.  Two awesome meals: one with the boyfriend at Erbaluce, and one with the girls at Cuchi Cuchi. Perfect.

Then Legal Seafoods with Mom and Santarpio’s with Dad. BEYOND PERFECT.

Cancun

Jason (the boooooooyfriend!) and I went to Cancun for a long weekend and had a blast. I’ve never been to the Caribbean, nor even been on a beach vacation, and it was fantastic. Gorgeous beach. Delicious food. WILD nightlife — it’s like a casual Vegas with a beach! Senor Frogs is probably my new favorite bar ever, we became best friends with our shot girl, and yes, Jason went down the waterslide into the alligator-infested lagoon.

He is just as crazy as I am, and that makes me very happy.

On our last night, we trekked into downtown Cancun, in an area where tourists never go, and found a tiny karaoke bar. We warbled through With or Without You — the locals just sang mariachi-heavy songs. It was just a really, really great trip. 🙂

Oh, also — we got offered cocaine three times in a row on this weird side street.  I have never even SEEN cocaine in person, ever, and guys kept jumping in front of us, offering to get us the good stuff. After the third maniac tried to stop us, we got the hell out of there.

The Piano

Wow, this was a really weird incident.  I saw a sign up in my apartment building advertising a piano for $200 or best offer. Of course, I called the girl right away! It was old, but good quality. And she told me, “You can have it.”

Well, I took that to mean, “You can have it for free.”

Not the case.

Long story short: She asked me for $200, I told her I had never even made an offer, and after a bit of negotiating, she told me I could have it for free.

I came home from work. It wasn’t there.

Girl: “Wow, it’s not there? Wow, that’s really weird.”

Me: “Well, it’s not there. Do you think someone else would have taken it?”

Girl: “Um, no! You were the only person I talked to!  And I was SUPPOSED to get $200 from you but then you said you wouldn’t pay, so maybe there were other people who wanted to pay me instead!”

Me: “All right. Well, thanks for lying to me, and I hope you learned something from this. Set a price early, confirm it, and maybe when you’re more mature, you’ll have better business sense.”

Then, because I live for irony, I hung up on her.

It wouldn’t have fit in my apartment, anyway.

Senator Kennedy

I was so upset when he died.

I knew this day was coming, but I hoped it wouldn’t be for a long time.  I wanted to pay my respects as a Massachusetts resident, so I went to see the motorcade, which went right by my office. As the hearse went by, everybody clapped. The family waved to us.

Ted always stood up for us, always. He was always on our side. And now that he’s gone, I have no idea if there’s anyone left who would do that for us.

Random Tidbits

Jason and I want to attempt the hot dog-eating challenge at Spike’s Junkyard Dogs.  We then want to take a food road trip and go to a place in Pennsylvania with 15-pound burgers and the place in Brooklyn that will deep-fry anything you bring in. (In other news, I’m in the middle of a two-week vegan fast again.)

Sars and I have officially lived in our Back Bay/Fenway/Symphony Triangle apartment for a year now! And while this place has plenty of faults, we love it.

The Boston mayoral election is coming up. I’m supporting city councilor Sam Yoon. While it seems like so many people are ready for Menino to go (he’s done a lot of good for the city, but he has been mayor for SIXTEEN YEARS!), I’m not sure how easy that will be — he has three challengers, and I bet they’ll split the vote.

Three of my favorite books ever are coming out as movies right now. I loved Julie and Julia; I have yet to see The Time Traveler’s Wife (but considering the painfully sappy trailer, I don’t have high hopes), and I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell is coming out soon.

Books: I’ve been reading all of my birthday books and LOVED THEM ALL. From Dad, Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea and Unmasked: The Final Years of Michael Jackson were great — I read them both in Cancun.

And if you’ve read Eat, Pray, Love, YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST read Drink, Play, F#@k. It’s a hilarious book written from the point of view of her husband — and rather than being about eating in Italy, praying in India, and loving in Bali, it’s about drinking in Ireland, gambling in Vegas, and getting back in the sack in Thailand. Lisa got it for me and it was stellar.

Current book: The Ridiculous Race. Sars got it for me. It’s about two guys — both sitcom writers, incidentally — who decide to race around the world. Without airplanes! Perfect book for me. I love it.

Regular blogging SHALL resume! At least once a week.