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.

I met Alec Baldwin today. Thursday, Sep 25 2008 

When I heard that Alec Baldwin would be making an book-signing appearance at the Borders right by my office, I knew I had to go.  I am such a big fan of his.

I know what you’re thinking.  He called his daughter a “rude little pig” in a voicemail that made the rounds across the internet a year ago.  Why would I like this guy?

I’ll paraphrase my friend RyanHe is so damn good on 30 Rock, he makes me forget what a bad father he is. Watch the show — the best comedy on TV by FAR — and you’ll understand why he deserves the Emmy that he won on Sunday.

Besides 30 Rock, I love him as an actor.  I’ll watch him in anything.

Alec recently wrote the book A Promise To Ourselves, a memoir of his divorce and an attack on what he calls the “family law industry.”  I don’t really want to read the book, but I did want to get to meet him!

Alec arrived at Borders and, instead of reading, talked about his experiences.  I couldn’t see him from where I was in line, waiting for my book to be signed, but I could hear him.  And he actually made all the divorce stuff sound entertaining — he made a lot of great points.

And then I rounded the corner.

Dear God, he is SO much better-looking in real life than he is on TV. I’m totally serious.  The camera must add something like 30 pounds.

They were ushering people through pretty quickly, so I knew I’d have to be fast.  That didn’t stop the woman in front of me from having an entire conversation with him.

But the best part was that towards the end of the conversation, he was talking to her but looking at me the whole time.  And his eyes are SO blue.

And then it was my turn.

I handed him the book.

Alec: “Hi.  Who should I make it out to?”

Me: “I’m Kate. I LOVE 30 ROCK. And I really wanted to say to you, ‘It’s after six.  What am I, a farmer?'”

Alec laughed.  That’s one of his lines from the show.

Me: “And I love your pieces on the Huffington Post.  Thank you for all that you’re doing.”

Alec: “Thank you very much for coming.  Good luck to you.”

And that was that.

My book says “To Kate — [squiggle].”

Today was a good day.  🙂

GoodReads Tuesday, Apr 1 2008 

One of my roommates recently introduced me to GoodReads, a really cool site that connects lovers of books.  You can write reviews, read reviews, see what your friends are reading and decide what to read next.

(Ironically, my roommate and I have the complete opposite taste in books!  We discovered that a few weeks after I moved in.  I love The Time Traveler’s Wife; she liked The Secret Life of Bees.)

I’ve always checked out books on Amazon first, but this is so much better — you don’t have to scroll forever to find reviews, you can just click and the whole review appears, and you don’t have to deal with ads and Listmania! everywhere.

Check out my profile here.  I’ve reviewed five of my favorite books, including hilarious memoir Julie & Julia, the hardcore Lonely Planet Bluelist 2007 and my all-time favorite, The Sun Also Rises.

Sign up and add me as a friend!

BSC books we wish existed Monday, Feb 25 2008 

I was looking around the Baby-Sitters Club Online Community (which pretty much consists of grown-up girls in their twenties and thirties who thoroughly mock each and every book with plenty of snark.  The best example of this is Claudia’s Room — it’s brilliant.

People always talk about the books that should have been.  One reader, thesilverstrand, created a ton of great icons with the book tales that we wish existed!  Check them out:

bsc2.pngbsc4.pngbsc3.pngbsc7.png

bsc6.pngbsc8.pngbsc9.pngbsc1.png 

Hilarious.

Bluelistin’ 2008 Monday, Feb 25 2008 

I just bought the 2008 edition of Lonely Planet’s Bluelist.  This is one of the best travel books out there if you’re looking for the latest, trendiest and most outlandish in travel destinations.

This edition is much more unusual and outlandish than 2007’s.  Because of that, I’ve done hardly anything in the book!  (With stuff like space travel, jailhouse hotels and the most dangerous travel experiences, it’s tough to do any of them!)

I recently visited my first of the top travel destinations in 2007: New Mexico.

2008’s top destinations include Eritrea; Armenia; Australia’s Tiwi Islands; Damascus, Syria; the Raan region of Nicaragua; the Bolivian Amazon, and the Azores (where you can fly DIRECT FROM BOSTON now!).  The ones most likely to be done  by an American are Colorado and Miami, and I’ve visited neither.

So, without further ado, the destinations and travel ideas that I have experienced myself:

Destinations:
–Bologna, Italy (many times, but always briefly)

Countries with the Largest Islamic Populations:
–France (4.8 million, or 7.5% of the total population)
–United States (3 million, or 1.0% of the total population)

Bluelists:

Now you see them, now you…. (Disappearing Destinations)
–Venice

“I’ve been everywhere, man” (Travel Bragging Rights)
–Romancing

Best Brews
–Yuengling in USA
–Guinness in Ireland

Friendliest Countries
–Ireland
–USA

Like the Song? (Best Destination Songs)
–“Life on Mars” by David Bowie
–“Girl from Ipanema” by Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto

Food Wonderlands of the World
–Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, USA
–Hershey’s Chocolate World, USA

Metropolis Mania (World’s Most Incredible Cities)
–New York, USA

Know Your Travel (Travel Type Trends)
–Armchair Tourism
–Pop Culture Tourism (white chocolate statue of Michael Jackson, aka the main reason why I went to Budapest!)

By the Seat of Your Pants….Literally (Strange Ways to Sit)
–Paragliding
–Gondola ride in Venice

Check out below for the dreamed-about destinations.

(more…)

Taking Travel Inventory Monday, Sep 24 2007 

Today I bought an incredible book: Rough Guides’ Make the Most of Your Time on Earth: A Rough Guide to the World. The book lists 1000 ultimate travel experiences, several paragraphs describing each of them. The book is FAT and HEAVY.

Going through it makes me feel a bit sad — I know that I’ll never be able to accomplish all 1000 of these things. Nobody could. (Some of them are quite long, like hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, and biking the Camino de Santiago, which I hope to walk someday.)

However, I find it quite inspirational, and that is the reason why I read travel books. They give me life. They give me new dreams every day.

For now, here are the experiences that I have already accomplished:

33) On the Fiddle: Attending a Traditional Irish Music Session

I remember a great pub in Dublin with my family — we used to listen to a lot of Irish music when I was little, and to hear it live and enthusiastic and the entire pub getting into it — SO good.

75) Taking a Trip up the Eiffel Tower

Not as good as ascending Notre-Dame.

93) Gathering Friends for a Swiss Fondue

On our last afternoon in Interlaken — we had to do it before we left Switzerland!

101) Impressionist Paintings at the Musee d’Orsay

Three times so far. It’s my favorite museum.

118) Paying your Respects in Normandy

Though I was sixteen and not as mature as I would be today.

210) Finding Yourself on Capri

Finding EVERYTHING on Capri. It has a spell over you — I actually considered living there someday, and except for its beauty and great food, it’s the least me place ever!

215) On the Trail of Caravaggio

I took Italian Baroque Art when I was in Florence, and visited several of Caravaggio’s works in Florence and Rome.

227) The Colosseum in Winter

I was there in March, so that was definitely winter.

248) Getting the Measure of the Medicis: The Uffizi

Twice. Amazing.

265) Doing Penance in the Sistine Chapel

Twice again. Spellbound.

273) Looking for Pasta Heaven

Most memorably at Acqua al’2 with its assagio di primi, or pasta sampler.

279) Venice: Europe’s First Modern City

It is a miracle.

285) Visiting the Home of Pizza

Oh, Italy! I miss you so much!

289) Soothe Your Troubles at Hotel Gellert

Soaked in the Budapest baths, and inadvertently got a boob massage.

530) Choosing the Right Philly Cheesesteak

When there for Glee Club, the Philly natives assisted. It was that black and white place.

532) Visiting Harvard Yard

I was just across from Harvard Yard in the Coop when I first read this book!

565) Lost for Words at the Grand Canyon

When I was nine. Have to return.

567) Getting Lost within the Walls of Vieux-Quebec

Last March with James and Mike! Love Vieux-Quebec.

593) Form a Lasting Impression at Niagara Falls

Amazing.

(Also, I did not cheat at all, though I was tempted. “Gorging on Chocolates in Brussels” and “Have a Beer in Brussels” are on the list, and even though I did both in nearby Bruges, I didn’t count it.)

Altogether, that’s 19, or 1.9%. There is so much left to discover.

Some Thoughtful Quotes Tuesday, Jul 10 2007 

I recently finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. What a wonderful book! I usually like to shy away from books that are being read by the masses, but I’m crazy about memoirs — travel memoirs in particular. As a memoir, it’s almost perfect.

I’m not going to go into too much detail, only to tell you to READ IT. It was so inspirational — the most inspirational book I’ve read since Rita Golden Gelman’s Tales of a Female Nomad (which my mom is reading and loving right now).

There are two quotes in this book that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since.

The first:

“I am so surprised sometimes to notice that my sister is a wife and a mother, and I am not. Somehow I always thought it would be the opposite. I thought it would be me who would end up with a houseful of muddy boots and hollering kids, while Catherine would be living by herself, a solo act, reading alone at night in her bed….Against all predictions, we’ve created lives that tally with us. Her solitary nature means she needs a family to keep her from loneliness; my gregarious nature means I will never have to worry about being alone, even when I’m single.”
–Chapter 30

The second:

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it.”
–Chapter 48

Bluelistin’ Sunday, Apr 15 2007 

One of my favorite travel books is Lonely Planet’s Bluelist 2007. This book is for serious travelers who have already done a lot of traveling and want to explore the latest travel trends around the world. The book profiles the top 11 destinations, is filled with crazy lists like “Best Music & Place Combinations” (Hip Hop in NYC; Salsa in Havana; Punk in Tokyo) and “Most Deserted Islands” (Australia’s Ball’s Pyramid leads the list on that one). There is also an in-depth section on “Dark Tourism,” a new phenomenon, in addition to the GoList, the top new exotic 30 destinations, and short profiles on every country in the world.

I went through the book and checked off everything I’ve done. Here are the results:

Top 11 Destinations:

3) USA
4) Italy
6) Britain
7) Canada
8) France

Bluelists:

9) The Middle of Somewhere: Find a place that takes you away from it all
–Palatine Hill, Rome, Italy
–Petrin Hill, Prague, Czech Republic

10) Best Places to Wed
–Tuscany, Italy

11) Great Literary Itineraries
–Florence, Italy (A Room with a View — haven’t read it)
–Los Angeles, California, USA (Charles Bukowski — haven’t read his stuff)
–Rouen, France (Madame Bovary — haven’t read that either!)

12) Tourists Traps Worth the Crowds
–Old Town, Prague, Czech Republic
–Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
–Florence, Italy
–Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

18) In Search of Great People
–Kafka in Prague, Czech Republic

22) Best Journeys
–Floating in a Gondola in Venice, Italy
–Riding the Subway in New York City, New York, USA

25) Tiny Countries Packing a Big Punch
–Monaco (1.95 sq. km)

27) Best Travel Gadgets
–Digital Camera
–MP3 Player/iPod

29) Best Value Destinations
–Hungary
–Czech Republic

32) Paranormal Travel
–Stonehenge, England

39) Bluelist Online Winners’ Lists
A) How to Get There Without Really Going There
–London, England = India
–San Francisco, California, USA = China
–Boston, Massachusetts, USA = Ireland
–New York City, New York, USA = The World

B) Best Places to People-Watch
–The Louvre, Paris, France

C) World Senses: Smells
–Coffee in Italy

As for the Golist, here are the thirty hottest destinations of this very moment (only one of which I have visited):
–Alaska Highway
–Antarctica
–Brooklyn, New York, USA (have visited!)
–Central Bulgaria
–Northeast Cambodia
–Cartagena, Colombia
–Cornwall, England
–Danube Delta, Romania
–Finland
–Gabon
–Ilha de Santa Catarina, Brazil
–Northeast India
–Jordan
–Southern Laos
–Madagascar
–Maluku, Indonesia
–La Mosquitia, Honduras
–Namibia and Botswana
–New Mexico, USA
–New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
–Northern Ireland
–Oriente, Ecuador
–Northern Patagonia, Chile
–Portland, Oregon, USA
–Puglia and Basilicata, Italy
–San Sebastian
–Somaliland, Somalia
–Tohoku, Japan
–Turkmenistan
–Xinjiang, China

This book will make ANYBODY dream about travel.

Newman is a CREEPY PERVERT! Saturday, Mar 31 2007 

I have more than a few obsessions: celebrity gossip, world travel, Sex and the City. But there’s one that stands above all: the Baby-Sitters Club.

I started reading the books when I was seven, and I haven’t stopped. Those books were my LIFE. And a few years ago, I discovered all these communities of girls in their twenties who used to read the books back in the day, and who meet to talk about them, to discuss them as adults, to wonder if the real reason why Kristy’s dad left her family was because he knew David Michael wasn’t his son. (There are plenty of arguments for that.)

Anyways, the communities are great, and I’m not afraid to admit that I love them. There’s an awesome and hilarious blog on the right of this page, called “Claudia’s Room.” The girl who writes it is a librarian who started rereading them, and writes with shock, horror, and a LOT of humor.

Anyways, in one of the communities, someone was writing about how they were watching Seinfeld (the episode when Kramer and Newman try to return all their cans in Michigan to make 10 cents off each can), and there’s a brief scene in Newman’s apartment. The girl who was watching it noticed that he had an unusually turquoise video mixed into the stacks….and what could a bright turquoise video in the 90s be?

BABY-SITTERS CLUB!!

Someone took a screencap:

And that’s just gross. All along, Newman was watching the baby-sitters, and not for the plot value. (Believe me, these videos had NO plot value WHATSOEVER.) I can just picture him, the room dark, the TV on. Newman is eating popcorn or maybe some fried chicken — and sweating profusely.

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.

On Irresponsibility….and more Friday, Jan 12 2007 

I’ve been responsible. If you look at the simplest details of my life, most specifically my life post-college, it adds up to conventional perfection.

I graduated from a great college, took two months off, got a job, got promoted, lived at home for a while to save up money, and moved out to a nice house in a neighborhood that was probably the safest choice, as well as the closest T-accessible neighborhood to my family. I pay my bills on time, I work hard, I barely drink, I wouldn’t even dream of touching drugs. I’m nice to old people, I’m polite, and I’m the antithesis of dysfunction.

And some part of me wants it to come crashing down.

It’s no secret that I’ve shunned convention in the name of wanting to live an exciting, adventurous, interesting life. But now it seems like I’m falling into the trap of being completely normal and unsurprising! And that makes me want to be unconventional to the point of being irresponsible.

Not in a boringly irresponsible way, though. If I decide to rebel, it won’t be by not paying my Amex bill on time, or by doing drugs or doing nothing at work.

I just want to get away more and more….I want to become a vagabond.

I want to travel with nothing more than a tiny pack on my back with my passport, sunscreen and an extra pair of undies!!

I’m definitely feeling the call more these days….I’m still saving up as much as I can afford to. As of tomorrow, when my big Chri$tmas check comes in, I’ll have around $2850.00 saved towards the trip. That’s a bit over 10% of the total amount I want to save.

(Is it bad that sometimes I think of blowing it all on a nose job?)

I’ve been reading The Drifters, by James Michener, and it’s a really great book so far….it’s about six young people around my age who all end up in Torremolinos, Spain, during the late 1960s, and they end up living as nomads, traveling, working, and living in a world devoted to hedonism.

If anything, it gives me the reassurance that if I want to travel for a long period of time, I can work in lots of different ways to keep the cash coming in. If only it weren’t for those pesky student loans I’ll be paying back until I’m 37….

But after everything, and ESPECIALLY after moving my bed, I know that I’m going to be here for a while. For years. And I’m happy. And I’m having a great time.

But I keep having the urges to throw everything away for the sake of an adventure…..

In other news, I saw Dreamgirls and The Departed today, continuing to work on seeing all the Oscar movies ahead of time. I loved Dreamgirls — more the beginning than any other part, and Jennifer Hudson has an AMAZING voice, and Eddie Murphy was great too — but then The Departed!! WOW!! I loved everything about it. The writing was excellent, the acting was excellent, and I loved those little Scorsesian touches of violence, like when Leonardo DiCaprio stabbed the guy in the face with that long fork, and the hand in the bag….I was surprised that only a few of the Boston accents were deplorably bad. Most were okay, but there was only one that made me cringe. One of the women.

And the scene at “344 Washington Street” in South Boston, that takes place RIGHT down the street from my office! I loved that, and was there a part that very briefly took place in Lynn? I think I saw a Lynn police cruiser very briefly, like blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, and there were two bodies that looked like they were by the reservoir.

I mean, Dreamgirls was really great, too. It was nice to see a musical that wasn’t too Broadway — most Broadway kind of gives me the creeps, but I love R&B, Soul, Motown, and the sixties and seventies. And the costumes were SENSATIONAL — I hope the designer wins the Oscar. There was one dress in particular that the Dreams wore that I loved — this long red poncho-type gown top with gold piping down the middle over these shiny gold pants. It sounds gaudy, but it was nothing short of GORGEOUS.

I’m going to be doing a little travel reading after I Love New York is over (GREAT show!!!! Love the guys!!!!), and then bed, then laundry and The View (I’m addicted) in the morning. I hope it continues to be a snow-free winter!

Life and Literature Thursday, Dec 28 2006 

I finished The White Masai by Corinne Hofmann a few weeks ago. What a great book. It’s about a woman who, while vacationing in Kenya with her boyfriend, falls in love with a Masai warrior on the spot, then moves to the bush with him! It took me a long time to get into it, but the second half was much more incredible than the first.

Strangely, I liked the book better when their relationship started to unravel. That’s never happened before — I can’t tell you how much I cried through The Time Traveler’s Wife….I’d say more, but I don’t want to ruin one of the most phenomenal books I’ve ever read. I love the romance. But not this time.

But the best part, in my opinion, is the subtitle. An exotic tale of love and adventure.

I want that to be the subtitle of my biography. Or maybe the first line in my obituary.

That, in my opinion, is a life well-lived. Filled with love — at least one great love, as it says up in the top right corner of this blog — and adventure. A life of making huge decisions on a whim, hopping on planes at the very last moment, embracing the complicated, the impossible, the painful, all in the name of making life more interesting. All in the name of feeling more, even if it’s pain.

Think of it like a novel. Nobody wants to read about a neat life all sewn up and perfect. I couldn’t understand the blind happiness in The White Masai when Corinne and Lketinga were blissfully happy together, despite being unable to speak the other’s language. If all you know is blind happiness, then are you truly living?

I’m enjoying a very complicated life right now. And I know it will only grow more complicated. But I like it that way. I cry. I dream. I change. I am.

COMMUTER HELL Thursday, Nov 2 2006 

Oh my God.

To think that I thought this morning’s commute would be the worst part of the day.

First, though, here’s a review of my commute: first I drive to the Reading Depot, where I park for free (with my resident parking sticker, which is $25.00 per year) and then either take the train to North Station in Boston or switch to the orange line on the T (the subway) at Malden Center, then take it to Downtown Crossing, where I usually walk to work. If it’s cold or rainy, I switch to the red line and take it one stop to South Station, and I walk to work from there.

Altogether:

Drive to Reading Depot: 7 minutes
(wait time: app. 3 minutes)
Train to Boston: 30 minutes
(walk/wait time: 6 minutes)
T to Downtown Crossing: 5 minutes
Walk to work: 15 minutes

I’ve had problems, but today was, by FAR, the worst.

I usually get on the second-to-last car because the last one usually has the uncomfortable kind of seats, the kind in which you’re always pitching forward slightly. So I got in the second-to-last car and it was the kind with the uncomfortable seats! I settled down, noticing that the hoodie on my sweater made it worse, then I squished myself into an interesting position with my awesome book (Tales of a Female Nomad — I also just finished Julie and Julia, which was great, too).

And then the lights went out.

The generator exploded.

Great.

I could still read a tiny bit, and since I was getting off 10 minutes early at Malden, it didn’t matter to me. I’ve been reading a lot of travelogues lately, and I decided, at least I’m not on a derailing train in the middle of the desert in Pakistan!

So I got off and went on to have a mostly uneventful day.

On the way home, I decided to take the slightly longer walk, since it was such a nice night. (And I absolutely LOVE that it’s dark when I leave work now — when I cross the channel, I get an unparalleled view of the Financial District all lit up!) As a result, I ended up walking into North Station at 5:32, missing the earlier train at 5:30.

No problem, I thought to myself. I usually get the 5:52 anyway. I’m listening to my awesome new John Legend album and I can wait 20 minutes.

Well.

It was delayed.

There were problems with the Reading/Haverhill line. They never said exactly what it was. All I know was that the first train didn’t come until 6:20 — and it didn’t stop in Reading! They skipped all the close stops and only went to the ones between Reading and Haverhill — also known as the stops THAT DON’T MATTER.

I kept waiting. I listened to my favorite songs on the album (“Heaven,” “P.D.A. (We Just Don’t Care)” and “Again,” which are all worthy downloads) several times, then read my book for awhile. The annoying kids next to me blasted “Smack Dat” and “Lips of an Angel” (God, I hate that song) on their phones. Ugh. I tried to counter it with some Boyz II Men.

Furthermore, there were NO CUTE GUYS THERE.

About half an hour, there was another Haverhill-bound train — only it was starting in WEST MEDFORD, thus skipping Reading AGAIN!!!

I kept waiting and the 6:15 train, which had been delayed forever, never came. I called my dad, but he was at the movies seeing The Departed. My mom was at the dentist. And then my mom came home and I told her that I kept thinking the train was going to come but it wasn’t….she told me to take the orange line to Oak Grove and she’d pick me up. I always feel bad when I ask her to do that. It’s 20 minutes from her house, which isn’t that bad, but it always feels much further than it is.

It took me 15 minutes to get from North Station to Oak Grove. That’s it. And I had spent an hour and a half in North Station.

Well, I guess it could have been worse — I could have resorted to taking the 137 bus! Hahaha. That bus always scared me when I was in high school and worked at CVS.

I am EXHAUSTED. Time to take a shower and hopefully fall into bed by 10:30.

Life, recently Saturday, Sep 23 2006 

Sars came home for the night and we went to see Jackass Number Two. Oh my God….now THAT is a movie you should see in a huge theater on opening night, even more so than Snakes on a Plane. I almost threw up twice — and I don’t do that, ever!! That was from two segments: “How to Milk a Horse” and “The Fart Helmet.” So disgusting.

But other than that, the movie was AWESOME. I love Jackass. It’s a family favorite (my mom is actually a pretty big fan of it, especially the Party Boy). I love going to movies where you can laugh and scream the whole time — last night was a great catharsis to a chaotic week.

Work is still going well, and this week I’ve spoken French, Italian and Spanish as well as a few Portuguese phrases. I did a lot of research for something in Brazil and I’ve found out that I can actually read Portuguese really easily. Unfortunately, though, I think I have to downgrade my Spanish knowledge to “reading only,” rather than ability to speak it. It’s very bad.

And there’s this video that you have to see. Apparently it was designed for Japanese people learning English, but it is SO HORRIBLE that I don’t think it can do anything….oh my God….you must check this out.

And the conductor, the one who talked to me and keeps saying I’m attractive and all that, gave me a schedule on the way to work the other day. I didn’t think anything of it (I’m SO GULLIBLE!) and just put it in my purse, not even thinking to open it until I was at work. Inside it had his name and phone number, plus “Smile!” and a smiley face. He doesn’t think I smile enough. Which is interesting, because yesterday, after showing this to Mike and Ian at work, Ian told me that the thing he noticed about me was that I was always smiling. Interesting.

I am so exhausted. This week just took so much out of me. Ordinarily I’d be getting all ready to go out and go crazy, but at the moment, the perfect weekend would be just sitting back, writing, reading my awesome book (“High School Confidential” by Jeremy Iversen — you should check it out; it’s much better than I thought it was going to be) and being a lump.

Also, Kara left for Bolivia a few days ago. She’ll be volunteering in Cochabamba for at least five months. 😦 I’m sad — I’m really going to miss her. But she’s going to be having some unbelievable adventures. And she’ll be surely meeting cute guys from all over the world. But best of all, she’s going to have a blog. So Kara, YOU BETTER BE WRITING IN IT ALL THE TIME!!!

In terms of going abroad and having adventures, I know that that’s something I have to do down the road. Living abroad again, for a longer time and in a much more authentic environment than I lived in in Florence. Before I’m 30, hopefully. Just eventually.

I also figured out that if I keep saving $100.00 each week and not spend any of it, after four years I’ll be able to afford a decent yearlong trip around the world. (In the book “One Year Off”, by David Elliot Cohen, which I love, a family of six traveled around the world for a year for $120,000.00. Granted, that was 10 years ago, but I think I could do it reasonably for $20,000.00.) If I save for two years instead, I think I could still do a yearlong trip — I’d just have to spend more time in cheaper areas, like Latin America and Southeast Asia, do a lot of couch-surfing, and stay out of Europe and Japan. That could be just as or even more rewarding than a more expensive trip, though.

And I’d be alone.

That’s what it’s coming down to. I know I’m an extremely independent person, and there’s nobody whose company I could take for that amount of time (except for my sister). Even if I have a decent boyfriend by then. I remember when we were in Budapest and shared a room with a young Australian couple. The guy kept talking to us, and us only, and his girlfriend was upset that he was ignoring her. He was probably just sick of her after traveling the world with her for months.

Oh well.

This is several years down the road, so I shouldn’t even be thinking about that.

Vita Tuesday, Aug 29 2006 

Have I mentioned lately that I love my job? 😀 It’s awesome….I never thought that I’d luck out this much. My coworkers are hilarious.

I’ve been looking into moving out, but it looks like I won’t be able to for a few months. That really frustrates me, especially with the whole half-and-half divorced parents living situation (I’m really too old to be doing that at 22!) And that’s so tough to deal with. But financially, it’s going to be REALLY tough. Especially since my habit of never buying anything (for example, I buy clothes right after my birthday and Christmas, THAT’S IT) is starting to catch up to me. I need more stuff. I’m tired of wearing the same stuff every day. I need to buy a lot of CLOTHES, start establishing some credit (I thought I was, but I wasn’t actually) and cut up my Victoria’s Secret Angel Card. (They don’t send me coupons anymore, so there are exactly zero benefits to having one.)

In terms of an apartment, what would be ideal? Neighborhood-wise, someplace nice, and beautiful, and near a LOT of stuff. RIGHT by the T, as well as some bars. I’m not picky about the neighborhood — my preference is going to Brookline/Brighton/Allston, but I’d do Cambridge/Somerville too. I don’t see myself living in Dorchester, and I can’t afford any of the nice neighborhoods right in Boston. I loved having tons of roommates in Florence, and I would love to do that again (provided there are PLENTY of bathrooms). As for living with guys….I’m leaning towards no on that. (Maybe I should consider that, though. Guys are mostly drama-free.) I’d love living in a house with tons of people, but I really have no preference. And I’d like to pay under $500.

I should stop thinking about it….all the Craigslist ads at the moment are all “WE NEED SEPT 1 NOW!!!!!!! 420FRIENDLY”. Yeah.

Other tidbits:

–Sars moves into Emerson on Sunday. God, she’s all grown up now. And she gets to go to COLLEEEEEEEGE!

–Lisa started grad school at UNH today. Check out my AIM profile for a great convo on that.

–The Emmys were awesome — because of CONAN O’BRIEN!!! Love that man!!!

–The Step Up soundtrack is pretty great too — loved the movie, but the soundtrack is great on its own, too. It’s a perfect mix of hip hop and r&b.

–I can’t remember what I blog, so forgive me if I repeat.

–I bought a great book today: “Talking Right: How Conservatives Turned Liberalism into a Tax-Raising, Latte-Drinking, Sushi-Eating, Volvo-Driving, New York Times-Reading, Body-Piercing, Hollywood-Loving, Left-Wing Freak Show” by Geoffrey Nunberg. It’s about political linguistics, which is really interesting. At the moment, the conservatives are thriving, due to how they work well with language and communication. This shows a lot of how Democrats can crawl out and start communicating better. It’s really good stuff! I’ve never bought a political nonfiction book before, but I guess it was time. I saw the author on the Colbert Report.

–You know it’s hard out here!

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