Why Spoiler Alerts are Important

  • Posted on July 31, 2007 at 6:47 pm

I admit it, I am a fan of Harry Potter. Not one of those people that dresses up in a Hogwarts uniform and eats Every Flavor Beans and casts spells and tries out for the local Quidditch team. I tend to get the books confused because they all get jumbled up in my head. I like Harry Potter, and I’ve read all of the first six books. I bought the last one, but I’m not going to start reading it until I’m done with the current book I’m reading. I’m a fan, just not an uber-fan.

So when I saw the headline on Yahoo News–”Harry Potter author talks about ending”–I didn’t think that it meant they were actually going to talk about the ending. I even kept reading after the warning: “SPOILER ALERT: THOSE WHO DO NOT WANT TO KNOW HOW IT ALL TURNS OUT FOR THE BOY WIZARD SHOULD STOP READING HERE.” I thought, yeah right, the author is not really talking about the end. Just hinting at it.

Why oh why didn’t I head the warning? It’s completely ruined for me. Just the same way I ruined Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. I’m not even going to link to the article, because I don’t want to ruin it for you, in case you are like me and you didn’t read the entire book in one sitting the day it came out.

Damn you, internet news article. But I’m still going to read the book.

There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch

  • Posted on July 30, 2007 at 7:22 pm

Remember when Larry, Martin and I went to dinner at Fago de Chao a few weeks ago? Well, as we rolled ourselves out of the restaurant, high on animal protein, Larry and I dropped our business cards in the “win a free lunch” bowl at the door. Just for kicks. Does anyone ever really win a free lunch?

You can win a free lunch. Two free lunches. Both Larry and I received gift cards in the mail congratulating us on being the week’s winner. How cool is that? Lunch for four, a $118 value. Good Monday thru Friday only, which means we might have to take a half day on a Friday, because I’m not sure that going back to work after eating there would be such a great idea.

Did they give out two gift cards, and we just happened to win both? Or do you think everyone who puts their business card in gets a free lunch?

Yay, free meat. And salad.

How to Spend a Rainy Afternoon in Bethesda

  • Posted on July 29, 2007 at 7:41 pm

Larry and I went to see Sunshine this afternoon at the Bethesda Landmark Row cinema. We walked there (only a 20-25 minute walk), even though it was extremely humid and it looked like it was going to rain. And because someone said it would be “an adventure.” I was already sick of walking in muggy, hot, humid conditions after yesterday’s trip to the zoo (I suffered from a serious case of swamp-ass after that little adventure.) But I obliged.

The movie was really interesting, and I recommend it highly if you like sci-fi and/or apocalyptic future stories like I do. But when we left the theater, a mere two hours later, it was POURING. Great idea to walk to the movie. So what do you do when you are stuck at Bethesda Row and it is pouring?

Go to Austin Grill and drink margaritas.

Chips and Margarita

Austin Grill is certainly not my favorite tex-mex restaurant, not by a long shot. But the wet trip home was a little better with tequila.
Yeah, what an adventure.

DC is Humid

  • Posted on July 28, 2007 at 3:34 pm

DC is really freaking humid. You think that strawberries might dry out if you leave them outside? Nope. They just grow mold. I tried, and it it turned into a scary science experiment.

Science Experiment Gone Bad


A Letter in Three Parts, Part Three: What I missed about home

  • Posted on July 25, 2007 at 6:41 pm

Even when I was having a fabulous time living in France, eating baguettes and camembert with an earthy cote du rhone in a cafe in Aix-en-Provence, or jetting around Europe, there were plenty of things I missed about home. I even missed the little things, the kind of stuff you don’t really think about until you’re gone, like peanut butter and crossword puzzles.

So here it is, part three of the Letter in Three Parts (here’s part one and part two):

  1. My family.
  2. My friends.
  3. My dogs.
  4. Understanding everything.
  5. Driving.
  6. My CDs.
  7. TV–Buffy, Party of Five, Friends, MTV, The Weather Channel, X-Files, The Simpsons (um, not really my favorite shows anymore. Especially MTV and the Simpsons.)
  8. Poptarts, peanut butter, marshmallows, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, and Chewy Sprees.
  9. 24 hour restaurants, grocery stores, drug stores, and gas stations.
  10. Good beer.
  11. My house–summer nights on the porch.
  12. The fluttery feeling when you actually like a guy.
  13. Playing real pool.
  14. Z-Teca burritos, Dragon Express, Jiffy Treat, Unos, Pizza Express, and Ritters.
  15. Dennys. Perkins. In one night.
  16. The corn.
  17. Strawberry milk.
  18. Regular sized people, regular sized clothes.
  19. Half-price Books. Target.
  20. The Greenbriar. Clearwater Crossing.
  21. Caramel Corn!
  22. Weights in pounds and ounces; measurements in inches, miles and feet.
  23. Crossword puzzles.
  24. My plants.
  25. The sound of silence in Carmel on any given night at 10 p.m., except for the occasional siren followed by the national guard to pull over a kid with long hair.
  26. Doing 465.
  27. 9.23 and X103 and yes, even 99.5.
  28. Live music–the Bluebird, Second Story, The Patio, The Vogue, Deer Creek, K of C, that other place on College, what the hell is the name, and where has my memory gone?
  29. Bloomington. Bloomington. Bloomington. Dunn Meadow. The Union. The Von Lee. The Den. College Mall. Sororosluts. Frat boys with khakis and North Face vests.
  30. Good lotion.
  31. Aveda.
  32. My hairdresser.
  33. Morgan-Monroe State Forest and Griffy Lake.
  34. The BBC.
  35. The Princess Bride.
  36. People who can pronounce my name. It’s not Natalie. Not Bedlami.
  37. Kisses that mean something.

How different I am now. I had to really think about some of these to remember what they are, and why I missed them. I don’t even remember liking Chewy Sprees, Z-teca, Uno’s and Strawberry milk enough to miss them. Maybe it was the simple fact that I missed what I couldn’t have in France. Maybe I need to make a list of things I love/hate about D.C., and laugh about it in eight years.

Blacks Bar and Kitchen

  • Posted on July 23, 2007 at 7:19 pm

On Friday night, Larry and I went out to dinner at Blacks Bar and Kitchen in Bethesda. I’ve been dying to eat here ever since they remodeled it, but the few times we’ve tried, they have been completely booked. We got lucky on Friday when we stepped in on a whim to see if they had any available tables. A table for two! Available in ten minutes! Outside! A beautiful evening! Not humid at all!

We ate oysters on the half shell for an appetizer. What can I say about that except that I love oysters. They were good.

For my entree, I ordered the coconut crusted whole fish with buckwheat noodles, green papaya, cucumber, red onion, ginger, mint, thai basil, cilantro and tomato in a lemongrass sauce. It was tasty–the fish was flaky and moist and very fresh, and the sauce was outstanding. Larry had a delicious soft shell crab dish with mushrooms, bacon, morel mushrooms and fava beans.

Blacks was just what I expected. The food was good, but it was a little pricey for what it was–oysters were $2.85 each, and the market-fresh fish of the day came with no sides at all–you have to order them a la carte. I’ll go back, though.
Coconut-crusted whole fish at Blacks

The Old 97’s in Baltimore, Maryland

  • Posted on July 22, 2007 at 3:09 pm

Most of you know that the Old 97’s are my favorite band ever. I’ve been listening to them since 1998, when I first picked up their cd Fight Songs Old 97s: Fight Songswhile in college in Bloomington, Indiana. They are one of the only bands that I never get sick of–I could listen to their songs on repeat every second of every day, and never grow tired. Seriously. And I adore Rhett Miller, the lead singer, so very much. Just ask my husband. (don’t be jealous, honey.) Larry claims that I turn into a 16 year-old girl when I am within a few hundred yards of Rhett. I can’t help it. He is just so…dreamy. And smart. And talented. And so very Rhett. Sigh.

You can only imagine my bursting-with-fruit-flavor excitement when I learned that they were playing a show in Baltimore at the Artscape Festival!

Larry and I went with our friend Greg, who I hope is now an Old 97’s fan for life. We spent the afternoon before the show in Fells Point, Baltimore, hanging out at and drinking some great beer at Max’s and some other tiki bar. We even had, um, drinks that rhyme with “far toms”. (Only my second time ever having one, and I managed to keep it down.)

Rhett Miller singing his heart out

The big show started at 8:30 pm, but somehow we kind of miscalculated the time and we ended up running through the festival stands and the hordes of people to get to the stage. I could hear Rhett and Murry playing in the distance, and I didn’t even notice that we were running up a hill. I was simply concentrating on one thing: the Old 97’s.

We sort of shoved our way to the front, but really, I’m their number one fan and it just didn’t look like those other people really cared if we stood in front of them. Obviously, because that’s why they left just enough room for the three of us to squeeze in.

The show was so freaking good. They played some of my favorite songs. Actually, I love all of the songs except one. (Sorry, Ken, but I hate Coahuila. You should stick to guitar-playing. “I turned my microwave on and cooked my chicken ravioli” is not a good song lyric.) Thanks for not playing Coahuila.

Old 97s

After the show, we hung out around the side of the stage, waiting to see if we could meet the band. Ken the guitar player was there, and I tried to say hi, but he only seemed to want to talk about football with some dude. He did not notice me or my assets. (My big green eyes, duh.) We did not see Rhett, either, but that’s ok…I would have probably just started drooling or maybe even fainted if I had actually met him.

We finished the night with dessert at Vaccaro’s. It was such a perfect day. Except for the mob of lesbians. But that’s another story. group of hot lesbians dancing in front of us at the concert. They were blocking my view of Rhett.

Super Pissed

  • Posted on July 14, 2007 at 7:42 pm

Dear Jerk Who Left Your Chewed-Up Gum on the Seat at the Majestic Movie Theater in Silver Spring, Maryland:

Thank you SO MUCH. I sat in your abc gum (a.k.a. “already been chewed”, in case you never made it through elementary school) throughout the entire length of Knocked Up this afternoon. All of it stuck to my favorite casual black pants, WHICH I CAN NO LONGER PURCHASE BECAUSE I BOUGHT THEM LAST YEAR. I didn’t even realize that the gum was stuck to my butt until I had almost reached the parking garage.

Thanks to you, my pants are ruined. I hope that you choke on your next piece of bubblicious.



(I should have taken heed from Church of the Big Sky–there are nasty things in movie theaters.)

Gum on my pants...grr

My finger is here just to show you how bad it is. It’s that big. 

A Letter in Three Parts, Part Two: Things I Hate About France

  • Posted on July 12, 2007 at 6:47 pm

Living in France wasn’t always creme anglais, pain au chocolat and wine. Just like living anywhere, you have to take the good with the bad. (Right? RIGHT?? I think about this a lot lately.) As a follow-up to my post a few weeks ago about why I loved France (from a letter to my best friend when I lived in France seven years ago), I present to you the list of things I hated about France (in no particular order:)

  1. Everything except restaurants and bars closes at 7 or 8 p.m.
  2. French beer sucks.
  3. French men can be too effing forward and pushy.
  4. Dog shit.
  5. French TV sucks. Except for American shows dubbed in French.
  6. No concept of personal space–people shove, people run into you, people nudge you with their cars…(I really did get “nudged” by a car once, and I also got smacked on the ass by someone driving by, obviously slowly enough so as not to really injure either of us.)
  7. Air France. (EXTREME HATRED.) (they lost my baggage when I moved their and only recovered one of the bags. Somewhere in France, someone really made out on a suitcase full of shoes, undies and bras, makeup, cds and ALL MY JEWELRY. Jerks.)
  8. Men on the street notice you when you DON’T want to be noticed.
  9. No live music. And the not-live music is shit. (Lou Bega? Who is he?? Why do French people love him?)
  10. Women are too skinny.
  11. The French have no sense of humor. No joke.
  12. They smell bad in warm weather. The rumors are true.
  13. You can’t go into a pharmacy and just pick out your drug of choice; you have ask for it. Even aspirin. Which is hard in French.
  14. Speaking English way too much. Hearing English on the street.
  15. My upstairs neighbors blare Lauren Hill’s “Zion”. I’m sure they have no idea what the words mean.
  16. Ugly white platform tennis shoes. (We’re talking 4, 5, 6 inches!!)
  17. The campus that looks like 21 Jumpstreet.
  18. Centimes.
  19. Tiny water heaters.
  20. No umbrella etiquette.

Funny though, these things don’t really seem that bad now. And notice I could only come up with half the number–there’s so much more to love there rather than hate. My life really must have been mostly pain au chocolat and wine. It makes me miss France.
Stay tuned for part three: things I missed about the U.S.

White Faced Killer

  • Posted on July 10, 2007 at 8:09 pm

The dog is just fine. In fact, she was in fine form the very next day when she caught, killed and partially ate two baby rabbits. God, she is one tough dog.