Thursday, March 29, 2007

Marie Antoinette

I've been learning lots about this historical figure lately, first when I read "Abundance by Sara Jeter Naslund (author of Ahab's Wife). Marie Antoinette is of course famous for being the frivilous queen who spent France right into poverty and then said of the starving masses, "Let them eat cake," But it's rather fascinating to learn more about the infamous queen - like how she was sent from Vienna in her mid-teens to be married off to Louis XVI. They were married but funnily enough did not consummate their marriage for seven years - much to the chagrin of the King of France, her mother Maria Theresa and pretty much all of France and Vienna. History speculates that the problem may have been a combination of physical - Louis suffering from a condition that made erections painful, which he eventually had corrected, and/or that Marie Antoinette had a "narrow" passage, making intercourse difficult. Then of course there is further speculation that neither of them knew what they hell they were doing, and got going once the Emperor of Austria (Marie's brother Joseph) talked to them both and pointed them in the right direction.

Either way, fascinating stuff, which made me interested in seeing the movie starring Kirsten Dunst, which I watched last night. The movie is not the most amazing piece of cinema you'll ever see, but it does a good job of capturing Marie Antoinette for what she probably was - a young teenage girl saddled with a huge responsibility at a young age, but also offered the whole world on a keychain. Maybe she should have known better, but she's not the first person in the world to accept endless prosperity without question.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Which Brings Me to You: Addendum

I wanted to say more about the book when I did my original post, but I was having trouble pinpointing exactly what I wanted to say. Now that I've finished the book, here are my further insights.

One of the reasons why it was good, why it was a good reflection of modern love was the very beginning, and the way that went down. They're ready to go at it, and he says "Wait, I might like you." What feels true about that is that's how it goes date enough and eventually you get to the point where you're surprised if you actually feel like you click with somebody.

This book was about connection. Not too many people would write letters through the mail exchanging their intimate histories...and even though it was all fiction, it was fun to go through. It's nice to feel like the possibility of connection with someone else is out there, even if sometimes, it's just in a work of fiction.

Which Brings Me to You

I'm reading this book right now - "Which Brings Me to You", which I picked up at the library yesterday. I'm not even done with it yet, but I'm really enjoying it and wanted to post about it. It's a novel about two thirty-somethings who meet at a wedding, take a liking to each other, and quickly decide to get it on the coat check closet. But just as they're about to do it the guy - John - stops and says, "Wait, I think I might like you." Despite Jane's initial doubt they decide to get to know each other first through writing letters (he lives in NY, she lives in Philly) and start exchanging their intimate histories through the mail.

This book is written by two writers, Steve Almold doing John's part and Julianna Baggot doing Jane's part. It's funny, sad, interesting, and its a story that feels more today than most of the love stories (or novels for that matter) that I read. Can't wait to see how it ends up.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

What I Wear

I find that there is a direct correlation between the kinds of clothes I like to wear (and don't like to wear) and the how the companies advertise their wares. For example - I am NOT a fan of uber designer stuff, $700 this, and $500 that. I was in the Burberry outlet once (the outlet! where everything is already marked down considerably!) and they had a Burberry umbrella that was like $80. I clearly remember telling Abbey that I'd rather fall face first into the sewer than pay that much money for an "elegant" or "trendy" umbrella. And look at the kinds of adds designer labels use:

That guy looks mean. And kind of dumb. And soulless. Ugh.

I tend to like the regular stuff, Old Navy, the Gap, New York & Company. Nothing to pricey, but perfectly nice just the same. And look at how the Gap advertises their stuff:

I love that stupid commercial. Claire Danes and Patrick Wilson look so cute together, and seriously, who wouldn't want to buy clothes that people look so happy in?

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The Hard Rock Cafe glass collection

These were the last things I unpacked in the new place...I wasn't sure where the heck I was going to put them, and had resigned myself to the fact that I was probably going to have to purchase more shelves. But yesterday my Dad was over and had a brilliant idea - lining the tops of the kitchen cabinets with them. Not only did this look awesome, but the glasses all fit and I didn't have to buy or put up any more shelving. Only one glass got broken in the move - of course it would have to be Barcelona - which is just about the furthest Hard Rock Cafe from here. I guess I'll just have to make it a point to get back there and get another one.

But I've got two business trips coming up, one to Toronto and one to Washington D.C. so there's two more Hard Rocks to visit and get glasses from.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Jenn: 1, NYC DOT: Nothing

Well, the war on parking has begun. To continue an apartment releated string of posts, now I'll address probably the only downside to living in Forest Hills: alternate side parking. Coming from a neighborhood where alternate side doesn't exist, and meters are few and far between, having to deal with street cleaning rules is strange and a bit challenging. I think that there are a lot of idiotic parking rules in New York City, and this one is definetely at the top of my list. In Forest Hills we've got it on Thursdays and Fridays, by 8:30 a.m. Thursday, you've got to have your car on the Friday side of the street, and by 8:30 on Friday, you've got to move it back to the Thursday side. Why are we doing all this driving you ask? Street cleaning rules. Now this means some clunky sanitation truck will come by with rotating sweepers than barely touch the ground and basically blow all the trash around and leave it to settle on the other side of the street. Then the next day it blows it back. Way to waste our tax dollars, NYC. But anyway, in my first week in Forest Hills I managed to successfully find spots on the correct side of the street for alternate side, so I win this round. It will be interesting to see how many tickets I get for idiotic things like this during the time I live in Forest Hills.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

American Idol

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this show. I always thought it was kind of boring, a bunch of pretty people that are all kind of alike singing poppy/discoey songs every week that will get stuck in your head for days. The only time I've ever watched it is this season, I started tuning in in the beginning when the episodes were made up the hunt for this year's contestants, and featured the good bad and the ugly from the various cities Simon, Paula and Randy visited. And you know what? These episodes are highly entertaining. the freaks comes out in full force and it is extremely funny to watch the judges faces as they belt out whatever normal song they've chosen in a completely abnormal way. And it's even cute to see the good singers make it through to Hollywood...they are all happy and cheery and teary when they get that yellow card and the occassional vote of confidence from Simon.

But on the other hand - this show is totally freaking annoying. Here are the reasons why:

1 - it's a bunch of pretty people singing poppy songs that we have to hear at weddings and the mall all the time - do I need to spend an hour hearing them every Tuesday and Wednesday?

2 - It's on three freaking times a week. No other show gets this much play - and seriously, as much as I love my TV shows, once a week is enough.

3 - American Idol is always moving and pushing other shows out of their timeslots to air! It shares a timeslot with House on Tuesdays (one of my favorite shows) and it's really annoying that House airs a new episode and then disappears for three weeks or a month because there's a slew of American Idol epsidoes. Did the TV networks ever used to do this? Every show should have it's own damn timeslot, and the networks shouldn't be able to move them all around for their convenience.

4 - Randy is really annoying. I get tired of him really quickly.

5 - It irritates me that the winners of this show (most of them) tend to disappear while the runners up are cutting albums right and left and winning freaking Academy awards. What's the point of even winning? Just making it to the top five can get you famous. But I suppose we have America to blame for that, since they are the ones voting.

Well anyway. I was bored at work and felt like going on a rant so there it is. I am sure that somebody is totally going to counteract this post with a "American Idol is the most popular show on television" type comment, but I don't care. As long as it keeps Hugh Laurie from me, I'm going to hate it. (Until next season's premiere when the bad guys sing again)

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Moving Weekend

So I finally moved into my new apartment last Friday, and I thought I'd blog a little bit about the new place and how it finally feels to have it. Movers came early Friday morning and took all my funiture and other stuff out of storage. That was liberating. I'd hated the day that I'd locked up all my apartment stuff in that 8x10 locker and then went back home to live with Mom and Dad. Not that being with them is bad - but it is truly difficult to go from living on your own to living with parents again. I used to feel like I'd locked independent Jenn up in that storage unit with the queen sized bed and all the boxes. But I digress. Another stop at the house to get the rest of my things, and then off to Forest Hills.

It was sunny and cold but I didn't feel either. It was really exciting to open up the door and see the apartment empty in the daytime - ready for my stuff. The movers were quick and efficient and by noon, the job was done. Dad and I celebrated with lunch on Austin Street, and by the time we were done, Mom had arrived in Forest Hills to help with some unpacking. Their help was invaluable - I got at least half the unpacking done that day - and was exhausted but happy by the time Kelly came over to see the place. She brought champagne and cool champagne glasses and we toasted to the new place and finally getting in there.

Saturday was another busy day. I had more help - Matt was good enough to come over and put together my kitchen table for me, and Karen came over to help me unpack and organize miscellaneous things. They both came with me to Bed, Bath and Beyond where I picked up a few necessities. Sunday was easier - with a quick trip to Home Depot I got the last of what I needed, and by five p.m. that day there were only two unpacked boxes in the apartment. I don't have a couch yet, but I do have a cool chair from Pier 1, my bed, and my new kitchen table and chairs. I have cable and have been happily watching Showtime movies (right now its free for 3 months!)

My new neighborhood feels like the city - lots of apartment buildings, challenging parking, but also lots of restaurants, ammenties, and diverse groups and aged people. I love that I can walk to the supermarket. I love that I can throw my trash down a chute and not worry about what day garbage day is. More than anything, I love that I am living alone again - and calling the shots on the little things, like what time dinner is, and whether or not I actually want to eat it at the table, or in front of the TV. It feels a little strange - living in Forest Hills and an apartment building will take a little getting used to (I've only lived in a house and an apartment in a 3 family house in Middle Village) but this morning as I walked out of my apartment I equated the strange feeling to the kind you get on vacation - you're in an unfamiliar place, maybe a little disoriented, but at the same time, it's all very very good.

I will try to take some pics of the new setup soon, but for now, just wanted to share the musings of being on my own again.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Notes from the Best Snowboarder in the World

I was lucky enough to get a second snowboarding trip in this year. This past weekend, Matt, Roy and I headed up to Killington, VT on Friday for a weekend on the slopes. Matt found us a hotel at the last minute and Roy got us up there in the good ol' truck. This is only the fourth time I've been snowboarding ever (2nd time going up on the lift) so I was looking forward to spending some time on the "beginner" hill, which you see here. I had a fall or two - the worst of which will be mentioned in the comments section, but all in all, my snowboarding abilities are improving. I improved my lift disembarking technique (i.e. getting off without falling or at least falling in a way that didn't require them to STOP the entire lift) and making it down the entire hill without falling. My control is getting better - I found myself recovering from slips and was able to keep going without falling. Sore as hell today after two days on the slopes, but by Sunday I was suprising myself with how many runs I felt like doing. Now - onto the funny comment summary!

"Wow. I've never actually seen someone fall getting ON the lift."

Matt: "What do you think is hindering you most in your snowboarding? Fear? Lack of control?"
Roy: "Her instructor...?" (meaning Matt)

"Tough up Charmin!"

"Jenn's job as a fireman would be to break down a door with an ax? She couldn't even carry her snowboard up the hill today!"

"Relax...we're having fun!" (Matt's impression of Roy)

"Why is the hotel welcome booklet in the shower?"

That's all I can think of right now! Thanks for a great weekend guys!