Tuesday, February 28, 2012

famous friends

Confession time: when I was younger I was obsessed with the Olsen Twins. I wanted to be their best friend -- I even used to have dreams that I was their step-sister. To a vain 12 year old with no friends, being friends with a celebrity was the ultimate compliment, coveted enough to make me wake up from those dreams a tiny bit mad at my parents for still being married. 

And here we are, years later, and not only did I dine "with" Morgan Freeman recently, but I have three other brushes with celebrities with which to impress you.

1.  You may have seen this guy on The Voice this season: 

Brian and I went to summer camp together in the 90s. Were we friends? The better question may be if we ever spoke. We are the same age (so we were in the same small group), but I guarantee you he doesn't remember me, because he was The Cute Boy and I looked like this:

At least my step-sisters accepted me for who I was.

Anyway, my friend Leila was (and is!) The Cute Girl and had the privilege of calling Brian her boyfriend. I bet they even held hands. But I'm sure she'll tell a better version of that story on her blog soon.

2.  The man below in the glasses is Bill Joyce, animator and, as of Sunday, Academy Award winning director of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.

We don't know each other. But he does live around the corner from me. I have nearly run into the low-hanging branches of the tree in his front yard on many, many occasions, and Ike has resisted the urge to poop on his lawn on many, many occasions. Congratulations on the Oscar win, and thank you, for helping me discover that I have pride in this city. 

3. Perhaps you recognize my friend, fellow book club member, and famous dentist McKenzy?

I know you're all watching Bayou Billionaires (which takes place in the city where we currently live) on CMT. It's a reality show about "a hardworking family of modest means" (some might prefer the term "rednecks") who discover their home sits on a huge natural gas deposit and strike it rich. Naturally, they want new teeth (with diamonds in them!) and there was no better dentist for the job than McKenzy. 

I'm still a little bitter that I don't have access to John Stamos and a closet full of oversized old lady afghans (and a billion dollar fortune) but at least I might be able to get a discount on bejeweled dentures. What more could a girl ask for?

Monday, February 27, 2012

quoted: up all night

Does anyone else find the show Up All Night as hilarious as I do? I like seeing Wil Arnett play an actual, functioning member of society (rather than a magician on a Segway) and Maya Rudolph as an alternate universe Oprah makes me laugh every. single. time. she's on screen.

During an episode we watched recently, Reagan (Christina Applegate) gives a little speech about how frustrated she is that her husband (Arnett) never has her back. As it is a paragraph about pinto beans, it was probably meant to be funny, but I found it just plain sweet.

Friday, February 24, 2012

interview trail: alabama

This picture was actually taken in Arkansas, but I would not be surprised if most people didn't know there was a difference between Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and probably even Louisiana.

When you're driving through middle of nowhere Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, it's important to have a backup plan in case of boredom when your passenger falls asleep and your iphone transmitter won't work. I didn't have one. All I had was Mississippi/Alabama border radio on scan. And it was all country. Over. And over. And..

And then... I found my backup plan. As snippets of country songs played, one after the other, I realized that country lyrics were all so similar that they blurred together to form little country poems.  This entertained me for hours.

My favorites:

If Y ends up matching in Alabama and I can't find a job, at least I'll have a really productive hobby.

Y has been flying around the country for residency interviews since October. I've been writing about it. To see the rest of my notes from the interview trail, click here. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

why books might be better than e-readers, in pictures

I used to be anti e-reader. Nothing, I swore, could make me give up the smell of a new book or the mysterious scribblings in the margin of a used book. Nothing. 

And then my dad gave me a Nook. A free e-reader, it turns out, was the thing that could make me give up that new book smell. 

When next month's book club pick was announced  (Love in the Time of Cholera) I was actually kind of cranky when I realized I already own it in actual book form. Gosh, I'm going to have to turn a lamp on to read? What if I don't know a word? Am I going to have to use an actual dictionary? The horror!

However, as much as I've become dependent on my e-reader, there are still things that make me think that it's quite possible that books are better:

There's the obvious argument that a real book will never run out of batteries. 

Never, when reading an actual book, have I opened a title only to find the contents were that of another book. When reading an e-book? It's happened.

I've never turned the page in an actual book, mid-sentence, only to find that the next page is blank. You can bet it's happened in an e-book.

Sometimes my e-reader will want to take me from page 108 straight to page 111. I've actually had this happen in a real book, but it was a textbook, and let's be honest - I wasn't really reading it.

And, most importantly, my actual books have never been locked. After loading up my e-reader with a carefully curated plane friendly reading list (no plane crash plots; mindless, happy love stories that make me forget I'm suspended mid-air for hours at a time), I reached my cruising altitude and turned on my e-reader only to discover that MY BOOKS WERE LOCKED. I was livid. 

The happy ending was that I got to buy a book from the airport at my layover. A real, live book, that came complete with new-book smell and the rustling sound of pages turning and, thankfully, was unlocked.

As Y said when I showed him this post, "mo e-readers mo problems."

What do you think? Pro- or anti- e-reader? 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

North Louisiana Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras in South Louisiana is different than Mardi Gras in North Louisiana. The differences are subtle - king cakes tastes less like king cake and more like a cinnamon roll, little kids scream over here! instead of throw me something, mister!, no one gets off work on Mardi Gras day, and the parades are a little less impressive. These pictures are from our big day-parade.

It starts with a band. Pretty standard, right? There were a few more, but this was the only marching band that had more than 5 members.

The band was followed by the Spam float, naturally.

"Hey, how can I find you during the parade?"
"Oh, I'll be on the float most likely to offend someone."

Continuing the processed meat and processed "meat" theme, this float threw freshly made hot dogs.

No sarcasm here - I was a fan of this float.  Moonbot Studios is an animation studio based here. I love seeing Moonbot stuff around town because I think they bring some creativity to a city that has such potential for a little more personality. Their animated short "The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore" is actually nominated for an Oscar this year.  Check it out here.              

           The aftermath of parades is the same in every part of Louisiana.

Don't get me wrong, it was a fun parade. I was with these guys, and we tend to have a pretty good time together. (And if you're really desperate, we do have drive-through daiquiri stands up here.)

Daniel Tosh has a joke in his stand up:

"Parade or fireworks -- which do you go to? Fireworks! Of course! I don't even have a joke for the moron that yells 'parade!'. Yeah, I would go to a parade. I'm here alone because I make horrible decisions. You don't even know when a parade's finished - you're like, 'oh, is that it?'"

I think Tosh needs to make a trip to Louisiana.  North Louisiana or South Louisiana, I'd pick a parade every time. 

(Oh, and there's a police car at the end. That's how you know.) 

Monday, February 20, 2012

I'll miss you... New Orleans

You never know what will happen in New Orleans. From crying in a bathroom stall of a bar while telling a drag queen how beautiful she is, to catching beads thrown by Joshua Jackson (in the Pacey Witter era), to listening to Morgan Freeman sing while you eat the best fish and bread pudding you've eaten in your life.

Last weekend, thanks to an overbooked hotel in the midst of Mardi Gras season, I ended up in a luxury suite with a perfect view of St. Charles where my friend and I watched a parade from a new angle.

In the hotel across the street from ours, an elderly couple enjoyed the parade hand in hand... as a girl waltzed around in lingerie in the window above theirs for 45 minutes.

Even though we weren't dancing until 4 am with leftover fried chicken fingers in our purse (as has been known to happen) and waking up 4 hours later to dance with Ellen (as has also happened), it was still amazing to spend time with good friends. Two minutes of laughter that leaves you gasping for air and covered in snot that only happens with your best friends is worth every second of a five hour drive.

And the food. I could easily make a separate post entitled I'll miss you... boudin and grits. And praline bacon. And king cake. And bread pudding. And jambalaya. 

I'll miss you... archive:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

gratuitous ike: i'm gonna get it

3 and a half years ago, we visited a puppy that had been left in a box outside of the animal shelter. It was love at first sight.

Would we have agreed to adopt him if we knew how much he shed? I suppose so.

If we knew he was going to destroy 2 couches? Sure.

If we knew he was going to bust our next door neighbor's lip by jumping up skull first in excitement? I guess so. 

If we knew I would have to replace pretty much my entire shoe collection? Yes. (That was fun.)

But if I had known about this, it might have been a deal breaker. If the shelter would have come right out and said that Ike would deal with the absence of his alpha male in this way, things would have been a lot different.

Because when Y leaves Ike and I alone together, Ike whines. And whines. And whines. And continues whining until he gets what he wants. And all Ike wants is for me to chase him and his bone in a circle around the coffee table over and over again. While informing him I'm going to get his bone.

This is the only thing that will make him stop crying.

I recorded it. Because it's kind of amusing... the first time. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Interview trail: Portland part 2

Y has been flying around the country for residency interviews since October. I've been writing about it. To see the rest of my notes from the interview trail, click here. 

The girl and the boy, currently living in a city with only a regional airport, had few options to fly to Oregon. From Louisiana, they flew halfway across the country in the opposite direction. They landed in Atlanta in the middle of a thunderstorm, missing their flight to Oregon by minutes. After a stressful half hour in an enraged customer service line, they were told the only way to get to Oregon on this specific airline was through New York.  

After half-heartedly arguing, the boy and the girl -- sweaty after sprinting across the world's busiest airport with a weekend's worth of clothing -- trudged to their gate for their four hour layover

The boy thought this trip would be his easiest: it was one of his last cross-country travels so he knew what to expect and the girl, whom he had seen little of recently, was with him. Instead, the relaxing interview-cation he had expected was already becoming a nightmare.

The girl tried her hardest to calm the boy down. She bought him the ultimate Jewish comfort food (a bagel with cream cheese), and reminded him (every five minutes, it seemed) that they were set to arrive in Portland three days before his interview. It would take an extremely unfortunate series of plane delays to miss the interview.

Finally, thank goodness, they boarded their flight to New York. As the plane taxied to the runway, the screens on the backs of their seats lit up, ready to play the standard safety video. They were officially on their way, and the boy put his arm around the girl and smiled at her. 

"You know what's been the best part about flying around the country for all of these interviews?" he asked.

The girl gazed up at him. "What?" she replied,  although she was sure she knew the answer. Coming home to see you, perhaps, or This moment, right now, because we're together.

His smile widened as the safety video began.

"The redhead in Delta's safety video."

watch the video here so you, too, can lust over "Deltalina". Don't miss the best part at about 1:49.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

mildly racist comments from mildly clever future doctors

Comment at a party full of normal people: DaaaamnNicki Minaj has a nice ass.

Comment at a party full of medical students: Daaaamn, check out Nicki Minaj's steatopygia!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

meanwhile, in the opposite of portland...

Speaking of Portland... I think the city is so interesting to me because it's the polar opposite of where I live. Take grocery shopping. First of all, Portland has a curiously high concentration of vegetarians and vegans. And in Portland, as you can see in the clip below, not bringing a reusable shopping bag is practically punishable by death. (And my sister assures me this is fairly accurate.)

Like I said, things are a little different here in Louisiana:

Usually when I bring a reusable bag to the grocery store, the cashier picks it up and promptly forgets about it, bagging my items in a plastic bag instead-- and odds are, they're using the "one item per bag" method. 

On more than one occasion, a cashier has said something like, "I remember you! You're the one with the bags!"


And one time after I placed my bag on the conveyor belt, the cashier tried to ring it up. I didn't notice until she had tried to scan it three times, and look at me, frustrated. "Do you remember how much this costs?"


Recently I was leaving the produce section, the top of my cart (where you would put a baby) filled with fruits and vegetables for the week. "Excuse me," another customer asked from behind me, "Are you a vegan?"
"No?" I answered in my usual we don't know each other so why are you talking to me tone.

"Oh. Well you have lots of vegetables in your cart, so I was just curious. I'm thinking about going vegan."

Has it come to the point, I thought to myself, that just because a person happens to have some produce in his/her cart, he/she is on extreme diet restrictions? Can't a family just like fruits and vegetables?


I have had to tell a cashier what a kiwi was so they could enter the correct code. 


Where are you guys on the Louisiana to Portland spectrum? Hopefully somewhere in the middle... because either end of the extreme could get annoying really fast. Believe me, I'm tired of being the Bag Lady of my local grocery store. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

flashback: valentine's day promposals

I thought I would share the story of my favorite Valentine's Day ever -- the year my friends and I, having watched too many episodes of Laguna Beach, decided to get inspired by their elaborate "prom-posals" as gifts to each other. 

Just in case you weren't a fan (impossible), the boys on Laguna Beach staged elaborate gestures to ask the girls to prom. Trails of rose petals, limos, poems (of all the fish in the sea, prom with me?), etc. 

My friends and I decided that no guy would ever be as romantic as those charming(ly dysfunctional) Laguna Beach kids, so our only hope was each other. We drew a name out of a hat and prepared a LB style Valentine's Day for our secret recipient.

My gift, with a card that read "you light up my life". I don't remember what was in the bag, but obviously it's the presentation that was important...

Given Y's hatred of Valentine's Day, that Valentine's Day still reigns as my most romantic. Although the February 14th that he stopped at the grocery store and bought the last bouquet of flowers because I was sick with some kind of bug, had been vomiting all day, and he felt sorry for me is a close second. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

on today's episode of Portlandia...

Portland was a natural stop for Y on the interview trail - it's our favorite city, and my sister lives there. My sister loves to show off the quirk that Portland is famous for - perhaps you've seen it portrayed on Portlandia? I've only been to Portland 6 or 7 times, but even with my small exposure, nearly every part of that show rings true.

And based on my latest trip, I've got a pitch for a sketch.

The scene: a mother (Mom X) is tucking her eleven year old twins into bed in their shared bedroom. Posters of baby animals line the walls, American Girl dolls lay scattered in the threshold of the room, on the brink of outgrown. 

Twin A: Mom, puh-leeeze can we get our ears pierced?
Twin B: EVERY one in our class has them pierced!

Cut to PTA meeting

Mom X: I'm thinking about letting the girls get their ears pierced.
PTA mom 1: I hope you're not thinking about taking her to Claire's.
PTA mom 2: Did I hear someone say Claire's? As in, the corporate chain of tween jewelry that's ruining America?
PTA mom1: Don't even get me started!
PTA mom 3: What are we talking about?
PTA mom 2: Claire's!
PTA mom 3: (gasps) Why?
PTA mom 1: Mom X is thinking about going to Claire's to get the girls' ears pierced.
PTA mom 3: (pulls out phone) Mom X, I'm going to send you some literature on Claire's. You know they practice inadequate sterilization techniques, right? 
PTA mom 2: And the quality of the jewelry they put in the poor children's ears is disgusting! 
PTA mom 1: Don't forget about that horrible gun!
PTA moms, in unison: (shuddering) Not the gun!
PTA mom 4: I took my kids to The Wanderer.
PTA moms nod enthusiastically.
Mom X: The Wanderer?
PTA mom 4: He does body piercings, so he has to be up to code and sterile.
PTA mom 3: And he only uses the best quality metal.
PTA mom 2: My kids said it didn't hurt at all!
PTA mom 1: And his shop is within a tribal art museum, so everyone can get a really fulfilling experience. 
All PTA moms in unison: And there's a coffee shop next door!

Cut to The Wanderer's piercing shop. Mom X, the girls, and a little boy enter the shop.

Boy: (wide-eyed, whispers) Mom... where are we?

The Wanderer: Okay, can we get this over with? I need to go to Ikea. 

Twin A sits on the piercing chair. The Wanderer rubs iodine on her ear, and she flinches as the needle approaches.

TW: (rolling his eyes) Listen kid, I pierce babies' ears all the time. If they can do it, you can do it.

Boy: Mommy, where ARE we?

Mom X: So tell me why you're better than Claire's.

TW: (sneering) Claire's and Hot Topic... they're big corporations, so they're above the law. They don't have any inspections to make sure they're sterile. My shop is fully sterile. 

Cut to the shop exit; both girls have had their ears pierced.

TW: Listen here, ladies. You better not go to Claire's and buy any of their crappy earrings. That stuff will rot your ears. If you come back to me with an infection, I'll charge you $100 because I'll KNOW that you went to Claire's. And NO dangly earrings. Ever. Your hole will stretch out.

Camera zooms in on The Wanderer's ear.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

doctor of tomorrow

Since I'm sharing holiday gifts in February, I might as well show you this one, too. 

That ripped out magazine page in the center of the refrigerator was part of my gift from Y (the "this isn't really a gift, but I decided to give it to you anyway because I thought it was neat" part). He randomly came across it while flipping through a 1968 Life magazine at an antique store. 

Here's what the text says:

Evening at home.
Like many another courageous girl, she's married her young doctor in the making. And now she shares with him those long, gruelling years of medical study and internship. 

In a very real sense, they're her years of preparation, too. For ahead stretches a lifetime of marriage to a man with whom... day or night, week-ends or holidays...the needs of patients will always come first.

You'll find dedication, as well, among the men and women who carry on A.H. Robins pharmaceutical research. It keeps them persisting through months and years of discouragement. For it may take a thousand trials and experiments to achieve a single success... a single better medicine to help your doctors of today and your doctors of tomorrow. 

Isn't that funny? Here are my thoughts...

PS: this was the actual gift - a vintage earring holder ordered from Etsy.

Monday, February 6, 2012

I'll miss you..radio

I look forward to my five minute commute to work for one simple reason: the radio. Not because our radio stations play great music (I'm pretty sure there was a month long period where "Wild Wild West" kicked off every 30 minute block of music), but because of the newscast at 5 minutes to the hour on the oldies station.  

Coverage of the Florida primary results and the latest on the stock market is peppered with local gems announced in the most un-ironic of Southern accents. John Jones is auctioning off the donkeys he found near his property! Charlene Smith was thrown from her horse and is in the hospital! 

Other favorite moments [paraphrased] from local radio include:

"Reports say that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie won't be getting married until gay marriage is legal. When asked what their kids think of this, Jolie reported they were fine with it. Who cares what their kids think - what about what God thinks of their living arrangement?!

"That was Katy Perry with "Waking up in Vegas". Just a reminder, guys, I've been getting some requests for "I Kissed a Girl" but we had to ban that song due to listener complaints. Next up, "Get Low" by Lil John. Skeet skeet, y'all!!!!" 

I'll miss you... archive:

Sunday, February 5, 2012

my favorite things

long overdue: the contents of my "favorite things" package:

1. a Rifle Paper Co notebook. 
2. tissues in my favorite colors, grey and yellow.
3. my favorite scent, by Lollia
4. pencils from my favorite Target collaboration, Missoni (although Jason Wu did not disappoint)
5. my favorite soap - rosemary and mint, made locally!
6. a favorite quote on a bookmark: you can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. -- c.s. lewis
7. my favorite snack with tea: stroopwaffel
8. {not pictured} a mix CD with some of my favorite songs, old and new

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"weekly" gratuitous ike

Of all the songs we've penned about Ike ("don't cry for me Ikey-tina", "don't go chasing your tail") this one is the most likely to get stuck in my head. Forever.