Friday, July 31, 2009

80's Ladies

When a friend suggests we all get together and head out to 80's night at a bar you've never been to before, it always sounds like a great idea in theory, and inevitably turns into an awkward night.

Especially when you're the one dressed to the nine's in Madonna wear (as prompted by said friend that we must all dress up) and almost everyone else is in normal clothes. And your crew of friends makes up half the people in the bar. And a weird mid-aged British guy saunters up to tell you and your girl friend have "the best bums in this whole place by far."

And somehow the awkwardness reached such a pinnacle point that all that was left to do was dance with somebody and just like a prayer, IIII haddddd the time of my life....

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My 'UGH America' for the day

I can't believe this has become a thing.

And my dad's right on: "Hell, if they were really 'All-American' about it, they'd be drinkin' moonshine! That's what I'm sayin'..."

White House 'Beer Summit' Becomes Something of a Brouhaha

U.S. Brewers Say Meeting With Professor, Policeman Should Be All-American Affair

The president's plan to toss back a few cold ones with some high-profile guests at the White House has the American beer industry hopping mad.

Hahaha I <3 my mom

From: Kathy Effron
Date: Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 12:12 PM
Subject: I've joined facebook
To: Effron, Lauren

Don't panic! I'm helping my friend Jodi from my high school search for missing classmates.

Love you-

Mom

=========================================
From: Lauren Effron
Date: Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 12:24 PM
Subject: Re: I've joined facebook
To: Kathy Effron

Hahaha ok thanks for the heads up and have fun with that. You need to upload a photo of yourself so you're profile picture isn't the default man outline.

Also, I'm not panicking. My profile is unsearchable :)

==========================================

From: Kathy Effron
Date: Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 12:37 PM
Subject: Re: I've joined facebook
To: Lauren Effron

I won't be checking anyway! Do you think I'm that lame?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The ONE night I don't watch Conan O'Brien

Palin's farewell speech as it was meant to be told (Thanks Emily).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

3 P.M. on Sunday Updated!

I was actually out and about on Sunday so this week's photo is not an up-close, artsy photo of something random in my apartment. Hooray!

But I found taking photos this week difficult.

I was in Georgetown with my little sister on Sunday, which I thought would be grand because there are so many beautiful row houses, little cafes and the river. Not so.

It was blistering hot, way overcrowded and noisy, and by 3 p.m. we were stuck on M Street and Leslie was throwing a mini "I'm tired" tantrum (she's 18 so it was more like whiny 'UGH omg whatever's' meets her thumbs tapping text messages a mile a minute to everyone she knows). So as I was being jostled by lost tourists, dodging the Circular and hussling her back to the car, I tried to discreetly take photos along the way while not looking like a tourist myself.

Not my idea of a good photo-taking time.

VIEW HERE to see which photo made it on the photo blog, a joint project with Erin while she's teaching English in Korea. I had her choose because I wasn't really enthused about any of them so I couldn't decide.

And here are the other photos that didn't...

This one is Paolo's, a restaurant my family used to go to when we visited DC. I snapped it because the yellow walls with the green and pink flowers in the window boxes caught my eye, but I think it kind of looks like an ad for the restaurant.


This is a random stone wall with ivy on it was near where I parked the car on some random side street. Nothing terribly striking about it. I just thought the ivy on the stone was pretty and a good contrast of bright and muted colors.



Every week, I always take a "back-up photo" for this project. Just a photo of the thing closest to me at the time so that if I'm not satisfied with any of the other photos I take, I could always use that one. It's usually my least favorite photo, but sometimes I get lucky. This week's back-up photo was the bread and butter plate at the restuarant where we had lunch right before heading back to the car.


I have it in the back of my mind to one day get up before dawn and take photos of D.C. as the sun comes up. I know a few friends who have done it with beautiful success. It won't be a 3 p.m. photo obviously, but it would make for another interesting photo project in the future. That is, if I can drag myself out of bed that early on a weekend.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Words. Words. Words...

Does the cold really "split the chucackos (spelling?) from the sour doughs?" and why does "Hollywood needs to know: we eat, therefore we hunt"?

On a more concrete note, I've never understood (or trusted) politicians who ride on the campaign of anti-government when they are our government representative and by default, a member of a governmental body.

If you can decipher what her message is, I'll give you a gold star.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

No "Thanks, Sweetheart"

I've found a new TV show that intrigues me, and while it's not exactly "The West Wing", it has quickly become a nice substitute to fill that void I need for quick-witted, snide, throwaway one-liner, smart television dramas.

Erin was the one who told me I would love "Mad Men," and then when I read an article that it was AMC's biggest hit, I got curious.

My On Demand only had a few episodes of Season 2, but I switched it on tonight anyway and immediately found myself drawn in. Set in an New York City advertising agency in the 1960's, the cast is full of "oh that's that girl/guy from that thing in that movie and/or TV show," which distracted me at times, but after a while I was too engrossed in the conversations to have it bother me.

The characters have a calm intensity about them and combined with the stern (and at times awkward) dialogue of the time period -- "No one under 25 drinks coffee anymore, it's all Pepsi," and "you're such a button," -- it's obviously bright and quick. I appreciate the absence of "gee golly's" and "thanks sweetheart's". Plus, Elizabeth Moss (Zooey Bartlett, "The West Wing") saying "Men like short skirts, you know, sex sells," was too adorable not to smirk at.

Not to mention the amazing clothes (oh my goodness the clothes, and I'm not the only one who's swooning. Banana Republic recently launched a "Mad Men" clothing line), and the incredible attention to detail the show carries through out -- down to the telephone ring and the brand of dishwashers in their kitchens -- makes it for something entertaining to absorb.

Recognizing that the show is set in an era where my parents would have been younger than I am, I can't help but wonder how life must have looked to them back then, and how startling different it was for me growing up in the late 80's/early 90's. Scares me a little to think what my children's childhood will be like.

In the end, "The West Wing" will always be my true love, but this is a nice affair.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Quote of the Work Day

"This guy I'm going to interview for a story wants me to fax him a letter with our letterhead because he says, 'I'm a little cautious ever since I ended up on the Ali G show a couple years ago'."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

huh.

When I lived in New York City two summers ago, I stayed in a Columbia University dorm and became pretty tight with other college kids my age who were also renting dorm rooms for the summer. I got along really well with one guy in particular, but then had to cut off the friendship in the end when he developed feelings for me, despite the fact we were both tied up in serious, long-distance relationships. To him it was romantic, like something out of Random Hearts only without all the death. To me, it was uncomfortable.

I haven't talked to him since but he popped up on Facebook today and out of curiosity, I clicked to see what he was doing. He was happily married over a year ago to the girl he was madly in love with from the start, but then wanted to throw it all away, "just for fun," with me that summer.

Huh. Life makes me laugh sometimes.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

There's a Jungle Cat in the Office!

I shamelessly stole this mobile upload from Betty because she has an iPhone and my phone sucks. I also was not in the front row.



Dave Salmoni, predator expert and host of Animal Planet's Into The Pride, was in the building today with his jungle cat (aka lion!) Savannah to answer questions about his experiences in Africa, studying predators and being on the show.

That kitty was said to be under a year old. My job is awesome.

Sarah Palin is no grammar (or fact check) queen and I've fallen in love with Vanity Fair all over again

Vanity Fair had their chief copy editor and the rest of the copy desk copy-edit the resignation speech Sarah Palin. One of the most important speeches of her career and it bleeds, and bleeds, and bleeds.

All of the editor notes that say "misleading" and "please explain" are my favorites in particular.

Power, Politics, Copy-Editing, Journalists Being Snarky and Out-Smarting Crappy Politicians, I LOVE. I LOVE. I LOVE.

Read it in full HERE.

Get more photos! and cat update...

Erin has updated our joint photo project 3 p.m. on Sunday. See it here.

In cat news...

I'm sad to report that I think Tad may have successfully talked me out of getting a cat. Only time will tell. I was under the impression that a cat could take care of itself while I was away and that it would snuggle with me and love me when I would come home.

These thoughts dashed away when Tad said things like, "cats need lots of love and attention all the time,"* "the litter box makes a huge mess," and "you want to take that week long trip to Amsterdam? Who is going to watch the cat?"**

Footnotes...
*I would never NOT give an animal the attention it deserved, but thought a cat would be less needy for love than a dog, and obviously, wouldn't have to go out on walks. This just makes me feel (and sound) like a bad person regardless.

**I've been wanting to go to Amsterdam for forever, especially after I heard all about Melissa's trip. Possibly planning it as my sister's college graduation celebration. It's a big 'possibly'.

As for the loving and snuggling affectionate thing -- I went home to Cambridge and tried to hold Tad's cats, but they mostly came up to me when they felt like it, have me scratch their heads and then scamper away. Or "playfully" bite me. While the dogs at my house would wag their tails and bark happily for me to play with them, and then raise their paw and whimper for me when I left.

Such a sweet puppy...


Dogs rule, cats drool.

Sigh, maybe I'll just get a fish. Except you can't snuggle with fish, and apparently, I need to get at least six to 10 in one tank so they don't get stressed out.

Tad's solution: Here's a new house plant!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Snapshots from a Lazy Afternoon Bike Ride


I took these while riding my bike around my neighborhood in Cambridge (without stopping, okay, except for one). Surprisingly, most of the photos came out. Sunday was one of the most beautiful, mild July days ever and it was so wonderful to take a lazy bike ride next to the Choptank River.







You can make out the Choptank River Bridge in the background.



We call these 'resident geese' because these Canadian geese stay year round.










Tad got really tired of my taking pictures haha.

But was good for one.



My favorite street in the whole neighborhood -- Hambrooks Blvd.

Friday, July 17, 2009

sigh.

rough week at work + boyfriend not coming back until Aug. 3rd + my back is killing me again + I was really stupid and looked at petfinder.com = I'm seriously thinking about getting a cat

Dog prefered, but cats are less trouble and less expensive than dogs. Also, Roberto likes cats so that would make my living situation better.

I'll let you know how that goes :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Did you hear that DEER BARKING?

One of our Discovery News bloggers, Jen Viegas, blogged about this today. I nearly jumped out of my skin because I didn't expect it to be so loud! I thought a rabbit growling was strange, (Tad's sister has a rabbit properly named 'Boss' that growls) but this is scary weird.

Read Jen's blog post here to find out more, but watch the video...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Piece of Home

Summer is when I miss home the most.

This powerful audio slide show by the New York Times is only two minutes long, but in those two minutes, I was taken back to those lazy summer days when I would ride my bike down to Blackwater or when I went kayaking down near those lower Eastern Shore islands, or would drive 45 minutes down back county roads just to get to a friend's house.

Where I grew up in Cambridge isn't this remote -- we do have a Wal*Mart after all -- but most of Dorchester County is like this, and once you turn right off Route 50 East and go past the Cambridge city limits, most of what you see are plowed farm land, open fields, woods and water. It's a whole different world than what the rest of Maryland off the Shore thinks of when they think of the Blue Crab State, but it's this way of life that earned the state its name.

Listen here.


The other thing that struck me about this NYTimes piece is this is the kind of journalism I've always wanted to do - short, multimedia features with gorgeous photos (or video), with sound and narration. Perhaps I'll get there some day.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Random summer concerts on the roof during the work day? +1 Discovery

Most people have never heard of Eric Hutchinson, but thanks to Pandora, I have! His song "Rock 'N' Roll" (see below) has gotten me through many late nights of working, baking, or just plain hanging out at home.

I got this email at 2:11 p.m. today saying this...


My reaction: Oh! Eric Hutchinson? Really?
My male coworker's reaction: Oh! Ice cream on the roof? Really?

Apparently TLC just put a deal together to use some of his songs in their promotions and so he was invited to do a small, private concert for Discovery employees on the roof of our building. He said he's also from Takoma Park and went to Blair High School so it was nice to be back home from his tour with Kelly Clarkson.


A few laughs, a few jokes, a song about sprinkles and Discovery employees, and of course at the brief meet and greet, I couldn't help being a little bit of a celeb hog:


Hey, he offered.

It was a nice surprise in the middle of the work day and good music, nonetheless. I didn't want to be a total weirdo and run up front (although two other women did so I didn't feel so bad thinking about it!), so my video is a little grainy. Enjoy what I enjoyed:

It's Alive!!!

Tad worked his magic on my six-year-old Dell over the weekend and now I have an "almost-functioning-back-to-normal-in-a-weird-frankenstein-esqe-way" machine to work on from home. My hero!

I'll be able to blog more regular now -- I hope, unless the blue screen of death plagues my computer once more -- so new update coming tonight on jalapeno burn. It's quite a tale.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Letters to Inanimate Objects

Dear WSSC,
While I understand that working on the water pipes beneath the road right outside my window between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. last night was probably essential, was it truly necessary to jack hammer the concrete at precisely 2:58 a.m. and 5:07 a.m. this morning? Also, your use of huge, brilliant spotlights shining right into my bedroom window was not appreciated, neither was your shouting directions at each other, and backing your trucks up to make them go "beep, beep, beep" throughout the wee morning hours. Please be advised that more courteous construction next time would not go unnoticed and would probably prompt my writing a more favorable letter.
Yours truly,
Lauren

Dear Landscaping Crew Hired By My Building To Landscape Every Monday and Thursday Morning,
Clearly you do not live in my building because I doubt you would have used a leaf blower nor would you have dropped the tailgates of your multiple trucks several times had you experienced the sleepless night I had that had ceased just a mere hour before you arrived at 7 a.m. this morning. I truly wanted to run outside and rip your leaf blower, in particular, to shreds.
Something to think about.
Thanks,
Lauren

Dear D.C. Weather,
You're being unseasonably fabulous this summer. Keep it up!
xoxo
Lauren


Dear iPod,
That string of '90s music you played as we were walking to work that included everything from Green Day to Sugar Ray was a lot of fun. Really took me back. Let's do it again sometime.
Much love,
Lauren

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

2012: It's A Disaster!!!

I almost fell out of my chair laughing when Ian sent this to me. It sort of reminded me of a combination of Snakes on a Plane and "O RLY?"

Enjoy...



From the newsroom... by far one of the most awkward stories we've ever run and had to discuss:
"I can't believe I have to ask this, but uh, is 'sperm' singular or plural."
"What does AP say?"
"They don't have it."
"I think it's both, like moose. Yeah, like moose."

Photo Blog Updated!

Erin and I have updated our photo blog (well, Erin did the actual update, thank you Erin!) with this week's Sunday photos.

Check it out here.

p.s. Tad - this week is proof that we are not just "take-photos-of-weird-things-really-really-up-close-to-try-to-be-artsy" photographers. So there.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Hair Saga

I've dyed my hair from a box before and it came out okay, combined with completely forgetting that I swore I'd never dye it from a box again, means that I tried to dye my hair from a box this past Thursday.

And it was quite an ordeal.

Those who have known me for years know that I naturally have dark brown hair with a big blonde streak on one side of my head from a birthmark on my scalp.

If you've seen my photos from the beach on Facebook, then you'll know my hair turned this golden blonde, dirty blondish-brown mess from being out in the sun. What had happened was I wore my hair in a pony tail most of the time and so the hair held with the hair tie turned golden blondish-brown, but then the hair on top of my head remained either dark, dark brown or almost grey where the blonde streak is.

So on Thursday night, this was my thought process, albeit not at its clearest...

Solution: Save money and dye your hair from a box before your whole family sees the mess your hair has become at the 4th of July family reunion this coming weekend.

Okay!

Result: I chose a "dark natural cool brown" hair dye. Dyed it. Waiting the 25 minutes. Washed it. Dried it. My hair turned a brassy RED. With my eyebrows as dark as they are, I looked like Kathy Griffin's second cousin twice removed.

Solution: Not big deal. Go back to the store, buy another, darker dye, and try it again.

Result: I chose a "dark brownish-black" hair dye. Dyed it. Waited only 12 minutes this time. Washed it. Dried it. My hair turned BLACK. BLACK!!! Like Cher black!

Solution: Cry. Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat. Look online for other solutions -- I did laugh when "dyed my hair too dark how to lighten" came up as one of the top Google choices when I typed in "dyed my hair" into search. Per instructions online, tried a mayo/olive oil mixture and left it on for 15 minutes. Rinse. Tried Dawn dish soap and left it on for 15 minutes. Rinse. Thought about peroxide for half a minute. Decided my hair would probably fall out. Washed with shampoo five more times. Rinse. Cry.

Result: The black dye washed out in spots so my hair was black streaked with dark brownish almost orange. My family was very nice to me and told me it looked great. I made a hair appointment at Bang for the following Monday (last night) to have it fixed.

Here's what my hair looked like going into the salon...(sad face outside of Verizon Center were the salon was)... for those of you who don't think it looks that bad, keep in mind you can't see the back and this is after I tried to wash it out multiple times...


Enter the salon: *Wash, shampoo, special dye lifting treatment, dryer, wash, recolor with toner, wash, recolor with toner, wash, cut, blow dry, $$$ (most expensive hair experience for me by far), done.*

Here's what my hair looked like after... a happy, healthy, dark brown (You can tell the lighting alters it a bit by how purple my shirt looks compared to the photo above). Either way, the color was exactly what I was going for the first time around...


Okay, so after all that time, money and hair wasted, I hereby swear to not dye my hair from a box again. If you catch me forgetting about this ordeal and thinking it's a great idea again, please stop me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

“Envy eats nothing but its own heart” - German Proverb

Kasey is excursioning through India and Kashmir.

Erin is wandering through Sydney, Australia.

Betty is meandering on a yoga retreat in Southern France.

Melissa recently got back from China.

Dave just trekked through the Ukraine.

Heather and Jorge were storm chasing in middle America.

I'm currently eating sushi on my couch.