Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Update your blogrolls!

Dear readers,

As I mentioned before, I have left D.C. and moved to New York City. New city, new blog! While Always Fishing will forever be my first blogging home, this blog will now become in active.

You can now follow my trials and trivulations on my new NYC blog: Avenue Eff, http://avenueeff.wordpress.com.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Final Post... For Now

Believe or not, my life has dramatically changed since I last contributed an entry to my blog that once received so much love.

Over the course of a few short weeks, I've landed a new job working in New York, which means I'm leaving Discovery and D.C. behind (btw, for those of you who keep asking me what the deal is with the enormous shark on the Discovery building, that's Chompie. He's a promotion for Shark Week, starting Aug. 1).


Photo by the AMAZING Dan Plimpton

It's bittersweet. This area has been a great home to me for the past six years and Tad and I have a lot of friends and family here, but we're ready for a new adventure. The Big Apple, baby!

It's funny too how many New York people I've reconnected with since I made the new job/new city announcement last week. Kids from college who have moved up there, people I used to work with when I was an intern there, friends who have put me in touch with friends... I feel like I already have a welcoming party waiting to greet me.

I say this is the final post for now because Always Fishing has been my D.C. blog for so long, I sort of feel like I should leave it behind and begin a new blogging venture. I haven't decided yet. One thing is for sure, I bid you adieu, fair readers, for now, and thanks for your support. I'll see you in New York!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Plugging Back In

A friend told me a while back that it usually takes her about two weeks to get back into a normal routine after vacation. I believe it.

When you're used to going 100 mph, then you slow down to maybe 15, getting back up to speed can be rough -- obvious by my lack of blogging of late. I got back safe and sound from the Outer Banks on Saturday, June 19 and spent the rest of my weekend at my parents house before coming back to DC. Since then, it's been a bombardment of happy hours, birthday outings, new job celebrations, World Cup watching (and crying), restocking the fridge, and oh yes, catching up on work and getting back into the working groove.

Our trip to Avon, North Caroline was calm, quiet and blissful. About an hour past Kitty Hawk, Nags Head and the more touristy parts of the OBX, there's not much down in Avon except a grocery store, gas station and few shops and restaurants. You can make the drive from one Welcome to Avon sign to the other in about 5 minutes, maybe 6 if you get stuck at the light.

We spent most of our days getting up whenever, going to bed whenever, and laying around on the beach with a full cooler.

The house my parents rented from a family friend was fully stocked with beach access, a pool, pool table and an incredible view in between the dunes overlooking the ocean. It sounds like a scene from a Nicolas Spark's book, doesn't it? By the way, Rodanthe, as in from the book/movie "Nights in Rodanthe," is a township right before Avon.

We did venture out a few times. We went to the worst mini golf course I've ever seen. It was like someone had just mowed patches on a big lawn. Come on, at least give me a windmill to aim at or something.


Tad taking charge.
Leslie and Josh, super excited to play.

One of our day trips included an outing over to Ocracoke, an island filled with artisans, gift shops and Black Beard museums located a few miles off Hatteras Island and it's only accessible by ferry.

We also stopped in Frisco (more than once) for Scotch Bonnet fudge -- ooohhhh so good -- and drove around Buxton for apple uglies.

And don't think we didn't sneak in a few exciting moments here and there. I was there with my parents, my sister, her boyfriend and Tad. My father often likes to take dinner time as an opportunity to bring up sensitive or controversial topics relating to current events. He finds the discussion fascinating but it usually leads to a lot of eye rolling from my sister and someone saying, "well I just don't agree" then silence. Case and point, first night we're there, my sister's boyfriend began going off on Obama's policies and how the unions are fueling the deficient and unemployment. Until then, I had never met anyone who had not only listened to Rush Limbaugh outside of the "Daily Show" but also consciously took on his views, God bless him. It was all poor true blue blood Democrat Tad could do to bite his tongue.

Another exciting thing was I got to try out wind surfing for the first time, which was awesome, I'm completely hooked. It was sort of like snowboarding -- another sport I love -- with a sail. I think I fell off seven times by my last count and I was definitely sore afterwards. Totally worth it.

Avon is the type of place you go to relax, probably retire to one day, and it can be a nice change of pace. Not a lot going on and sometimes that's just fine.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lauren Unplugged

Tomorrow night, I am OBX bound!

Heading out to Avon, North Carolina for a week of fun, relaxation and unplugging so I won't be blogging for a few days.

Once again, I'm leaving this...


For this...


Talk to you next week! Signing off.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Random Wednesday: World Cup 2010 Edition

Sex and Soccer: Some soccer coaches insist their players keep their eyes on the ball -- and nothing else, but can abstinence really make a difference in your soccer playing? We ask an expert.

Travels of a Soccerholic: My friend Daozhong is World Cup-bound right now, and will be blogging about her travels to and around South Africa, as well as her projections for the games.

I do enjoy how Google is running live stats and schedules on the games.

World Cup gamblers in England are "smoking died vulture brains" because they think it'll help them predict match results and outsmart bookies. That sounds about as smart as taking vodka shots through the eye.

This sports website compared 32 World Cup teams to 32 NFL teams in terms of skill and record. Why? No other reason than football is as popular in America as futbol is to the rest of the world and we Americans needs some sort comparison to understand the hype.

Going e-Couture, Nike unveiled their 2010 World Cup jerseys made from recycled plastic bottles.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hypocrites

Betty posted this on Facebook today. Pretty amusing...



Sunday, June 6, 2010

Two Races

I was on my feet most of the weekend. I don't think my legs have been this sore since the first week of high school soccer practice.

Saturday I woke up early to head out to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure with my friends and coworkers Kasey and Betty. The plan was to run the whole thing and I was all for it, even though I'm not much of a runner and both of them are marathon champs. I think I would have been able to do it if Kasey and I hadn't met Betty at her apartment before the race and then ran most of the way to the starting line on the National Mall -- 3 miles away.

The outside temperature at 8 a.m. in D.C. was already near 80 degrees and HUMID. I was drenched by the time we got there. All those mornings I had spent running on a treadmill in an air conditioned gym didn't help me prepare at all. We asked some random guy near the starting line to take this photo and I think I was still trying to catch my breath because look miserable.

From left to right, me, Kasey and Betty at the starting line.

The three of us snuck up towards the front of the line together and I started off running strong, but lost my two marathon running friends pretty quickly after that. I alternated between power walking and running it, mostly power walking. 5K may not seem like much, but if you're not used to the conditions, it can really take it toll on you. I stopped twice to help women suffering from heat exhaustion get off the road and get help. It was brutal out there.

Even though I wasn't doing this race for time, I still finished in 46 minutes, which I felt pretty good about. What I was so much more aware of was why I and everyone else was doing this: for our loved ones. Over 50,000 people showed up to participate and almost every one of them were wearing signs that said "In memory of my mom, my aunt, my sister, my grandma," or "Fighting for Lisa," "Celebrating my survival: 5 years!" Seeing all of people together sharing the same struggle was a little emotional, especially since it's a struggle women in my family have faced as well. I feel proud to have been a part of it.

Today was a completely different kind of race, again in D.C. Tad and I were house sitting for the weekend out in the sticks of MoCo so once again, we got up early this morning, drove back to our apartment, unloaded, hopped on the metro and headed to Woodley Park where we met Daozhing and Ruth for brunch at Open City.

Open City is an incredible coffeehouse and diner, famous for their eggs dishes. The wait for a table on a Sunday morning can take over an hour but it's so worth it. My mouth is watering just thinking about the applewood bacon scramble right now. Dao is leaving on Tuesday to head to South Africa for a few weeks for the World Cup so this was our sort of good bye get together. It only took a month for us to coordinate our busy schedules but it was nice to catch up with good friends and wish her well.

Full and protein-powered, Tad and I headed down to Freedom Plaza to meet another group of friends to participate in the annual Washington Post Hunt.

Crowd gathering at Freedom Plaza.

It's a logic puzzle scavenger hunt around the downtown area, sort of like a Da Vinci Code type thing, where you have to hunt for clues and solve brain teasers in hopes of taking home the grand prize: $2,000. The person or team that solves it the fastest wins and people take it very seriously. We saw hundreds of people with D.C. guide books, GPS equipment, coordinated t-shirts, people running straight into traffic -- it was nuts!

Tad staring intensely at the list of clues.

Stu and Lizette figuring out which direction we should take next.

And the puzzles are hard! Here's an example of one. First, you had to find where these feet were located on a map in the special WaPo Hunt edition of their magazine.

If you count them, the total was 555.5 feet, which you then had to remember is how tall the Washington Monument is. So then you went to the monument, and you also happened to remember that you had seen an illustration of a guy with a pink umbrella standing at the monument in the magazine. Then you had to notice that he was wearing a t-shirt with the number 74 on the back of it, which then corresponded with a piece of a clue in the magazine as to where the final solution was. I'm just going to stop myself here because I know I've already lost you.

I've been told that if you manage to solve two out of the five pieces (and each piece has several parts) then you're doing pretty well. Between Stu, Lizette, Anthony, Beth, Tad and I, we solved three, but obviously weren't quick enough to get the grand prize. Still, at least we know what to expect next year.

After all this running around this weekend it was nice to come home tonight to catch up on blogging and just not move for a while before I hit the ground running for Monday.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Random Wednesday

Links I found. Enjoy.

This is so incredibly dorky, but also amazingly awesome. LEGO printer uses felt-tipped pen to print stuff (thanks, Dave!).

This bacteria have a "right brain" that just won't quit: E. coli art.

Google Maps tell you where to go and how to get there. Bing Maps tell you where to live. BOOYA!

This is how I feel about the Twilight series. A little morbid, but you'll also learn something about MIT's Science Fiction Society.

PHOTOS: Sinkhole swallows an entire factory and an intersection in Guatemala. You can't even see where they went! Coworkers today were joking that it looked like the work of Superman... or gnomes.

"Drunk" parrots litter this Australian town, and veterinarians are stumped as they try to help the birds through their "hangovers."

More Office Shenanigans



I didn't do it, but I think I know who did. I think it's the same person who committed this office scandal. I did eventually find out who it was, but I'll never tell :)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Love and Loss

It's taken me a couple of days to get back into the blogging groove....

Late last week, I got word that one of my friends from high school had died. I really hate that the way I've come to know that someone from home has passed away is when someone else calls or messages me and says, "Did you hear about so and so?" It never means anything good.

While we had drifted apart after high school and only saw each around the holidays, Kyle was someone I used to hang out with all the time. He dated a good friend of mine so we all went to dances together, went to games together, movies, the mall, riding around, the whole bit for years. He died after falling off a ladder while changing a light bulb and it was a shock to my system. That old cliche that life is so short washed over me all over again and it took me until after his funeral on Saturday to get out of this weird fog I've been in all week. I saw so many other old friends and that was a comfort, some I hadn't seen since last year at Karey's funeral. She was a close childhood friend of mine who was killed in a car accident on May 3, 2009. Several of us commented on how much it sucked that we usually see each other at either weddings or funerals.

R.I.P. Kyle Linder, forever in our hearts. 1985-2010.

==========================================
Cancer is something I'm very familiar with, breast cancer in particular. Grandmothers, aunts, my mother, girl friends -- countless women in my life have suffered with this horrible disease. So when I found out a friend's breast cancer was back and another mutual friend of ours was helping to rally us together for a Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure team, I signed up immediately. I've never done the Race for the Cure before, but I couldn't be more excited and ready to help out team PinkForTink.

Only caveat is our coworker who helped organize the team is bound and determined to make us all run it, like really run it, not walk it. Thus begins my 6:30 a.m. runs. Starting tomorrow morning... and the race is Saturday. I'm not a runner at all, but if Trish can take two tours of duty fighting breast cancer, I can make it through a short run.

If you want to run with us, search PinkforTink in the 'Join a Team' box: http://tinyurl.com/ycafbms or if you'd like to donate, check out the fundraising page: http://tinyurl.com/2bn8fve

==========================================
Discovery is hosting a "Discover Your Impact" Day on June 18th to encourage employees to get out of the office and help the community -- AWESOME! My first choice was to sign-up to help out at a horse farm in Mt. Airy (I'm a huge animal lover), but I'll be away on vacation that week.

For those who aren't able to actively participate, but still want to help, you can sign-up to make cards for sick children staying at NIH in Bethesda. I'm also encouraged to ask friends to participate so if you're interesting in helping make cards, let me know! I'll post details once I get them from the event coordinator.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Hamster was LOST


This may be one of those stories where it's a lot more hysterical if you're directly involved, such a shame we didn't catch all of this on video, but nonetheless it has made me laugh to myself all day long so I think it's worth a shot at retelling here.

As everyone in the world knows now, last night was the series finale of LOST (as a die-hard fan, I don't think it has hit me yet that my Tuesday evening TV viewing will never be the same again). Tad and I have an old friend named Brandon who is responsible for turning this crazy TV show into an obsession for us, so it seemed only fitting that we would make the drive to out to his apartment to watch the final episode.

Not 10 minutes after we walked in his door at 8:25 p.m. Sunday evening (the episode started at 9) something happened.

Brandon was put in charge of caring for his roommate's two Roborovski hamsters (world's smallest breed of hamsters) while his roommate was away. After hearing all this talk about his roommate's plans to build Hamster-Topia, a 7x6 foot hamster tubing palace in his bedroom, I had to meet the little guys. As I looked around the cage...

Brandon: "Is there only one? There's supposed to be two. He has to be in there. He has to be. Is he buried? Seriously, he's in there right?"

Turning his roommate's room upside down, Tad and I began giving a quickly-flipping out Brandon advice on how to handle the situation, everything from going to the pet store and buying a replacement, to telling his roommate that the hamster got sick and died, or that the other one ate him. As Brandon suggests leaving the room and coming back to search later, Tad, staring at the back corner of the room, says, "I see him," in such a calm way that none of us computed what that meant. Tad would later tell us that he thought he was hallucinating and didn't really realize what he was saying.

About 1.3 seconds after his saying this, it clicks and we all spring into action at once, cornering the critter behind a book case. Not only are these hamsters small and can slip through the tiniest cracks, they are fast and can dart quicker than deer. Here, there, there, here, the three of us tripped over each other to corner him, taking out books and boxes and screaming things like "Grab him!" "AH!" "Close the bedroom door!" Just as the hamster runs along side said door, Brandon says "no way he can... OH MY GOD!" and away hamster slipped.

Chasing him down the hall and into the kitchen, I fell on my hands and knees and scooped him up before he got under the fridge. Triumph at last and the hamster was safely returned. We still don't know how he got out, but Brandon taped up every crack in the enclosure with industrial tape.

It took us a good 10 minutes to calm down enough to get off the floor from laughing so hard, just in time to settle in for the series finale.

The three of us and most of my office today have been going over the final episode again and again, judging each of our interpretations. One theory I heard was they all died in the initial plane crash and used the island to sort out their issues, but that that doesn't explain how some could die on the island and others couldn't. I think I'm with Tad and going with my original theory that everything was real, just shown to us in time-traveling parallel universes.

We also tried to make a list of all the plot lines they didn't explain or wrap up, but had to stop because it became too depressing. Some people were pissed at how it ended, but I thought it was appropriate with all of them dying. It gave some sort of resolution, even though we don't exactly know how we got there.

Gyros and Gypsies

I have two great girlfriends who specialize in tapping into the most obscure but awesome (and usually free) D.C. events, whether its a cultural festival, outdoor show or market.

Last weekend, I had a few hours to kill in my Saturday morning and Erin suggested we head over to the annual Greek festival near the National Cathedral. It was sunny and warm out, perfect day to meander through the booths of jewelry, pottery, clothes and amazingly good food.

Authentic spiced beef and lamb, topped which lettuce, tomatoes, onions and homemade tzatziki sauce all stuffed to the brim in warm pita... ooohhh my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I stole this photo from Erin, but I really think it says it all.

The festival was held on the grounds of the gorgeous Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral on Mass. Ave. NW.

and it was a good thing we got there early, because by 1 p.m., the line for gyros was easily 100 people long.

After browsing the tables, I picked up a necklace, Erin and I grabbed some hand painted plates. This is the one I bought, isn't the artwork incredible? I haven't found a place to mount it yet.

Then we stumbled upon a Greek fortune teller at the end of the row. Neither of us had ever had our palm read, so we figured we'd give it a shot.

This woman had to have been in her late 60s at best. Incredibly thick accent, leathery brown skin, gray braided hair, earring the size of softballs, and I think I counted a total of ten teeth. As soon as she grabbed my right hand, I instantly tensed. Maybe because I was a little nervous, or perhaps it was because she said to me, "Vokay, vhat ver I sees, I must tell vou, goot or bad."

Now, according to her, it's bad luck to tell others about your fortune, so I'll leave the mysteries of my life between us, but I'll say that she was close on most things, but also pretty vague. For Erin, she way, way off, according to her. I won't speak for Erin, but I certainly walked away feeling weirded out. In case you're wondering, I did not take the fortune teller up on her offer to come to her office for more to be revealed to me.

I'll say this, the ambiance from the festival gave me such an itch to go to Greece, a country that has been on my travel to do list for years. It's nice to live in such a cultural rich area that I can get a tiny taste of it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Randoms

I'll write a real blog post later, promise -- the next one I have coming up is about gyros and gypsies -- but I saw these links today and just had to share.

Turns out, it's a really bad idea to post your social security number on a billboard. Even if you're the LifeLock CEO.

Dear London, your 2012 Olympic mascot looks like you crossed a Teletubbie with a character from Monsters Inc.

SpaceX's Elon Musk was the inspiration behind Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.'s) character in Iron Man. DNews space producer asks, so Elon, are you "Rocket Man" or "Iron Man."

One of my friends used this when she was for applying for jobs. Glassdoor.com is a database of employee comments and interview questions from over 80,000 companies, domestic and abroad. It's a great way to get a feel for what your future work environment might be like.

Side note: I think I've watched the baby sloth video at least four times today. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

Your Daily Dose of Cuteness

Baby sloths! Even with their dagger-like claws, they're pretty adorable.

Meet the sloths from Amphibian Avenger on Vimeo.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Updates

Here's what I've got for you so far...

A surprising number of you have asked about my hair. Sorry I've been so bad about giving you an update. It's all better now -- I went the brunette route, (sorry Tad) -- but no more tiger stripe highlights! Will post a photo later.

Top Chef D.C.'s contestants names, backgrounds and photos have been released. Everyone looks boring.

A dead "zombie satellite" is causing so much havoc over Earth right now among the communication satellites that it could knock out everyone's signal during the LOST season finale. I only have one thing to say to that.

College Park's beloved Santa Fe Cafe and bar will be closing its doors forever on May 22nd, just in time to hit up the graduation crowds then peace out. Sad. So many memories.

After 25 years of flight, space shuttle Atlantis lifts off for one final voyage. I think the photo is gorgeous. Makes me sad to think of a time when we will no longer have shuttle launches, they've been going on my whole life (NASA is killing the shuttle program at the end of this year).

Still haven't found out what caused the fire in downtown Silver Spring (DTSS).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fire in downtown Silver Spring



I saw this as I was leaving work today (took it through the construction fencing). Another "Mulberry Street" moment. This is an enormous construction site next to the Silver Spring metro station in downtown Silver Spring where a retail, parking garage and transport hub are being built. Not sure what happened other than there was a lot of smoke and the whole area smelled like burning tar.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chincoteague



For Mother's Day, we did something a little different this year: field trip!

My family's celebration of this day to honor Mom is usually expressed with brunch at our hometown country club -- shrimp and grits, eggs benedict topped with crab meat are not only to die for but also tell me I'm home. But Saturday we loaded up Dad's truck and headed down to Chincoteague, Virginia for a change of pace.

Where I'm from on the Eastern Shore, Chincoteague is slated as a gorgeous, quiet beach getaway -- you non-shore natives may have heard of the children's book "Misty of Chincoteague?" Same place, and yes there are wild horses down there. It was indeed very beautiful, but I was struck by how small, and for the most part beach-less, the community was. I could definitely see how staying at a local B&B or just walking the quiet streets would be very relaxing though.

Side note: NASA has a HUGE facility down in this area and as we're driving past it, my parents told me they almost sent me to space camp here when I was a kid, but decided to send me to Bible camp instead. Whaaa?! A monologue of something along the lines of "I could have been a contender" comes to mind.

Our purpose for making the drive was my mom had a few artist friends who were showing their paintings, jewelry and photography at the Chincoteague Mother (Earth) Day festival (I guess combining Mother's Day and Earth Day?).

Although it was a gorgeous sunny day, 30-40 mph wind gusts made it difficult to browse (and for the artists to keep things on their tables), but I managed to pick up a few things. This handmade gold ring for one...

And these paintings, which were FREE, frames included. Amazing, right!?

The incredibly talented artist who did them, Dawn Tarr, said she was cleaning out her garage and was trying to get rid of "some junk." I couldn't believe she was just giving them away. Although most of her free paintings were of near-naked men or topless mermaids, I found these nonsexual framed ones and I thought they would fit nicely in current and future dwellings. I know, how prude of me, almost Pottery Barn like, but they're so pretty! I think I'll put the peas in my kitchen and daisies in my bathroom.

The best event of the art show was this woodcarver who used a chain saw to carve lawn statues out of tree trunks.

This wooden flamingo was about six feet tall. My dad tried everything to convince my mom we needed it for the backyard -- he was not successful.

We wrapped up the day at Bill's restaurant around the corner from the festival before heading home, where I then laid out by my parents' pool and then watched movies all night on pay-per-view until I fell asleep at 10:30 pm. It felt awesome.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

"Margs to the face." -- Andy Heck (Andy, if you're reading this, I am sorry. This line has become the motto of all my happy hours).

Keeping it light this year, Tad and I headed over to Mi Rancho in Silver Spring just for tacos, enchiladas and, you guessed it, margaritas, in honor of Cinco de Mayo or our weekly date night (usually we do date night on Friday or Saturday, but I'm heading home for Mother's Day this weekend. I know, all kinds of "awwww" happening here).

Highlight of the evening -- live mariachi band!

Shameless self promotion again: Want to learn about the history of Cinco de Mayo? Sure you do. I had to write up a blog about it for Discovery News, so I can tell you all about it right HERE.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Randoms

Hilarious links I found while waiting for my laundry to finish so I can go to bed...

Muppet movie camera improv test from 1979
. Hysterical. "You're not a real bear. Have you ever seen a bear with a magenta nose?" ... "Do you know what you get when you cross a pig and a frog?" I've never seen Kermit so sassy!

Okay, I know I steal links from Emily way too much, but she is the Internet scouring champion, and this one was too funny. Comic Sans is definitely NOT my type. What is it about that font that's just... ugh.

"An ice cream parlor near M.I.T. will soon be serving Internet-flavored ice cream." Seriously. That's the first line of the article. I didn't even have to touch it.

Take five minutes to stop and smell the roses. It's good for your health.

Listed as one of the nation's leading pot consumption states, D.C. gears up to vote on legalizing medical marijuana. Several 20-somethings say it won't make a difference.

"Avatar" director James Cameron + NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab = kick ass 3-D camera eyes for the next Mars rover (warning: shameless self promotion here).

Song stuck in my head right NOW. Also not conducive to sleeping.

Hair Delimma! (again)

Not to worry, I didn't accidentally die my hair black again.

Should I go blond or stay brunette? Right now I'm dark brown with lighter brown under tones. Nothing dramatic. In fact, it has faded to dull, flat dark, dark brown color with almost orange-ish streaks. Trying to make a decision by Thursday because I'm trying to squeeze in a hair appointment to get my horrible roots fixed before Mother's Day this weekend (for all of you who forgot it was Mother's Day this weekend, you're welcome).

My hair looks like this now. You can see my dilemma. I have really dark hair with a blond streak from a birthmark on my scalp and as I've gotten older, the blond has turned from a golden to a grayish. This has fascinated every stylist I've ever been to:

P.s. it is IMPOSSIBLE to take a photo of yourself in the bathroom where the lighting is best and not look awkward.

So I could really go either way: lighter or darker. If I go blond, which I was thinking might be fun for summer, I was thinking this:

If I stay brunette, I was thinking this:



Help! Opinions wanted!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Well done, weekend, well done.

This weekend was solid. Nothing epic or outlandish, but definitely satisfying.

Friday night after work, I headed out to College Park for UMD's Art Attack festival. Tad, who has the in with the entertainment folks from his work at the student union, got us VIP passes to the main event: Ben Folds/Weezer. Both are groups that I have a handful of their songs on my ipod but I wouldn't call myself a huge fan. That all changed after this night.

Ben Folds was his usually "Billy Joel of our time" self, and having never seen Weezer in concert before, I was blown away by how hard they could rock.

Here's just a taste of the madness. The crowd of 12,000 (the biggest Art Attack crowd to date) was throwing glow necklaces in the air. You see someone throw a roll of toilet paper at around 11 and 19 seconds.


Standing within arms reach of the stage, I'm fairly certain Rivers Cuomo was pointing at me when he came over to stage left singing "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To)" ;)

Before the encore, Weezer's bass player, Scott Shriner, jumped off the stage right next to us and did a set of 20 push-ups. My camera took that moment to malfunction and then say "memory card full" so you're going to have to take my word for it. Certainly one of the highlights was when Cuomo dressed up like Lady Gaga and the band sang their MGMT cover "Kids" remixed with "Pokerface."

It was one of the best concerts I've been to in a long time. If you ever go to a concert with Tad and I, you'll find that we "feel" the music very differently. Tad likes to close his eyes and let the instrumentals and vocals wash over him. I, on the other hand, like to flail around and let the beat move me. Kinda funny.

Saturday we let ourselves sleep in way too late. In following my usual Saturday morning routine, I got up, made myself something to eat, read a little, dozed, repeat. Rarely do I let myself do that until 1 p.m. though. After we finally got up and moving, we headed up to the roof to sit by our building's pool for the first time this season -- couldn't resist when it was 90 degrees, sunny and breezy.

Making another date night out of it, we went out to dinner Saturday night at Austin Grill (we got fed, but eh, not a memorable meal), and then to the movies to see Date Night (ha!) starring Tina Fey and Steve Carell. We went into this movie expecting it to be really cheesy and hokey, and there were parts that were, but what separated it from other dumb comedy movies was that it was smart, and there wasn't any point where I felt like it was dragging or there was a lull in timing. Plus, there were lots of unusual cameos. Pretty hilarious as expected.

Another hot one today, Tad and I relaxed out on the patio at our friend and former roommate Roberto's place with our other dear friend Daozhong for a barbecue. Roberto is an amazing cook and grilled up all sorts of good eats: two different kinds of sausage, flank steak, mango, pineapple, strawberries... I, of course, made sangria. Good food, good conversation, and suddenly it was evening.

Tad and I headed back to our place where we then accidentally napped for three hours (I'm never going to get to sleep tonight), and woke up hungry not for a meal but for snacks. After a failed attempt to make homemade bread (the yeast I had bought a while back had gone bad), we ended up making guacamole, margaritas and catching up on last week's NBC Thursday night line-up. Now, here I am blogging about it all.

So like I said, a solid weekend, nothing too crazy, but equal parts of fun and rest to get me back to feeling refreshed and fully charged for Monday. Well done, weekend, well done.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Grammar Slammer

Madhatter's
1319 Connecticut Ave, NW
Washington, D.C.

Out for Daozhong's birthday dinner last night. Photo of the dessert menu. Don't these waffles sound delicious? MmMm I want mine with extra sand and grit.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Update: Suddenly I paint

Update on my painting: My dad claimed it for his office :) Aww.

Sangria Cravings

I've been on a sangria kick lately, not necessarily a bad thing I suppose. I think it's rooted in my deep longing for summer, plus, I have to agree with Erin. All the fruit makes this a healthy drink, no? Judging from the past few batches I've made, I think I've come up with the perfect recipe.

I tried this one out on some friends at two separate dinner parties I hosted (I felt like a needed an excuse to make a huge punch bowl full of wine drink) -- Erin blogged about my last one on her food/travel blog -- and this latest batch got some great reviews (I already sent to this Erin for her blog -- she has a much bigger following than I do -- but I thought I'd share my thoughts here too anyway).



This recipe is SUPER easy because all you're doing is chopping up fruit. I came up with this after reading, no lie, SIX different sangria recipes. It's not all that original except for the Sprite and the pineapple chunks. Most recipes call for club soda instead of Sprite but I think this adds much more flavor. The pineapple chunks soaked in the wine are truly the best fruit to munch on once you've emptied your glass ;)

Lauren's Sangria. Serves about 4-6 people (depending on how big your glasses are. We used solo cups like classy people).

1 bottle of Mirassou Cabernet Sauvignon (according to an article I read about making sangria, this is the best cheap red wine brand (around $10 at most liquor stores) and type for the drink. It's tart and fruity, but lighter than a Merlot).
1 12 oz can of Sprite
1 grapefruit
1 peach
1 pear
1 lemon
1 lime
1 and 1/2 cups of pineapple chunks

Chop up the fruit. The citrus should be sliced horizontally for presentation (they will float!) and then the rest of fruit should be cut into bite-sized chunks. Add your wine. Let soak for no more than 2 hours before serving (I usually do 1 hour). Then, right before your guests come, add the Sprite. DO NOT add the Sprite before hand or it will go flat before you serve it (I found this out the first time around). Stir and enjoy!

The best part is if you need to make more, just reuse the fruit and add another bottle of wine and another can of Sprite.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mulberry Street, suddenly I paint and "Boobquake"

When I was a kid, my dad's favorite book to read to me was "And To Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street" by Dr. Seuss. I think about that book sometimes as I'm on my way to work because my commute doesn't change, and for the most part, my surroundings don't either. So when I see something out of the ordinary, it really jumps out at me. Like this...

Yes, that's a Giant Foods shopping cart chained up to a bike rack with what appears to be a pretty decent bike lock.

I've seen it chained up like this about three or four times now, but sometimes it's not there, which tells me someone is not just being possessive, but actually gets some use out of it. The Giant is a good five blocks or so away.

In other news, I was really worn out from the work week by the time this weekend rolled around, and the rainy weather didn't help to make me feel like going out either, so I took it easy. Then I got bored, so this happened:

I had some art supplies hanging around so I painted. I haven't painted anything in years, and this took me about three hours. It's a tree branch of cherry blossoms. I haven't decided what I'm going to do with it yet (give it away or hang it up), but I'm not going to lie, I impressed myself a little with this project.

And finally, "boobquake," by the Washington Post. I loved this story and I hope someone includes this in his clip packet. Although clever, I thought the "scantily clad" part was pretty conservative. Probably a good thing...


Caption: "Women showing cleavage gathered in Dupont Circle, D.C. to participate in "Boobquake," a reaction to a Shiite cleric's claim that, 'Women who do not dress modestly . . . lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes.' (Anna Uhls/The Washington Post)"

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010

Happy Earth Day! Wanted to share a few of my favorite quirky Earth Day-related links in honor of love for our great mother. I'll be adding to this throughout the day.

Ellen Degeneres makes clothes from recyclables and then makes poor models walk in them on national TV.

The International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) selected the "Top 40 Nature Photography of all Time." The photos will be auctioned off today by Christie's International, and proceeds will go to various environmental groups. My favorite is the one of the lily pads. I think it looks like a painting. I can't show it here due to copyright issues, but you can view the whole slide show here.

Our solar astrophysicist on staff with my team had the in at NASA and got the most ASTOUNDING photos of our sun from NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory. Better than CNN's slide show for sure ;)
That photo doesn't do it justice though. View the whole slide show here.

And here are nine reasons why Blue is the new Green. I can't help but feel that "green" and "green living" has been so overused and misused that it's becoming obsolete.

Did you know Earth Day turned 40 this year!?

Erin blogged about what you can do for Earth Day and BONUS! There's a Sesame Street clip included!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A hard pill to swallow

I'm going to take a second and be slightly political.

The other night I was reading an article in the latest issue of Vogue, of all things, about the dangers and realities of antibiotic-feed meat, particularly beef.

First I had to get over the fact that such an article was even in the snooty fashion magazine, then I was surprised to find myself completely captivated and I read it from start to finished -- something I rarely do with their articles (hey, Vogue is sort of like Playboy for the fashion obsessed anyway, am I wrong?).

The issues over force feeding antibiotics to animals are nothing new. Health concerns with our eating beefed-up meat (oh puns) have been around for years, especially after Michael Pollen's food expose, Omnivore's Dilemma was released (I will forever be grateful to my mom for making me read it). Concerns like can this process affect our development, are the antibiotics making women infertile, is it safe for the animals, is it harmful to us -- all of these questions I had heard before. But what I hadn't heard before, and what the Vogue article taught me, was that the main antibiotics given to cows to prevent disease is tetracycline.

Forgive me if I sound naive, but the word "antibiotics" for animals sort of floated out there in space for me and it wasn't until I read "tetracycline" that it came back down and smacked me in the face. They're giving cows tetracycline?! And then we're ingesting it?!

To make it more clear, tetracycline is a broad group of antibiotics that treat a number of bacterial infections. One antibiotic in this group is amoxicillin. I have been prescribed amoxicillin and others from the tetracycline group for everything from a bladder infection to a root canal. It's the go-to bacterial-fighting drug and the fear is that through eating meat, we humans will develop a tolerance to one of the most affective antibiotics on the market. Not to mention that something we need to see a doctor and get a prescription for is being sold in livestock feed stores by the bagful.

The article goes on to mention that organic label watching is important -- something I wrote a research paper on for my junior English class -- including that "grass fed" means practically nothing unless the label says "American grass fed." It also sites a Clemson University study that found that pure grass-fed beef has a whole host most vitamins and minerals, including omega-3s and beta carotene (something I didn't know beef even had in it) than grain-fed beef.

Scary, messed up stuff!

It really puts my earlier argument into harsher perspective -- the one where I said I would be willing to pay more for meat to ensure the animals are treated humanely and antibiotic-free but still buy non-organic anyway. Maybe I shouldn't consider it an option anymore.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Family and flowers

I've gotten into a bad habit of buying potted plants -- especially flowers -- for the apartment every time I go to Eastern Market, which I would say is about once every few months. Yesterday's trip was no different. Our apartment is practically an atrium now with NINE potted plants and counting. They make the place seem homey and pretty, but it's getting ridiculous and so I've decided we've reached our plant limit. For now.

Plants usually die under my care. Some people call it over watering. I call it smothering with love.

Anyway, here's what I bought yesterday...

Portulaca

Alyssum -- although I call it "the asylum plant" because I can't ever remember "alyssum." The blue thing that it's in is actually a cheap plastic serving platter I bought at Giant.

Peppermint on the left, cilantro on the right. Bought for the purpose of making really excellent homemade mojitos and salsa. Mmmm.

I had raved about the vibrant flea and farmer market in Southeast D.C. so many times that when my parents and little sister came up to visit yesterday for Dad's birthday, that's where they wanted me to take them.

The gorgeous but blustery spring day made lunch at Le Pain Quotidien and weaving through various vendors easy and relaxing. Thing you have to be careful of, or at least I do, is when you start getting sucked into all the unique wares for sale and the line between "oh I need" and "o0o0o I want" becomes very blurry.

An 18th century map of Maryland? We definitely need that. Crazy mirror thing with embellishments? That would look great in the... well... somewhere, I'll find a place for it. This antique record player? Wild! Weird metal sculpture of a flamingo? What I've been wanting my whole life!

Luckily, I managed to escape out of there with only buying plants and three necklaces: one for my mom, my sister and I. They all look similar with small medallions inside a circular shape, just will different amounts of gold and silver and I thought it was a nice bonding item. Here's mine...

Sorry, best I could do with pointing the camera at myself with the flash off.

For Dad, gave him four Orioles tickets packaged in a redwood Cuban cigar box. Also bonding items :)

One funny moment of the day was when my dad ordered a ginger ale at lunch and the waitress said, "ginger ale? We don't have, but we have hoegaarden." Even after I tried to explain to her it was a soda, like Coke or Sprite, her response was "oh you want a Coke?" Poor thing.

Needless to say, it's hard to fail at giving the family a fun D.C. outing when you throw in really good food, artsy stuff, live street music and nice weather. A glorious way to spend a Satuday afternoon.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm a little creeped out by this...

I moonlight, if you will, (that sounds so Delilah) on a weekly Discovery Channel podcast called the "Friday News Feedbag." I've blogged about it before (this week I'm hosting!) and the way it works is there are three guys on the show -- James, Jorge and Will -- and when one of them is out of the office, then I take their spot.

It's all about quirky science news and both James and Jorge (Will usually hosts) present the craziest, weirdest science stories they can find. The running joke is when I fill in for James, I become "Lames," and "Lorge" or "Laurge" if I'm filling in for Jorge, because the listeners pick their favorite story each week and since I'm only on part time, a vote for one of my stories goes to the guy I'm filling in for.

Anyway it's a lot of build up for this image we received today on the Bag's Facebook fan page:

The guy took our photos off our contributors pages on Discovery News. We were all a little creeped out. Also, impressed by the Photoshop skills. I guess now I'm truly famous.

One of Stephen's best...

Stephen Colbert had German ambassador to the UN Hans Beinholt come on The Colbert Report and denounce "cupcakes" and "children's birthday parties." Tad and I couldn't breathe after watching this. One of Colbert's best. Watch until the end -- it's totally worth it. I promise.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Thought for Food - Mentally Ill Advertisers & German Cupcakes
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News


Writer's note: I had the name wrong when I first posted this. My apologies!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

MVA headaches and rabbits

No one has a good story about the DMV (Dept. of Motor Vehicles) and in Maryland, it goes by another name - Motor Vehicle Administration - but a rose by any other name still sucks.

Called the MVA today because I had ordered renewal tags for my car about a month ago, but still haven't received the tags within the 10 business day window. However, credit card was charged the $128 the day after I submitted my request.

MVA employee: "oh, well you should have gotten them a week ago. I'll put in a request to have them mailed out to you again."

Me: "Mail them again? Can I just come in to an MVA and pick them up?"

MVA employee: "If you did that, we would charge you a processing fee. Mailing them again is free."

Seriously?!? How does that make sense. My offering to come in is free to you, MVA! What if I end up receiving both tags in the mail eventually? What's stopping me from using the other set of tags on another car, two for one, other than being a solid citizen? Or what if someone else is getting two sets of free tags at my expense?

Alas, another temporary tag to be printed out to get me through the 10 business day allotment once again. So annoying.

In other news, I'm a huge nerd. As I'm struggling through Anna Karina, I'm also re-reading Watership Down in tandem as a relief from strife in the Soviet. I was having a conversation with a coworker about my strange reading habits and he informed me that Watership Down was not only made into a full-length animated film, but you can also watch the entire thing on YouTube. Who knew?!

I loved that when he sent me a link to it, the subject of the email was simply, "Rabbits."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Terra Cotta Warriors: Cool, Meh

Writer's Note: Hey Always Fishing fans, you'll know once again my posts have become more infrequent. My beloved 7-year-old Dell has finally kicked the bucket, dead and gone for good, so my blogging capabilities have been reduced to when I can wrestle my boyfriend's computer away from him to write. Not easy when you're dating a grad student who has papers due constantly. I hope to have a new machine soon, but in the meantime, bare with me and I will try to update at least once a week.

That being said, it's no surprise to you why I'm just now blogging about my excursion to the final showing of the Terra Cotta Warriors last week.

Thousands of larger-than-life statues guarding an ancient emperor, as a big history enthusiast, I was really excited to see them. I had heard for months that it was an incredible exhibit and had been dying to go since I first found out they were coming to the National Geographic Museum in D.C. last November. Somehow, time got away from me and suddenly it was the end of March and the exhibit was closing March 31.

Thanks to a savvy friend, Tad and I were able to score two tickets to the final showing through ThingsToDoDC.com (it's a great website site for events, but it's more geared towards singles wanting to meet singles, so if you're in a relationship, skip the "receptions").

I'll spare you the details of the exhibit because what is on the NatGeo website for it is all the exhibit had to offer. Maybe a little less.

Tad and I had a lovely date night and certainly enjoyed going, but both of us felt a little disappointed. I for one was expecting more warrior statues, and we counted only seven. We were also sort of bummed at how many things in the exhibit were replicas, and that the whole thing was more "here they are! Enjoy!" and didn't explain, how the statues were removed, cleaned, reassembled, how long it took, how they were shipped here, what was next for them and the biggest puzzlement: what and where archaeologists going to dig next. The only indication given was that they were not going to touch the emperor's burial tomb.

So was the exhibit cool? Yes. Did it live up to the hype? Meh.

We did get a nice picture out of it:


Notice: Replica. Also, Poor Tad, I was wearing high heels that night :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Top Chef DC Filming in Silver Spring?!?

One of my friends at work took a stroll over to Whole Foods in Silver Spring today, and snapped a photo of this posted sign in the store with her phone.


For those of you who aren't regular Bravo network watchers, Magical Elves, Inc. is a production company that produces several shows for them, including Project Runway, Treasure Hunters and -- TOP CHEF!

And scenes where chefs are racing through Whole Foods, punching each other out to get the last fresh cut of fish for the day, is a quality show staple.

Not going to lie, totally going to conveniently forget multiple items off my grocery list one day at a time so I just HAVE to run over to my local Whole Foods to buy it. Seriously, I think it'll attract more people to the store. Great marketing and legal tool, Whole Fools. BONUS!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Help me out!

Hello readers,

I need your help with a project I'm working on for Discovery.

I don't usually use my personal blog as a platform for work stuff, but this project was my idea and I think it would be awesome if I could collect photos from as many places as possible.

For the next few days, Mercury and Venus will appear together in the sky. That's where you come in: I need photos of them! More details HERE.

How to submit them to Discovery is in the link above. One guy from Denver submitted gorgeous photos, as you will see at the bottom of the post.

DEADLINE IS THURSDAY, APRIL 10. Many thanks!

Erin -- I feel like a moron not remembering to ask you while you were still in Australia. That would have been awesome, sigh. Oh well, safe travels!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

It seems I've become the default holiday blogger on my team, which is sort of funny because most holidays we have in the U.S. today have religious roots and I am not a church goer (outside of a Christmas Eve or Easter Sunday mass once in a blue moon).

However, in the past I've written on the history of Halloween, Marti Gras, St. Patrick and yes, now Easter.

Read this to find out what the Easter Bunny has to do with Jesus. Short answer: Nothing, the Easter Bunny is a pagan symbol.

Interesting too -- and I didn't include this in the Discovery blog because of all the religious fanatics already going to town in the comments section -- but through researching that topic I found one religious history professor's paper that said one of the reasons Easter is a movable holiday is so the Catholic church can pick a Sunday that won't interfere with Passover observances.

Just click on the Easter blog if nothing else than to be cuted out by the photo my coworker lent me of his 3-week-old pet bunnie buns.

Speaking of bunnie buns, allow me to take you back to how I commemorated Easter on this blog last year with GIANT BUNNIES!!!!

And let us not forget that Easter means another edition of WaPo's PEEP Show!

More to come on this blog post later, for now it's time for me to locate my white gloves and wide brimmed hat. Happy Easter!