Playing concierge
Sarah's coming! Sarah's coming! Only four more days until Sarah comes! I was compiling a list of options of things the two of us could do during her stay, and I decided to try to entice more friends to come visit by including the list here. Come visit! You know you want to!

+ Lounge in the heated spa, sipping Knock-You-Naked Margaritas.
+ Take Bandit on a walk to the neighborhood coffee shop where we will sit outside by the "lake" drinking chai lattes and mochas, while solving the world's problems.
+ Repeat coffee-drinking and world-solving at the Willow House in the hip Willo District "gay-borhood" (as Pat would say).
+ Go on a rigorous hike up Camelback or Squaw Peak.
+ Take advantage of hip second-hand bookstore Changing Hands' new year's day book sale, wandering the aisles of books and discovering new treasures.
+ Wander around cute Old Town Scottsdale and then...
+ Head out for a night of drinking and dancing at Devil's Martini or...
+ Have dinner at Malee's Thai restaurant and get our auras read (cue Twilight Zone theme).
+ Do the girlie thing and get our nails done at Amsterdam on Martini and Manicures Mondays.
+ Wander around the remaining big holiday light displays: ZooLights or Glendale Glitters.
+ Check out open mic night at Alice Cooper'stown.
+ Go wine-tasting at Red Kangaroo Wines
+ Get cultured at the Phoenix Art Museum (current special exhibits: photography by well-known artists like Dorthea Lange and Richard Avedon; and the history of lingerie)
[EDIT] + There's also a roller skating rink by my house where I've been wanting to relive my elementary school days of roller skate parties. Do you remember those? Oh, so much fun!


Berry Chridmad
I woke up yesterday to find the annual Christmas cold/sinus infection had performed a sneak attack and captured me in the middle of the night. My esophagus felt like it had shrunk to the size of a Q-tip® shaft, my throat glands had swollen to the size of jawbreakers, and my head felt like a helium balloon was pushing against my sinuses and making my head float up and a little to the right of the rest of my body. At the Christmas Eve service at Dayspring (best church ever), I put the "silent" in "Silent Night" as I mouthed the words to the traditional service-closer. The throat feels much better today, thankyouverymuch.

A very Brooksy Christmas

The pic that accompanied the annual Brooks family Christmas card. Bandit could totally be a Purina dog chow model, doncha think?

Peace, yo
I hope you've had the chance to celebrate the birth of a truly wise man today.


Kicks I've been on lately, Holiday Christmas version
+ Tuning into 99.9 KEZ, the Holiday Station.
+ Starbucks' Chai Eggnog Latte (Chai-nog!)
+ Yelling at Bandit to get out from under the Christmas tree
+ My mom's raspberry liquour-laced chocolate truffles
+ Holiday party-going with other people's friends
+ Wearing my toasty warm slippers in the car ride to work, then changing into flip flops for the rest of the day
+ Singing Un Flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle in my head and totally mangling the French lyrics
+ Bailey's ice cream from Häagen-Dazs® (It's only out between now and February. Time to stock up!)
+ Not going to the gym (no time, no time!)
+ Soliciting mailing addresses from (not too) long-lost friends (send me yours if you want some Christmas cheer)


WARNING: This blog post is rated PG-13
Some All content not appropriate for children under the age of 13

Last night I went with nine other girls (only one of which I'd ever met before) to see the Chippendales from Vegas, who were to put on a show that was "a series of disarmingly sexy yet tasteful routines...the show artistically encapsulates a wide range of female fantasies to provide a sensuous and fast-paced performance that offers the perfect blend of music, hot dance moves, and sensual theatrics." I was a bit disappointed. I expected a better performance from the ultimate of the male stripper career path. Apparently "tasteful" is a relative term. So are "dance moves" and "artistically." These guys were not 'N Sync. Neither were they in sync, though most of their "dance moves" were half-heartedly stolen from 'N Sync and Backstreet Boys music videos, circa 2002. I felt like I was watching a fraternity performance at RAMS. Only one of them could actually move to a beat (he was the Black one, of course, proving once again that white guys can't dance), and two of them had paunches! If the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have to be big-boobed and flat-stomached, I want my Chippendales to be washboard-abbed. I'm talking about gender equality here! There was one routine that had three guys dressed up in white Marine officer outfits and they spent the whole "I Can Be Your Hero, Baby" song walking around the stage and saluting before stripping down to stars and stripes boxer briefs. *Yawn*

The guy who was kinda the leader/MC was so slimy with his Fabio-wannabe long, stringy blond hair. Classic line from the night: "...And I want to thank the bar tenders in the back. They're the ones responsible for keeping you WET all night! [piss-drunk female crowd screams in ecstasy]" I think they count on the women being so wasted that their beer goggles are in full force, and all they can see is a speedo-covered schlong bouncing around on the stage. It was really very pathetic, yet quite amusing, to watch the women (and the one gay man in the front row) clammoring after these guys. Oh, a few of them were pretty good-looking; one guy with glasses was quite attractive. Whewy! And there was one guy whose profile looked so much like George from Desperate Housewives that it nearly sent me over the edge laughing imagining George doing a snap-leg tuxedo strip tease for Bree.

So my verdict on the Chippendales: An amusing way to spend an evening with the girls if you want some laughter, but no need to shell out $24 to see it ever again. The girls I met were fun, though! None of them were the patheticly wasted women falling out of their sequined tops trying to fight their way through the rows to slip $1 in the sweaty Daisy Duke shorts of one of the grease-bombs to massage his greasy bum. They just might be some keepers.

Question of the week:
Who came first: Chip 'N Dale? Or the Chippendales?


Birthday Girl
Yesterday was my sister's 21st birthday. Leave her a belated birthday wish on her Xanga site if you feel like it.

Giving of Thanks
Pictures of the weekend.
Our house was full of family and friends this weekend. Both sets of grandparents made the trek to Arizona for a warm holiday celebration. Saturday we had our annual Orange Pancake Breakfast, which may just be my favorite day of the year. We had the comfort of family, neighbors and friends over for orange sourdough pancakes (best pancakes ever), and it was almost like the days of crowded dinner parties with old friends in Manhattan.

Requisite Cheese
Things I'm thankful for:
+ Bandit, cutest puppy ever
+ My view of the mountains through the scaffolding of the building being constructed in front of my work window.
+ Figuring out how to filter out the 200+ spam messages delivered to my work email over the weekend. (I had been able to avoid all spamming until now.)
+ The 40º "cold snap," that lets me pretend winter is here. Turtleneck sweaters! Yay!
+ Yolanda the Honda's current mileage: 43.5 mpg
+ Mom's Chocolate Pecan Pie
+ Baby Viviane's babbling
+ Barb, the irreverent, 60ish-year-old lesbian in our Sunday School class
+ Coffee-mate's Cinnamon Vanilla Crème creamer
+ Leftovers for lunch
+ Jeffrey Sachs
+ Grey's Anatomy, even though I totally forgot to tape it and Desperate Housewives last night while we were out for Ally's birthday dinner.


Mi semana en México por los números
10 Approximate yards from my room to the beach.
4 Bruises sustained from learning how to windsurf.
1.5 Hours spent kayaking on the ocean.
3 References to The Wizard of Oz ("You're certainly not in Kansas anymore, are you?!" — And people think they're so clever when they say that, as if they must be the first person who has helped me achieve this enlightenment.)
5 Middle-aged American men who bought me drinks.
2 Young Mexican men who bought me drinks.
0 Drinks I bought.
6 Times I heard Madonna on the radio.
1 Tackle shop named "Master Baiter" in the city center.
Also 1 Woman wearing a Willies t-shirt (the Columbia bar) in the Puerto Vallarta airport. She grew up in CoMo and still lives there.
809 My America West flight home.
Countless One-kiss greetings on the cheek.

• Mexicans smoke. A lot. There were ashtrays on top of the toilet paper dispensers in the airport.
• I am much more impressed with my French retention after realizing how little Spanish I've remembered from elementary school. (Although I could easily recall "Vino tinto, por favor," the phrase I memorized before spending a weekend in Barcelona two and a half years ago.) Actually, I impressed myself with how quickly I learned, thanks to my Mexican traveling partners/language coaches: Rocio, Maria, Fernando and Diego. Although, I did find myself creating some kind of English-Spanish-French hybrid language: Sprench. "Oú est les baños?"
• Not only has Wal*Mart (plus Sam's Club), McDonald's and Madonna invaded Mexico, but so has Gold's Gym, KFC and — horrors! — Comic Sans on local signage.
• They pronounce their "V" more like "B," so Puerto Vallarta sounds more like, "Porto Bayarta."

How I ended up spending an evening in the penthouse of the resort with a trio of millionaires
I'm sitting on the bus between the parking lot and the Phoenix airport when the middle-aged guy across the aisle from me says, "So where are you heading?" "Mexico," I reply. "Really? Where in Mexico?" he asks. "Puerto Vallarta," I reply again. "Really? Where are you staying?" he asks yet again. "A resort called the Playa del Sol Grand, I think," I reply for the third time. "Ha! Same here! I own a condo there." Having grown up with a timeshare-owning family, the phrase, "We have a condo there," hasn't ever really impressed me, because I'd always interpreted that as owning a week at a condo, not the unit itself. He was meaning it literally, though. He owns the penthouse unit. And during his time there, dropped another $2.2 mil on two more condos, including another penthouse. Idiot that I am, I never even thought to give them my card, or ask for any of their's in return. So I'll probably never see my Phoenix golf-course owning millionaire friends again.

Pictures TK...as soon as I take the time to install my new camera software on Jack the Mac

While I was out
The following notable events happened:
Kate and Adam got engaged!
My sister was accepted to a summer institute at Georgetown.
Ralph Edwards died. This is significant for our family; my grandfather will be speaking at his funeral.
Bill Snyder retired from coaching the K-State football team.


Barack Obama is a rockstar
He also has nice hands. I went to hear the senator from Illinois at a rally in support of 2006 Senate candidate Jim Pederson on the ASU campus this afternoon. It made me miss the fun and excitement of election season. And true to his reputation, Barack "Too Hot for HottestUSSenator.com" Obama had quite the swooning following, including someone who had strung up a "I LOVE OBAMA" banner.

I didn't get that fancy degree for nothin'
After the rally, and after I shook his hand and told him, "Thanks for all your hard work, Senator," I managed to get snagged by a reporter for the East Valley Tribune who proceeded to ask me a bunch of questions. (Nosy reporters.) When I had answered them to her satisfaction, she told me, "You know this job requires me going up to random people anywhere from 8-years-old to adults and asking them a bunch of questions, and I don't think I've ever had anyone answer my questions so concisely and clearly and eloquently as you." (Concise! Clear! Correct! -- Of course my opinions are correct!) My response: "Well, I have to admit that I graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, so I've been in your shoes before and I know a bit about what you're looking for." "Cheater!" she replied.

I went to the fights tonight, and a hockey game broke out
I got my introduction to hockey tonight at a Coyotes game against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. (An appropriate opponent because my only previous experience with the sport was The Mighty Ducks, the movie.) I would have benefited greatly from the expertise of my many northern friends who grew up in hockey country. The game halted several times without any clear reason, players all of a sudden jumped over the wall at random (yet seemingly planned) times, and penalties were dished out without explanation. But I enjoyed myself and was surprised at how graceful the athletes can be on the ice in such bulky outfits.


We live in a digital world, and I am a digital girl
I need a replacement camera for my slow, clunky HP -- stat. Do you like yours? What would you recommend? I'm looking for a point-and-shoot with enough pixels to be able to print in a magazine if needed. But I can't break the bank with this one.

This place looks nice, doesn't it?
I'll be chillin' there next week.


Do you know how hard it is to sit on exciting news like this?
Natalie is pregnant!!!! The first of my friends to have a little person growing inside her!!! Check out Jason's very scientific analasys on Nat's blog to see what Baby Wilson will look like.


A haiku for you
I've been quite busy
Deadline lessons must be taught
A real post will come


Hollywood bust
I told you Mr. Incredible and Elmo are buds. Apparently they're partners in crime, too.

Animated Characters Switch From Snapshots to Mugshots.
LA Times (Thanks to J-Dub for the link)


Back so soon
More Baby Viviane pictures
Visiting LA pictures
Bandit pictures
...It smells like an airport runway*
La-la-la L.A. Why was I in LA, you ask? Why not? I didn't have anything else going on for the weekend, I found a cheap flight, and I had a floor on which I could crash (thank you, JDub). Observations from the City of Angels (or demons?)*:
• The Hollywood(land) sign would be a much better site were there a trail on which you could hike to the top. It's somewhat anticlimactic to drive up a hill, take a picture, and drive back down.
• Tourists are star-struck idiots who will pay any amount just to say they've tread in the tracks of George Clooney/Cameron Diaz/other star-struck tourists who have been inside the Chinese and Kodak theaters.
• In that same vein, my flip flops totally stepped where the heels of many an Oscar de la Renta-wearing, Oscar de l'Academy-toting actress has tread...well, minus the red carpet. But JDub and I remained outside, $15 richer than the tourists.
• Mr. Incredible and Elmo are buds. Or at least they hang around the walk of fame together.
• There are some real freaks out there.
• People in Hollywood/Burbank (I think it was Burbank, that's the town where all the studios actually are, right?) act at all times, as if they're expecting someone to discover them at any moment.
• We totally had lunch with people from the WB at the oldest remaining Big Boy in LA/Burbank/wherever...well, we at least saw an SUV with the license plate THE WB pulling into the parking lot, and they wouldn't give that plate away to just anybody, right? So someone from the WB had to have been in the diner somewhere, right?

JDub got the honor of meeting a contingent of the Brooks clan. We stopped by my cousin Damon's college soccer game, then went out to dinner with the rest of the fam. I think I take for granted how much fun my family is.

We celebrated Mizzou's Homecoming by going to an Oktoberfest party at Jayna and Heather's, where we met several more Mizzou grads and even a couple of other girls who were in LA from Phoenix for the weekend. I swear, Phoenix is LA's little sister, considering how many people come and go between the two (and Vegas is the slutty step-sister).

Total rock-my-world coincidence
It turned out that my cousin Kelsey was on my flight from LAX to PHX. She and the rest of the UofA club soccer team had flown to LA for a soccer tournament in Santa Barbara, and they were headed back to Tucson via Phoenix. We had one of those squealing, hugging, "Oh my God! This is so unreal!" moments when we ran into each other in the terminal waiting area. Oh my God. It was so unreal.

Who let the dog in? Woof woof woof
Let it be known that we now have a puppy in the Brooks house. Meet Bandit ("because he steals your hearts," says Mama Brooks). He is a 6 month-old Cavalier King Charles/Cocker Spaniel mix, he's absolutely adorable, and he doesn't do any of that barking stuff.

Pictures of all that and more TK.

*Name that song


i'm in los angeles today
LOS ANGELES -- Greetings from sunny California and J-Dub's bachelor pad. Just blogging for the dateline, you know how it is. More later.

Goodbye now.


posting just to post
I got a new belt yesterday that makes me look like Xena Warrior Princess, but it keeps falling off. I bet Xena never had a problem with her belt.

It's been fanfrickintastic outside recently. Know what this means? Picnics in the park during my lunch break!

Phoenix Film Festival judging has begun. This means watching a whole bunch of crappy movies while hoping I stumble upon the hidden indie film gem of the year. Actually, most of the films in this first box of entries are pretty good. Watched the short The Fix last night. Remember the name Travis Aaron Wade; I think we'll be seeing more of him.


go CoMo, go CoMo, go!
An excerpt from "Making the Band" by Erin Byers in this month's issue of Boston.

There's a particular smell that comes from a rock band at 4 in the morning--the semll of too many guys crowded into a small space littered with too many pizza boxes, too many cigarttes, and too many empty beer bottles. This is the smell wafting through a room at the Regency Hotel downtown in Columbia, Missouri, where the Boston band Apollo Sunshine is crashing for the night.
For the past five days, all that the band members had talked about was the marathon party they were going to have after they played a gig at Columbia's Blue Note club. It would be an all-nighter for the record books, the Perfect Hangover. Yet there we all were, slumped in a stinky haze--them, dazed; me, confused.
Groupies today are not the sex-crazed females portrayed in so many movies. Forget Kate Hudson in
Almost Famous;* think John Cusak in High Fidelity.
We finally arrive in Columbia. The band has visited nearly every city between Boston and San Diego, but to the guys this college town is Vegas and Gomorrah combined. "Last time I was in [Missouri] I slept with two women," Gallagher boasts...

I wonder if I know either of those two women...

Also, Columbia was mentioned on NPR last week in a story about a guy (in CoMo) who started a Save Fiona Apple club and helped to convince her lable to go through with producing her latest record. I gave a little, "Woot woot!" in my car when I heard them mention Columbia.

X degrees from Nelson Mandela?
My dad is having dinner with the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Monday night. Sweet.

*Penny Lane was not a "groupie." She was a Band-Aid! Get it straight!


I've never promised that this blog would contain original content
In the vein of Pat, Megan and Sarah, I give you my political views, OKCupid-style:

You are a

Social Liberal
(73% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(10% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

I took the same test a few years ago, and I must say, I don't think much has changed. I must agree, Megan, I would much rather be in a cluster with Hillary, Ghandi and Bono than anywhere near Darth Vader, Osama bin Laden, Stalin or the Unabomber. Who's the man to the left of my dot, though? Anyone know? And who's the crazy, wide-eyed fella at the top of the square? On the same page as my results, they list the edicts that fellow test-takers would make. My favorite was this one from AMS in South Milwaukee, Wisc.:

Everyone must use full, LITERATE language when talking in e-mails, instant messages, notes in school, and cell phone texts. Anyone making a word other than "a" or "I" with one letter or number is shot immediately.

li ho
(I think that means Hello in Taiwanese.) Someone recently stumbled onto my blog through Yahoo! Taiwan's translation search. Ever wonder what A Leaky Cauldron, of Sorts looked like in Taiwanese? (Click the pic to enlarge.)


Had to post today's Pickles strip because of the Moon River reference.


instant gratification
There are moments while I am enjoying a book, movie or song when it strikes me, this one sentence/scene/line is worth the entire book/movie/album. This author would deserve my $14 if the entire book had been one page with this scene printed on it. Or, that musician could forever be listed in my hall of fame because of those notes alone. Nearly every one of my favorite books/movies/songs has a moment like that. Here are a few that earned the distinction of Favorite in the past year or so.

• "I was born twice; first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974." Opening sentence of Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
• "Mr. Jeavons said that I liked maths because it was safe. He said I liked maths because it meant solving problems and these problems were difficult and interesting but there was always a straightforward answer at the end [...] maths wasn't like life because in life there are no straightforward answers at the end." Plus the rest of chapter 101 of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
• "'Well,' [Hassan] said, 'if I may ask, why did the man kill his wife? In fact, why did he ever have to feel sad to shed tears? Couldn't he have just smelled an onion?' ¶ [...] Taught by Hassan of all people. Hassan who couldn't read and had never written a single word in his entire life. A voice, cold and dark, suddenly whispered in my ear, What does he know, that illiterate Hazara? He'll never be anything but a cook. How dare he criticize you?" The end of chapter 4 of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.
• "'You see, the prophecy does not mean you have to do anything! But the prophecy caused Lord Voldemort to mark you as his equal. ... In other words, you are free to choose your way, quite free to turn your back on the prophecy! But Voldemort continues to set store by the prophecy. He will continue to hunt you ... which makes it certain, really, that --' ¶'That one of us is going to end up killing the other,' said Harry." The end of chapter 23 of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling.
• "CREAM RINSE Cream rinse always gets stuck in the upper rim of my right ear. [...] i will be driving and glance at myself in the rearview mirror and spot white goo hanging out in there. I'm always like, Again! The cream rinse! What's up with this?! as I wipe it off." Page 81 of Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

movie scenes
Before Sunrise When Celine and Jesse are in the listening booth at a record store and try to avoid making eye-contact with each other. It's all done in one shot and I don't know how they did it without cracking up.
Saved! When Mary confronts a cross at a church right after she's found out she's pregnant; she curses God and you know that that moment is the first time she's ever said a swear word in her life. It is the moment she begins to really examine her faith for the first time, too.
Après Vous The entire job interview scene, especially the part where Antoine tries to mime "lobster" for Louis to guess.
Garden State The scene in Sam's bedroom where she tells Largeman to create a unique moment, which will be unique because no one in all of history will have ever done that precise thing in that precise place and no one ever will.
Be Cool Toward the end of the movie, the moment where Andre 3000 sips tea out of a dainty teacup, raising it to his mouth with the aide of his handgun.

• "I was waiting for a cross-town train on the London Underground when it struck me
I've been waiting since birth to find a love that would look and sound like a movie"
Clark Gable by The Postal Service
• "I'll tap the break while you crack the window
The smell of smoke is making my lungs explode
The 51 is backed up and too slow
Let's tune out by turning on the radio"
Tune Out by The Format
• The two chords after "I thought you could read my mind"
Trusted by Ben Folds
• The way Jen Wood says "lure" in "You've got a lure I can't deny"
Nothing Better by The Postal Service (OK, so The Postal Service makes the list twice...gotta problem with that?)
• "When I awoke I was on the highway
A Movie Script Ending by Death Cab for Cutie


Will someone please call the surgeon
Who can crack my ribs and repair this broken heart

I recently found out a crush from my past is getting married soon. This affects me more than you know and more than I would have ever expected.


It's nearly 3:freaking-o'clock in the morning and I can't get back to sleep. Thought I'd post.

i caved
Being just about the last person to jump on the bandwagon, I joined Facebook this week. Dude, how addictive! Friendster was fun while it lasted, but it really was geared more for New Yorkers than Midwesterners; there weren't many people from my high school. Now it's like a mini, cyber MHS reunion!

yeah, i expected more from this post, too
I was hoping some enlightening insight would come to me at this hour of the night, something I've been harboring in the recesses of my brain and which only surfaces when I'm groggy and my mind is pliable, an insight which I could pass on to you, Oh Faithful Reader. Rather, I just stare at Jack the Mac's screen, trying to will someone - anyone - to IM or email me to relieve my boredom. Oh, what has the world come to if I am writing about nothing? And yet you have read this far and wasted another perfectly good five minutes.

Apparently I'm a bit fatalistic at 3 a.m.


attention, macphiles
I'm looking for anyone who's using the newest Mac OS X.4. Email me please. I need to see if anyone else is having trouble loading a webpage. Thanks!

Sorry this was such a boring post.


again! again! again again again!
Do you remember that free-throw cheer from the basketball cheerleaders? I've been tagged again, this time by both Sarah and Megan. I hope this doesn't mean I have to fill out the survey twice.

10 Years Ago I Was...
...abusing my privilege as an eighth grade front office assistant by using the class period to wander the MMS halls, delivering massive notes to my BFF Amanda and coming up with every excuse possible to pass by the 6th hour classroom of my crush. I was on the newspaper staff and took very seriously my job of recording events for the Papoose Press. (The Papooses will go down as one of the worst mascots ever, though far eclipsed by my dad's high school mascot: the Lambkins; there's no battle cry so inspiring as, "BAAAAAH!") I was also mortified periodically by random classmates coming up to me in the halls saying, "You won't believe what your mom talked about in SexEd today..."

5 Years Ago I Was...
...staying up until 2 a.m. and dragging myself to 8 a.m. Philosophy discussion with the rest of the FIG; sleeping in the third floor FARC lounge by the window unit (or in random people's dorm rooms: Tuttle, P@t Hea|y, etc.) because I suffered in my A/C-less dorm room; enjoying the chance to eat scrambled eggs, pancakes with chocolate chips and Belgian waffles for breakfast everyday; crushing on the sexy blond guitar player who lived down the hall from me; practicing for the big Homecoming skit dance routines with AX; pomping, pomping, pomping; trying to figure out if emphasis on "being saved" was a sign of a cult, like my dad had warned me, or just a catch phrase used by Crusade.

1 Year Ago I Was...
...still trying to figure out if I'd made the right decision; swimming in the pool on the weekends; looking for ways to get involved with Phoenix life.

Yesterday I Was...
...trying to solve the world's problems with the rest of the Sunday School class; sitting on a raft in the pool; baptizing Yolanda with her first car wash; eating dinner at Betsey's.

5 Snacks I Enjoy:
• Cereal, specifically Paul Neuman's blueberry cereal
• Mozzarella cheese sticks/Muenster cheese slices
• Plastic (chocolate) donuts from the vending machine
• Popcorn
• Chocolate suckers from See's candy

5 Songs I Know All the Words to:
• Yeah, by Usher
• Moon River, by Henry Mancini
• Tune Out, by The Format
• Nothing Better, by The Postal Service
• Miss Independent, Kelly Clarkson

5 Things I Would Do With $100 Million:
• Find a charity that I can really get involved with and give them half
• Buy my parents a stress-free house
• Move out and head out for a year on the road
• Invest
• Set aside enough to get me started wherever I want to set up shop when I'm finished traveling

5 Places I Would Run Away To:
• The West End, London
• The Artisan, Columbia
• A mountain in the summertime, Colorado
• Nice, France
• Whatever the special is on Go-Today.com

5 Things I Would Never Wear:
• Tappered jeans
• Blue mascara
• A Louis Vuitton purse
• Skin-tight pants
• Mini skirt

5 Favorite TV Shows:
• Desperate Housewives
• Arrested Development
• Cheers
• The Cosby Show
• Friends

5 Bad Habits:
• Messing with my nails
• Not putting away the clean clothes
• Yawning when it's inappropriate
• Visiting blogs too often
• Forgetting where I put important things, like my Visa bill

5 Biggest Joys:
• Standing on top of a mountain
• The smell of an old book
• Rich hot chocolate and croissants for breakfast
• Looking back through pictures like these, these, these, these, these and these
• Comments

5 Favorite Toys:
• Yolanda
• iPod
• The Widgets on the new Mac OS X.4.2
• Digital camera
• The raft that lets me float half in the water, half on top of the water

5 Fictional Characters I Wish Were Alive and In My Life:
• Albus Dumbledore
• Phoebe (from Friends)
• Peter Pan
• Nancy Drew
• Jesse (from Before Sunrise)

And Now I Tag
Ann (If she still blogs...)


do you understand the words that are coming outta my mouth?
Intense coverage of Katrina has brought to light the various ways of prounouncing New Orleans. I give you a few I've heard:

Nu Or-lins
Nu Or-leens
Nu Or-ley-ans

And then there's the way Cokie Roberts pronounces it, which I can't even begin to emmulate in type.

I'm wondering how Snoop Dogg* would pronounce it. N'Orlizzle? And how about Fiddy? N'Errlins?

*Or Snoop Dubb, for that matter.


Thanks, Meg!

Seven Things I Plan to Do Before I Die*
• Live in a small French village and eat croissants for breakfast every day
• Skydive
• Build a treehouse
• Spend time (not just visit briefly) on every continent except Antarctica (I'll just wave at the shoreline from a boat and then head quickly back to the tip of South America)
• Give birth/adopt a child
• Build a library (as in: a room with shelf after shelf of books, not a building)
• Take at least one picture worthy of being enlarged, framed and hung on my wall.

Seven Things I Can Do
• Make fantastic quacamole
• Hike to the top of Camelback (It's no fourteener, but it does require the use of all four limbs to make it to the top.)
• A double pirouette
• Save for retirement
• Make a great mix CD and accompanying liner notes
• Have a genuinely fun time with a coloring book and some crayons
• Listen

Seven Things I Can't Do
• Whistle
• Support the death penalty
• Sing on key (not that that keeps me from belting out tunes in the car)
• Remember to water the violets
• Find a pair of jeans that fit the way they're supposed to fit
• Stand people who smoke while standing right next to the No Smoking sign
• Have a social life in Phoenix

Seven Things That Attract Me To Men
• Sense of humor/wit
• Intelligence
• Having convictions, and being open to learning about the convictions of others
• Gorgeous eyes
• Strong jawline
• Inability to be satisfied with the status quo
• Good conversation

Seven Things I Say the Most (Recently)
• Dude...
• I'll be home after the gym.
• Thank you for calling [employer name here].
• That bastard computer thief!
• Woah
• I heard a story on NPR the other day that said...
• Coffee refill, please.

Seven Celebrities I Dream About
[or: 1) I Once Found Dreamy, 2) Still Find Dreamy or 3) Who Have Appeared in My Dreams]
• Jonathan Taylor Thomas (The Teen Bop magazines were stashed in a box in my closet for years)
• Joey McIntyre

• Jason Bateman
• Adrian Brody

• Brad Pitt (We totally made out on New Year's Eve of freshman year in college. Funny thing is, I've never really liked the guy.)
• Fergie from the Black-Eyed Peas
Kate, who was performing with Fergie in my dream

You're it!

*I was tempted to write "Two chicks at the same time." Name that movie reference!


please, somebody tag me
I'd tag myself, but that's just uncouth. So I'll settle for blatant begging instead. I'm not above displaying my desperation to be like the cool kids. So, you, you, you or you, I'm wide open.


It occurs to me that the people who most deserve and most need Labor Day are the people taking our food orders and ringing up our sales purchases on this day.

10 things you never knew about erica, v.4
1. I own an engraved pica pole.
2. iPod-type ear bug headphones hurt - HURT! - my ears.
3. When I was 3 years old and traveling through Rocky Mountain National Park with my parents, I picked up some shiny black rocks when we stopped at a rest stop. An hour later in the car, the shiny black rocks had melted and were giving off the pungent odor of elk droppings. This story gets recounted by my parents every time we drive through the park.
4. I can wiggle my ears.
5. I cannot stand the smell of baby powder-scented anything.
6. I used to get really bad bloody noses, associated with sinus infections, and had my nose cauterized three times in second and third grade.
7. The first thing I read when I get a new issue of a magazine is the letter from the editor. I like that it makes me feel like I know what's going on behind the scenes at the magazine. Exception: SI. I read Rick Reilly first, and that's usually all I read.
8. I have an irrational fear of wasps. They just look so sinister, how could I not cower in fear?
9. Despite having once been a certified lifeguard for a summer, I have never figured out how to float on my back. It seems my bum likes to sink.
10. I admit it: until only a few months ago, I thought Audrey Hepburn and Katharine Hepburn were sisters.


smells like a good day
They found Rose. She's safe; she's home. All is good in California. My computer is just a computer. The important information is recoverable. I'll get a brand new computer/monitor/external hard drive; and I have the luxury of having enough time to load all my programs and info before the deadlines start hitting.

It's the start of the Labor Day weekend, and I have plans. Tomorrow holds a day of floating down the Salt River in an inner tube with visiting cousins Devin and Kelsey, beer in hand, sun on shouders. It smells like a good weekend.


my cousin is missing
Rose is actually my dad's cousin's son's wife, but in our family, everyone is called cousin. In the picture above, Rose is to my right, and Peter (her husband) is next to her. The two of them and some work friends went hiking in the Sequoia National Forest in California yesterday and she has disappeared.

My sister was in a car accident yesterday (she's ok), my work computer was stolen, and Rose went missing. What's wrong with Wednesday? Prayers, please.


CSI: Phoenix
So, the news around here is my work computer left me. As in just got up last night, took its monitor and external hard drive with it, and said, I'm getting the hell out of Dodge. We fought over a font last week, but I didn't think it was a fight worth leaving over.

Or maybe, just maybe, it was stolen. Either way, it leaves me without my normal work station and prepping to talk with police officers. At least that's what I expected. But one police office visit later and they didn't even dust for finger prints. I was hoping for some yellow caution tape roping off my desk at the very least. Apparently the footage from the tiny cameras that record every move in our building has been fried by the heat. And I had to unlock the door to the office this morning. Something fishy's going on here.

Thank God for the major backup I did last Thursday of this summer's total redesign. That leaves only 2 days of work to make up. Here's a tip: write down all the serial numbers of your computer, monitor, printer, all software etc. so you have them in case anything happens to your computer.

makin' the news
In case you haven't read Fiscus' post yet, here's more news from the Valley of the Sun: I made The Republic. Scott Simon: so dreamy.

in plate view
What do you think of ONAJRNY?


i give up
I went to apply for my personalized license plate today and it turns out that CTHWRLD has been taken now! (Which one of you stole my plate?) Don't even try to talk me into 300DPI, because frankly I never liked that one to begin with. I'm discouraged with what I came up with, so I'm just going to go with the boring old 047•SLN that was assigned to me.


if you thought the FHNGBCBC had faded away...
You'd better check again! We're back in action, folks. (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince spoilers abound, be forewarned.)


*Or as my mom would say, a God-incidence
This morning I navigated to the Sojourners website on a whim, thinking as I have off and on over the past year-plus that I should subscribe to the magazine. (Its price tag is a little heftier than my $8 Esquire, so this decision has required much thought.) Not two hours later, I received a forward from Sarah saying I should read the article below. I take this as a sign in the affirmative that I should subscribe. I copied the full text of the article below. I'd just link to it, but I thought you'd be more likely to actually read it here. The point is one I strongly agree with. (I bolded the lines that struck me the most.)

The Religious left fights back
by Van Jones
AlterNet 7-28-2005

Rabbi Michael Lerner is stirring up trouble again - thank God.

Earlier this week, Lerner was the main organizer of a national gathering in Berkeley, California, for the religious Left. His "Spiritual Activism" conference was intended to help launch a much-needed new initiative: the Network of Spiritual Progressives (NSP).

Lerner has been the spark-plug for many progressive, faith-based undertakings over the years, including Tikkun magazine. But this latest effort is an order of magnitude more challenging than anything he has attempted thus far. And given the stakes for our ailing would-be democracy, the birthing of NSP may prove to be his most important calling.

Lerner wants to help forge a new alliance of "religious, secular and 'spiritual, but not religious,' progressives." This alliance will someday expose and challenge the cancer of American consumerism. And it will oppose the religious Right's abuse of scripture to promote war, intolerance and ugly corporate agendas.

By itself, those two goals would warrant full-throated support from all progressives. But don't be surprised if the good rabbi's efforts also draw some serious "boos" from many parts of the Left, as well. That's because Lerner's bravest and hardest work is aimed much closer to home.

He wants to do more than just minister to the mall-lobotomized masses or give the fundamentalists a well-deserved spanking. He also wants to challenge the Left's chronic and toxic bias against religious feeling, expression and people.

Lerner hopes to end "religio-phobia among progressives."
And such efforts will not be welcome among a great many rabidly secular progressives.

As for me, I will be praying for the Rabbi's success. I am an African-American Christian who was raised in the American heartland. When I moved to the cosmopolitan coasts of Connecticut, and later California, I ran headlong into shocking levels of anti-religious bigotry among progressives.

I literally have had liberals laugh in my face when I told them I was a Christian. For awhile, I felt self-conscious about telling other activists that I preferred not to meet on Sunday mornings, because I wanted to go to church.

It is still commonplace to hear so-called radicals stereotyping all religious people as stupid dupes - and spitting out the word "Christian" as if it were an insult or the name of a disease. I thought progressives were supposed to be the standard-bearers of tolerance and inclusion.

I certainly know the monstrous crimes that have been committed through the ages in the name of religion, or with the blessings of religious people. But I know a few other things about religion, too.

I grew up in the Black churches of the rural south, listening to the stories of my elders. As children, we heard about the good, brave people who had poured their blood out upon the ground so that we could be free. We learned how police officers had clubbed and jailed them. We learned how Klansmen had shot and lynched them. And how the G-men from Washington had just stood by and doodled in their notepads.

We learned of marches and mayhem, freedom songs and funerals. We saw images of billy-clubbed Black women on their hands and knees, searching for their teeth on Mississippi sidewalks - crawling while still clutching their little American flags. We felt pity for the children who spent long nights in frigid jail cells, wearing clothing soaked by fire-hoses, while their bones - broken and untended - began to mend at odd angles.

We saw pictures of Black men, like our fathers, hanging by their necks - their faces twisted, their bodies rigid, their clothes burned off - along with their skin. And we saw photos of carefree killers, sauntering home out of Alabama courtrooms - their faces white and sneering and proud.

We learned how the very best of humanity had faced off with the very worst of humanity - each circling the other under the same summer sun. That epic struggle had elevated southern back roads and backwaters onto the Great World Stage. And the fate of a people - along with the destiny of a nation - hung in the balance, for all to see.

In the end, we children cheered, for the righteous did prevail. More than that, they performed one of the great miracles in human history: They transformed American apartheid into a fledgling democracy, tender and delicate and new.

All progressives today proudly celebrate that achievement - and rightly so. But one key fact seems to escape the notice of today's activist crowd. The champions of the civil rights struggle didn't come marching out of shopping centers in South. Or libraries. Or high school gymnasiums.

To face the attack dogs, to face the fire-hoses, to face the billy-clubs, these heroes and she-roes came marching boldly out of church-houses. And they were singing church songs. They set an example of courage and sacrifice that will endure for the ages. And as they did it, they prayed on wooden pews in the name of a Nazarene carpenter named Jesus.

The implications are clear for those who seek today to rescue and redeem U.S. society. The facts are simple and profound: The last time U.S progressives captured the national debate and transformed politics, people of faith were at the center of the movement, not stuck in its closet.

As a descendent of enslaved Africans who were told that God (and not capitalist greed) required their degradation, I know the crimes of the Christian church as well as anyone. But as a child of the civil rights movement, I also know the power of Christian faith, the power of moral appeal and the power of spiritual strength - to break asunder the bonds of servitude.

And in our do-or-die effort to set things right in America, it is time for U.S. progressives to return to the bottomless well of soul power that sustained the slaves and defeated Jim Crow.

That is why I applaud Rabbi Lerner's efforts. He is standing in a long tradition of faith-honoring Americans, who have helped lead the charge from barbarism toward democracy. In the 1800s, escaping Africans fled enslavement through the bedrooms and basements of Quakers, along the famous Underground Railroad. In the 1980s, religious congregations led the Sanctuary Movement. Their efforts opened up U.S. cities to Latinos who were fleeing U.S. President Ronald Reagan's violent and covert interventions in Latin America.

The Rabbi's new efforts also resonate today. Reeling from the steady string of recent defeats, even the most hard-core U.S. activists are seeking deeper meaning and spiritual sustenance in their lives. At the same time, previously apolitical "spiritual types" are getting involved as activists for the first time - to defend the Earth and her people from the predations of the Bush agenda.

Rev. Jim Wallis' most recent book, God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It, struck a chord this year and became an instant bestseller. Rev. Frances Hall Kieschnick (spouse of Working Assets wunderkind Michael Kieschnick) is taking steps to start a Beatitudes Society, to give more voice to progressive people of faith. Similar efforts are springing up on smaller scales all across the country.

Somewhere, in all of these stirrings, I see the seeds of a wisdom-based, Earth-honoring, pro-democracy movement - one that affirms and applauds religious and spiritual impulses, while opposing fundamentalism, chauvinism and theocracy. Over time, this kind of progressive movement has the potential to win - and win big - in the United States. To be honest: it is probably the only type of progressive movement that stands a chance in a country as religious as ours.

Such a movement is within reach. But progressives must abandon the old pattern of reducing the Great Faiths to their worst elements, constituents and crimes - and then dismissing all other facts and features. It is not just stupid political strategy. At a moral level, it is a form of blindness and bigotry that is beneath all of us.

My prayer is that a critical mass of progressives can agree on two basic premises.

Number one: Any progressive approach to "faith in politics" that ignores the awful crimes of religiously-inspired people is dishonest, inauthentic and can never achieve emancipatory ends.

Number two: At the same time, any approach that fails to honor and embrace the positive contributions of religiously inspired people is also wrong-headed, and it foolishly and needlessly shuts progressives off from our own history, achievements and present sources of vital support.

I believe that Rabbi Lerner has come up with a thoughtful, sensitive and wise approach, worthy of broad-based affirmation. He aims to: "build an alliance between secular, religious and 'spiritual but not religious' progressives - in part by challenging the anti-religious biases in parts of the liberal culture (while acknowledging the legitimacy of anger against those parts of the religious world that have embodied authoritarian, racist, sexist, homophobic or xenophobic practices and attitudes").

That is a formulation that the vast majority of progressives should be able to adopt, affirm and cheer about. And I proudly say to it, Amen, brother Lerner ... Amen!

Attorney Van Jones is the national executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, California.
go choke!
I became a student again this week. I started an evening Adobe Illustrator class at Scottsdale Community College, where their (our?) nickname is - get this! - the Artichokes. Mascot: Artie. I'm thinking the purchase of a "Support your local Artichoke" t-shirt is deffinitely in my future. Ran into my friend Betsy in line at the bookstore (motto: We like to make you wait. And wait. And wait. And be late for your first day of class.). It still freaks me out whenever someone calls my name here since I know a total of about 8 people outside work and family.


The yellow arrow is pointing at my aunt and uncle's car on I-25 outside of Denver. Although their car is totaled, they are safe and everyone involved in the crash survived. Thank God.


Sometimes I feel like blogging is a chore. One more thing to do after unpacking from a trip, cleaning the bathroom and paying my bills. Sometimes I have so many blog post ideas buzzing around in my head that I can't blog fast enough. Sometimes both feelings occur at the same time. Most of the time I just wonder how much this blog thing actually matters. But it's somewhat cathartic and quite self-indulgent, so I will continue to post as an outlet for my thoughts and observations. Thank you for being such a great audience.

fostering family
The final wedding of the summer was the toughest. There are many reasons I could give for this, and while catharsis may be had by doing so, I know it would not be prudent to expound upon what is family history. It was a definite joy to be around family, as always, and I am comforted by the fact that even in hard times, our family really comes together in love. It was great to see how welcoming Gary's family was of Delaney's entry into their Foster family tree as well.

it's a small world, after all*
Story #1: I'm on the plane to Orlando, glad to have an entire travel day open to reading my new issue of Esquire, when I turn to the story about the Best Dressed Real Men in America. I have a fleeting feeling that I recognize the man on the left. Then I turn the page to his bio, and I know I recognize him. He was an usher at Damon's wedding (he's an administrator at the high school my cousins attended). So, all you Esquire readers out there (I know that means most of you), vote online for Andrew Gutierrez as the Best Dressed Real Man in America. (Especially now that polls have closed for the Hottest U.S. Senator, the Hottest Canadian MP and my personalized license plate, you need to vote for something, right?)

Story #2: I'm out to dinner in Orlando with family when I receive a phone call from FIGmate Jason, who tells me about meeting this random girl, Katie, at a bar in DC and then again in NY, only to find out that she was from Manhattan, Kan., and was none other than one of my dance class car pool buddies in elementary school. Get out! This is a crazy small world, man!

*My mom and I were in line for the Peter Pan ride in Disney's Magic Kingdom when a 12-year-old boy came out of the It's a Small World exit and started banging his head against the trash can by our line, saying over and over, "Make it stop! Make it stop!" I felt for the kid. I remember thinking the same thing when I first experienced the ride, although that may have had more to do with my mom singing along throughout the whole thing...including the wait in line.

vote outcome
CTHWRLD 14 votes (53.85%)
300DPI 12 votes (46.15%)

I am happy with the outcome. While I appreciate 300DPI for its nod to the printing industry (for those of you who missed the explanation in the comments a few weeks ago, an image has to be at 300 DPI [dots per inch] to be a high enough quality to be printed), I have an aversion to being defined by my occupation. I'd rather be known (and have my car be known) for my desire to travel across this lovely Earth of ours, whether or not Yolanda the Honda can accompany me in each of those excursions. The requisite picture will be posted once I wade through the Red Sea of Tape that the state of Arizona requires before getting my new plates.

speaking of pictures
Here are new online albums from the week in Orlando:
Delaney's wedding
Orlando theme parks
And more pictures of one of the most-photographed babies in the world:


see this movie
One average guy, Brian. $1,100. And 30 days for him to get a date with the crush of his lifetime. No problem, except that she's Drew Barrymore. For anyone who's ever had a crush on a star, or even anyone totally out of your league, My Date with Drew is your story. Just came back from the film's opening night in Phoenix, where I got to meet one of the producers/co-conspirators/best buds from the movie. The movie was conceived by three buddies on a Friday night as they're just shootin' the shit. Monday morning they head to Circuit City to buy the store's most expensive camera. Brian's flat-broke, but Circuit City has a 30-day return policy. So these guys figure they have 30 days to make their movie, then they'll return the camera. That's 30 days for Brian to figure out a way to meet Drew and convince her to go on a date with him. Fantastic movie. Go see it.
 Which one of the following should Erica put on her personalized license plate? 
Current results

funny sentences in my inbox™Fiscus
Yowsa!! Those people are all kinds of naked.

Good call, my friend. It's sort of like you're Oprah.*
*Meant in literary context only. Unless you want to give me a car.

Dear sweet crap! There's a way to put polls on one's blog? I... I'll never have to make a decision on my own again! My every action can be dictated by a committee of blog readers!

Too bad you don't have enough letters to do ERICABRAKES.

They're way lucky to have you, because someday when I'm running my own magazine or Other Important Thing, I'm going to steal you away and pay you lots of money and feed you figs and buy you even better Ipods. And then they might just have to hire someone who uses comic sans. HA!

I tried "Accio checkbook!" when I couldn't find it yesterday, but to no avail.

Well, as it stands, I am "in between houses" yeah, I was walking down 10th street in Washington, DC, and a homeless lady laughed at me. They can smell the homelessness on you, and they mock it. If I could have a house at all, any where at all, it would be in the Capitol Mall in DC. and on the front I would have the sign "hey congress, if you lived here, you'd be home by now."

By the way... you left and the temperature skyrocketed. I think you must have let the hot weather slip out of your bag. It's in the 90s today. Yikes.

...as I recall it was while watching some Friday-night-of-Homecoming Greektown skits. (If only actual world conflicts were as easily solved as Truman's invariable foibles of the Homecoming skit variety. "Ooooh, Osama, we've got you now!" Truman distracts enemy, cartoon or Disney character drops 2,000 ton weight on enemy, "and that's how Truman saved Homecoming from the terrorists forever," cue Ev'ry True Son.)

"She said that that 'that' that that man used was wrong."

Wanna see what I found crawling on my leg during a shower this weekend? [insert picture of 2-inch-long scorpion] The hotel manager's response was: "We're in the Keys. It's the tropics, you know?" They expect me to uncurl from the fetal position later on this week.

Wide camera shots + hot people + classically trained acting + swords + more hot people + no nipples on Batman suit = AWESOME.

HP has already helped further my literacy; when I saw "protean" in The Economist, I knew what it meant because of Hermione's protean charm on the galleons for D.A. meetings.

Sounds like more fake etymology on the loose.

They're painting my office and I think I'm high.

Why don't I have normal dreams about going to school naked? I have NEVER had that dream. Probably because I love clothes and fashion too much to ever forget to clad myself before going into public.

Did I just make it onto Funny Sentences *four* times? Now I'm going to feel cool all day.

Indeed, it is a sad day. Kelly Kapowski? Married. My heart? Broken. Into 8 million pieces.

Hey, she writes for the Post. She can't be expected to deal in facts.

You better step out of the shower, 'cause I gotta flush ... due to the fact that I just puked in the proverbial toilet

Best regards,
Brad Pitt

Stay cool in the desert! Is it anything like Hey Dude? Just kidding. I do miss that show though. *sigh* Melody and Brad were so cool.

In 11 hours, I will be watching Anakin become Darth Vader. For you, that means the guy who played Stephen Glass will become the guy who voiced Mufasa in "The Lion King." For a whiny Canadian to become a thundering black man, George Lucas better have some awesome special effects.

It's all very eighth grade, but I'm (gulp) jealous. And you know how jealousy makes you feel 25 pounds heavier.

So I've found that forcing myself to read magazines only when on the treadmill makes a good cardio plan. (Curiously, I'm in better shape around when TM and Esquire arrive ... ) Now if I can just figure out how to attach the mag to the bench-press bar, and I can round out the ol' fitness regimen. =)

Happy G8 Summit! (And may America remember our Dear Friend Mr. Bush when our children's coastlands are flooded and cancer becomes like a common cold)

5. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE KITCHEN APPLIANCE? I'm not telling you, then the word will get around, and then the toaster won't want to work, because I said that I was partial to the blender, and, blah, blah, blah. It's too much to bear.

Oh, and P.S. It's coincidental that half these sentences are fodder for your funny sentences segment. I wasn't trying. These are all just accidental masterpieces.

I used to say I could handle my friends getting married, that it wouldn't feel weird until they started having kids. Well, one couple from the team -- she's our age, he's a year younger -- are expecting. Yikes! (Dear friends: No procreating please. Thanks.)

Wow, that was too deep!?!?! I'm going all 'Walden' on your asses, because I've been sitting on the porch, watching sunsets and hanging out on the dock the past two days!

In His Blessings Love Jesus God Crusade Saved Always,
[name withheld]

In other news, I'm totally jealous of your outdoors opportunities. Although we do have a mountain now ... inside the new Cabela's.

I've done NOTHING today. Every time important people walk by, I'm on the Internet. This is ridiculous.

P.S. I did not copy-paste this e-mail. This one's just to you. : )

So about one minute till deadline, I get a ballet review. Luckily the reviewer had suggested a headline, for I quickly was reminded that I know very little about ballet. I totally should have you on call as a lifeline for such situations.

You all are getting slammed by Dan. He's a like Funny Sentences In My Inbox Machine! Pick up the pace, folks!


the polls have been closed
The votes have been tabulated and the results are as follows:

FIRBOLT 6 votes (17.65%)
GRNMCHN 3 votes (8.82%)
2CZWRLD 12 votes (35.29%)
COMICNO 2 votes (5.88%)
MIZURAH 3 votes (8.82%)
300DPI 8 votes (23.53%)

Total: 34 votes

As recommended by MP Dan, a new runoff poll has been created. Vote below. However, do not let the presence of a poll mislead you, as Fiscus remarked. ALCoS is a monarchy ruled by yours truly. I can still decide to overrule the outcome of the vote, or scrap the names altogether. In that vein, if you have a spark of inspiration (MOR R LES), do share.

Which one of the following should Erica put on her personalized license plate?
Current results


do you want a chance to win $50 every week between 9/12 and Dec. 26?
Do you want to support future MU Tigers?*
Do you want a(nother) reason to tune in to Monday Night Football this fall?

Yes? Well, have I got a deal for you! For just $20, you can participate in the MUAA Valley of the Sun Monday Night Football Scholarship (This is Totally Not Gambling) Fundraiser. Email me and I'll explain the setup in more detail. The basics that you need to know: pay 20 bucks and you have a chance at $50 every week of the regular NFL season. If you win once, you can still win again. And the best part of it (for all you who have never tuned in for a Monday Night Football game in your life) is that you don't have to keep track of the games at all. You win, we mail you a check for $50. Do it!

*Full disclosure: Future MU Tigers from Arizona.

the taste of yum
Bailey's Irish Cream: YUM
Häagen•Dazs Bailey's Irish Cream Ice Cream: YUM without the alcohol

Crême Brulée: YUM (one of my "kicks" I left off the list last week)
Häagen•Dazs Créme Brulèe Ice Cream: not so yum

providing there are no hanging chads
Polls will close at noon (Arizona-time) on Wednesday, Aug. 10. As per Dan's request, if no license plate has a 50 percent majority, a runoff election between the top two vote-getters will ensue.

you rock, rock
Back to watching I [Heart] Huckabees and eating crême brulée.


meep meep!
I've already become That Girl Who Can't Control Her Car Alarm. I've never had keyless entry or an alarm system before. Who knew that this newfangled technology no longer lets you actually unlock the door by inserting the key into the keyhole?!?! What's the purpose of a keyhole if you can't use it?!

what're you doing?

 Which one of the following should Erica put on her personalized license plate? 
Current results


first, vote, then read the new post

 Which one of the following should Erica put on her personalized license plate? 
Current results

don't drink the water
If you're planning on getting married next year, you'd better speak up fast, because my weekends are already starting to fill up. In the space of one week - ONE WEEK! - three more people have called to let me know of their engagements.

Last Thursday: Flatmate Sarah, engaged to page designer Micah (you know him, real quiet, blond, one of those "he's such a nice guy" guys, perfect for a "she's such a nice girl" girl)
Monday: Coworker Kristin, engaged to coworker Matt
Yesterday: Sister's best friend, former fellow dance team member and former fourth grade book buddy, Alison (yes, my sister Allison's best friend is Alison, isn't it cute?) engaged to high school sweetheart...crap, I forget his name.

All this, on top of the extremely vivid wedding dreams I've been having has me worried that something toxic might be in the air.

Wedding dream three weeks ago: Former roommate Sarah (not to be confused with flatmate Sarah, or best friend Sarah) marries a football lineman in a huge lecture hall auditorium-like church. She has to navigate the insanely high and narrow steps down to the front, where instead of a dry erase board, there is a stained glass window. Ceremony is so long that there's an intermission. Sarah has a costume change, from a pale yellow dress to a navy blue one. Youngish minister is wearing a cowboy-style vest made out of Cosby sweater material under his stole. During the intermission, he tries to ask me out. Realtime, I talked with Sarah a week and a half ago and she's thisclose to being engaged to boyfriend Esteban in Bolivia.
Wedding dream a week ago: Aforementioned Alison and her sister Jennifer (also a former fellow dance team member) decide to get married on the same day. Realtime, it turns out that Jennifer got married a week before my dream, and Alison got engaged a week after my dream.
Wedding dream two nights ago: Former roommate Emily marries 2003 MU Homecoming King Neil, somewhat begrudgingly. They ask me to celebrate by accompanying them to their celebratory wedding dinner at Outback Steakhouse. I'm a bit worried to call Emily and find out what realtime connection there is to this dream.


ALCOS' first-ever interactive poll!
Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following poll has been updated, due to discovering the fact that some of the aforementioned plate ideas are already in use. The tabulations have been reset. Please vote again. Sorry for any confusion.

Which one of the following should Erica put on her personalized license plate?
Current results


meet yolanda the honda

She's a 2003 Civic Hybrid, and she's mine. My obsession with my MPGs begins now.

It's so nice that when I log on to my bank's website, it tells me I have an outstanding balance. How kind.


kicks i've been on lately
- Podcasts, especially Coverville, The Secrets of Harry Potter (hosted by a Catholic priest in the Netherlands), Music75, Carte Postale de... and New Christian Manifesto.
- Anything with avocados
- Playing the "Find Futura (the font) in Everyday Items" Game
- Reading while going nowhere on the stationary bike at the gym
- India (as in longing to travel there)
- Swimming in the morning before work
- Lime green
- Circles
- Lime green circles
- Raspberry lemonade (I've been on a raspberry-anything kick for the past year and a half and recently discovered this wonderful twist on the classic summer drink)
- Get Fuzzy
- Mascara
- Kaluha drizzled over vanilla ice cream


vroom vroom
The Great Car Hunt begins today, two months earlier than planned. Thursday evening found me pulling off the 101 into a Shell station, smoke billowing out from under my hood and a foreboding green liquid practically flooding from beneath the front of the MomMobile. After fixing the A/C this spring, I had vowed to not dump any more money into the van. If I'm going to be paying $400 for it to go for another two months, I might as well be making car payments on new (-to-me/used) car. So now I'm off. Go go gadget car finder!


the post you would have seen thursday, had our internet connection been functioning:

and now that that's done
The following albums have been uploaded or updated:
Damon's Wedding
Boating in Portland
Portland Chinese Garden
Portland Wine Country
Viviane Swims
Random (friends)
Random (other)


and now, the rest of the story™Paul Harvey
The weekend was wonderful -- completely free of 95+ temperatures, and full of reunions with good friends and family. It was weird to see my younger cousin, Damon, up there, taking his vows. He and I used to be really close, giggling in the back of the van on the way to family reunions, making jokes about how the Denver airport looked like an upside-down sow. And there he was, in front of the church, crying as he exchanged his purity ring for a wedding band while the minister led him and his new wife, Michele, in their vows. Some people may giggle at the sight of a young man tearing up at the thought of pure love, but I think our culture has forced men to put on a "tough guise" because we expect them all to Rambo-like "tough guys." That's so sad that we expect guys to close up against emotions like those Damon was experiencing.

At the reception, they held the "Money Dance," where you pay to have a spin around the dance floor to send the merry couple away with a financial boon; I danced with Damon and for a moment it felt like we were as close as we had once been as kids. Then he asked if I was close to doing this. "Doing what? Dancing?" I asked. "No, silly. Getting married. Are you ready for the man God has chosen for you?" And I felt a million years younger than him right then. "Oh no!" I said before catching myself.

I need to work on my cynicism. I'm very excited for my friends and family who have gotten married and engaged lately (God knows there are a ton of them this year), but when it come to myself and love, I have a hard time envisioning that it's anywhere near yet. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. All in good time. But it gets hard when people keep asking whether there's a man in my life and I keep on giving the same answer, "My dad is all the man I need right now." Not hard as in I'm discouraged, because I really don't feel like I'm anywhere near ready to have a serious relationship. But hard as in frustrating that it seems that other people think I need to be ready.

Whew. That got personal. Anyways...

ready for HP7
Finished Half-Blood Prince last night. I'm ready for Book 7 and looking forward to the discussion with the FHNGBCBC.


obligatory dateline post
PORTLAND, OR - It is my last day in Portland. Having come here for my cousin Damon's wedding, it was a great chance to kill three birds with one stone, you might say: we stayed with my mom's best friend Sarah and her son, Adam, whom I hadn't seen since our sophomore year of high school; and I got to spend an entire Saturday with Scott. This afternoon, Sarah is taking us on a tour of the wine country, and of course we'll be stopping by the vineyards to do some tasting. Mom's plan is for Sarah to "pour us onto the plane, and we'll be sober when we land!"

the book
Thanks to Dan's suggestion, I stood in a line that wrapped the circumference of an entire city block for an hour and a half at Powell's City of Books (the largest independently owned bookstore in the country) to purchase Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I promptly came home and fell asleep on page 16. Horrors! I'm half-way through it now, no spoiling it for me in the comments, folks!


The other day on a local radio station, the DJ did an update on the situation in London and followed it with "Panic (on the streets of London)" by the Smiths. Ooooh, that made me so mad; I've never wanted to "hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ" so much. How insensitive can you get? I'm sure he thought he was being cute: "Hey, we like, just talked about how there's panic on the streets of London, and now we're playing a song with those lyrics! Like, whoah, what a tie-in!" I was thisclose to calling in and giving him a piece of my mind. I half expected him to follow the Smiths with ELO's "Last Train to London," which definitely would have had Angry Erica on the phone. Dude, if you're going to play a tribute song to London, play The Clash's "London Calling," or "Made in England" by Elton John.

How heartless.


to london, with love
9/11 may have had more deaths and casualties and may have been only half the country away, but yesterday's attack on London hit closer to home, because it hit closer to my heart. In September of 2001 I had never been to NYC or DC, and I knew no one in either city, (save for Gracy having grown up in a DC suburb, and she of course, was safe in Columbia). I had seen New Yorkers running from an attack on their city before - I had watched Independence Day. So even though my brain knew that the news cameras were not using special effects to alter the scenes of destruction, I didn't react emotionally to the attacks for months.

But yesterday had me in tears the moment I heard of the bombings on London's transport system. I felt very much under attack even half-way across the globe. London is my city. I can picture Russell Square, hear the computerized voice saying, "This is a District Line train to Edgware Road," remember rushing up the stairs to the top of a red double-decker bus for the best seats in the house and have pictures of me with the trolly beneath the sign in the King's Cross station marking Platform 9 3/4. The city holds a piece of me in its history, and it holds Megan and Jon now. When I got into work and turned on my computer, the image of a Tube map that I had set as my desktop wallpaper back in January flickered into view, bright, colorful and looking as safe as it had the day before. The tube map, so central to London and my experiences there, the map is London itself to me. And despite its smells and crowds, or maybe a bit because of it, the Tube is one of my favorite parts of London.

Glued to NPR, I clung to the report that the Jubilee Line was unharmed, knowing that was the line Megan took to work every day, and burst into tears as soon as her mom said she and Jon were safe. But even knowing they were safe didn't keep my emotions in check for the rest of the day. A woman was interviewed on NPR outside Earl's Court Tube station, a block from where I once lived, and I could imagine her - I could imagine ME - standing there, next to the news agent with an Evening Standard poster proclaiming the day's biggest headline: "Terrorism on London Transport." An attack like yesterday's wasn't unexpected. There were warnings when I was there. But knowing it could happen doesn't dull the shock when it does.

One of my favorite depictions of the Tube map was the '80s "Tate by Tube" poster that shows tubes of paint creating the Tube map (Get it? Paint tubes? The Tube?) and promoting the Tate Museum - I don't remember if it was for the Tate Modern or the Tate Britain, but my hunch is the Tate Modern. I had a horrible vision yesterday of some ignorant 2-year-old mussing up that image by finger painting.

Maybe it sounds a bit callous, but while 9/11 left a hole in the skyline of New York, 7/7 left a hole in my heart.

and now for a little comic* relief
I've been house- and dog-sitting this week. For me, this has meant eating sugary cereals for breakfast (Golden Grahams - yay!), drinking fun drinks for dinner (chocolate milk - woohoo!) and having special drinks for dessert (Bailey's - oooooh!). For the dogs, it meant peeing on the clothes I set out for church. I've never lived with dogs before. Apparently they don't like it when something new is on the floor. Or maybe they had warmed up to me and were marking my clothes as part of their territory, in which case I feel I should sense some kind of flattery, but it's evading me. I quickly made a new rule for myself: all clothes go in the closet, behind a shut door, and nothing is left on the floor. I must have disobeyed my own rule, because today I came back from work to find a pair of my knickers torn and in a knot - A KNOT! These cute black poodles literally have my panties in a bind. I didn't know dogs knew how to tie knots.

*Sans the sans, of course.


i cried the whole way to work, but word from her mother and her blog is that megan is safe

Yesterday after the 2012 announcement, contrasted with today at the Aldgate Tube Station.


jaded with american politics?
The vote here for the hottest Canadian MP. Why? Because he says so. (Does this trend mean that Megan will be setting up a HottestBritishMP site sometime soon?)


Can I just say that in the picture of Charlie (below) makes him look like Jason Bateman's twin? Myndi, you should be glad I didn't notice this before the wedding or I might have had to object to your wonderful union. Maybe if the teaching gig doesn't work out, Charlie could be Bateman's stunt-double.


last weekend i:
- watched as Myndi became Mrs. DeVore(!)
- was overwhelmed by the number of friends and acquaintances who made an appearance in my weekend (after my year of scant social interaction) including former fellow camp counselors Ryan and Joe, high school classmates Megan and Monica (who came as dates to the wedding - woah!), an entire table of former FARCers whom I hadn't thought about in a year (Channing, Shiraz, Adam, Danesh, Jeff, Wilson...) - and those are just the people I wasn't planning on seeing.
- twirled my skirt on the dance floor.
- made a gastronomic tour of Columbia's great downtown cheap food (Ernie's, 9th Street Deli, Panera).
- spent most of an entire day in the Artisan.
- disucssed the finer points of the use of lines in magazine design with Erin.

today i:
- will see Après Vous for the first time since the Phoenix Film Festival.

this weekend i:
- will post pictures from the wedding.
- will begin house-sitting for a friend of the family.
- will float in said friend's pool with visiting Emily.
- will wish Megan "happy one year anniversary of living in London" by trying to immitate the explosion of fireworks over the trans-Atlantic phone line.
- will write a post about purchasing a hybrid car. (Look for it.)

[myfirstname] . [mylastname] @ gmail . com
I got a Gmail address this week, so I could be like all the cool kids. Actually, I wanted it because it's pretty and I can send disgustingly huge attachments to myself.


obligatory dateline post
Columbia, Mo. - Hello from the remodeled Ellis Library. More later.


blast from the past
In anticipation of Myndi's wedding:

Natalie, Myndi and Sam freshman year in FARC Posted by Hello