obligatory dateline post
LONDON - Cheers, mates. It's weird to think I've been here in London for more than a week already. It's been absolutely wonderful and very natural to step back into this city of my past, not to mention to step back into a room with warm conversation with Megan. More to come later.

Pat and (the other) Tim have submitted their quiz answers already. Neither have earned a perfect score. Therefore, you still have a chance. And yes, there are a few of you I expect submissions from. (If you're not sure if you're one of the few, better submit some answers just in case.) Yummm.....homemade cookies...


i might not post for a while
I might post, but don't get your hopes up.

the quiz
To occupy your ALCOS needs while I am out of the country, I bring the first ever How Well Do You Know Erica? Quiz. First things first. The prize: homemade cookies sent to your mailbox, awarded to the person who submits to most correct answers by midnight (Pacific Time) on May 2 (the day I return from London). Submissions should be by email to: eleighbrooks[at]yahoo[dot]com. Questions take the form of multiple choice and fill in the blank. Incorrect multiple choice answers will not penalize you. Answers to the questions are not limited to this blog. No bonus points will be awarded, but humorous answers/comments may be posted publicly if the proctor (ahem - me) deems them funny enough to share. Have no fear, Retka will not be allowed to cheat while I am staying with her. It's not as intense as Clark's exam, but I had some fun with it. Who knows, maybe there will be more than one winner...

You may pick up your No. 2 pencils and begin.

1. Who is the source of inspiration for the subhead ("off to see the world") on this blog?
A. Frank Sinatra
B. The Beatles
C. Guster
D. Bob Dylan

2. What is the name of Erica's home computer?

3. What car is Erica saving up for?
A. another Honda Accord
B. Toyota RAV-4
C. Honda Civic Hybrid
D. Ford Focus

4. What was the name of the cat that terrorized Erica both awake and in her dreams?
A. Gus
B. Cassie
C. Sophie
D. Ally

5. Erica had 15 different roommates in college (including the summer she lived in CoMo). Name at least seven of them. (A point will be awarded for each correct roommate.)

6. Where did Erica receive the worst sunburn of her life?
A. The back porch of Alpha Chi
B. Barcelona, Spain
C. Winter Park, Colo.
D. Nice, France

7. Who turned Erica on to Harry Potter?
A. her mother
B. her sister
C. K. Jeffries
D. E. Tuttle

8. Which one of the following is Erica's favorite consumer mag?
A. Esquire
B. Real Simple
C. Entertainment Weekly
D. Budget Travel

9. Which of the following is Erica's favorite city/regional mag?
A. Texas Monthly
B. Chicago Magazine
C. Los Angeles Magazine
D. Boston Magazine

10. Where was Erica headed when she got separated from her friends on the European Rail System?
A. Venice
B. London
C. Paris
D. Rome

11. Match the music group with the year of Erica's college life that heavily featured said group.
A. Coldplay
B. U2
C. Guster

a. Freshman
b. Sophomore
c. Junior
d. Senior

12. Where did Erica work her senior year of college? (choose more than one)
A. the Artisan
B. the MU Licensing office
C. the MU News Bureau
D. the MU Marketing office

13. What was Erica's regular drink at the Artisan?
A. Latté w/ Bailey's
B. Mocha Chai
C. Mocha
D. Earl Gray Tea

14. What was Erica's minor?
A. Graphic Design
B. Religious Studies
C. French
D. Just kidding - she didn't have one

15. What song is Erica's number-one guilty pleasure song?
A. "Bye Bye Bye" by *nSync
B. "Oops, I Did it Again" by Mama Britney Spears
C. "Yeah" by Usher
D. "Vogue" by Madonna

16. What is Erica's favorite color?
A. Yellow
B. Light blue
C. Light green
D. Purple

17. Which of the following has Erica not read since starting her "Currently reading" sidebar nugget-thing?
A. The Grapes of Wrath
B. The DaVinci Code
C. My Misspent Youth
D. The Cider House Rules

18. Which of the following was not a reason Erica gave as a sign that Phoenix life would be good?
A. The 20-minute drive to the airport
B. See's Candy Shops
C. The backyard pool
D. The lack of snow

19. Who is Erica's favorite sports columnist? (Fill in the blank)

20. Which of the following was not a favorite instructor of Erica's? (class descriptions for the benefit of any non-MU quiz-takers)
A. J. Moe||er (Magazine Editing)
B. J. Co|bert (Magazine Design)
C. B. Co||ins (History of the 60s)
D. S. Fr¡esen (Old & New Testament)


bags packed
The aniticipation of travel is a lot like the early stages of falling in love: You choose a destination, an adventure, a culture that makes your pulse race, your heart leap. When you arrive, you don't know if it will turn out to be a casual flirtation, a torrid affair, a long-term relationship -- or if, in the end, after all the planning and expectation, you'll find out there's just no chemistry.
-"When We Take Travel to Heart" Daisann McLane, National Geographic Traveler May/June 2005

Following the metaphor above, I'm returning to an old flame in two days, and I'm two parts jumping out of my skin with excitement and one part nervous that London has moved on to other loves, that the old chemistry just won't be there.

Nah...who am I kidding? I'm all parts jumping out of my skin with excitement.

up next:
A Clark-like quiz.

I totally just accidently closed the window with my completed-but-not-yet-published post. My heart was calmed and my curses quieted when I tested the "Recover post" option that Blogger recently added and found my intact post. Thank you, Blogger!!!!


your annual ALCOS PSA
It's April 15. Do you know where your tax forms are?

a bully of old missouri
Sent off my Missouri tax forms the other day. It cost me $.83 to mail the bugger. My return will be $1. Net profit: $.17.

happy birthday to me.


festival reflection
It was fun.

you want more?
It was so amazing to be a part of the independent film scene for a weekend, to experience the results of the passionate labors of (mostly) young filmmakers. To see that after I previewed nearly 28 hours of (mostly) crap entries last fall, there were some real gems that made it to the big screen at the Harkins Scottsdale 101 cinema. The beauty of the film festival was the opportunity to interact with the filmmakers, producers and actors themselves. I came away from the weekend with movies with whom I feel personally involved. Thus, I am compeled to insist that you see them when they (hopefully) make it to a theater near you.

Checking Out
With Peter Falk as the "force of nature" that is Morris Applebaum at the head of this cast, Checking Out is a hilarious jaunt through one Jewish family's reconciliation caused by Morris's announcement to his grown children that in one week he will be throwing a huge party, and then he will kill himself. I can't believe that no studio wanted to take this film on. Fortunately, the producer and director have a meeting with the woman who helped propel My Big Fat Greek Wedding into theaters across the country. This movie has the potential to be My Big Fat Jewish Suicide. I had the chance to talk with both the director (Jeff Hare) and the producer (Mark Lane) after the movie. This was Hare's first big film; he had done comercials before, and before that, he was a reporter for a news station in Kearney, Neb. When he said he went to journalism school rather than film school, I knew I had to introduce myself. Alas, he attended Penn State; props to him, though, for his impressed reaction when I said I attended Missouri.

Après Vous
This jokes in this French film transcend cultures and language. Even though it lacks Audrey Tautou, I think this movie could actually make it in the U.S. I knew from the opening credits and song that it was going to be a good movie and it was. Antoine stumbles across Louis in a Paris park and saves him from killing himself, ultimately invloving himself in a complicated love affair. Funny funny funny. Sidenote: The actor who plays Antoine looks so much like Paul McCatney I kept expecting him to doff his French for a British accent and burst into "Hey Jude."

Happy Endings
Lisa Kudrow. Maggie Gyllenhaal. Tom Arnold. I don't know how to describe this movie. I guess it's a humorous look at hard topics such as abortion and homosexuality. But it's better than that description. This was the opening night film at the festival and it was a very surreal experience to watch the movie, knowing that the director (Don Roos), the producer (and president of Lions Gate Films, Tom Ortenberg) and an actor (Tom Arnold) were in the theater. It was kind of like watching a sex scene with your mom. Rather than "Oh look. The actors are getting naked. Oh look. My mother is sitting next to me." it was "Oh look. Tom Arnold's getting naked. Oh look. He's sitting five rows in front of me in a pink shirt with a pink scarf/tie-thing." I was conscious of my every reaction. Was I not laughing enough? Did my laughter sound forced or fake? Should I laugh louder? Sidenote: Maggie Gyllenhaal's haircut is super, super-sexy.

Never Been Thawed
I didn't find this movie as compelling as the ones above, but it's worth mentioning. It was a locally produced film by a director and actors who had never done movies before. I think the director said the whole thing was shot with one $400 camera from Best Buy. NBT is a mockumentary about a guy who is the founder of the Frozen Food Entre Club of Mesa, Ariz. (that's right, they collect t.v. dinners) and also the lead singer in a Christian rock band. The Christers isn't your typical Christian rock band; they "converted" from hard rock, but they haven't left the hard rock lifestyle behind. Upon deciding that it'd be esier to make it in the Christian rock business, they changed all the lyrics of their songs. "I Love to F***" became "I Love to Pray." Totally blasphemous, the movie is like a coarser Saved! in both plot and production. It was ok.

in other movie news
My mother just told me that she went to see Sin City today because she heard it was based on a comic strip. Her reaction: "Those people are sick." I just shook my head. Comic book ? comic strip.


let's hold class on the quad today
It is absolutely gorgeous outside right now, but by the afternoon, it's supposed to get up to the 90s. It's going to be pool season soon!

biggest pet peeve of the moment
When people don't hold up their part of a bargain. Uggh.

film fête*
I scored a free all-access, 4-day pass to the Phoenix Film Festival in return for being one of the volunteers on the film selection committee. I had to watch a ton of crappy movies and will now be rewarded by the opportunity to schmooze with Kevin Bacon, Tom Arnold and Kyra Sedgwick, starting today. Well, maybe not so much schmoozing with as looking at from across a cinema.

Arizona doesn't do Daylight Savings. So I am now on Pacific Time. Just thought I'd share, in case any of you were wanting to call.

*Circumflex accent for Dan's enjoyment.


cowbois and indians
Family was in town this week. We were on our way to the Heard Museum about Native Americans, but we got caught in the start of a gay pride parade going down Central Avenue. At the outset it looked like any normal parade with Spongebob Squarepants. Then the costumes started getting a little more interesting. And what parade is complete without drag queen royalty?

let's play six degrees of separation
I always learn lots when around family. Example: My grandfather used to double-date with Janet Leigh when they were both in high school. WHAT?!?! It took my mother nearly 23 years to tell me this?!?!? I was thoroughly disappointed in her. I'm not much for scary movies, but now I have to watch Psycho.

The Six Degrees of Separation discussion led to my father divulging that a former collegue (Chip) of his from K-State once dated Ellen DeGeneres while they were both living in Wichita. How can my parents keep such fantastic knowledge to themselves?!?! Do you realize this totally puts me in connection with Jason Bateman?
me–->Chip-->Ellen-->Portia de Rossi-->Bateman