Saturday, December 31, 2005

more snow days

I've taken the last two days off work to entertain my mom and brother but then we got another big snowstorm so it sort of turned into two more snow days. It was the very pretty heavy wet stuff that settles in the trees and all over and isn't too cold to enjoy. We've seen some excellent looking snowmen including one with at least seven body segments instead of the usual three. My mom and I did another round of hot yoga in which I almost passed out (seriously, I was seeing stars) and I guess I like that because we're hoping to go again tomorrow. Tonight, for New Years, my Studly Hubby is planning to make us Indian Tacos with buffalo meat and we're going to get totally drunk and streak up and down the block naked. Sometimes, we can see the fireworks from our block too.

And for the breaking news: we busted open a jigsaw puzzle this week and have been working on it vigorously. I forgot how much fun jigsaw puzzles are. Almost as much fun as online boggle. My Studly Hubby refuses to work on it because I believe he is morally opposed to jigsaw puzzles (and perhaps all games) but I think if we work him enough we might make a major breakthrough. Therapy may help too. Good thing my mom is a therapist. And speaking of Boggle, I got it for Christmas and we played a few aggressive rounds before busting open the jigsaw puzzle. Aaaahh, life is good with boggle and jigsaw puzzles.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Back in Black

We got back later than we wanted to last night and I went immediately to bed, so didn't have time to post about all my holiday adventures. Our holiday adventures were mostly family-related, with a little bit of mother-daughter hot yoga thrown in. Later this week my mom and brother will be coming up to Mpls to visit us and there will be more mother-daughter hot yoga, as well as mother-daughter spin (taught by the daughter) and mother-daughter shopping.

The holidays were a bit tough on me this year - I think because I went into them sick. I also felt pretty sick coming out of them but I'm hoping it was just allergies and nothing more serious. About ten cankersores found residence in my mouth also which will make it difficult to eat all the yummy leftovers.

Time for the dreadful part of vacations - going back to work. Wish me luck everybody!!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

sicky

we've been passing around some kind of intestinal thing at work and i finally got it today. It's a quicky, and pretty mild, and so far it's just stomach cramps (and only bad when I stand up) so I'm just hanging out in bed today playing some boggle, watching some movies, drinking some tea, and and blogging. Who could ask for a better day, really? My studly hubby was very well trained in dealing with sick loved ones (thanks to his studly mummy) and got me set up all nice with everything I'll need all day (except a bed pan, so i do have to get up every once in a while).

If I get any worse I'll blame it on the crack addicts that stole our stereo and bikes. Or maybe hot yoga. But for now, I'm having a pretty good day.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

return to the hot yoga

I went to hot yoga last night, again. I hated every second of it but somehow found myself purchasing a ten-pack class package on my way ou the door. This time, the class was slightly more familiar so I had some time to look around at my classmates. There are several things about this class that definitely set it apart from the average aerobics class at your average YWCA (or YMCA as the case may be). First off, it's in Uptown. Everyone in uptown is ripped, has huge boobs, loves pain, and is not afraid to flaunt what they've got. So they all show up to this class wearing one square inch of lycra, and bend into each pose impossibly, and bust out of their lycra impressively, and it's so hot it all seems a bit surreal. And then there was the guy in front of me with the big silver underpants. From the neck up, he looked like the CEO of TCF bank, but underneath there was a lot of hair and skin and underpants. And every time I looked up at the mirror in front of me, I saw the big silver underpants. And eventually there was a steady stream of sweat flowing down from this guy's underpants, and the whole thing seemed a bit impossible.

And now I must go back because I've committed to at least ten more classes.

Underpants!

return of the crack addicts

The crack addicts have returned to our block, this time to break into my Studly Hubby's Studly Car and steal his Studly stereo. When a man gets his stereo stolen it's really bad news, and we were definitely pissed off this time. I called our landlord and yelled at him for a while, even though it was by no stretch his fault, then I felt bad and apologized and my studly hubby took over and yelled for a while. Then we took the car back to the Studly Mechanic, its second home, and went out with our other car (the one we're so glad we fixed now, which was happy not to be at the mechanic this time) and bought two Clubs. After an hour sitting in the car looking at the directions, we finally figured out how the Club works, and now the car is sitting happily secured back outside. My Studly Hubby is checking on it every few minutes to be sure it's safe.

We may start a crack addict donation box. This is the money that we get every time a crack addict wanders by and takes some of our stuff or wrecks something expensive. We might just get rich with a scheme like that.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Sunday, December 18, 2005

recover

I made a big movie come-back from my horrifying previous experience (see below post) with the all-time great movie Elf with Will Ferrell. I highly recommend the soundtrack too. It's weird though, the last time we watched this movie was this time last year (and I think it's going to become an annual tradition) but it feels like it was much more recent than that. You know how all parents force their kids to watch some Christmas movie over and over, year after year? I think that's going to be Elf for us. Now we just need to catch us some kids to torture...

My Studly Hubby and I made a huge couple-committment. This is big for us. Generally we keep our finances separate because we're too distracted to keep track of each other's stuff. But my Studly Hubby found a pretty good credit card that sends him Best Buy and Amazon gift cards every once in a while, and I wanted in on it, so I asked him to order me a credit card on his same account. Then I realized, this is pretty neato... I spend the money, and my Studly Hubby pays the bill. So I went ahead and bought myself some expensive jewelry, a whole new wardrobe, lavish presents for everyone I know, and a new Porsche. I think this relationship is just getting better and better.

blow

Let me tell you about a movie that really blows. Mr. and Mrs. Smith. This movie blew so bad it made me angry, I think because I was really hoping for better. Maybe that's my problem, but I want to complain about it anyway. I think I was also mad because normally I totally dig secret-spy movies, like True Lies and the Long Kiss Goodnight. Let me give you some specifics, so that you don't fall into the same trap I did.

The plot blew.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were uber-hot, but they blew.
Seth from the OC was in it, and his acting skills really blew, plus the reason why he was in it blew.
The beginning blew.
The middle blew.
The end had a good shoot-out scene with no real purpose or explanation, and also blew.

I really hope none of you are in the unfortunate position of having to watch this movie. If you are, I recommend you buy yourself some mint chocolate M&Ms. They're so good they're like crack and they will get you through anything.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

double-duty

I got conned into pulling double-duty at the YWCA yesterday - I taught my usual spin and stretch class Friday at the butt-crack of dawn, then later that night I taught the cycle to the movies class. We watched Millions, which was quite a good movie. About halfway through the movie my rear started aching from so much active duty and so I got off the bike and pretended to stretch for most of the rest of the movie. It's good though to get paid to watch a movie.

Today we took the train to the Mall of America. Normally this time of year we avoid that place like the plague but we had to go watch a friend play in a quartet in the Macy's courtyard. They were very good and it was a lot of fun. There were also some other good perks: we got a little more shopping done (almost there!), we saw some LIVE models at Abercrombie and Fitch (oh my!), I had some Taco Bell (always good), saw some friends (except the ones that went MIA), and it kept me away from my new addiction, online boggle (website withheld due to dangerousness of the addiction).

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

SNOW DAY!!!

We got about 8 feet of snow today with more coming so my Studly Hubby did the thing a Studly Hubby should do in a situation like this and took a few hours off so we could go SKIING. Except, we realized on the way home that the warm weather was makng the snow awfully sticky and skiing may be more hard work than fun. So, we thought we'd go ICE SKATING instead. But then we learned that the neighborhood ice skating rink hadn't been cleared yet of the 8 feet of snow (and one lone guy was working on it so it would probably be several weeks). So we gave up and went running in the snow, then drove to the local fancy grocery store and bought banana cream pie and sushi and a muffin. And THAT was super fun. And my Studly Hubby pushed me on a swing which was also super fun. And then we watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which was better than I thought it would be (but wouldn't have been without the banana cream pie and sushi and muffin). Mmmmm all that chocolate is going to distract me for at least a week...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Paris Hilton as... the new Santa?

I'm almost afraid to post this, but it can't go without posting...

Joe Moretti of Cranston, RI, has built a Christmas display around Paris Hilton with 38,000 lights (most of which are pink) and giant 8-ft tall pictures of the gal. Is this modern art, or just a weird form of Santa-bashing? It got him on CNN anyway.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Beautiful Ring for a Beautiful Gal

Engagement announcement!

A good friend of mine from high school dragged home a boy I know from the same high school sometime after high school and managed to con him into proposing to her last week. He's a good boy, from the same stock as my Studly Hubby (went to the same elementary school). The boy further proved his worth when he had my Studly Hubby's studly jeweler parents make a custom ring for her that's almost as cool as the one they made for me. Way to go girlfriend!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A Quest for Hot Yoga

I considered going on a quest for the Holy Grail, but chose to go on a more attainable quest considering I live in the Twin Cities.

It turned out to be harder than i thought it would be.

There was a hot yoga class at CorePower Yoga in downtown Minneapolis (the side closest to where I live) at 9 am today. I thought, okee dokee, traffic shouldn't be too bad downtown on a Sunday morning, neither should parking, plus they have a sweet student discount. I was wrong about everything but the student discount (actually I never found out about the discount). Even though the place is less than 2 miles from my apartment, it took me almost 20 minutes to get over there because every block has a light and every light was red. When I did get there it took another ten minutes to go around the block to look for parking because every street was an inconvenient 1-way. It turns out the studio has no parking that I could find, and thanks to a stupid vikings game all the ramps and lots were $20 event parking. All that left was the meters, which are short term and more expensive than I had quarters.

Angrily, I drove back home, which only took 5 minutes because all the lights were green.

So the next class opportunity was at 10 am in Uptown at the Bikram Studio of India. This place supposedly heats their studio up to 115F and was a heck-of-a-lot more expensive, plus it was almost 6 miles away in a part of town with dubious parking, constantly horrible traffic, and a known population of uppity snobs (I think that's why it's called Uptown).

Anyways, it turns out I can take the freeway to this place so it only took 10 minutes, and it had its own parking lot (although I drove past the place three or four times because the sign was too small to see from the street). It was still super-expensive, but they had some nice amenities like rentable everything, lockers, a sun light in the ladies locker room (whoa!), and two extra teachers that were there to help the new people (that's me!). Plus it turns out the studio is actually only 105F (phew!).

The teacher for that class was a rather militant dude that ripped me into a horseback riding clinic flashback (clinics were done by this crazy screaming german lady). He barked all the orders, constantly came around and yelled at you to try harder, got mad at anybody who talked, and gave almost no water breaks or other kinds of breaks. Some of the things he said were uncannily similar to the wise words of my old riding teachers: chin up, look straight ahead or look where you want your body to go, heels down (or in yoga it gets slightly more complicated, heels may be up, or one heel down and the other up, etc). By the time it was over my hair was completely soaked with sweat (and I have a lot of hair), my clothes could have been wrung out, I stank like a pig, and I could hardly see straight. Now that's a good workout.

Post by request: Dandy Warhols detailed review

It appears some of you are Dandy Warhols fans and are demanding more details on the concert we went to Wednesday night. I didn't have time till now to do this, and it's already fading fast, so i'm going to expunge as much as I can before I completely forget where I went or who I am. I'm going to do it reviewer-style with some upsides and downsides. Don't get me wrong, I loved the show, but I feel it's my obligation to describe the whole deal.

upsides:
- they are super energetic in their music and made you want to dance
- they played almost all of our favorite songs
- the set was very long, at least an hour and a half
- Zia played with the opening band a little bit, causing quite the ruckus
- 1st ave club is a great place for a show, they played the movie "hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy" while we were waiting for the bands to come on
- they were surprisingly professional and very very good musicians.
- They also altered quite a few of the songs a little demonstrating a rare breed of versatility and skill and making it more interesting
- the audience was full of grungy young people wearing pretty entertaining and trendy outfits, it was definitely good for people watching
- the place was packed (I dunno if this is good or bad but I guess it's good for them). The floor was smashed full of people all the way to the back wall and you could hardly walk around upstairs, although we didn't have too much trouble getting a good spot for viewing the band (most everybody was on the floor and we stayed upstairs).

downsides:
- they had a strobe light facing the audience for a few songs, i hate when they do that because it gives me a headache - cool effect for them, not so cool for the audience
- A few of the songs went on and on and on with just instrumentals and not much change, we didn't mind so much the first time but they did it at least once more and it got old.
- Zia didn't take her shirt off
- The lead singer, Courtney Taylor-Taylor, wasn't incredibly interactive with the audience, he rarely spoke or made eye contact. He had a few cool dance moves and sang really well and had a cool outfit on though.
- They didn't start playing till 10:30 and we didn't get home till 1:00 am, and then had to get up at 7 am to go to work (ugh). Why don't bands ever play earlier on weeknights?

So overall it was super-great and we had a good time. I even had a few beers, since they claim (on their website) that they're a good band for listening to while drinking beer (they are). I think the Dandy Warhols are on the up-and-up, and I'm thrilled I got to see them at such a great venue.

PS There's an Andy Warhol exhibit at the Walker Art Museum in Mpls going on right now and I got to see it Friday night, it's pretty cool although some of his work is rather traumatizing since he liked to use death and destruction as his focus sometimes. So this week had a consistent theme - Dandy Warhols on Wed night and Andy Warhol on Friday night, although the themes are somewhat unrelated I suppose.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Dandy Warhols

For those of you who like to live vicariously through me, I'm about to go to a Dandy Warhols concert at the 1st Ave club in downtown Minneapolis. So get ready!

I'm going to get home late tonight, and I'll probably be distracted by my adventures, so you probably won't get a post about it until tomorrow night or even later. So right now, I'm going to give you a pre-review of the show (where I guess what the show was like and give you a review of it before I even go there):

The Dandy Warhols show was super-great! I got backstage tickets because I'm so hot and I met the whole band and they even let me play onstage with them during the concert. I was so freaking awesome that they decided to pay me to join up with them on their tour. They said it was because I'm musically talented but I think it was because I'm hot, so I felt a little under-appreciated so turned them down. I don't want to be valued for my good looks, I want to be valued for my extremely impressive musical talents. My Studly Hubby was enraged however that he didn't get invited backstage so he started a big fight in the mosh pit and ended up getting hauled out by security. That's when I left the stage, went out to find him, and we left to go hunt vampires with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Oh wait, that last part can't be true because Buffy is a fictional character.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Bring the Pain

My friend, mwz, starting up an intense swimming regimen recently and writes,

>I haven't been using goggles. By the end of my drive home, I was fighting to keep my >eyes open. I couldn't work because I couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to read >anything. After about an hour of laying around with my eyes closed, my wife went and >got some eye drops.

I know it's tough, my friend, but it'll pay off. Next time, as you're driving off the road with bloodshot eyes and your legs are too sore from hard training to brake properly, just start screaming BRING THE PAIN and maybe it'll get better. Or at least, more interesting. Then give us a full report.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Neon Green Frosting and Cotton Snow

My Studly Hubby made Christmas cookies last night and frosted them with neon green frosting with red sprinkles. He made all sorts of shapes with his 100-cutter set, including stars, circles, diamonds, little people, a 'J' (for J-Funk!), a volkswagen beetle, an ambulance, snowmen, hearts and more. I'm having a heart right now in fact. Neon green frosting is so much better than white.

It has become freeze-your-nose-hairs cold up here in the wild north country. The high today was 9 degrees, our windows are covered with thick frost, the car must be warmed before driven, and the snow is light and fluffy and stays on the ground for days (not good for snowmen-building). Meanwhile the Minnesota natives are still running and biking outside as usual. A friend of mine that's training for a marathon ran for 2 1/2 hrs yesterday until she thought her fingers were frostbitten, then stopped only because it was getting dark (it starts getting dark at about 4:15 by the way).

Me, I run at the gym, I get a ride to school from my Studly Hubby, and at night I put on several layers, drink hot tea, snuggle under a down comforter, and read a book about the tropics until my brain becomes convinced it's still summer.

But I do have some cross-country skiis in the closet, and oh boy, that's one thing that'll draw me out into the cold... but not until it gets back up to 20... at least...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Minnesota Winter and Killer Squirrels

I'll start with the killer squirrels. According to BBC news, a pack of black squirrels in Russia attacked and killed a dog as reported by three witnesses. Apparently they all swooped down out of a tree at once like an army of organized soldiers, and within a matter of seconds had killed the dog and scattered away with pieces of it. Did long-term starvation help these squirrels evolve into being capable of organized crime? Or is the media just getting bored? Or were the three witnesses all smoking crack? I'm voting for some combination of the three. (PS - the pic is of a viscious Brooklyn squirrel, a regular visitor of William Chubsucker Levin, who may be capable of such behavior herself, although he blames it on the squirrel supposedly being pregnant).

Speaking of doubtful journalism, I just want to make note of a recent article about Hurricane Katrina, They Shoot Helicopters, Don't They? How journalists spread rumors during Katrina by Matt Welch. The article cites many false claims during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, including the body count (10,000 originally reported, 900 actually died), the violence in the metrodome (only one slain victim was found in the two buildings, only 10 bodies total), and the supposed helicopter shootings (never verified). Don't get me wrong, it was a tragedy beyond comprehension, and the information vacuum and outcry for help during the aftermath of Katrina makes these false reports somewhat understandable. My point is, the media doesn't always know what's going on, and when they are wrong they don't always make a huge effort to correct themselves. I've become increasingly careful about forming opinions based on reports from the media. I'm starting to feel like if I'm not there to witness it myself, there's no way to really know the truth.

With that, I'll change to my second topic: IT'S WINTER HERE!! It's been below freezing for at least a week, we've had some good clean white stuff on the ground and falling from the sky, and today it's very sunny and beautiful out. Finally, my last year here, we have an honest-to-goodness Minnesota winter. Time to pull out the skiis and the ice skates!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Journal Club


I'm supposed to be working on a Journal Club presentation for work that I'm giving Monday, so naturally I spent the afternoon writing emails, catching up on my hollywood gossip, and updating my current events knowledge. In doing so, I found this super neat-o picture of a lava waterfall on CNN.com that I thought I'd share. Waterfall-ey!

Cold Yoga

A week after my Bikram (hot) yoga experience I had finally recovered enough to go back to my regular yoga class. A light snow precipitation made me very nervous about driving to the Y (a recurrent trauma since the car-drowning event) but I made it without incident. The studio where my yoga class was held was freezing, however, and when we checked out the thermostat to see what the deal was we found it dangling from the wall with some pencil thing sticking out of it. Clearly the deal was bad so we had to continue with our yoga class without heat, an unfortunate thing to do I say. I eventually warmed up enough to take off my coat, but I never did break a sweat. Ah well. Definitely the opposite from that hot yoga class I went to a week ago.

This is not like me, but I've been thinking about skipping all my holiday parties this year. Normally I get invited to about four (at least one for the Y, three for all the different departments I am part of at work). When I skipped the first one last week it felt pretty good, and I'm darned tempted to skip the next one. Being a little delinquent once in a while is fun! I have a twinge of guilt, however, - these are going to be my last holiday parties at these places and they usually are pretty fun. Maybe I'll go to one or two of them. For my lab, we often demand to be taken to a very expensive fancy downtown restaraunt for our holiday party, and then give thanks by refusing to drive or be on time. Our boss is always genial and still gives the impression of enjoying himself around all us ungratefuls, but this year the most demanding among us (my naked co-worker) has left so he managed to persuade the rest to do a cheaper catered lunch/movie event in our conference room. At least we do something... my Studly Hubby's company doesn't host any kind of a yearly party and doesn't even give out candy canes or anything. Bummer!

And now time for some holiday decorations...! We still have yet to replace our (halloween) pumpkin lights with the (declared thanksgiving/christmas) eyeball lights, but it'll happen soon I promise.