Saturday, October 25, 2008

LIKE the SAT, but 'funner'

I gotta tell ya: trying to juggle work responsibilities while traveling/on the road/playing is a little tricky. Needless to say, I'm doing very well at it this week while I'm visiting the fam in Texas. However, if I had real J-O-B, I wouldn't be here at all so...I'm gonna take what I can get.

In other news, I cannot stop thinking about/playing with! OMG, it's amazing. Brush up on your art history, vocabulary, mathematical skills, etc. through never ending quizzes on and for every question you get right, they donate 10 grains of rice for starving people around the world!

My thoughts exactly. Ten grains, what a joke. That's not even a full bite. But last night alone, I racked up over 6000 grains of rice. And it was a hella fun.

Check it out!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

MIA, The Piano, and College Memories

So I've been totally M.I.A. the last week. I'm going to blame the overflow of work I've been accumulating. I am slammed, y'all, SLAMMED. But hey, I'm not complaining. It sounds like I'm complaining, but I'm not.

Anywho, in the midst of all this work I'm doing, I've also watched The Piano like three times this week. It's on OnDemand, you see. I know it's an oldie, but it may have worked it's way into my top ten. Who knew Harvey Keitel could be sexy.

See, usually, the mere thought of this movie made me go 'ugh'. I get that way about some movies sometimes. I don't know why. Slingblade is one of them. I refuse to watch it.

Why I was so against The Piano, I couldn't tell you. Historically, I love Jane Campion. I was one of the few folks that liked In the Cut and her The Portrait of a Lady is definitely one of my all time faves. It's weird, but you've got to see it. Amazing.

Honestly, you could probably blame it all on my college women's literature professor. She loved The Piano. And Jane Campion. And Harvey Keitel. She managed to bring it up in just about every class I ever had with her. By senior year, I was sick of hearing about it.

Speaking of which, some pretty shocking news from the Southwestern front. Steve Brandt, my senior cycling teacher and the head swim coach at SU, was found dead in his home last Thursday. Thirty three years old. A fine-tuned athlete. And they don't know why, according to my internet research.

I remember distinctly him ranting about how cycling was one of the few sports left because one person always won and every one else lost. "Running's not a sport. If you cross the finish line, you get applause. 'Everybody wins.' In cycling, if you're not first, you lose. End of story." Cool guy, to say the least. And gone WAY before his time. And I got more than one good quote out of him before the semester was up.

Some of my best stories are from the college class room. Gotta love the eccentric ramblings of the intelligentsia. That's probably why I love Richard Russo's Straight Man because that's pretty much all it's about. Crazy college professors, their paranoia and over analysis. It's a hoot.

If there's no other reason why you'd go to college, you should just to experience professorial mayhem. Apparently, academia makes people weird. Or so I'm told.

Got any good tales from the crypt, er, college classroom?

Monday, October 13, 2008

To Sneak or Not to Sneak

Confession, y'all. I did a bad thing. I know I should feel sort of guilty about it, yet I slept like a baby last night. Ugh, the torment!

See, I've been a pretty straight-laced kinda gal. Don't much care for breaking the rules. But then I'm not sure if it's because I want to do the right thing--or because I don't want to get caught doing a bad thing. Oooo....

At the movies with the hubs and a friend this weekend (we saw Body of Lies, not bad, not bad), we had the idea to go for a double-header. You know, two movies, one night. It's fun, you should try it. Anywho, so we start roaming around the halls to find a movie that a) we want to see and b) hasn't already started. We land on Burn After Reading which, as fate would have it, started in only fifteen minutes.

Now, I just assumed that we would exit the theatre, purchase tickets, and re-enter as good, law-abiding citizens would do. However, as hubs and friend got that devilish twinkle in their eyes, I realized that this was not the plan.

And so...we did it. We casually entered the theatre as if we were paying customers only...we weren't.

Now, it wasn't a sold out theatre or anything. And there were a few other folks in there. And the theatre runs the movie anyway, whether there's people watching or not. So...what's the big deal, right?

Not ironically, there was something wrong with the film and Burn After Reading--which really isn't that good anyway, to my shock and awe--was a little bit blurry the whole time. We couldn't complain of course because we didn't have any tickets, you see. Karma, leave me be.

Under the circumstances described above, was it wrong to sneak into said movie? I can't lie, I feel a little guilty about it. But then the hubs says I'm just being a baby. And Friend gave me a speech about the importance of civil disobedience.

Thoughts, rebels?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

THE Monument Cafe

Calling all Georgetownians, Southwesternians and alumni... It is the time, of all times, to stand up in honor of the most nostalgic, the most picturesque, most truly wonderful cafe in all of Texas and perhaps even the world: The Monument Cafe.

I have finished more than one college paper while sitting at their granite counter. I have sipped more than one cup of coffee and I have cried more than one tear while dining at this particular establishment that is delicately perched on Austin Avenue in Georgetown, Texas.

Don't you want to go where everybody knows your name? I do. And believe me, I dream of the comfort of The Monument Cafe. Its delicious coffee. The special quiche. And even the occasional, and I do mean, occasional, slice of key lime or--for Heaven's sake--the Monument Chocolate Pie.
It is a slice of sheer heaven and I only hope that when I die, I get to spend the afterlife sitting in the corner round booth, sipping a hot cup of fresh brewed, and shootin' the breeze with my favorite crew from good ole Mother Earth.

Based on the crowd that forms in front of the Monument on any given day, it's safe to say that I'm not the only one who feels this way. Which is why The Monument Cafe is the only cafe in Texas worthy of Texas Monthly's cover story for December--'The Best Small Town Cafes'.

How do we make it happen? How do we give back to those from whom we've received so much? Email April Hinkle, Texas Monthly representative, at ahinkle at texasmonthly dot com and put in a good word for the ole Monument. Time's a'wastin', deadline for submission is October 23rd. Spread the word, y'all. Let's do this thing.

April, get ready. Email mania is in store for you. And after one bite of Two Alarm Chili, you won't know how you've survived up to that point.

(Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Verbal Girl and Behind Enemy Lines...

I was feeling a little lop-sided, y'all. I mean, I love all things Google. Really. Who wouldn't? My life isn't the same since Gmail, and Google Docs, and Picasa. Everything they touch turns to solid gold.


I had no idea that WordPress would be so flippin' awesome. I know that Google could probably kick me off of here for saying this but...I really like WordPress. A lot.

Now here's the deal: Blogger is infinitely more user friendly. You log in. You make post. You post post. WordPress, there's all these different buttons, bells and whistles, etc. A technologically challenged person (myself) could get a little overwhelmed. But as soon as I saw all of the different 'themes' I was immediately in blog-lust.

So...I had already decided to start a new blog--not a replacement blog, but ANOTHER blog--on Blogger, but I think I'm going to be with WordPress on this one. However, my loyalty to Google/Blogger remains.

New blog you say? Yes, I say. You could call it a one woman book club: I read it and tell you about it. It seems appropriate for a girl who majored in books--even though it meant that she probably wouldn't be able to find a job. Ahh, such is life. Anywho, stop by Verbal Girl for a little book review action. Oooh! I can't wait.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

You're Fired

I've decided to bail out on the True Blood/vampire obsession for a while, mainly because I really want those 'Get Permanent Vampire Fangs Fast!' Google Ads to go away from my blog. That's just weird. I don't endorse those shenanigans. Wait, I said 'vampire', shoot.

It's only appropriate to turn our attentions to the obsessions of others, i.e. the whole country, and focus on this whole Wall Street crisis/Election foofaraw. I know! You're bored already, but wait, I'm getting to it.


Office life, well, it's a drag. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that it's hell on earth. The whole concept that any one person can be consistently productive for eight hours straight, day after day, is completely absurd. Which is why, as you probably already know, I decided to scrap the whole idea. I now enjoy the luxuries of a home office, which is about as close as you can get to dying and going to Heaven, by the way. You should try it, really.

But I have to give credit where it's due, which means that I can't mention my now self-employed arrangement without giving a nod to Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week, world-traveller, world record holder, and time-management guru.

On the back of this book, it says "Warning: Don't Read this Book Unless You Want To Quit Your Job." Uh, yeah. That warning is for real, because I read it and then I quit my job.

Basically, ole Tim is all about liberating people from the silliness of corporate America so that they can have their cake and eat it too. Make money AND have a life. I know, what a novel concept. He even has all kinds of facts and figures in the book about how some major corporations have transitioned to seemingly radical results-oriented, off-site working arrangements for their employees only to see sales and productivity rise while costs and expenses go down. Yet, still, so many bosses, CEOs, managers and supervisors get their jollies seeing folks chained to a desk.

But from my own working-from-home transition, I've seen some pretty amazing things. One, I'm not miserable anymore. That's a big one. Two, I'm healthier because I don't have to eat 'break room' food anymore. But...

Here's the clincher: I only endured a fifteen minute commute to work, but I am saving boat loads of dough on gas. Probably $250 a month. Yes, really. Granted, I drive a gas guzzler (to my everlasting shame) but still, with gas prices causing aneurysms across America, my savings are probably about par for the course. In these economic times, that amount of money can make the difference between making it and not making it. If you have a mortgage, you know exactly what I mean.

Considering I had a relatively pathetic commute, imagine what more work-from-home-ing could do for the environment! Many people, especially in the North San Francisco Bay area, drive all the way to the city to work. That's about two hours of driving PER DAY. Whoa. No wonder I'm wearing shorts in October.
Basically, working from home isn't just about laziness, it's about some radical environmental reform! It's time to fire the boss, y'all. Or at least fire the office. Don't think, just do it.