Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wisdom is not in words; Wisdom is meaning within words

For all my wordsmith friends -- this is really fun! I typed in my blog address, and out popped a beautiful word cloud of the things that I apparently deem important enough to write about. Quite shockingly, it does not include the word "Britney." But, thankfully, it also doesn't contain the word "moose."


Wordle: I like bad music


Thanks for the link Hailey!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

THANK YOU!

I want to preface this by saying that I very much support people's right to challenge their government. If you have a problem with a policy, by all means, tell your representative -- that's why they are there! But if you ARE going to take up everyone's valuable time, please make sure your argument is based at least somewhat in reality.

Personally, I feel that health care should be a right and not a privilege (aren't our inalienable rights "LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?"), but I absolutely understand why people might have legitimate concerns about a public option on health care. But you know what, these real concerns will be brushed to the side if the most vocal members of the plan's opposition make dangerous and hate filled claims, such as "this plan will kill your grandparents" (a horrific lie), and "Obama is a Nazi" (will someone PLEASE explain to me how providing health care to people who need it the most in any way resembles the systematic murder of 6,000,000 innocent people???). And, to not only blame the people who are making these claims (with whom I so clearly disagree), the government officials who allow this insanity to go on are in no way encouraging genuine debate.

So, thank you Barney Frank, for finally telling one of the crazies to STFU. When people realize that only rational worries are worth debating, we will finally be able to have a real discussion that will hopefully lead to the compromise that we really need.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Extreme Home Makeover: Queens Edition

As many of you know, I moved into my very own, big girl apartment this past week! And I am in love with it! So, after a long weekend of cleaning, arranging, and decorating, I'd like to show the results in before/after format.

Bedroom: The guy who lived here before didn't so much decorate. Here's what I've done with the room so far, minus the curtain, which I haven't put up yet. It's better than what he had, which was a blanket thumbtacked to the wall:
Before:

After:


Living Room/Study: Now, I used the term "study" because that's what I turned it into. The previous tenant probably referred to it as, "Where I piled all my crap."
Before:


After:


Kitchen: Ok, the kitchen doesn't look that different. But I have bobbleheads!
Before:


After:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Because my life is consumed with moving and LSAT class...

...So You Think You Can Dance is apparently the only thing that gets me through the week*. I swear that this isn't becoming a SYTYCD blog, but as I sit on my empty mattress in my completely packed up room, waiting for the movers to arrive, all I can really do is re-watch my favorite dances on youtube to avoid thinking about how much I'm going to miss the Upper East Side.

So, here is this week's installment of "Why I love Jeannine." She may not be the best technically (Kayla or Melissa), but girl's got PERSONALITY. This dance is hot. If she's not in the top 4, I'll boycott the show. And by boycott, I mean, um, still watch religiously but shake my fist in anger every once in awhile?



*Other than my awesome boyfriend**
**Footnote requested by said awesome boyfriend

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My summer obsession

So, last summer I became unapologetically obsessed with "So You Think You Can Dance" (is anyone surprised?). Mia Michaels (one of the choreographers) has always been hit or miss for me, but I was blown away by her, and, of course, the dancers last night with a piece that represented the devastation of addiction. Don't get me wrong, I still love Jeannine and Phillip, but, for me, this was the best dance of the season so far.

If you don't watch this show, WATCH THIS SHOW. Hailey and I have perfected the ability to watch the entire show in less than 45 minutes, so it's not even a time commitment. And it doesn't make you feel dirty when you watch it, like Dance Your Ass Off or NYC Prep. Or, you know, Daisy of Love...but that one is totally worth it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Birthday America: You're fat.

I don't usually soap-box about these things, but I find it completely unacceptable that I live in a state that is ranked 37th in adult obesity (not great, but not horrible) but 18th in overweight and obese children. We as a society can continue to create and watch shows such as "The Biggest Loser," "Dance Your Ass Off," and "More to Love," we can continue to poke fun at the dangerous direction our nation is heading, but we CANNOT ignore the health threat this poses to those who can't make educated choices. If an adult wants to have an extra piece of cake or an extra bucket of fried chicken, that is their prerogative. But the idea that these habits are being passed on to children without the OPTION of fresh fruits and vegetables is, I believe, a national tragedy.

This is not an aesthetic issue, it's a health issue. It's not just that future generations will look like the human beings in Wall-E...it's that those people attached to their motorized chairs will also have heart disease and type II diabetes by the time they are 20. It's not a future that I want to imagine.

I realize that I am either preaching to the crowd or to those who won't have to worry about teaching their children proper dietary habits for many years to come, but I just needed to vent. Sadly, beyond teaching our own children (or children with whom we have regular contact) healthy habits, there doesn't seem like there is much we can do individually to solve this problem. Unless someone wants to help me green light a "Dance Your Ass Off: Children's Edition." Something makes me think that Fox would pick it up.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Update!

Ok, so I've been lame lately, but I don't really feel like writing a blog post to catch up. So, here is a list of some awesome things that I've done in the last few weeks, and I will try to get back to the witty social commentary soon.

1. Finding a new apartment! Finally a big girl and living on my own (well, as of July 16th). And I'm moving to Queens, so I get some street cred ;-)
2. Drinking in a canoe in Seattle, Washington (and seeing some of my favs on the West Coast!)
3. Hiking to the top of this waterfall
4. Getting back in the SYTYCD groove. LOVES (favorite dance so far):

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Every New Yorker's Dream (or nightmare?)

Well, you know you've made it big when a party you helped put together is kind of mentioned on Page 6. I now feel like I, vicariously, have also adorned the pages meant for Madonna and the Real Housewives of NYC.

How's that for Odd Day?

Happy Odd Day!

Well, I can't mention Pi Day without giving a shout out to Odd Day (5/7/09) as well!

I haven't done anything Odd yet today, but I'll work on it and keep you updated!

Have any of you found an interesting way to celebrate being Odd (come on math people, I know you are out there!!)?

Friday, May 1, 2009

So I would be king...if the world was crazy

As a professed hypochondriac, even I can't really understand why everyone is so worried about what is essentially the same flu we each get once a year (I know, I know, there are intricacies...but 331 cases out of 6 billion people? There is a much better chance that I will be stuck by lightening! Hm. Note to self: purchase lightening rod.).

But I'm going to roll with it. I like to be organized, so I've helped to create a contingency plan. I'll avoid the subway as much as possible by imbibing enough alcohol (which kills germs!) to make paying for a cab a good idea (swine flu vs. recession?). I'll also do my best to track down this (adorable, yet disgusting) small child. It's the least I can do.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fight or flight

This weekend I took a trip back in time. I spent two lovely days in Lewisburg, doing all of the things I loved to do in college -- walking to the Freez, enjoying a few beers at the Bull Run, and wandering aimlessly around Arts Fest while soaking in a beautiful Pennsylvania day. Absolutely zero stress.

Fine, I'm remembering college with rose colored glasses (it's finals time, right?). But New York punished me for letting my guard down just the same.

The worst part is, it led me into a false sense of security. I had a delightful walk through the park and a picnic dinner when I returned home after my lazy Pennsylvania weekend. "Maybe New York can offer me the same relaxation as Central PA," I foolishly thought.

Nope. First off, I wake up to find (forgive me, I've been ignoring the news this weekend) that I have willingly returned to the scene of a Stephen King novel. We all know how well I deal with any sort of medical scare, and at the height of allergy season, my crazy is on high alert.

Couple this with the fact that someone thought it would be an excellent idea to pilot a low flying jet plane around lower Manhattan this morning. Without informing anyone. This may seem odd to those outside the city, but we are a paranoid people. The last time Will Smith filmed a movie in New York, half the town was calling 911 over helicopters surrounding the Brooklyn Bridge. We will go "War of the Worlds" on your ass if we aren't informed of these things several times, with many well posted signs. Needless to say, the building across the street from mine was evacuated this morning. All because someone wanted a photo op of an Obama-less Air Force One.

So thank you, New York, for returning my adrenal glands to their previous gigantic size. I don't know what I would have done if I had to survive one more day of being completely relaxed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day




Here are some ways to love your mother, fashionably:

Invest in a reusable water bottle. These ones come in regular water bottles, sippy cups for the little ones, and wine carafes for, well, people like me.

Purchase a pack of these reusable grocery bags. The printed ones are adorable and versatile -- they make amazing beach bags as well!

If you must buy plastic or glass bottles to, oh, I don't know, make alcoholic cupcakes, recycle them! Either throw them in the recyling bin or reuse them around the house -- nothing says class better than an empty bottle of Jack Daniels with a bouquet of flowers!

You Complete Me

As a lifetime member of WeightWatchers, I have been taught that, if you are going to splurge, make it on something really good. Don't waste your calories on dessert items that don't at least approach culinary perfection.

On a somewhat related note, I love chocolate. And alcohol.

Yet I often feel as though I have to give at least one of these things up to allow for the other. If I am going out drinking, I avoid chocolate. If I have a piece of chocolate cake, I spend a Friday evening convincing my friends to play Scene-it and snack on carrot sticks.

Chocolate or alcohol? It's like the ultimate Catch-22.

But no more.

I have been introduced to two amazing inventions in the past week involving the combination of these two wonderful things. First, I spent two amazing, spatula licking hours (while watching the Biggest Loser on dvr) baking these:

Please don't be fooled by their common-place appearance. These cupcakes have a Guinness chocolate base, a chocolate-whiskey ganache center, and Bailey's Irish Creme frosting. And, keep in mind, only 1/3 of that alcohol is baked off in any way. Biting into this is like eating the most delicious shot you've ever tasted. And you don't have to eat it in one bite -- the frosting doesn't curdle when combined with the Guinness cake.

Then, due to my propensity for combining two guilty pleasures into one, I was sent this link a few days later. Now, some may think that spending $15 on 3 chocolate bars is inappropriate in this economy, but they are ignoring two factors: 1. You (I) would spend $5 on a glass of scotch and 2. The more you drink (eat?), the less concern you have about the faltering economy. Everybody wins with a whiskey chocolate bar.

Because I consider two things to equal a pattern (not a math major), I'm convinced that there must be more delicious chocolate/alcohol combinations out there, waiting to be discovered. If anyone is aware of any other recipes (or wants to attempt the cupcake recipe), please let me know. I am more than willing to test out a batch of alcoholic chocolate and report back.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A New Scientific Hypothesis

This morning, I had to run a few things down to the museum. I had three posters in my hand, as well as a heavy bag on my shoulder. It was drizzling slightly, and I was in a hurry. So anyone that knows me will not be surprised that, while crossing the street, I completely bit it in front of two crossing guards. And because I was carrying a few things, I couldn't even catch myself. Before I knew it, I was lying on the ground in the middle of Liberty Street.

Embarrassing, yes. Uncommon, no.

For someone who has played sports her whole life, I am freakishly klutzy. I fall often, and it has even landed me in the hospital (and almost did today, due to my superhypochondria and the tiny headache that I probably had from drinking last night but wanted to attribute to the slight bump on my head). I have always wondered why this was -- and recently I read something that gave me a little insight.

In a book entitled, "Your Inner Fish," my eyes were opened to the way our ears (and entire bodies) have evolved throughout the past 3.5 billion years. I learned (among many other things) even more about how our inner ear controls hearing, balance, and acceleration. Acceleration aside, I am clearly lacking in two out of these three areas. Could my inability to stay upright have anything to do with my love of bad music? Are these two things intertwined, and if so, do I have an inner ear deficiency that leads to my desire to listen to twangy country and crappy pop? More importantly, if I start listening to better music, will I fall down less?

You know what? I can handle a few trips to the hospital. I'll stick with Britney.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Volleyball team names

My dear friends~

My volleyball team has a bit of a problem. We are trying to think of a fun, original name, but are falling short (Bumpin' Uglies was taken, and Balls In Your Face is apparently "inappropriate"). I prefer to be more timely than dirty anyway, so my previous team name was "Block of Love" (guess who picked that one!) and the team that one the Most Original Name award last season was "How I Set Your Mother."

Based on these ideas, does anyone have any suggestions? I was trying to work in a little Brit Brit, but I just can't seem to make "If U Set Amy" make any sense...

xoxo,
Lauren

EXCITING BRITNEY INSPIRATION UPDATE: How does everyone feel about "If U Seek Aces?" Does that make sense to anyone but me?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Where'd all the good people go?

A sudden fear struck me at my desk today at work. Something was amiss -- I had forgotten something. I'm a very organized person, so moments like these are pretty rare, and very unsettling. What could it be? All of my work was done or in progress, I hadn't left any lights on at home -- but something was missing. And then I realized, with a shock -- I was belatedly mourning the fact that Rock of Love: Tour Bus was a repeat this week.

Confessional: I am a reality-tv-aholic. I've actually gotten much better, but I can't seem to shake those REALLY guilty pleasures (Top Model, Project Runway, Top Chef, What not to Wear, etc.). Yet, if I were to miss one week of any of those shows, I would shrug it off and check online who had been kicked off. No big deal. But today, I felt a strange yearning for the trashiest of them all. And I have a good idea why.

I love to love Bret Michaels (nee Sychak, born in, that's right, Butler, PA). I hardly know the chorus to "Every Rose Has its Thorn," but there is something about the way he wears his Steelers hat with pride and refers to everything with more than one X chromosome as "smokin" that really makes me root for him. Diablo Cody gives great commentary on EW, and I think she is right on with her assessment. Despite the horror that might register across my face at some of the antics of the, ahem, ladies who compete, I sincerely want Bret Michaels to be happy. I don't watch to see the crazy antics of an egomaniacal host (I'm looking your way, Ty Ty) or to watch people fail (who amongst us doesn't secretly watch Project Runway to judge?) -- I watch Rock of Love (Tour Bus!) because I truly want my hometown boy to find a girl who can both rock out at his concerts and give him a shot of insulin when he's had too much candy. Instead of loving to hate, I'm loving to love. And despite the occasional popping of an implant, isn't that what television should be about?

Jack Johnson asks us, "how many train wrecks do we need to see?" Although I generally agree, I beg of the Rock of Love people to have just one more season (read: this season sucks). I'm sure that Bret's soul mate is out there somewhere...and I'm sure that he will find her through trashy television. And if not, at least I will no longer break into a cold sweat in the middle of the workday due to Bret Michaels withdrawal.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Superhypochondria strikes again!

Ever since I was a small child, I've had a relatively overactive imagination. I used to be exceptionally good at inserting myself into story lines -- during playtime, I seamlessly transitioned from being the 6th Fraggle to the 6th Babysitter in the club (or 8th, or 12th, or how many they ended up with). I spent days exploring the yard as Indiana Jones' long-lost archaeologist daughter or as the youngest agent for CONTROL (in this I often played alone -- I was the only 8 year old I knew who watched Get Smart).

To be honest, this didn't change as I got older. My college friends will not hesitate to tell you that I tried very desperately to learn how to apparate (a la Harry Potter) on cold Central Pennsylvania nights.

But now it's gone too far. I've recently started reading The Stand by Stephen King for a book club. For those of you who didn't know (because I didn't!), this book is about a virus that wipes out over 99% of the human population. It begins with flu-like symptoms. I started this book 2 days ago, and today at work, I started feeling feverish. A few moments ago, I was fighting off sniffles. If the entire population of the United States has been infected by a deadly virus in the next few days, I swear that I'm never reading another Stephen King book again.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Send in your resumes now...

I noticed something odd on Tuesday, and I'm trying to wrap my head around what this scenario means. Basically, as I was leaving my office and walking to the subway, I saw a police officer....on horseback.

Now, one might argue: It was St. Patrick's Day. They probably had police officers on horseback at the parade. And that's what I thought at first -- until I remembered that I work about 70 blocks from the START of the parade. And I don't think there are any stables in the financial district, so unless that cop was getting on the Staten Island ferry with his equine companion, I'm still at a loss.

Perhaps its because I work two blocks from Wall Street, but this unusual sighting got me to thinking about what having cops on horseback actually means in these tough economic times. Is this a reflection of the recession (cops can no longer afford cars?) or a sign that we are rebounding (I mean, if HORSES aren't getting laid off, that has to be good, right?)? Is this particular police officer being rewarded, or is March horseback duty some sort of punishment? Are there any real perks and/or REASONS to ride a horse while protecting our fair city from anything other than Jesse James somehow coming back from the dead?

Does anyone have any thoughts on the issue? Or at least more creative ideas as to why a horse would be fighting heavy traffic on Broadway on a Tuesday afternoon?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Famous Relatives

So my life has been rather hectic lately, but not incredibly exciting. Aside from choosing a wedding date*, I've really just been stuck at work and trying to get to the gym and have some semblance of a life.

However, while I've been trudging along, my cousin's "kids" have gone and gotten famous. Scroll down about 3/4 of the page to check out Ricky and Mia in the cutest picture ever:

http://www.greyhoundfriendsnj.org/


*no, I'm not engaged, nor am I anywhere close to it. My roommate just decided that I was nerdy enough to get married on "Super Pi Day." So mark your calendars kids. 3/14/15. The time will be determined by a mathematical equation. The altar will be shaped like a pi symbol. Also, byo-pie [I'll supply the alcohol...and probably more pie]. Math nerds -- am I forgetting anything?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Subway Performer Quote of the Day

Guy (with a surprisingly good voice) after singing a one man 3 part harmony of "Under the Boardwalk" on the subway:

Enjoy your stay in New York City
Where all the girls are very pretty
And they've all got jobs.


Loves it. If he would have thrown a bird in my face, I probably would have given him a dollar.

Monday, March 9, 2009

My apartment should be the new UN

Apparently tomorrow is Purim (a holiday that I only partially understand...mostly because I missed half of the story because you are supposed to make loud noises when the bad guy's name is mentioned), and for Purim, you are supposed to make hamantaschen. Never being one to skip baking, I decided to join in on the fun. I felt that this was only fair, especially after forcing a Christmas tree on my two Jewish roommates. And because Hailey valiantly attempted to give up hummus for Lent (a direct quote: "I gave in and ate a full container yesterday. But I thought about Jesus the whole time.")

Tonight I learned a few things about Judaism, what flavor combinations go well together (pumpkin butter + raspberry preserves + chocolate = epicfailmantaschen), and that sugar is important but strangely not crucial in the baking process. Also, I believe that maybe, just maybe, a Lebanese girl and her Jewish roommates baking cookies together makes the world a little more peaceful. At least it makes our apartment a little more delicious.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Baby we were born to run

I use this title not because of my love and respect for The Boss (who looked AMAZING at the Superbowl, by the way), but for the love and respect I have for my friend Taylor, whom I equate with this song.

Here is why.

And I was excited about my work blog....

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hey kids, I'm a writer!

Some of you, my loyal fans (ha), may be wondering when I am actually going to talk about what I did in Spain, rather than random musings about screensavers and strange pictures of cathedrals and hard hats. Well, fear not, my minions (too far?) -- this will happen. But not on this blog.

You see, for the past few weeks I've been working on a project in which I ghostwrite a blog for the president of my organization. There have been a few roadblocks, but it is finally up and running. Starting next week, I will be discussing all of the beautiful places and wonderful people that we met in the Basque Country, as well as keeping readers up to date as to what is happening at the Tribute Center. But just so you know -- I'll be writing as a retired firefighter. For a non-profit organization. About 9/11. So my snarky commentary will be regulated to this site, and this site alone.

Anyway, I'm pretty excited that my job description now involves being a writer, which is kind of my goal in life. So if you love my life commentary and want to check out one of my multiple writing personalities, please do so here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I know I just learned to crochet...

...but I think hardhats are much more my style.


Courtesy of the beautiful Cathedral de Santa MarĂ­a in Vitoria

Monday, February 23, 2009

An ethical dilemma

The 11am-12pm hour is my most feared hour of the day. And no, it is not because my inner fat kid begins jonesing for some non-Weight Watchers sanctioned cookies at about this time (although she does). It is at this hour that my gmail box becomes inundated, every day, with sample sale websites. It is a daily struggle to notice some of my favorite designers marked with beautiful, flashy signs (Up to 70% off!!) and not take a peek. But it is what I should do AFTER peeking that presents my current ethical dilemma.

I know, logically, that I should merely window shop amongst these websites. Although I can afford the occasional shiny thing (oooh!) or pretty dress, it is rare that I actually need them. And just because I can afford it now doesn't mean that I won't regret it later in this volatile economy. I certainly shouldn't be buying earrings when many in the country can't afford their homes.

But then again, won't re-entering my hard earned money into the economy help pull us out of our current funk? Could my penchant for charm necklaces single-handedly pull this nation out of the recession? And if so, is it not my patriotic duty to check hautelook and gilt group every day?

Hopefully Obama will tell me what to do in his speech tonight. If not, does anyone have any thoughts on the matter (especially those as inexplicably drawn to shiny things as myself)?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

You're in the wrong place, my friend. You'd better leave.

This past weekend, I ventured into the city of Philadelphia for the first time in about 4 years. Without getting into too much detail, the summer I spent living in North Philly was one of the absolute worst times in my life, and I had never felt the strength or desire to go back. Philadelphia, despite being part of the greatest commonwealth on earth, was the one place that I swore I would never go again. And then I had to go and fall for a guy from just that particular area. Karma is an ironic bitch.

I will say, however, that I had a very lovely time and at no point found myself fearing for my life or being inappropriately touched by drunk strangers. This is a feat in and of itself. I enjoyed my time in Philadelphia and will probably return, but this kind of healing involves baby steps, and I am in no way ready to discuss how wonderful the city is with, oh, I don't know, say a camera crew. Which brings us to Monday morning.

I was minding my own business at Reading Terminal, standing in (not on, you crazy New Yorkers) line for your run of the mill bagel with cream cheese. I noticed a film crew filming a Food Network-esque segment, talking about the diversity and wonder of this particular food court. Having lived in New York since that fateful day that I left Philadelphia oh-those-many-years ago, I don't pay much attention to film crews or their purposes. Which also means that I don't notice when they sneak up behind me.

I grabbed my bagel from the counter and turned around quickly, blissfully unaware of the camera that was only inches from my face. Suddenly, I was hit with a barrage of questions: How often do you come here? Who told you about Reading Terminal? Have you heard it is the best place to eat in Philadelphia? Is that going to be the greatest bagel you have ever tasted?

My mind began to reel. TELL THEM! it screamed. Tell them that Primanti Bros., pierogies and gobs will always beat anything that Philadelphia can produce! Tell them that a New York bagel far outshines a bagel made from anywhere else on earth, even if it IS the best bagel place in Philadelphia (which assuredly, this was not)! But then I took stock of my situation, realized that Philly had been good to me the past few days, and that I couldn't let former prejudices flow back just because there was a random camera in my face. I calmly stated that I was from New York, that my boyfriend had suggested the place, and it was conveniently located because we were meeting a friend.

And then I ran like hell. Mostly because I was 5 seconds from yelling, "Six superbowl rings, bitches!!"

Friday, February 13, 2009

Que?

Don't you love when random Spanish journalists somehow creepily find out your middle name and mistake it for your last?

http://www.diariovasco.com/20090131/politica/asociacion-victimas-visito-baketik-20090131.html

Or is that just me?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Will someone remind me when I turned 90?

Some of you might remember the days that I made all of my jewelry. Others of you may even remember the purse-making "business" Ann and I had in high school (the NYC skyline purse will always have a special place in my heart). Well, my friends, a new era has dawned. A new era in which I crochet.
This could be dangerous. But as long as I'm crafting -- does anyone want a new hat?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Jamon y Vino diet

It's no secret that I've been doing Weightwatchers (pretty successfully) since last August. If you are interested in the program, definitely ask me about it. It's pretty phenomenal. But I digress...


I have been traveling for the past 3 weeks, and have been faced the extremely existential question of "to track or not to track." I could worry about the (massive amounts) of food that I was putting into my body, or I could look past it and deal with it when I returned. I chose the latter. And thank goodness. I'm not sure how many of you are aware, but I'm pretty sure that the four food groups in Spain are Ham (Jamon), Wine (Vino), Cheese (Queso), and Fried Deliciousness (closest translation: Croquetas). I threw caution to the wind and prepared for depression at weigh in.

Imagine my surprise when I stepped on a scale last night to find that not only did I NOT gain 100 lbs, but I actually lost .6. Out of pure shock I mentioned this to my leader, and thought that I would never have to speak of it again. However, during "affirmation" time (it's basically AA), my leader turned to me and asked, "Why don't you share your inspirational story?"

You can not imagine how difficult it is to tell a room full of people with weight issues how you had pigged out for 3 weeks and lost weight. I literally broke into a cold sweat, and threw in some crap about walking everywhere to appease the restless mob. I'm lucky that I got out of that meeting alive.

However, I have been intrigued as to what contributes to the success of this "Jamon y Vino" diet. I didn't see many overweight Spaniards, so there must be something to it! I'm thinking of marketing it to Weightwatchers to see what they think. But judging by the angry rumbling of the crowd last night, it might need some time to catch on.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Scientific Hypothesis

It is no secret that my taste in music is, well, eclectic. I've never been able to fully explain why it is that I love Britney, rock out to country, and listen to Christmas music 10 months a year, especially because these music preferences don't really fit my personality. Most of my friends have very distinct tastes in music and can't understand why my auditory cortex has failed me so. And up until last week, I questioned the same thing.

Rewind to last Monday morning. The day before I embarked on a 7 hour plane ride, I realized that my trusty earphones had completely fallen apart. Now, most people would just go out and by new earphones, but I've always had a very interesting ear predicament. Namely that anything that I place in my ears with a consistency harder than a cotton ball causes a fairly intolerable amount of pain (and I have a high pain tolerance). I knew that I couldn't make this trip without my ipod, but the thought of new earphones worried me. I bit the bullet, listened to two separate people at Best Buy, and bought a pair of purple earphones that they claimed to be the most comfortable in the world.

Minutes later, I placed the new earphones in my ears and started running on the elliptical at my nearby gym. Sure enough, within about 30 seconds my ears were pulsing and I was forced to watch Friends in silence. "I have made a horrible mistake," I thought, but it was too late to correct it. I would have to grin and bear it on the plane or hope that my ears became less sensitive in the next 24 hours.

Flash forward to the plane ride. I desperately wanted to try again, but when I placed the buds in my ears, it immediately felt as though someone was attempting to stuff a lemon through my ear canal and into my brain. I took them out, and in an act of desperation, placed the left bud into my right ear and vice versa. Shockingly, placing the ear phones in the wrong ear produced absolutely no pain! I realized in that instant that I had been living for almost 26 years with misshapen (and perhaps backwards) ear canals without ever knowing it! I listened to music and watched the in flight movie with no problems, and have since been to the gym completely free of ear pain. It may sound like a slight victory, but to me this new found freedom is the equivalent of speaking in tongues.

But it did get me to thinking -- could my medical anomaly be complicating the flow of music into my brain? Is Britney's new album so appealing because my temporal lobe is getting mixed signals from my confused ear drums? I am more than willing to donate my body to science to get this all figured out. So if any of you know any neuroscience majors looking for a really kick ass (or asinine (?)) thesis, please send them my way. If anyone can save me from 20 more years of boy band reunions, I'm willing to give it a try.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Here we go!


Steeler Nation

Has the Best Fans!

We are from Pittsburgh,

the 6 Time Superbowl Champs!

Queremos Obama!

There will be much to update, and soon, about my incredible trip to Spain and the Basque Country this past week. However, as I am swamped with work that has piled up in my absence, I will leave you with a teaser:

After a 6 hour red eye from New York to Madrid (simulated night time < 2 hours), we were all a bit woozy as we awaited our gate assignment to Bilbao. As I glanced toward the information desk (wondering if they might have a pillow and an ambien for a weary traveler), I noticed a flashy screen saver with a word twisting around sporadically, striped in red and white. Curious as to what word might be waving around like an American Flag on a Spanish Information Desk computer, I leaned a bit closer. It was one word, that said so much: Obama.

That's one small step for Windows 3D text, one giant leap for international relations.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No better place than here, no better time than now

Dear Mr. President,

Yesterday, I (along with millions of others) stood outside in frigid temperatures, braving both crowds and weather to support you in your oath to serve and protect our country. It was hazardous to our physical well being, as feeling disappeared in our digits and we risked bruising from the growing urgency of the crowd trying make it in time to hear and see your historic speech. It was exhausting, confusing (thanks DC police, for eating chips in an overlooking building while thousands of people attempted to figure out the best route to take), and somewhat frustrating at times (see above -- seriously, where were the cops??), but as soon as you placed your hand on that Bible and started to speak, it was completely worth it. Just being part of that crowd, all there to support our new government and prepare for the change we so desperately need, brought the feeling back to my toes and my renewed love for the humanity that surrounded me.

What your speech meant to me, and hopefully to many, is that you understand that as of yesterday, your campaign means nothing. You have not yet proven yourself as our leader, but you will do the best you can with your strong belief in what is right. This is not unique to you, but you are the first in a long while who, with these beliefs, has convinced such a large group of people that with hard work, we will return to greatness. Thank you for inspiring my and other generations that service to others brings hope to everyone.

I teared up a few times, but was most moved when you implored leaders of foreign nations that "[their] people would judge [them] by what [they] build, not what [they] destroy." Many may think that I was moved most because I look at the World Trade Center site every day, constantly reminded that hate brings horrible destruction. This is partially true, but I also believe that you understand that this statement applies not only to foreign leaders, but ourselves. So, sir, please take your own advice and build us up. We need it now, more than ever.

More than anything, good luck. You have a big job ahead, and millions of people willing to brave the cold to stand behind you. Lead us well.

Lauren

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Life justifies my previously unfounded fear of birds

I was apparently very wrong to question the severity of an airplane/bird collision. It is a terrifyingly dangerous situation indeed.

However, because all passengers had been safely rescued and because my job has made me somewhat of a "disaster seeker" (as my CEO calls it), I felt it necessary to spend an hour outside, in the freezing cold, taking pictures of a fireboat pulling an airplane into a harbor (how often in my life will I see this happen, really?). Besides, I am the Keeper of the Tribute Camera, so I feel as though this is my duty.

Low light, frigid temperatures, and police tape made this a more difficult job than usual. However, these are the fruits of my frostbitten labor:

The fireboat letting off all of the smoke is the one pulling the plane








This one is just me, trying to figure out how to work with my low light, no flash shutter speed. Hey, if you want a real photographer, leave that to Jacki









And finally, here is a picture of what I originally thought was the tail, but ended up (after looking at the picture on the Times website) being the wing of the plane








Now, one may ask why it is that I risk losing my fingers and toes to see something that I could see perfectly well on a television or computer screen? It's clearly not the Pulitzer prize winning pictures. Well, kids, sorry to disappoint, but I'm not quite sure either. But I promise that I'll let you know my thoughts on this issue when I am standing on the Mall this Tuesday morning, in my thermal underwear, hoping to get a glimpse of President Obama's limo-tank.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What Pennsylvania politics are all about

I'm not crazy about the fact that the governor of my home state is waving an Eagles flag, but I do like that he spends most of his free time (you know, while governing) thinking up crazy schemes involving the Superbowl. An excerpt:

He [Rendell] said that he would continue the tradition of opposing governors’ placing a bet on the outcome of the game, and that he would bet against himself in the event of an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl. If the Eagles were to win, Pittsburgh would donate a shipment of sandwiches from Primanti Brothers to a senior citizen center and a homeless shelter in Philadelphia. If the Steelers were to win, Philadelphia would send Pat’s cheese steaks to a senior center and a shelter in Pittsburgh.

I post this for two reasons:
1) My spies in Philadelphia are reporting that the Metro indicates that Rendell has promised only cheesesteaks, not Primanti Bros, because of his Philly bias. Listen, let him cheer for the Eagles all he wants, but don't pretend that we don't have equally (if not more) awesome sandwiches.
And 2) I'm sure that Governor Rendell wants to believe that he is doing this out of the goodness of his heart, but those of us from Pennsylvania know that there is nothing more unhealthy/artery clogging than either a cheesesteak or a Primanti Brothers Sandwich (they are delicious, yes, but stuffed with french fries, for goodness sake!). Local hospitals should probably prepare for a large influx of both senior citizens and homeless people complaining of heart problems if this this bet actually goes through.

In conclusion -- keep up the good work, Ed. Everyone in PA knows that football is more important than passing laws of any kind...

Friday, January 9, 2009

I know what my next job is going to be...

Due to a very late night at the office on Wednesday, I was allowed to leave to start my weekend early today, at 1pm. Now, I decided that I would be as productive as possible, so I went directly to the gym and got a few errands done.

While at the gym, I noticed one of the televisions had a commercial for "SlimQuick" that I didn't find particularly strange, but I had never seen before as it is obviously targeted towards those who watch soap operas during the day. I paid little mind at first, because I was so enthralled by listening to Britney while rocking out on the elliptical.

Upon returning home, I saw to my delight that Family Feud was on (I miss so many fantastic things working a 9-5!), so I eagerly settled in to watch what I have been deprived of for so long. After the initial shock of Mr. Peterman as the host (when did this happen?) I began to pay attention the advertisements of this show as well. The SlimQuick commercial came on again, and I watched it more closely this time, as I've always been a sucker for cartoons.

The commercial is pretty straightforward, showing an overweight woman cartoon next to an overweight man cartoon. The woman laments, "My husband and I are trying to lose weight by cutting out snacks. I only went down one size [woman shrinks slightly] and he's gone down 6! [man shrinks to a portion of his former size, pants drop]."

Now, I would like to say now that I have no problem with this portion of the commercial. I'm not a huge fan of dietary supplements, but the commercial is right -- men often do lose weight much more easily than women. No, my problem is in the rarely read small print at the end of the commercial. Which reads (and yes, I paused and rewound this out of shock):

Dramatization. Results may vary. Cartoons lose weight easily. Individuals require regular exercise and a reduced-calorie diet to lose weight.

Um. Wait. What? "Cartoons LOSE WEIGHT EASILY???" Is this for real? Did these writers feel it absolutely necessary to explain this, or are they just trying to subtly mess with people? And if it's the latter -- where do I sign up??

My mom is hilarious

An email correspondence between myself and my mother (two disenfranchised college football fans):

Me:
PS. Two more things: I can't stand Florida and I've learned to crochet. These two things are in no way related.

Mi Madre:
Ahh but they are- prison inmates( florida G football alumn) learn crocheting to pass the time-

Classic. I just hope that the sarcasm apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Adventures in flying and why the Steelers conquer all

So, this post is a bit late, but well worth noting the week the Steelers will embark on the quest for the Superbowl (Here we go!).

This story begins in the Greatest Airport of All Time, Pittsburgh International. It was a late December afternoon (I said this post was late!) and I was heading back to NYC after a relaxing week in my home town. As a side note here, it is not possible for me to travel without at least one, but most times several, weird things happening. What has two thumbs and has slept on a bench in the Montreal airport, gotten trapped on a train in England, and has never in the history of flying abroad arrived with luggage in tow? This guy. But I digress.

It all began when my plane was delayed because of electrical problems. Fine. You know what, I don't want to fly on a broken airplane, so take all the time in the world for this one. Apparently its bad enough that we need to commandeer the next plane. Again, fine, unless that plane happens to have hit a bird midflight (does this not happen often?) and needs to be fully inspected. This I don't understand, unless the plane has hit a pterodactyl, but again I am patient, as I have nowhere to be.

Now, if these things aren't odd enough, I look over at the steward announcing the delays and spot my college roommate Emily, who just happens to be on the same flight! Great, someone to talk to, delay away. Once we finally got on the plane (2 hours later), I notice a large, familiar looking man sitting down only three seats away from me. "Wait," I thought to myself, "it can't be, I'm sitting in coach on a tiny prop plane!" But yes, three seats away from me on my tiny prop plane in coach was The Bus, the great Jerome Bettis. This day can't get any weirder.

Until we are about 40 miles outside of New York, when the pilot announces that the plane is "too heavy to land" (what??) and we have to fly around aimlessly until we burn off fuel. At this point, I've given up on ever getting home and have resigned myself to remaining 3 seats away from one of the greatest Steelers of all time for the rest of my life.

Yet, obviously, we did finally land and Bettis caught me staring at him in the baggage claim. He winked and smiled, and despite playing it cool on the outside I was as giddy as a 5 year old girl.

So what did I learn from this experience? Mostly that the Steelers are the greatest team in the league because even one of their greatest players ever will rock coach from time to time. No wonder we got rid of Plaxico. Oh, and that the 9 hour train ride to NY is probably more equivelent to the one hour plane ride than originally thought.