Monday, April 30, 2007

Cool Find

Eric tipped me off to this interesting site called Very Short List. Check it out and if you're intrigued, as I was, then sign up for the daily email. You will be informed as to the newest and greatest discoveries in tv, music, movies, books, art, whatever. As their site claims, it really is "one cultural gem."

In today's email from VSL, I got a link to Jack White's Coca Cola commercial from overseas. I liked it a lot so here's the clip for your enjoyment!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Where Pierogies Meet Punk...

...Warsaw is where its at! I did not make up that catchphrase about pierogies and punk. At the live music venue, Warsaw, housed at Brooklyn's very own Polish National Home, there was a sign advertising, "where pierogies meet punk," at the food stand. A food stand which includes Polish staples like pierogies and kielbasa. I decided I had to sample the authentic pierogies...I mean for $5, you get a whole plate of pierogies with sour cream and applesauce. After drinking my Polish draft beer (which was very similar to Miller Light, mind you), I couldn't resist the craving for authentic Polishness. Keep in mind that I'm probably 75% Polish but my experience with pierogies are limited to the Mrs. T's, straight from the freezer aisle. I mean those are very good, but these were certainly the real thing. Potato with bits of sauerkraut. Yummy.

I blogged about Warsaw back in January when I was there for another show. This time around, I was there with my now Brooklynite-vegan-mischievous-free-spirit-friend, Amber, to see Josh Rouse. What an interesting venue. You walk into this huge room which is reminiscent of a high school gym with a stage and even a balcony. Okay so most high school gymnasiums do not have balconies. Nor do they have polish beer.

About the show. Yeah, the reason we were there in the first place. Josh Rouse was amazing. It was my first time seeing him live. He's an amazing artist. Rouse is an indie singer-songwriter who, after residing in central Tennessee for several years, hence his album titled Nashville, picked up for a small town in Spain to be with a girl he was dating. Within the first week of living in a quiet town in Spain, Rouse's last album was written, titled Subtitulo. Check him out if you haven't. Rouse's music is filled with infectious melodies and its got a mellow sound which is great to chill out to day or night.

But the "No Moshing" signs at Warsaw need to go. Nobody's going to mosh to this music!
(I cannot take credit for the above photo. Because I'm too much of a wuss to bring my own camera to shows, I borrowed one from Rouse's myspace.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sunday with my Sweetie

Busy, busy week! I've been on Spring Break all week and Eric came home on Saturday from his trip to Scotland! I missed him lots and I'm glad he's home now! Being off all week makes me really excited for summer!

On Sunday, Eric and I enjoyed an adventure in New York. I decided to drive in--our first stop was Union Square. We first had lunch at Cafe Spice, an Indian restaurant part of a local chain. I'd eaten there once before at their Philadelphia location. The food was good--though I've had better Indian for sure! (I live almost right in the heart of New Jersey's Little India!) Our adventure continued at the Strand Bookstore--home to 18 miles of new, used and rare books! The Strand is one of my NYC favorites! You can easily spend hours there perusing their 3 levels of books and spend a ton of money on half-price and $1 sale books. Just about everything there is half price with the exception of some new bestsellers and rare books. I got away with spending only about 27 dollars and I came home with 5 books! I did get a copy of the book I'd been eying for a while. It's written by none other than Amy Sedaris, sister of one of my favorite authors, David Sedaris.

Lunch at Cafe Spice

After our visit to the Strand (Eric's first!), we hopped back in the car and headed uptown to Zabar's, "NYC's gourmet epicurean emporium." It was my first visit to Zabar's--but guess what? Remember the scene in You've Got Mail where Meg Ryan's character, Kathleen Kelly is grocery shopping and ends up in the cash only line when Tom Hanks's character, Joe Fox helps her out. Yup. That takes place at Zabars. So Zabars is a place which is not only way too crowded (and therefore can be stressful) but is filled with lots of yummy and expensive foodstuffs. Specialty coffees and cheeses and chocolates...making me hungry...(hmm...we have a fridge full of their yumminess!)

Munkee and Monkey!

So that was our day. We almost ran out of gas on the GWB because foolish me thought I had enough gas to get us into the city and back. Sigh. Eric was right. But we made it out just fine for me to get gas in NJ. And we survived our first NYC outing together.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

My Ecological Footprint

So tomorrow is Earth Day. And yesterday, I read an interesting article in the Star-Ledger about ecological footprints. An ecological footprint is basically the mark you leave on our planet. You can take the quiz to see how much land and water you need to support what you use and discard. Before reading the article in the newspaper, I didn't think I'd do too bad. I'm a vegetarian. (Sorry to do this, Meat-Eaters. But check out this link to see how horrific factory farming really is for the environment. Not to mention animal rights. But I digress.) I recycle. Though my car isn't a hybrid, its not a gas-guzzling monster. I'm always trying to do more. Or should I say do less damage on the environment. I just bought a new refillable water bottle and a Brita pitcher for Eric's house so I don't have to create more senseless waste with those single serving water bottles. Inspired by Becky's post on using canvas bags, I'm going to try to use less of the throwaway plastic bags and canvas-bag-it myself at the grocery store from now on.

So this quiz asks you fifteen questions. How far do you commute on a weekly basis? Do you drive a car, a motorbike or use use your own two feet primarily? What kind of mileage does your car get? Where do you live? Whats the size of your home? Free-standing or apartment? Running water? Unfortunately living in a place like the USA brings down your score because we're just the worst when it comes to things like global warming and polluting. Another question asks about where your food comes from? Is it packaged and processed or locally grown?

So I didn't do too well. I did horribly, actually. Here are my results:

FOOD 3.5




Shudder. This is scary! Being that tomorrow is Earth Day, here are some things that I can do to do better. Isn't that what its about? Just doing a couple extra things every day that will make a difference.

1. Start using energy-efficient lightbulbs.
2. Start canvas-bagging it like I mentioned up above.
3. Buy more locally-grown produce. I used to belong to a really cool co-op called Purple Dragon. You can find one near you if you live in the NJ area. You can join one and every two weeks, you pick up a delivery of locally-grown (inasmuch as possible) organic produce. Yum! The best thing about it was that you never know what kind of fruits and veggies you're getting until a couple days before the shipment! Once I was happily surprised with a head of purple cauliflower! Maybe I should rejoin...

Its a short list to start with but I think making small changes in your day-to-day routine is what counts. So tomorrow's Earth Day. Do something. And why not make every day Earth Day?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Spring is (finally?) in the air!

Over 7 inches of rain and chilly, un-springlike temperatures couldn't keep these gorgeous blues from saying hello! It's enough to remind you that its the simple things that bring smiles about...fresh budding daffodils...cherry blossoms...cardinals chirping in your "I love you" from your special guy or girl...winning a $25 gift card to the Olive Garden at one's school's Tricky Tray fundraiser...oh, and last, but definitely not least--a certain somebody's boyfriend's homecoming from a visit to a European country in one more day! Yippee!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Movie Meme

Stolen from Jessica

1. Name a movie you have seen more than 10 times. When Harry Met Sally, Serendipity, You've Got Mail

2. Name a movie you've seen multiple times in the theater. Nine Months (I worked in the theatre at the time so I saw it 3-4 times for free!)

3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie. Will Farrell

4. Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie. Mel Gibson

5. Name a movie than you can and do quote from. Napoleon Dynamite, 40 Year Old Virgin.

6. Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs. Pretty much anything Disney and Grease.

7. Name a movie that you have been known to sing along with. See #6

8. Name a movie you would recommend everyone see. Napoleon Dynamite.

9. Name a movie that you own. I own lots of that I own is Happy Accidents.

10. Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops. Hmm...Queen Latifah!

11. Have you ever seen a movie at a drive-in? If so, what? Never been to a drive in, though I did see Hitch in a park in Watkins Glen, New York a couple summers ago.

12. Ever made out in a movie? No Comment!

13. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven't gotten around to it yet. I've got a Scanner Darkly from my netflix queu...been sitting around for a month...also, I've been wanting to see Sabrina, a Hepburn classic.

14. Ever walked out on a movie? Not that I remember.

15. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater. I think I almost cried during Brokeback Mountain. I certainly cried during the Tigger Movie. Don't make fun of me!

16. What was the last movie you saw in the theater. 300

17. What is your favorite/preferred genre of movie. Romantic comedies or just comedies.

18. What is the first movie you remember seeing in the theater? Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, I think!

19. What movie do you wish you'd never seen? There was one that was so was disturbing...I think it was called Fat Girl.

20. What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed? Who's definition of weird? I like a lot of weird movies! Like Being John Malcovich!

21. What is the scariest movie you have seen? Rosemary's Baby and The Ring both freaked me the hell out.

22. What is the funniest movie you have seen? I was almost crying I was laughing so hard when I went to see 40 Year Old Virgin! That or Napoleon Dynamite!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Phun with Photoshop

So I've been taking this Photoshop course through Union County College. Its noncredit which means the work is not too intimidating, though it keeps me busy enough. I'm learning a lot and I can't wait til the course is over so I have the time to really start playing around! Here's a cool picture I created a couple days ago. Its titled, "Grazing Deer."

Monday, April 16, 2007

Nearly Drowned by this Weekend's Nor-Easter

All right, well, I didn't nearly drown. However, after receiving something like 8.5 inches of rain this weekend, New Jersey is the wettest its been in years. Even though I had to work today, our state was in a state of emergency. At least fifty roads were closed and thousands of people have been evacuated because of floodwaters. This picture I've posted is taken by John Munson for the Star Ledger. No, its not a picture of New Orleans. Its downtown New Brunswick.

Though I had no problems getting to work, I did have problems getting to Eric's tonight. I promised him I'd make sure that his home was not underwater. Well, unfortunately every road I could think of to get there was closed due to floodwaters. Better luck getting there tomorrow.

Free Cone Day

Just a heads-up, Readers--tomorrow, besides being local election day, and Tax Day, is Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry's! So, after you file your taxes and vote, get yourself a free cone!

Great Music and Free Ice Cream and Lets Save the World, Oh My!

What a weekend! On Saturday, I dropped off my love at the airport so he could schlep out to Edinburgh, Scotland, to meet his parents for their 40th wedding anniversary. After dropping off Eric at Newark, I drove into New York to meet up with my friend, Amber. We had a delicious, if not overpriced, Indian dinner on the Upper West Side, then headed to the Beacon Theatre for a show. I received free tickets to see Guster with the Format through my favorite radio station, WFUV.

Just a side note endorsing my favorite radio station, WFUV. Its public radio and that means it's member-supported. You can listen online and check out the archives. Its a great station. If you dig it, throw some money their way. This week is their spring member drive.

Anyway. Back to the concert. The show was part of the environmentally-friendly Campus Consciousness Tour. Aside from the tour being "green," there were different stations set up around the concert hall to promote environmental issues. Plus, they were giving away free stuff! The highlights:
  • Ben and Jerry's was giving away free ice cream. I mean a medium-sized-two-scoops of cinnamon buns--delicious!!! The catch? I signed a form letter to my local congressperson to do something about global warming. Sign up for Lick Global Warming and do something.
  • I got a free bookmark and keychain from myGreenElectronics, a cool company that encourages consumers to recycle their electronics. So the keychain and keychain I got are made of recycled circuit boards...they're very sturdy--cool too!
  • I got two free lip balms from Eco Lips. According to their website, its the "best lip balm for the world." Plus, the product is organic and has spf 30. I dig.
So. The free stuff rocked. I am serious about global warming and saving the world. I think I'll add some new links to my sidebar. The concert was great! The Format is a fun band that I've recently started getting into and they rocked! And Guster was Guster. They're an incredible band and the show was sold out. Check them out if you're so inclined.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Happy Friday the 13th!

Did you know???

A fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia.

In Greece or Spain, Tuesday the 13th is the same as Friday the 13th.

(Fun facts taken from Wikipedia. Check it out for more spooky information.)

Try not to walk under ladders. Or step on any cracks. If you see a black cat--run the opposite way!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Wear Sunscreen.

Today while listening to the radio on my way to work, I heard the news that writer Kurt Vonnegut passed away yesterday at the age of 84. I honestly can't say I've ever read anything that Vonnegut had written though I think I own Slaughterhouse Five. And its one of those books that I've been intending to read for many years. Maybe this summer I will get around to reading it.

When I heard the sad news about Vonnegut's death, I remembered back to my junior year of college. It was the spring of 1999 when the popular "graduation song" of that year wasn't really a song at all. It was known as "Wear Sunscreen," and it was spoken-word set over music. It was a commencement speech which had been supposedly given by Vonnegut at the MIT graduation. It really was some well-worded advice, whether you were 18 or 81.

So in honor of Vonnegut, I was planning on writing a post about this speech he had given. Until I found this out yesterday--it was an urban legend! Vonnegut never gave this speech at all! It was written by columnist Mary Schmich for the Chicago Tribune. Her column titled, "Advice like Youth, Probably Just Wasted on the Young" was published in 1997 and then later was turned into the song. Go figure.

But anyway. Go read some Vonnegut if you haven't done so. I certainly plan on it. And read that column. I hadn't heard or read those words in about 8 years. It really is a poignant little piece.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Getting older?

I'm writing a post on aging, a year and a half until I turn 30. The idea of turning 30 doesn't scare me. The idea of turning 29 doesn't worry me...even though I am in my 2nd to last year in my twenties.

I have a friend who hides her age like it's a dirty scar. She's 29 years old. She wants people to believe that she's still 23. See, that, I don't get. As I tell her, we look a lot better now than we did at 23! We're more settled in our lives now. I have a car with four-wheel drive, power locks and a moonroof! Sure, I had fun in my early twenties. But I don't want to go back. My quarter-life crisis is past me. I'm in a stable and happy relationship now.

So, when I turn 30, I'll party like I was still--28. Because I can't party like I'm still 21. I'm just not physically capable of it. I mean, when you're 21, drinking too much is cute. Maybe. But certainly not at 30.

Last weekend, another of my girlfriends spent the night at my house. She asked me for eye cream. I was kind of surprised that she's using eye cream already. Until a couple days after that when I took a close look at my eyes and found the first couple fine lines.

Ouch. I guess it's time to embrace the end of my youth. Well, at least the grey hairs haven't started coming in yet.

Another Meme...

You'd think I'd be tired of these things by now. But, alas, I never am. I wasn't even tagged. But I'm doing it anyway.

A- Available or Single?

Happily, I can say neither.

B- Best Friend?
Wow. This is hard. I don't think I can choose one best friend. There's several I'd like to mention. In no particular order--Robin, Jenn, Katie, Karen, Michelle. If I left somebody out--sorry.

C- Cake or Pie?
Cake. With chocolate.

D- Drink of Choice?
Water with lemon.

E- Essential Item?
Cell Phone. Candy Apple Red (my eMac).

F- Favourite Colour?
Pink and/or orange.

G- Gummi Bears or worms?
Do sour patch kids count? Well, if not, I'd say gummy bears.

H- Hometown?

I- Indulgence?
Dark chocolate. Ice cream. Indian food.

J- January or February?
February. We get a few days off in February. Plus its Valentines Day. And SOMEBODY's birthday falls in February.

K- Kids?
Not yet, but one day. Hopefully, two or three.

L- Life is incomplete without?
Love. Family. Good friends. Cuddly pets.

M- Marriage date?
Aug. 3, 2008? And, to all my readers with their mouths agape--no, we are not engaged yet.

N- Number of siblings?
Two. A brother, Ryan, and a sister, Ashley. Both younger.

O- Oranges or apples?

P- Phobias/fears?
Heights, but only sometimes. Hiking up steep terrains tends to give me panic attacks.

Q- Favorite Quote?
You must be the change you wish to see in the world (Mahatma Ghandi).

R- Reasons to smile?
Eric. My big, goofy dog. Other big, goofy dogs. Pumpkin's meow. Snow days.

S- Season?
Autumn. My birthday's in the fall, plus Halloween. Cool, crisp weather, and you're never too old to jump in piles of leaves. Apple picking. Pumpkin picking. Thanksgiving. Teacher Convention week (three days off)! Okay, there's lots of reasons, but I'll just stop here.

T- Tag people
Jennifer, if she wants to do yet another survey.

U- Unknown fact about me
If I told y'all, it wouldn't be unknown anymore.

V- Vegetable you hate?
Brussel sprouts, I think. But I'm not sure if I've ever really tried one.

W- Worst habit?
Biting my lips.

X- X-rays you've had?
Spine. Chest. Toe. Nothing too exciting.

Y- Your favourite foods?
Dark chocolate. Ice cream. Indian food. Thai food, Ethiopian food.

Z- Zodiac?

Monday, April 02, 2007


Still fightin' this sore throat. But, now, I have the added bonus of what I believe to be bronchitis. I'm trying every natural remedy I know of. The apple cider vinegar and the cayenne and lots of tea and echinachea. According to webmd, 90% of bronchitis cases are viral and it takes about 2 weeks to get better. So I'm hoping that I'll get better without having to resort to nasty antibiotics.

On Friday, I went to one of my favorite stores and purchased myself a Frogger humidifier. How cool is this? I first saw this little bugger when Jessica posted about these cool humidifiers a while back. It was between Hello Kitty and Froggy but I think I made a good choice.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

He wishes I were his special ed teacher!

Friday night, my mom, sister, Ashley, and I enjoyed a "Girls Night Out" in New Brunswick. First, we went to one of my favorite restaurants, Makeda, for Ethiopian food. Yum. For those of you who have never, ever, tried Ethiopian, you honestly don't know what you're missing. The food is sort of cooked in a way that's similar to Indian, but even if you don't like Indian, you'll most likely dig Ethiopian food. The spices are different, see. I had my favorite dish there--the mesir azefah, atakilt wat, and gomen wat. In English now--cold lentil salad, potatoes, green beans and collard greens. They serve the food perfectly spiced with just the right amount of tang and with injera. Injera is the spongy "dosa-like" flatbread you use to pick up the food. There are no utensils. Well, unless you wuss out and ask for a fork. (Here's a website for the azefah I mentioned--I cooked it a few weeks ago and Eric and I both really liked it!)

On to the real reason Mom, Ashley and I were in New Brunswick Friday night--we went to see David Sedaris speak at the theatre. Wow. David Sedaris, I can honestly say, is one of my top three favorite writers. He's funny. He's so funny--he's a humorist. His books are written in the form of short autobiographical tales. One chapter may have been a story about his childhood in North Carolina, the next, a story about last winter in Paris with his boyfriend, Hugh.

So we saw David speak. He's just as funny in person as he is on cd or in his books. Then we waited in line over an hour to have his books signed. Sorry, Mom, that we made you wait.

Waiting in line was well worth it. Once it was our turn, he spent a few minutes talking to us and asking us questions. He asked me what I did, and I told him. I tried to impress him with my ability to say two things in Japanese (he just got back from a trip to Japan). I even got him to laugh when I asked him what time it was in Indonesian.

We left his table and headed for the door. I then looked at my book. This is what he wrote:

To Marisa, I wish you were my special ed teacher. David Sedaris

Addendum: Unfortunately I have no photos of this joyous and momentous event. No Photos allowed!