Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tasty n Sun

The Redhead (whom will be renamed, henceforth as "Gingerlocks" because of a recent series of amusing adventures in which she usurped the clothing, bed, dog, and bicycle of a friend over the course of a few days... and then promptly destroyed the bicycle in what I can only imagine was in incident involving a cigarette and/or her mane of hair getting stuck in the spokes) and I have been busy brunching.

She's been terribly swamped with work, and I have been busy with... making myself busy, I guess, that we have had less time during the week to hang out, and thus our weekend brunch escapades have become mandatory, and then stretch far into the afternoon while we fill one another in on every minute detail of our weeks the other may have missed.

An example:
"I had a ridiculous dream Tuesday night. Basically, we were at Ron Tom's
out on the patio, but, everything was underwater. And I was wearing your long
gray dress and you were wearing that thing with the-"
"Oh the shorts. The black one."
"Yes. Same brain. And, we were sitting
there, and I was smoking, duh, and you were talking to me, but Scott was beside
you, and he was like, wearing glasses...AND he was speaking French? I dunno. But
it was WEIRD because behind us, was like, this field. And everyone was playing
kickball. That's all. I just wanted to tell you."
"Wow. That is hilarious. Oh, ps. did I tell you about
"No! But I saw on Facebook that she went to the doctor? Everything cool?"
"Yeah, she's getting x-rays this week, and I guess her sister got a new job,
so that's good news. Oh, speaking of jobs, how's your cousin's boyfriend? Is
that going well for him?"
"Oh GODDD I FORGOT TO TELL YOU! So, last week..."

And so on.

Sometimes I feel bad for the people sitting around us...but mostly, I could care less, because it is my favorite time of the week.

Our new high ranking delicious spot for a food-fest is Tasty n' Sons. It's on NE Williams, and usually has a very long line in the mornings because everyone wants to come try the tapas-style breakfast the city has been raving about. I suggest going around 1 PM, like we did, if you want to beat the wait and have incredible service, like we did.

We had iced coffees, two bambino platters (biscuit, egg, bacon), the maple glazed yams, and a sweet biscuit plate with Oregon blueberries and creme fraiche... all for only $24!

The Portland weather has been very conducive to brunching and gallivanting around town on the weekends.

But sometimes, we don't make it out of the 'burbs and eat at this little local place called The Village Inn, owned and run by a guy we knew in high school. Our server Connie knows Gingerlocks' special off-the-menu order, and Todd the bus boy likes to check on us incessantly.

If anyone has any Portland Brunch recommendations, by all means, send them my way

Monday, July 19, 2010

{ nothing gold can stay }

Late August: golden tall grass, golden wheat beers, golden days. And a golden birthday for yours truly, turning 24 on the 24th!

I know, technically, it's tacky to throw yourself a birthday party, so let's make it less about that and more about the end of the summer.

You're invited...

It's really just another excuse to plan and host an event with good food, good friends, and the potential for some good stories.

Plus, last time I had a birthday party on the 12 acres of land my family owns in a nearby suburb, it was for my Sweet 16. It was going to be the coolest party ever, except, at the last minute, the co-ed campout part got canceled ...and probably rightfully so. About 30 of us entertained ourselves for the evening playing Sardines in the field, eating cheeseburgers, exploring my grandpa's shedful of dangerous farming contraptions and wielding them like medieval weapons, sitting around a charcoal-briquette campfire (there was a summer ban on bonfires within city limits due to lack of rain), and suffering numerous injuries (two twisted ankles and a car accident for a friend who swerved to avoid a deer on the way to the party).

It's birthday party redemption time.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Re-Workin It

A friend is in the middle of reading this book, but, I stole it from him and now I'm reading it.

It's called REWORK by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hanssone, these two guys who started and run a company called 37signals.

Basically, its premise is that the business world is still using archaic models based on outdated technology. We have the resources and the potential to do such much more with so much less now, and this book outlines ways to capitalize on these things.

It's a fast read with lots of diagrams/word pictures, and I am about halfway through it after sitting down to read it twice.

I'd recommend this book if you have an idea for a business but can't quite seem to get momentum in getting it off the ground. Read it if you want to learn how to work more efficiently and effectively at your current job, or if you think your workplace would be receptive to some process tweaking to result in more productivity. It's a very fast, very simple, very powerful motivator of a book.

I wish EVERYONE IN MY OFFICE HAD TO READ IT. I am thinking about just photocopying pages and taping them up around here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Leomania, 2010 Edition

I woke up this morning and literally the first thing I thought of when my eyes opened was,
"Gosh, Leonardo DiCaprio has been famous since he was like, 14, and he's somehow managed to stay out jail all this time, and tabloids for most of it. I wonder what he's DOING...oh yeah, Bar Rafaeli and... he's MAKING AWESOME MOVIES. I need to brush my teeth."

I never really went through uber-Leomania when I was a kid. Granted, Titanic was definitely my favorite movie for a few years and I have seen it probably three dozen times, but I didn't have the Romeo+Juliet obsession like many of my peers, and I have never once bought a copy of Teen, or Tiger Beat, or whatever those periodicals are called.

And even in recent years, I have been known to scoff at him as a good actor, since I have this issue where I feel like I'm always watching Leonardo DiCaprio and not his characters on screen.
But maybe it's just because I have a large deep-seated crush on him, I'm coming to realize.

Here's the thing... this guy's filmography is nearly flawless. Look at this:

Shutter Island (2010)
Revolutionary Road (2008)
Body of Lies (2008)
Blood Diamond (2006)
The Departed (2006)
The Aviator (2004)
Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Gangs of New York (2002)
Don's Plum (2001)
The Beach (2000/I)
Celebrity (1998)
The Man in the Iron Mask (1998/I)
Titanic (1997)
Marvin's Room (1996)
Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Total Eclipse (1995)
The Basketball Diaries (1995)
The Quick and the Dead (1995)
The Foot Shooting Party (1994)
What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
This Boy's Life (1993)
Poison Ivy (1992)
Critters 3 (1991)

That's almost 20 years of filmmaking and there is hardly a flop, a flub, or a fluke in there. He chooses smart, difficult roles. He works with talented and proven directors. He is lucky enough to be offered parts, but it's because he's shown he can handle them, as well as acting alongside the greats from an early age (Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Russell Crowe, Diane Keaton, Gene Hackman, Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks). I admit I haven't seen a few of the older ones, but most of the ones I have seen have been awesome (who didn't love "Catch Me If You Can" or "The Departed"?).

He basically has one of the most impressive film careers in the industry, and he's only 36. He dates super models (and not just any supermodels, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition COVER MODELS and Victoria's Secret runway models). And he stays out of trouble! DUDE IS BASICALLY REMARKABLE.

And now Inception is out this week and I'm sure it's going to be excellent and he's just going to give all of us another reason to love him.

Especially because he was in Gilbert Grape:

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Hardest Question

On my brief visit to E=MC in Durham, North Carolina (pre-cross-country 6 day road trip), we are at Allen & Sons BBQ, licking our fingers at red checkered table cloths and drinking sweet tea with a group of his grad school friends when someone poses me the question that probably gives me the most anxiety of all questions ever.

The guys have been throwing the question around the last few days, and are reciting one another's lists back to each other, and I am terrified they are going to turn on me and demand to know my answer. It makes me sweat (or maybe it's because it's 90 degrees with %143 humidity).

Halfway through a bite of my pulled pork sandwich, it happens.

"Okay, your turn. What are your top five favorite songs. Of all time."

Damn. There it is. The anxiety rises in my chest and I eyeball the nearest exit.

I don't know why I get this way! Definitive questions always make me waffle: I feel like I need a top ten, at least, for anything, and even then I have awkward addendums ("Honorable Mentions," Alternates, etc). I cringe when I think about the application I submitted to Princeton University as a high school senior: as part of their folio of information they request from you, they ask you ten simple questions about your preferences in music, movies, art, books and the like.

I stressed out about it for like, a week, filled in my answers, immediately second guessed the impression said answers would give about me, typed and printed new answers, and pasted them on top of the old ones. I might have even done this multiple times for certain questions. (I am sure all of the answers were wholly unimpressive and unremarkable, hence my ensuing letter of rejection).

But I still get like that. I don't even have any "Favorites" sections filled in on Facebook anymore because the idea that my list isn't actually correct or complete or truly representative of me really freaks me out, plus, it changes a lot. So I just scrapped it altogether.

This is all running through my brain as I flail around for a way to start answering this impossible, difficult, frustrating demand to put a box around your tastes and catalogue your love for one of the most lovable things in this life- music- and so I am wholly suprised when I answer almost immediately, with unequivocal confidence,

"Oh, Number 1 for sure is "Night Moves," by Bob Seger."

"AAAAAH! SUCH A GOOD ONE! Great choice! I can't believe I missed that one! So good!" choruses the table.

And then from there I throw out a whole bunch of other ones, only once every tenth suggestion or so moving it into one of the top five spots.

I think the list ended up shaking out something like this:

1. "Night Moves" - Bob Seger
2. "Fast Car"- Tracy Chapman
3. "Neighborhood #1" - Arcade Fire
4. "Lover, You Should Have Come Over," - Jeff Buckley
5. "Come on Eileen"- Dexy's Midnight Runners

With the following somewhere in the top 15:

"Beast of Burden" - The Rolling Stones
"Walking on Broken Glass"- Annie Lennox
"Let's Stay Together"- Al Green
"Just Like Heaven"- The Cure
"The Trapeze Swinger"- Iron & Wine
"Ex-Factor" - Lauryn Hill
"No Sleep Til Brooklyn"- The Beastie Boys
"I Want You"- Bob Dylan
"As Long as You Follow"- Fleetwood Mac
"Don't Stop"- Brazilian Girls

Which is weird, because none of these slots are represented by my favorite bands/artists(Ray LaMontagne, The Decemberists, Neko Case, Air, John Mayer, Fiona Apple, The Black Keys, Wye Oak, Everything But the Girl) which is maybe because I just can't pick a representative one song from any of them? Or maybe it's that a "favorite song" is just chosen by entirely different criteria.

These favorite songs are ones I NEVER get tired of, and am ALWAYS jazzed about when I hear them. They all make me feel something specific, and are often times tied to a moment worth remembering (or in some cases, a moment I wish I remembered, like, when Dance Fighter paid the karaoke DJ $15 so I could sing "Night Moves" at my 21st birthday party. There are pictures, at least).

So, I'm curious- what are your favorite songs? Can you pick just 5? What's your criteria? Are they representative of your favorite artists? Don't be shy!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pillars of Great Girth

Over our long holiday weekend I decided to get down to it and really tackle some work around the house to which I needed to attend.
I had some unfinished business, and mustered up the energy to confront the laborious task at hand.
So I brewed myself some coffee, put it on ice, poured myself a tall glass (with a neon bendy straw and a dollop of half and half) and sat outside in the sun:

I was on a mission to finish a book. This was not just any brain-candy beach read I wanted to plow through in a sitting - no, this was the culimination of weeks of reading diligently before bedtime, at lunch, and on weekend afternoons, because this book is something like 973 pages long:

The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, who, it is rumored, took about ten years to write this beast.
Appropriate, as it took me literally 32-35 hours to read it.

The narrative follows the erection of a cathedral in 12th Century England, and all the many players involved in making this happen, as well as the characters involved in trying to prevent it from happening (and, let me tell you, if I learned anything from this tome, it's that it is F-ing HARD to build a cathedral).

I don't think Ken Follett is a particularly gifted writer in his turn of phrase (he overuses the same adjectives repeatedly, which drives me NUTS) , and he has a disturbing predilection for narrating lengthy visceral battle and rape scenes, of which there are both plenty in the book, graphically detailed to a fault. But his characters are rich, their motives believable, and each is integral to the movement of the story (except one character, Martha, who I kind of kept expecting to play a more pivotal role towards the end, but was disappointed).

There is a ton of interesting information about building in that era, and Follet does a masterful job of bringing the grime, grit, and gore of the 12th Century alive. Also, if you're not sold yet, there's a lot of sex (which always makes me uncomfortable to read about, mostly because I always imagine middle aged Ken Follett painstakingly penning the scene, which kind of weirds me out, because, as an aspiring writer, I don't think that would be fun, or that I could take myself seriously in doing so, but whatever).

If you don't like to read, lucky you:
They're bringing Pillars of the Earth to Starz as an 8 part miniseries this year!
Looks to be entertaining as Rufus Sewell and Donald Sutherland both have parts.

But, thanks for nothing, dudes...WHO THE HELL SUBSCRIBES TO STARZ?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Yeah, I Showered...Once. In May.

With all of my hype about this being my summer of wedding zaniness, I haven't backed it up (PICS OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN).

I think this is because the tedium of spending 18 minutes locating your USB cord, plugging in your digital camera to your (inevitably dead) computer, realizing that maybe it's the camera battery that's dead, waiting for iPhoto to load, etc etc etccccc is eye-gougingly lame. When are they going to come out with digital cameras that upload to your iPhoto automatically and wirelessly? (HEY STEVE JOBS, HIRE ME PLZ. THX.) But, somehow, despite all that, I managed to finally upload some pictures of the bridal shower I threw for my dear freshman year college roommate, whom I am not sure has a blogonym on here or not, but will heretofore be referred to as Roommate, Esq. (She just graduated from law school).

Months and months ago, while I was, shockingly!, bored at work, I created this little inspiration board for her shower:

Of course, given the day of May 22nd's totally unpredictable precipitation record, I would have loved to host the event outside (as depicted in the greenery and freshness of the inspiration board) but had to compromise by holding it inside with a ton of flower arrangements.

I forgot to take pictures at the start, so in these the food is mostly gone (a good sign?) but it's the general idea:

I collected old Mason jars for a few weeks beforehand, and did the floral arrangements myself after ordering specific blooms from the local florist.

Roommate, Esq.'s other bridesmaid brought some adorably delectable cupcakes down from Seattle with her, as well as plenty of champagne for the 10 attendees. We only played 2 (tasteful) shower games, and had an excess of food and drink, so I think all in all it was a success.

Tips for myself, for next time:
1. Don't have so much food that needs to be prepared that morning. I tried to space it out over a few days, but, with prosciutto wrapped melon; fingerling potatoes with sour cream, sausage, and chives; a fresh fruit punch; mini cornmeal muffins best served hot ... it was a lot to prepare by 2:00 PM with picking up flowers and arranging them that morning and remembering to shower and get ready on time.

2. Include directions, not just the address in the invitations.

3. Be aware of what flowers are available at different times of year- I was making some rather expensive requests of the florist, who had to set me straight, as the types I was requesting were running around $10/stem in May. He educated me a little and found me some lovely, less expensive, alternatives.