joy magnetism: April 2008

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How beary cute is this

Magnet #68 - Bears

Dudes. Still not feeling well. So this will be short, sweet and CUTE.

I'll confess - I haven't a clue where this magnet's from. I mean, I have two other bear magnets (both from Canada), but this one's apropos, because how gosh-darn-CUTE is this little bear cub who just needs to get some sleep.

Psst - never mind the weird dead thing under the cart at the :22 mark. Just keep lookin' at the bear cub. Every time he starts to fall facedown, his nose gets all squnchy and smooshed. Sigh.

I just want to hug him and squeeze him and call him:


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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mr. Sandeman, bring me a dream

Magnet #67 - Sandeman

Still not feeling well, so short and sweet.

I'll tell you what's not sweet - Sandeman port and sherry. Oiy. I gotta say, I'm a liquor kinda girl, but give me the supergood stuff, and I don't know what to do with it. I mean, I once had to be taught how to enjoy an after-dinner brandy and chocolate on the Forbes yacht, for goodness sake.

I picked this magnet up at the Chocolate Fair (magnet forthcoming, of course) - it's basically a trade show that's grown into a mass of humanity walking from booth to booth sampling and buying chocolates from all over the world and all walks of life.

Yes. Bliss. It's the only place in the world where you can literally OD on chocolate.

Oh, should I have warned you that the Sandeman Web site plays Mr. Sandman (pum-pum-pum-pum, pum-pum-pum-pum-pumpum-pum-pum-pummmm?) Loudly? Oops. Sorry. Of course, now, that song's stuck in my head.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Hello Pekkle

Magnet #66 - Pekkle and Friends

Not feeling well, so today's a short one.

It's superstereotypical for me to like the cutesy Sanrio stuff, but I guess those folks know what they're doing, because frankly, I love all of their characters. From Bonjour Kitty (the french Hello Kitty who loves chocolate) to Deery Lou (the little Bambi knock-off), they're all so cute and adorable.

But, my favorite is, and always will be, Pekkle. He's an Aussie lifeguard who loves to surf. Funny how I can't stand birds and I can't stand the beach, but I love this little guy. I mean, seriously, how cute is this duck!

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ghandi shouldn't be on a cell!

Magnet #65 - New York Joy

So, after September 11th, Robert DeNiro (and a few others) conceived the Tribeca Film Festival to help revitalize lower Manhattan. Seven years later, the festival's still going strong, and lower Manhattan's all the better for it. I've volunteered for five of those seven years, and have had fun every year.

One of the best things about New York, is our ability to just be walking down the street and pass famous people, and just keep walking. I've never been one for accosting said famous people - I like to recognize them, but ignore them as they walk past. This has everything to do with my summer semester in London, when my friends and I passed Brendan Fraser just after the theatre. To my everlasting mortification, one of them actually said to him "Gee, you're swell." His response was a nonplussed, "I am?"

And so, this is one of the best things about TFF - the ability to work the red carpet events, collect people's ballots, and just ignore the fact that someone famous (anyone from Leonardo DiCaprio to Tiffani [Amber] Thiessen) walked right by you. It's then you find out how nice (or not nice) they are.

Every year, there's a long list of stars to add to my celeb sightings list...but I gotta tell you. Last night's was just the most freaky. After five years of working these events, I finally saw DeNiro actually in attendance. I love how the razzi all yelled out Bob-beee! Like they're best buds. Who knows, maybe they are.

But, what's going down as the all-time weirdest sighting:

Ben Kingsley! On a cell!

Ghandi shouldn't be on a cell!
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Saturday, April 26, 2008

My favorite town in America

Magnet #64 - Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh is my favorite city in the United States. No, I swear! I've always said that I'd live in Pittsburgh, if it weren't in Pittsburgh. Which sounds mean, but really, it's just that it'd be harder to get to my family who lives pretty much up and down the eastern seaboard in NC/DC/NY/Boston.

It's the twentieth largest city in America, second largest in Pennsylvania. Which is why I'm surprised by how much there is to do there.

I have to travel to Pittsburgh every once in a while for work, but I discovered how terrific this town is when I went to a friend's wedding there several years ago. I will also admit here to only a very touristy, cursory exposure. I don't know the different neighborhoods, I don't really know their people (aside from my fab coworkers), and I don't really know the area.

So what is it about this town?

The architecture. For such a small town, it's a veritable grab bag of terrific buildings. There's the PPG building, with its gothic look and feel, adorned in glass. (PPG stands for Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company.) There's the U.S. Steel building, made of...well, steel. The Alcoa building, made of...well, aluminum. There's even the gorgeous and historic William Penn Hotel, built in 1916. (And down the highways are three Frank Lloyd Wright houses!) OK, if I keep going this whole post will be about buildings.

The tourist attractions. The Duquesne incline: Ride up the side of the mountain in a somewhat scary tram car and see the gorgeous views. The Warhol Museum: Spend several minutes walking around the Silver Clouds exhibit - it really makes you feel like you're flying. The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens: Well, I went for a wedding, so of course it was beautiful. The Carnegie Museum of Art: Went for the reception, but was able to enjoy some of the museum. The Heinz Museum of History: Ok, stopped in, but it was too late to really enjoy the Lewis & Clark exhibit.

The confluence. Hello, how cool is it that three rivers meet here - the Allegheny and Monongahela actually meet here to form the Ohio.

The bridges. Apparently? There are 446 bridges...thus earning Pittsburgh the moniker of The City of Bridges.

The teams. Pirates. Steelers. Ok, and the Penguins. There's a magnet later, but taking a tour of Heinz stadium is so impressive - even if you're not a fan.

Oh, there's a ton more about Pittsburgh that I could wax poetic about (I could even go on and on about their terrific airport), but there's still a lot for me to discover. I still have yet to see the Cathedral of Learning, the birthplace of the Big Mac, and I'm making a list for the rest.

See? And you wonder why more people haven't been to Pittsburgh.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Here's looking at you, kid

Magnet #63 - Warner Brothers Studios

If you've been keeping up, faithful reader, you know I love tours. Luckily, so does my family. (I should start tagging "tours," just to keep track of how many tours I mention in this blog.)

So, it's no surprise that when one of my sisters had a conference in LA, I dragged two friends of mine across the country, and we stayed with her at the Renaissance Hotel at Hollywood & Highland. We spent all week doing studio tours, walking tours, movie star tours and self-guided driving tours.

But, out of all those tours, the Warner Brothers Studios tour is the best - hands down. It's actually quite possibly my favorite tour in the entire world - ever. Not surprisingly, I've done it twice. But, there's the regular tour. And then...there's the superduperawesome Deluxe VIP tour.

Well, it wasn't so much VIP, as much as they were able to charge us like $140 for an extra couple of hours on top of the regular tour - it's like 5 hours! Brilliant! For anyone who loves movie history, who loves Warners, who loves being in a place where so much was filmed, and where so many great actors have walked, this is the tour for you.

Some highlights, in no particular order:

  • Eating in the WB commissary. Could not tell you how the food tasted, don't even remember ordering, but the atmosphere was fab. Plus, even though you know it's just the regular WB employees chowing down, it doesn't stop you from actually looking for someone famous.
  • Saying "Lookit that boob driving that golf cart like a crazy person!" It was Timothy Busfield.
  • Sitting through some of the sound edit of Mr. & Mrs. Smith - the elevator scene where Angelina blowed up Pitt.
  • Extra time in the WB museum. They have a wonderful museum full of Warners memorabilia including letters from Ronald Reagan and Clint Eastwood, (when we were there) a whole The WB retrospective, and a superawesome Harry Potter room. (I was a Slytherin under the Sorting Hat. They let me get re-sorted into Hufflepuff.)
  • Freaking out over Clooney's parking spot. Freaking out even more when a car approached and parked in it. It was Grant Heslov, his producing partner...close, but no cigar.
  • Wandering the costumes and props warehouses.
  • Wandering around the vaults, and seeing the art department at work.
  • Wandering around Gilmore Girls' Stars Hollow, visiting Lorelai's house, Suki's house, the Kims, the Gazebo and Luke's.
  • Wandering around ER's County General Hospital in fake Chicago.
  • Visiting Friends' Central Perk, standing behind the bar where Gunther served coffee, and sitting on the sofa.

Seriously. I dare you to tell me of a better tour for an entertainment-phile like me. And yes, we're planning on doing it again...once a new show has firmly ensconced themselves on to the WB lot.



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Thursday, April 24, 2008

I cannot live without books

Magnet #62 - Library of Congress

Today's the day (in 1800) that John Adams approved a whopping $5,000 to establish the Library of Congress, now the largest library in the world. A year later, we had the first books ordered (from London, natch), shipped and delivered. A year after that, Jefferson got our nation's library in order.

Back in my publishing days, I used to submit manuscripts to the LOC to get a catalog number. And in my head, I pictured dusty tomes and very, very, very slow people sending me information.

Three things changed my mind (about the dusty tomes, I mean, never about the slow people):

1) That really good, but not executed so great Jerry Bruckheimer reality show about the teams running around the world on a treasure hunt. (Supercool clues that they had to solve, but stupid teams.) They filmed an episode here, where they had to run around the stacks to find the next clue.

2) That really good, but not executed so great Jerry Bruckheimer movie, National Treasure 2, where they filmed in the vast space of the LOC. Where they had to run around the stacks to find the supersecret Presidential book of, well, secrets.

3) A really good - no, I mean really good - (and free!) tour of the LOC. Sometimes I love how you can just take free tours of our government buildings. I find that AWEsome - it's our government! And we can see our government! In action! Too loving of big government? Sorry.

Anyway, would highly recommend the LOC tour. It's just too cool to hear about its earnest beginnings, and the money we've spent over the years - just to make sure that we have, and are preserving, the most "universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations."

This magnet is what they call the Jefferson Doors - actually, it's the main entrance to the TJ Building. There's three of them, and they weigh like 3 tons. You can't see them very well in this tiny thing, but they are supposed to show Tradition, Writing and Printing (and something about how man has preserved and disseminated history, religion, the sciences and literature).

Ok. Fine. They're supercool doors.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The valiant never taste of death but once

Magnet #61 - Stratford-upon-Avon, England

Today, on April 23, 1616, William Shakespeare died in Stratford-upon-Avon. I mentioned a few days ago that we ditched the weekend jaunt to England, because Hamlet's sold out. (Bah.)

It's sad, because shockingly enough, for a hamlet (/pun intended) of a mere 23,000, there's a lot to do! The obvious choices are Shakespeare's birthplace and Anne Hathaway's cottage. But, there's also just the walking around their pedestrian mall, with lovely cornish pasties and the even better candy shop, and the cheesy tourist shops. There's taking a walk along the River Avon, and seeing Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare was baptized. And, let's not forget the Royal Shakespeare Company.

There's also this thing called the Shakesperience, but I might fear that more than the price of airfare.

This magnet is one of my metallics, a collage of the town - bought this at one of those ubercheesy tourist joints. Kinda creepy that Will's eyes don't show up so clearly, huh.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Save the dolphins

Magnet #60 - Newport, RI

So, today's Earth Day, and I've picked a little dolphin from Newport, RI, arguably one of the most flagrant displays of consumer excess in America, if not the world.

Part of me really wants to celebrate Earth Day, but the other part is worried that Earth Day week has become yet another marketing/social responsibility bandwagon. Which would be ok, except that I can't figure out if that bandwagon is going to save the world or desensitize humanity to all green and blue messages from any and all corporate entities.*

At any rate, that's not Newport's fault. I do so love visiting Newport because it truly is the playground of the rich and long-ago famous. And, their gorgeous vacation homes (yes, there's a magnet forthcoming) are just the most ostentatious statements of wealth ever.

The other best thing that I love about Newport is the cliff walk - the 3.5-mile trek along the water, giving you some of the best views of the mansions and the ocean. I'm totally not one for nature, but walking along those rocks, where waves crash against the earth reminds us exactly how small each of us really is in the grand scheme of things.

So, my personal plan for this Earth Day is to make an effort to start living a little bit greener...not just today, but every day.

*Addendum: An experiment. Not including this blogpost, count how many green and blue Earth Day messages you get bombarded with today, and report back. In the last few hours, I've counted the green FOX logo (and at least 4 green-focused in-programming ads), the green YouTube logo, the green Google logo, and a Best Buy email.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

I plead the Fifth

Magnet #59 - Luxor Hotel, Vegas

They say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

So stay in Vegas it shall.

Suffice to say, an account exec or two, a client, around the world vodka shots, and $100 chip. Oh, and some lessons learned.
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Sunday, April 20, 2008

As I would have liked it

Magnet #58 - Shakespeare's As You Like It

So, apparently David Tennant has the power to sell out Hamlet in Stratford-Upon-Avon for his entire run - from July through November. Impressive.

There I go again, thinking people wouldn't be interested in whatever interests me. I dunno why I thought it'd be easy to get tickets - I guess that makes me the fool in this play.

I picked up this packet of Shakespearean insults in Stratford a couple of years ago. Apparently, no insults in Hamlet were good enough to include in this set.

Oh, well, I do have this manga Hamlet excerpt to look at. (Yeah, you read right, Shakespeare's been manga'd.)

He's either rolling in his grave...or he's waiting for the anime feature film.
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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Call me Captain AWEsome

Magnet #57 - Iron Man


Two days at NYC Comic Con and we've made it through alive. Though, I have to say, much better to go during professional hours. Cooler giveaways, and way less people.

A few highlights:


  • Lou Ferrigno. (I know! AWEsome!)
  • Bill Hader just running around the floor. (AWEsome!)
  • X-Files 2 trailer screening. With Chris Carter! And Frank Spotnitz! (AWEsome!)
  • Doctor Who Series 4 US premiere. (AWEsome!)
  • Battlestar Galactica new eppy premiere. (AWEsome! [and I don't even watch the show!])


  • WALL-E clips. (AWEsome!)
  • Prince Caspian trailer on a big screen. (AWEsome!)
  • Battlestar Galactica panel. With Col. Tigh! Esn. Anders! Tory Foster! (AWEsome! Again, even if I don't watch!)
  • Star Wars Robot Chicken. With Seth Green! (AWEsome!)
  • Star Wars Clone Wars previews. (Surprisingly? Not AWEsome. The presenter was like the James Lipton of Lucasfilms. I swear.)

So, I dunno if you got it, but we had somewhat of an AWEsome time at Comic Con. And that's coming from a chick whose last purchased comic before today was Huey, Dewey and Louie and Donald Duck when she was nine.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Joy's cup runneth over

Magnets #56a, #56b, and #56c - Joy tiles

There's so much going on in town this weekend that I couldn't decide which magnet to select, so I went with three for the price of one.

1) OMG, the Pope's in town! Major gridlock! A happy haze of Hope settles over the town. Plenty of Masses being celebrated! (Not by me. Yes, I'm a Catholic. But have you seen the amounts of people at Mass?) Already used my Vatican magnet. Dang.

2) OMG, ComicCon's in town! People in costume! An animated haze of crazy settles over the town. Plenty of panels and screenings being held! (Attended by me. No, I don't read comics. But maybe it's time to start?) Could have used my Warner Brothers magnet.

3) OMG, it's David Tennant's birthday! Massive amounts of birthday wishes from a grateful nation! No haze of anything settles over the town. Plenty of avatars and banners being created! (Partially by me. No, I don't create banners. But there's something fun about those 100x100 avs.) No. I have no David Tennant magnets. Soon to be rectified.

See? Too much.

Actually, here's more:

4) My sister's coming to town! Not that I didn't just see her, or that I'm not gonna be seeing her again in the few weeks.

5) Doctor Who's being shown tonight at ComicCon! Not that I didn't just see it online a few weeks ago, or that it's not gonna be on my DVR when I get home.

There's probably more, but I'm getting bored. So I can't imagine how you're feeling.

Have a great day everyone!
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Thursday, April 17, 2008

We the People

Magnet #55 - National Constitution Center
So, this one should look familiar with last night's Democratic Debate being held there. It's the National Constitution Center, in the heart of Philly.

Ok, so you'll see that I pretty much say this about every museum, but this one was just such a museum experience. And by that, I mean it's an experience, you're not just looking at old stuff in glass cases and skimming a little placard. This one's just fantastic. I spent only a couple of hours there (indeed, it was the penultimate stop before the Federal Reserve Bank, but after the Independence Hall Tour and seeing the Liberty Bell, all in one day), but it's truly one of those places that you have to spend a lot of time, just soaking it all in.

There's several parts and pieces of the center, there's the experience part, where you're taking in the interactive exhibits, then there's rotating exhibits, and then a multimedia presentation...the typical inspirational piece designed to bring tears to your eyes. Yeah, it worked.

The image here is of Signers Hall - where they have life-sized bronze statues of the signers. And you can walk through the hall, and compare how tall you are, you can take pictures with your favorite signer (what?) and actually read what's on the table.

Loved it. Every bit of it. As much as I believe that every American should visit Washington, D.C., I believe every American should visit Philadelphia as well. For that's one of the best ways to begin to understand the legacy that our Founding Fathers left us.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Yep. What they said.

eta, as of April 2, 2009:
DUDES. I mentioned visiting the Fed Reserve. Nu-uh. It was the U.S. Mint. Good grief.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I want candy

Magnet #54 - Dylan's Candy Bar

So, here's where I wanted to have my 30th birthday party. Til I found out it was going to be oh, about $2,500...and that for some reason, my friends wouldn't pony up for it. Oh, and there's the little matter of needing a bunch of kids. And probably someone to pretend that it was their third birthday, rather than my 30th.

So, I content myself by visiting Dylan's Candy Bar on the Upper East Side every once in a while, because it truly might be just the best place on earth. You can pretty much get almost any type of candy that you want, the soundtrack is all candy-related, and there's an explosion of color that almost hurts your eyes. It's beeyooootiful. And did I mention candy? Because there's candy there.

Actually, the one thing I love more than the candy is the amazing amount of branding work that's gone into the business itself. From day one, Dylan Lauren (yep, Ralph's kid) made sure she had the bestest and cutest little logo that ever logo'd, supported by what must be pretty strict set of brand guidelines. That's clearly evident everywhere you look - store design is carefully color coordinated, all the brand extensions are pristine, the apparel is well designed - even their presskits and gift certificates were just as cute as could be.

Dudes. She even had a magnet for me!
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Take one down, and pass it around

Magnet #53 - Guinness

Because on a day like today, all of us could probably use a pint. (Could be worse, I suppose - at least my taxes are done.)

So, I went to Dublin on a weekend jaunt from London years and years ago. But, I totally didn't get to go to Guinness, for the factory tour. This one was brought back to me from a friend's trip to Ireland. I know! How the heck did I miss that? (I actually think I was underage, and just too much of a square to see if I could get away with it. Sigh.)

Anyway - after a way-more-expensive than it should have been cab ride (seriously, talking about being taken for a ride), we stayed at the St. (someone)'s Bed & Breakfast - which was totally lovely. I'm Catholic and Filipino, so having Jesus in front of me at every turn in every room didn't freak me out. Nope, not one bit. No, I tell you.

Anyway, Dublin. We went for a small castle tour (duh) - one that took us trundling down the roads on their public transportation way out into the countryside. Malahide Castle, I think it was - I just remember it basically like every other castle - spacious lawns, large looming rooms, giant halls, crests everywhere - and if I'm remembering correctly, after some begging, my compadres did let me go visit the Fry Model Railway (story for another day).

And, on a random walk on my own I walked by another castle...ruin, actually. Just behind some sort of modern-day strip mall. Yeah, that was weird. And I dropped by the Hard Ass Cafe, with a donkey as its mascot. As you can see, it's random side trips like these that have sort of forced me to be more planful when I travel.

I did get to see a little bit more than that - the Book of Kells, Christ Church Cathedral, random gift shops.

But, it looks like I'll need to get back there, since apparently, I missed way too many things to count.

You know that conversation, the Oh, you went to ____ and you didn't see ____?

Painful, is what that is.
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Monday, April 14, 2008

Poppin' Fresh...Minnesota

Magnet #52 - Joy in Minnesota

So, that cross-country train trip. One of our stops was 2-day-ish stopover in Minnesota.

We were able to visit to do our own little walking tour of downtown and riverfront Minneapolis. Funnily enough, I remember spending the afternoon there, but the only thing I remember is the Third Avenue Bridge, some public plaza with pretty water fountains and the Pillsbury flour factory (yes as in the Pillsbury Dough Boy, whose name is officially Poppin' Fresh, and whose laugh is trademarked!). Oh! And taking local bus transit. That's always fun. No, really - I mean it - I love figuring out how other cities run their public transit.

We also visited the Mall of America, rode some rides, didn't really do much shopping, took one of those Wild West Costume photos, took in a movie (The 13th Warrior. I know, remember? Antonio Banderas? Jeepers, where's he been lately.).

We packed so much into those two days, it's insane.

But, look! They had a Minnesota joy magnet! I'm always so pleased when they have a magnet with my name on it. Lately, it seems that the cheesy tourist stores have stopped ordering the name magnets. Or! Horrors of horrors, they stopped ordering joy. They'll have Brianna or Alexa or Connor or Tobias, but they don't order joy? Hmph.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Oh, don't mind her, she's from Barcelona!

Magnet #51 - Barcelona, Spain

Ok, I gotta confess that I picked this one for today's magnet, is because for some reason (and no, I don't really want to know the lore), the Doctor keeps mentioning Barcelona on Doctor Who.

Anyway, while I've been to Europe a few times, I've not had a chance to make it to Spain. This one was brought to me by a friend of mine that went a few years ago.

How cute is this magnet???

Not sure if the two are popular animated characters over there, but they're like Spanish Doozers! Remember the little green guys from Fraggle Rock? The ones that were so busy, building their little buildings in the center of Fraggle Rock? Only these two aren't so Doozer-like, since clearly, they know the meaning of siesta. Heheheh.

This is one of two "tea party saucer" magnets that I have - the other's from the France Alps. Maybe it's a thing over there, cuz for sure, I've not seen any of these Stateside. And, if they are actual tea party saucers, then hello! cottage industry! How marvelous!

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Today's Volcano Day!

Magnet #50 - Mount St. Helens, Washington. (State)

I'll confess, the reason for picking a volcano today: Tonight's Doctor Who eppy in the UK is Fires of Pompeii, where they go back in time to visit Mount Vesuvius on Volcano Day. What?

But, I have actually visited this particular volcano on a cross-country train trip. We decided on a lark to visit Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. I was a little unnerved while there, because I felt that it would be just my luck that it would blow on the day I just happened to be visiting.

Of course, I blame this fear on this weird exhibit movie we saw while there. You know...the classic scary one with a deep voiceover which showed tranquil pictures and scary music and the dire message at the end: It. Could. Blow. At. Any. Time!!!!

But the grounds and the drive was absolutely amazing. You wend your way through the park, gaining different views of the volcano, and on a clear day, it's plain to see what devastation it wrought years ago. There's a bit of hope, though, when you see how life has creeped back from that devastation.

It erupted in May 1980, and I have to say, as a 1st grader in North Carolina, I was superafraid that the lava was going to come get us. It was in Washington, you see. And I hadn't yet made the distinction between Washington the state, and Washington, D.C. Heh.
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Friday, April 11, 2008

Ups and downs, and all arounds

Magnet #49 - Cyclone, Coney Island, NY

So. I love roller coasters. Love them. You can take me, turn me upside down, run me backward, hairpin turn me, stand me up, sit me down, corkscrew the bejeepers out of me, and spin me round. What you can't do, is make me go up and down.

The Cyclone at Coney Island's Astroland makes you go up and makes you go down. And I have to say, I don't think I've really ever been more scared on a coaster.

Part of it was the ups and downs. A lot of it was the getting packed into the smallest coaster car ever. But most of it was the overall creakiness of the coaster celebrating its 80th anniversary.

Believe you me, it sounded every bit of its 80 years.
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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I'll take Albany

Magnet #47 - Empire State Plaza, Albany

Give me a tour, I'll take it. This magnet's from a train trip up to Albany - the Empire State Plaza, where they give free tours.

Designed by the same guy who did Rockefeller Center, the plaza was built mostly by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, who wanted a capital that the world would remember for all the ages. It's basically NYS's base of government operations, and sits on like 100 acres of land, with like a dozen buildings - including a funny-looking performing arts venue whose giant egg shape is just like alien ship right out of Doctor Who.

The cool thing about the complex is that - just like its sister Rockefeller Center - there's a maze of underground passageways that connect pretty much all of the buildings together. Which means, you can drive to work, park your car, and never even see the outside until the drive home. How awesome.

Even more awesome? The fact that within the halls of the underground passageways, there's an unrivaled New York School art collection of almost 100 paintings, sculptures, and tapestries. (Yes, there's an art collection tour which I didn't have time for - but my favorite was an Isamu Noguchi sculpture series. Oh! And a couple of really lovely Calders, as well.)

Highly recommended for a visit.

Ya know.

If you're ever killing time.

In Albany.
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Monday, April 7, 2008

Diner me this

Magnet #45 - Big Daddy's Diner
Fun little restaurant across the street from work. Kitschy and cheesy, and relatively good food.

Diners are the best restaurants in the world. It's the only place everyone can find something to eat, at whatever time you go, whether it's for brunch, or after a night on the town.

Adam and Eve on a Raft, tater tots, and a knock-off of the Big Mac that puts the original to shame.

Plus, you can't beat the decor - you can pretty much trace your entire life along the walls!

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Not another Carolina victory

Magnet #44 - Carolina

Well, I was saving this one in case Carolina won it all again this year. But, alas, that was not to be the case.

So this magnet serves as a chapter ending to this year's Carolina Basketball program - it was a pretty good run, and it was more than a hundred other teams had, so we really can't complain.

It's truly difficult to feel bad for Carolina - it's a basketball powerhouse, and we can't win it every year - in fact, given our storied history, we've really only won the championship four times - 57, 82, 93, & 05. I was at Carolina in 93, and that was very definitely a good year.

As for this year, it looks as though Kansas finally got Roy Williams for leaving them years ago, so I guess we'll have to give them that, then.

See ya'll next year.

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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Joad for a day

Magnet #43 - John Steinbeck

Another random set of stops on the Woman on Her Own roadtrip along the California coast: Monterey and Salinas, CA. In Monterey, I opted out of the Monterey Bay Aquarium (line was too long), and just walked around. Saw the bay, saw Cannery Row and dropped by a visitors center. That's where I got the rundown of downtown Salinas about 20-30 minutes away, and heard about the National Steinbeck Center.

I know, right? Like you have to really love Grapes of Wrath or The Pearl or Of Mice and Men to actually visit on purpose. Except not really, it was just the most interesting center! Of course, they had a Steinbeck exhibition hall, which I think is permanent, where they trace his life and times through a really great museum experience. There's a bit of an entertainment space to boot, theatres to show off the movies, etc.

So moved was I that I did end up buying two JS works that I hadn't read - Cannery Row and Tortilla Flats. Haven't read them yet, but owning is half the battle, I always say.

Still, for an afternoon that was just supposed to be driving up the coast, it was a lovely way to be distracted.

Also, it was on this trip that I discovered these plastic card magnets - they're literally a plastic, almost wallet-sized card, with a coupla magnets glued to the back. It's generally a quote, plus a postage stamp of the subject, which leads me to think they're just a magnet series from the USPS. I rarely see them, it's why I have only two in the collection. Which is kinda inconvenient, because really, who can section off part of the magnet board with just two of a kind?
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Friday, April 4, 2008

Clooney's Whistlestop Tour

Magnet #42 - Atlantic Coast Line

Another tile magnet picked up at either a crafts fair or The Big E. I love trains. Dunno why, but there's something magical about riding the rails.

The Atlantic Coast Line travelled up and down the Southeast from 1898 through the mid 1960s. If you study the routes, it doesn't actually pass through the current Amtrak Carolinian and Metroliner routes in North and South Carolina, rather it follows their coasts pretty closely.

I bring it up only because the real reason for this magnet on this day, is because George Clooney's new movie, Leatherheads, comes out today. If you live anywhere in North Carolina, South Carolina, or Tennessee, you know all about this movie. Clooney & Co. filmed all over the southeast - my hometown of Salisbury, NC, included - using the well-preserved historic districts and "downtowns" to serve as 1920s locales.

Then, in his own little whistlestop tour to promote the movie, George went back to all the tiny towns to say thanks for the hospitality.

And, yes, I'm resisting the urge to say, ya'll come back now, ya hear?
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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Blowing Rock (and no, there wasn't a single pithy headline that could be considered clean)

Magnet #41 - The Blowing Rock, NC
We visited Blowing Rock, NC, during our 10-day roadtrip through North Carolina and South Carolina. Yes. Through NC and SC - don't ask.
The town and the attraction is in western NC, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The actual rock formation itself is never quite as big as advertised - but how can it be when it's surrounded by the gorgeous mountainside. Nevertheless, it's an attraction that people always visit in NC, and have since the early 1900s.
Legend has it that a Cherokee brave in love with this Chickasaw, well, chick, and was torn between the conflict of his duty to stay with her and returning to his people. He couldn't decide what to do, so he jumped off this rock. The legend goes on to say that the girl was so distraught that she prayed for his return for the rest of her days. And ever since, there's been a perpetual wind that's blown upward from the valley below.
It's all a little too Romeo and Juliet, but, whatevs. It was good enough to explain why the snow blows upside down near Blowing Rock.
This is yet another one of my metallics (again with the fake nomenclature!)'s actually pretty fragile, given how intricate the design is.
Pretty, no?

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Happy 45th anniversary, General Hospital!

Magnet #40 - Luke & Laura's 25th Anniversary

Ok. I'm just gonna come out and say it. I watch soap operas. Just not gonna make any excuses for that.

And, while I'm in this confessional, you should also know that a couple of years ago, I managed to con two of my friends to head down to SuperSoapWeekend in Orlando. If you haven't heard of SSW, it's where ABC Daytime sends several of their soap stars down to Disney, and basically throws them to the fans - cast interviews, parades, weird game shows, etc.

It was a fun experience, but one that I'd not repeat again. Without getting on my soapbox (/pun intended), I can't believe the access that daytime fans have to the talent. It's no wonder the lines blur so easily.

Anyway - we waited in line for about an hour for this jobbie. That year's SSW was the 25th anniversary of Luke & Laura, the superest supercouple to ever come out of Daytime. So, they took our little group photo (sans the Groucho Marx masks, obvi), and photoshopped us right into L&L's wedding picture.

I chose this as today's magnet, because yesterday, General Hospital celebrated it's 45th anniversary on air.

Whoa. That's almost half a century of love in the afternoon.
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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart

Magnet #39 - To have joy one must share it. - Lord Byron

Yep. Me, again. Yet another magnet with my name on it. Got a million of them.

This one always gives me a tickle because the little girls are so cute.

But, the real reason that I'm picked it, is because there's a great story on Awakening Joy on It involves all sorts of stuff about defining what joy means to you, and finding a "joy buddy." Apparently, there's even Awakening Joy group meetings, and take heart, "more than 2,000 people have tested it, so it's not some airy-fairy idea."

Well, far be it from me to ridiculing something that could bring someone else happiness.

But, just know, I'll be your joy buddy if you need it. *snicker*

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