joy magnetism: November 2008

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sparkly Tampa

Magnet #282 - Disney Princesses Sparkle

Yeah, I know this isn't Orlando, but, it's as close as I can get to glitter right now.

Yesterday was a great day, despite having started out with me not only wandering into the men's restrooms, but also running into a reallllly cute dad of a young kid...who also happened to be on my flight.

I swear, I did a full 360 in the restrooms, wondering when they installed urinals in the ladies' room, or when La Guardia had gone unisex. What can I say, it was like 6:30 in the morning!

But after a sucky morning, I landed in this wondrous world, this place called Tampa [metro area].

First, I had lunch with some old friends, and you can't beat company like that.

Second, my lunch was the most scrumptious potato-chip encrusted turkey burger I've ever had. Ok, it's the only potato-chip encrusted turkey burger I've ever had. But seriously, it was like one of those food epiphanies I mentioned a few weeks ago, and I just know I'll end up in NYC trying to find someone to recreate the darn thing.

Third, while I saw a few superawesome and completely unexpected roadside attractions (that I didn't get to take any pictures of, darnit). Off of US 4, someone recreated Cadillac Ranch, but used airstreams instead - how awesome is Airstream Ranch! But even more awesome, because down the road a couple exits later were some giant dinosaurs! Dinosaur World! (I'm so sad I didn't have time to stop!)

Fourth (and technically not Tampa), I went to Florida Southern's campus and wandered around for a couple of hours. I'll probably blog more on that side trip for the next FLW magnet, but for now, here are the superawesome pics without any captions.

But, finally, the piece de resistance. Yay for multiple Targets!

Really. How can you go wrong with a Target that sells me this magnet!

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Jet plane to Tampa

Magnet #281 - Tampa, FL

Headed to Tampa for work today.

While we think it'll be fun, I will need glitter. And lots of it. Like someone head to Sam's Club and just empty the glitter aisle for me, please.

Juuuuust need to make to Wednesday night.
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Friday, November 28, 2008

Lights on. Lights off.

Magnet #280 - Tanglewood Park

Most people know Tanglewood Park in North Carolina for its fabulous golf course. At our house, we know it only for one thing. Or millions, actually.

Every year on the Friday night after Thanksgiving, we go to Tanglewood Park to see the lights. It's just what you do, you pile everyone you can into the big blue van, and you twist your way through 4 miles of park and 180 lighted displays.

There's the really fun part, where you all get to hang out with your family in very close quarters, while you all ooooh and ahhhh over the pretty, pretty lighted displays, while playing holiday music in the speakers that only work up front. But, the best part is that you get to just sit in the car the whole time, the ultimate lazy attraction! (Unless, of course, you want to do that free hayride. Outside. Out in the cold. Uh. No.)

Then, there's the not as fun part, with the stops and starts and the exhaust fumes of the cars ahead that give you motion sickness and a case of nausea in the close-quartered car, cars breaking down (sometimes your own), and oh, there's part where you're actually driving in a circle...watching lights.

And yet, every year we go. Scratch that. Suddenly my sisters and I, adults now, have found excuses not to go. Napping's a good one. TV's a better one. There's inevitable guilt leaving our younger cousins to the mercies of my mother and Tanglewood, but hey, you just gotta do what you can to save your own skin.

This year's the first Thanksgiving and Black Friday in a while that I'm not spending in North Carolina. I'm posting from New Jersey...having just spent the morning cursing the Bergen County Blue Laws that prohibit any big box stores to open before 7am, despite what the ads and the flyers say.*

But, I gotta admit that there's a little part of me that kinda sorta misses the pretty-pretty lights.



Though, my cousin and I just did ALL of Tanglewood. Here! Seriously. Just like seeing it live! But in 8 minutes!


*Dudes. Seriously. Bergen County, NJ. Get with the program. It's Black Friday. You see us outside in the middle of the night, lining up outside of Best Buys and Targets. Turn your lights on, and let us in. I honestly can't believe you're letting some silly old law cost you millions in tax revenues lost during those 3-4 hours that everywhere else is open!
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Give thanks and remembrance

Magnet #279 - age fotostock spaghetti

Another bit of stock photo company swag, this time from age fotostock. I know it seems odd to pick spaghetti for Thanksgiving, but here's why.

I mentioned a while back that my parents always had to serve two different meals for us kids. Always the seafood for my dad, and then whatever meal (whether Filipino or American) for us. With the exception of scrambled eggs, my Mom is the best. cook. EVER. Seriously. And she's adventurous, never afraid to try out new recipes.

Which is good, considering we also grew up with public school cafeteria food - square pizzas, tacos, funny little hamburgers, lasagna, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, spaghetti, cheese toast, etc. So every so often, we would come home, and tell mom how good our lunch was, and then she'd set about recreating it, bigger and obvi, way better than the caf.

So we basically grew up on Filipino food and mom's tasty versions of all-American dishes. Which makes sense that the first few Thanksgivings I remember - we didn't have turkey. Or stuffing. Or sweet potatoes. Generally, we'd have whatever mom felt like making, and one year, I distinctly remember having spaghetti. For Thanksgiving. I remember, because I had, as only a little kid could ever have, a really bad habit of taking a bite of spaghetti, and wiping my mouth on my sleeve. Drove my mother NUTS.

An aside: I love my mom's spaghetti. If I were on death row, mom's spaghetti and a big, big breakfast (of scrambled eggs, sausage and hash browns and ketchup, probably from Denny's), would be my last meal. I recently met up with a childhood friend of mine who I hadn't seen in almost 20 years, and she said, you know what I miss of your mom's cooking? Her spaghetti.

Seriously. It's magical. /end aside

Then one fateful day, my sister came home from school and asked for a real Thanksgiving...and all the trimmings. So no more spaghetti for Thanksgiving.

Thanks for that, dude.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Before Bath

Magnet#278 - Bath - Roman Baths

My sister brought this back from her Great, Great Britain tour, but many years ago, a friend and I made it a quick daytrip. Both of us were avid romance readers, and any romance reader worth her salt knows all about Almack's, White's, Gretna Green, and the restorative waters at the Pump Room in Bath.

As we trained our way west, we made friends with this trio of guys, alpha-maled by this guy named Mario. Or Mary-o, if you're an ex-military guy turned cop from Queens. So adorable. Still have the fun pictures.

He and his friends were headed to Southampton to catch the English Channel ferry to go volunteer for the D-Day 50th Anniversary ceremony. Time passed, and soon the guys were asking us to ditch our Bath trip, in favor of hanging out with them in Southampton until time for them to leave.

After a bit of furtive debate, we stuck to our guns to go to the place of romantic legends, versus making a little romantic legend of our own. A year later Before Sunrise came out, the movie where Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy met on EuroRail, and ever since, I've always wondered what would have happened if we had ended up going with them, besides being late for class the next day.

Turns out, as I was looking this Google map tonight, I realized Southampton isn't really on the way to Bath.

I'm just sayin'. Yay, not dead!
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

If you're so inclined...

Magnet #277 - Duquesne Incline

So today (or tomorrow, depending on which sources you read), in 1758, the British captured Fort Duquesne away from the French, during the French and Indian Wars.

The French had burned the fort to the ground, and then took off. The British rebuilt and renamed it Fort Pitt for their then-prime minister William Pitt (the Elder), the guy who ordered them to take the outpost.

There's probably a ton more to the story (actually, I dimly remember something about heads on stakes and stuff), but you should actually visit Pittsburgh to learn it.

But, when you go, definitely take a ride up and the Duquesne Incline - the views of the town and the surrounding area, the stadiums and the confluence are certainly well worth it!

Sorry to be so short and sweet and factual, but I just killed my work Mac today, and I'm on my old Dell right now. Boo feels awesome and compact, compared to my Boo Silver, who at 17" was a giant among her kind.

My problem is that my left pinky is so very confused and keeps searching for that damn open Apple key, so it's best I stop now, before I start my own Mac vs. PC commercial, with pinky in the starring role.
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Just another day at the beach...for joy, anyway

Magnet #276 - Georgia Aquarium

A friend of mine gave me this supercool magnet from the Georgia Aquarium. Apparently, it's the world's largest aquarium, with something like 8 million gallons of fresh and saltwater. Whoa!

I just checked out their site - and freaked out over their jellyfish page. Eeeeep. I can't stand jellyfish.

I blame Father Ralph from our church, who led one of the only church trips I was allowed to go on, down to South Carolina, when I was in 7th grade. Two things stick out about that trip.

A crappy and awkward-aged no-style haircut. The one where I, needing a drastic change, said to Crystal, our hairdresser, chop it all off. The one where, when I got into the car, my dad asked what happened. It was the worst haircut - ever.

Jellyfish. While we were at the beach, I inadvertently walked right into a school of jellyfish, was stung all over the place. The thing I remember most, though, was standing in a towel, shivering and crying because of the pain, and Father Ralph looking down at me, basically saying he couldn't do anything for me.

So, yeah, between the crappy haircut and the jellyfish, it was kind of a sucky beach trip. Ugh.

However, having looked at the Georgia Aquarium site, it does look like a fun place to go - with like kid sleepovers and tons of interesting exhibits. Maybe I'll go, next time I'm in town.

Just need to make sure everything's behind glass where they belong, is all.
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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy 45th, Doctor Who!

Magnet #275 - Doctor Who

Today marks the 45th anniversary of Doctor Who, which, according to the fabulously neat BBC archives, aired this day in 1963 on BBC TV.

I've mentioned DW quite a few times here, because I'm a bit of a fan. And though it loses me geek credits, I'll freely admit I'm pretty much a johnny-come-lately, watching only in its new incarnation, and unabashedly calling David Tennant my Doctor.

But, in all seriousness, you really have to respect any show (and a proper sci-fi show at that) that can capture a nation's heart for 45 years. I can't think of an American counterpart to this show, one that pretty much every adult can remember watching at some point over the decades, a show that's transcended generations and genres, and formed a whole culture of hiding behind sofas and Dalek and TARDIS references all over the place.

We just don't have anything of that ilk here, so thanks for sharing, UK!
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

SAG Is as SAG Does, or, Really? A strike? You stupid idiots

Magnet #274 - Stupid Is as Stupid Does, Forrest Gump

Bought this magnet at a Bubba Gump. Shut it. The food wasn't bad, and yes, I had something involving shrimp.

I don't have a Kennedy magnet, otherwise, we would have talked about the 45th anniversary. But then I saw this Yahoo article about SAG (Screen Actors Guild) poised to call for a strike.

Really? Actors? Really?

Did you not know that the WGA strike cost YOUR industry $2.5 billion? Have you not seen the stories about how we're still feeling the effects of that strike - with a shit TV season forcing idiotic programming decisions, and a movie season with tentpole movies being switched, so that all the shit movies we're left with won't cluster up too much? Did you not see the ramifications of lost jobs and productions within YOUR industry?

Ok, never mind YOUR industry.

Let's talk about how overall the American economy's gone to hell. Have you not heard that America has lost A MILLION JOBS in 2008? Did you not see the financial and auto industries practically collapse? Have you not seen the billions and billions and billions of dollars that have been doled out to SAVE actual industries that keep our economy running?

Or maybe you're just not worried, because Obama's here to save the day. YOUR industry came out en masse making tons of videos and commercials and donations to call for change. Maybe you think that in exchange for all that work, that Obama and the new administration is gonna bail out the entertainment industry when you fly your private planes to Washington with your hats in hand.

Whatever it is, America's already in trouble. I fail to understand how a strike of 120,000 people in a multibillion-dollar industry will HELP America.

Apparently, SAG is going to "launch a 'full-scale education campaign in support of a strike authorization.'" I can't even wait to see what gets leaked to the public. You know, the public that's already suffering...for real.

This magnetpost really became more of a rant than I intended. But I really, really, really would like someone within the industry to make me understand why this strike is necessary.

Oh, and I would like to see whether or not the American public will give one ounce of crap about Hollywood actors whining about Internet and DVD rights.

By the way, anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows how deeply my love runs for all of the entertainment industry, and exactly how many movies and tv shows I watch. That's no secret. Hell, you can scroll down to the bottom of this magnetblog to see how much TV I watch.

But you know what? My TV and my movie habits are

You don't keep me breathing.

You don't pay my rent.

My job notwithstanding, you don't actually make me money.

So, I gotta say, GO AHEAD. STRIKE.

I will be one of the American public who will not give a shit if YOU torpedo YOUR industry.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Carry on, my wayward...redbird

Magnet #273 - Cardinal

Today, in 1783, North Carolina ratified the Constitution, making it the 12th state in the Union. Yay, North Carolina-lina!

The cardinal's our state bird, and while I really, really, really don't like birds in general, I do happen to love the cardinal.

When I was little, my parents picked up these funny books about Southern dialect and customs. I'm fairly sure that they'd be pretty laughable now, but growing up, it sort of became our guide to knowing our neighbors and classmates.

In one of them, there was whole section on different animals and the Southernisms centering on them. Here's what I remember, and what I still practice whenever I see a cardinal:

1) They're good luck. They're the luckiest birds in the universe, so if you see one...then you' luck, I suppose.

2) If you see one flying by, make sure you blow a kiss toward it, and it will carry your kiss to your sweetheart. My apologies to any of my crushes that were bowled over or attacked by redbirds with these kisses - what can I say, we had a ton of cardinals in our yard.

3) If you see a cardinal perched somewhere, name it, and your wish will come true. Honestly, I don't think Herman or Henrietta or Jimmy-Bob ever really worked out for me.

4) If you see a cardinal perched on somewhere, make a wish quickly. If you complete the wish before it flies away, it will come true. If you don't, well, then, refer to number 1 above, I guess.

Right. All that for one animal.

Wait til we get to bunnies.
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Standing on the edge of a quay*

Magnet #272 - Singapore River, Quayside Dining

My friend brought back this magnet from his Asia trip. I looked it up - apparently, there's some excellent dining alongside the quay.

I just picked this one for today, cuz I thought it was pretty...I've never visited Singapore, so I've been wracking my brain (and Google) to see what I could say about it. Here are a few tidbits:

1) Did you know that Road to Singapore was the first of all the Road films that Bing and Bob did together? And that George Burns and Fred MacMurray were slated to play the leads originally?

2) For years, it was completely illegal to chew gum in Singapore. They've relaxed the reg recently. Now you can chew it...for medicinal purposes.

3) You can take an iPod guided tour of some really cool works of art by Stella, Warhol, Chihuly and the Ritz-Carlton hotel lobby.

4) They have a London Eye-esque observation wheel - the largest in the world at 540 feet tall, almost 50 stories. Takes 30 minutes, and you pay about $20 to ride it. It's called the Singapore Flyer, and has the best tagline ever: A moving experience at every turn.

5) The Singapore Sling was invented at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore in the early 1900s. I'm totally having one at the next possible occasion: Gin, brandy, pineapple and lime juice, Cointreau, bitters, and Dom Benedictine (whatever that is).

6) You know how NYC has yellow cabs, London has their red phone boxes and Rio has that giant statue of Jesus as their symbols of the city? Singapore has a Merlion, this creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, to welcome all visitors to town.

I must confess, I'm slightly freaked out about the thought of a mermaid and a lion procreating, but c'mon! The Merlion alone might be worth the airfare around the world!

*Lyrics to Duran Duran's Night Boat. When I was in 6th or 7th grade, I had to look up what the hell a quay was because of this song.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

North & South

Magnet #271 - Gettysburg

So, 145 years ago, Lincoln gave his infamous Gettysburg address, which I talked about with somewhat grave seriousness a few months ago. (If you haven't been to Gettysburg, and driven around the battlefields and the little town, I highly recommend it. It's quite moving, and a little frightening to think of all the valor and violence that happened there.)

Which leaves me free to talk about a couple of my favorite miniseries of. all. time. North and South. Or North & South.

First up - John Jakes' North and South. Tell me ya'll have seen this miniseries. C'mon. It was amazing - it took something like 2 years to make and I heard was one of the most expensive (and most watched) miniseries - ever.

It tells the story of families - the Mains from South Carolina (headed by Orry, played by Patrick Swayze) and the Hazards from Pennsylvania (headed by George, played by James Read). The two men meet at West Point, and form a lasting friendship, and see each other through love and loss, trials and tribulations, nutty families, blahblahhotboysblah. Fantastic saga.

Of course, this version of North and South is not to be confused with the other North & South by Elizabeth Gaskill, brought to you by the BBC. I know. Confusing. It's not a remake, I swear.

Girl in reduced circumstances from the South (Margaret Hale, played by Daniela Denby-Ashe) meets diamond in the rough industrialist in the North (John Thornton, played by Richard Armitage), and form a lasting bond, through love and loss, trials and tribulations, nutty families, blahblahhotboyblah. Fantastic love story.

I could go on about both, and don't worry, eventually I will.

But for now, seriously. Netflix them both. You won't be sorry.

Just don't do it all at once. You'll get confused.

Particularly by the accents.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Keep a song in your heart

Magnet #270 - The Lawrence Welk Show

Go ahead. Giggle. And snicker. You know you want to. It's ok. Really.

Some of my earliest memories back in Chicago, I must have been 4 or 5, are of me, running through the house looking for my church shoes, so that I could tap dance along with the tap dancer on The Lawrence Welk Show. No. I'd never had tap lessons. My parents and I used to watch this show together, while my dad hummed usually off-key and falsetto.

In case you've never had the pleasure, it's your basic musical variety show that started back in 1951, and is still running on PBS to this day. Quite impressive, since they haven't had a new episode in like decades. But, I think they still air it just to keep my dad happy, and to drive my mother insane.

A few years ago, on my Woman on Her Own Roadtrip through California, I was driving down some lonely highway, and I started seeing signs for Escondido. I knew the name, but didn't know why. I exited to get some gas, and then I saw signs for Champagne Boulevard, and at that point it struck me that I was at Lawrence Welk's place in Escondido. Seriously, I distinctly remember humming the theme song, as I made my way to the resort.

I drove onto the deserted lot - it was something like 9:30 or 10 in the morning, and nothing was open. So I explored a bit, taking pictures of the Welk Auditorium. There was a gift shop that hadn't opened yet. Dudes, of course, I was gonna wait for it to open. I was so excited I called my dad up in NC to tell him. He laughed his ass off at me for being there. But, really. How could I not?

Then the buses started to arrive. There I was, in a sea of blue-haired ladies and golf-shirted men, completely out of my demo. Again. The little Filipino girl, with an armful of all things Lawrence Welk for my parents.

That's ok, cuz I was totally loving every damn cheesy minute of it. And as I drove off toward San Diego, I could hear Lawrence Welk's sign-off in my head.

"See you next time, and until then, keep a song in your heart!"

Cue closing credits.
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Monday, November 17, 2008

We are NOT amused

Magnet #269 - Queen Victoria (r. 1837-1901)

Hands down, my favorite monarch of all time is Queen Victoria, (oh, and that guy she was married to. Heh.). And, it's for a million reasons, none of which have all that much to do with the quality of her reign, or how much she did or didn't do for her country.

She was just awesome. Imagine, becoming Queen of one of the largest superpowers in the 18!

She married Prince Albert - in a white wedding gown. They totally give her credit for making it de rigueur for brides to wear white. Dudes, up til then, women would just throw on a pretty frock. Yay, Vic.

She was one-half of the Victoria and Albert love story. Whether or not you believe it or not (I do), Victoria and Albert were completely devoted to each other and their nine kids. She was devastated when he passed away, and wore only black for the rest of her life.

She had a great hub. Prince Albert was in charge of the supercool Great Exhibition of 1851, and supervised the building of the Great Crystal Palace (which burned to the ground in 1936). My goodness, what I wouldn't give to have seen this building. Oh, and let's not forget that the Exhibition seeded the fabulous Victoria & Albert Museum, one of the world's greatest museums of art & design, and one of my favorites in London.

She was a tough girl. Apparently, she'd had several assassination attempts against her, and she totally didn't let it faze her at all.

She's the whole reason that I LOVED that Tooth and Claw episode of Doctor Who, where the Doctor takes Rose back to 1979, and they end up in 1879 and meet Queen Victoria instead. And then in between battling the weirdo werewolf at the Torchwood house, the two spent the episode trying to get the Queen to actually say "We are NOT amused." Seriously one of my favorite DWs ever.

Ok, ok, I'll stop now, this post is getting a little too geeky-fangurly...even for me.
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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Always. Only Us. Part 2: And the not so Good.

Magnet #268 - Soapnetic

I picked up this holographic button, now magnet, from SSW. Soapnetic is SoapNet's online video outlet - kind of like NBC's deal with Hulu. And it would totally be a cool thing to watch, were it not totally and frustratingly not available through every ISP. Hmph.

I've mentioned a couple of times on joy magnetism about how I used to love Zach and Kendall from All My Children. Well, this guy's Cameron Mathison, the guy who plays Ryan Lavery, making my little lovable twosome into an annoying troika.

Without this becoming a long rant about how CamMat is the hardest working man in showbusiness with enough heat to launchpad on to something else, so why hasn't he gone off the show and done it yet is beyond me, I actually love the guy, I just wish Ryan would leave town for good already. If he could take the current AMC writers with him, that'd be superduperawesome.

And, that's all I have to say about that. Heh.
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Always. Only Us. Part 1: The Good.

Magnet #267 - Thorsten Kaye at SuperSoap Weekend

For those of you who don't know, this weekend is SuperSoap Weekend down in Orlando. It's when ABC gathers up all of their soap talent and herds them down to FL to make a veritable mint off of all the soap fangurls in merchandising, park fees, lodging and food.

I've mentioned going to SSW a couple of years ago, and conning two of my friends to go with me. It's one of those friends that gave me this cute magnet.

The couple at the top is Alicia Minshew and Thorsten Kaye - who play Zach and Kendall (a.k.a. Zen, or Zendall) on All My Children. We love them. Or, we did, before the new powers that be at ABC started to screw about with them. Now, I don't even bother to FF through to hot TK's scenes.

So, that weekend, hanging out with my friends, plus a few more friends that we met down there, we had SO much fun! I have to say only the three of us could pack so much silliness and giggling into one weekend. From the moment my friend bumped into Blair from OLTL in the bathroom at LGA on our way down, to the moment where my other friend stalked hot boy Aiden Turner with her paparazzi camera, to the moment when I huffily ran into Nash from OLTL on the jetway at LGA after having landed. It was non-stop giggling.

Gravy, I don't think I've laughed so hard in my life. And, for the cavalcade of hotness, follow this link to the slideshow of the paparazzi shots my friend took.
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Friday, November 14, 2008

The Tao of chocolate

Magnet #266 - LU Biscuits Vintage Ad (Les enfants derrière la vitrine)

Every once in a while, there's that one drink, one entree, one dessert that's so superduperwonderful that you you try to recreate it whenever you can. You keep trying, but it never quite lives up to your first memory.

My friend calls them food epiphanies.

For me, (and you really can't count my parents' cooking), it's that first chicken marsala from Perfecto's, that first profiterole I had in Coventry, that first glass of iced tea my Uncle Oscar gave me. There's even cannelloni from British Air. There's more, but oddly, I can't remember ever having an epiphany at a top-rated restaurant. Until last night.

Last night, it was the Molten Chocolate Cake with Coconut Ice Cream from the rather swank restaurant, Tao. Warm chocolate cake, oozing with the molten chocolate lava, topped with powdered sugar, and off to the side of the beautifully decorated plate, two chocolate sticks, amazing coconut ice cream and coconut and apple(?) shavings. Simple recipe, easy to screw up. I've had my fair share of lava cakes around this town, but this one? Jeepers.

Context: For me, dinner's the thing you have to go through to get to dessert. I'm never easily impressed when it comes to my chocolate desserts. So, this is huge. Funny how a giant 16-foot Buddha managed to get dwarfed by an inch-tall piece of perfection.

Truly, it was the perfect way to end a craptastic day. Good luck, restaurateurs, Tao's Molten Chocolate Cake has spoiled me for good.
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

What's bugging joy

Magnet #265 - John Derian Bug 31

Ok, ok, I know it's really an insect, but a friend of mine bought me a John Derian magnet set from Target* and I've decided to use them for when I'm cheesed off about something, or when something's just buzzing around in my head. Yes, I know, bugs don't buzz.

Yesterday morning, on my hellish subway commute, I had thought to do my first "What's bugging joy" series today with a post about stupid people in the subway, but damned if my pal over at One for the Other Thumb didn't do a fab rant about it yesterday afternoon!

Then, just a few hours ago, I found out some really buggy news. For me, anyway. NBC finally decided to cut bait.

They canceled My Own Worst Enemy and Lipstick Jungle. No big surprise. Worst Enemy was a gamble to begin with, and Lipstick, well, they made that show walk the Friday Night plank to its death a couple of weeks ago.

I used my supercool Spy vs. Spy magnet to talk about how much I was surprised to like Worst Enemy. Because I did, despite myself, and despite all the critics not liking it. There were 4.3 million people my sister said, in the UK, that'd be a hit!

And Lipstick Jungle made me happy, not just because Paul Blackthorne was back on my tv every week, but because it won last year's war against Darren Star's craptastic Cashmere Mafia. We all know it should have just combined and renamed itself The Crappy Version of Sex and the City.

But, this season, Lipstick actually got good! I've been pleading with NBC (via my TV) not to yank it until Joe finally gets together with Victory. Please, just let the silly Victory (played by showkiller extraordinaire Lindsay Price) marry billionaire Joe (played by Brat Packer Andrew McCarthy). Sigh. Not for nothing, but 3.3 million viewers would also be a hit in the UK.

Look, obvi, with more than 60 shows on my 2008 tv dance card, I have enough to worry about. It just bugs me when shows I actually like are canceled. Dammit.

And yet for some stupid reason, there's room on the schedule for unscripted dreck.

*If you visit this Target link, you'll see the main section of the website in the middle, flanked by two red panels full of Target logos. Drag your cursor around those panels - you can actually shuffleboard the red Target logos off to the side. It freaked me out a bit when I saw it, but you can imagine the level of detail the Target web team went to for the site. Well done, Target interactive AOR!
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"If you ask me, the thing looks like a big artichoke."*

Magnet #264 - Guggenheim, Bilbao

A couple of months ago, I mentioned that my sister got me the 1001 Buildings You Must See Before You Die book, and I was slowly making my way through it to count up how many buildings I've seen.

Suffice to say that sadly, I have at least 900 more to go. Mind you, I haven't been trying before. Hello. Mission!

I spent most of last night looking through the photos posted on the Modern Architecture and Frank Lloyd Wright Appreciation Society Facebook groups, ooohing and ahhhing at gorgeous buildings, and posting a couple of images here and there.

One building that I'd love to see is the one on this magnet - the Guggenheim Bilbao. A friend of mine went to Spain earlier this year, and brought this back for me. Love. It.

After having seen the documentary, Sketches of Frank Gehry, I was completely psyched to hear her firsthand details of the buildings and the grounds, and seeing her pictures (and of course, my magnet). But seriously. How supercool is this building?

I'm always torn between Gehry's buildings - some people think his work is genius, while others think it's too weird and offputting.

Whatever you think - he usually manages to deliver something to talk about, and something interesting to see. Which is why I love trying to visit whatever Gehry work I can.

To wit, I begged my boss to get me a private tour of Gehry's IAC building on the West Side Highway. He totally got me in, cuz he's cool like that.

And, I said yes to one of my coworker's cocktail events, because it was being held in the Condé Nast building, in a Gehry-designed conference room.

I loved my IAC tour, but was a little underwhelmed by the Condé Nast room...until I just now realized that once again, I missed the main event. The truly outrageous Gehry work at Condé Nast is the damn cafeteria. Sigh. Time to ask someone for a favor. Heh.

Anyway, watch out world, I'm on a life-long mission. Might be a dorky one, but how fun will it be to keep checking things off in that book!

*Joshua Jackson's Pacey Witter, Dawson's Creek, the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang episode where Joey brings Pacey to her Worthington incoming frosh dinner and Pacey wows the table with his conversational abilities, thus forcing Joey to wahhhh all the way home.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kiss and tell

Magnet #263 - Times Square

I ransacked my walls looking for an appropriate Veterans Day magnet that didn't center in on just one branch of the military. Not surprisingly, I think I do have a magnet from each.

But, I think this will do for my feel-good post.

I worked on the advertising team for the World War II Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C., and, while doing a photosearch through the National Archives collection, I came across that iconic V-J day in Times Square image.

You know the one - where the sailor's kissing that nurse in the middle of Times Square?

Did ya'll know that no one knew for sure who that couple was? I remember being scandalized when I found out that they weren't actually a couple!

Apparently, when word came across the ticker that Japan had surrendered, everyone poured into the streets of Times Square and celebrated the end of the War, in and out of bars, strangers kissing strangers, etc. I just love how Alfred Eisenstaedt, the photographer, was running around in the middle of the madhouse, snapping pictures. Must have been insane. But, I guess it explains how even Eisenstaedt couldn't say for sure who the kissing couple was.

Over the years, several people have come forward to say it was them, and have backed it up with forensics analysis, even. In the end, the two that are widely accepted are Edith Shain and Glenn McDuffie.

So how terrific is it that the 90-year-old Ms. Shain will be serve as the grand marshal at today's Veterans Day Parade in NYC!

Totally makes me all sniffly.

So, today's Veterans Day, and with it comes a big Thank You to all veterans - here, and around the world.
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Color my world

Magnet #262 - Crayola Crayons

A roadtrip buddy and I once did a 12-hour roadtrip across...



Couldn't help it. We. Just. Kept. Stopping. It was awesome.

One of our stops was the Crayola Factory. It was one of those, OMG, we're in the neighborhood, it's on the way, we can't NOT stop! I can't remember if this is the one we actually turned the car around for, or whether I saw it in the book in time to take the right exit, but we managed to get there.

It's as you would expect a Crayola attraction to be - superdamncute. It's really a fun little discovery land for kids, and clearly, we were out of our demo.

No matter, we got to see how they make crayons, I got this magnet, and we took pictures with the Red crayon, and we got fun little Crayola tchotkes.

The best part, is that the Pez Museum just down the way from it. Even more superdamncute. Loved it. It was just a pitstop, but man, you could probably spend a good hour or two just oohing and ahhing over the hundreds of Pez dispensers. This Project Absurd entry was the only decent description that I could find that does it justice. Truly a fun little museum to explore.

My sister called last night to tell me about the Cumberland Pencil Museum, and I was all excited, because I thought, Cumberland County, PA. Did I mention that Pennsylvania was my favorite state to roadtrip in?

Sigh. Umm, turns The superdamncool pencil museum is in Cumberland...United Kingdom. Alas, I don't see me making it a London daytrip in December, but gravy, how fun would it be to say I've been to see the longest pencil in the world!
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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Salon du Joie

Magnet #261 - Monet's (one of many) Haystacks

Keeping up the Impressionists weekend theme.

I mentioned yesterday that I was finishing up the BBC's The Impressionists miniseries, and, funny-haired Richard Armitage or not, it totally made me want to see these works of art in person. It's amazing to go from room to room seeing painting after painting, and I know I'm incredibly lucky to be able to drop everything and run into the Met on a whim.

So, just like the boys had their own Salons to exhibit in, I give you a few of the results of my visit. (plus a couple out of school, but I like them anyway).

On Picasa
As a supercute France-related Photobucket slideshow

And a list of the paintings I included - you can find most of them on the Met's Works of Art Database.

Renoir: Tilla Durieux
Renoir: By the Seashore
Monet: Footbridge over Water Lillies
Cezanne Mont-Sainte-Victoire
Cezanne: Dish of Apples
Cezanne: Still Life with Apples and Pot of Primose
Cezanne: Seated Peasant
Monet: Houses of Parliament on a Foggy Morning
Monet: The Seine at Vétheuil
Cezanne: The Card Players
Cezanne: Madame Cezanne in Red Dress
Monet: The Manneporte (Étretat)
Cezanne: Bathers
Monet: Garden at Sainte-Adresse
Monet: Morning on the Seine at Giverny
Van Gogh: Olive Orchard
Manet: Boaters
Monet: Haystacks
Constable: Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Grounds
Degas: Dance Class
Monet: La Grenouillère
Cezanne: Mont-Sainte-Victoire and the Viaduct along the Arc River Valley
Manet: Monet Family in the Garden
Turner: Venice
Matisse: Nasturtiums with Painting "Dance"
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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Shades of Monet

Magnet #260 - Monet's Japanese Footbridge...again

Yes, yes, I know. But, I have so many Monet magnets, I need to start sprinkling more often. I've been lax about my Kings and Queens of England series, as well.

Anyway, picked Monet's Japanese Footbridge, because I'm watching the last half of The Impressionists, the BBC movie about Monet and all his pals. It's so interesting to watch, the interplay between the artists, the background on famous works of art (which you guys know I love to see), and to see the lives that these men led.

The one thing that I learned about this enclave, was the explanation on why they often had the same, or similar subjects in the same locations. It never dawned on me that it was because they were traveling together, stopping to paint various scenes around the countryside.

Yeah, I know, that was probably Impressionists 101. I guess if I'm so interested in art, I should just take some sort of Art History survey course. Hmmm, maybe. For now, it's fun to learn via movies and docus, and books, and visiting the actual works of art...with the little audio guides. Always the audio guides.

But getting back to The Impressionists, it's also fun to see Richard Armitage playing Monet, but with really funny hair. Nah, I'm just sayin' that to poke my sister. Heh. But no. Richard really does have really funny hair in it.

Eeeep. And now there's a funny goatee! Hee.

Hmmm, I think a leisurely walk over to the Met might be the order of the day today.
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Friday, November 7, 2008

Hoʻomaikaʻi ʻana, ʻōlelo hoʻomaikaʻi, Hawaiʻi!*

Magnet #259 - Hawaii

So, today in 1950, the territory of Hawaii ratified a state constitution, and became a state nine years later.

Yay, Hawaii!

My sisters will remember, but I wonder if anyone else will - remember those I Can Read books? We owned a ton of those things. Freakin' loved those books!

The Toad and the Frog. Where they were having guests for dinner or something? Took forever before I realized that it wasn't Wind in the Willows that I'd read.

Danny and the Dinosaur. Where the dinosaur was running around town?

Sammy the Seal. Where the seal was running around town, something about getting out of the zoo?

That pig one, where the pig was looking for a home, and tried out a few houses or something, and then found a puddle of mud and he was really happy?

And, then, there was this one that was all white, with splashes of green trees, and the tiny people in Hawaii - the Menehunes? Which I totally looked up on that site I just linked to. And just now realized that they're supposedly fairy people. Dudes. Whoa. Now I understand why they traveled by leaves and pea pods!

Good gravy. It's like every time I remember something about my childhood, it gets turned on its axis. congratulations, Hawaii!

*I'm SO hoping that this magnetpost title actually says, Congratulations, Hawaii! If it doesn't, blame this site. And, yes, I looked up Yay! in Hawaiian and it yielded no results.
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Whewwww-whewwww, Whewwww-whewwww

Magnet #258 - Knight Rider

I watch Knight Rider.

There. I said it.

Hell, I even have a magnet for it. This magnet was part of a series of buttons that NBC Uni put out earlier this year, to help push their shows for Emmy *snerk* consideration.

I remember watching the original, but to my friends' consternation, not well enough to remember KARR...or Goliath, for that matter.

I'm not gonna lie. Knight Rider's not the best show on the air right now - I'm convinced it's still on only because NBC can't afford to dump anything right now. I also full-on admit (again) that I'm watching it, simply because there's a hot boy and a hot car. And, I suppose I should also admit that my head bops when I hear the souped-up version of the original opening theme.

The hot boy is played by Justin Bruening, who used to be on the soap All My Children, where oddly, his character Jamie is the son of Tad, played by Michael E. Knight, who in real life used to be married to Catherine Hickland, who used to be married to David Hasselhoff who played the original Michael Knight on Knight Rider. How's that for weird degrees of separation?

The new KITT is a product-placed Ford Mustang which morphs into a couple of other Ford vehicles as necessary, which is silly, but I actually kinda like the effects when he goes into his attack mode. Though, I could do without the Val Kilmer as the voice of KITT. Sorry, Val.

The writer/producers are the same guys who worked on Las Vegas, which I also watched (again, for the hot boys, who just happened to have hot cars). So automatically, we're guaranteed gratuitous T&A, silly, almost nonexistent plots, cheesy writing and acting, and sometimes superslick (and sometimes not) special effects, graphics, and camera work.

I don't care. I'm watching, and I like it. Because every so often, the show surprises me. Last night was one of those nights.

It was their Halloween episode, and they had dressed up a couple of the secondary characters in costume and the running gag of the first ten minutes of the show, was that the guy was dressed as Captain Jack Harkness. He sashayed around, expecting people to know who he was. And thus ensued at least three different interchanges discussing Captain Jack Harkness, the "time-traveling bisexual" ("or omnisexual, if you prefer") guy from Torchwood and Doctor Who.

I gotta admit, the kid really did resemble Jack - all he was missing was the hat.

While it totally tickled my funny bone and my BritShow fangurl sensibilities, I spent the next several minutes on pause, while my sister and I discussed if a BBC show reference to DW/TW was completely accessible on such a mainstream U.S. show. (We watch a ton of BBC shows, and the U.S. references are always apparent in them, so it's odd to see the reverse here.)

Our guess is that the showrunners have enough charismatic geek (/TM Rovan) credibility to be sending out a rather well-done shout-out to the DW/TW universe, and the audience has just enough charismatic geek credibility to get it. And those that don't, are hopefully curious enough to check out both shows on BBC-A.*

Loved it. Well played, boys.

*Commercial: If you don't know, the fourth season of Doctor Who starts on BBC-A this weekend. Yes, you've already watched it on SciFi. Yes, you already know what happens at the end. Who cares? Watch it.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

So say we all

Magnet #257 - Preamble, by Mike Wilkins

Ok. You've got your shot, President-Elect Obama.

You've already made history.

Now let's make some more.
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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Many happy returns

Magnets #256a & b - Obama and McCain

I had toyed with writing a long diatribe about the election, the parties, the issues, my irritation at being pulled in multiple directions and made to feel like I'm smart or stupid for voting one way or another, and my extreme relief that it's finally election day and now everyone will hopefully STFU already.

But it's a magnetblog.

Here's Shepard Fairey's political art.

Go vote.

And I'll see ya'll on the other side.
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Monday, November 3, 2008

They delivered for me

Magnet #255 - Glacier National Park

I talked about Montana before in this Wyoming magnetpost, plus I have a few magnets from Glacier National Park, with a few stories for those. This one sort of screams, America the Beautiful for me.

A roadtrip buddy and I went on a cross-country train trip, where we left from NY, stopped for lunch in Chicago, did an overnight in Minneapolis, then did two nights in Glacier, then an overnight to Portland. We spent a morning in Portland, then took another train up to Seattle, where we then rented a car and drove up to Vancouver for a couple of days, and then flew back out of Seattle.

Long trip. I could have used an extra suitcase just for the treasures I picked up a long the way.

Instead, I made use of the U.S. Postal Service - because they ROCK. They're everywhere. Heh. Which I knew, of course, but it was never so apparent than on this trip. I feel like every time we got off the train, I was off mailing a package back home to myself. And I'm not exaggerating that one - I seriously have USPS receipts from East Glacier and West Glacier.

Thanks, USPS!

Of course, all this mailing back and forth made it all the more ironic that when we got off the train in Portland, I inadvertently left a stack of stamped envelopes in our train car. We had to run back, only to find out that the wonderful guys at Amtrak mailed my bills for me.

Thanks, Amtrak guys!
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Sunday, November 2, 2008

A key from long ago

Magnet #254 - Key Biscayne, FL

Huh. I wondered how I got this magnet, cuz surely, I'd never been to Key Biscayne. It's a Key. With beaches. And sun.

I looked it up, and as it turns out, yeah, I have. I just didn't realize that that visit counted as Key Biscayne.

Stayed here at the Sonesta. Or, what used to be a Sonesta. Can't find it now on the actual Sonesta site. How odd.

Also odd. I remember being there now, I even went on the beach. But, I know for a fact that I didn't see any manatees.

Kinda makes me want to sing a Jimmy Buffet song or two, though.
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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Shopaholics in Jersey

Magnet #253 - Sense of Living is Joy Enough

Economists might say we're going into a recession and that the Middle Class is dying, but they should take a peek into the big box stores and malls of New Jersey.

Having now spent two Saturdays there straight, it becomes apparent that people aren't having as much trouble spending money as Washington or Wall Street think.

Based on these two shopping days, some random observations:
  • The sales are insane.
  • The lines are even worse.
  • Sales people are being outnumbered almost everywhere.
  • The higher-end and non-essentials stores aren't enjoying as much of the crowds.
  • Ikea dinners are cheap and awesome. The meatballs even awesomer. But the Daim torte is awesomest.
  • Christmas has come too early - in every store. I'm surprised Santa's not already hanging out in the center.
  • Joy seems to have been extricated from Christmas, as evidenced by the lack of items with my name on it. (Mind you, that doesn't have a thing to do with the economy, but tragic, nonetheless.)
Anyway, fun days, shopping. Or rather, watching other people shop.
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