June 30, 2009

June 30, 2009

I'm so hungry, I could eat a...

You, or someone you love, may be an adventurous eater. Always trying new cuisines, or preparations, or restaurants. Someone for whom the sentence “What IS that?” is followed by “I want to try it!” As a child, you were undaunted by strange grown-uppy foods. You weren’t sure that you’d like it, but you wanted to try it. A culinary pioneer who’s just as likely as not to someday meet the wrong end of a bad morel or cuddlefish.

I, on the other hand, am more of a dangerous eater. Variety isn’t the spice of my culinary life—I have no problem eating the same 5 or so meals on rotation until the day I die. No, it’s the little details like expiration dates, preparation (why must we wash veggies, really?), and product recalls that will someday do me in.

Despite all that, though, I find myself occasionally trying new things. Sometimes I’m shackled to an adventurous eater. Sometimes I’m in a location without any of my familiar chain restaurants ™. Sometimes, my favorite Time columnist tells me that you can apparently buy horsemeat. Not that I’ve done it, mind you.

The fact that it’s horse doesn’t dissuade me, necessarily. I never went though a horse-loving phase as a young girl*, but I certainly don’t relish the thought of eating Black Beauty. For similar reasons, I refrain from asking my very-Korean mother whether she’s eaten dog. Some things are best left unsaid. And by “unsaid,” I mean “not asked about because the answer is probably going to involve the words ‘yes’ and ‘delicious.’” What’s the story, Wishbone?

I guess it’s more the fact that horse meat sounds expensive. As well as hard to obtain. It’s difficult to justify that sort of purchase when I can get a delicious (if equine-free) meal from T.G.I. Friday’s for like ten bucks. Now if I could ever convince Friday’s to serve horse…

Would you eat horse? Does personal experience with horses affect your decision? I can understand someone who rode as a child (or who currently) rides being unable to. But honestly—I have more personal experience with cows (thank you, Wisconsin), and goodness knows I savor a good burger. Don’t even get me started on veal. *vaguely inappropriate moan*

* I also never wanted to be a princess. Or a ballerina.** The former didn’t seem like a viable career option, and even as a child, I didn’t have the coordination necessary for the latter. Some of us learn our limitations young.

** While other girls pranced around in tutus and tiaras, I pretended I was a teacher or a chef. Two professions in which I got to tell people what to do. Some of us learn our talents young.

June 29, 2009

June 29, 2009

Would You Rather? Volume 5

Would you rather have a bionic arm or a bionic leg?

I’m going with bionic arm. My right one, even though I’m left-handed. I figure trying to sign stuff with a bionic arm would be a nightmare. I’m barely coordinated as it is. Ballpoint pen + arm that can crush steel = inky disaster. So I’ll keep my regular left arm and have a wicked awesome bionic right arm for, like, carrying my entire Sam’s Club (or Ikea) purchase in one trip. No more loading it all into a suitcase for ol’ Heather.

Leaping tall buildings in a single bound would also be pretty cool. I realize this. I mean, make that leg bionic enough and my commute goes from two 30-minute bus rides to one 9-mile jump. I may no longer be able to wear skirts to work, but the fact that my legs wouldn’t match would probably require some wardrobe modification anyway.

I guess what says me towards bionic arm and away from bionic leg is my feeling that legs work much more in tandem than arms do. And getting mine to work in tandem is no small feat, let me tell you. I have not yet wiped out on the treadmill (knock on wood), but there have been a few close calls. I’m still hesitant to break in the stripper shoes (well, almost—the heel’s chunky and not stiletto) I got a couple weeks ago. I’m going to be a bit wobbly in them, but I’ll be damned if they don’t give me an extra three or four inches. Hell yeah.

I can of course see the disadvantages of a bionic arm. For one, I’d have to take care when clapping not to bruise my normal hand. Ooh, high fiving might also become an issue, and I AM a high fiver. Hmm.

No, I’d still go with a bionic right arm. And become known as the girl with the firmest handshake EVER.

June 26, 2009

June 26, 2009

Writer’s Almanac Highlight of the Day

Today is the day in 1284 that, according to legend, the Pied Piper lured children out of the city of Hamelin, Germany, and to their death. The story goes that at some point earlier in the year, a man dressed in a colorful coat appeared in Hamelin, offering to get rid of the rats that were plaguing the town. The townspeople agreed to a set price. The man played a song on a flute, and lured all the rats out of the houses and barns and into the nearby River Weser, where they all drowned. But the townspeople were annoyed at his unconventional methods, and refused to pay him.

On June 26, he returned to town, dressed like a hunter with a red cap. It was a Sunday, and all the adults were in church. He got out his flute and began to play, and 130 children followed him out of the town, through a gate and into a mountain, and were never seen again. The legend of the Pied Piper was first written down in a chorus book in the 14th century, but that book was lost a couple of hundred years later. The oldest surviving account is from the 15th century, and it says: "In the year of 1284, on the day of Saints John and Paul on 26 June, 130 children born in Hamelin were seduced by a piper, dressed in all kinds of colours, and lost at the place of execution near the koppen," the hills around the city. It was written up again and again. The Brothers Grimm wrote down a version of the legend and the town's response to it, and they wrote: "Until the middle of the 18th century, and probably still today, the street through which the children were led out to the town gate was called the bunge-lose (drumless, soundless, quiet) street, because no dancing or music was allowed there. Indeed, when a bridal procession on its way to church crossed this street, the musicians would have to stop playing. The mountain near Hamelin where the children disappeared is called Poppenberg. Two stone monuments in the form of crosses have been erected there, one on the left side and one on the right. Some say that the children were led into a cave, and that they came out again in Transylvania."

Goethe and Robert Browning wrote poems about the Pied Piper.

To this day, no one knows exactly what inspired the legend of the Pied Piper, but it is clear that it is based on some historical event in Hamelin's history. One theory is that it was some sort of plague or epidemic, possibly even one that would cause children to dance, and that the Piper was a metaphorical representation of Death. For many years, the most popular theory was that the children joined some sort of Children's Crusade or military operation, and that the Pied Piper was their leader. But these days, most research supports the theory that the legend refers to the historical colonization of Eastern Europe, which began with Lower Germany. Settlers from Germany, and eventually other parts of Western Europe, were being recruited to settle throughout Eastern Europe, and the Piper was probably just such a landowner, who lured away the town's citizens with promises of land. They were probably not actually children at all — they were "children of Hamelin," meaning the citizens, or children, of the town.

A plague that makes you dance? Seduction by piper?

Truth really IS stranger than fiction.

Happy Friday.

June 25, 2009

June 25, 2009

In My Opinion: State of Play

From the very first trailer I saw for State of Play, I realized this was not a movie to see with the parents. Why, you ask? Let’s think about it:

1. Ambitious and eager young woman moves to Washington, D.C.
2. Ambitious and eager young woman is murdered when pushed in front of a subway train.

As accepting as my parents were of my Master Plan, I daresay rubbing their face in the “Wow, that was RISKY!” aspects of it is not a good idea. (It was, however, a good reminder for me to stand far back from train platforms.)

The plot is pretty routine thriller fare, with several gotchas before the final aha. Originally, State of Play was a 6-part BBC miniseries, and I can see how the story would benefit from more time. As it was, though, the story of an intrepid reporter (Russell Crowe) and his assistant (Rachel McAdams) who investigate the death of the mistress of a member of Congress (Ben Affleck) was pretty good.

What interested me more, though, was the film’s indirect portrayal of the death of print media. Crowe’s character is old-school journalism: all little notebooks and bad food and gruffness. McAdams, on the other hand, is new media. She blogs (woot) and everything. Though I like the newspaper just as much as the next girl (or perhaps even more—I get it every Sunday), even I have to admit they’re going the way of the dinosaur. As the final credits roll, the audience sees a newspaper actually being made, from printing to delivery. It’s a thing of beauty, people. *tiny tear*

(Let’s not start me on the harbinger of doom known as Twitter, though. NO NO NO.)

As with Night at the Museum 2, I enjoyed seeing my city on-screen here. The producers of this film did an excellent job at showing the seedier sides of D.C. It’s not all corridors of power. It’s a lot of crime, seedy motels, and dirty streets, too. (To reiterate, I did not take the parents.) At one point, Crowe’s character rifles through the contents of a victim’s pockets. When I saw an actual Metrochek in there, I just about squealed in glee. That is HARDCORE realism, people.

June 24, 2009

June 24, 2009

In My Opinion: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

I visit a lot of museums. What can I say? They draw me like a nerdy moth to a musty flame. Thus it’s no surprise that the idea behind the Night at the Museum oeuvre (it all comes to life at night) is pretty fraktastic. Growing up, I used to have dreams that I got to (not HAD to, but GOT to) stay overnight in a museum. Dreams, people. Multiple dreams.


Anyway, while the second go-round of anything isn’t usually as good as the first (with the possible exception of reheated mashed potatoes), I thought NatM 2 was a valiant effort. It was almost like a fresh start, in that the Ben Stiller character (Larry) was no longer your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man but instead a successful corporate shiller á la Billy “Oxy-Clean” Mays.

However, once Larry finds out that his beloved museum exhibit friends are being shipped to the (cue scary music) federal archives in (cue scary music) Washington, D.C., it all hits the fan. Added complications include the fact that only SOME of the exhibits are moving to D.C. and the discovery of a Brand New Villain named Kahmunrah.

As you expect from a movie rated PG, the hijinks (whether action, romantic, or otherwise) are pretty tame. That’s not to say it’s a boring movie. Rather, those of you hoping to see Teddy Roosevelt and Sacajawea getting it on should try another movie. Or maybe therapy.

Amy Adams stands out as Amelia Earhart; just the sort of spunky role Adams seems born to play. Honestly, the more I see this woman, the more I like her. And this despite our rocky introduction, during which she tried to steal Jim from Pam, wtf.

The D.C. lover in me cringed a bit at the artistic license, though. Federal Archives? Non-existent. The Smithsonian is actually 19 different buildings, none of which contain The Thinker or American Gothic. Oh, and quite a bit of the art stuff was filmed in the National Gallery of Art (mislabeled as the Washington Art Museum of something), which (while free) is NOT A SMITHSONIAN.


TheBoy and I saw this in glorious Technicolor IMAX at the Air & Space Museum, where part of the movie was filmed. That was cool. The second best part of museum IMAXes? No concessions. Thus, no nacho eaters. (The best part of museum IMAXes, of course, is the bigass screen. Obviously.)

June 23, 2009

June 23, 2009

Sorry I Missed It: Better Off Ted

It’s not too late for you to join me on the Better Off Ted bandwagon. There’s plenty of room.

The titular character works at Veridian Dynamics, the sort of faceless conglomerate that federal employees like me can only dream of. Where profit is the name of the game. Where people in white coats are performing hazardous experiments right down the hall. Where some days the only thing that gets you through your shift is the collection of toys on your desk.

Oh, no, wait. I’m somewhat familiar with that last one.

Ted is played by Jay Harrington, one of those blandly attractive guys whose projects never seem to make it past episode 9. I find him quite likable in the role of Ted, though. And since this show is all about breaking the fourth wall, that’s pretty essential.

Also notable among the cast:

Andrea Anders, of the short but beloved (by me, anyway) Joey. Here she plays the put-upon co-worker who’s unlucky in love despite her best intentions. I’m hoping she and Ted get together, but not until the very end. Sort of like a corporate Ross and Rachel, but with less whining.

Portia di Rossi, who plays Ted’s boss, Veronica. She’s the sort of ice queen maneater that I could only dream of being. I’m sure everyone likes me better as I am, but DANG. That would be fun.

I don’t know that I’d make time in my schedule during the regular tv season for this show, but 30 minutes during the summer is certainly manageable.

And if I can do it, so can you. Don’t give me any of this “But I have a real life” stuff. You read this blog; we already know what you’re willing to sit through.

Better Off Ted returns tonight at 9:30/8:30c on ABC.

June 22, 2009

June 22, 2009

Baltimore: Charmed, I’m Sure

TheBoy and I visited Baltimore a little while ago. And survived. Without getting shot even once.

Considering that we may be the whitest couple on the planet (seriously, you should see us try to dance), this is quite a feat. I’ll give you a minute to contemplate it.

Done? Cool.

In the wake of “More is More New York-gate 2009,” I requested that we limit ourselves to the following venues: National Aquarium, lunch, and Top of the World Observatory. Because I like sealife, eating, and being high.

Wait, that came out wrong. Eh.

As we approached Baltimore, I took joy at the tall buildings. As much as I love D.C., it lacks in this “big city” aspect.

We arrived before the aquarium opened, so we wandered around the Inner Harbor. Among the sights was this great lighthouse. To be toured on a future date, don’t worry.

I’d been warned that the aquarium wasn’t as good as the Shedd in Chicago. Then again, most things pale in comparison to their Chicago archetypes, so it’s only to be expected. I quite enjoyed the fish, frogs, turtles, and jellyfish.

The jellyfish exhibit was newly remodeled, and you could tell. So much high-tech signage, you guys. It was like being on the deck of the Starship Enterprise.

We ate lunch at the Hard Rock Café. TheBoy had been previously (to the one in Atlanta), but I never had and wanted to try it. Little did I know that it was THE LOUDEST RESTAURANT IN THE HISTORY OF MAN. I mean, I’ll bet the freaking Coliseum was quieter.

It’s a good thing my sandwich was so tasty. Chicken and avocado to the rescue.

Our final stop was the Top of the World observatory. Twenty-seven stories up. Again, not as good as Chi-town’s John Hancock or Sears Tower, but still pretty freaking awesome.

After a quick pit stop for me to get the world’s best ice cream sandwich, we called it a day and headed back to Virginia.

Baltimore’s nickname is “Charm City.” After one (shooting-free) visit, I can attest that the moniker works.

June 19, 2009

June 19, 2009

I’m Still Here

Wow, this past week was something else.

I’m pleased to report that I managed to figure out the correct 8-digit (!) figure to send along to Congress. There’s no way in hell I ever imagined that this would be my life, but whatever.

I’m less pleased to report that I was told my water bottle would give me cancer. Who knew that a “7” surrounded by happy recycling arrows actually means “grim death”? I’ve been shopping around for one; my main requirements are 1) pink and 2) plastic. Oh, and 3) non-cancerous. On the off chance that I do make it past age 40, I’d rather die because of a chocolate-induced coma and not because I chose a drinking container from the dollar store, y’know?

Target to the rescue! I'm thinking about going with one of these:

I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Now that my epic wrestling match with Excel is over, I’m free to OMGWTF about this. Because the sentence “I AM SO STOKED” does not even begin to cover it. (Though “I am the world’s biggest dork” comes a bit closer.)

I’ll close with two quotes from co-workers. In case you can’t tell, they’re both about me. Ahem.

Quote of the Week:
“Have you seen her office? You could do surgery in there.”

Quote of the Week, Runner-Up:
“You could throw spitballs at me and I’d still like you.”

I obviously have WAY more leniency at work than I thought.

Happy Friday, everybody.

June 15, 2009

June 15, 2009

Silly Congress

Lest you worry that I've fallen headfirst down a well or into a pile of sandwiches, please know that I'm spending my workdays this week plugging away at a big project instead of writing vaguely-interesting things for you people.

I'm afraid that the Congressional Budget Justification waits for no man blog. Alas.

I shall return next week, assuming I don't off myself first in an Excel-induced rage.

We'll have stuff to discuss.

June 12, 2009

June 11, 2009

June 11, 2009

Remember This? Volume 12: The Magic School Bus

We all have fond memories of our favorite elementary school teacher. Mine was probably my K5 (yeah, I also went to K4, yay Milwaukee Public Schools) teacher, Mrs. Muenter. That may not actually be how you spell her name; spelling didn’t seem that important in kindergarten.

Anyway, Mrs. Muenter rocked because she could play the piano, and accompanied us as we sang…some patriotic song every morning. I think it was My Country Tis of Thee. Definitely not the national anthem, anyway. Or God Bless America (yay Milwaukee Public Schools).

Mrs. Muenter was also just the right amount of maternal without being like an actual parent. A kindergartener doesn’t need another mom. She needs someone who always has giant red pencils and the ability to read upside-down so her listeners can see the pictures. Oh, and also, maybe some toys. I’m just sayin’.

However, despite her awesomeness, Mrs. Muenter is certainly no match for Ms. Frizzle, the teacher of nine lucky children whose adventures were recorded in The Magic School Bus. That woman was a pretty kickass field trip planner, people. I never rode the bus to school, so I guess I can’t definitively say that our buses couldn’t travel back in time or inside the human body. But somehow, I doubt it (yay Milwaukee Public Schools).

I learned a lot from The Magic School Bus, but that was only half the point. Just as important was pretending that somewhere, somehow, such a class could exist. We took field trips to the museum. They took field trips to SPACE.

Baked into a pie? YES, PLEASE!

June 10, 2009

June 10, 2009

In My Opinion: Terminator Salvation

My pervasive geekdom aside, I’m not a huge Terminator fan. This shouldn’t be a shock; consider my “Will I like it?” checklist, sci-fi version:

1. Does it have hobbits?
2. Does it have wizards?
3. Does it have Cylons?

For this franchise, that would be a no times three. I saw the first two movies forever ago on video (that’s right—VHS, baby) and the third in the theater. I’ve seen an episode or two of the tv series as well, though I was mostly distracted by the fact that Brian Austin Green has apparently not aged at all since his 90210 days. Has he sold his soul to the devil or what?

Luckily, the beauty of a reboot film is that you need to know almost nothing about the previous works. It might even be better if you go in tabula rasa, since you won’t catch the creative license the PTB had to take.

Don’t be deceived by the trailers; this film is as much Sam Worthington’s as it is Christian Bale’s. You know I love me some Christian Bale, but I have to give props to Worthington. He managed to make the toaster robot/human hybrid character sympathetic. Whereas Christian Bale’s main attractions as John Connor were some fancy fightin’ and a lot of SCRRRRUFF.

I actually had trouble processing all the time travel conundrums inherent in the plotline. John Connor has to save his father…who is a teenager…so he can go back in time…to father John Connor…who will grow up to save him…ARGH DOES NOT COMPUTE MUST HAVE SNACK.

What I actually did was focus on the “OOH, IT’S SO SHINY” aspect of the film. Understand that TheBoy and I saw Terminator Salvation in New York, on a screen that could best be described as “bigass.” If you can at all arrange a similar viewing setup, please do, because this movie will knock your socks off. There is a giant robot with a machine gun for a head. There are robot sea creatures. Holy crap, you guys. Holy crap.

Though the film brings up interesting questions about the nature of humanity, the dangers of technology, and the morality of death, I won’t get into those here. Summer movies such as this one shouldn’t require you to think, though it’s (to me) a great surprise when they do. Those of you looking for a thinker-with-booms will be pleased.

But so will those of you looking for just the booms.

June 9, 2009

June 9, 2009

Things I’ve Read: Memoirs of a Geisha

Though I too often find myself disappointed by a “classic” book (Possession, I’m looking at you), I occasionally get pleasantly surprised by a book I expected very little of. So it was with Memoirs of a Geisha.

Westerners like you (and—let’s face it—me) probably see the word “geisha” and equate it with “prostitute.” However, a truer interpretation of the word would probably be “companion.” Geisha were paid to entertain. Through dance, and music, and the tea ceremony. None of that is to say that geisha were never paid for sex. But that certainly wasn’t the point of having geisha come to your trippin’ parties, yo.

The book is narrated by Sayuri, now retired and living in New York City. She tells her life story in flashback, from her poor childhood through her adventures as a geisha. Like so many protagonists do, Sayuri’s childhood was poor and harsh. Her father was old and her mother was dying, so they sold Sayuri and her sister into the geisha life. Sayuri actually starts as a maid but eventually becomes a geisha. What she doesn’t know is the hand pulling the puppet strings is the man she has a crush on and who will eventually become her patron. It’s all very tidy.

As you’d expect in this sort of exotic setting, Sayuri meets plenty of colorful characters, from the women that own the geisha house to the various customers she entertains at parties. She evens gets a nemesis in the form of rival geisha Hatsumomo. Probably the kindest way to describe Hatsumomo would be “batshit crazy.” So yeah.

My friend Amber sometimes refers to a film genre she calls “dancing against adversity movies.” I like to think of this book as “geishaing against adversity.” Because despite long odds, Sayuri goes from obscurity to being one of the most successful geisha in Kyoto. Despite, y’know, the an economic depression and that darn World War.

Still, I’d rather be a management analyst any day.

The swan who goes on living in its parents’ tree will die; this is why those who are beautiful and talented bear the burden of finding their own way in the world.

Destiny isn’t always like a party at the end of the evening. Sometimes it’s nothing more than struggling through life from day to day.

Hopes are like hair ornaments. Girls want to wear too many of them. When they become old women they look silly wearing even one.

June 8, 2009

June 8, 2009

Listen to This, Volume 21: Various Artists

The pop stations here seem to be running the same 5 or so songs on a constant loop. Though I no longer drive to work, I nevertheless find myself driving around NoVa quite a bit.

Here, then, a few of the songs I’ve been hearing:

Gives You Hell
All-American Rejects

See the video here.

What can I say? It’s catchy. A good break-up song, should you ever find yourself needing one.

Right Round
Flo Rida featuring Kesha

I am entirely too white to provide any additional commentary on this song.

Dead and Gone
TI featuring Justin Timberlake

I’ve taught myself the chorus on this one. I daren’t hope to learn the verses. Ever. The white boy sticks to singing the chorus, and so shall I.

Britney Spears

I’m sure this song is really old, but I’m just now getting exposed to it. I guess Britney’s turned herself around? It’s a wonder what babysitters and some underwear will do for you.

June 5, 2009

June 5, 2009

Say Think Cheese

News broke last week that the Old Dominion will no longer allow Virginians to smile when taking their driver’s license picture.

My penchant for grinning aside, I heartily concur with the policy.

I’ve never smiled for a driver’s license photo. My philosophy is that if I get pulled over and have to whip out license and registration, I’m certainly not going to be flashing my pearly whites. I (ahem) may be flashing other things, but not teeth.* It would probably be best for me to adopt a slightly-annoyed/hungry look in this sort of picture…oh, wait, that’s already my default expression. Never mind.

We’re told the no smiling rule has been effected because Virginia’s shiny new facial recognition software works best on faces with a “neutral expression.” I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works in the movies, but whatever. I just watched Eagle Eye (Shia, hi!), and there were some very not-neutral expressions in that. It’s almost like cinema isn’t real or something.

I didn’t smile for my passport picture, but that was partially because I was trying to look mature for once (just for you, Department of State) and partially because I’d had to drive to a shady part of Arlington to find the one post office that processes passports on Saturdays. It is conveniently located in an area I like to label “loitering day worker/taco stand central.” I FIT RIGHT IN, HA HA HA.

Perhaps the saddest part of this whole ordeal is that Virginians can no longer get licenses on the same day. The new security features in the cards require processing at a central facility; the finished product takes a couple of days. I don’t know about you, but being able to walk out of the DMV with DL in hand after passing the road test** was a pretty good feeling.

Good enough to smile about, really.

* Okay, who are we kidding? In the event of a pull-over, nothing will be flashed. Nothing to see here, folks. Move it along.
** ON MY FIRST TRY, thank you very much. I can drive well. Sometimes.

June 4, 2009

New York, New York: Day 4

The last day of the trip. The weather all weekend had been forecast scattered storms, but we’d been blessed so far with dry (if a bit chilly, oddly) temps. Since most of our outdoor stuff was done, we didn’t care if it rained a bit on Tuesday.

Or so I thought.

Museum of Natural History

You know I couldn’t pass up a museum featured in Friends as the workplace of one Ross Geller, right? Plus, the huge collection of dinosaur bones meant there was plenty to keep TheBoy occupied.

In fact, we didn’t have time to see much more than the dinosaur bones (a bit of a sore spot, but let’s move on), though I did get a few cool pictures of the outside from something called “The Astor Turret.” If only I might someday have a turret name after me. Someday.

Oh, and I made us go see the shininess. Because I am a girl. Hi.

Helicopter Tour

TheBoy surprised me with this one, though I’m certain he enjoyed it just as much (or, let’s face it, more) than I did. I let him sit up front, since it was his actual birthday (happy birthday, honey!) and I was in a pretty foul mood.

The beauty of a helicopter tour is that you get to see the sights quickly and from an unusual vantage point. We didn’t have time to go all the way to the Statue of Liberty, for example, but we got to admire her from afar.

And that was the trip to New York. We did a few things I haven’t written about (oh, get your mind out of the gutter), like lunch at the Times Square Olive Garden (private joke) and a few more trips to Times Square. But you’ve gotten the gist of it. I certainly hope to go back; it’s only about 4 hours from D.C. And I already have a list.

But for a first trip, not bad. Not bad at all.

June 3, 2009

June 3, 2009

New York, New York: Day 3

USS Intrepid

I’m told the USS Intrepid has been closed for quite some time but just reopened. Since it involved PLANES on a BOAT, it was a win-win for TheBoy. I guess it would be like if they opened a thrift store inside a restaurant for me. I wouldn’t know what to look at first.

Since it was Memorial Day and Fleet Week, the ship was swarming with people and with sailors. No complaints here. Hello.

(I would like to here point out how good TheBoy was at letting me look but not touch the whole weekend. The man’s a saint, I tell you.)

Tasti D-Lite

I wanted to get this 60% because I’d heard it was wonderful, 20% because it was mentioned by Michael Ausiello, and 20% because it was on Sex and the City. Shutup.

Seriously, though, how do you not love that giant mound of froyo? And it only has, like, 200 calories!

Central Park Zoo

You know that my three goals at any zoo are pandas, penguins, and flamingos. No flamingos here, but the red panda and penguins were pretty darn cute. And I didn’t even have to punt any kids out of the way to see them.

F.A.O. Schwartz

Man, I thought Toys ‘R Us was good. Compared to this place, that was nothing.


We ate at an Italian place called Aleo. I did not get a picture of my giant pizza because I forgot to whip out my camera before STUFFING MY FACE.

The ferry ride back on Monday was particularly nice; we hit it right at the golden sunset hour.

Tomorrow: dinosaurs, flight, and saying goodbye.

June 2, 2009

June 2, 2009

New York, New York: Day 2

Despite the fact that this trip was all about celebrating TheBoy, I managed to slip a very Heather-y day in on Sunday.

NBC Studio Tour

While waiting for the tour, I watched the Today Show taping. Not much was going on outside; they were prepping for something or other. I did, however, get a peek of Lester Holt inside, and that was pretty cool.

No pictures were allowed on the tour (something about “copyright infringement,” though I suspect the real reason is spelled more like “we want you to buy only the overpriced pictures sold in the gift shop”). However, the two guides (pages, natch) were perky-but-knowledgeable. We saw the studios of CNBC, NBC Nightly News, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Conan, where you at?), and Saturday Night Live. All were smaller than you’d think, but I still enjoyed getting to stand in the actual room. Goodness knows I’ll never be on or invited to any of these programs, so it’s as good as it gets for me.

And can we talk about that gift shop? It’s NBC.com’s store come to life. I wanted to buy at least one of every Office-related item. And two Dundie awards. I kept it to a single refrigerator magnet, though.

And that, my friends, is what they call willpower.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

So much Monet. I am not even kidding, you guys.

The place was huge, in a very Art Institute of Chicago-like way. I LOVED it. Could totally have spent the whole damn weekend there.

Terminator Salvation

More on this next week. We saw it at a theater on 42nd Street that was a gazillionteen stories tall. I think I got a nosebleed on the way to the screening room. Had to staunch the wound with my nachos. (Not really, but how often do the blogs you read use the word “staunch”? Huh? Huh?”


Mexican food at a cute place just off one of the avenues. I got flautas!

Tomorrow: seamen (tee-hee), fauna, and more toys.

June 1, 2009

June 1, 2009

New York, New York: Day 1

I’m going to spend the first four days of this week recapping the four-day trip TheBoy and I took to New York to celebrate his birthday. Since it conveniently fell around Memorial Day, we were able to combine a holiday off with some vacation time to stretch it into four days.

My first thought: “I get 96 STRAIGHT HOURS with TheBoy!”

My second thought: “TheBoy has to tolerate me for 96 STRAIGHT HOURS.”

But we made it. (Keys to success included chocolate, multiple toy stores, and flat shoes.)

The Drive Up

It’s not often that I get to visit five states in a single day. I was too tired to whip my camera out to take pictures of the signage (e.g. “Welcome to Delaware”); however, I did learn that Baltimore has one kickass tunnel. And that the New Jersey Turnpike isn’t very turny at all. What it IS is expensive, but I guess that’s one way to keep the riffraff off the roads.


In the same way that some people assume the Smithsonian is one museum (it’s like 14 museums in two cities, people), some people assume Broadway is one theater. HAHAHAHAHA, no. There is a plethora of theaters showing all sorts of things. TheBoy sent me a list of possible shows and I had a little wtf moment trying to pick one. We settled on Chicago, because we’d both seen and liked the movie. Also because it’s set in Chicago, holla.

TheBoy got us seats in the front row, because he is awesome. It’s stuff like this that made up for the times I had to, like, look at dinosaur bones for an hour. You win some, you lose some.

My fellow SatC fans might be interested to know that the guy who played Smith Jared was in this show and that he has gained a LOT of weight. The Absolut Hunk has become the Absolut Chunk. Ba DUM bum.


He had fancy sushi.

I had a bento box. So much wonderful containment!

Times Square

It was at this point that I realized how different NYC is from anywhere else, including my beloved Chicago (holla). The lights, the people, the noise…craziness. And awesomeness.

We made stops at Toys ‘R Us, the Hershey Store, and M&M World. Because, um, we are six years old. Shutup.

Tomorrow: Tina Fey, Monet, and flautas.