Travel Upcoming – Parts French and Swiss
July 10, 2011
I realize it is pretty sad that the most recently tagged travel posted on our website, called adventured.net, is from 2009!
So finally, after almost 7 years of being together and equally as long talking about going to Paris together, Justin and I are finally making it a reality. And I hope, I REALLY hope, that I can completely change his mind about Paris. I know he was nonplussed with it when he went during college. Granted, he was really enjoying London and his time in Paris wasn’t even a FULL day, plus he didn’t get to go with me… So, yes, I am hoping he has a better time and enjoys it more this go-round.
One of his coworkers was awesome enough to give him a guidebook to Paris for his birthday, which I have been poring over. I had no idea, for instance, that Paris was founded in 250 BC by Celtic fishermen. I did know that the original settlement of Paris was on the Île de la Cité (thanks to Val!). I didn’t know that there was a ‘ring road’ (Boulevard Périphérique) which set the unofficial boundaries of the city… and on it goes.
Needless to say, I am enthusiastically anticipating our vacation. We’re going to be spending part of the trip in Paris and part of the trip with BigP in Zweissimen. I am so looking forward to seeing BigP and spending time in Switzerland in the summer which will be entirely new to me.
Here is a starter list for things to see:
- La Defense – I’ve never been to this monument, just glimpsed it from atop the Arch Du Triomphe. Might be cool to take an elevator up and stroll around this completely different, business district.
- Pompidou Center – because I oh-so-love modern art… :/
- Musee D’Orsay
- Eiffel Tour
- some haute cuisine establishment to dine (TBD)
- tour of champagne?
- Pere Lachaise
Erika Berger and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Movies vs. Books
April 20, 2011
I guess there are a good number of things I could write about. Several topical things can happen in the course of one day that occur to me – funny thoughts over something I’ve heard (“it’s an ever revolving beast”) or insights about something I’ve read; maybe even something as straightforward and simple as an opinion formed on a quotation or theme in a book I am reading, a dissenting viewpoint… and yet, I never seem to manifest those ideas into reality. Like so many other ideas, I abort them before they’re fully formed. I often tend to worry or think things to death. I over-analyze most things in an attempt to find meaning, as if there should always be so much more meaning than what is readily available. But there is just a denseness and nothing… Why is it that it seems so often the true meaning of something is so much more easily understood and superficial than it feels like it should be?
At any rate, I’ve read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books (including The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest) and have since seen the movies. The books were enjoyable enough. The movies were not objectionable, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say they were entertaining. I was surprised that the role of Salandar was played in a way so as not to be repulsive or out of character, where I am sure it would’ve been if it had been undertaken by an American studio. I was at first glance put-off by, then found I enjoyed the fact, that the majority of the characters were played by average and less-than-average looking people. We get so used to the crazy idealized Hollywood cookie cutter types that it’s strange to see anything different. As luck would have it, there will soon be a debacle of a Hollywood version of this movie coming out later this year or early next. I don’t think it’s even possible for Hollywood to attempt to make a movie about a female heroine without her being ridiculously sexy and, in the case of Salandar, out-of-character for the film’s protagonist.
Another thing that didn’t bother me about the movies vs. the books was the divergence from the storylines. Parts of the tales and the endings were changed or omitted. This usually really upsets me, but not this time. Probably because the writing in the book was straight forward and the characters weren’t full of depth or transformation.
One thing that struck me as absolutely dismally incorrect and reprehensible was the portrayal of Erika Berger in the movie as a sort of weak, helpless, pathetic character versus the tough female powerhouse generally full of self-confidence that I took her for in the book. Often after reading a book or seeing a movie I’ll go on a Google-spree to see if anyone shares my thoughts. On this point, my search turned up no results. I was pretty surprised that other folks out there weren’t also vexed by the different characterizations of Berger in the books vs. the movies… Even if you haven’t read the books, you have to agree that the character in the movies is obnoxious and unlikeable. Erika’s stance on publishing the issue of Millennium during the Salandar trial was repulsively unlike the position I think the woman took in the book – why was no one on IMDB or any article I could find making the same annoying conclusion I’d drawn? I don’t get it. So, I guess, since I cannot find anyone to collude with, I’ll just have to put my own opinion out there. Was Erika even considered Editor-in-Chief in the first film? She seemed so minor a player. If I had more time and motivation, I’d do a side-by-side comparison between the movies and the books.
One thing I find incredibly surprising is, knowing that people are generally ludicrously selfish, that they don’t mind reading about other sickeningly selfish people. For example, just to stay on topic with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the characters of Berger, Blomkvist, and Salandar seem to generally care primarily for themselves and their own well-being. The most outstanding example of vapid selfishness in modern “literature” would have to go to Twilight, but that’s obvious and neither here nor there.
January 17, 2011
I feel sad seeing this totally static, decaying site. Wondering if it would be best to just sort of conclude the site and leave up a placeholder page or… something totally different. Either way, it can’t be something that requires a tremendous amount of time and care, at this point. Maybe my days of blogging are over. Hopefully something will occur to me soon.
November 12, 2010
Staring out the window of my parents’ house, the sky seems a richer, brighter blue than I ever can recall. One aspect of things that doesn’t seem familiar. It’s nice to move through this big house with its spacious, airy kitchen and make myself a cup of coffee. Feels normal. Throwing on a pair of shorts this morning, shorts that I found in the dresser in my room, I was tempted to go for a quick run, like all those mornings so long ago. It felt easy and possible, unlike the burden it is for me, for some reason, in NY. That being well and true, the temperature outside is almost 100 degrees already.
Being here, driving along 35 coming down from Austin and into San Antonio, I am reminded of the ease of life here. At least my life before I was concerned with having a ‘career’ and the type of meaning I was searching for was of a whole different ilk, something far less tangible yet rewarding to the self and… in an ironic way, hollowing at the same time.
Speaking of time, there used to be so much more of it. Working and planning an event was a real possibility. Val’s graduation party came to mind as I rode home last night. The ease of meeting people at boutiques to shop for dresses, taking responsibility of getting the cake, the flowers, of gathering photos and videos to display to the crowd the night of the grand event. So much more possible planning a graduation party then than even being involved with any wedding planning now. Sometimes I can see it’s taking a toll on Justin, but more often I have to be told. Last night he was in a foul mood over my lack of availablity, and on the train into Manhattan yesterday morning he described a conversation he’d had with someone about the wedding planning. They, asuming stereotypical gender roles and relationship dynamics, asked him how much if at all he was involved with the planning. He frankly told them he was doing almost everything himself. Things like that are heavy weights on my chest, yet I am stubborn and persistent, often in a single-minded way. Somehow, though, despite my work constraints I need to be around more for him, invovled more for him, for us.
How divergent these streams of consciousness can be. A bird bouncing playfully from tree limb to tree limb out front once more distracts me from my sinking thoughts. I’ve been awake for half an hour now with my cup of coffee and my note pad. With my father’s cowboy hat on my head and my clothes selected from the time capsule of my room. Green umbros and a black and silver spaghetti strap xs tank top from Express. Used to adore that store, but think this shirt may’ve been Val’s. As I rummaged through my chest of drawers this morning, I discovered 2 swimsuits I like. I’d been wondering about their fate for a while. Should’ve occurred to me they were in the time capsule. Though coming home has a slightly less bizarre and and eerie affect than it used to. For years, the calendar hanging in my bathroom displayed Oct. 2006, the month we packed up and left for New York. A few visits ago I decided it would be best to change it. Who needs a reminder anyway. Coming home causes one to reflect enough as it is, to remember, to compare – to see how different things are now , how different oneself is now – for better or worse. The floors need to be swept, need to be vaccuumed. My father’s office is a disaster of debris – a miserable thing to walk across. Not that he ever cleaned it. I suspect the culprit of its state lies in the fact that his doting mother, who lives no further than the length of two football fields from here, has distanced herself a bit lately. Family is an interesting game to play.
Anywho – Dad’s 60th birthday party is tonight. Today, my Aunt Sha Sha and cousin Sheila are throwing a bridal shower for me. It is very sweet of them, but there’s still a small, introverted creature inside me that’s not looking forward to the situation.
Ironic human that I am, craving attention while also despising the thought of being the center of it. Time to get ready to get.
"Where have you guys been?"
October 20, 2010
Answer: Preparing for our wedding
Filling My Solitary Time
June 13, 2010
I have to admit, I was none too happy about the idea of spending the weekend alone. On Friday evening, Justin left for Texas to fetch his nephews who will be spending the next week with us. On top of the fact that I’ve been sick with a sort of cold for the last week, I just didn’t know what I would do with myself. I figured I’d be bored and hermetic. In actuality, my solitary weekend has been a sort of lovely ‘vacation’ of sorts.
I’ve been able to do whatever I felt like without consulting a soul. It’s been rather nice not to have to speak to someone – not to ask “what would you like for dinner?” or “can we watch a boring documentary tonight?” or “can we open a bottle of wine?” I don’t have to ask myself a single thing. Yes, we can do all of those things. I didn’t feel guilty about spending hours at a salon having my hair done. Granted, that’s one of my least favorite past-times, more so when I don’t feel well, but I didn’t feel like I was taking my time away from anyone else. It was mine alone to squander. I read a ton. I watched two movies I doubt Justin would have much interest in. Granted, we called each other perpetually and I sent him lots of photos. I definitely wouldn’t prefer this more isolated lifestyle long-term, but it actually was a fairly pleasant respite. The puppies didn’t seem to mind too much either, as they had practically the entire bed to themselves.
I also had some time this weekend to add a small feature to our website, which I hope to build on. I simply changed my “2010 Goals” page to a “Randomness” page and added sections for readings + quotes. Hopefully this will allow me to share more literary findings with you, my loyal readers. Though there isn’t much there now, it’s sort of meant to send you off on an entertaining, time-squandering internet expedition. I hope you enjoy! Now I am off to the airport to pick up my weary travelers. Adieu!
Pupcake Time! Cupcakes for our Dogs' Birthdays
May 4, 2010
I can’t believe our babies are three already! Today marks approximately their 3rd birthday. To celebrate, Justin baked pupcakes for them! He used the same recipe as the creation he made for their first birthday, the puppy dog bone cake. This time he divided the recipe into three cupcakes. They were happy and gobbled down almost an entire cupcake before they started slowing down.
Yummy Valentine's Day!
February 15, 2010
I just want to wish a Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone. I hope it was great! Justin made delicious waffles this morning with strawberries, powdered sugar, and whipped cream, then for dinner we went to a Spanish restaurant and indulged in some tapas and flavorful prime rib. Definitely a food themed day. Hope you all had a great time!
Thoughts of a Random Variety – Yesterday
February 4, 2010
Who knew that brie was the cheese of kings? (Seen at the Lenny’s in Rockefeller center concourse.)
The good thing about where I work is it’s very easy to focus on just work and not get confused about friendships or comfortability.
I hate when people say flushing out when they mean fleshing out.
I find it highly amusing that my coworker is sitting there playing brick breaker during this meeting.
Does it ever really freeze in Montauk? (I was thinking about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.)
“Iran sends rocket with animal menagerie into space” was a headline on the news monitor in the office elevator. I thought it was pretty interesting word usage. First, I thought of the animals done up like circus animals, then I thought of the Tennesee Williams play, and finally I landed on the glass case in my grandmother’s house that has it’s own animal menagerie inside.
Willkommen 2010 – Let's Set Some Goals!
January 11, 2010
Wow we made it through another doozy of a year! And lookie here, it’s a new year, yet again. Last year around this time, I wrote about Resolutions in Single Word Form. Now it’s time to reflect, evaluate, and set some goals for 2010.
Looking back at 2009
My words for 2009 were Execute, Meaning and Fun.
Fun: Despite the many difficulties of 2009, I have to admit I did have a lot of fun this past year. From those warm spring and summer nights dancing with friends to really getting to know BigP and spending time with both him and Val! in Switzerland, I’d say the relationships I’ve enjoyed this year were the main reason it was so enjoyable. Having BigP and Roger come to NYC and then sharing Texas and my family with them was absolutely special. Tubing on the San Marcos River was just like stepping into carefree and comfortable old times.
Justin and I were able to share our home state with our friends Alex and Marisa in 2009; the fact that Fiesta was going on made this especially cool, although we were reminded of how unrelenting the heat can be practically year round. In April, we had the opportunity to take a group trip to Puerto Rico with some friends that turned out to be a lot of fun. We also had the chance to host both friends and family for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners plus we were able to spend time with our families in Texas in December – one of the most enjoyable trips back home I’ve had in recent years. We spent the majority of the late summer through fall really delving into nature, whether it was a car trip, camping trip, or hotel overnight. We got out and really experienced the beauty of autumn in the northeast this year – something I’ve wanted to do since moving up to New York. Other awesome, fun-filled events include the birth of my first little cousin, my Mom having an important birthday at which a lot of friends and relatives came out to celebrate, and Justin and I hosting some incredibly cool couch surfers.
Execute: From writing songs (and finishing one), to working on short stories and really delving into my new job, I think my execution this year was none too shabby. I also wrote some travel articles for the Examiner website (as lame as I think that site is), which are pretty decent, though I could’ve written more and I would prefer it if they were being hosted in a more meaningful place, which brings me to my next word.
Meaning: This is a constant search, a never-ending struggle, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Some of my entries from last year are good testaments to the fact that I am constantly searching for meaning, self, and fulfillment. This is just part of the human condition. I am not sure if I am any closer to finding meaning now as I was a year ago, though in some ways maybe I am. I frequently find old journals I’ve started and put down again – most of them are from 2004 to present, and they all share the same themes. At times, I’ve glanced through journals as old as 1994 to find that not much has changed.
Sheila, Thao, and Mike participated in setting goal words for 2009. I asked them if they felt they successfully executed their words and in what ways. What would they have done differently? Given that there was just over a month left in 2009 at the time I asked the question, I wondered what they would do to send off their 2009 word selections with enthusiasm.
Sheila’s words for 2009 were Create, Excitement, and Enjoy:
so I really thought about this for a moment…
I think that this last year has been an epic journey of the unknown with peaks of flurried wonders and anxiousness. I have enjoyed being pregnant but even more so I have loved every moment my dearest little boy entered my life. I would say the best creation would be him but also of a wonderful love filled house with a complete feeling that I thought would never happen.
When I wrote create I was thinking of all the cute, wonderful little things that I might crochet or sew for Brennan or you or the family but in turn it has been that he is here and now I get to fill his thoughts with wonderment and knowledge. My excitement level sure has jumped ten fold. I have been on the edge of my seat for the unknown things that we go through nowadays with Brennan. When you figure him out he changes. He has 2 bottom teeth now and is about to crawl…I really enjoy this type of excitement too other than just having the single/married type of fun that comes without having a child.
One word that sums up the year 2009 was ‘enjoy’. I have enjoyed all the fantastic visits from you and the rest of the family. I enjoy every night I get to put Brennan to bed and he rests his head against my chest sucking on his thumb and buh buh’ing to get first syllables out and to hear himself. I enjoy my trips to SA to visit with Nanny and others.
So now we come to what I would have changed…hm.
Leading up to 2009 I would have not charged anything on my credit card since I hate paying bills and would like to spoil myself, Justin and Brennan. I would have eaten a little better (I am on the right track now, I promise).
To send the words that I chose off for eternity isn’t something I want to do. What I want is to build on them though. I would like to use them for the building blocks for the years to come. How is that!?
Do you wanna know my words for 2010? How about Relax, Focus and Learn LOVE YOU!!
Thao’s words for 2009 were Research, Action, and Celebrate:
Thanks for following up. I had forgotten about this but I’m happy to report that I’ve successfully executed 2 of the 3 items: Research. and Action. Did a ton of research when on my projects, switching jobs, choosing a church, and finding a coop. So many accomplishments but not much celebration (except for baptism)!
Still need to get together for karaoke to celebrate the new job and sing ‘reunited and it feels so good’. Then once the COOP goes through, I can throw a big loud housewarming too!
Thank you so much for reminding me!
Please post a follow-up for yourself on your blog too! I’d love to read it.
Mike’s words for 2009 were Explore, Complete, and Connect.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a written response from Mike to tell you just how well his goals were achieved, but from conversing with him, I know he did very well. I also know he’s selected his 2010 words already. Mike traveled quite a bit this year, visiting New York, Chicago, Italy and Ireland. He also worked on music and photography. Probably where he put the most effort was in connecting. He met quite a number of new people through the power of the internet and made some serious headway in connected with old friends (myself included, I am happy to say). Hopefully he’ll share his thoughts about his 2009 results and his goals for 2010.
2010 Goal Setting
In deference to the man who gave me the three word idea, I am quoting his 2010 blog where he makes this point: “I set goals around these three words. I build deadlines and projects around these words.” What I am taking from this and doing differently this year is that it’s not just enough to keep the words in mind and lackadaisically let them lead you from activity to activity. I really should be more proactive about my words. I am going to set goals and tackle them like I do with my work – as true projects with deliverables and timelines. Sure, it doesn’t sound quite as heady or fun, but maybe I will get some of the results I want. I am also considering setting up a separate project page on this site to track the status of my goals for the year, although that may be taking it a bit far. I guess creating urgency and accountability is really what I am after with this.
That being said, my 2010 words are Creativity. Sharing. Fun.
Yes, I am including fun yet again because I have to be honest – it doesn’t make sense not to live for fun (to paraphrase Smash Mouth). And I realize my words are pretty lighthearted this year. I figure I may as well spend that last year of my 20s focusing on stuff that’s not so serious.
My big initiatives for 2010 are pretty varied. I’d like to execute my 7 deadly sins photography project this year (the one I dreamed up about 10 years ago), create a video miniseries for which I have the first short installment written, write/record a few new songs, and travel. Of course, traveling is was and always shall be on my list of things to do. This year we’re planning a little weekend trip to Ottawa to ski on the Rideau Canal, a group trip to Puerto Rico or somewhere in the Caribbean, and possibly a honeymoon in South Africa or Argentina (although Europe is always a possibility). I’d also like to go to Switzerland and Germany, but I am not sure it will be possible. The biggest event of the year for Justin and I will be our wedding in October. We have 0 details firmed up, but that’s what part of this year is for, after all. Some other things I think would be fun to do this year include learning some Spanish, taking a dance class (and just dancing more in general), and maybe delving into acting/public speaking courses. My biggest fear of the year is turning thirty. oy vey.
I hope you guys share your words for the year, resolutions if you’ve set them, goals, hopes, and whatever else comes to mind. Chris Brogan, from whom I got this idea, has some good advice on how to help you set your words for the year.