Thursday, January 31, 2008

Goodbye, January

Nothing like a little word unscrambling to wish January well and welcome February. What do you make of the top one? Leave me a comment with your thoughts - I'm dying to hear them!

(Picture from Fark.)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lost Memories

I'm sad to say that the issues with our wedding videographer have not been resolved after all. We were finally able to view our wedding footage the other day and discovered that we only received 1 hour and 7 minutes of footage. We were guaranteed at least 4-5 hours.

I reported them to the Better Business Bureau in mid-November, but after receiving no response from our videographer, the BBB closed our case. I was willing to let it go until I saw how little footage we ended up with. Granted, the videographer did catch all the important moments, which I am grateful for, but I didn't hire them to do the least amount of work possible.

I am beyond pissed at this company and have decided to take this to the next level. I plan to write out a demand letter (for at least a partial refund) and have it completed by the end of this weekend. Hopefully we can get this completely resolved. If not, small claims court it is.

I don't want to do this at all. More than anything, I just really want to be done with this mess. But I am just too angry to let it go now. It's our wedding video. We put our faith in this company to catch our special day on tape, and they betrayed us. Yes, I realize that sounds melodramatic, but that's how I feel.

I need advice though: how much of a refund should I demand? 25%? 50%? I really don't know - and that's where you come in, readers! Help a sister out!

Thanks in advance.

The Saddest Music in the World

For some reason (hormones, probably), I decided to put together a playlist of my favorite sad songs. I am such a fan of sad music, to the point where I had a hard time picking music to walk down the aisle to for my wedding. All the songs I absolutely loved were so incredibly sad.

Anyway, each one of the songs listed below has guided me through darkness at one time or another. Music is amazing that way.

Also, other people might not think that some or all of these songs are sorrowful, but some of them are sad (to me) because they remind me of certain moments in my life. One particularly problematic song, though, is "Breathe Me," which is what Roy and I consider to be "our song." It was even our first dance song at our wedding. However, its association with the heartbreaking, sob-inducing series finale of Six Feet Under is undeniable.

1) "A Bad Goodbye" - Clint Black & Wynonna Judd
2) "Both Sides Now" - Joni Mitchell
3) "Breathe Me" - Sia
4) "Cleaning Apartment" - Clint Mansell & Kronos Quartet
5) "Crestfallen" - Smashing Pumpkins
6) "Crying" - Don McLean
7) "Disarm" - Smashing Pumpkins
8) "The Drugs Don't Work" - The Verve
9) "Eleanor Rigby" - The Beatles
10) "Everyday Is Like Sunday" - Morrissey
11) "Fade to Black" - Metallica
12) "Foolish Games" - Jewel
13) "Glycerine" - Bush
14) "Good Enough" - Sarah McLachlan
15) "Hallelujah" - Jeff Buckley
16) "Here Comes the Flood" - Peter Gabriel
17) "Hey Jupiter" - Tori Amos
18) "It Can't Rain All the Time" - Jane Siberry
19) "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space" - Spiritualized
20) "Last Night I Dreamt that Somebody Loved Me" - The Smiths
21) "The Last Song" - Elton John
22) "Lightning Crashes" - Live
23) "Me and a Gun" - Tori Amos
24) "Moon River" - Morrissey
25) "My Skin" - Natalie Merchant
26) "Nobody Home" - Pink Floyd
27) "Nothingman" - Pearl Jam
28) "One" - U2
29) "Putting the Damage On" - Tori Amos
30) "The Scientist" - Coldplay
31) "Something I Can Never Have" - Nine Inch Nails
32) "Summer Overture" - Clint Mansell & Kronos Quartet
33) "Trust" - The Cure
34) "The Unforgiven" - Metallica
35) "Wise Up" - Aimee Mann
36) "1000 Oceans" - Tori Amos

Here's "Cleaning Apartment" (man, this song kills me):

And "Breathe Me" (and I cry every single time I watch this video):

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Order in my universe

Organizing things makes me feel good. I spent 2 hours this evening going through this gigantic pile of bills and other random things and filing them away. There's a nice piece of carpet that was hidden for months under this huge stack that is finally getting a chance to breathe again.

I love order. It just makes me happy. Most of the time my life feels extremely busy and chaotic, so it's nice to have some measure of control over my surroundings. I will never be the most organized person in the world, but I still highly enjoy coming up with interesting organizational schemes. It feeds my obsession.

(Picture from KinderArt.)

Music Meme

I got the idea for this here.

Albums that changed my life
Tori Amos - From the Choirgirl Hotel
Peter Gabriel - Up
Dave Matthews Band - Before These Crowded Streets
Pink Floyd - The Wall

Songs I can listen to on repeat
Travis - "One Night"
Sia - "Breathe Me"
Tori Amos - "Sugar" (live from the To Venus and Back album)
Peter Gabriel - "Signal to Noise"
Dave Matthews Band - "Crush"
and about a billion others....

An album I'd take to a deserted island
I'm cheating on this one. I'd take my iPod.

Music that makes me smile
Anything cheesy like Perrey & Kingsley, NKOTB, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, NSync, Lindsay Lohan, etc.

Music that makes me cry
This is a subject for a whole other post.

Music that I wish had been made
If I knew the answer to this question, I'd be a musician, now wouldn't I?

Music that I wish hadn't been made
Most country, although there is some I like.

Music I'm currently into
The Pierces
Tegan & Sara
Manu Chao

Music I've been meaning to explore

People I'm tagging
Everyone. No one. You decide.

Some "funny" stuff

- Spotted on a license plate frame yesterday: In case of rapture, CARS YOURS!

- The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks

- the best rant I've read in quite awhile

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Words and Photos on a Rainy Sunday

I absolutely love clouds, rain, and storms. Needless to say, this past week and especially this weekend have been heaven for me. It has been a quiet weekend, but those are the best kind to have when it's raining outside.

I've been working on several school activities this weekend. For starters, I have to critique some of my classmates' work for my creative writing class. This is proving to be tougher than I originally anticipated, because most of it doesn't really strike a chord with me. I don't find any of it bad, but I don't find it particularly good either. So I'm not really sure what to say.

I am also supposed to turn in a creative work of my own tomorrow, and I've had little success with writing something worthwhile. So I started going through my poetry folders on my computer to find some promising pieces. I revisited some very old poems of mine, and man, they suck. Some of them are decent. All of them need work, even if I once filed them in the "Finished" folder. It's amazing how my perspective on my poetry has changed. I think I am going to turn in a couple of poems that have already been published. Even though they've appeared in print already, they are by no means perfect. It'll be interesting to hear other people's points of view.

In addition to school work, I've been doing a lot of soul searching and thinking about what it is I can realistically devote my life to. I haven't come to any real solutions yet, but one thing I do know is that I don't want to be a sellout. I have been emailing with Crissy, who was my wedding photographer. She also happens to be a person I admire greatly, because she is talented and brave and a positive influence on others. She has reiterated some simple truths that I need to revisit, and I am very grateful for that.

Along with these big things, there are the little things that I've enjoyed this weekend: sleeping in, grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, a smoothie from Juice it up, some fresh flowers, a sandwich from Togo's, a couple of unbearably cute kitties, good music, my awesome husband, and a few photos.

It's been a good weekend. I wish I wasn't dreading this coming week so much.

Another Vegas Playlist

I have to confess that having a monthly theme is getting to be a pain in the ass. Maybe it's just that I don't really know what to say about the music I like, except the effect it's had on my life. I'm by no means a good reviewer. The best I can really do is offer another cool playlist, which we listened to on our trip to Vegas. It's called ...But I've Got to Get to Vegas, a reference you probably won't get unless you're a Tori Amos fan.

1) "One Night" - Travis
2) "Sticks and Stones" - the Pierces
3) "Suddenly I See" - KT Tunstall
4) "Mrs. Robinson" - the Lemonheads
5) "Blind Willie McTell" - Bob Dylan
6) "Kashmir" - Led Zeppelin
7) "Woke Up This Morning" (Acoustic) - A3
8) "Sinnerman" - Nina Simone
9) "Surfing on a Rocket" - Air
10) "Rehab" - Amy Winehouse
11) "Boston" - Augustana
12) "Poison" - Bell Biv Devoe
13) "Longshot" - Antigone Rising
14) "Call Me" - Blondie
15) "Tender" - Blur
16) "Fortunate Son" - Wyclef Jean
17) "Hash Pipe" - Weezer
18) "Where the Streets Have No Name" - U2
19) "Riot Poof" - Tori Amos
20) "Girlfriend in a Coma" - the Smiths
21) "Black" - Sarah McLachlan
22) "Crush with Eyeliner" - R.E.M.
23) "Under the Milky Way" - the Church
24) "In My Place" - Coldplay
25) "Drowning by Dreamtime" - Cynthia Glass
26) "Ants Marching" (live) - Dave Matthews Band
27) "Under Pressure" - David Bowie & Queen

Because I didn't include any direct links to the songs, here's a couple of videos. The first one is "One Night" by Travis, which is easily my favorite song of the moment. The second is "Under the Milky Way" by the Church, which I have been playing constantly for the past year or so.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

My New Toy

After much deliberation and research, I finally found a good starting lens. I am slowly but surely learning more about lenses, though I think it's going to be a long while until I have all the information committed to memory. It's pretty much like a foreign language to me.

Anyway, this is my new toy! It's not a Canon, but I think it'll work out just fine for my needs. Now I just have to wait patiently for it to get here.

I am anxious to see the differences between the lens I have now and this new one. I can't wait to get it and start playing!

Friday, January 25, 2008

My name is not Veslie, and other random thoughts on a Friday morning.

1) Everytime I get correspondence from DSW, it's addressed to Veslie. Hello, people! Have you ever met anyone named Veslie? The one thing that makes this okay is that said correspondence usually contains a coupon for $10 or $20 off a pair of shoes.

2) I'm wearing all black today. I don't think I've worn all black since high school.

3) I brought my camera to work with me. I spend all the light hours of the day in the office, so I figure I can at least try to take some pictures during my lunch hour.

4) This has been the most enjoyable work week I've had in quite some time. I've been productive and have felt useful and utilized. I've still had quite a bit of downtime (obviously, since I'm writing this at work), but overall, I feel like I can keep hanging in there if this keeps up.

5) My classes are going great. I have enjoyed this quarter immensely so far. I hope to have a completed thesis proposal by the end of the quarter.

6) I have no big plans for the weekend, and I am perfectly fine with that. My weekend will be ruled by studying, writing for class, hopefully taking tons of pictures, cleaning, doing laundry, and going grocery shopping. It's not glamorous, but I'm still looking forward to it.

7) I am currently reading So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld. Even though it's a young adult book, I have found very enjoyable so far.

8) As I mentioned previously, the third season of Veronica Mars is a total letdown, so much so that Roy and I didn't realize that the final episode was the series finale at first. That's how anticlimactic it was. I am hugely disappointed, especially because the first 2 seasons were so good.

9) I really want a cheeseburger for lunch.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Girl's Night In

Ahhhh, alone time. I have been really craving it lately and have been taking advantage of it whenever I can. Tonight I was supposed to go to a creative writing club meeting on campus. But as the day wore on and I grew progressively more tired and it became more rainy outside, I knew that I just had to go home and flop down on the couch.

And so I did. Roy went to his Aikido class, so I changed into comfy clothes, curled up on the couch under a huge blanket, ate chips and salsa, and watched The Devil Wears Prada.

Thursday is the new Friday, as I am almost always exhausted by Thursday evening. It's been a simple night, but much needed.

the love {triangle} swap

I found out about this last night via {frolic!}. Basically, it's a Valentine card swap with perfect strangers! While it may make some paranoid, I think it's a sweet idea and am looking forward to joining in the fun. For details, go here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I took a temperament test today (thanks, Jenn!) and got some interesting results. I even learned some new things about myself. I'm sure I already knew these things, but I've never had them laid out for me before.

I found out that I'm an ENFJ, which is an acronym for Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging. This test also confirmed that I'm an Idealist with a capital I.

Here's what one web page said (sorry, it's long):

As an ENFJ, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit into your personal value system. Your secondary mode is internal, where you take things in primarily via your intuition.

ENFJs are people-focused individuals. They live in the world of people possibilities. More so than any other type, they have excellent people skills. They understand and care about people, and have a special talent for bringing out the best in others. ENFJ's main interest in life is giving love, support, and a good time to other people. They are focused on understanding, supporting, and encouraging others. They make things happen for people, and get their best personal satisfaction from this.

Because ENFJ's people skills are so extraordinary, they have the ability to make people do exactly what they want them to do. They get under people's skins and get the reactions that they are seeking. ENFJ's motives are usually unselfish, but ENFJs who have developed less than ideally have been known to use their power over people to manipulate them.

ENFJs are so externally focused that it's especially important for them to spend time alone. This can be difficult for some ENFJs, because they have the tendency to be hard on themselves and turn to dark thoughts when alone. Consequently, ENFJs might avoid being alone, and fill their lives with activities involving other people. ENFJs tend to define their life's direction and priorities according to other people's needs, and may not be aware of their own needs. It's natural to their personality type that they will tend to place other people's needs above their own, but they need to stay aware of their own needs so that they don't sacrifice themselves in their drive to help others.

ENFJs tend to be more reserved about exposing themselves than other extraverted types. Although they may have strongly-felt beliefs, they're likely to refrain from expressing them if doing so would interfere with bringing out the best in others. Because their strongest interest lies in being a catalyst of change in other people, they're likely to interact with others on their own level, in a chameleon-like manner, rather than as individuals.

Which is not to say that the ENFJ does not have opinions. ENFJs have definite values and opinions which they're able to express clearly and succinctly. These beliefs will be expressed as long as they're not too personal. ENFJ is in many ways expressive and open, but is more focused on being responsive and supportive of others. When faced with a conflict between a strongly-held value and serving another person's need, they are highly likely to value the other person's needs.

The ENFJ may feel quite lonely even when surrounded by people. This feeling of aloneness may be exacerbated by the tendency to not reveal their true selves.

People love ENFJs. They are fun to be with, and truly understand and love people. They are typically very straight-forward and honest. Usually ENFJs exude a lot of self-confidence, and have a great amount of ability to do many different things. They are generally bright, full of potential, energetic and fast-paced. They are usually good at anything which captures their interest.

ENFJs like for things to be well-organized, and will work hard at maintaining structure and resolving ambiguity. They have a tendency to be fussy, especially with their home environments.

In the work place, ENFJs do well in positions where they deal with people. They are naturals for the social committee. Their uncanny ability to understand people and say just what needs to be said to make them happy makes them naturals for counseling. They enjoy being the center of attention, and do very well in situations where they can inspire and lead others, such as teaching.

ENFJs do not like dealing with impersonal reasoning. They don't understand or appreciate its merit, and will be unhappy in situations where they're forced to deal with logic and facts without any connection to a human element. Living in the world of people possibilities, they enjoy their plans more than their achievements. They get excited about possibilities for the future, but may become easily bored and restless with the present.

ENFJs have a special gift with people, and are basically happy people when they can use that gift to help others. They get their best satisfaction from serving others. Their genuine interest in Humankind and their exceptional intuitive awareness of people makes them able to draw out even the most reserved individuals.

ENFJs have a strong need for close, intimate relationships, and will put forth a lot of effort in creating and maintaining these relationships. They're very loyal and trustworthy once involved in a relationship.

An ENFJ who has not developed their Feeling side may have difficulty making good decisions, and may rely heavily on other people in decision-making processes. If they have not developed their Intuition, they may not be able to see possibilities, and will judge things too quickly based on established value systems or social rules, without really understanding the current situation. An ENFJ who has not found their place in the world is likely to be extremely sensitive to criticism, and to have the tendency to worry excessively and feel guilty. They are also likely to be very manipulative and controling with others.

In general, ENFJs are charming, warm, gracious, creative and diverse individuals with richly developed insights into what makes other people tick. This special ability to see growth potential in others combined with a genuine drive to help people makes the ENFJ a truly valued individual. As giving and caring as the ENFJ is, they need to remember to value their own needs as well as the needs of others.

Much of that sounds just like me. Some of it sounds a little off. Whatever the case, it was fun taking the test and reading the results.

So, here's the test. Once you take the test and get your results, run a Google search on your type - there's a wealth of information out there. I think this page is particularly helpful if you don't feel that Google is your friend.

Have fun!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Pierces

I downloaded The Pierces' album Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge several months ago after hearing about them in Us Weekly. From the clips on iTunes, I was able to get a glimpse of their style, and once I downloaded the album, I was listening to it all the time. I'm not one of those people who will listen to whole album by a musical artist and usually enjoy the whole thing, but to my surprise and delight, I really love every single song on this album. I've listened to it many times now. Every time I make a playlist it seems another song by the Pierces makes its way onto it. I'm hoping that The Pierces will be making an appearance in California soon, as I would love to see them live.

Here's the video to my favorite song on the album ("Sticks and Stones"):

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Week in Photos

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: I absolutely love my camera. It breathes life into the most mundane objects, in my quite biased and humble opinion.

I have a dream.

My dream consists of more 3 day weekends. How sad am I that this one is coming to an end? Very, very sad.

Yesterday morning I drove out to LA for my very first blog party (organized by everyone's favorite monkey)! I sailed along listening to my iPod, and I was really pleased that there was little to no traffic. I was the first to arrive at the very crowded John O'Groat's, and I was happy to see that the monkey showed up soon after. She acted as a very gracious host and introduced me to everyone. It was my first time meeting everyone, and I must confess that I felt extremely overwhelmed and sometimes out of place. I am not normally a shy person, except in certain situations. Yesterday was one of those situations, but I still had a really good time and was happy to finally see everyone in the flesh, especially those who comment on my blog regularly or talk to me online or through email (you know who you are!).

There was lots of food, lots of talking, lots of cameras being whipped out. I find that this highly journalistical [sic] picture tells the story of the day.

But this one is also good.

The rest of the day was spent hanging around the house watching the third season of Veronica Mars. I have to say that I am pretty disappointed in the third (and final) season. Kristen Bell is not nearly as likeable this season. The editing sucks, and the plotlines are not as compelling. But whatever, it's still better than the average show.

Today Mandy and I went out with the intent of finding a dress for me to wear in her wedding (the only criteria is that it has to be black), going to her wedding site to scope out possibilities for decorations, and getting pedicures. We got the pedicures, but everything else was a bust. Oh well, we still got some sisterly time together.

Yes, my toenails are blue.

I have set the date for Mandy's shower for March 29. I am really damn excited about planning it, because it's not going to be your ordinary bridal shower. Unfortunately, I can't reveal anything here, as Mandy reads my blog. But hopefully it will turn out as awesome as it is turning out to be in my head. And I only have the monkey to thank for giving me the idea (although I've modified it some).

And this post has now come full circle, beginning and ending with the monkey. That can only mean one thing: a conclusion.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I think I'm done.

Reading chick lit novels, that is. I read Confessions of a Shopaholic and Shopaholic Takes Manhattan last year. I enjoyed both, but by the time I got to the latter, the formulaic tendencies of the author (Sophie Kinsella) had already become very clear to me, and thus, I ended up getting annoyed with it.

I started reading Can You Keep a Secret? (by the same author) last night. I'm already over halfway through, and it's entertaining. But I can't help myself; I want more. I get tired of the same ditzy heroines, the men who love them, and the mistakes they make. I grow weary of entirely plot-driven books where character development takes a backseat. Oh, the curses of having an English degree - I overanalyze everything and tend to be a bit of a literature snob.

But I don't exactly feel like reading War and Peace either. A balance must be found.

But still - no more chick lit for me. Sophie Kinsella has ruined the genre for me.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Smart Shopper, Domestic Diva

Today Roy and I decided to do some clothes shopping, as we have some extra money right now and both need to add to our wardrobes. We grabbed lunch at BJ's and then went to the Ontario Mills Mall, which is the closest outlet mall to our house. We only visited one store and then decided to leave. There were way too many people there - lots of rambunctious kids and crying babies. I began feeling claustrophobic walking around, and we were both getting headache-y.

So we made our way back to the Riverside area and went to Barnes & Noble and the Tyler Mall. We split up, and I went to Express, where I discovered that they were having an awesome sale! I was so excited! I ended up spending $150, but I got 3 pairs of pants, 4 shirts, and 2 camisoles. I have been wanting to beef up my professional wardrobe, so this was the perfect opportunity.

The shopping experience wasn't all great - I have gone up a pants size and have quite the muffin top. Now more than ever, I really need to focus on getting back in shape. I have never been this flabby in my entire life. While some may dismiss it as newlywed weight, I still don't think that's a good excuse to let myself get fat or even chubby. Mandy's wedding is in May, and I would like to look really good in whatever I end up wearing. My main problem areas are my stomach and arms. I can deal with the rest.

Since we've been home, we've been doing copious amounts of laundry and cleaning. Our place was a wreck, so I've been pretty busy the past few hours. We already have too much stuff, so there's a lot of clutter to deal with. I've been working on getting rid of a lot of things, but it never seems to work out exactly the way I want it to. I did, however, get rid of a few items of clothing that I'm not wearing anymore. I try to do that whenever I get new clothes. It just makes sense to me.

I want to say thanks to everyone who de-lurked and came out and introduced themselves. I know there are more of you out there though, but I totally understand the need to lurk. Trust me, I read tons of blogs but only comment on a few.

I'm off to LA tomorrow for a blog party! I'm excited to meet everyone in the flesh for the very first time - and I have to admit that I'm a little nervous as well. I'm sure it will be an awesome time - I will certainly be reporting back with a recap!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Desert Skies

I made 2 playlists for the trip to Vegas and really love both of them. This one, Desert Skies, is somewhat darker than the other one (which I will hopefully blog about later), but I was trying to convey many different aspects through my song choices: alienation, isolation, beauty, emptiness, and change.

One thing that I learned about our trip is that Vegas is much more complicated than I first assumed, and hopefully this music reflects that.

Obviously, I take my music much too seriously.

1) "Desert Song" - Dead Can Dance
2) "I Would Follow You Into the Dark" - Death Cab for Cutie
3) "Warehouse" - Dave Matthews Band
4) "On the Road" - Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson & Sigur Ros
5) "Track 6" - Sigur Ros
6) "African Journey" - Anugama & Sebastiano
7) "The Sinister Minister" - Bela Fleck & the Flecktones
8) "The Stars of Track and Field" - Belle & Sebastian
9) "Things Are What You Make of Them" - Bishop Allen
10) "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" - Charles Mingus
11) "Sugar is Sweeter" - CJ Bolland
12) "Absurd" - Fluke
13) "Message in a Bottle" - The Police
14) "Sandstorm" - Peter Gabriel
15) "Learning to Fly" - Pink Floyd
16) "Glory Box" - Portishead
17) "Drive" - R.E.M.
18) "House of Cards" - Radiohead
19) "I Turn My Camera On" - Rock Kills Kid
20) "Fly" - Sara Groves
21) "Black Trombone" - Serge Gainsbourg
22) "There Is a Light that Never Goes Out" - The Smiths
23) "Chasing Cars" - Snow Patrol
24) "Two People" - Spiderworks
25) "Sleep Tonight" - Stars
26) "Sorrow in Desert" - Tan Dun

Sorry, no YouTube links. That took entirely too long last time. Guess I don't take my music too seriously after all!

To make up for it, here's a video to "Fluke" by Atom Bomb. Awesome song!

Bouncy Ball!

Myra found this bouncy ball outside of Baskin Robbins the other day and gave it to me. I brought it home and set it on the table. And now it's gone. Some little kid's livelihood has been stolen (but hopefully not ingested) by our cats.

It's been awhile since I posted about a found object, because the found object phenomenon is not always active in my life. But I liked this one a lot - it makes me wonder who it belonged to. (I'm thinking it probably belonged to a little kid, probably a boy, but not necessarily - I loved bouncy balls when I was a kid. I even collected them!) And now that it's been lost, it's just waiting to be found all over again. We probably won't be able to find it until we move again. Our cats are major hoarders.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I like Photoshop, and I like lurkers.

It seems I am always the last to find out how cool certain things are.

(Click to enlarge.)

Also, if you're reading this, leave me a comment, won't you? I'm curious to see who reads this thing. I know from my handy-dandy site meter that quite a few people read this.

I don't bite, I promise!

24 hours in Vegas

Several months ago Melinda and I got involved in some discussion where I admitted that I'd never spent any time in Vegas (except for the airport, which apparently doesn't count). She immediately began planning a trip for us, so she could give me a proper introduction to the city. And what an introduction it was! Here's how it all went down (in mostly incomplete sentences).

Friday, January 11


Slept horribly because I was in a horrible mood.

Saturday, January 12

Woke up at the ass crack of dawn and drove by myself to Melinda's house. (Roy drove up by himself later, because he had a class to attend.)

Rode with Melinda and her husband Chris to Vegas, stopping at Del Taco on the way.

First stop: Excalibur, our hotel. Too early to check in, so we started walking around.

Grabbed some lunch, but I can't remember where we were exactly. I want to say we were in New York New York. Anyway, other highlights, in addition to New York New York, were MGM Grand (cool lions) and the M&M store.

Went back to the hotel and finally checked in. Roy was due to arrive any time, so we went to our separate rooms. Once he arrived, we took a nap and got all rested up for the night ahead.

Had dinner at Quark's Bar, a Star Trek themed place. Very interesting place, but most of it was lost on me, as I'm not a Star Trek fan. Gals had steak (awesome), boys had prime rib (not so good). We all shared a very large, yummy drink called a Borg Sphere. Buzzing good at this point.

The best piece of conversation at dinner:

Me: That sucks big green ones.

Chris: Hey, that was for St. Patrick's Day, and I asked her to do it.

I really don't know if anyone is going to find that funny, but I thought it was hysterical (and still do).

After dinner, drove to Fremont Street. "Sinners" running rampant here; religious people everywhere as well. Interesting juxtaposition. Also, a drunk 50-year-old lady playing air sax with her straw from her drink. Bitch was crazy.

Watched the overhead show there, which turned out to be a giant LG ad. A definite meh moment. And then we left. And then it got really good.

Caesars Palace! Paris! Bellagio! Wow, I was in heaven. Heaven that smelled like cigarettes and was way too expensive, but still - heaven. I was quite intimidated by the expensive stores in Caesars Palace and Bellagio, being as I'm just a little gal from Texas who doesn't really give a crap about name brands. I was definitely a window shopper, but I truly loved how beautifully designed the insides of these stores were. Amazing chandeliers - and I don't even like chandeliers!

And the architecture of these buildings really blew me away. I mean, seriously.

The best piece of conversation in the Caesars Palace mall:

Me: Let's go into Tiffany's! I've never been in Tiffany's!

Melinda: Haven't you ever seen Breakfast at Tiffany's?

Me: No.

Melinda: No?! Everyone with a Y chromosome should see Breakfast at Tiffany's!

Chris: I haven't seen Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Melinda: You don't have a Y chromosome, honey.

Chris: Oh.

(Funny thing, I just looked it up. And women have 2 X chromosomes, and men have an X and a Y. Whatever. You know what she meant!)

Anyway, somewhere in there, I was making fun of Melinda every chance I got for never having heard the song "Poison" by Bell Biv Devoe. Awesome song.

Unfortunately, by this time we were all getting really tired. My feet were killing me. So we headed back to Excalibur, grabbed a midnight snack at the Sherwood Forest Cafe, and went to bed. I slept like a baby who has learned to sleep through the night.

Sunday, January 13

Woke up with just enough time to check out of our hotel and eat some breakfast at Luxor. Awesome breakfast + awesome waitress = happy people ready to hit the road.

Good tunes on the way home, home early enough to still hang out and do normal weekend things. An awesome weekend - thanks, Melinda!

(Note: I have many thoughts about Vegas that I might share in another post. Or maybe I won't. We'll see!)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Receive and Transmit, or The Secret World of Peter Gabriel

I came to love the music of Peter Gabriel when I was about 21 years old. I had heard some of his hits before, but I didn't really appreciate him until my ex (who was a huge Peter Gabriel fan) started playing me some of his lesser-known songs. The song that sealed the deal for me was "Lay Your Hands on Me". I found it to be an incredibly odd, dark, interesting song. I was hooked.

From there, I went on to fall in love with the Secret World Live and Up albums. I would dance around the living room while listening to "Secret World (live)". I would play air drums while driving and listening to Signal to Noise. As a matter of fact, I still do these things any chance I get.

Despite the huge amount of love I have for his music (and his humanitarian efforts, which are plentiful), I have only been to 2 Peter Gabriel concerts. I would love to see him live again, because he is probably the best performer I have ever seen. His shows are an amazing spectacle of lights and props. His lyrics make me shiver. The drums and percussion in his songs transport me to unknown places. His music is extremely innovative - he is always incorporating world music into his songs and trying new things. I have seen some great concerts, but the 2 Peter Gabriel ones I've been to were the best, hands down.

Honestly, I don't know what I would do without the presence of Peter Gabriel's music in my life. He really does keep it real and has had an enormous impact on my life. His range is incredible, and I admire his ability to try new things (and usually succeed). Moreover, I love how "weird" his music is. I think more musical artists should push the boundaries instead of just producing the same album over and over again.

Here's a video of "Secret World (live)." Enjoy!

Monday, January 14, 2008

6 months already?!

We have been married for 6 months today. That's half a year, people!

I'm not normally a person who takes many things for granted. I am, by nature, a reflective person, and because of that, I am always aware of how good my life is and how lucky I am.

This month, though, I realized that there are times when I don't give Roy enough credit. He does so many things just to make me happy, and while I'm big on saying "thank you," I don't know if I always acknowledge how grateful I am for his presence in my life.

He is, quite simply, one of the best people I have ever known, and I am so honored to be his wife. I am going to try much harder to give credit where credit is due. I really need to thank him more often for putting up with my craziness and for letting me be myself.

Happy 6 months!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Where I'm Going, Where I've Been

Before I recap my Vegas trip, I have some thoughts that I'd just like to get out there. I'm not sure if I'm asking for advice, but if you have any, feel free to share, O wise readers.

At the risk of sounding both cheesy and egotistical, I have always felt that I am meant to do things that matter. I have always wanted to make a difference. Even as a child, I understood that my way of making a difference was through the written word. My teachers genuinely thought I was a very talented writer and encouraged me to no end. Everyone who knew me told me that I was going to be a writer someday. Everyone believed in me, and I believed in myself. I had big dreams.

And some things never change. I still have those big dreams, but I have given up on making them a reality. Maybe "given up" isn't the right phrase - instead, I should probably say that I have temporarily lost my way. When I was 20, I dropped out of college and began writing like mad (I was also extremely depressed, which really fed the writing fever). Eventually, I went back to school and got my BA. During those years, I continued writing (mostly poetry) and got some things published. I decided to start graduate school for several reasons: 1) If I am going to end up teaching, I would rather teach college students; 2) I love learning, and I love school; and 3) I didn't want to decide on a career right then.

Once I started graduate school, I stopped writing on a regular basis and instead focused mostly on my studies. As most people who are in theory-based programs can attest, grad school sucks the creativity out of its students, making them into automatons who talk about structuralism, liminality, and feminist theory. (I am exaggerating a bit.) And truthfully, part of me is so excited by the wealth of knowledge that is at my fingertips. But the other part of me is so burned out and so tired of forcing myself to write papers and meet deadlines.

I am in my third year of grad school, and I am no closer to figuring out what career I want to pursue. I think I would be a great editor, and it seems like a solid career. Many people have told me that they can see me as a college professor, but that's not how I picture myself (not at this point, anyway). I could do freelance writing, open a bookstore, work at a newspaper, and so on and so forth. While all of these things appeal to me on a certain level, I feel like I am running away from what I really want and the things that I am meant to do. (I am chuckling a little at that last sentence, because I'm not really a person who normally feels driven by destiny.)

At what point did I let go of the dream? It had to have been in high school - once I began thinking seriously about college, I was surrounded by people who wanted me to choose a career path. What's a girl to do when she can't follow her passion, when she is forced to choose something realistic? She begins to embrace a life of mediocrity, because that feels like her only choice.

And that is where I find myself at this point in my life. I have been standing at a crossroads for quite some time now, hating my job, wishing to be done with school, and looking forward to the weekends so much that I don't really enjoy the present moments all that much anymore. I have seen who I might become, and it scares me. I don't want to be the unfulfilled woman who hates her menial job and is bitter because of it. I just want to be happy with what I'm doing. I can accept that bullshit is going to come with any job (and anything else in life, for that matter), but I refuse to accept that hating one's job is a way of life and that I must work solely for the sake of making a living. Maybe that is completely naive of me, but at this point, I just need to believe this.

I don't think Roy realized that when he gave me my camera for Christmas, he wasn't just giving me something to tinker and play with. He gave me the spark of creativity that I have been missing, and in a sense, he gave me my dream back. With my camera, I have been able to capture pictures of the world as I see it (albeit usually blurry, unfocused, and badly arranged/composed). I have realized how happy I am when I am doing something that allows me to be creative. I have so missed feeling like this.

My goal is to keep taking pictures, to keep writing, to begin submitting my poetry for publication again, and to not deny myself my dreams. I am not sure where this road is leading me, but hopefully it will take me to a place where I feel happy and excited to face the world every day. Hopefully I will begin to feel that I have had a positive impact on the world and those who surround me as opposed to being an unproductive robot.

As Joseph Campbell said, all I really need to do is follow my bliss. Hopefully it will lead me far away from my current place of employment.

Vegas Madness!

Roy and I went to Vegas this weekend and had a great time. Here are some pics from our trip that I like - recap coming soon! I have a lot to blog about (not just this trip) and plenty of blog reading to catch up on.