Monday, June 30, 2008

Half Dome Adventure: Recap

So, as you may remember, The Boy decided that for his birthday this year, he wanted to climb Half Dome. And I agreed to it. As did 7 of his friends. So, on Friday morning, we started heading up to Yosemite for what would be a ridiculous, painful, bad-ass, totally awesome weekend. And now...the recap.

At 8:30 Friday morning, my car (carrying myself, The Boy, and one friend) left Berkeley and started driving through the crazy-nasty smoke to Yosemite. On the way there, we called the park ranger folks to find out about smoke conditions in the park, and found out that it was pretty bad at the Sweetwater Campground, where we had been planning to stay. However, they said that it was not quite as bad in the park, and that we might be able to find a campsite there, at Crane Flat. Funny, since nobody told us that information when we (and by we I mean The Boy) called for weeks asking about reservations. Apparently they hold a certain number of sites for walk-ins. But they don't tell anyone about it beforehand...I guess then too many people would just show up? Hmmm. Anyway, we got there in just over 3 hours, and miraculously found two lovely campsites next to each other at Crane Flat. We set up the tents, and headed into Yosemite Village to call the rest of our group to let them know of the change of plans, and also to eat. We were mighty hungry. I also bought a pair of shorts, because, um, well, I did not own a pair of actual shorts, and we were about to hike all day in the sun. Now I own a pair of shorts. I haven't worn shorts (as in, come above the knee, not capri pants, shorts) probably since junior high. Crazy! But enough about the shorts. Though they are awesome.

Anyway, we returned to camp and took naps in the sunshine. The Boy started a campfire without matches, and we saw both a deer and a bear (which The Boy scared away, with the support of his friend, myself, and about 30 other campers. Apparently bears don't like pots and pans banging together coupled with lots of clapping - some of us did not have pots and pans). It was very exciting, especially for the friend who had never seen a bear and really wanted to. We ate spaghetti and garlic bread and salad, and hung around the campfire waiting for the other two cars of people to arrive. The first car didn't get there until 11:30pm, at which point we were debating whether or not to just go to bed. Once we heard that the third car hadn't left Berkeley until 9pm, we decided that they could just find the campsite by themselves, and we shut down for the night somewhere around 11:45pm.

I had a hard time falling asleep, as I think did most of our group, just out of nervousness for the day ahead. A few panic-ish dreams later, I woke up with our 5:30am alarm, and we started getting ready. My stomach was in such knots that I couldn't eat...which would later prove to be, um, not beneficial to my hiking abilities. I think it was the combination of nerves and not getting enough sleep, but I just felt sort of crappy for most of the morning. The morning being 5:30-7:00am. Once we got to the trailhead at around 7:15, I was feeling a bit better, but I was still unsure about the hike. I kept going back and forth about whether or not I actually wanted to get to the top of Half Dome, whether or not I thought I could pull it off physically (or mentally), and whether or not I was going to be a collosal disappointment to myself and my group if I didn't make it. Eventually (somewhere around mile 6 I think), I decided that I wasn't doing this for anyone but myself, and that if I could just make it to the bottom of the Quarter Dome, I would be happy.

I don't know what made me think I was in the kind of shape one should be in to attempt a hike like this, but, seemed like a good idea at the time? My body may not forgive me for a while, but it was an Adventure. You see, this is a very difficult hike. Listed as one of the most strenuous day-hikes around, it can be anywhere from 14-18 miles roundtrip, depending on which way you go.

And it goes a little something like this:
  • Hike 0.8 miles to the base of Vernal Falls. This is all uphill, mostly switchbacks. It is more tiring than you think it will be.
  • Then, take the Mist Trail to the top of Vernal Falls. This is many, many, many steep stone steps (about 0.7 miles of them). They are slippery because of the mist, and they are very steep. And there are many of them. Lots.
  • From the top of Vernal Falls, it's about another 1.9 miles to the top of Nevada Falls. This is more steep, steep steps. Also, more steep switchbacks. Lots of steep. You are gaining lots of altitude, and if you're like me (dehydrated, exhausted), you may lose the breakfast you didn't really eat. The view from the top is awesome though.
  • From Nevada, it's around 4.8 miles to Half Dome. You go up a few more steep, stony switchbacks, and you are probably thinking that it would have been nice to just stop at Nevada. I started thinking about how far I needed to go in order to not be disappointed in myself, which I decided was the bottom. If I could just make it to the bottom, I would have succeeded.
  • After the post-Nevada switchbacks, you get to walk on a nice, flat sandy road for about a mile, being lured into a false sense of comfort. Then it's back to the effing switchbacks. They are steep, and just when you're thinking you must be getting close, you see the 2 mile marker ("Are you kidding me?!?!? Two more miles!?!??!?). If you are anything like us, it has taken you an average of 1 hour to go 1 mile - so 2 miles means 2 hours. Which, when you've been hiking for 4 hours already, seems nearly impossible.
  • But you do it. You finally make it through the redwoods, up all the switchbacks (yeah, there are more. so many more.), up to a long flat area, with lovely trees and stones for sitting. Then you see it.
  • No, not Half Dome. Well, you do see it. But it's behind a giant (slightly smaller) dome, known as Quarter Dome (see picture - that beast in the front is Quarter Dome). To get to Half Dome, you have to first climb many large steps to get over the beast of a rock. Once you get over Quarter Dome, apparently it flattens out, into what is known as the Saddle. Then you are facing the famous cables. I did not do these things. I started to go up the Quarter Dome steps, and just pooped out. My knees were shaking, and my head was spinning, and I knew that if I wanted to make it down the ~10 miles back to the trailhead later, I needed to rest.
  • So I rested while the rest of the crew headed up the Domes. They rocked, from what I've been told. But I've also been told that it is terrifying. And from pictures like the ones on this post, I can imagine that it would be, even without frightening weather (we had great weather, for the record).
  • We began the hike down after everyone made it back down, starting our descent at around 7pm (we had two separate groups going up the cables, the first getting down as the second was going up). This meant that we had to hike in the dark for a few hours. Which was both awesome and scary. But my hiking buddy and I were fierce, and we felt like badasses the whole way. We had to keep reminding ourselves that we had no choice but to keep walking...after all, it was dark out, and we couldn't just stay there on the trail.
  • We got to the trailhead at around 10:45pm, an hour after The Boy and two friends who had decided to RUN down the crazyass switchbacks in order to catch the shuttle to the parking lot. I don't know how the heck they did it, but I'm glad they did. We could hardly find my car by driving the mile-plus from the trailhead to the parking lot at Curry Village...I can't imagine walking there and wandering around the parking lot. That would have sucked. So thank you, guys, for being unbelievably rad and running down the John Muir. You rock. The last of our group was just about 10 minutes behind us, and once I got my car, the other car went to get them. Teamwork!
We got back to camp around 11:15 or so, and collapsed into our chairs, trying to motivate ourselves to start a fire and cook the burgers and hot dogs that our friend had brought when he arrived at around 5pm. Poor guy, we had estimated an 8pm arrival time, so he had just been sitting around hoping to hear from us. Oy. But that food was delicious, and cleanup didn't take too long. Somewhere, probably around 1am (I have no idea), we fell into our sleeping bags. I can't speak for everyone else, but I slept like a rock.

Sunday morning, we made pancakes and sausage, ate leftover birthday cake (note: making a cake and freezing it = best idea ever!!! Thanks, Jennifer and The Internet!), and got ready to pack out. We stopped by Rainbow Pool for some much needed swimming in cold water. Our muscles were sufficiently numbed, and we relaxed by the water with potato chips and Oreos. A few hours later, we started the drive home...and just over 3 hours later, we arrived.

Pulling ourselves out of the car was much more difficult than anticipated, and the muscles are still sore today (Monday). But you know what? It was a fantastic trip. I had a great time, and even though my body will probably hate me for a few more days, it was well worth it. Even though I didn't make it to the top, I still did an ~18 mile hike in 15 hours and lived to write a self-indulgent blog post about it.

The view from the top of Nevada Falls

[note: two of these pictures are not mine - my camera started dying about halfway, so I don't have any pictures from the hike up. The pictures that are not mine are the 2.0 mile marker and the view of Quarter/Half Dome, and if you click them, it will take you to the websites from which they came. I'll be getting some pictures from a friend, and will maybe post some more pictures then.]

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Window Box Fun Time!

I have been a very bad blogger lately, but I wanted to post to share the pictures of my glorious new window box. My dad got it for me for my birthday, and Kristen helped me to install (read: she installed) it this weekend while she was in town. I didn't just stand and watch; I was trimming (hacking away at) the wisteria. Anyway, it looks lovely, and has Basil, Lemon Verbena, and Oragano plants sitting in it in pots - don't have any dirt yet to re-plant them, but hopefully once I'm back from the big Yosemite trip I'll get to that. Pictures below!

Shot of the window box from the landing at the top of the back stairs.

Oregano, Lemon Verbena, Basil. In that order.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I found a purse!!!

I can't find it online to show you, but I found a fantastic purse today at Brass Plum (at Nordstrom)!!! Finally!! After searching and searching (and searching some more after that), I finally found it! It's a soft, brown leather, with two braided straps, pockets on the inside, and just a little oversized. Love it. Love it. And it was only $30!!! Yeah!

Here's a really poor-quality picture of it...yay (it looks kind of blotchy - it's not really blotchy. really, it's a smooth buttery leather...mmmm)!

Friday, June 20, 2008

NY Wrapup

So. I'm back from NY. What a crazy trip! Day-by-day, here's how it all went down (with a slideshow at the end for those of you who like pictures).

I arrived Friday night around midnight, and got to my apartment around 1:45am. I spent about half an hour debating whether to shower or go to bed. I chose shower (traveling makes me feel gross), and didn't get in bed until around 2:30am. Didn't fall asleep till after 3. Then, at 6, the alarm in the other (vacant) bedroom went off. It took me a while to figure out what that beeping was, but I finally stumbled over to it and got it to shut off. Or, um, snooze. Around 20 minutes later, it started up again. That was fun. I finally got it to shut off and went back to sleep. Until my alarm went off at 8:30. Reluctantly, I got out of bed and got out the door - had to get to the Belasco by 10 to get rush tickets for Passing Strange!

My journey to the theatre started off...not quite right. I had looked up directions on HopStop from my place to E44th St instead of W44th I ended up taking the wrong train for a while and found myself walking around Grand Central Station and the streets nearby. Once I realized I wasn't quite in the right area, I pulled out my BlackBerry, Googled the theatre, and clicked the link to Google Maps. I realized where I needed to go, and got there (though I did ask several people along the way, just to make sure I could do things like cut through Grand Central Station). Tickets purchased, I headed into Times Square and naiively figured I would just wander around a bit until meeting up with Elon to see the show. I didn't realize it would A) be so hot, B) be so humid, and C) be so crowded. In hindsight, yeah. Times Square in the middle of summer. Duh. What was I thinking? I ended getting an iced mocha and sitting in the lobby of the building next to the we-have-no-seating Starbucks, I called my friend Ryan. He suggested I head down to a bookstore a few blocks away, but I got distracted by a Starbucks that had seating, and I was so damn hot that I couldn't resist. Yes, I went to a 2nd Starbucks. I wrote in my journal, sipping my iced coffee, and felt quite like a hipster. But I was cooling off, so I didn't mind.

I met up with Elon and saw the show, which was quite different from the Berkeley Rep production in many ways, but was still great fun. After chatting with Stew for about an hour, we decided to head up to Elon's office for a bit. Oh, did I mention it was pouring outside? And my poor beautiful yellow satin ballet flats are ruined? Sad. After hanging out at his office and dealing with some Major Broadway Drama (they don't have their tickets! oh no! let's get them tickets! ...ah, the life of a press rep), we went back out to the theatre. He saw August: Osage County (which one about a billion Tonys), and I, November (David Mamet, Nathan Lane, Laurie Metcalf, Awesome). Twas a good night, even though I had to end it early and skip karaoke with Jessica - too tired!!! I ended up falling asleep around 3am...not quite early, but naturally once I got to the apartment I wasn't quite tired enough to fall asleep.

Sunday, I slept in until around 10:30am. Luxurious! Still less than 8 hours of sleep! I met Mikey for a delicious brunch (complete with peach bellini...mmm), and we walked over to Central Park. She showed me the sights, from Turtle Pond, to canoe-ing on the lake, to the Alice in Wonderland statue, to the Upper East Side (not in the park, but we had to wander for a while to find an ATM), and it was quite lovely indeed. After stopping by a local market to pick up food, I was ready to have people over for the Tonys! Rachel and Peter came over, and we ate and watched what I thought was a pretty great show. Too bad ratings are at an all time low...where are all the theatre loving TV watchers!?!?! Sigh.

Monday, I went to work at the NY office, and felt like I was going to fall asleep most of the day - guess I was still not adjusted to the time and crazy lifestyle of being on a trip like this. Monday night, I met up with Elon again, and he walked me down through The Village (West? East? I don't remember. Both?) and we met my (other) friend Rachel at her bookstore, the Super Way Awesome Housing Works Bookstore Cafe. It's in SoHo, and it is really great. I wish I could have spent more time hanging out there. If you're anywhere near the area, check it out! We went to a fun little bar, Tom & Jerrys. Apparently they sometimes show movies there sometimes, though there weren't any that night. I got a little lost on the way home, or I almost got lost anyway...thanks to two very nice young gentlemen, I figured out where to go. Yay!

Tuesday, I had another crazy day at work, and after many many missed connections due to his lack of a cell phone, met up with Sterling for some fantastic burritos, margaritas, and "we haven't seen each other in two years?!?!??!" conversation.

Wednesday, I worked from the apartment for a bit, had brunch with Rachel (not bookstore Rachel) at the amazing Popover Cafe, and worked some more. Elon came over for a little bit, and I grabbed a cab to the airport at around 2:15pm (eastern time). By the time I got back to my apartment in Berkeley, it was after 10pm (pacific time), and I was wiped. I didn't actually unpack until tonight, and I'm finally starting to feel back on track. I'm looking forward to this relaxing weekend...the first time I've had to pick up my apartment in over a month! Phew!

All in all, a great trip. It was crazy, yes. Absolutely crazy. But quite fun. I got to see a lot of people I hardly ever get to see, reunions were had and new friendships were formed. In writing this, I've realized how many of my friends have websites, so I've linked to them all when appropriate. They are awesome, and deserve recognition for their awesomeness.

I'm too tired and hot to edit this, so I hope you liked it and it wasn't too monotonous. Happy 1st Day Of Summer. The end.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Big Girl Adventure

I'm writing this from the San Francisco International Airport (called "SFO," though I have no idea why), with about 30 minutes until my plane to NY boards. I've been a little big nervous all day, and I'm not sure that it's really hit me yet that I'm going to New York. I haven't been there since my senior year of high school, and that 4-day, check-out-NYU trip is somewhat of a blur. I didn't like the city much; too loud and dirty and confusing with it's tall buildings and lack of sky, but I'm giving it another chance. I have a fairly packed schedule, or at least I have something to do every day while I'm there. So why am I nervous?

I very rarely travel alone, with the exception of going home to LA, which is a trip I could practically do in my sleep. Bart to AirBART to OAK to SW Terminals, easy peasy (also, this is almost 6 hours, and the flight to LA is barely an hour - this is being up in the air for a LOT longer, and I don't really love flying). This trip involved taking BART to SFO, an airport to which I'd never been, and then finding my way to the Virgin America area (helpful that it's in the International Terminal, which doesn't involve taking a little shuttle somewhere else; though I was confused that a domestic flight was leaving from an international terminal). I was a bit anxious that it would be hard to figure out where I was going, but guess what? It wasn't all that confusing! And even when it was, I figured it out. Because I am a Big Girl and I can figure things out. I don't know why I doubt myself, but I somehow always end up surprised when things work out. I did wander around the Duty Free souvenir shop debating whether or not to buy some chocolate for the flight (I decided not to, for the record. I don't want to buy overpriced calories, no matter how delicious. Let's see how that works in NY, where apparently food costs more than a new car), and I did have a little trouble at the ATM (tried to use the international-money one instead of the USD one first, oops), but other than that, it's been rather low key. I even have time to get some work done and blog before we board. Now how about that!

I am actually getting hungry (gee, maybe because I barely ate anything this morning), so I hope there's good food on the flight - I didn't want to battle the crowds for airport food. The website makes the whole flight-situation out to be pretty spectacular, so I'd assume the food is good, even if it is overpriced - this review seems to think it's ok. Expect a full review once I'm in the Big Apple.

This trip is a real Big Girl Adventure for me - as I mentioned, I'm traveling alone, but also I'm staying alone, and I don't have every minute planned out. Going alone with that whole spontaneity thing, many of my plans are "play it by ear" plans. My first big thing to do tomorrow is to find my way to the Belasco Theatre (alone, probably) to buy rush tickets to Passing Strange. Being a complete stranger to the NY Subway System, this might be confusing, but hey, I made it to SFO, right? ;-) I think this trip will instill a renewed sense of confidence in myself, at least I hope so. Like I said, I don't usually travel alone, especially without set plans, but in an effort to prove to myself that at age 24, I Can Do It, here I go. I know it's not that big of a deal for most people, but it's totally new ground for me.

Updates to follow.

This is apparently what it looks like inside the cabin.
It reminds me of Space Mountain. I'm kind of excited.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Raining Jane Makes People Happy

A friend of mine at work is having a bad day. In her words, "[she] is pms'ing her head off crying over a boy and no converse slip ons in her size." It happens to the best of us. And when we have days like this, we all need a little help getting through them. This is why we have friends who don't care if we whine to them over IM/phone/a bowl of ice cream. And mantras.

In addition to my mantras, I have been using music to get me through my afternoon. I started off with the usual Sara Bareilles (yeah, I know Love Song is everywhere, but it still makes me tap my fingers and shake my shoulders to emphasize the rhythm), since she always seems to get stuck in my head when I want something to listen to to make scheduling meetings more pleasant. Today, I also decided to make a little pit stop at the myspace page of the lovely ladies known as Raining Jane. And man, is their music making me happy. So happy, that I demanded that my friend go to their myspace page and listen to Incline and Pinball, which I think are guaranteed to make you bop around a little in your seat.

These girls just make me happy. Their songs are very good, and they are incredibly talented musicians. Just see them live if you don't believe me - they are one of those bands that has a great recorded sound and then just blows it out of the water when they are live.

I just found out that they're going to be in Berkeley in September, and I am definitely going to be there.

Now, if you're having a rough day, go listen to some RJ and feel better!

Adam Fisher -- 6/9/08 at the NCT in Hollywood, CA

Adam did stand up too. He is also very funny. Man, I have some funny friends.

New(ish) Life Mantras

So, I've been adopting some Life Mantras lately. Not to go all New Agey or anything, and it's not like I sit in silence repeating them to myself as I meditate in yoga poses...not that there's anything wrong with that. These are just a few phrases that I like to remind myself of when I'm getting stressed out, upset, or feeling defeated. Enjoy.

  • "I cannot control how others act; I can only control how I react to others." - This one has been especially important lately, and I think is incredibly valuable to anyone who ever has to deal with difficult people. I try to remind myself of this every day, to avoid that feeling of anxiousness combined with loathing you (or at least I) get when you see someone getting what you don't think they deserve, or when you are treated unfairly, or when something happens to really make you mad. I think it's about rising above it, remembering that you can only control yourself and your own actions, and that just has to be enough. Take a deep breath, and remind yourself that there is more to life, and that you don't need to waste precious moments being angry at something that is out of your control.
  • "Do it yourself, because no one will do it for you." - I got this exact wording this morning from The Simple Dollar, but it's something I have really been trying to remind myself of lately. Nobody is going to hold your hand and offer you opportunities. I have been very fortunate in the past in that I have nearly always gone out for a job and gotten it; I have not tried and failed very often. However, I am at a point in my life now where I am having to put myself out there more - the stakes are higher, I am more invested, and I want more out of my life than just sitting back and taking the easy road (because let's be honest, it's easy not to fail when you stay complacent). So, I'm making a promise to myself to get out there and do things for myself. Go for what I want without questioning myself.
  • "Chill the F*** out!" - Along the same lines as #1, I tell this to myself (and others) when I am (or they are) getting worked up about something; usually this thing is out of my/their hands. I am a very emotional person, always have been, but I think this has really been helping me to stay calm, or at least come down off of a crazy-emotional-whine-session. If I'm feeling overwhelmed, I take a deep breath and try to remind myself of the bigger picture. Yeah, I'm upset/angry/worked up right now, but maybe I don't need to be. Get the frustration out, and then breathe. Don't let it linger; it's not healthy.

Anyway, those are the three things I'm trying to remember to tell myself these days. Very Zen. Most of the time.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Half Dome. An Adventure Forthcoming.

So, for The Boy's birthday, he has decided he wants to hike Half Dome. For those who don't know anything about Half Dome, click here. It is approximately a 14 mile hike roundtrip, and involves climbing (using cables) a very steep slope of a very tall rock. I am a little bit intimidated. It was always one of those things I thought I'd never actually do, and now I might actually do it. The 7 miles to and 7 miles from the Dome are intimidating enough, nevermind the actual rock itself. I was just reading this guy's post about hiking it in a day (thanks, Google), and I'm still a little intimidated. But I'm going for it. It will be an Adventure.

Does anyone out there have experience doing it? Tips? Am I nuts?

Danny Ricker -- 6/9/08 at the NCT in Hollywood, CA

My old buddy Danny doing stand-up. He's pretty hilarious. Check him out!

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Bad Blogger

I know that not posting for a week isn't the end of the world, but I still feel bad when I post out of order or late or whatever (ie: finishing the weekend roundup a week after I started writing it). To my loyal tens of readers, I do apologize.

I am feeling very unlike myself. Forgetting things, having a messy apartment, not cleaning the bathroom, not having food in the house. Scattered and headachy and just generally un-me. I think it's the stress of traveling so much coupled with general work stress and the anxiety I always feel when things start changing. I don't do very well with adapting to change, and I'm trying to be better about it, being more spontaneous and all that. And I have gotten better about making last-minute plans and not stressing the small stuff etc etc etc...but what I am not better about is approaching large decisions without trepidation. I'm such a planner by nature, that the thought that something might change without my controlling the outcome is just terrifying. I think I've always been that way. I'm almost positive that I've blogged about it before.

The point is, I tend to be fantastic at managing my time until something throws me off, whether it be lots of traveling or a surprise amount of tasks to finish at work or anything really. And then I get overwhelmed by all that I need to do, and I have to separate my brain into to-do list items and write it all down on paper (not computer, only paper). I need to hold a physical list that I have written in my own writing so that I can regain control over my life - which sounds more dramatic than it should. I did this last week, and I think I need to re-do it a little. My brain is just sort of a mess right now, and I need to make sense of some of it. I think that after I clean up my apartment a bit I will feel better (the bathroom sink and the toilet in particular just annoy me every time I look at them), and as much as I hate to say it, when my NY trip is over I will relax a bit.

Not that I'm not looking forward to it, because I absolutely am. It's just the planning, and the sort of haphazard way I'm throwing the trip together with a lot of "play it by ear" and "we'll see" plans is making me feel more stressed out than freed of the burden of a schedule. And I'm leaving on Friday afternoon. But when I get back, I'll go to the grocery store and fill my house with food (it is currently quite barren) and will get back to a semi-normal routine of going to work and hanging out after work, which I honestly like quite a bit.

All this after work packing and laundry and pretending to clean when I'm really just moving things around is exhausting!!!

I did have a great time this weekend though, at the Lair of the Golden Bear, with The Boy and his coworkers/bosses. Even though it was super cold at night, a couple days of hiking and hanging out in the mountain air made up for it! :-) I'm so glad it's camping season!

And with that, I leave you for today. I have an awful lot of Google Reader reading (836 unread items??? What?!?) to catch up on, and I think I've run my mouth as long as I could. I'll probably share some items as I read through it, so if you're not on Google Reader, you can check out the other little things I've posted at my Shared Items Page (or by looking at the pink sidebar item on the left) over the next few days. Enjoy!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Uro Club!

A friend tells me this is legit, but it sure feels like the premise of an SNL skit to me...

Monday, June 2, 2008

Weekend Adventures, part 2

Ah, part two. What else did I do this weekend? Well, I did a lot of sleeping, for one. I finished the book I've been reading, The Year of Living Biblically, which was interesting and funny and engaging and informational. Good combo.

I went on a friend-date with the lovely Jessie to the Awaken A Cappella concert, which was deliciously fun. Got to sing along with other Awaken Alums at the end of the show, and had some fantastically greasy food at BJ's afterwards with Matti and Mikey (of Lady Danville), Ting Ting and Brooke, thanks to Mikey's aunt and uncle who refused to let us pay.

My dad gave me my belated bday present, a super-awesome window box, with a piece of wood he drilled so that the box won't fall off my warpy-angled window ledge. I'll post pictures once I get it installed...likely not until after NY.

Sorry this post is so late in being posted (even though it says I posted it a week ago, muah ha ha ). More on that in a bit.

Weekend Adventures, part 1

Well, I know it's been a while since I've posted something other than videos, so I won't feel too bad about writing a nice, long entry today. This serves as your warning, though, this entry will not be brief! [note: I'm writing/posting my weekend-in-review in sections, since this first one is so long already, and I'm not even done covering SATC]

Sex And The City
[there may be spoilers ahead, so read at your own discretion]

On Saturday night, I saw Sex And The City. As promised, here is a review of sorts. I'll start off saying that I liked it. I really did. It was pretty much all I expected it to be, if not a little disappointing. I'm pretty sure the reviewers giving it such negative feedback were additionally not fans of the TV show, because I thought it really did stay true to the feeling and characters. And honestly, that's why I like the show. It's why I think a lot of smart women like the show. Yes, it's totally silly. No, the writing isn't very good. However, there is something about the exaggerated stereotypes and ridiculous outfits (and the fact that a columnist can afford several pairs of $600 + shoes) that is very appealing. And I think it's because within this crazy hyper-fantastic New York World they inhabit they have a really strong friendship - the kind we all wish we had, or remember from our childhoods, or even have now if we're lucky. It's the same reason I teared up at The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (all the books, the first movie, and the preview for the second movie...oy) and the same reason I watch stupid romantic comedies when I'm sick and spending the day on the couch. And the same reason I occasionally get pedicures and read trashy gossip magazines. There's just something really fun about indulging in that ultra-girly side of myself that I don't often remember is there.

What was disappointing? Well, if you didn't know, this movie picks up 4 years after the end of the TV series. It opens with a sort of "where are they now" montage during the credits, which sort of sets you up for a movie about how the girls' lives have changed, blah blah blah. Which it is...for a while. For most of the movie, you get the sense that they're older and a maybe little bit wiser, if not just different. They still make mistakes, they're still human (and a teensy bit less archetypal); they are now sassy women in their 40s. However, at the end of the movie, they are pretty much back to their old routine. Yes, Charlotte has babies and Miranda is in Brooklyn (and Carrie marries dumb old Big - I've always hated him. He is just so sleazy-looking!), but Samantha moves back to NY (ok, maybe LA wasn't for her; I can buy that I guess...), and the four girls are going out for cosmos once again. Which I found more annoying than nostalgic. I'm pretty sure what they were going for was "they've been through so much, and they're still just four friends," and I get that, and I kind of like it, but it just didn't feel right. It seemed forced and unrealistic, I guess. Their fights seem sort of real, and sort of contrived as plot points. The whole movie was like that I guess. I'm doing a terrible job of putting my thoughts out there on this, but I think that's part of my point about it overall (Emily did a much better job, and I swear I wrote this before I read hers - obviously, or mine would have been better). I sort of hated it and sort of loved it, which is how I've always felt about SATC. I also didn't like that every time Samantha mad an entrance, it was over-the-top-grand. She makes that big doors opening, coat swinging, arms extended "hello world! i'm back!" entrance like, 3 or 4 times (at least) in the movie. Annoying. I did, however, love Steve (I always have). And the clothes weren't SO ridiculous that they were distracting (mostly). And it was great fun.

As I think I mentioned, I saw it with my college roomie, who is pretty much the reason I started watching the show - we would rent DVDs and watch the series out of order, which it turned out didn't *really* matter that much. As we waited in line to get in (an hour beforehand!), we caught up on our lives (she's getting married in November, so I got to hear all the wedding planning updates), and marveled at the diversity in the SATC crowd. There were women of all ages, of course (some dressed to the nines, some in jeans like us), but there were some old ladies and some even older men, as well as more couples than I ever expected. I would never think about bringing The Boy with me to this movie! Katie said she would never thinking of bringing her fiancee - while they are great guys...SATC is a girlfriend thing (in our opinion, anyway). That would just be weird. The weirdest thing was that these guys didn't look like they were dragged against their wills. Most just looked like they were out for another Saturday night movie date. And there were some guys there all on their own. Maybe they were just hoping for some nudity [note: there wasn't that much].

More on this weekend to follow, but that's enough typing for now.