Sunday, August 31, 2008

New Cub

Yay! Lun Lun had a cub tonight at Zoo Atlanta! New panda cub, yay! Must go to Atlanta next year. I really want to see the cubs at their cutest stage (~6 months) so maybe this time we'll succeed.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


I still can't believe one of McCain's own advisers said in the NYT:

“She’s going to learn national security at the foot of the master for the next four years, and most doctors think that he’ll be around at least that long,” said Charlie Black, one of Mr. McCain’s top advisers.

I thought we weren't supposed to talk about his age and his health?

Tired Searches

I'm checking my stat logs to see what searches have brought people here. There's more people who swallowed plastic fork prongs and more people looking for old Wife Swap swaps and crayon psychics. But a few interesting ones:

Lipstick Jungle on location Staten Island Ferry
Did they? I'll have to look for this. I did pass by someplace in Tribeca a couple of weeks ago where Ugly Betty was supposed to tape the next day.

Pearl cream (with some other words mixed in)
I went looking for pearl cream in Hong Kong. My aunt had brought it back from China that year and they swore that it improved your skin. I tried it, but don't recall if it actually did anything.

I have no idea what the skyrocketing number of hits from Sunday was from. From all over the world. Bizarre. No real search terms except Blogger stuff.

They have been chopping up the street and drilling for 2 hours now. Argh, make it stop!!

Friday, August 29, 2008


I must be really bored with what I'm doing for work.

I keep obsessively reloading the political blogs to read more about what people think about this Palin thing. I don't like it. Mostly because if you're literally a heartbeat from the presidency (should your ticket win), shouldn't you have some sort of competence to handle the job? Shouldn't you have some sort of stance on the issues? She has none on most, according to those sites that track these things. I also am in the camp of people who believe that the only reason she was picked was because of her gender. Which would make it the exact reverse of all that we celebrated last night with Obama's nomination. Aren't we supposed to choose based on the content of character, not the color of someone's skin or their gender? The fact that even the party's surrogates and mouthpieces in the media couldn't explain this or adequately support it this morning, and that it comes so far out of the box, made it seem like this pick was really just to tighten up the base and make a play for Hillary voters. Who, if they truly supported HRC, would have nothing in common with SP.

Maybe McBush will send her off to deliver bottled hot water to dehydrated babies.

I wish they would stop tearing up the street at midnight. It's annoying.

But maybe I should just watch last night's Daily Show on repeat. It was fantastic. Especially the Barack tribute video and the moment of zen.


For the second weekend in a row, they are drilling or doing whatever in the middle of the street late at night. It's loud. Unfortunately I am working from home. But I just wish they would stop! Last week, they started at 1:30 am. What if people were sleeping?!


In search of the film score-type music that played after Barack Obama's speech last night. I loved it. It reminded me both of an epic film and the grand journey type music they play at Epcot. Any leads?

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Does anyone know if they are putting together a dvd of the speeches from the Democratic National Convention? I would buy it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I love huaraches.

(from our excursion to Red Hook today) Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 22, 2008


Question of the day: Are serialized shows better when viewed in
marathons or on dvd?

I ask because when watching all of last season of Lipstick Jungle this
week, I liked it better than I did before. (I liked Cashmere Mafia
better at the time but that didn't survive.) I wonder if you are more
invested when it's one episode after another. (Thinking about my 3
week, 6 season SATC fiesta.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Earlier this morning, before coming to work, I read the story online about John McCain not knowing how many houses he has.  (Seriously?  Is that possible?  Can you be so far removed that you don't know how many houses you own?)
By lunchtime, it was on every news site, Obama had a great ad about it, it was in his speeches and the McCain campaign had already come back with a lame recycled response (clinging to guns? are we in March?).  So quick.  Usually the media doesn't pick up on these things, but I guess it resonated when you have a man who doesn't know how many houses he owns.
Although one of the blogs (and unfortunately I don't remember which one or I would link it) had a good point.  If McCain thinks you need to make $5 million to be considered rich, and his dumb response to try to paint Obama as elitist notes that Obama made $4 million... then McCain's saying Obama's not rich?  Good job.


I think the Today Show should permanently be on location.

The pieces they are doing on Chinese culture while in Beijing are so
interesting, and I think it would be fascinating to watch similar
explorations in other cultures. I wish.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Today for lunch I had a sandwich of grilled vegetables - zucchini, eggplant, squash, tomatoes - and pesto, with a side of tomato and herb salad.  It was fresh and delicious, and from the farmers market up at Rockefeller Center.  It was more than I usually spend for lunch, but it was worth it.  Later in the afternoon, I couldn't resist the conecake from the Treats Truck, and it was an afternoon of tasty food.
I ordered dinner at the office today, getting Italian food from a place I had ordered from before, which everyone says is fast and good.  Maybe they were off today.  Because instead of being early, or even on time, they were over 30 minutes late.  The grilled chicken was dry.  I specifically asked for "no broccoli" and there were broccoli stalks in all the vegetables.  The whole meal - the chicken, the vegetables (that I could eat), the pasta, the salad - was all just ordinary.  I tried to order something healthy instead of something soaked in cheese and sauces, but it was just blah.  I thought I had better food from this place before, so either they went downhill, I picked the wrong thing, or it was an off night.
But I highly recommend lunch from the farmers market.  The tomato and herb salad is what sold me.  There's nothing like fresh tomatoes in the summer.  If only the excellent food police hadn't incorrectly fingered the tomato as the culprit earlier this summer, then we wouldn't have been deprived of tomatoes for so long.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Yay Michael Phelps!!

Although I don't know about these sportscasters... they said his feat "may never be done before." You mean, again?

I love that Visa had the ad ready for medal #8.

That was great to watch! Yay!! Not as much of a nailbiter as the last incredible relay but it was great!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Five Years

As many blogs and news articles have noted, it's the five year anniversary of the blackout of 2003.  I'm not going to check my old site to see if I posted about it when it happened, but even if I did, I thought it might be a good idea to write about where I was and what it was like living through the blackout of 2003.
I was working in downtown Manhattan that summer, near the Staten Island ferry terminal.  We were about 20 floors up, and I was in my (windowless) office when the power went out.  I remember not thinking it was serious at the time, just a power outage in the middle of a hot August.  But everyone was evacuating the building, and we had started hearing that it wasn't just our building.  I thought about just leaving with my keycard, but my instincts kicked in and I grabbed my whole bag, including my cell phone off the charger, and left with everyone else.
Outside we started getting reports.  The power in Midtown was out!  The power in Brooklyn was out!  No one was getting any cell service.  People were milling around in the streets and trying to figure out why no one downtown had power.  I tried calling on my cell phone but got nothing.  Eventually I hit on a good idea.  I would try a pay phone (like everyone else).  I called Alvin, since he wasn't in NYC and he had an 800 number I could call.  He looked on CNN for me, and I was shocked when he started telling me the blackout had hit multiple states and even Canada!  Of course, I dutifully reported this news to all the people standing near me at the pay phone, and we all started talking about it.  Naturally, when you're in downtown Manhattan, the talk started to turn to speculation about whether it was terrorism.  But mostly people just wanted to go home.  Some people thought about sticking around, but it was already late in the day so most people went home.
I first went to the ferry terminal.  But then I wondered, if I took the ferry across, how was I going to get on a train?  Didn't the train need electricity to run?  In any event, I thought that if I got on the ferry, at least I would be closer to home than I was in downtown Manhattan.
Only one problem.  The ferry terminal was jam packed.  Hundreds and hundreds of people waiting for the next ferry.  A couple of us decided that it looked like it wasn't happening, and tried to take the express bus.  But no express bus came.  We went back to the ferry terminal.  Eventually with all the pushing and shoving, we were herded onto a boat.  I was so relieved to be moving somewhere.  I kept trying my cell phone, and every so often, was able to get in 5 seconds of a call home before it died.  What a mess.  How was I going to get home from the ferry?  I could get a ride, but I couldn't get through to anyone.  Everyone was doing the same thing.  It was easy meeting neighbors that day.  The whole shared experience thing.
Luckily there was a bus waiting outside the ferry terminal, one that would take me not that far from the house.  I started just hoping that I would get there before it got dark, because how was I going to walk home when I couldn't see the sidewalks, cars, anything.  The idea of traveling in complete darkness was a foreign concept.  There's always some light in the city.  Whether it's street lights or house lights, it's never dark walking around at night.  This was new.  On the bus, I remembered that my cell phone had radio.  I plugged in my headphones and just started listening to the news.  The stories that were already coming in to the radio stations about what was going on... this thing was huge.
I stopped at the deli about 4 blocks from the house when I got off the bus, and decided to pick up some food.  I got some potato salad and some plain white bread, and then walked home.  I was surprised to find my uncle at our house.  He was out there for a doctor's appointment, and then found out his place in the city had no water pressure and you couldn't use the toilet.  So he stayed with us.  We had no a/c but we kept all the shades closed.  We didn't open the fridge.  At least we had running water and a working toilet.  And a land line.  We heard that so many people in the city had nothing.  My mom and uncle had gone to a deli closer to our house, but the guy was completely price gouging, and charging outrageous amounts for just bread.  People need food, but the storeowners should also want to clear out their stock, since it's going to go bad! I don't see the point of price gouging people in an emergency.
We made it through the night.  I seem to remember at some point in the night, the power kicking on for a short time.  We tried to get the tv on to watch the news, and get the a/c on.  Everyone else probably did the same.  The power was gone quickly.  Later, I think we heard that some places in the city had gotten power back on the next day, but we certainly didn't have any.  It was a long blackout.  And no one knew if they were supposed to go into work on that Friday, since no one knew if the offices had power.  I didn't go in.  We didn't have power at home, so I stayed put.  How was I going to be sure I could get home if I did go in? Or that our building would even have power? 
The best part for me was that the next day, Friday, I was supposed to be flying to Chicago.  Luckily, Newark Airport had gotten their power back on.  But the other airports in the area had not, so lots of flights were cancelled and the airport was mobbed.  I had my seat on the flight, but it was a nightmare just being able to check in and get to the gate.  I was relieved to finally get to Chicago.  In addition to being able to visit Alvin in Chicago for the first time that summer, I had reliable power, air conditioning, a working computer so I could do my research and pick my slots for on-campus interviewing and just a break from the blackout. 
Looking back on it, I think I was pretty lucky in the whole blackout.  I got home before it got dark.  It wasn't massively uncomfortable.  We had food, we had running water, we had a place to stay.  We didn't have to walk up 20 flights just to get home.  I was able to get on my flight to Chicago that weekend, even if it was painful.  I didn't get stranded.  But that afternoon... that uncertainty, confusion, chaos is something I won't forget.  It also just reminds me of how dependent on technologies we are, and just how helpless we are with no electricity.  More than anything during the entire travel home, I just felt helpless and anxious at not being able to be in touch with anyone.  I also can't believe it's been 5 years.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Getting Late

It's clearly getting late and I'm tired.  I just tried to press alt-F, C, to end a phone call.  Sigh.


It took me awhile to leave the apartment this morning because of our saw-toothed grain friends.  I'm glad I at least checked the forecast when it started getting darker and darker so I knew thunderstorms were on their way.  I just thought they weren't coming until the afternoon.  That's what I get for not being able to see the severe weather statements on my blackberry...
I left the building and as soon as I hit the sidewalk, I heard thunder to the west.  Loud, booming thunder to the west.  I started racing to the office (speedwalking, not running, for the most part) to attempt to avoid the rapidly approaching storm.  Along the way, I saw the thick grayish-green clouds against the gray-green sky.  I saw a very bright lightning flash followed almost immediately by thunder right overhead.  I walked faster.  The wind started to pick up.  I was more than halfway there.  Thank goodness for all the cars idling in the middle of the street so I could run across the street and walk under the covered part of the sidewalk by the Marriott Marquis.
I had one avenue left to go as I stood in Times Square hearing the thundering above us.  I ran across the intersection as soon as it turned to walk, and as soon as I hit the other side of the intersection, felt a big drop explode on my head.  I thought maybe it came from the building, and just kept walking.  Faster.
The drops started coming more rapidly.  Huge, soaking raindrops.  Not the little driving raindrops, but the huge ones that are like bubbles filled with water.  Faster and faster.  Why were the tourists slowly stroooolling down the street?!?  I need to get to work!  Before it pours!
Half a block away.  It's become a steady barrage of huge, soaking, hard raindrops.  Thank goodness my blue windbreaker is in my hand, and not my backpack.  I throw it over my head and run.  The rain gets harder and harder.  It's hard to see down the street.  I duck under our building's overhang and when I get out, it's like a torrential downpour.  Buckets.  It only took about 60 seconds to accelerate to a torrential downpour.  And it wasn't just any storm.  It was really dark.
I get upstairs to my office and you can barely see across the street.  It's like a white screen of rain.  And then the clacking of small hail against the window and bouncing off the windowsill.  Not to mention the dark, ominous sky.
If I had battled the saw-toothed grain beetles 2 minutes faster, I wouldn't have been wet at all.  If I had left 30 seconds later or not run (or stopped to take a picture of the gray-green sky, like I contemplated doing), I would have been soaked from head to toe, and not just wet.  That windbreaker wouldn't hold much water and with the way the downpours were coming down, it wouldn't have lasted.  If I had been 5 minutes later, I would have been stuck in the hail.  That would have been craaaa-zy.
Now it's a steady rain, but no more torrential downpours, less thunder, and no hail.  It's only about 10 or 15 minutes after that whole mess!  I'm glad I'm inside now.  And I'm glad that there wasn't one more bug in my path this morning to get me stuck in that storm.


Last night I had a dream about sushi. I had gotten a few take out
boxes but had to do some work in the computer cluster and was hungry,
so I had a few bites of eel sushi while working. But I forgot the box
there! I was so sad. Tonight I had some eel roll. :)

Monday, August 04, 2008


I have bought over $100 in plastic containers in the past week. I love
the Container Store, but damn those saw-toothed grain beetles.

Sunday, August 03, 2008


No more ESPN for today. I am so sick of Brett Favre. Every year with the "will I or won't I" retire, then he finally retires, and then he wants to un-retire. And then the news has been talking about it for weeks. Ugh. I don't care!! Stop tormenting me and stop whining about it! You made the choice to retire, get OVER IT! Agggggh.


My parents called this morning to talk about Wii Fit but I missed
their call because I was having 2 parallel dreams in which the phone
was ringing.

In the first, Monica Seles was working in the government and refusing
to authorize spending on really necessary community things, so I was
avoiding her call explaining why.

In the second, a friend was trying to buy her fiance a present at the
electronics store and he kept coming around, so we were hiding from

Bizarre. Although maybe the second subconsciously tied into the Wii
Fit call. Hmm.


I am learning German on Livemocha (way overdue on lesson 1), and have the following general questions:

1. Why is it that "boy" is considered masculine as a noun but "girl" is neuter?

2. How I can remember that "alt" means old when I keep thinking "alto" in Spanish means tall? Any tricks?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Friday Reflections

Some end of the week observations:

1. First, a note to my 23rd floor "neighbor" who isn't very neighborly.

Dear Neighbor,

There was no need for you to shout "take the stairs!!" at me after I got off the elevator. I kind of thought you were acting like a jerk the entire time before you yelled at me, but that took it to another level. Tapping the elevator button in the lobby 11 times, shaking your head and sighing at the descending elevator (like that will make it go faster?), tapping your foot and checking your watch repeatedly in the elevator after I clicked a low floor button (I do have peripheral vision, you know) and then after I turned the corner, furiously tapping the close button. I understand you're impatient, but the world does not revolve around you (or me, or the next person).

But your shouting "take the stairs"? Rude and unnecessary. And you waited until I was all the way down the hall, which makes you, in addition to being a jerk, a coward. If you felt so strongly that I should take the stairs, why not say it to my face? If you had, I would have told you that I do take the stairs on a regular basis (which may be why I've never encountered you before) but when I fell, I injured my knee badly enough that going up the stairs hurts. But you didn't care. In your cowardice, impatience and self-centeredness, you bellowed down the hallway something extremely rude as the elevator doors were closing.

Someone didn't teach you any manners. Maybe you should stop taking out your problems on other people.

Your Neighbor

2. Now that the unpleasantness is out of the way, I am very amused by the Gossip Girl ad I saw in the subway. It quoted the Parents Television Council's review of "mindblowingly inappropriate" the way that other shows would quote something like "stunning" from EW. Good job, ad people.

3. I love the Container Store. The only thing about it is that there are too many choices! I went there today looking for airtight storage boxes for dry food, and there were like 2 walls full of choices. I ended up getting Snapware.

I think there was more I was going to write about when I was thinking about my post while walking, but I don't remember any more. Maybe later.

Adobe Salad

I went out to lunch with my parents today and got a salad called the "adobe salad."  The description stated "grilled spiced chicken breast, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, peppers and tri-colored tortilla strips, pico de gallo and guacamole."  I asked for no tortilla strips and they forgot to give me pico de gallo and guacamole.  But that aside - what do you think the salad would be like with that description?
Maybe a bed of greens with some grilled chicken strips and raw vegetables? 
It was like eating a chicken fajita over lettuce!  It was good, but I was expecting a "clean" salad, and was trying to be healthier.  I guess I should have been tipped off by the fact that it didn't have a dressing listing, but I didn't think the vegetables would be cooked...
Anyway, if I were going to eat something less healthy than a salad, I would have picked the sliders with a side salad.  Having seen all the plates of sliders coming out, it probably would have been a much better choice.  And I love sliders.
At least they had big cushioned seats.  Very good when you're really bruised and can't bear to sit in a hard chair.  And my dad's shrimp and asparagus quesadilla was excellent.  I wish I got the sliders!!


Since I have been sending this article to everyone, I might as well post it here too. It's about a nude sunbather getting spiked through the groin. (This is going to do wonders for the searches leading to my blog...) It sounds quite painful.

In my own "ouch" moment, I fell off a chair yesterday. I was sitting on our balance ball chair (which has wheels) and it tilted slightly backwards, and next thing I knew, my tailbone and butt had smacked into the hard wood floor and the chair was on its back sliding across the floor into the TV stand. I am so bruised. Icing your tailbone and your right sits bone is not easy. It's also not easy to do at work because you'll end up with a big wet spot on your butt (which not only is misleading and not attractive, but not professional!). So I tried an "instant cold compress" but it took me about 10 minutes to get it to become cold because I couldn't manage to pop the liquid cold center. What a mess. And by the end of tonight, I realized I had also pulled a muscle on the side of my knee and my right knee was swollen and aching. Excellent. I am such a klutz. Sigh.