Cool Stuff Thursday, Mar 9 2006 

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Project Gutenberg before, but I’d never really checked it out. Just now, I went on over to the site, and within a few minutes, I had downloaded a copy of the Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. This fabulous project collects books in the public domain and makes them available for you to download and enjoy. Given the number of paper copies of the Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales that I read to death when I was young, I was thrilled to find it again. There’s lots more to be found (they have over 17,000 free books)– you should check it out when you have a moment.

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Review: Elizabethtown Thursday, Mar 2 2006 

This afternoon, we watched Elizabethtown, the 2005 movie starring Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst. I selected this movie from Netflix based solely on the trailer, without having read any reviews. From now on I will at least run a quick rottontomatoes check, and if the film is more than 70% rotten, I will remove it from my queue.

This film tries really hard to deliver an understated, quirky tale of self-realization. The plot centers around a young west coast business man whose career goes up in flames the day before he receives news that his father has died while visiting family in Elizabethtown. He goes to Elizabethtown on a mission to bring his father’s body home, and on the way meets a quirky flight attendant with diarrhea of the mouth who occasionally and, it seems, by complete accident, spits up something poignant. In Elizabethtown, the west coast guy gradually learns important life lessons from his big, quirky, long-lost family, while the flight attendant hangs around to tug at his heartstrings with her quirky dimples.

The movie seems to have been made by taking elements from Garden State (an excellent movie) and In Good Company (a decent movie) and mashing them blindly together without the key ability to tread delicately and with irony on the subject of human pain. To make matters worse, the dialogue was apparently written by someone who never had an actual conversation with another human being. The result is a film that goes from mediocre to unbalanced to just plain cringe-worthy in the last 15 minutes.

Score: 42/100

How Dreamy Tuesday, Feb 28 2006 

For a while, I’ve been meaning to find a good dream dictionary online. I’ve been wanting to look up a certain trend that has been occuring in my dreams recently. For a while now (maybe 6 months to a year), a lot of my dreams have involved trains–at least once or twice a week, I dream about trains, train tracks, or train travel. A good number of others have involved traveling long distances by other means, including cars and airplanes. Since this trend has become so insistent, I decided that I should check the metaphysical reference guides, just in case “train” means “you’re going to die” and “travel” means “painfully” or something else I should really be aware of.

Unsurprisingly, trains seem to signify an awareness of the track your life is on. More specifically, being on a train suggests that you are on the right path, while seeing a train or tracks suggests a focus on the orderliness of your life path.

Travel has quite a similar meaning: “to dream that you are traveling signifies the journey toward your life goals and a journey through life in general.”

Apparently, dream interpretation requires no more preparation than a 10th grade english class in symbolism.

I do seem to recall reading somewhere, a long time ago, that to more properly interpret your dreams, you’re supposed to focus on the objects from your dream, and then free associate from them until you reach something that makes sense. The problem is, now that I’ve been dreaming about trains so regularly, when I try to free associate from trains, I just think about my dreams. Hmm.

Anyhow, here’s an interesting link on some of the better ways to glean some meaning out of your dreams, if such a thing is possible.

Countdown Saturday, Feb 25 2006 

You know how on New Year’s Eve, they start the ball dropping slowly with something stupid like a minute or two minutes left before midnight? And then how with 10 seconds to go, everyone suddenly starts chanting the countdown?

Well that’s where we are with the wedding. Today is exactly one month to go. I cannot understand where all the engagement period went! But no matter; we’re on track and ready to go. I had my final fitting on Thursday and brought my wedding dress home. My seamstress did such a fabulous job- I’m so excited to wear it!

We got our favors this week and we’re getting ready to make the programs. We have to do the seating chart and the placecards, but that has to wait until we get the finalized guest count. (We’re going to start calling the rsvp slackers on Monday). Only a few other things are left, and then the big day will be here!

🙂 🙂 🙂

And to Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street Thursday, Feb 23 2006 

When walking back and forth from class for the last few weeks, I’ve been hearing a noise near St. John the Divine, which sounded to me like a large bird. The first time I heard it, I looked across the street towards the cathedral grounds, and saw a group of people staring at something, which I couldn’t see. Since some of them appeared to be looking up into a tree, I looked there too, and thought I saw a dark blob -maybe like a hawk. Ever since then, when I walked by and heard the noise, I thought that perhaps a redtail had taken up residence in the cathedral grounds, like the famous pair on 5th Ave.

Yesterday morning while heading to my first class of the day, I was walking right next to the cathedral grounds on the east side of Amsterdam. As I came up to the Peace Fountain (some nice pics taken by a blogger here), I head the noise again. I looked over, and saw something largeish and white move behind a bush. Well, at that point, I couldn’t just keep walking, and there was a little time before class started. So I turned into the Peace Fountain plaza, walked to the back, climbed to the top of the two-tier bench, and looked over the fence into the cathedral grounds.

Walking about on the lawn was an albino peacock. When my head popped up into his view, he made the noise again, put up his enormous tail, and turned in a slow circle. Now, all this I found rather mysterious. For one thing, I thought peacocks lived in warmer climates. When he opened his white beak to squak at me, steam came out of his mouth. For another, what is St. John the Divine doing with an albino peacock? Curiouser and curiouser. Well, when I got home, I did a little googling, and it turns out that St. John the Divine is known for its annual blessing of the animals. They’ve been keeping peacocks since 1973, when three peachicks were given to the new Dean of the cathedral. Apparently, they have a heated pen and are fed on cracked corn and game feed. Although, nothing I saw made mention of their albino peacock, so he must be a fairly new addition.

Long Weekend Tuesday, Feb 21 2006 

As Jared posted about here, we had a long and tiring weekend. On Friday afternoon, he seemed ill enough to go to the Columbia Health Center. From there, we were sent to the hospital for ultrasounds on his belly, and then marched straight over (well, Jared was wheeled) to Ambulatory Surgery, where they put him in a gown and funny slippers, knocked him out, and sliced him open. (I didn’t witness those last two steps.) It was so surreal to go from a normal Friday morning to, at around 5:30 pm, calling my mother to tell her that we wouldn’t be able to make it to our bridal shower on Sunday because they had just taken Jared into surgery.

(more…)

Scientific Experiment Update Thursday, Feb 16 2006 

My scientific experiment is going surprisingly well. Today is my 6th day without chocolate- definitely a new personal best for me. It hasn’t even been too hard. Today, I was bringing Jared a mocha from the ‘bucks, and some of it spilled on my hand, and I didn’t even lick it off. Ok, it was mostly because I had just burned my tongue on my own cappuccino, but the point stands that I have gone 6 days without chocolate. It’s given me the opportunity to explore other flavors that I like. For instance, instead of my usual Ben and Jerry’s half-baked ice cream, I selected some Breyer’s coffee ice cream. Last night for dessert, I made yummy baked apples with maple syrup from my parents. And on Valentine’s Day, I satisfied my sweet tooth with conversation hearts and heart peeps (courtesy of Jared’s mom).
However, I have to admit that I am somewhat disappointed thus far. I was expecting some big side effects, like the shakes or hallucinations. Nothing spectacular has happened yet… but we still have plenty of time to see what happens. 24 days to go!

Vote for my brother! Wednesday, Feb 15 2006 

So in case I have any readers out there who are myspace users (or perhaps who would like to get a myspace account?), you can help my brother take his first steps out the door!

TO VOTE FOR BRIAN:

1. Go to http://www.myspace.com/failuretolaunch
2. Click on “Click Here To View The Full Gallery”
3. Find Brian – last I checked he was near the bottom of the first page- color picture of him standing with an AM Eagle shirt on and a ski cap.
4. Click on his picture.
5. Rate him a 10!
6. For extra credit, rank some of his competition low.
7. Tell your friends.

It’s that easy! Do it today!

PSA Monday, Feb 13 2006 

Attention people of New York City: snow and slush do not share the dangerous qualities of, say, liquid hot magma. When you approach an intersection filled with snow and/or slush, it is unneccesary for you to come to a complete halt and ponder where to put your feet as if your next move might be your last. While it might be annoying and uncomfortable to get your feet wet, it will be more annoying and uncomfortable if one of the half-dozen people waiting behind you for you to clear your hesitant self out of the way becomes unable to contain their irritation and shoves you aside into the snow bank.

Thank you.

More Family Cookbook Reviews Sunday, Feb 12 2006 

  1. Hamburger Stuffed Bread, courtesy of Jared’s mom. This recipe was easy to make and sooooo good. We got a parbaked frozen loaf from FreshDirect and baked it during the afternoon so that we had nice fresh bread to use in the recipe. Although we had a bit of trouble stuffing all the innards back into the hollowed loaf, we persevered, and the result was delicious!
  2. Baked Potato Soup, also courtesy of Jared’s mom. This recipe made a ton of soup, but kept well in the fridge- we were still having it for lunch 5 days later! The only change we made to the recipe was to leave the skins on, since we both like baked potato skins. It gave a bit of texture to the soup that I thought worked well. Another delicious recipe!
  3. Savory Squash Casserole, courtesy of Aunt Jan. While making this recipe, it wasn’t clear to us whether we were using the right kind of squash (we used winter squash). However, it turned out so yummy, that even if it was wrong, we will probably make it again this way! On the reheat, we made cornbread to go along with it for a filling and warming meal on this snowy day in NYC.

Another three winners from the family cookbook. 🙂

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