29 January 2008

The City by the Bay

It was a wild weekend. SF was visited by a group of friends from across the world- we had England, Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Cleveland, Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles all represented at our fun meet up (and, of course, those of us from the Bay). This group braved the rain and cold to have a terrific time.

It started on Thursday for me, when I picked up a group at the airport. It was, of course, raining, which was really disappointing because I realy wanted to show off my city! The rainy weather continued on Friday, but that didn't seem to deter me, or the rest of us. Photographic evidence shows me having a grand old time boogie-ing down that night. Saturday I awoke with quite a headache, but also a date at The Rock.

I have only visited Alcatraz one other time, when I was about 19. This time, it was a night tour. We landed at the dock just before the sun started setting. We got lucky, too; the weather had cleared up and we were able to see the stunning skyline of San Francisco! Alcatraz has a creepiness about it...it isn't really scary, it isn't really sad, just a weird feeling kind of takes you over when you arrive. As you think about the prisoners, you can't help but wonder what it was like for them to see the City just a little over a mile from them, pristine and free. That view, and knowing you couldn't get over there, was punishment enough, I would think! After our tour we headed back out for the evening. I didn't feel well, but I did hang in there until last call. This must have been some sort of record for me, of late!

Sunday was a lazy day lounging around my house. We watched Superbad, ate pizza, and laughed about the limo ride the night before.

It is always amazing to me that a group of people from all over the place, bonded by our love for and research of travel, can come together like we've known each other forever and have a great time. It is, I think, a real testament to the people involved. I can't wait until the next time!

28 January 2008

Isn't it Romantic

I recently listed to a This American Life podcast from earlier last year called The Break Up. Included in this awesome piece is a discussion on romantic songs. And the focus of that segment is a girl who, along with her then boyfriend, loved the song "Against the Odds" by Phil Collins (I think that is the right song). So, when the boyfriend broke up with her, she tracked down Phil Collins and wrote a song with him.

It got me thinking. With the approaching nightmare of Valentine's Day, it got me thinking of what makes a song romantic, what makes a love song work. Is this something subjective, that varies from person to person? Or is there an objective measurement of love songs?

So I pondered this, and came to the conclusion that it is pretty subjective. There are songs that you hear that you just know will be someone's wedding song ("Still the One" by Shania Twain, "Unanswered Prayers" by Garth Brooks, "Rock Whitcha" by Bobby Brown...), but to me, those songs often seem really cheesy and trite. There are ones for me which just stop me in my tracks, mainly for the lyrics, but I doubt others would deem them romantic.

I love "M&M's" by Blink (before they added the -182). When I was in college, I would listen to it over and over again. But I think it was made more special by the fact that a friend of mine put it on a mix tape he made me, as the last song, and then asked me had I listened to the tape all the way through (man, the brilliant conversation of college freshmen). I still wonder why he asked me that, but hearing that song brings me back to the bright spot in a really rough patch. I am going to play it right now.

There is a song from the Love Actually soundtrack called "Songbird," that stops me in my tracks every time. The voice is haunting, the melody gorgeous and the lyrics telling. It makes me long for something missing in my life, and would someone play it for me, I think I would melt.

Not to go on too much longer, but there is also one called "Ballad for my One True Love," by Mason Jennings. It is a bit folky, but we can all only wish for someone to write us a ballad like that.

So what makes a good love song? What makes it romantic? Opinions welcome.

Monday Answers

From Monday's a Bitch...

1.Which song reminds you most of the 90's?
Probably "These Are Days" by 10,000 Maniacs and "Tubthumping" by Chumpawumpa

2.Do you remember where you were when you heard about Kurt Cobain?
I was in Seattle visiting some people my friend and I had met at Close Up. I still have the paper from the day after...we left on the day of the funeral, otherwise we would have gone.

3.Were you ever known to sport a fanny pack?
I probably wore one, but I never really liked 'em.
4.Which 90210 character was your favourite?

5.Do you own a troll doll?
I don't think I do anymore.

23 January 2008

Shopping Blues

The other day, I had the great displeasure of going clothes shopping.

Now, I am not a shopper by nature. I don't like it that much. But on days when I need something, and I brave the great rainy outdoors to shop, I expect to find a few things. And I needed some new clothes...did I find 'em?

No, I did not. I should have known after shopping with my mom the other day that there is a severe lack of things I like in the latest crop of clothes. It seems everything I could find was overrun with bright, huge prints, and ill-fitting cuts. The styles have very little shape to them; instead, they are cut like sacks of potatoes and fit about as well. Or, you get the tops that all have empire waists, which often give the illusion of pregnancy unless you are stick thin.

The pants consist of those high cut numbers (uh, ew) or pencil cut. Last I check, those styles flattered about 2% of the population. A lot of it looks like what I wore in high school, which means the 90s are back in a mean way. I went into Express at one point, and laughed that I had worn almost the exact shirt they are selling now on my 21st birthday. And that was 10 years ago.

I still need clothes. Where are the nice tailored tops? The non-offensive colors? I guess I will just bide my time until the next crop of what's "in" hits the stores!

20 January 2008

Sunday Answers

From Randomness...
This or that?
1. soda or water?
2. mustard or ketchup?
3. lake or beach?
4. rent a dvd or go to the theater?
5. log onto the internet or go for a jog?
6. read a book or watch a movie?
read a book
7. italian food or chinese food?
8. summer or winter?

18 January 2008

My New Addiction

Hello. My name is Annie, and I am a Scrabulous addict.

Scrabulous is a fabulous Scrabble (see the pun...hah!) application on Facebook. I get to play Scrabble with people all over the world. I play for fun, but hate, and get very angry, when I can tell people are cheating.

At least I know I am not alone. In a recent Wired article, the author confessed to her own obsession, and her flirt with the cheat (which she ultimately decided against).

I just read that it is at risk of being shut down. I would probably have a more productive life, but I would sure miss it.

17 January 2008

Construction Mania!

The building next to me recently got torn down (in, like, a day), and now they are working to build it back up. This is a great thing, as the new building will be nice and clean, unlike the pit that was the old building.

The only problem? The construction noise. I think they are doing foundation work right now, and man, is it loud. And, it starts at daybreak....which normally would be fine, but right now, is disruptive. The noise and shaking (yes, it shakes my whole building) continues throughout the day, which scares the pooch.

How do I know this? Because each day upon my return home, I get a nice little surprise from the pooch. The noise, when he is here alone, scares him.

The signs on the street say no parking until mid-February. I am hoping this means the foundation work will be done by then. Fingers crossed.

11 January 2008

Train Wreck

I am currently watching a horribly disturbing show, which I should turn off but can't seem to take my eyes off of it.

Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew has to be one of the worst ideas for a reality show. It starts off with Kinicki from Grease completely wrecked by some substance (I think cocaine and alcohol). They even show him snorting something, which, for me, is really uncomfortable. He is really a shadow of his former self.

We then get Chyna Doll, who is says she is an alcoholic but doesn't think she has a problem. When Dr. Drew asks her why she's there, she has no answer. I'll give you one: she's a fame whore. Seriously, perhaps she has a problem, and my vast array of Chyna Doll experience (see: Surreal Life) tells me that she does, but if she doesn't think she has a problem, can they really help her? Isn't the first step admitting there is a problem? I think she did it to try to get her face out there a little bit; I hope in the process she gets the help she clearly needs.

Next we have the guy who sang, "You're my butterfly, sugar baby." They show him freebasing. Ummm...

I realize this show is supposed to make me feel uncomfortable, to give me pause. And, it is succeeding in this. It also is succeeding in making me extremely sad that these people feed off the attention so much they would go through this painful process on a reality show. And that VH1 would film it. And that I would watch it.

Off to turn the station.

09 January 2008

Break in the Storm

The rain of late has been a little crazy. While I know we get rain - I remember the year it rained the whole month of March - it usually isn't so stormy! Trees are down, power is out.

But today, a nice reprieve. It is cloudy and cold, but there is no rain. Hopefully, things will dry up a bit before the next storm moves in...I assume that will be soon.

02 January 2008

Just Another Day at the Salon

Recently, I was getting a mani/pedi (finally), and I must say, it was one of the more memorable salon experiences I have had.

As they were finishing up on my pedi, a shoeless man walked into the salon. The salon owner asked him if he wanted a treatment, and he said he wanted it all. I tried not to stare, but the man was shoeless, and stinky, and dirty. I figured he just wanted a warm place to sit for a while...until he got up and walked over to another client, handed her a flower, and said she had a beautiful smile. He then promptly walked over to the radio, and turned it way up (this was clue number two to me that the owner knows this guy). Another client asked him to turn it down, but he either was ignoring her or couldn't hear because his ears were right next to the radio speaker.

At any rate, this continued for a while. Finally, the owner went over and asked him to soak his feet. He got kind of angry when she also turned down the volume. Apparently, he didn't want any mani/pedi, just to listen to the music. Then he started asking all of us (this was a full salon) who didn't like music, and would we rather hear the sirens from the street? This went on for a bit, and finally he left. He was clearly drunk...

...which was a little worrying when we looked outside to see he had driven his car to in front of the salon and proceeded to open the doors and trunk so he could blast some music for us. Apparently he has done this before. It was a nice Cadillac, too, which was surprising given the looks of this guy.

I had never been to this particular salon before, but after all that action, I'll definitely be back!

Wednesday Answers

From One Day at a Time.

Hypotheticals: If you could bring someone famous back from the grave, who would you choose?
Aside from family members, I think someone like Eleanor Roosevelt.

Anything Goes: Where do you not mind waiting?
I don't like waiting, but if I have to...someplace I can people watch to my heart's content.

No-Brainers: What do you hate sharing with people?
My problems.

Personals: Where is your birthmark?
Behind my ear.