31 March 2009

Sparkly Happy People

Saturday morning. 5.30am. The alarm sounds.


Again, 5.39am. Alarm.

Again, snooze.

This goes on for another half hour or so, until a critical point was reached. I needed to be somewhere at 6.30am, and before I left, I needed to be dressed and ready, and the dog walked and tended to.

Why? Saturday was the 8th annual giveaway for The Princess Project, promotes self-confidence and individual beauty by providing free prom dresses and accessories to high school girls who cannot otherwise afford them. This is my fourth giveaway, and each year it gets better and better!

At 6.30am, there were already at least 500 teenage girls, plus guests, in line. Some had been there since the night before. We knew this year would be packed; with the economy in the state it's in, there are even more young women who would really appreciate a dress.

By the end of the day, we had seen over 800 girls. 837, to be exact. This was a first; we'd never had that many go through in one day. I worked the door the entire day, and seeing the excitement on so many faces was so rewarding, it made all the hard work over the last few months way worth it! The site was set up in a way that the girls left through a different door, so we didn't get to see them leaving with the dresses, but from what we hear most were thrilled!

As a completely volunteer-run non-profit, we are constantly raising money. "For what?", you may wonder. While we collect most of our inventory from the community, there are sizes that aren't generally donated. Because we want to make sure girls of all sizes and shapes have several dress choices, we often have to supplement our inventory by purchasing dresses. In addition, there are the general overhead costs -- Princess Passes, signage, etc.

Interested in helping? Just 25$ sends a girl to prom! All donations are tax-deductible. You can click the widget below or go to our website, PrincessProject.org, to donate. Thanks!

27 March 2009

Boo: Pineapple Express

I always thought my love for Seth Rogan was boundless. Since the early days of seeing him in Undeclared, my love has only grown. He has done very little wrong, and even movies I thought were just so-so (Knocked Up) were redeemed by his presence.

Until Pineapple Express. What a waste of 2 hours or whatever that was. The first night I tried watching it, I fell asleep. The second time, I got through it, but was completely distracted by other things while I was watching (cleaning, I think, which, if you know me, means things are bad).

Before you think I am too high brow or whatever for this genre of movies...I am not. I loved Dazed & Confused, think Half-Baked is genius, laughed hysterically in Superbad. Really, no high brow taste here.

But this movie was just bad. Unnecessarily violent. Stupidly slapstick. There were not enough good stoner moments. James Franco was adorable, but watching him & Rogan sitting around, toking and laughing -- like at the Emmy's -- would have been 10x funnier than this sh*tshow.

And...it really put a dent in my "I heart Seth Rogan" fangirl heart. For that alone, it gets a major BOOOOOOO.

24 March 2009

Back Off

The new administration has been in office for just over 2 months now, and already the talking heads are calling for failure, throwing blame...

I want them all to shut the f*** up!

The Obama administration inherited a mess. We can sit and point fingers, but a lot of the problems are embedded in American culture -- overspending, lack of accountability, no savings, no understanding of finances. The problem is bigger than any one administration.

But to call for failure...this I do not understand. As Americans, shouldn't we want success? I firmly believe that had Bush introduced these initiatives, we would want them to succeed. We may not have believed they will -- which many of us feel about the Obama policies -- but to wish failure? To wish our country continues on its downward spiral?

To me...that is anti-American.

21 March 2009

Things I Like: This Book

I have finally figured it out...my life isn't so boring, or, rather, everyone else's lives aren't that interesting. Rather, they just know how to tell a story better, embellishing the right parts to make it light and funny, even when it's not.

This was the first thought that came to my mind when I read Sloane Crosley's I Was Told There'd Be Cake. This series of short stories explores the trials of being a young person starting out in a big city.

I haven't been able to stop thinking about the first story. I don't know if this is common or rare, but I often find myself cleaning things around my house, or throwing things away, in the off chance that I may die that day in a freak bus accident or by getting hit by a car, throwing myself in front of it to save my poochie. You know, typical things. What would I want my parents to find? What would I NOT want them to find? What would cause me to die (well...again, I guess) if they found?

No, seriously, this goes through my head on almost a daily basis. I often think of writing up a little will with explicit instructions on how they are to care for Luca, and what they should dispose of without looking at (that would never work with my mom...she's nosy. She once looked at my diary when I was a kid and said she would never again because she didn't like the language I used. I was in like 5th grade...I probably called a classmate a bitch. She promised to never read it again, but I know if I were to kick the bucket, she would for sure read it. HI MOM!).

Apparently I am not alone. Sloane has these same fears (are they common to everyone? Just people who live in a city and come across strange dangers every day?)...but she has a cool quirk that made me think, man, I need a quirk, too! What kind of quirk could I invent at my advanced age? Then I thought...I have enough issues, to add a quirk onto that may be too much.

Anyway, this book is the bee's knees. It was suggested to me by the Amazon mothership. Try it out....it may make you feel better about your life!

19 March 2009

Brannieketology: How Does She Do It?

So...I like sports. A lot. And I REALLY LOVE the NCAA Men's Hoops tourney. I am in shock that this is the first post I have ever written on it...

Anywhoodle...one of the proudest moments in my life goes something like this: I am sick as a dog in bed. The year? Probably 2002. I can barely lift my head from the pillow, and, after watching the Maryland Terps win the NCAA, I had turned the station to watch the A's Opening Night (I was supposed to be there...but...sick).

Suddenly, my phone rings. I am startled and answer it, only to hear my friend Aaron going crazy, babbling some nonsense about how I am going to have to buy him dinner and that I won and blah blah. "Ok, cool," I say, not really knowing or caring what the hell he said. The next morning, it dawned on me...I had won the phat pool Aaron had put together. YIPPEE!!

As I write this, it is the end of the first night of the 2009 tourney, and I am tied for 2nd in my pool. I went 13 for 16 today. I know you're wondering:

How Does She Do It?

It is quite scientific. Or something like that.

First...who has done me good/bad in the past. Maryland, they always get to go a little further... Kansas, usually doesn't make it out of the first round. They really screwed me over in 2003.

Then...what coaches do I like? Easy...Izzo of MSU, Kryzkesky (spelling, I know) of Duke, Calhoun of UCONN, Pittino of Louisville.

Next...other sentimental things. Marquette always gets out of the first round in my bracket. Why? Because my dad works at a produce market, and has since he was 19...hence, he went to the University of Mar-ket. UCLA because I loved Steve Lavin when I was in college and they still get my loyalty.

There are always the fringe teams...Cal usually moves on in my bracket; I grew up near there and have cheered for them my whole life. However, I feel their playing really lacked in the last few games -- once they knew they were going to the Dance, they forgot to show for the rest of their season -- and I don't like that.

After all that is decided upon, I actually look at some stats. I usually pay a lot of attention towards the end of the season, and know at least somewhat of who's beating who, who's starting to drag...and make decisions thusly. I use who historically (in my mind) has done well in the tourney, who has choked...with the 8/9 teams, I usually pick the "upset." Once you get to the middle, they are all pretty even anyway.

This is all such a crapshoot. And that, my friends, is the beauty of THE DANCE!

17 March 2009

Not So Much Tumble

I know I said my last lessons were the best, but...the lessons I took on my second 2009 trip to Tahoe were by far the best I have ever had. It has been over a week, and I am still on a total high!

Some friends and I went to Sugar Bowl for the day. The morning got off to a rocky start...we were supposed to leave about 5am, but due to some alarm malfunctions, didn't leave until about 6am. Still early, but we were all crossing our fingers we didn't hit traffic.

Our worries were all for naught. The weather was perfect, not really a cloud in the sky, and the traffic was non-existent. We flew up there, arriving by about 9am. Just enough time for me to rush to my class (with boot/board rental in between). Everyone was friendly and relaxed, so despite my slight angst with the possibility of being late (you all know how I hate to be late), the workers helped keep my mood up.

Off to the class area...I proudly got to bypass the level 1 folks, knowing I was a little too advanced now for that (little being the operative word). I somehow totally lucked out...there were no other level 2s, so I got the instructor all to myself!

He wanted me to get on a bigger hill right away, but I was scared and made him take me to the smaller hill. In no time, though, I was riding heelside, which I could not do in the least two weeks ago! Soon, I was even picking up speed and controlling my stops...with very little falling. I was feeling pretty high, so when he suggested we tackle an intermediate (or blue) slope...I cautiously said yes.

Who knew...I could actually get good at snowboarding. Two hours after my class started (I was only supposed to get a 1 hour private...but the instructor stayed with me for 2. We were total besties by the end), I had shredded up the blue hill, then sped back down the original bunny slope. At some point, I did eat it hard...but that was only once. Maybe twice.

I don't think I'll have any time to go up again this season, but I totally loved my experience this time. For the first time, I really felt like I could do this thing. I can't wait until next season!

15 March 2009

Octomom: That's All I Have to Say About That

The Octomom thing makes me so angry...the last thing I want to do is give this mujer loca more attention, but I was just reading about her and my blood started boiling and...

I place a large share of the blame on the doctor who implanted 7 eggs...7 fertilized eggs into one woman's body! This is unconscionable! I have am no doctor, but even I know this is wrong wrong wrong. From what I have read, for a healthy woman under 35, the doctor's ethical standards are 2 fertilized eggs. Not only did he do over 3 times this, but he had also implanted this woman 4 or 5 other times. WTF?!

Then...a woman who already has 6 children, at least 2 of whom are special needs, who has no job, who has aspirations of continuing education but has not completed anything, who has no partner, and who depends pretty much on welfare (sorry, food stamps) and her parents wants more children. And this doctor says ok? I hope he loses his license post haste!

This sets the women's rights movement back...because of this woman, limitations on reproductive rights are now being bandied around. While I am all for regulation, I am not for the government putting any limitations to my uterus. Doctors are supposed to be bound by ethical standards. This doctor obviously did not choose to adhere to them. This whole situation is a tragedy, but it will be a larger tragedy if it causes laws limiting a woman's rights to be enacted.

Don't even get me started on her faulty religious reasoning.

I feel so torn about this whole thing...these kids are already here, fighting to survive; they did not choose to come into this world to a mother who is an insane cuckoopants. Do we let them falter because the mother has no insurance and cannot pay? Do we impose further on an economy that is itself faltering, thus risking funding many programs that will help a larger group of people? (already, I believe the octuplets' medical care is over 1M$, which is no small sum in California's economy as it stands) Then there is their ongoing care, for which the mother cannot pay, and the food stamps and other programs that she will continue to use because she has no job and 14 kids to raise.

The whole situation makes me so sick. And sad that this woman put her children, all 14 of them, at such a risk...a woman's body was not meant to carry 8 children; what if she had died during pregnancy/birth? She would have left her other 6 kids motherless...and carrying 8 in one belly puts all those little ones at risk for all kinds of birth defects. I do hope they survive and thrive and are without problems...but I hope other doctors are more ethical going forward.

12 March 2009

Happy 9-0 Grandpapa!

90 years...can you imagine?

Well, that is how old my Grandpapa, the General, is today.

Happy happy day, G-papa!

10 March 2009

Sweet Nectar

For over 3 decades, I have lived a coffee-free existence.

Sure, I tried it in college, and when I lived abroad, but really, it was never for me. I was fine with this, for the most part. I always felt a little left out at a cafe, and it felt a little disingenuous to say to people, "Let's grab coffee," when I didn't drink the stuff...which sometimes resulted in having to get post-work drinks with people I may not have wanted to see in the evening (which, duh...of course I imbibe the adult bevvies).

Anywhoodle, sometime early in 2009, a friend and I decided to have us a little walk through the park. And on said walk, we decided to have spiked coffee. I didn't want to be a pain, and spiked tea isn't really too yummy (and, while hot cocoa with a splash of something is, I didn't want to be that high maintenance), so coffee it was.

I had no idea what I'd been missing! I could easily down it because of the yummy Bailey's, but the instahigh I got was pretty awesome. I was bouncing down the road in the park. I thought, perhaps this is an anomaly...so let me try it one more time. Sure enough, I was practically pinging off the trees while walking the pooch.

I do find it distracts me a little, being so caffeinated. I have a hard time concentrating sometimes, especially while in a store or something. Because of this, I don't drink it all that often. I don't need it all the time (yet), but like the option of having it.

And, while I drink, I am thankful for the sweet, sweet nectar.

08 March 2009

Times They are A'Changin

Today, I lost an hour.

Well, not just me, but many people across the USA (possibly the world? not sure. Yes I could look it up...I don't feel like it at the moment). We entered Daylight Savings Time, which means we sprung forward an hour.

In the last few years, Daylight Savings has started earlier. Most people rejoice about that. Not me. I like getting stuff done in the morning. I get up and walk the dog, and, if light permits, I go for a run as well. Now, for the next month or so, the sun will just be rising about the time I need to finish the walk itself.

For me, this stinks!

03 March 2009

I Thought it Was Un-American to Question the Government?

Jon Stewart is an icon. It is stuff like this that truly makes him, and his writing staff, awesome.