Friday, July 30, 2010

Fountain Friday

Paris Casino
Las Vegas, NV

What this picture doesn't show is the suffocating heat and humidity surrounding this fountain, making its cooling mist especially soothing and pleasant. Nor does it show me skipping up to it, so excited that it was on, unlike the previous night, when it was silent and sad. The only thing worse than the absence of a fountain, is a dead fountain.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Madly, madly, madly

Welcome to my 600th post! In honor of this milestone, and after four years of the same old stuff, I think it's time to bring in my altar ego, straight out of a 60s ad agency. (Courtesy of AMC's Mad Men Yourself.)

I was going to give myself a sixties name, but when I found a name generator online, it told me my name was Lois Darlene. Um, no. I'll stick with Bonnie. I've grown rather attached to it and I think it's a bit vintage anyway.

I've been watching Mad Men since the beginning and simply cannot get enough. It has turned me from someone who used to just watch an episode and be done with it, to someone who now must watch the show, read commentary online, discuss with my mom, and then ponder all of its meanings until the next episode, when the cycle starts again.

Quite simply: it's the smartest show on television. The characters have amazing depth with multiple layers to each action and word. But yet, the events of the time period and the popular culture, things completely out of their control, shape the lives of the characters more so than any action or word. But even when the audience knows what's coming, a political front or social dilemma, we still have no idea what is really coming, and how it's going to affect the characters we love.

I just want everyone in the world to watch it so I can talk about it even more. Though for now I'll be happy with Project Rungay commentary and Mad Men Unbuttoned. Seriously, these are daily, or even hourly, fixes that make me so happy. And the latter is now a book, which I read in about a day and half last week. Love. It. (And not just because I happened to win another book from them because I had pre-ordered theirs. They sent me Meditations in an Emergency by Frank O'Hara, which featured in an earlier MM episode.)

And in case I needed any more proof that this is the perfect show for me, four of the characters are now Barbie dolls. Like you need anymore proof that this a profoundly influential and wonderful show? I didn't think so.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fountain Friday

As mentioned numerous times before, fountains are one of my most favorite things. The first fountain I ever loved was at a bank building in my hometown. In front was a shallow, rectangular pool of water with four or five little geyser-type fountains. To be honest, they're quite piddly, especially compared to so many others, but it was always a thrill to drive by and see them working. (For some reason they weren't on all the time.)

Fountains just fill me with such joy. I firmly believe in embracing the little things in life and if something as simple as a little concrete and water can make me smile, then I will continue to seek them out and run up to every one I see. And then photograph them. In sorting through my pictures folders I realized I have photos of more than 50 individual fountains. From two continents, half a dozen states, and seven countries. So as long as there are fountains to be seen, every Friday is now Fountain Friday.

Russell Square
London, England

The Bloomsbury and Russell Square area of London will always hold a special place in my heart because it's where I lived for four weeks of summer school. But somehow I didn't make it to the actual Russell Square until I moved back. After a week or two I made my way to Bloomsbury for lunch at one of my favorite pizza places. I went to the Square to eat lunch and discovered this fountain. It's one of my favorites because it's such a natural part of the environment. There is no barrier, and I love that I could just walk right through it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Pointy Place

I've been sick for more than a week now and Thursday I finally gave in, admitted so, and left work early. On the metro home, in to D.C., I sat behind a tourist family. There are three categories of metro tourists:
  1. The unbelievably-obnoxious family in their souvenir shits from their last vacation that talk loudly, step on your toes, stand on the left side of the escalator, and try to pry the doors open. They mispronounce all the metro stops and will almost always realize at the last minute their stop is currently being served and make a mad dash to make it.
  2. The quiet, shell-shocked ones that are too afraid of the city and its denizens to do or say anything. They clutch their bags and their maps to their chests and breathe a sigh of relief when they make it to the Smithsonian stop. They will also be the ones staring in confusion when the turnstile won't let them through because they are trying to enter through an exit lane.
  3. The easy-going ones that make fun of themselves for not knowing which stop they need, try desperately to stay out of the way of commuters, and ask the pros about their Smart Trip cards. They are talkative, but usually amusingly instead of annoyingly so.
On Thursday, thankfully, I was behind the third kind. And they were children, which rarely fall into the third category. One little boy, of between 5-8, was especially talkative and said a few gems that I just had to record.

Upon seeing the Washington Monument as we pulled into the airport stop:
"There's the pointy place! There's the pointy place!"

To one of his travelling companions:
"You definitely have to see Lincoln. He's huge. He's super huge."

As we pulled into the Crystal City stop:
"I love the underground tunnels. They're my favorite, they're the best."

I was in a crummy mood and these brightened my day just a bit.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Better late than never

The Fourth of July is one of my most favorite holidays. Though our independence was hardly easy or bloodless, there is something in our celebration of it that is pure and wholesome. Just a day to be thankful for what we have and why we have it, to gather and eat and enjoy the sun, and later in the dark, the fireworks!

The last time I was in D.C. for the Fourth was five years ago, on my first visit to D.C. ever:
Lovely Karey and me (I'm looking a bit rough after two months in Europe and an 8-hour flight.)

This year instead of going home the little brother came to see me. It was a busy weekend:

Brunch at Le Pain Quotidien, Spy Museum, Cosi, Arlington Cemetery, Sweetgreen, rest, Mexican dinner, The Hangover, sleep, brunch at Eastern Market, Potomac Cruise, Georgetown, lunch at Uno, nap, Rosslyn, fireworks, sleep, IHOP, Target, the end.

No pictures at the Spy Museum but it was highly enjoyable. Neither of us had been and it was fun (and air conditioned) and we learned a lot of neat stuff. After he got his much-loved "man sandwich" at Cosi, we headed to Arlington Cemetery. This visit was nice because in addition to the Changing of the Guard ceremony, we also got to see a wreath ceremony that a high school participated in.

On the Fourth we started in Georgetown with a cruise along the Potomac. The last time he was hear we did a Duck tour, but this allowed us to go even further on the river and see DC from a different angle. Then we walked around Georgetown for a bit before going home for a rest and then on to Rosslyn for fireworks!
Our boat

Georgetown University as seen from the river

Me and a fountain at Georgetown Harbor

A Joe wearing a Sloppy Joe's shirt reading a Bangkok Joe's menu. The number of his friends who didn't "get" this is astounding.

Supposedly less crowded than the Mall, we settled in front of the Netherlands Carillon near the Iwo Jima memorial, surrounded by people and an elementary school group that kept us entertained for hours. The fireworks were beautiful and over too soon, but worth the trip.

While I'm glad I did a DC Fourth as a resident, and got to share it with the little brother, I think I'll be heading South next year. Can't go letting the parents have a "no kids, no fun" Fourth again, after all.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Bad, Southerner

There are many stereotypes associated with the South. Many, many stereotypes. As a Southerner, I can confidently say that most of them are not true. Or, if they are true, they only apply to a small subset of the population and shouldn't be used to judge an entire region.

There will always be exceptions, of course. But to think that all Southerners are racist Republicans clinging to their Bibles and guns is about as fair as saying that all Northerners are pretentious yuppies swathed in tweed as they pahk the cah in the yahd.

However, there is one stereotype that is a little true. And it's something that Southerners enjoy and do very well: frying things. It's not like we invented it or are the only ones who do it but, let's face it, we have perfected it. Twinkies. Turkey. Doughnuts. Chicken. Green tomatoes. Hush puppies. Okra.

I just so happened to have purchased some of the latter at Eastern Market a few weeks ago. Came home, cleaned it, dipped it in some Ranch, and then prepared for the delectable result. Instead: blech. Not what I was expecting. It turns out I only like okra when pickled or fried. Good, Southerner.

Pickling takes too long so I moved on to my next option: deep frying! But first, a confession: I'm afraid of hot grease. Frying things scares me so I bake french fries, chicken, shrimp, etc. Bad, Southerner.

If I do have to use grease, it requires wearing long sleeves and oven mitts with a very long spoon to prevent the grease from piercing my skin. But I had these lovely okra pods and a deep craving so I set forth on a Google search. Because, sadly, I don't know how the whole frying thing works. And, judging by the results, I still don't know it works. Bad, Southerner.

They look rough, but they weren't bad. The taste was what I was imagining when I bit into the raw pod, so that was nice. Aside from a little charring, they were actually quite good. Part of the problem may have originated with the recipe. It said to "dredge the okra in the cornmeal mixture."

Thus I present, the Thought Process of Bonnie: "Dredge. That's a good word. Dredge. Isn't that what you do to a lake? Dredge. Sort of like drudge. Drudge Report. Ugh, I don't like that. Dredge. The cornmeal is sticking to my eggy hands. Dredge. Oh crap the okra is black and there is no grease left in the pan and it's so smokey in here. But dredge is a good word."

I just don't think I can be a lover of words AND a good cook. Good, Southerner?

Friday, July 02, 2010


Even though they lost, this has brought me—and everyone around me that I make do it—a lot of fun this week: Find your Brazilian soccer player name. Mine is:

I will no longer answer to anything but this. And the emphasis of "EEEE!" must be placed on the double I. It just must.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

"The best birthdays of all are those that haven’t arrived yet." (Robert Orben)

Today was one of those not good, not bad, not anything days. Just sort of neutral. Then I remembered that it's my half birthday! Hooray! (Of course this also means that we are officially half way through 2010, which is NOT ok. This also means I am one step closer to 27 and therefore one step closer to 30, which is also not ok. Why am I happy about this day?)

Self portrait 26.5
(Taken with the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone; I'm obsessed.)

In honor of the day, 13 things I have already done this year and 13 things I would still like to do.

  1. Survived two blizzards and being snowed in for a week.
  2. Visited Jan in Los Angeles.
  3. Took my first business trip.
  4. Bought my first smart phone.
  5. Became a member of The Kennedy Center.
  6. Bought myself my first-ever half birthday gift: Burberry Summer perfume.
  7. Became addicted to Friday Night Lights.
  8. And soccer.
  9. Climbed to the top of the National Cathedral bell tower.
  10. Heard Michelle Obama speak. (Whilst seeing one of my best friends get her master's.)
  11. Re-installed Windows on my computer by myself.
  12. Used my sewing machine.
  13. Ate Burmese food.
Will Be Done
  1. Take a trip with my friends.
  2. Listen to jazz in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden.
  3. See HP7, part 1.
  4. Go to another concert.
  5. Read at least one of the "big" books I've been putting off: John Adams, Nelson Mandela, or London: The Biography.
  6. Spend my first Fourth of July in D.C. since I moved here.
  7. Move.
  8. Have my eyebrows threaded.
  9. Go to a professional DC sports event that I haven't yet. (Basketball, hockey, or soccer.)
  10. Take the GRE.
  11. Think about grad school.
  12. Get back into volunteering.
  13. Conquer insomnia.


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