Thursday, December 31, 2009

Obligatory 'What I got for Christmas' post

Hope you had a very merry Christmas and are settling in somewhere warm to celebrate New Year's tonight. No, we are not venturing out to Times Square to watch the ball drop. I'm not sure how much you'd have to pay me to be there, but it'd be a lot. We've settled in to a nice, quiet New Year's Eve tradition of eating a sampling of expensive cheeses on top of cracked pepper Triscuits and having some sparkling cider to wash it down while we watch the festivities on television. Sounds better to me than standing for hours in the cold, possibly with rain/ice/snow, with thousands of other people shoulder to shoulder waiting for the ball to drop. I'll watch it here at home where it's cozy, thankyouverymuch.

But back to Christmas... Scott and I exchanged gifts on the 23rd before we headed out of town. We weren't sure we'd be able to have Christmas until we got back into town because I had ordered some things on Amazon that were taking forever to arrive, but call it a little Christmas miracle if you will, they arrived late on the 23rd and we were able to open presents before heading out. But enough talking, on to the gifts...

Scott went first...

A mini measure cup, like a shot glass for measuring teaspoons and tablespoons (we had one before but it met its fate on the tile floor a few months ago).

Me next.

A three-pack of hot chocolate flavors from Starbucks. Yum.

Fingerless gloves for Scott, so he can keep his hands warm and use his Droid phone at the same time.

He gave me the Julie and Julia book, which I'm looking forward to reading.

I gave him a more-than-usual-expense bar of soap he'd liked

Smells so good...

He went twice in a row, since we came out uneven on gift numbers

A book he'd wanted to encourage his writing

I don't know what it is, but I like it already!

It was wrapped in a really nice box

It's a gift certificate to Bare Escentuals, a cosmetics store that sells all-natural products

Scott got God of War II, since he enjoyed playing the first one so much.

Me wondering where the Boscovs box came from. But it was something we'd had from Christmases past, and it held a Food Network magazine ...

Which held a receipt for a year subscription!

I gave Scott a David Bazan CD...

and a ticket to go see him play in Brooklyn in March.

That wrapped up our Christmas here, but I have to give props to my parents, who are getting us a Wii! A very Me-Wii Christmas indeed!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No business like snow business

I should be getting ready for bed, since I have an in-early/stay-late day at work tomorrow, but you might have heard that we got a little bit of snow here, and I know you're just dying for photos. So I'll indulge you.

I was out shopping when the snow started in early afternoon. I didn't get any photos of it then because, well, it's hard to take photos of moving snow. But later in the evening, it was snowing super hard. Like, can't see the buildings out the windows hard.

We got around a foot of snow. Easily the deepest snow I've been in, being a Southerner and all. Our friends to the south (literal or figurative) got nearly two feet in Philadelphia and in DC, they got more than two feet. Deep stuff.

Thankfully, the walk to work was pretty cleared out for my by the time I went in in the afternoon. But here's a few photos of the aftermath in the city.

This tree is in the plaza I walk through

You might recognize that sculpture from my walk to work post. (Sorry, I'm not going back for a link right now.) And that slushy dark mess between the snow piles is Broadway.

Side street

Trees buried in snow, same twinkly ones from the last post

Subway station in front of the office building

So, as the best Facebook status post of the snow day said, snOMG!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's Christmastime in the city

New York kinda sucks in the fall. There aren't too many trees here, so it's easy to completely miss the beauty of the changing colors. But for all it lacks in the fall, New York makes up for it at Christmas.

Firstly, unlike many other places that throw a string of lights on a tree and call it decorated, in New York, every light is carefully placed and wrapped around selected trunks and branches. The effect is a really beautiful, twinkly display.

Down on Wall Street, they're in the red (ba dum ching!)

And the stores are all decked out

Especially the Herald Square Macy's and its famed windows

But it's not just the big guys, the little guys like street vendors get in the spirit too

But there is one major epicenter in New York at Christmas. This year-round sculpture hints you're getting close...

And the Rockettes are performing their annual Christmas Spectacular show just down the street...

But what you're really here to see ...

Is the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, the center of all things Christmas in New York.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Music and me

There are two times a year I really miss playing my instrument(s). This is one of them.

For those of you who don't know, I was a huge band nerd. (Oh come on, you're not really that surprised are you?) I played flute from the time I was in fourth grade until, well, I graduated college. I guess you could say I'm still a flute player, but the fact is I haven't picked up my flute or piccolo for any extended period of time since 2004. Once I got into high school, I still enjoyed flute, but I really excelled at piccolo, apparently having a knack for playing in tune (very, very important for a piccolo) and not blowing people's ears out. In fact, my band teacher once told me I was the only piccolo player he'd ever had to tell to play louder. And this man had been directing bands for years and years, so that's really saying something. But at any rate, I LOVED the piccolo and preferred it to flute. (Especially in marching band, where I'd rather hold a piccolo than any other instrument. Whether that's because it was small and light or I could command a football field with my presence, I'll let you decide.)

I often wish I would get back to playing, but the truth is, living in apartments and having a wacky work schedule just hasn't really lent itself to it. But Christmas is one of those times when I really wish I still played. And there's one song that always does it. Any guesses?

I wanted to find the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra in a nod to the late Erich Kunzel, but Boston Pops will have to do.

There isn't a particular part I love in this song, aside from the jazz section, but the whole thing is fun to play, and was a tradition at Christmas concerts in high school. I've loved it ever since.

So I guess you want to know the other time of the year when I miss playing, don't you? Geez, so demanding, aren't you? Well, here you go. Probably the best. piccolo. part. EVER.

(You can listen to the whole thing, but the part in question is just after the 2-minute mark, and again at 2:56, which, in my opinion, is even better than the first time around.)

There, now don't you feel like putting some red white and blue on your Christmas tree?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday morning

Imagine: You wake up and head for the computer, just like every morning. You've got a routine to keep, after all. But today, there is no Internet. No email. No Facebook. What do you do?

Hit the shower, get dressed, eat lunch, and get to work on time for once, that's what.

Glad to report it's back up and running. Obviously.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My golden ticket

Actually, it's a little plastic card with a photo of the statue of David on it, but just go with it, k?

This story actually starts about a year ago, but I'll be quick. Last January, MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art) was having an exhibit Scott and I really wanted to go see. For whatever reason, we didn't make it to the museum until the last day of the exhibit, and when we got there, it was sold out. We were about to leave when we found out we could still see it if we bought a year-long membership, and since museums are something we like to do together, we did it. (Hence the little plastic card.) And the exhibit was great. It was a Van Gogh exhibit with Starry Night as the centerpiece. Although for us, Starry Night over the Rhone is even more amazing in person than Starry Night. And it always amazes me to think these are the originals. Like, he actually put the brush to that actual canvas. But I digress...

Right now, MoMA is having a members only preview for a Tim Burton exhibit (you know, Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare Before Christmas, etc.) This time, we decided to go while only members are allowed, before it's opened to everyone. Figured it would cut back on the crowd. And it was probably good we did, because it was crowded enough as it was. The exhibit is probably the most fun thing we've seen at a museum. Lots of interesting and neat drawings from Tim Burton, and even props and costumes used in some of his movies. But for me, the highlight of the exhibit was a few of the puppets from the welcome scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (yes, the one with Johnny Depp). I LOVE this movie. I can't really explain it. It just tickles me every time. Scott gave it to me for Christmas last year. But I digress again... So they have a couple of these "puppets" on display and it was just really neat to see them in person. They're bigger than I thought they'd be. Unfortunately you're not allowed to take photos in the exhibit, but I highly recommend you watch this clip of what I'm talking about.

In the lobby of the museum

Overall, it's a really neat experience, and if you're in New York, definitely recommended. We'll be going back sometime soon to see the Monet Water Lillies exhibit.

Other shots from just wandering around for a while...

Oh hello there.

Look, New York has one too!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wicked, oh so Wicked

Oh wait, wrong musical.

Anyway, I'm going to see Wicked on Broadway! And my best friend Meaghan is going to come up from Atlanta and see it with me! She'll only be here for a day, but I'll take what I can get. I bought tickets today, and the seats really couldn't get much better. They're in the front balcony, second row, dead center.

Now all I have to do is wait till February.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The box

I'm not usually one who walks through stores and makes impulse buys, especially if it's trinket-type stuff. But for a while now I've been looking for a small decorative box and hadn't found anything that fit the bill. Till now.

On Friday night, I took Scott out to Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill for his birthday. We were a little bit early for our dinner reservations, and decided to walk through Pier 1 Imports across the street to kill a little time. We weren't actually looking for anything, not even this box. But it jumped out at me from a back shelf, and I had to have it. Thankfully it wasn't cost prohibitive.

Between our backgrounds as readers, editors, grammarians, journalists — it has words, you name it, we got it — you'll see why this box was definitely coming home with us.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The rules

At the train station I walk to work from, there's a long escalator from where the trains are up to the top where the exit is. If you're really ambitious, there are even regular steps. (I'm not that ambitious.)

As I was riding up the escalator the other day, I heard a woman on the escalator next to me: "UGH! These people don't know the rules!" I looked over and it made me smile because I knew exactly what she was talking about.

What are the rules? Well, it's really just one rule. Which is to stand to the right if you're going to stand. Some people climb the escalator stairs, and it's an unwritten "rule" that you don't block their way.

Now you know. Next time you're on an escalator in New York, follow the rules.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Eat, sleep, baseball

The last few weeks have been just chock full o' playoffs and World Series funness that have pretty much meant I was either at work or sleeping. As a result, I haven't had much exciting to blog about. I still don't. But I thought you might like to know I haven't given up LPBA. Once the World Series has worn off, I'm sure I'll be back with much more exciting things to share.

Although I have to say, I'm kinda pulling for the Phillies. I don't really have a baseball allegiance outside a half-hearted attempt for the Braves or the Mets (by marriage). But I kinda had to root for them last year, since I was in Philly and all, and I really just don't like the Yankees' arrogant attitude. So, even if that means two more games, I hope the Phillies can pull it out.

And speaking of work or sleeping, I've done a lot more of one today than the other. I think it's about time.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Music weekend

When I started hearing about this music-filled week/weekend deal in the city, I wasn't too keen on it. Scott was bummed he didn't find out about it sooner so he could have gone to more shows. But I figured it was all music I wouldn't like. It's called CMJ — which apparently stands for College Music Journal. It's basically 40-minute shows by unsigned and indie bands. LOTS of them. All across the city. A lot of industry people check it out to see if they can find new talent. But anyway, I wasn't too interested. And I couldn't even remember the name of it. I kept wanting to call it CMYK. (*snicker*) Finally I was nearly able to remember it by thinking, TMJ, only with a C. CMJ. So yeah, every time I actually said it, there was a slight pause while I thought "Like TMJ, only with a C. CMJ!"

Anyway, Scott really wanted to see some bands this weekend. I wasn't really into it, but I figured what the heck. I've spent plenty of weekends sitting here staring at the computer, so why not go try something essentially New York. Last night, Scott found a band he wanted to go see, so we went. We stayed for them and two more bands after them. IT. WAS. LOUD. And if I ever go to another one of his shows (and I'm sure I will), I am totally investing in earplugs. I honestly didn't hate the music, it was just SO loud that I felt like my ears were going to start bleeding. The first band, the band we went for, they were ok. Four out of about six songs all sounded the same to me. I guess the other two were slightly different. The next band was decent, they weren't quite as painful, and were probably my personal favorite act of the night. The last band was from Sweden. They weren't quite as loud as the other two, but I found myself zoning out while they were playing, so I guess their music wasn't that captivating. At least not for me.

Here's who we saw, in order of appearance:

The venue, Crash Mountain, was pretty cool. It was kinda like, I dunno, a swanky castle bar. Stone on the walls and stuff. There were long leather sofas lining the walls and and one in the middle of the space. There are some pictures of it here.

There were more bands on till like 3 a.m., but we had only planned to stay for three sets, so we left. But after we got home, Scott said maybe we could find some bands that *I* might like to see today. I didn't think anything like that existed at this event, but I guess I was wrong. We found three acts I was interested in. Unfortunately, they all pretty much played on top of each other but at different venus across Manhattan. So I had to pick one. Tonight we saw Katie Costello, and I really enjoyed it. She plays piano and sings, and she had two guys with her, one playing the cello and one doing percussion.

Here's the link to hear some of Katie's stuff:

We liked the venue for this show. It was only a few blocks from last night's sets. It's actually two venues in one. The Living Room is downstairs, and seats about 150 people. There were other bands down there tonight. But upstairs is Googie's Lounge, where we were tonight, which is a small space with seating for about 50 people, so it was really nice and intimate. Here's their website, but all their pics seem to be of the downstairs space. Oh well.

The other two people I didn't get to see tonight can be found here: (Go to videos and watch Build Me Up Buttercup, it'll make you laugh.)

Next year, when...(CMYK, no that's not it, like TMJ, with a C) CMJ rolls around, Scott will be ready with a game plan for who he wants to see and when. And so will I.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A fetching image

Two sure-fire ways to know I was the one who did the cover:

1. There's a dog on it.

2. It's a German Shepherd.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Morning routine

*Yawn.* Morning. Not good. Just morning. That's all you're getting, so don't ask for more. Hot chocolate or chai? Hmm. I'll go with the chai today. But right now I'm going to sit down on the couch and open up the computer.

First stop, gmail to check my email. Usually mostly junk. I can't stand to let unread emails sit. I have to open them or delete them. Better hope you fall in the former.

Thanks for the chai. Stop #2, work email. Usually mostly section plans for the day and galleys of where the ads are going on the pages, with a little other of this and that thrown in. I don't know why, but the "Must not have unread emails in inbox" does not apply here.

Next, Facebook. Nuff said.

After that, it's on to LPBA. If I have posted something recently, it might get moved up in the rankings so I can see if anybody commented. It it weren't for Kari, I would be sadly disappointed most of the time.

Speaking of Kari, I wind up at her blog next a lot, since my blogroll points out anything new.

I've gotta check the news to see if anything major is happening so I know what I'm in for at work. My preferred news website and home page is Not because I love how they present the news, I just find their homepage the easiest to look at and maneuver.

Then Cake Wrecks. You won't find me laughing heartily first thing in the "morning" (it might be noon, but it's still morning to me), but it's good for a giggle, and I love the fact that my mom checks this out every day too, so it gives us something to compare notes on. Also, it's just plain hilarious. Highly recommended.

After that, it's off to design world. First stop in design world is the blog of Charles Apple. He's a seasoned visual journalist, and is always teaching, critiquing or praising something. I like to see what he has to say.

Once I'm caught up there, I'll hit Newseum's Top 10 for the day. Some days I agree. Some days I don't.

After I'm done with all of the above, I generally refresh Facebook, check my work email again and finish my tea. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go put my contacts in, shower, get dressed and eat lunch. Have a good day.