Saturday, September 27, 2008

Austin City Limits music festival

Rebeka, Atesha and I braved the crowds (and the intermittent clouds of pot) to see Erykah Badu, John Fogerty, and Robert Plant w/Alison Krauss. Aubrey joined us for a bit, and we tasted the wares of some of Austin's best restaurants! it's a lot cooler now that the sun is setting.
and we get to come back and do it again tomorrow!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Curse of Corvallis

(SI is calling it the "house of horrors" - but I think it's a curse, plain and simple.)

*Sigh.* The Trojans went back to Corvallis, and got their a$$es handed to them on a silver platter. Again. Freshman Jacquizz Rodgers (the 5-foot-7, 193-pound tailback) became the bane of their existence, running through blocks and streaking down the field like he was covered in Crisco. Couldn't stop him! Wasn't hard to see what he was doing, he was just so "wiry" (my favorite line from Rhys Ifans in "The Replacements") that they couldn't grab him. And the team's trademark ball-stripping moves wouldn't work, because he was so much smaller than the defense. *sigh*

Two touchdowns in the third quarter, one in the fourth (in 1:20, no less!) -- flashes of "the real USC" muted by their inability to stop the Beavers from running all over them. And Rey Maualuga's knee injury didn't help.

It was a long night. I'm sure it was a long flight back to LA.

Next week: the Oregon Ducks at the Coliseum.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In honor of Sarah Palin's candidacy:

Please give to Planned Parenthood!

Here's an email that has been going around this week... it was not started by anyone at PP, but it appears to be working - as of today, they have received 18,000 donations in Sarah Palin's honor!! If you haven't done it yet, please consider following the instructions below. (I wonder how the folks at the McCain campaign feel about all those postcards they've been receiving...)

Dear Friends:

We may have thought we wanted a woman on a national political ticket, but the joke has really been on us, hasn't it? Are you as sick in your stomach as I am at the thought of Sarah Palin as Vice President of the United States?

Since Palin gave her speech accepting the Republican nomination for the Vice Presidency, Barack Obama's campaign has raised over $10 million dollars. Some of you may already be supporting the Obama campaign financially; others of you may still be a little honked off over the primaries. None of you, however, can be happy with Palin's selection, especially on her positions on women's issues. So, if you feel you can't support the Obama campaign financially, may I suggest the following fiendishly brilliant alternative?

Make a donation to Planned Parenthood. In Sarah Palin's name. And here's the good part: when you make a donation to PP in her name, they'll send her a card telling her that the donation has been made in her honor. Here's the link to the Planned Parenthood website:

You'll need to fill in the address to let PP know where to send the "in Sarah Palin's honor" card. I suggest you use the address for the McCain campaign headquarters, which is:

McCain for President
1235 S. Clark Street
1st Floor
Arlington , VA 22202

Feel free to send this along to all your women friends and urge them to do the same.
So please, if you haven't already, support PP and let the McCain campaign know that the fact that they chose a woman does not mean that the rest of the women of America support her views.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gigi was here!

Finally, one of my friends from DC made it down to Austin to visit*! Giselle showed up on Friday afternoon, and walked straight into a whirlwind schedule of eating, drinking, dancing, and football.

First, we had to go to happy hour, to say farewell (for now) to Aaron, who is moving with his wife (Erin) to India. She won a Fulbright scholarship to go study art! He'll be "telecommuting" til next June. But we couldn't stay at happy hour for long, because we had dinner reservations. We went back to my house to change and wait for Atesha, and then we were off to Ranch 616. It was crowded, but the food was SO good. We all ordered steak - three different specials. Mine had crabmeat, Giselle's had a little quail on the side, and Atesha got a mesquite grilled steak as big as her head! And the biscuits - we were so glad Aubrey told us to make sure we got biscuits! :)

Once we were completely stuffed, we moved on to Momo's to see Skyrocket. The first set was interesting - songs I'd never heard them play before - but Gigi just couldn't get over the variety (and the vintage) of the songs they played. The first few notes of every song made her say "oh my gawd!" or "wow!" Then Keith and Steve and Alli showed up, and we hit the dance floor for the second set. These are the hits we know and love -- Blondie, the Bee Gees, Air Supply, Eurythmics, even the Bay City Rollers! It was great! We stayed through the second set, and then it was just too late and we were all exhausted.

Saturday morning I took Giselle to the Omelettry for late breakfast. We stuffed ourselves with pancakes and eggs and coffee, to fortify us for going to the Pecan Street Festival. I had never been... it was pretty much the same as most other street festivals, in New York or DC... It was a little warm. We wandered along the stalls, and she bought a cute painted metal fish for her bathroom, and some gorgeous earrings at the SoLa booth -- it was great to see Coral & Joel, and their booth was busy! I hope they did well.

Then we went home to veg for a bit and recover from the heat, before going back downtown with Atesha for the UT-Rice football game. It was a great game for Texas... not so much for Rice. We left after the third quarter, when the score got out of hand. We had to have some bbq before Gigi left, so we went down to County Line on the Lake. It was about 9:30 when we got there -- the place was empty. We stuffed ourselves (again, but we hadn't really eaten since lunch) with bbq pork/ham/brisket/sausage/ribs, and dessert. Urp.

The only thing that we did on Sunday morning was go to the airport. I dropped off Gigi and went straight to the gym, to burn off all the calories from the weekend of stuffing my face... and boy did I ever burn them! Lara made sure of that. :)

So, thanks, G, for coming down to visit, and I hope you had fun! I know I did! (Eventually I will get around to posting the three pictures we took the whole weekend...)

* Stuart has been here more than once, but he didn't stay with me or need me to show him around. ;)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I always loved Wonder Woman...

I spun myself dizzy SO many times trying to be her! And come on, Lynda Carter even has a Y in her name!
Recently, the lovely Washington-area resident (betcha didn't know she lives in DC!) did an interview with Philadelphia magazine, where they asked her about people comparing Sarah Palin to Wonder Woman. Here's what she said:
Don’t get me started. She’s the anti-Wonder Woman. She’s judgmental and dictatorial, telling people how they’ve got to live their lives. And a superior religious self-righteousness ... that’s just not what Wonder Woman is about. Hillary Clinton is a lot more like Wonder Woman than Mrs. Palin. She did it all, didn’t she? ...

I like John McCain. But this woman — it's anathema to me what she stands for. I think America should be very afraid. Very afraid. Separation of church and state is the one thing the creators of the Constitution did agree on — that it wasn’t to be a religious government. People should feel free to speak their minds about religion but not dictate it or put it into law.
You go, Wonder Woman! Yay!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Viva Mexico!

I needed a vacation to recover from my vacation! (have I said that before?) :)

Playa del Carmen was beautiful. For the most part, hurricanes Hannah and Ike left us alone -- though we did get a few minutes of heavy rain every afternoon, which reminded me of being in Miami!

We stayed in a 3-BR, 2-BA condo, nicely furnished, at an apartment complex with a lovely pool, free wireless, and few people (that we saw). It's one of those places that rents out the apartments when the owners are not there, like the flats we've enjoyed in London. We generally had the pool to ourselves, and the water was perfect.

The adventure began on the way to the condo, as apparently the driver of the airport van didn't know where the condo complex was. Granted, it's pretty new -- some of the apartments are still under construction -- but every other taxi driver we had knew about it! And unfortunately, the helpful guy at the airport didn't know where the condo complex was either! The place he pointed to on the map was nowhere near the actual condo, which only added to the confusion.

The condo complex is in Playacar, which is a new development of nice houses, beach resorts, and condos at the south end of Playa del Carmen -- but there's no food, unless you're at one of the resorts. So we had to go into "town" (by taxi, $5 each way per cab) to find lunch... and boy, we were starving! Our first meal was at a Mexican place right on the beach. Huge margaritas, lots of chips and salsa and guacamole. YUM. Yep, we're on vacation!

Then we wandered around a bit, but we were all dying to go back and get into the gorgeous pool. We knew we couldn't have a very late night, because we were getting up early in the morning to go snorkeling with the sea turtles! :)

We decided that the munchies we had bought in town weren't going to be enough for dinner, so Faith, Janie and I trundled off to Wal-Mart (the biggest supermarket around) while the others tried to figure out how to order pizza. We got some good munchies at Wal-Mart, some fresh fruit, peanut butter, milk for coffee, etc., and came back. The pizza, however, was elusive - we had the wrong phone number! We finally managed to get some pizza, and all went to bed pretty early.

Friday, we took a taxi to the ferry pier, where we met the tour leaders for snorkeling. We had already put on our biodegradable sunscreen (a requirement) at the condo - bleh! - so we were off to Akumal in a little van, along with two British girls who came over from Cozumel for the tour. Here are some of the girls with life vests on (we didn't have to inflate them) when we were getting the rest of our gear.

The first snorkeling adventure was in the Yal Ku lagoon. It's a small area with lots of interesting fish swimming around... not terribly deep -- though I did have a few minutes of nervousness that something would come out of the rocks below me. [I tend to prefer swimming pools... probably saw Jaws when I was too young.] There's a little set of steps for the snorkelers to put on their flippers and get in carefully. Unfortunately, this didn't stop Atesha from slipping and landing on the stairs pretty hard - she's still got bruises all over, poor thing!

We swam around for a while and took pictures of the fish, but the water was kinda murky. Then they took us to a resort on Akumal bay, where we went back into the water to see the sea turtles. Ah, the sea turtles. :) They were SO beautiful. [Here's one I snapped a picture of as I was swimming over it. Unfortunately, I got salt water in my snorkel as I did this! bleh!] We saw four or five of them, a stingray, some barracudas, and lots of other little fish around the coral reef. But after all that swimming around, I was exhausted! (and starving!) Our tour price included lunch at the resort buffet, but I have to say, we weren't all that impressed. It was good enough - salad, pasta, some chicken or fish, nice rolls, and dessert. And beer or margaritas. Then they let us lie on the nearly empty, white sand beach for a few hours, under the cabanas, before bundling us back into the van to go back to town.

All in all, Friday was exhausting. We went back to the condo and swam for a bit, and then the rain came... and then we got ready to go out to dinner. We didn't really have a plan, we just wandered down Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue, the "main drag" in Playa) until we found a place we all liked. Turned out to be the sports bar. We had nachos and guacamole and margaritas (again), and watched the people go by. I have to say, the people-watching was tremendous, all weekend!

More tomorrow...

My photos have been posted here on kodakgallery. I'll be snagging some photos from the other ladies to make a full slide show later. :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

and let us all say, Amen!

(I will post more about the trip to Mexico shortly. I'm waiting for the underwater cameras to be developed. When was the last time you had to wait for film developing?!?)

Anyway, on to the topic of my post.

George Coyne, an ordained Catholic priest and renowned astronomer, discussed intelligent design and evolution at a lecture Sept. 4 at the College of New Jersey (not to be confused with Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, my alma mater)
He said although he believes in G-d, and believes G-d created the universe, he cannot believe in intelligent design as a scientist.

He personally encourages evolution to be taught in school, not intelligent design.

"You shouldn't talk about God in a science classroom," he said.

According to Coyne, it is the parents' duty to teach their child about G-d if they want, not the science teacher's responsibility.

He also said as a scientist, he cannot truly believe in the biblical explanation for the creation of the world.

"The Genesis stories are the most beautiful stories I've ever read. They're stories. Not science," Coyne said.
(emphasis mine)

Hurrrah! A Catholic priest who understands the difference between religion and science! Now, somebody go find Sarah Palin and make her listen!

[I haven't touched on the topic of Sarah Palin or the McCain campaign yet... I'm building a whole list of items to post about her/them, when I recover from the idiocy of it all.]

Friday, September 05, 2008

on the beach at Akumal

we snorkeled in the lagoon at Yal Ku, then came to the beach and swam among the loggerhead turtles. I think that's the coooolest thing I've ever done! You'll just have to wait til I get the waterproof cameras developed to see how close they were!

and now, naptime. all that snorkeling is exhausting!

sea turle day!

this morning we are headed to Akumal to go snorkeling with sea turtles, underwater cameras at the ready!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Off to Mexico!

Did you know the Austin airport has a South Terminal? We had to find it this morning!
Here we are waiting to board the flight to Cancun... Janie's doing some last-minute work. :(