Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stuffy Nose

There's one bonus to having a stuffy nose - you can't smell the stalest of stale smoke that hangs in the air at the bar you've decided to stop in on. Yeah. CJ and I got an early dinner tonight, then headed over to see Wes play, but alas... little miss non-football fan me didn't know that they've started playing football on Thursday nights now. Great. We had one beer and decided we'd rather be home in bed than stay up until the wee hours waiting to see if Wes would actually play. I'm not a mere fan of his after all, I'm a friend. And as friend, we left without (much) guilt.

So I got home a few minutes ago and what-do-you-know? My nose started clearing. Just enough, in fact, for me to smell the oh-so-pleasant smell of stale smoke lingering on my clothes. Great. So up into a ponytail the hair goes, because I'm not dealing with it tonight. It figures, though, doesn't it?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I Need Your Help: Reader Poll

Okay, all... I need assistance. I know it's a bit early, but I am trying to decide which class at CCBC I will take in the Spring. I've narrowed it down to four choices, but I now I need some feedback. Thoughts?

1. Dance: Basic Belly Dancing for Beginners - Fun and also good for the "abs, buns, thighs and posture..." Five total classes, but on Monday nights at 7 PM . Ick. ($50)
2. History: Perspectives on Jesus - "Examine a variety of perspectives on the life and teachings of Jesus." This is especially interesting considering that I have a lot of questions regarding my faith. To believe [in Jesus] or not to believe... 6 classes on a Tuesday. ($70)
3. Design: Calligraphy Beginning - "Use this beautiful and artistic handwriting for creative invitations, business cards and announcements..." or for my card-making and scrapbooking, I'm thinking. Might be a nice skill to have considering my cursive sucks. 8 classes on Thursdays. ($70)
4. Music: Harmonica Fundamentals - "Complete beginners will learn how to play the harmonica and will explore the various styles used in folk and blues traditions." Too cool. 8 classes and Monday nights. ($75)


Cover Girl

I had a facial after work today. That's not why the title of this post is cover girl, but there is little better on this planet than a good facial. Especially after a four day headache and while still recovering from a cold. Damn, I love facials.

Anyway... at my Company we have monthly newsletter/magazine that is distributed internally and contains information on events at work, anniversaries, births, etc. It's always a little bit of a surprise what is on the cover, and for November, one might have guessed that Halloween would be front and center... but not so much. Instead of Halloween, a pic of me from our Ravens Stadium punt/pass/kick event was on the cover. Ha! I'm hamming it up (I know you're shocked), but what fun are pictures unless you act like a dork? Of course.... my dorkiness ended up on the cover... but I lived. It was certainly a bit odd, but it was kinda cool, too, even if I did get harassed for the rest of the day - including my team hiding my desk phone, keyboard, pens, stapler, coffee mug, water bottle, my chair, etc, etc, etc. Yeah. And I ran around like a goof for 15 minutes accusing everyone and their mother of taking them. Oh well, they meant well, right? Oh... and I have a confession to make - I drove home from work listening to Cover Girl by New Kids on the Block. I did. I admit it. But Cassie, aren't you proud?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Better Than Yesterday

I am happy to report that this evening my headache has begun to ease off... I am starting to feel human again. Praise Jesus. I wasn't sure how I was going to continue living if my headache stayed around much longer. Keep your fingers crossed that it's gone tomorrow morning...

Since I have nothing more of interest to say tonight, go check out Jodi's awesome new headshots. Aren't they amazing???!!

Monday, November 26, 2007


I still have a headache... Day 3.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Meeting Katherine Kurtz & the Festival of Trees

I'd like to report... that I'm preppy. Yep. I didn't think that I was. I thought that I was a relatively well-dressed, well groomed, clean cut, professional gal. But preppy? No.

I think I've reserved "preppy" for those women who wear sweaters on their shoulders all day or those who can wear scarves for ten straight hours (and not just with their winter coats). But today's visit to Darkover proved to me that I fit firmly into the preppy category. What a surprise.

I slept horribly last night. I woke up every two or three hours, and my throat - although it didn't hurt - was scratchy which made me cough a lot. When I woke up with a headache, I decided I'd try to get out for a few hours and do the things that I had intended to do yesterday.

So at noon I went to the Darkover Convention, or as "insiders" call it, the Darkover Grand Council Meeting. Darkover is to D&D folks as Star Trek is to trekkies. I'm not sure I fit in with my 3" black boots, long jeans and Ann Taylor trench coat. In my small world, I am not preppy, but in the larger world of reality that includes fantasy readers... I most certainly am.

My first stop was at the Anapurna booth, where I met up with Jamaila. She has the most gorgeous jewelry. Check out what I bought - a cherry quartz/sterling silver pendant, named "Integrity," a Velvet obsidian/sterling silver/swarovski crystal pendant, named "Velvet and Steel," and (how crazy is this?) an amazonite/czech glass/sterling silver bracelet, named "Charissa."
No joke. I was immediately drawn to the bracelet and when I opened the card to look at the price, I about had a heart attack when I saw my name.
Jamaila said that when she made the bracelet it reminder her of me, so she named it after me. How strange is it that I noticed it and liked it immediately? (Thanks, Jamaila.)

After my fun purchases, Jamaila took me to the "Knit one, Purl two" panel on "How Authors Relax." I slid into the back and listened to the panel (which included Katherine Kurtz) for the next thirty minutes, fighting off a few coughing fits and getting increasingly nervous about meeting her. Jamaila joined me, and after the panel finished, she dragged me to the front of the room and introduced me to Katherine. (If you recall from an earlier post, I am a Deryni-named child.)

Totally cool. She seems like a super nice woman and although I think it was far more exciting for me to meet her than it was for her to meet me, it was a special moment for me. As it turns out, she did not invent my name. She couldn't remember where it came from exactly, but she did remember that the meaning was originally "cherish" and "beloved" - close to the current published meanings, "charity" and "grace." Surprisingly, she also didn't care that my name is pronounced differently that her character's name. I guess I thought she'd be insulted or something, but she wasn't at all - obviously a sign of good character. :)

So here is a photo of me and my new "aunt" Katherine. Yes, I told her that I've always considered her much like a cool aunt, and she didn't seem to mind. So at 30 years old, I have a new aunt. Haha.

After Darkover, I drove around the corner and met CJ at the Festival of Trees. I especially wanted to go because CJ designed a tree that won third place in the "Imaginative Theme" category. I am SO super proud of her. Her tree is a "Toile-TREE," and it was decorated with toiletry items like hair curlers, soap and mouthwash. It also sold for $250! How cool is it?

She also designed a wreath that was the classiest one there. I was going to buy it because no one had when we walked through, but CJ wouldn't let me. If she gets it back she may let me hang it on my front door for the holidays. As much as I want it, I hope that someone bought it because the profits go to charity.

Note: Anyone want to help me design a "Baltimore Blogger" tree next year? How fun would that be?

And so ends my day. I am back in PJs and drinking hot cider/tea. My nose seems clearer, but the sinus pressure is still pretty bad. I'll rest up and see how I feel in the morning.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


I am still sick. Mornings are better, nights are horrible. I stayed home all day today (no Darkover, no Festival of Trees) and laid around, slept, and blew my nose. About an hour ago, I convinced myself to go to Walgreens, and I spent $65.99. At Walgreens. Dear God.

My receipt:
2 Puffs tissues
1 Heating pad
1 Tylenol Sinus (Day/Night)
1 Saline nose spray
1 Box of Shower Soothers
1 Vaporizor
1 Vaporizor medicine
2 Dog toys (because I feel guilty)
2 Chicken Noodle Soups

Of course, what isn't on this list is the small bottle of Whiskey that I was instructed to buy for my hot tea. Me buying whiskey (I know nothing about whiskey) must have been pretty funny. Poor liqor store guy.

To bed.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Dammit. I'm sick. I know there are a few hundred bugs going around, but this one came out of nowhere. I had a bit of a scratchy throat, and a tiny ear ache post-parade, but today I am a stuffy mess. My poor nose is sore from the blowing and my throat is just plain raw.

Who else out there is sick? I know Epiph was. How long is this going to last?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Ode to Lily Those Ohioans

I had lunch yesterday with those Ohioans - they came by my work and we got to hang our one last time before they headed out of Baltimore. I am in love with Lily. It's official. I distracted her early into lunch with a table display, and she played with it through lunch. Here's a film strip of Lily photos. Go ahead and tell me she isn't adorable. Wait - no, don't, because then I'll get mad at you.

Here's a fabulous family photo - including the new baby BOY in Marie's belly.

And here I am with two of my best friends in the world.

I'll close out this post with an adorable Lily photo with a bear and a smile.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Atari Schmatari

I'm an easy girl to please, I really am. I find pleasures in the smallest things, like the Rollercoaster Tycoon PC game, for instance. I resurrected the game last week and won my way through the Soaked! expansion pack, so I figured I'd stop at Best Buy on the way home and buy the second expansion pack, Wild. But... no. As I just discovered, the expansion packs are no longer available individually. They are only available in one large bundle, including Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, Soaked! and Wild, which is no good for me if I own everything else already.

So I came home and jumped online looking for a download - I am totally willing to pay for it. But, again... no. No RCT3 game downloads at all, only RCT2. I can order the Wild expansion pack and have it shipped to me, but I want to play now. Today. Buying it or bidding on it from eBay is only going to delay my enjoyment.. and well, that just doesn't work for me.

(Plug your ears, Atari, because) My last resort is illegal file sharing. I have no other choice. So I did a search for a torrent, and I've been downloading something for about an hour now. It's only 16.4% complete. Why, oh why, must Atari do this to me?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lovin' Those Ohioans

BJ, Marie and Lily are in town for a few days. Maybe I didn't mention it, but they are moving to the Baltimore metro area in 2008, and although it will be a hard move for some of them, I have to admit that I couldn't be any more excited to have them nearby.

Today I took a half day and introduced Marie to Bel Air and White Marsh. Despite the overcast skies, it was actually kind of nice out. The leaves were shades of orange and yellow and red, and the few times we got out to look at a property, you could just smell the fall. You know, the leafy wetness smell. Yum.

After the tour, we went back to where they are staying and I met Lily again for the first time in a year. At first she was very shy, but after a awhile, I reeled her in with photos of dogs on my Blackberry (Antonio, Rocky and Lucy). Marie had dinner plans, so BJ, Lily and I went out for dinner. It was nice to just relax and chat - and Lily is just a delightful child. I really had a fun afternoon. Hopefully we'll have more of that over the next few days.

Bea Gaddy Donation Information

I received a note from someone who volunteers at the Bea Gaddy Thanksgiving Day Feast, and he had some pointers regarding what to donate. Please consider donating, and if you do, here are some guidelines to follow:

1. Plenty of people donate corn, green beans, and other vegetables.
2. There is a greater need for more DRY GOODS, i.e.rice, stuffing, pasta, mac and cheese, etc.
3. They REALLY need canned meats (tuna, chicken) and protein sources such as PEANUT BUTTER.
4. Fruits are always in short supply, so bring these, too.

Please remember that there are two more days to donate. Financial donations are also welcome.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Baltimore Thanksgiving Parade

Boy, was I tired last night. I dozed in and out of sleep on the couch for the better part of the afternoon and the night - my legs were so sore (but I guess I need to tell you why, right?)

So I showed up downtown at volunteer check-in at 9 AM or a little before. They were great - they had donuts and coffee because it was only around 40 degrees, so I stayed as warm as I could and chatted with other volunteers. After the water I had that morning and the coffee, duty called, and I used a port-a-potty on the corner of Eutaw and Pratt. It's a strange thing peeing on a corner in the middle of downtown, I tell you.

Around 9:30, we headed over to the Howard/Pratt intersection, which was the designated balloon filler-upper location. We didn't stand around for long before they started asking for volunteers for the first balloon. I volunteered immediately - I really didn't care which balloon I had - and although I initially thought I might get the penguin, I got a mini red balloon - just a round ball. That was fine with me. There were only two of us on the balloon. I saw on the schedule that there were supposed to be two mini balloons right before Santa, so I felt pretty special.

So my balloon was filled at 9:45 or so, and we held that balloon (standing) until about 11:20 or so. Yeah, an hour and a half of standing in cold weather holding a large helium-filled balloon. I had those hand warmers in my gloves, but my feet were really cold, so I was bouncing on my toes to keep them warm. (Note: Why my legs hurt Reason #1: calf exercises.) Next they filled up the penguin, then Pocahontas, and by the time they got to the pilgrim... they ran out of helium. Yep. Apparently helium contracts in cold weather, so it was taking far more helium than usual. By his point the penguin was looking really sad, so we had one red balloon, Pocahontas, a sad looking penguin, and a half-filled pilgrim. The line-up for the parade pretty much went to hell at this point, and Pocahontas went out immediately, and our single red balloon went out after the soap box derby car and before a middle school ROTC group. We were a red balloon completely out of context. We just knew people were thinking, "What the heck is with that red balloon?"

Knowing we were just thrown in to fill space, I decided I was going to make the best of it, so I started marching and dancing and kicking, and basically making a fool of myself. (Note: Why my legs hurt Reason #2: kicking, jumping and marching.) It was super fun. A the end of the day, I was lucky. The penguin and pilgrim never made it into the parade. It was a long morning, but my early volunteering at least got me in the parade. Those folks waited around a long time for nothing. I would have been so disappointed.

After my job was done (and okay, okay, I inhaled some of that helium when we were deflating the balloon), I walked back and met Katie, her little and her mom along the parade route. (Note: Why my legs hurt Reason #3: probably two miles of walking.) THANK YOU, Katie and little and mom and Ken and Jess for coming to see me! It was so super exciting to have support there, and thanks to Katie for my pictures. :)

We watched the rest of the parade go by, then we headed to the Galleria for eating and shopping. (Note: Why my legs hurt Reason #4: shopping.) I first realized how tired I was when we sat down to eat. My legs ached a little and I thought, "Uh oh." And so began Saturday afternoon of complete laziness.

So here are a few fun photos for you. I am so, so, so, so glad I did this and would do it again in a heartbeat. What a neat experience.

This is me and my fellow red balloon handler, L. Yes, these hats are horrible, but they wanted us to wear them, so I did.

My red balloon getting filled up!

Pocohantas filling up!

A self photo of me and my balloon waiting.

Here I come!!! Are you excited??


Oh, so sad... there I go.

A high school band. I should have taken more photos of the bands, I just didn't get a chance. I think this is Archbishop Curly, though, Rob's HS.

Very cool puppet. I think they had three of these types of puppets. They are sort of scary looking, but pretty cool, too.


"BUY ME," they said.

I did some marathon shopping this weekend with Katie (BAD Katie, BAD). Although I found a bunch of cool things, my best purchases are a new winter coat and new casual shoes. The new coat and Skechers are definitely my favorites.

Ann Taylor LOFT petites trench coat. Can you believe that this coat isn't too long? Picture it with slim jeans and 3" black boots. Yum. I LOVE my new coat.

Skechers brown "jeans" shoes... I've been looking for some casual shoes for just plain running around. These are extremely comfortable (and totally fashionable).

And lastly... HAPPY 30TH BIRTHDAY, JODI!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I survived the parade. My ear hurts a little from the cold though, and my legs are sore. I'll tell the full story later, but all I want to do right now is sleep. It was so fun.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Small. Balloon. Handler.

I was wrong - the Baltimore Thanksgiving Parade is TOMORROW. I called Corradetti Studios as soon as I found out my mistake, and they let me reschedule my glassblowing workshops, although the next class may not be until spring. That is incredibly disappointing, but I would have been equally crushed if I would have missed the opportunity to be in the parade.

So as a reminder, the Thanksgiving Parade starts at 11 AM tomorrow and runs down Pratt Street, starting at Eutaw. It's going to be chilly, but you should come out if you can and see a Baltimore Tradition!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Any guesses as to what this is?

Update: Good guesses, everyone! But Jodi and ACW come closest! This is a closeup pic of my handy-dandy new shotglass - complete with an electronic die!

Groovy Shoe Thursday

I bought these this weekend when I went shopping with Jodi. Does liking Aerosoles make me old? I LOVE Aerosoles... and I love my new sassy shoes!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Phew and a Few

A long day done. Man... this week has gone on and on, and it's like today would never end. But after work I stopped by Mt Washington Tavern (in Mt Washington) on my way home for a Big Brother, Big Sister fundraiser. My good friend, Katie, is a big sister, so a bunch of us came out to support her and the whole effort. If you have time and/or some cash to spare, donate HERE to the locate chapter.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


So... I'm high strung - you know, just in case you didn't notice - and I have been taking some much needed me time in recent weeks reflecting on my insecurities, my faults, and my overall outlook on life. For the most part, it's been good, although at times it has been uncomfortable as I look at myself and how my issues and my behaviors effect the world around me. It's be both heartbreaking and enlightening, but even in this short amount of time I've made some significant discoveries that are great first steps.

That all said... I had a breakthrough this week.

Last week at work I was made aware of a moderate crisis that had the potential to disrupt quite a bit of business. Normally, these situations quickly cause me to get worked up, and I begin to worry and exhaust myself trying to think of every way to make the situation better. It's absolutely ridiculous, I know, and when I get all worked up, "Calm down," or "Chill out," are the worst things that anyone can say to me. Although I think I cover pretty well on the outside, I'm just not good at staying calm on the inside when a potential crisis is on the horizon.

So last Friday I spent the afternoon trying to lessen the effect of the problem. More people were made aware of the situation yesterday, and it gained quite a bit of visibility because of the potential fallout. As usual, I threw myself into finding a resolution (because that's what I do)... but not as usual... I stayed completely calm.

Now don't misunderstand, this particular problem was extremely important to me, and if a "fix" had not been found, it would have wiped away a lot of hard work. I took this very seriously. Well, today we received good news that the issue was being handled, and I realized for the first time that I hadn't let the problem destroy me. I did as much as I could to find a resolution, but somehow I seemed to grasp (for once) that getting all worked up wasn't going to solve anything... and life went on.

This may seem insignificant to many of you, but for me, it's a breakthrough - I managed to overcome the stress and stay completely collected. It's funny to me that I didn't realize how well I'd done until after it was resolved, and then it was one of those "OH" moments.


Pretty cool.

Monday, November 12, 2007


My posts have been spotty lately because we've been having DSL issues. Once again, the little blinky light on my modem continues to pulsate - on and off - night and day. It's just never good when that starts happening. Well, once again the DSL tech guys are coming by the house tomorrow (sometime between 8 AM and 7 PM, of course) to see what the heck is wrong this time.

Last time a certain someone hooked up a phone to the line without a DSL filter (no, it wasn't me). This time it better be Verizon's fault. After four plus days of little to no service, and hours and hours on the phone with tech support (hours of my life that I will never get back again), I calmly told el Landlord that I nominated him to stay home all day tomorrow - I waited last time. Like I said, this time it better be Verizon's fault... but the little devil on my shoulder is bettin' on someone else.

I was actually yelling at the cable guy over the phone when a certain high-ranking individual at my Company came by my desk (think REALLY high ranking). Yeah. Fabulous. Anyway, by the time the cable guy came by my house, the modem was functioning fine. WTF? I was quite agitated when I explained to him that it is awfully convenient that the DSL is down for an entire weekend, then suddenly fixes itself the day he comes by. I asked about the independent line and he treated me like an idiot, so it's decided: the next time this happens I am dumping the service and getting an air card. I can't take the hassle anymore. I pay too much to put up with it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Weekend in Review

Very tired.

Yesterday Jodi and I went shopping, and then we went to see Jazmin in My Fair Lady at the Hippodrome. The show was AMAZING. I had no idea that this is the West End (London) revival production until Jodi told me, and there were a few changes/additions to the show - like the Stomp version of A Little Bit of Luck - that were incredible, and really made the show slightly more modern without sacrificing any of the show's integrity.

After the performance, we met Jazmin and the cast and crew more drinks at a local bar and then had a girl's sleepover in her hotel room. So, so fun... but the unfortunate thing was that I had to get up early and go home to let out Antonio, so like I said at the beginning of this post, I'm very tired.

After almost no sleep, we cleaned ourselves up, ate, and headed to the Ravens' game with CJ and Nicole. For Jodi and I, this was our very first professional football game, so it was a very big deal (even though the Ravens ended up losing the game - that sucked). During the pre-game, there was a full marching band, video messages from the troops, an amazing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, and three C130s flew low over the stadium. When the players came out, there was tons of smoke and fire, and the cheerleaders (yes, we watched them) did a lot of cool stunts. NFL games are very carnival-like - there was so much going on in addition to the game.

Here's Jodi and I all layered up in 40 degree weather...

CJ (yes, that's her hand) and Nicole...

And Nicole and me.

Right now Jodi is crying so hard she's laughing at Extreme Home Makeover (I took a picture of her, but that's just mean). We're waiting to see if Jazmin will want a late dinner after tonight's show, before I drop Jodi off at the bus station tomorrow and head to work. I've been so lucky to spend this time with Jodi, see a wonderful show, meet Jazmin (who is really great, by the way), and go with CJ and Nicole (they're great girls) to my first ever professional football game.

I hate when weekends like this come to an end.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Downtrodden

JODI IS HERE! We went out last night for dinner and karaoke, and boy were there some characters there. I don't know if it was an off night or if I am suddenly (or not so suddenly) feeling my age, but the folks there were young, drunk, and highly irritating. My favorite bartender was there, which is something, but I didn't know the KJ or anyone else. It wasn't as much fun as we planned to have there (although just hanging out with Jodi is always fun).

All of that aside, we met the most unusual couple. Even this morning we are quoting the strange things that they said. We thought for awhile they had to be actors because they were just that strange, but I guess we'll never know.

"Strange things are afoot at the Circle K..."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Three Words

Come November 24th, 2007, at the Baltimore City Thanksgiving Parade, someone you know will be a...


You know... one of these people.

Hahaha. I'm so freakin' excited.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ten on Tuesday (Love-Hate Edition)

1. I have a love-hate thing going on with daylight savings time. LOVE the extra hour in the morning - HATE the darkness that falls before I even consider leaving work.
2. I LOVE my new boots. Knee-high, black and 3" high. Ooooh, baby.
3. I hate that my window AC unit still hasn't been removed. Nighttime has been quite chilly lately, so I'm lucky that el Landlord is planning on coming by during the day tomorrow to yank it out.
4. I love Sleepytime Herb Tea. I finally bought the real brand, and not the off brand... there's a major difference. This stuff is so much better.
5. I LOVE that Advil PM says it helps to "fall asleep and stay asleep." I'm not 100% sold on its powers yet, but so far, so good.
6. I hate myself, and I am ashamed. I just watched 'Baby for Sale' on Lifetime TV. I know, I know... pathetic.
7. I love that I can wear a suit to work when I don't feel like picking out an outfit. Is that lazy? Sure, I like looking all fashionable, but suits are just easy. Easy is sometimes very, very good.
8. I love triscuits and cheese. (Unrelated, but FYI. I pretty much ate them for dinner. Again with the laziness...)
9. I hate that I am going to send back my uber-expensive dress that I bought for our company Christmas Holiday party. The party was cancelled for some good reasons, but, damn, I love that dress.
10. I LOVE that Jodi is coming this weekend and that we are going to see My Fair Lady at the Hippo. Jodi's friend, Jazmin, is in the show, and I think Eliza Doolittle's understudy. I'm sooo excited.

Monday, November 05, 2007

My First Dollar

I just made my first dollar on my cafepress web site. I'm not saying that I'll ever quit my day job or anything - but I JUST MADE A DOLLAR IN PROFIT! How freakin' sweet is that?

I love Nikki from Texas. Thanks, Nikki!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Reviews & Opinons: Part II

First up is The Italian Job, starring Mark Wahlberg and some other people including Edward Norton and Charlize Theron. Very clever. A heist film that is creative and sophisticated without being too outlandish. The car chase scenes were pretty fun to watch, and I was admittedly happy that the love interest BS didn't take over the movie. You kind of knew it was there, but it didn't interfere with the telling of the story. I liked this movie quite a bit, and honestly, I didn't expect to. I thought it was going to be more like Four Brothers, which really wasn't my thing. Good thing.

Lastly, Jill and I saw American Gangster today. I had no idea that it was based on a true story. Somehow I missed that. It was very good. It was bloody, gory and sometimes violent, but the acting was superb. Denzel Washington was incredible. He's always incredible, but he often plays a good guy, and in this movie, he wasn't so good. The movie was pretty long at about 2.5 hours, but we really had no idea it was that long until we got out and looked at a clock. It kept my attention and interest the entire time... despite the excess of heroin shooting needle scenes (ugh). Oh yeah, and there was a lot of female nudity. (I was pretty disturbed by the ten year old boy whose parents brought him to see this movie, but hell, what do I know, right?) Good movie. Four stars.

Reviews & Opinons: Part I

So I finished Until I find You, a novel by John Irving yesterday, and it occurred to me that I haven't reviewed much of anything for awhile so let me get caught up.

Until I find You was insanely good, but of course, that is coming from someone who loves John Irving's writing. It was rich in details and visualizations, and had great character development not only for Jack Burns, but also for the cursory characters. As usual, there are significant sexual overtones in Irving's work, and in this book they are more uncomfortable and less socially acceptable than in his other work. If anything outside of the norm makes you uncomfortable, then you should skip this one. Irving is amazing, but he could be called overly-imaginative when it comes to writing about sensitive subjects. I also had some issues with the tempo of the story... it was a slow start for me and a quick finish (too quick)... but the core of the story was perfect. This was a great book.

A week or two ago, I watched Notes on a Scandal starring Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench. (I've loved Cate Blanchett since Elizabeth, I admit it.) I forgot to read the Netflix DVD sleeve before I popped this movie in, and frankly it had been too long since I added it to my queue for me to remember the storyline. That said, it caught me totally off guard that this was about a teacher and her student - well, it was on the surface, wasn't it? The secondary storyline was all Judi Dench, and beside her completely creeping me out - she was awesome. The whole movie is great, and as a bonus it stars Bill Nighy who I am completely entertained by. This was a four star movie for me - fabulous acting.

Next up is The Break-Up, starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. First, if Vince Vaughn wasn't so bloody tall, I think he might be my type - okay, minus the fact that he's a rich, famous actor, because I've never dated rich, famous actors, so how can that profession be my type, right? ANYWAY, cute movie, but sort of uncomfortable to watch because God they were just horrible to each other. I'm lucky that I've never had a break-up quite like that. All-in-all it was a good movie, but just terribly sad on occasion. Don't watch this if you're not in a 'good place.' Yeek - I can't imagine.

I'm seeing American Gangster this afternoon... so more later.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Baltimore Blogger Octovember Happy Hour!

What fun! Last night was our Blogger Happy Hour at Holy Frijoles in Hampden. It was a fairly large turnout as happy hours go, and there was a mix of 'regulars' as well as some new (and some old) faces. Although Snay is our honorary archivist for Blogger Happy Hours, I thought as co-host (with Danielle) I should give naming everyone a try.

Bloggers were in abundance, and they included Snay, Anger Hangover (minus one LF), Johnny $ (and wife $), Broadsheet, Zenchick, JJT, Summer (and hubby), Baltimore Snacker, Anonymous Coworker (and lovely wife), JWER, Ancestral Pile (and manservant), Angie (and Donna), Your Neighborhood Librarian, Cheese, Grin without a Cat, Technology & MSG, Wagner's House, Berlow's Freak Show (blogger formally known as The Cynicism of Diogenes), Viddy This, islendingabull, Drama Duchess and one out of town visitor, Atlanta Social (and husband).Am I forgetting anyone?

It was a really fabulous turnout, and we celebrated two birthdays: Johnny $ and JJT. Plans ranging from our next happy hour, drag queen bingo, Darkover, a visit to the shooting range and a fusing glass meetup were begun, and it was also a late night, since JWER, Broadsheet, JJT, Anger Hangover and I closed the happy hour (not the bar) down. For me, I experienced a small scare when I got home as a result of my apartment smelling like gas (one pilot light on the stove top was out), but after resolving that situation, I fell asleep on the couch like one class A drinking blogger.

There were some missing faces this time around, though, despite the good turnout, so keep a lookout for our next group event so that you all can join us the next go around. A few photos to be posted shortly, and remember to check out Blogger Zombies for blogger event updates! Ciao!

Update: Photos!

Your hosts for this evening - Danielle and Me!

Jon and I show off our crowns.

A Charissa sandwich - love from JWER and Snay. (I totally swapped out my original photo for this one from Danielle... MUCH better.)

I wish I could post more, but some of our bloggers are private folk, so their identities must remain a mystery to those that don't frequent these events. For shame.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween 2007

As I've mentioned, my Company does Halloween BIG. Each department/team picks a theme, and everyone on that team dresses to the theme. For instance, last year, we were Grease, the movie. This year? The travelling circus. We had a strong man, pony riders, a jester, a clown, tattoo freaks, a lion tamer, fortune tellers and Siamese twins. Oh, and a snake charmer, of course. Another group we work near did Disney princesses, except that the guys were the princesses and the single gal was Prince Charming. Even other groups did bikers, Saturday Night Live, the Wild West, etc.

I can only show a few photos, because permissions have not been requested all around, but hopefully this provides you with some idea of how GIGANTIC this thing is for us.
The Siamese Twins!
This isn't the greatest shot, but one team dressed like old video games, and Pac Man chased a red and blue ghost around the building all day.

I am SO not kidding... there was even a guy dressed like the Pac Man cherries running around between them.
Biker chick and bald tattooed biker.
This little guy wasn't at work, but he had a farm theme. He's a ROOSTER! Ha ha ha ha! (Doesn't he look miserable?)
And me!
The Snake Charmer.....

Don't Forget our Octovember Happy Hour!

That's right, tomorrow is our next Blogger Happy Hour!! Danielle and I are honored to host the Octovember Happy Hour, and all current bloggers, retired bloggers, and readers are welcome (and costumes optional)!

Who: Bloggers and the like
What: Baltimore Blogger Octovember Happy Hour
When: THIS Friday, November 2nd 2007
Where: Holy Frijoles, 908 W 36th St in Hampden

We can't wait to see you there!

Just a Teaser...

I was too tired last night to post photos from our Halloween party yesterday, but while you wait, I'll finally unveil my costume for you - a Snake Charmer!