September 29, 2009

On being too girly for camping

Camping always seems like a good idea to me. It's a romantic notition--being out in the woods with your friends or lovers, a roaring campfire, marshmallows, being one with nature, snuggling in your tent, that crisp smell in the air.

Then I realize that I'm entirely too high maintenance for most camping. This is hard for me to admit, because I was a tomboy growing up. To look at me now, you'd never guess, but I was totally a running-jumping-climbing trees-playing guns with the boys-kind of girl.

I kind of went camping in high school. After football games, the band gang would go set up tents on a wooded plot of land that someone's family owned. We weren't far from civilation, but it was wooded enough that you felt far away. We only ever stayed one night at a time, which was totally enough for me. Mini-camping, with the opportunity to shower at my own house the next day. So you can see where my false notion of camping has come from.

One time, my then-boyfriend (wait, I don't think he was actually my bf yet!) and I were sleeping in a tent and were awoken abruptly by the tent being collapsed upon us. Our friends had decided it would be funny to wrap us up like a burrito and roll us around. There were arms and legs and nylon everywhere and we were cracking up and yelling for help. After they finally released us, we all realize they'd nearly rolled us right into a VERY steep ravine, which we'd camped right next to the night before, not seeing it in the dark.

Every now and then my friends will suggest camping and at first I'm always like, YES, great idea. Then the rational part of my brain speaks up, the part that likes sequined high heels and deodorant and reminds me:" You're always cold, your hair gets oily after one day, mosquitos love you, you are freaked out by insects, etc.."

Take for instance the conversation I had with one friend trying to plan a trip.

Him: Rustic and semi-rustic cabins are available.
Me: A cabin? Sweet, okay, well that's at least not sleeping on the ground! Sounds good. What's the difference?
Him: Semi-rustic means no electricity. Rustic means no electricity and no water.
Me: [crickets]. (ha, see what I did there.
Sooo, yeah, I probably won't be going.


All of that said, I STILL stupidly contemplated camping again when I saw these lovely camping photos from The Rockstar Diaries.

September 28, 2009

Fight Happy

A while ago, I found a phrase that is one of my life's slogans: Choose Happiness

It sounds corny but it is something that really resonates for me.

A blogger I read has a whole site (and an upcoming book) called The Happiness Project. She writes in more detail about happiness wisdom from the past and present, and also gets input from people who are struggling or successful with happiness. She posts frequently, so much so that her posts are backed up in my blog reader, but I find wisdom in them every time.

After having a silly fight with my boyfriend this weekend (which we said we weren't going to do anymore), I found this list of phrases to use in an argument really helpful. I tend to stay angry and hold a grudge more than I'd like, so I'm going to try to be more mindful of these.

Please try to understand my point of view.
Wait, can I take that back?
You don’t have to solve this—it helps me just to talk to you.
This is important to me. Please listen.
I overreacted.
I see you’re in a tough position.
I can see my part in this.
I hadn’t thought of it that way before.
I could be wrong.
Let’s agree to disagree on that.
This isn’t just your problem, it’s our problem.
I’m feeling unappreciated.
We’re getting off the subject.
You’ve convinced me.
Let’s take a break for a few minutes.
Please keep talking to me.
I realize it's not your fault.
That came out all wrong.
I see how I contributed to the problem.
What are we really fighting about?
How can I make things better?
I’m sorry.
I love you.

I also like her idea of a one-sentence journal. I like to journal (now, primarily online), and hey, so many of us are bloggers, but sometimes it can be daunting to write out a whole blog post that is clever, funny, informative, and visually stimulating simultaneously. The one-sentence idea is that you keep a journal where you write just one sentence of a memory every day. I tend to get overwhelmed with starting projects and wanting them to be just so, so this works for my brain. Now that I think of it, it's kind of like a more organized Twitter! Maybe I'll start keeping one-sentence thoughts here as well. I think it'd be annoying to have a post a day with just one line on each, so I've got to think more about how I can make that happen.

And if you think one sentence can't make a difference, well just read what this commenter on the site had to say

My grandfather kept a calendar in his shed, which he occasionally wrote little comments on. None of the family knew. After he died, my grandmother was cleaning things out, and called my father in floods of happy tears - she'd just found an entry which simply said "Went fishing with [his son/my father] and [his grandson/my brother]. Great day". Posted by: MsLaurie

This makes me think of during the week after my dad died unexpectedly, when I was hacking his laptop trying to find if there was anything important in it, I found his Twitter page. I can't seem to find it now, but one of his posts from last year was something to the effect of:
Saw my little girl for the first time today. She's a princess, I knew it. I could tell by her hands.

We hadn't seen each other in 15 years before that. Yeah, it was all I could do not to bawl on that one.

Through the eyes of a foreigner

It's funny how it can sometimes take a fresh set of eyes to appreciate something you see every day. A gorgeous fashion blogger from France, The Cherry Blossom Girl, takes great photos, and she was recently in the U.S. Her photos here from the West coast beaches, LA, and Vegas are stunning and make me proud of my country.

This one's my favorite from her recent batch:

(photo: The Cherry Blossom Girl)

September 26, 2009


InLight was wondrous and fine. It was great to see so many people out for the evening, supporting artists and downtown. Maybe that downtown revitalization we've been talking about for, oh, FOREVER, will actually happen. I even wrote a final class paper about it for Urban Sociology. My acid camera fared quite well, considering.

I have videos, which I'll post shortly.

UR Downtown's building was lit up with moving lights.

There were tons of artists on display. This was my favorite--a series of shoes thrown over the power lines, lit up with lights with messages on the back of the shoe. I thought it was a nice reference to the city, and a simple, yet understandable message about making art out of the everyday. Participants of InLight were able to vote via text message (smart).

The Hula Hoop girls were amazing. I really should have asked how I can join them.

The UR Gamelan ensemble played music for the parade, in addition to these guys, playing traditional African instruments and beat. Love how acid camera makes it look like we're in a Chronic cloud. There was a tall white guy who was totally into the beat and dancing. I know more about African dance than he, but I was not brave enough to partake.

I was so delighted at how many people were there for the 1st annual Lantern Parade. I can't wait for next year.

I missed you, Carpenter Center.

They held up 2 sheets and had fireburners and people with masks dance behind them, providing a nice silhouette.

This was 2 different travelling art squares. The power for the lights was from a computer tower, being dragged along the middle on an unruly platform on wheels. Funny to watch.

This is the lantern I made at 1708 Gallery at First Fridays.

The new Center Stage building looked nice in the dark.


Christmas in September?

Oh, how I love holiday-themed TV shows. So, a Christmas themed episode of West Wing just came on and I'm now all bleary eyed and singing "What Child Is This" around my apartment and excited for the holidays. Stage fright that I have, I've never been afraid to sing carols. I've been singing them my whole life, and they mean the world to me. With a name like mine, Christmas is the center of your being, religious or not. I celebrate a secular Christmas (hey, it was a Pagan holiday after all), and think there's nothing wrong with that. The holiday is about joy, about being kind to your neighbor, about loving and giving and lights and smells, and happiness and being glad to be alive. None of that is specific to religion. I will continue to sing my carols and know that they bring me joy, something we could use more of in this world, really, regardless of what you think.

low key

Limoncello and West Wing right now.

ooh, look at that luscious sugar rim

Had a successful Pride today. Volunteered for Equality Virginia and then over at my friend's tent, Gay RVA. I'm not going on the Pride bus tonight, even though everyone I know is, and it sounds fun and was a great deal. I'm just not feeling that kind of social tonight. I'm sure I'll be kicking myself, but it's cold and rainy and I just don't feel it tonight. I'd really rather have a low-key evening in, but my neighbor who I usually do that with is not home at the moment. Probably at Oktoberfest.

September 22, 2009

Shoe porn

Christian Louboutin did a short video as advertisement. The beginning mirrors the movie, Psycho, but the end is lovely and sparkly. Here are my 2 favorite screen shots.

This would so be me, in heaven amongst a pile of sparkly, shiny Louboutins.

Si o No

For the last week:

Things I like
Tailgate with new friends
The fall smell
My small, highly selective college kicking a$$ and taking names at D-1 football
Old college friends
Free Sunday dinner and drinks

Things I don't like
Pillbugs on my towel in the morning
Clompy upstairs neighbor
Creaky floorboards
Weather that won't make up its mind

September 19, 2009

Karaoke at Sticky Rice

The OMGWTFRVA crew was hell-bent on getting popular NBC 12 Anchor, Ryan Nobles, to come out to Sticky Rice's weekly karaoke for his birthday. After much Twitter talk, he did! Ryan brought the house down with House of Pain's "Jump Around."

MattonFire did a nice rendition of Bust A Move.

Curt Autry
even showed, looking very dapper in his suit. Emmy-Award winning!

Pre tailgate

Go Spiders!

September 15, 2009

Headed for some confusion

Vote for my photo on Fail Blog. Click here!

BJ's included.

Nights in Slower Lower

These are pictures I took with my travel companion's DSLR. Oh, how it captures low lighting so well at night, which is what I so lack with my point and shoot, and are the kind of pictures I want to take 90% of the time.

September 13, 2009


Good morning, donut coffee mug.

Guerilla art show and guerilla goodness, and then Sunday dinner. Most interesting day all weekend!

Pick 2

So true

September 12, 2009

Rehoboth via Shag and Sidecars

Apparently I only like to take pictures of food and drink. I don't have the DSLR photos yet so for now you just get my acid camera.

After dinner at Pig+Fish, my traveling companion and I wandered over to Wilmington Avenue, with the intent to have a cocktail at Planet X, because I'd never been, but we got sidetracked (delightfully) by Shag. (their website is totally lacking)

The last time I'd been there, the place had been an Asian fusion restaurant called Yum Yum. That was many years ago. Shag is a secret psychedelic adventure. Though the signage implies a fun, sixties-era restaurant/bar (their slogan is "Hip Food, Groovy Cocktails"), the front dining area is rather subdued, and was completely empty when we arrived on a chilly Labor Day evening. Clearly, the tourists had all left town. We wondered if the place was even open, and walked to the back to find a splendid interior courtyard for dining, and a shiny bar at the back. It was a big gay adventure. The place was full of reflective surfaces and fairy lights so you know I was in heaven.

We were literally the only patrons there for awhile (it was pretty early, around 8 pm).

I discovered my new favorite drink, the Sidecar, made with Brandy and sour mix, with an orange garnish and delightful sugar rim. Now THAT's how a cocktail should look. (Pig+Fish, take note). The gays know how to do it.

In addition to the patio, there were two small side rooms with plush seating and dim lighting, perfect for making out.

My acid camera showing off the courtyard

Eventually a few more couples scattered in and I chatted up a nice gay couple from PA, took another couple's picture for them, and then we moved to the sparkly bar at back (I apologize for not getting more pictures, but I didn't want to look like a tourist). I started a conversation with a lovely older gay man named Nick next to me who may or may not have been one of the owners. He was quite a storyteller, and lives in Greece half the year.

Clearly we'd come on a slow night at the end of the season, because according to the staff, there'd been a raging party with several hundred people just that weekend. I'm sorry I missed it.

I'll miss you, Shag and Sidecar. Til next time!

After starting our evening so early at Stoney Lonen for happy hour at 4 pm with bartender Chester, my traveling companion, and my high school boyfriend, we were probably back at our hotel in Dewey by 10 pm, lol. Our full enjoyment of cocktails was facilitated by transportation via the always classic, Jolly Trolley.

Rehoboth in September (the food)

It was mostly cold and cloudy the whole time we were in Rehoboth but we had fun anyway. Lots of good food and drink (my favorite part of trips!). More photos and updates to come in another post.

Had a fancy dinner at Pig+Fish. I'd been there once before for appetizers and happy hour and liked the atmosphere.

This was the best salad I've had in a long time. Asian Bistro-$6.95 for small- julienne napa + bok choy cabbages, iceberg, cilantro, shredded carrots, sesame seeds, wonton crisps, spicy ginger vinaigrette. I got the small one, but wished I'd just ordered this large one instead of my flatbread pizza.

My companion enjoyed the Caesar-$6.95 for a small.

This was one of their specialty cocktails, the Prickly Pear-$7. Absolut pear vodka, triple sec, blue curacao, pineapple and a splash of sour. It's a shame it had the blue curacao, because it takes over everything in a drink. I was also majorly disappointed that it came in a boring old water glass with a thick water straw. If you are going to have a specialty named cocktail, it needs to come in a pretty glass.

To the right of my blue drink was my date's Passion lemonade - $7.50 -Smirnoff passion fruit vodka, lemonade, and splash of sprite and club soda

This was my flatbread, the Fresca- $9.95 - plum tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, red onions, garlic, balsamic glaze.

It was not good. Looked like they just dumped a can of tomatoes and mozzarella on it. I could have made something like this myself. And I'm def not a cook. There was a sweet glaze that didn't go with the other flavors. I was really disappointed, and that says a lot, because I love Pizza.

My date got the Shrimp lejon - $11.95 - bacon, horseradish cream, scallions, monterey jack, cheddar cheeses

He loved it. I tasted part of the pizza without the shrimp on it (I don't eat seafood) and the flavors were much more complex than mine.

Overall it was a very affordable, good dinner. It was nice to get dressed up and go out to eat and not pay $35/plate like some of the fine-dining restaurants in Rehoboth were charging. Hello, recession?