Friday, June 29, 2012

A Few Things for Friday

1. What about Allison Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh finishing in a dead heat for the final slot in the Olympic 100 meter dash? And now to decide the outcome, they have to decide between a coin toss and a run-off.

Can you imagine leaving your slot in the 100 meter dash - the most important track and field race in the Olympics, if you ask me - to a coin toss? To chance?

Like hell.

Then again, what if you tweak your ankle during the 200 meter heat, so you opt for the coin toss. But the other woman doesn't agree because she thinks you may have tweaked your ankle. Damn it!

If they do have a run-off it could prove more exciting than the actual event.

2. I finished Anna Karenina. Such a fantastic book. I spent the first month after I finished it slightly depressed.

Depressed it was over, depressed I was no longer living with those characters, depressed at the lack of art and love and vitality in my life. It was as if I was living each of the lives in Anna Karenina, and when it was over, my other lives ceased to exist too. Crushing.

It's an unbelievably wonderful read and I hope I take the time to delve further into a review of it.

Today I saw the trailer for the movie staring Keira Knightley, who must be the most perfect Anna Karenina I can imagine. But who's this clown as Vronksy? What, was no one hot available? (Sorry dude, maybe you're awesome on the big screen.)

But the movie looks gorgeous; I can't wait to see it.

Between Anna Karenina and The Great Gatsby, it's going to be a big fall/winter.

3. I read Tina Fey's Bossypants.

It's unfair to read any book after Anna Karenina, even Tina Fey. But still, Tina doesn't disappoint. You will laugh out loud.

Though if I were her editor, I'd have shortened or even removed the 50 or so pages about her impersonating Sarah Palin. It didn't add much to the book (nothing you don't already know) and it lacked that insight and humor she has in talking about her start in comedy, what she's learned from Lorne Michaels, working in comedy/women in the workforce, and becoming a mom.

4. It's going to be 11 ba-billiony degrees this weekend.

When I am not at the Mt. Adams pool I'll be at the Hyde Park Blast drinking beer and wishing I was still at the Mt. Adams pool. Speaking of, when did my favorite secret hole in the ground filled with chlorine become such a hot spot?

The sad '80s pop machine is gone and now there's shade (!!!) and grass (!!!!) and last weekend it was packed. Packed, I tell you. And everyone was drinking
vodka and lemonade what was most certainly just water from red solo cups. The lifeguards, who are 12, didn't even flinch.

They've doubled the price to get in though. It's now $2. RAGE.

5. Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy

Dear Sweet Jesus this stuff is good.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Reading List: Nora Ephron

I was first introduced to Nora Ephron in a 2006 New Yorker article called Serial Monogamy. It was about her cookbook crushes, and how she daydreamed that each chef was her personal friend and guide, ushering her through her first recipes and menus.

And then she met a friend of friend at a dinner party.

“And then dinner was served. Pork chops, grits, collard greens, and a dish of tiny baked crab apples. It was delicious. It was so straightforward and plain and honest and at the same time so playful. Those crab apples! They were adorable!

The entire evening was mortifying, a revelation, a rebuke in its way to every single thing I had ever bought and every dinner I had ever served. ...It was horribly clear that my entire life up to that point had been a mistake."

It was a great. I loved it. Later it appeared as an essay in her book I Feel Bad About My Neck. You can read the piece here.

Soon I learned that Nora had written the screenplay for When Harry Met Sally, still one of my favorite movies.

I am particularly fond of the scene when Harry is intensely discussing his divorce at a football game while doing the wave.

Cracks me up.

After that I read her book Heartburn, her thinly veiled account of her then-husband Carl Bernstein's affair that led to their divorce. I don't remember much about the book other than enjoying it and that finally, at the end, she reveals her prized vinaigrette recipe, which she couldn't believe her husband was willing to risk losing for a lifetime.

I've never tried the recipe, but I think I will soon. I will daydream that Nora is looking over my shoulder in guidance and approval.

So anyway, I am sorry to hear that Nora Ephron died. You get to know people through their writing or their art, and you feel like you'll miss them when they're gone.

On that note, from her book I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections, here is the list of things she wrote that she will and will not miss.

Do yourself a favor and read it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

9 Stories - Highs and Lows of Las Vegas

I still haven't unpacked or washed my dirty, sweaty clothes, but no matter. The Las Vegas trip in nine easy-to-digest-for-summer-reading highs and lows.

High - The brunch buffet at Wynn.

Three plates of new muffin top. Did I say three plates? Yes, yes I did. Why have dessert when you can have dessert(s), as in a whole room of them.

Dear Wynn, I love you.

Low - The Electric Daisy Carnival kids.

In case you haven't heard of EDC before, it's a giant electronic music/dance festival. I hadn't heard of it until last weekend when there were 320,000 EDC revelers at my hotel pool.

I felt so close to them... and their sweaty, tattooed, costumed bodies.

High - The New York, New York roller coaster

Tick-tick-tick up 203 feet, then dropping down 144 at 67 miles per hour in the night desert air over the lights of Las Vegas is my idea of a good time.

Ray, however, would call this a low. He hates roller coasters, especially rattly ones on the Vegas strip.

On the drop out of the sky, I giggled thinking the dude behind us was groaning. Turns out, it was Ray.

Low - Smoke

Ugh, I hate cigarette smoke more than anything, and casinos are filled with it. If you want to do a line of coke next me, no problem. Shoot some heroin, have sex with a male hooker, have at it. None of this impacts me.

But I too have to breathe in disgusting smoke when it's indoors, and I do have a problem with that whole lung cancer and premature death thing.

And besides anyhow, people look ugly when they smoke.

High - Peepshow

I couldn't wait to see a Vegas-style burlesque show, and fortunately Ray also happens to enjoy these types of things. So after much research and reviews, I settled on Peepshow. It.Was.So.Much.Fun. 

It was like going to strip club only we didn't need singles because we paid in advance. And I think these girls may have had health insurance. Bonus.

All of the women were athletic and strong and terrific dancers. Plus, natural boobs! I couldn't tell if I was happy or disappointed by this, maybe both. But I certainly expected more fake ones. As it was, their bodies were athletic and completely attainable.

The show was steamy and sexy and cute and funny. I looked over at Ray at one point and his eyes were lit up like a kid at Christmas. It was great. And it totally made up for the sickened, annoyed 'I-am-going-to-kill-you' look he gave me on the roller coaster. Girlfriend, redeemed!

Low - The unbearable heat

How people go outside in the daytime without at least a kiddy pool within five feet at all times I'll never know.

I had the great idea of walking back to our hotel after the Wynn brunch buffet (to walk off the 3,000 calories I consumed) and had to gasp for air every few blocks.

That whole "It's a dry heat" thing is complete crap. The only difference with the "dry heat" is that it's like breathing into an oven. 

High - Cocktails with a view

Ray got invited to some industry event for his conference that had "free drinks and food" in The Lounge at MIX, so we thought we'd breeze through for a quick drink, check out the view and bolt.

Pssht. They practically had to drag me out of there. It was on 64th floor of The Hotel at Mandalay Bay and had an open bar. Dear diary, jackpot.

I got tipsy on dirty shirley's (so refreshing in the heat) and spent my time offering to run to the bar for people... so I could get more drinks for myself and stalk the waiters passing hors d'oeuvre.

I'm going that way anyway, it's no trouble at all!

The view overlooking the strip and skyline was spectacular, and there was a balcony where you could hang out, assuming you're not afraid of heights or the fallibility of plexiglass.

Then some sales guy took us to a swanky dinner at the MIX restaurant, also on the 64th floor of The Hotel.

You know how I know it was fancy? Everything was white. It was white on white. Even my food was mostly white.

I joyfully soaked up the booze in my belly with free range chicken and fried panisses.

What are panisses? I'm glad you asked because I Googled it for you. They're chickpea fries, made from chickpea flour and are popular in the south of France.

They taste like heaven.

Low - Conference talk

Dinner conversation centered around valves and fire pumps and sprinkler hydraulics and who knows whatever else. Thank God for those dirty shirley's, you know what I'm sayin.' I hardly heard a word of it.

High - Classic rock in cabs

Ray is making me say that hearing the cover version of Rocky Mountain Way played especially for him by the cab driver was a definite high, but I'd say their bonding over the cab driver's classic rock iTunes collection was more of an odd moment.

Most cab drivers you can't understand, then occasionally you get one who likes to rock it out at 5 a.m. to Joe Walsh.

But ok, it is a bad-ass song.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Speaking of Drive-Ins

Google has this very fun Doodle video today marking the 79th anniversary of the first drive-in movie. My favorite part is when the kids pop up out of the bed of the truck.

That was Ray and me a few weeks ago.

We rambled into the Starlite Drive-In in Amelia with his blue Ranger packed with blankets, chairs, bug spray and provisions. (Milk Duds, caramel creams and water.)

It's as if we are still underage. But mostly we wanted to save ourselves for a giant fountain pop and large popcorn.

We even bought a little transistor radio for the occasion. (Somehow neither of us owned a battery powered radio; this was a surprise to me as I thought everything had a battery option. In fact, nothing does.)

Ray claims I tried to swipe it on and off like an iPhone to get it to work, but that is pure hearsay.

Men in Black III and Dark Shadows was showing, but the real star of the night was the full moon and the snack bar.

You should go. Take the kids, or not. We thought it was pretty romantic.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

It's Always Boring In Las Vegas

First things first: Las Vegas is horrible.

Contrived and stupid and hot. Not to mention so barren and ugly it makes the moon seem lush.

Nothing interesting actually happens in Vegas, which is why the Vegas tourism bureau wants you to keep quiet about it. I went six years ago and was stunned at how disappointing it was. Even the things I thought would be fun - like a giant fiberglass sphynx - was boring. 

And is there anything uglier than a bunch of tourists crammed into one place?

No. No, there is not.

Well, maybe casinos, with their bad carpeting and noise and sadness.

Yes, Vegas is terrible.

And I cannot wait to go again!

We leave this weekend. Ray is going to a conference. I'm going to the hotel pool. So while he's stuck in seminars or whatever (speaking of bad carpeting), my days will be spent reading magazines. I hope it's not windy because it's super annoying when it's hard to read magazines by the pool.

I may hate Vegas, but I love pools and free hotels.

My agenda is to pool, buffet, then maybe hit one show and one bar/club while we're there. And I feel like that will be accomplishing a lot.

I've already packed my fake eyelashes and some of those wine juice boxes from Target. I think these items make me 78 percent more prepared for a good time.

I'll let you know.