Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This. is. JEOPARDY!

Confession: I'm a nerd. But then you probably already knew that.

Ever since I was old enough to read, I have LOVED the show Jeopardy. I also happen to be quite good at it, if I do say so myself. :-)

I actually went on vacation to Los Angeles to watch the taping of three Jeopardy episodes in 2004. My timing was perfect... I saw Ken Jennings become the first Jeopardy contestant to amass winnings of over $1 million! I saw him win the million! They film three episodes per day, so I saw him on his 29, 30 and 31st days on the show. I wanted to take the qualifying test, but sadly, the process of waiting, taking the test, interviewing, etc. would take hours, and we had tickets to Universal City.

But for the past two years the producers decided to make the contestant test available online for a very limited time. I knew about it, but for some reason didn't take the test.

Today was an "ice day" here in Dallas, and after watching news coverage of dozens of cars slipping, sliding, and stopping on iced-over roadways, I opted to stay home. Jeopardy came on at 11 on CBS, and I seized this rare opportunity to watch one of my favorite shows! After answering 90 percent of the questions correctly, Brad sent me the link to the registration for THIS year's online test and told me I "didn't have a choice." He would make me take the test. (What would I do without him?! He's my cheerleader -- err, yell leader?)

Guess what: The test was today!

What timing! Of all the days to be home, to watch Jeopardy, to show off my trivia skills for my husband... and the one day that they're testing is TODAY! They offer this test for only 10 minutes in the entire year, and today was the day! So I registered and received an email saying I needed to log in within 30 minutes before the test at 8 p.m., or I would be disqualified. I remembered RIGHT before the test was about to begin... I was preparing to watch LOST and then realized it was test time.
So I logged in, and the questions started firing! Each question was on the screen for 15 seconds, and I had to TYPE my response in (not multiple choice, people!). Then the screen would change to the next question. There were 50 total questions, and the entire test took about 10 minutes. I knew the answers to 31 questions without a doubt, and there were 19 questions I either passed on or guessed. Not my best performance, but those questions were tough!

I'll never find out my score, and I doubt I'll get invited for an audition interview. There are probably thousands and thousands of people who take this test, and only a few are selected through a random selection process to audition. But I am still somehow excited to have finally taken the qualifying test for this show that I've loved for so long!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Geriatric Joust

I have to preface this post by saying I LOVE the elderly. I really believe I have a special place in my heart for the more senior generation, and always have. I want to befriend every older person I meet and learn from them... even the sweet little old man in Central Market who wore a bowler hat and spent an hour following me around the store a couple of weeks ago and talking to me about every item in my cart, repeatedly asking me to show him how to use the electric produce weights, etc. He was so sweet and friendly, and I just wanted to put him in my cart and take him home with me! (I do think he had dementia or something though, which makes me very sad for him and his family.)

Anyway, I have a HUGE respect for the elderly, and I love spending time with them.

But apparently I could beat up a dozen 90-year-olds.

How Many 90 Year Olds Could You Take in a Fight?

This is the WEIRDEST quiz I have every stumbled upon (Brad sent it to me), and I had to share it! It's meaningless and possibly even a little offensive, but it asks you a series of questions to determine -- if you should get into a Jets vs. Sharks-like throwdown with a gang of nursing home escapees -- how you would fare.

For the record, Brad, who is trained in mixed martial arts, could beat up 18.

(Don't forget to comment and tell me how many you could handle!)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Crazy Eights

In March 2007, Brad and I boarded a flight to Seattle, where he planned to propose to me. We sat on row 8 of our plane. At the time, Brad – a math and science guy – was very interested in the biblical significance of numbers, and I asked him if the number 8 meant anything. He told me that in God’s word, the number 8 is often used to signify a new beginning… which ended up being exactly what that trip was for our relationship. :-)

How very appropriate that as we begin a new year, I was tagged by Martha to talk about a series of eight things. Here we go!

2. Top Chef
3. Project Runway
4. Mad Men
5. Barefoot Contessa
6. Passport to Europe/ Rick Steves’ Europe
7. The Office
8. 30 Rock
9. House

I watch too much TV! I know I added two extra, and I could probably think of 10 more shows to add to this list.

There are SO many, but these were the first that came to mind:
1. Texas de Brazil (Dallas – special occasion place for carnivores)
2. Los Barrios (San Antonio – cheese enchiladas and margaritas!)
3. Longhorn Café (San Antonio – best greasy cheeseburgers on the planet)
4. Black Friar Pub (Dallas - cheese fries and beer!)
5. Toulouse (Dallas – so French, with delicious foie gras)
6. Trudy’s (Austin – great memories)
7. Café Madrid (Dallas – tapas)
8. Deep Sushi (Dallas – Deep Ellum)

Honorable mention goes to Grimaldi’s in Dallas for the coal oven-fired meatball pizza I had a couple of weeks ago and haven’t been able to stop thinking about!

1. Woke up too early on a day off (Happy birthday, Dr. King!) when one of Brad’s colleagues telephoned him at the crack of dawn.
2. Ate mom’s sugar cookies for breakfast, then felt compelled to go on a speedwalk/ run with Brad and my hand weights.
3. Scoured the house for garage sale items and amassed them in the formal living room (it never gets used anyway!)
4. Enjoyed vegetarian platter at Fadi’s Mediterranean Grill with Brad.
5. Bought a tea table and a new console table at World Market.
6. Re-wired entertainment center (around our house, Brad builds things and keeps up the outside, but I do the electronics), then tidied up.
7. Shopped for rugs online and determined I had already spent too much money on home stuff for the day.
8. Practiced shooting the Walther PPS.

Veggie Platter from Fadi's

1. Toning up my arms before Matt and Brittney’s wedding on May 2!
2. Starting grad school this week… and finishing it in two or three years. :-)
3. Going on a Mediterranean cruise in October 2009.
4. Being a mom someday.
5. Finding a new home and getting new furniture.
6. The rest of my life with Brad (too corny?).
7. Meeting up with my Kindred and her hubs on their year-long sojourn.
8. Retirement. Is that a bad sign?

I think I answered this in the last question, no? Maybe the question here refers to material things? If that’s the case, I feel a little materialistic answering… but this is Dallas, so here goes:
1. Mortar and pestle
2. Slicing tools – a rasp for zesting citrus and a mandoline
3. Meat thermometer
4. A really nice camera, and the skills to use it
5. Hermès Kelly Bag
6. Apple laptop (mine got stolen, and Brad uses the Mac we replaced it with for his work)
7. New house or apartment (long story)
8. Chanel perfume (I love her, and the scents are quintessential France)

I also wish Brad and I could move to Paris.

That would be the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack. Amazing movie, if you haven’t seen it, and equally good soundtrack! It awakens the Indian belly dancer in me and makes me “shimmy,” a la Fit TV.

Well, aside from the aforementioned Slumdog:

1. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphondre et Le Papillon, en français)
2. There Will Be Blood
3. No Country for Old Men
4. Sabrina
5. Beauty and the Beast
6. Any movies by Wes Anderson or Christopher Guest
7. Amadeus
8. When Harry Met Sally

I’m desperate to see Revolutionary Road! Have any of you seen it?

No pressure. These taggings are good for me, because otherwise I probably wouldn’t have blogged for another week and this is good motivation... but I realize not everyone wants to let me tell them what to write. Don’t feel obligated, but I tag my friendly bloggers to write on these same topics whenever they're lacking motivation for original content:

1. Abby
2. Alison
3. Erin
4. Janette
5. Jashley
6. Jennifer
7. Meagan
8. Stephanie

Monday, January 12, 2009

Blog Makeover

Blog-readers (even the sneaky ones who post anonymous comments :-) -- I need your opinion.

As I aim to de-clutter my life by the casting off of knick-knacks, unused sleeping bags, and furniture that screams "FUNCTION!" -- like the media console I bought four years ago that I now find hideous -- I find myself also wanting to simplify the look of my blog.

My design inspirations are this one and this one, although now I'm mad that I've seen both of those because I'm really tempted to copy their ideas. (I invented dandelions!)

I also love Anthropologie's clean, feminine look.

But then I love my blog's eclectic, patterned aesthetic.

What do you think? Any suggestions, or other sites I should look at for inspiration?

Anonymous comments are welcome here. ;-)

UPDATE -- (one hour later) Obviously, I went ahead and played with the coding and came up with something completely different than I had before. Still, please do share your comments and suggestions on the look, if you have any ideas! :-)

UPDATE 2 -- Anonymous brings up a good point. Since I was hot to trot and already changed the background without letting you weight in, you may not remember what the old one looked like! It was this header image:

With this background:

The funny thing is, the coding to get the main wrapper semi-transparent and to get the background the way I wanted it on the old look was so much more complicated than my new look -- and required the use of an FTP -- and this one is pretty easy-peasy, but looks more designy, I think.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

To the Lady in NorthPark Whose Whimsical Outfit Made Me Happy

Based on a True Story

Like a jellyfish billowing near the top of the blue water, with light finding its way through diaphanous folds, your skirt flounced in slow motion, a beat behind each purposeful step. You walked like a Parisienne parading a Standard Poodle through Les Tuileries – or even like the poodle herself – each footstep abrupt but delicate; intentional.

From the buttery leather of your brown booties to the grandmotherly chignon that betrayed your Carrie Bradshaw-like aesthetic, you were on a mission.

Perhaps you had just come from a consultation at Barney’s where you were commissioned to create some new artwork, a thankless backdrop for unreasonably expensive designer garments. The clipboard tucked tightly under your left arm may have itself clung to your sketches, lines on paper destined to become your next forgotten oeuvre.

You didn’t even carry a purse.

A man with tattooed fingers held a heavy glass door open, and you were off. You likely slid into a stuffy Mercedes or Lexus SUV and set off to pick up your stepchildren from private school, but I’d like to believe you sped away on a Capri Blue Vespa, skirt be damned, bound for your studio where yards of empty canvas await fat tubes of unctuous gesso and pigment.