Back to Sweet Valley

I really think that the things we loved when we were kids – be they books, movies, television shows – remain the most precious to us when we are adults.  Of course, every once in awhile, I come across something I LOVE, but it really is never quite the same as that which I grew up with.  Singin’ in the Rain and Back to the Future will probably always be my favorite movies, regardless of what other movies I see and adore throughout the rest of my life because they so enchanted me at age 8.

When I found out that there was a new Sweet Valley book coming out, I ordered it online immediately.  And yes, I devoured it and it made me feel as if I were in 6th grade again.  (I mean, it’s Sweet Valley, it took an hour.)  I loved the Sweet Valley High and Twins books when I was a kid; they are such wish fulfillment for an 11 year old who imagines that high school will be glamorous and exciting with impossibly pretty people and also, in California, where high school kids hang out at the beach (THE BEACH!) and can actually go outside in the winter. (Contrast: my friends and I were really excited in high school when we discovered a rock in the middle of nowhere with Snoopy painted on it.  This was our stimulation.)

Anyway, Sweet Valley Confidential was kind of bad and kind of awesome, which is exactly how it should be.  It won me over with the nostalgia factor, and it made me sad when some characters didn’t turn out as they should have … which I guess is a part of adulthood in general.  You look back and reflect on your image of who you would become and who your friends would become and it never is as you imagined it would be, but always both better and worse.

I am digressing and I know I am making it seem like reading a Sweet Valley book was a profound experience, which it was not, but it did make me think about how all of the characters in the young adult novels we read growing up become a part of us, a part of our growth.  They impact our impressions of the world, our fantasies, and shape who we become.


As you may have seen from my excited Tweets, I finally hired a maid to clean my apartment.  Coming home to a spotless apartment today – that I didn’t clean myself! – was absolutely wonderful.  I have no idea why I didn’t do this sooner.  I hate cleaning.  I really only ever gave my apartment thorough cleanings if I knew I was having company; otherwise, I wandered around, listlessly wiping counters until I was all-too-easily distracted by someone IMing me on G-chat or commercials for hair color (which would obviously make me need to go out and buy hair coloring IMMEDIATELY)  or the need to catch up on my Thursday night sitcoms or walking to the coffee or homework or anything.  I just really am bored by cleaning.

I think I always felt that hiring a cleaning person was too extravagant, when it was something that I am capable of and really should have enough discipline to do myself, and also, I kind of figured that the cleaning people would make fun of all of my stuff, which made me paranoid.  But, you know, now my apartment is clean, and maybe they made fun of my stuff, but I think I’m okay with that.

Random Obsessions & Sneakers

Does anyone else find himself or herself really, really fascinated by something random in the middle of the day and then really obsessed with researching it?  Like, I was reading on Wikipedia about different presidential assassins today and what became of them for no particular reason.  Often my random topics of research are kind of dark.  Is that weird?

I went to the gym tonight to take one of those Body Cardio Pump Works Whatever classes and realized that I had only brought one sneaker.  I was very upset because I actually had the motivation to take the class, so I decided to run across the street to buy some new sneakers since my current ones were kind of falling apart anyway.  (I was constantly in danger of almost falling down cliffs whilst hiking.)  I bought a new pair and now feel like I am walking on air!  When paying, I had one of those moments I have every so often where I think strangers find me really charming and interesting so I started telling the salesgirl about how I was at the gym and only had one sneaker so that’s why I am buying a new pair.  She just blinked and said, “Um. Okay,” and then laughed awkwardly in that way you laugh when you are trying to appease crazy people.


Sunday in Griffith Park


I have never been a religious person at all, but there is something about being able to hike Griffith Park on a clear Sunday with a blue sky and snow-capped mountains in the background that makes me feel really grateful for the world we have and humbled that it all came together to be this awesome. Thanks, nature, you rock.


Do we really need Facebook in the car?

On Twitter, I was just chatting about the Superbowl Chevy Cruze ad.  The Chevy Cruze offers the very weird feature of allowing the driver to hear real time Facebook updates whilst driving.  (And seriously, people, as much as my friends’ Facebook updates fascinate me, sometimes we need a break from it and driving is probably an appropriate time for that.)

Anyway, here is the ad.

Because I am the type of person who thinks deeply analyzes the psychology of characters in car advertisements, my thought process upon seeing this ad was, “Wow, that was a pretty bold move of Jennifer French to update her status with ‘Best First Date Ever’ immediately after getting out of the car from the date … isn’t she worried about coming across as too overeager? He’ll think she’s clingy.  I wonder how they know each other if they are already Facebook friends.  Although, on the other hand, maybe it was a good move and neither of them want to play games and they just know it feels right and they’ll end up together. I’m sort of a romantic and I’d like to believe that.  But still, now he totally has all of the power knowing that it was her best first date ever.  And honestly, does she really want to broadcast that to her entire feed?  Like, her coworkers will be asking her about it and what if it doesn’t work out?  That’s so uncomfortable.”

It made me think that I really want to see more of the saga of Jennifer French and her suitor with the Chevy Cruze.  What becomes of them?  Do they go out again?  Is it true love?  Or should she read The Rules?  I picture an entire series of ads where Jennifer French and the (currently nameless) young man (let’s call him Ted Donnelly, I don’t know why) drive around overanalyzing one another’s Facebook updates that they hear in their cars.

Episode 2: Jennifer is driving, listening to her Facebook feed. “Ted Donnelly is at Starbuck’s with Karen McGravy.”  She grows agitated.  Who is this Karen?

Episode 3: Ted leaves another lovely date with Jennifer.  He listens to his Facebook feed. “Jennifer French is now listed as in a relationship with Ted Donnelly.”  His eyes widen in shock.  They only went out twice!  Sure, they slept together that last time, but still!

Episode 4: Jennifer is driving.  “Ted Donnelly is attending Ryan’s Engagement Party  on March 13.”  What the hell, she thinks.  That is this weekend.  He didn’t invite her!  Doesn’t he like her anymore?  Is he taking KAREN?! Doesn’t the fact that she slept with him mean that he should take her to engagement parties?  She is confused.  What kind of girl does he think she is?

I could go on, but I probably should finish my homework and go to bed rather than imagining the relationship progression of people from a commercial.


Good Food & Porno Pouts

Restaurant week is awesome.  This is the week where all of the restaurants offer special prix-fixe menus for a less expensive price.  I always use this week to eat at restaurants I won’t get the chance to patronize otherwise (until I achieve immense weath which will obviously happen in just a couple of years).  This weekend, some friends and I noshed on some delicious French food at Bouchon Beverly Hills which had the atmosphere of being in a Manet painting and was altogether lovely (*at least my mussels were really delicious).

I really love eating out and sometimes I think that if I had one wish for my life, it would be to have endless funds to eat out whenever I wanted and to never gain any weight from eating rich, restaurant food all the time.  Eating out is one of my favorite parts about travelling. Dining out in foreign cities is always fun and exciting, and for me, having a nice, leisurely dinner at a nice restaurant  in the city I live in makes a typical Friday night seem a bit like a vacation.

Last night I think I attempted to perfect the Porno Pout. This is that mouth half-open sultry look that can typically be seen on Megan Fox in most photos of her.  Observe:

Megan Fox is really pretty, why can’t she smile like a normal person?  Why must she always hang her mouth open?  Do guys see this as a sex invite or something?   I mean, maybe I am sort of a prude in some respects, but I am just not a fan of the “sexy” mouth open/dead-eyed photo look.  It makes women look like blow-up dolls/sex robots.   However, it was amusing to try it.  Here is my take:

Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be making that one my new Linked In or Facebook profile photo.

Weird Recipes

I made pasta tonight with tuna fish and yogurt and mustard and it was awesome.  Yogurt is actually a great substitute for mayonnaise with tuna fish, health-conscious friends.  I really love all sorts of food and I actually like to cook, as well, but I often come up with bizarre concoctions based on items I have sitting around the kitchen  half-empty (example:  I once made pad thai using the authentic Thai ingredient of ketchup) and I suspect that someday my future offspring will be wrinkling their noses and saying things like, “My mom makes this pasta and puts YOGURT and MUSTARD in it. Can you believe I grew up eating that?! What is WRONG with her?”



Why am I a mess at life?

It’s a rainy Sunday and I am about to get started on some homework, instead of going hiking as planned.  I went to this event yesterday at school, and I have to say, sometimes I think I have some sort of actual disability causing my flakiness.

I lose everything.  I currently cannot find a) my driver’s license, and b) my school ID which allows me to park in the good parking lot.  Yesterday, my friend was making fun of me for losing everything all the time and I proceeded to leave my debit card at the restaurant we went to after the event.  I went back to get it first thing this morning, but who loses three important things in one week?  It’s kind of out of hand.  (I also should point out that I was not drunk; this is just my natural state.  I also fall down a lot.)

I spill everything.  I always want to come across as classy and together, but I literally cannot hold a glass of liquid without getting at least 30% of it on myself.  It’s really embarrassing.

At one point yesterday, I grabbed a corn dog, immediately dropped it on the floor, grabbed another corn dog, and then dropped half of it on the floor.  I am conscious of these things, yet I am still incapable of … not doing them.  The worst part of it is, these are networking events and at events like these, the idea is ostensibly to make people think you are competent so they will end up helping you in your career, and there’s Caroline, splashing wine everywhere and repeatedly dropping corn dogs.  Yup, I’m awesome.

Anyone have any tips on how I can get a handle on these issues?

The Elusive Swarm Badge

Flying is sort of like going to the dentist for me. It’s never all that pleasant, but is usually slightly better than you think it’s going to be … and sometimes much, much worse.  And I am always glad that it’s over.  Having to change planes always makes a coast-to-coast flight particularly awful, especially when it involves you running awkwardly through an airport, gasping for breath and accidentally flinging your carry-on suitcase into those who cross your path.  (And by you, I mean me.)

Today’s flight back to Los Angeles did result in one score:

I did have the pleasure of reading The Hunger Games on the flight, which was awesome.  It’s a trilogy and I’ve only read the first book, but am totally psyched about reading the other installments.  If you haven’t read it, go. Go find it and read it now. It’s about a teenage girl named Katniss (I know, but it gets better) who lives in a post-apocalyptic version of the United States, and is chosen in a lottery to compete in a televised fight to the death with teenagers from each district.   It’s dark and suspenseful and romantic and cool.

Farewell, 2010.

Happy New Year, all!  At the dawn of each new year, I always make all kinds of resolutions to be a smarter, more graceful and giving person.  I actually really love fresh starts.

This year, I am happy to note that I think things are better for me than they were last year at this time, and that’s basically a trend I’d like to see continuing.  I have a job now that I like and will allow me to pay my bills on time (and I was laid off at Christmastime in 2008, so although I’ve been working here and there and going to school, I haven’t really been fully employed in 2 years); I have more  new friends than I did at this time in 2009 – and continued close relationships with my “old” friends and my family – and I leave 2010 behind with a lot of really great memories and experiences.  So, let’s keep that going – I want to give back more in 2011 than I did in 2010 and I want to have even more fun and be more optimistic. See how zen and peaceful I am?  Yes.

Anyway, here are some of my random thoughts at the end of the year:

I have recently acquired a smartphone, which I may be the last person on earth to acquire.  I am sort of obsessed with checking into places on Foursquare.  I am currently visiting my family in Western Massachusetts, where there are not a lot of super chic places to go (I love it here, but it is very rural), so I am amusing myself by checking into the three places there are to go in town (Dunkin Donuts, the Chinese restaurant with the misspelled sign, etc.).  As is the case with much social media, Foursquare is currently making me feel inadequate and jealous of my Foursquare friends who are checking into places in Shanghai and whatnot and thus seem to be living more exciting lives than I do.  I am also Foursquare friends with Ellen DeGeneres, and I like to think that she actually approved my request herself after carefully evaluating how cool I seemed from  my Twitter account and that we will hang out at some point in the future.  (Yes, I know it was an intern.)

I saw The Social Network again, which I think was the best movie of the year.  In the previous blog entry, I ranted about movies with terrible dialogue.  Well, The Social Network has awesome dialogue, and is a fantastic, taut story.

The Dexter finale was only OK, and I loved this season.  What am I supposed to watch on Sunday nights now?

Everyone knows I am kind of obsessed with Twilight, while simultaneously thinking its awful, right? Eclipse was bad. Like, really, really boring bad.  I chuckled here and there at the terrible acting and the fact that Taylor Lautner was unable to appear without a shirt, but it was really disappointing on a camp level.  I hope Breaking Dawn is more fun.  Breaking Dawn was probably the most mortifying book I ever read in my entire life.  I actually got so grossed out at points that I had to put the book down.  It is, I think, unfilmable.  Which makes me particularly intrigued as to how they will attempt to make this shit both appropriate and  appealing to the pre-teen set.

I am currently reading multiple online horoscopes to find one I like.  For example, I have just read, “To sum it up, year 2011 brings along a mixed bag of things which will be good yet not so good.”  Hmm?  Not so good?  No.  That’s not what I like to hear.  Where is my horoscope that says everything will be awesome?