Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Costume Adventures

Around noon today, after returning from the gym, I decided I needed a Halloween costume.

I had exactly one hour to think of something, put it together, and get to Iraqi Arabic class. With such short time, I had no choice but to head up the street to my nemesis -- also known as the heinous strip mall with Fry's grocery and the dollar store -- where every disgusting piece of white trash in Tucson hangs out on weekdays.

Let's go to Fry's, bitch! I need me some more Natty Lights!

Despite my better judgment, I entered Fry's and looked high and low for fuzzy cat ears in the Halloween section until a foul man with bleached blonde hair and dark grey teeth and his Hispanic sidekick covered in tattoos and earrings and swearing up a sailor-style storm started hovering nearby looking for stuff to scare children (or so they said). They finally grossed me out to the point that I couldn't stay in that store for one more second.

Let's scare those goddamn kids, Juan!

So I turned to Plan B... which entailed visiting the Dollar Store next door. I realized I shouldn't have bothered when I saw a broken glow stick and a soiled wig lying on the industrial carpet near the entryway. There wasn't much else to pick through, as the place had been pretty much combed clean of all things orange and black. It appears the Dollar Store is now in full Christmas swing.

Disappointed, but not ready to quit searching for something from which to make a costume, I then headed to biggest loser of the white trash strip mall triumvirate... the 99 cent store. (Yes, you know you're in trouble when a strip mall has two dollar stores). I try to avoid this 99 cent store as it's owned by Koreans, and much as I love Koreans (their dry cleaning and convenience stores specifically), they have shitty dollar stores that specialize primarily in grandma-like knick-knacks and silk flowers, neither of which I have any use for.

Like this crap. Precious Moments, or just plain ugly.

However, I was desperate. I wandered to the back of the store after quickly glancing at the granny purses and umbrellas and dish detergent toward the front, and it was there that I came upon the jackpot... a David Bowie Ziggy Stardust gold & shiny mullet wig...

Just as I grabbed the gold mullet, I heard a loud belch right behind me, where an old man and his polyester-clad wife stood browsing for silk orchids. I stared for an extra long second, just to register my disgust, and his wife said, "Oh, honey, that girl is staring at you!" After which the man apologized, I felt embarrassed, and then, to ease the moment, I said something like "Oh, I thought it was a Halloween toy making noise." And then he said I sounded like I was from the East Coast, and then I said I was, and then we made some lame small talk about the East while I secretly wished I were anywhere else but there in that terrible store talking to this burping man.

And this was my one-hour adventure. I did end up riding my bike to class as Ziggy Stardust, clad in my golden metallic mullet, green eye shadow, and green lipstick, and wearing a black tee, jean capris, skull-design knee socks, and my special black moon boots that I don't wear very often (and haven't worn once since being here in AZ until today, as it's generally too warm here to stand wearing them).

I'm not sure it was worth the trouble, but Halloween is only once a year, and I hate being a party pooper so perhaps my effort was worth something.

Now, to bed...

Monday, October 30, 2006


Who are these little goblins?...

My brother and me, Halloween 1977.

I love that my brother is starting to curl his little hand into a cat claw while watching me do my best kitten impersonation... meow!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Crafts & Beer

There have been two rather divergent themes going on in my life recently: 1) I've turned into a craft-aholic, and 2) I've been drinking too much pumpkin beer on the weekends.

First, my craft issue. On Friday night, as I was diligently bent over a pile of construction paper with a glitter stick, Lindsey (who I was chatting with on the phone) re-registered her shock that I ever survived in the military for four years. She basically asked: "How can you go from shooting a 9mm handgun in a battlefield simulation to wielding a glue gun over colorful crafts?" The answer: I'm really just a crafty bastard at heart.

Here are a couple of my latest projects...

In addition to making chocolate-frosted, chocolate buttermilk chocolate chip cookies and a homemade cheesecake for my Iraqi Arabic class recently, I also went a little maniacal last weekend making Halloween sugar cookies (all from scratch)...

The decorations are a bit rudimentary, but most of my equipment is in storage in DC so I was working with bare bones supplies.

I made about 4 dozen of them...

I sent a bunch of them to Miguel and gave a few away to friends. I ate the rest.

My other big recent project is my bottle cap magnet work. I'm making about 100 of them to give away as gifts and possibly to sell at a Tucson art-craft show or at an art consignment store here.

This is the stack of supplies on my kitchen counter (no where else to put the crap in my tiny abode)...

I'll take more pictures as I get more finished... next weekend I'm going to start experimenting with resin as a finisher.

And moving on to my other side of life (non-craftster), I spent Friday night eating popcorn on my couch while enjoying a Curb Your Enthusiasm Season Two marathon. I watched all ten episodes in one sitting. I'd seen most of them before, but the show is so great that I could watch it all again right now. I seriously was laughing so hard that I was afraid I was disturbing my neighbors.

Larry David is my hero.

Here are a few clips if you've never seen it:
Clip One
Clip Two
Clip Three

Then Saturday night, I went to a history department Halloween party with my friend Gerry, who is here for a year writing his dissertation on Tucson's commercial community in the 20th century...

He was Biff the Ivy League Asshole, and I was a flapper, although someone thought I was a 1950s housewife. Some people thought we were characters from The Great Gatsby, and I thought that was pretty cool since it was unintentional.

I didn't know anyone there except for one Egyptian guy who got his master's from my department, and is now working on his PhD in history. But I met a number of new and interesting people...

Like this couple...

He was a Republican fundraiser.

And this guy dressed as St. Exupery's Little Prince...

... and his zapatista sidekick.

All in all a good night, although I didn't get home until 3 am, and I had a crapload of homework today. Ahhh... I never thought I'd relive the days of undergrad again... what a joy.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Just Call Me Fern

I had a very frightful experience today. Although Halloween is coming up, I wasn't expecting to actually scare myself... but somehow I did just that and with little effort.

I was washing my hands in the student rec center bathroom, when I made the mistake of looking at myself in the mirror. The combination of no make-up, hideously grotesque florescent lighting that seemed to highlight my grey hairs, and a certain look on my face suddenly turned me into my grandmother. Honestly, I saw her. It was only a fleeting glimpse, but I transformed into my deceased 88-year old Mumsy Fern.

Truthfully, this isn't the first time I've seen it. In fact, I have a tendency to turn into her every now and then. For instance, I found this picture of me in NYC in 2005, and I was also shocked to see that I had become my grandmother...

I'm not kidding when I tell you this is exactly what she looked like.

So I'm going to go smoke some crack right now. Maybe that will make me feel better.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


I'm wondering if I should be concerned.... I took a couple of those humorous "online personality quizzes," and these were my results...

Which Country of the World are You?

Germany - Despite a controversial recent history, it has had a tough and powerful history. A modern-day technological and cultural beacon, it is still target to stereotypes and antiquited thoughts.

Technologically Advanced.
Culturally Admired.
Global Power.

Target of Historical Fervor.
Constant Struggle.
Funny-Looking Ethnic Clothing.

Take this quiz!
And then...

Congratulations! You are the most evil man of all time! Not only did you exterminate millions of Jews and involved the world in the biggest war the world has ever seen, you also convinced the Germans that the perfect human is a tall blue eyed blond when you're a short, dark Austrian yourself! Well done you spiteful little shit!

What tin-pot dictator are you? Take the "What Dictator am I?" test at PoisonedMinds.com

Great. I'm apparently the epitome of the Third Reich.

This was my only saving grace... the opposite of all things Fuehrer...

You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.
You're always willing to lend a helping hand.
In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.
"15 seconds to showtime!"
The Muppet Personality Test

So not only am I evil, but I'm also the dorky, unattractive "sidekick."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My Thrilling Day Sans Photos

Today was royally dull... but I'm going to tell you about it anyway.

First I went Arabic class, then I met with my Islamic Studies professor to discuss this really interesting article from the October issue of the Atlantic Monthly that Miguel sent to me a couple weeks ago in the mail. It mentions a number of well-known scholars in the field of Islamic Studies and how they've been called upon to defend or present testimony against suspected Islamic extremists in the US. Anyway, it's a great read if you're interested at all in Middle Eastern issues...

Then, lest I get too brainy, I dumbed myself down with a pedicure to shape up my formerly gnarly feet. They look so much better now although I'm not crazy about the color I chose because it reminds me too much of cotton candy when I look at my toes (oh, that rhymes!!)... I was going to include a picture of the color, but the "add photos" button isn't working tonight for whatever reason. So just picture in your mind "A Dozen Rosas" from the OPI nail polish company's Mexican Collection (or click here). Yes, it is in fact a bit garish.

After my foot treatment, I rode my bike over to the rec center, where I swam in UA's heated outdoor pool. I'm pretty psyched because I timed myself on the mile again and did it in 33 minutes flat.

I've spent the rest of the day making Trader Joe's pad thai with tofu, reading, fucking around, watching Madonna on Oprah (with her super weird half British, half American accent she's acquired), and then watching the end of "Dancing With the Stars" and "Lost" over at Jordy's apartment.

I'm so sad Jerry Springer got voted off DWTS! I even voted for him yesterday! However, this was, perhaps, a jinx, as I voted for Willa Ford last time, and she was voted off the next night. OK, that's it... I'm not voting anymore. Plus, my two favorites (Willa and Jerry) are off the show now. Mario Lopez might be hot, but he's so cheesy, and Joey Lawrence is just way too Daddy Warbucks-esque. So I guess that leaves Emmitt Smith. OK, I guess I'll root for Emmitt now, but I just won't vote.

Must go do some work now... sionara.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Aleksey Vayner... Knob of the Year

I'm sure many of you have already heard about Aleksey Vayner, the multi-talented Yale grad who sent a ridiculously over-the-top "video resume" to some of NYC's top investment banks... but in case you haven't, this story is just too good not to share...

It all started with this... the video resume, AKA "Impossible Is Nothing".

Judge the cringe factor for yourself.

Viewers from YouTube wrote things like:
  • Virgin.
  • I have a friend like this and he's still waiting tables at Denny's.
  • I think this guy is going places... the unemployment line comes to mind.
  • Neeeeeerd.
  • Twat.
And so on... as you might imagine, it's a pretty universally negative reaction.

Personally, my favorite part is the salsa dance scene. Now that's HOT!!!

Anyway, once his "resume" became one of the top-most-viewed YouTube videos, the NY Times got wind of the story and wrote this October 21 article about "the legend in his own mind"...

With his name and image on Web sites and his appearance on the “Today” show, Aleksey Vayner may be the most famous investment-banking job applicant in recent memory.

Aleksey Vayner said he thought that clips showing his dancing skills and his athleticism would help him stand out among other Wall Street applicants.

Mr. Vayner’s curious celebrity came after an 11-page cover letter and résumé as well as an elaborate video that he had submitted to the Swiss bank giant UBS showed up on two blogs, and then quickly spread on the Internet. The clip, staged to look like a job interview, is spliced with shots of Mr. Vayner lifting weights and ballroom dancing and has him spouting Zen-like inspirational messages.

The video clip flooded e-mail inboxes across Wall Street and eventually appeared on the video-sharing site YouTube.

Blogs brimmed with commentary, much of it mocking, about Mr. Vayner and his feats. Television programs and newspapers then picked up the Web’s latest viral sensation.

Now Mr. Vayner, a student at Yale University, is starting to speak out about his 15 minutes of fame, portraying himself as being victimized by the flash flood of Web interest.

“This has been an extremely stressful time,” Mr. Vayner said in an interview.

The job materials that were leaked and posted for public view included detailed information about him that allowed strangers to scrutinize and harass him, he said. His e-mail inbox quickly filled up, with most of the messages deriding him and, in some cases, threatening him.

Mr. Vayner’s experience shows the not-so-friendly side of the social-networking phenomenon. While sites such as YouTube allow aspiring comedians or filmmakers to share their creations with millions of others, they also provide the ideal forum for embarrassing someone on a global scale. Materials can quickly make the rounds on blogs, via e-mail and through online hangouts like MySpace, becoming all but impossible to contain.

Wall Street workers may be especially quick to hit the send button. Last month, a compromising video of a Merrill Lynch banker and his female companion on a Brazilian beach had much of Brazil’s financial-services industry glued to their computer screens. Over the summer, a persnickety birthday party invitation from a Citigroup intern was e-mailed all over London’s financial district.

Mr. Vayner’s seven-minute clip, entitled “Impossible is nothing,” presents images of him bench-pressing what a caption suggests is 495 pounds and firing off what is purported to be a 140-mile-an-hour tennis serve.

The tone of the video seems too serious to be parody, yet too over-the-top to be credible. After sharing the clip, fellow students at Yale, he said, began telling their own tales about Mr. Vayner on the Web, fabricating stories of bare-handed killings and handling nuclear waste. The Internet scrutiny also raised questions about some of Mr. Vayner’s claims in his résumé, including assertions that he ran his own charity and investment firm.

There have also been questions over whether he copied sections of a self-published book, “Women’s Silent Tears: A Unique Gendered Perspective on the Holocaust,” from Web sites.

Mr. Vayner, 23, contends that both the charity and investment firm are legitimate. And the accusations about his book, he said, were based on an earlier draft that has since been changed.

He says he has been interested in finance since he was 12, when he was creating financial data models. So Mr. Vayner, who is a member of the class of 2008 at Yale, decided a few weeks ago to look for a job at a Wall Street firm. He thought that making a video would help him stand out amid the intense competition for investment-banking positions. By emphasizing his various athletic pursuits, which he said included body sculpting, weightlifting and tai chi, Mr. Vayner said he could show that he had achieved success in physical endeavors that could carry over to the financial world.

“I felt demonstrating competency in athletics is a good way to stand out, because the same characteristics are the same in business,” Mr. Vayner said. “The need to set and achieve goals, to have the dedication and competitive drive that’s required in business success.”

Despite the mockery that the video has inspired, he still speaks proudly of his athleticism. Nearly all the feats in the video are his, he said, and they are real. But he says he is not certain that the skiing segment actually shows him.

In the end, though, Mr. Vayner said he was less concerned about the mockery than about what appeared to have been a leak of his application materials from UBS.

Mr. Vayner and his lawyer, Christian P. Stueben, said they were exploring legal options against the investment banks to which he sent the application.

A UBS spokesman said in a statement: “As a firm, UBS obviously respects the privacy of applicants’ correspondences and does not circulate job applications and résumés to the public. To the extent that any policy was breached, it will be dealt with appropriately.”

For now, Mr. Vayner said he was camping out at his mother’s residence in Manhattan, having taken a short leave of absence from Yale when his video hit the Internet. (A Yale spokeswoman declined to comment.)
He said he may have lost his chance to work on Wall Street, and added that he may not succeed in securing a financial job at all.

Real estate development is an option, he said, but for now his future is unclear.

In the meantime, he plans on taking his midterm examinations next week.

As you might imagine, Gawker has jumped on the bandwagon and today featured this hilarious update on the story (featuring a clip of a pissy Deborah Norville interview with young Aleksey) entitled:

"Douchebag Can't Be Certain That He's Actually Douchebag in Video"

And for the total and complete Alexey Douchebag article collection, click here.

Ahhh... to find humor in other's misfortunes, especially when it's an egotistical douchebag.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Bachelor & Hickory Farms

I think the devil has possessed me... I am currently watching "The Bachelor in Rome." Shit, I am so pathetic. Or better yet, the women on this show are so pathetic.

Right now, there is this idiot 23-year old virgin ("I'm saving myself for marriage!" she said...) who is gushing all over "the bachelor" AKA Lorenzo, "the Italian from Jersey."

And he's not even cute... (this picture is flattering)

He took her flying in some crapball Cesna, and she was literally about to jump on his stick in the plane... "Ooooo, Lorenzo, you look so hot flying! Oh, Lorenzo, I think pilots are hot! Oh, Lorenzo, I'm sooo naive!" OMG, she just gave him a San Diego Chargers t-shirt at their dinner date that says "Whatever It Takes" (excluding sex, apparently).

"The Dumb Virgin"

Here's what Gawker said about the show a few weeks ago:

We bet you're so excited for tonight's premiere of ABC's 32nd season of The Bachelor! In the latest incarnation, 25 psychotic single women compete in Rome for the affection of exotic Prince Lorenzo Borghese, who calls the city his second home. Except Borghese barely speaks Italian, had never been to Rome until he signed on with ABC, and is actually from Jersey. You could probably tell that to all 25 contestants, and they'd still go rabid competing for the final rose. [

Oh, sweet Jesus, another bimbo on a "one-on-one" date just said to the bachelor at Trevi Fountain, "oooo, I have goosebumps... this is sooo romantic!"

I'm really about to throw up.

Speaking of throwing up, I was working out on the elliptical machine at the gym today when a 60-something year old man got on the machine next to me. Within seconds, I whiffed the scent of summer sausage (I'm assuming his post-lunch breath... he was breathing quite heavily), which made me feel as though I'd suddenly been teleported to a Hickory Farms store. There is just no excuse for perfume, garlic or meat product scents at the gym...

I'll take one beef-n-cheddar log with my workout, please!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Short Post -- Blogger is Being Weird (not me, the program)

Another social weekend... Friday night out with my friend Jenn, her friend Maya, and my friend Gerry to watch Maya's boyfriend's band at Nimbus Brewery. Then, on Saturday night, I headed to the 28th Annual Bratfest hosted by the Planetary Sciences Department here at UA. Think sausage, kegged beer, and lots of astrophysicists. Believe it or not, those people know how to party -- or maybe I'm just a nerd too. In any case, I didn't get home until 2am and learned a lot about Mars and black holes while downing my Dos Equis. Interesting night indeed...

I wanted to write more, but either my computer is acting dodgy or Blogger is malfunctioning because I can't add photos or change my font color. Therefore, blogging is no fun.

I guess this means you have something to look forward to tomorrow!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Dead Cats, Threading, and a Hot Tamale

I have had a rather bizarre day...

First, after recovering from the shocking and calamitous ending of Project Runway last night, I awoke this morning to a fresh start, which consisted of my sexaholic neighbors (I call them "Sid and Nancy") slamming their front door multiple times at around 7 am and stomping around in the hallway outside my apartment -- smoking cigarettes, I assume...

Fuck the neighbors, Nancy!

After soothing myself with a nice hot cup of coffee, I jumped in the shower, ironed an outfit, and hopped on my bicycle to ride to class. As I approached the corner of my grubby little street and a semi-major intersection, I noticed a black cat stretched out on the pebbles in front of a new house they've built next to my apartment complex. I thought, "Oh, what a funny place for a cat to sleep in the middle of the day!" I sort of stared at it for a minute, lazily catching the sun's rays, wondering why my bike's passing by hadn't made it stir, but then a break came in the traffic, and I headed quickly across the street.

Sleeping or dead?

I came straight home after class (a rather ridiculous 75 minute waste of time in which we watched Arabic music videos and talked about the importance of performance art) because I had to pick up my car so I could get to my eyebrow threading appointment. Upon entering my street, I looked to my left, and there was that black cat again, stretched out in the same position. This time I stopped my bike and looked closer. I could see its eyes were half open, and it was not moving at all. Yes, dead... but no blood, thank goodness. Perhaps it was poisoned?

Of course my main concern is: is it a bad omen to find a dead black cat near your doorstep mere days before Halloween? If it is, I'm screwed.

I hope I don't see this roaming outside my window at midnight...

In any case, I called animal control, and the woman told me someone would be around "tomorrow morning" to pick up the cat. I have to say, I figured someone would at least get the carcass on the same day I called. However, it's thankfully gotten a bit cooler here recently so the cat hasn't started stinking yet. I really hope it's gone by the time I head to class tomorrow at 9:30. I don't really want to see it again.

Anyway, the good news is that after I confirmed the cat death, I had an eyebrow threading appointment, which went wonderfully, and I am thrilled to have finally found a woman who does threading in Tucson! I looked high and low last year, even walking up to Indian or Pakistani women on the street and asking them if they knew of anyone who threaded in Tucson.

It looks kind of medieval, and it hurts like a bitch too, but it works great!

It was by dumb luck that I came upon this lady who I visited today. I was driving by an Indian grocery store last Saturday, and started thinking about what a horrible mess my eyebrows have been lately. So I pulled over spontaneously in hopes that someone in the store could help me out. I was sure I was wasting my time when I saw a small, balding, mustachioed Indian man stocking frozen samosas in a large freezer, but just for the hell of it, I asked him if he knew where I might be able to find a local threader. "Why yes!" he replied, "Archana (pronounced AR-chen-na) is now doing threading here in the store on Sundays and Thursdays!"

This is how it works, except usually you have to pull your upper eyelids tight with your hands so the lady can get all of the little hairs. Today she even threaded my forehead! (which of course made me wonder if I had hair growing on my forehead like Eddie Munster and that's why she was doing that...)

Anyway, long story short, my eyebrows got the royal treatment in the back of the grocery store (to be specific, in the rice section), and I look a zillion times better now. Archana has made my life here just a wee bit better.

This is getting long and blabbery now so I think I'd better go. Just one last note... I was watching Grey's Anatomy for the first time tonight and would like to state for the record that Patrick Dempsey is really attractive. He's definitely improved since the 80s...

In fact, he's a real choo-choo Charlie...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Project Runway Finale!

I am in shock...

The evil deathspawn also known as Jeffrey Sebelia won Project Runway tonight. Good god, the man has a rat tail!

OK, honestly, I'll admit it... I liked some of his runway designs tonight, but I still think he lacked the tastefulness of Laura's and Uli's collections. (Let's not even talk about Michael Knight's design disaster). But I just can't get over the fact that the majority of his designs look like they should be hanging on the racks in Hot Topic or Wet Seal. Mall fodder, Jeffrey, simply mall fodder.

However, here are a couple of his designs that I thought were cute:

Can you tell I like stripes?

But this thing looked like it came right out of Forever 21:

Snow White gone bad. Yuck.

And seriously, what the hell happened with Michael?

"Oh, me so horny..." (Kickin' up the "2 Live Crew" now)

And because I still (and will always) *heart* Laura, here were my two favorites from her collection:

I'm normally not at all into lace, but I love the legging look under the stiff Victorian material! And I love the shorts with the gauzy wrapped satin jacket.

And not to be forgotten, here is my favorite Uli outfit:

...Which might actually be my favorite design of the entire event. I would totally wear this to a party... although it looks like you can't wear a bra. Now wait a minute... that could be problematic for support reasons. We're not all model AAs, you know. Not that I'm complaining about that, but...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Here's the kind of sketchy, random stuff that goes down in Tucson all the time:

I took this photo from in front of my apartment complex a few days ago when I arrived home from class at around 3:30pm. The paddy wagon had just driven away, and the cops were taking crime scene pictures of this beat-up old car, which had smashed into a beautiful chain link fence surrounding a small weed-strewn yard in front of a dilapitated house.

My guess is that the car was stolen, it was involved in a high-speed chase (down my street), the car lost control, and it crashed. This is the only explanation I can offer that would involve a paddy wagon and multiple police cars (not all visible in this photo).

Aside from the regular nightly cop helicopter circlings that go on from midnight to 2 a.m., this is standard business in Tucson. You wouldn't believe how many high-speed cop chases I hear on a weekly basis near my apartment.

I know you're jealous.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Culinary Delights

OK, I'm highly annoyed right now. I just spent 30 minutes writing a blog entry about my undying love for St. Andre triple cream cheese and Porto Rico "strudel cake" flavored coffee, and my f***ing internet malfunctioned, booted me out, and everything was erased.

So let me reword it: I love St. Andre triple cream cheese and Porto Rico strudel cake coffee. I am definitely no culinary snob, but I have great appreciation for these two delicacies and thrive on them here in Tucson. Indeed, they are very close to heaven on earth.

First, the St. Andre, according to

St. André is a soft, ripened cheese in the tradition of Brie and Camembert. In 1928 a country cheese maker started the St. André Creamery in Villefranche de Rouerque, France, in the middle Pyrénées, a region also known for Roquefort cheese. Fast forward 40-some years and the soft-ripened, triple-cream cheese named St. André made its debut, with a reputation as a blend of the perfect brie mixed with equal parts of thick, sour cream and whipped sweet cream. St. André is made from cow's milk and enriched with pure cream. St. André is also fairly rare. Containing no less than 75% butterfat for every 100 grams of cheese, St. André is commonly agreed to be 50% richer than the average Camembert. This cheese is a favorite for cheese boards!

I commonly set up snack trays like this between classes.

However, word to the wise: butterfat = "butt, er, fat" as in your "butt, is, er, fat." Eat it sparingly, but love it.

Next up, Porto Rico "strudel cake" coffee. I accidentally found the
Porto Rico Importing Company on Bleecker Street in NYC's West Village a few years ago and have been addicted ever since. I order coffee from them every semester and have it shipped to AZ. Their flavored coffee is the best, hands down.

I mean, check out their flavors:
Amaretto, Cappucino, Chocolate, Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate Cinnamon, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Raspberry, Chocolate Strudel, Cinnamon, Cinnamon Hazelnut, Cinnamon Orange, Coconut, Double Nut Fudge, Egg Nog, Frangelica, Hazelnut, Irish Creme, Mexicali Creme, Macadamia, Maple Walnut, Mint, Orange, Peaches & Creme, Pecan, Praline, Pumpkin Spice, Sambuca, Strudel Cake, Swiss Chocolate Almond, Tiramisu, Toasted Almond, Vanilla Bean, and Vanilla Almond.

That's just insane. And fabulous!!!

And one last note, while we're speaking of flavored drinks, I am also a huge fan of Pyramid's Apricot Heizen beer... plus the orange bottles are refreshingly autumnal this time of year...

Chin chin!!!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Craziness at DV8

My apologies, dear friends, for the total gross-out factor in my last blog entry. It appears as though I made at least two friends sick while they were eating breakfast. I am so sorry.

Now, moving on to last Friday night, which was far more uplifting than dermotological issues... I went out with Anna, Ben, Ingrid, some other astronomy grad students, plus my friend Gerry (who subletted my apt. last Christmas) and two of his old college friends visiting from NYC.

First we hit the outside deck of "No Anchovies!" for several beers and then we moved onto Tucson's finest all-colors night club, DV8, where Ingrid had double-dog-dared Ben to get us a VIP table, which is exactly what he did. Hilariously, our "VIP" area was nothing more than a 2' x 2' formica table right next to the public bar that didn't even come with chairs. However, we did get a "reserved" sign.

I'm not a big fan of "top 40" type music and only recognized one song the entire night. However, it was amusing to watch the large and scantily clad Latina women gyrate about on the dance floor to "Fitty Cent" in their Hot Topic hoochy tops. I even got out there after a couple of beers...

Here is photographic proof of a rather interesting evening:

Ben & Ingrid, debonnaire at the bar, AKA "VIP section"

Ben, Ingrid, me w/very unhip mail-pouch-sized purse, Anna, and Maria Luisa

Shakin' the Booty Train...

It's all fun & games till somebody loses an eye...

Ben & Ingrid again...

I shouldn't include this b/c it shows every facial imperfection & wrinkle on our faces, but here's Anna & me.

And my favorite picture... Ben at the end of the night.

We actually ended the evening stuffing our faces with Diego's tacos, which were absolutely delicious.

With that, I should sign off for the evening...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pimple-Packed Day

A rather boring day today.

Spent most of the day on campus for classes, studying Iraqi Arabic for my test today, researched a bit at the library, and then worked out at the gym. One of the more interesting moments of the day occurred when I ran into my Iraqi Arabic teacher on campus a couple of hours before our exam.

He decided to walk with me to the library because he had numerous questions about how US health insurance worked (there is no such thing as health insurance in Iraq). He showed me his insurance packet, asked me how a co-pay and deductible worked, and then asked if he would get his $500 enrollment back if he didn't go to the doctor during the time he had the insurance. Ahhh, yaaaaa, that would be a big noooo... I'm still not sure he understands that insurance is a business. He also seemed perplexed that the insurance company would pay most of his hospital or doctor care, asking me, "well, if this costs more than my $500 then how do they pay for it?" I tried to let him know it was by bilking everyone else who paid and didn't go to the doctor, but I don't think he really got the whole concept.

However, the "interesting" part of the conversation is when he insisted upon telling me exactly why he was asking these insurance questions..... well, it seems that he needs to see a doctor.

Despite my protests of "oh, please, it's personal, you don't have to tell me," (thinking "please don't say any more, please, oh please...") I was subjected to one of the grosser conversations of my life, and I now must share ... no, it's not hemmorhoids or diarrhea, thank god, but apparently he has a large zit on his nose (which he pointed to and asked me to look at closely) that won't go away. I'm not kidding. I mean, I've noticed that his skin is slightly blemished, but he started telling me about this pimple that bled nightly (probably because he's been picking at it endlessly) and then asked me what the word in English was for "the yellow stuff that comes out."

Honestly, I thought I was going to hurl. So I had to tell him it was "pus" which he wrote down on his paper as "puss" (which is actually even grosser given the other possible pronunciation), and then I cut him off and told him that I didn't want to know any more. Well, I really hope there wasn't any more than that... I mean, that was plenty, but I just couldn't look at the thing anymore and talk about his nightly pimple popping sessions. I told him to call a dermotologist and then got the hell out of dodge.

For extra fun, click here...
the Acne Be Gone game!

So there you have it... my action-packed, pimple-popping day. Cheers!!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lack of Sleep

Just so you know, I had a rather clever idea for the blog tonight, but I'm too tired to pursue the thought.

I was up way too late last night at the concert, then the
f**ing zipper bird woke me up at 5:56 am (yesterday it happened at 5:55 am). He appears to be the plague of early morning October, judging from last year's entry from exactly the same time period. Then, just as I shoved earplugs into my head and dozed off, Miguel's mother called to chat at the quality hour of 6:22 am. (She's visiting the East Coast right now from Ecuador and calls me periodically to say hello, but usually at a more reasonable time). After that, I just tossed and turned and could never really fall back to sleep.

Therefore, I'm feeling a wee bit tired right now, and I have an Iraqi Arabic exam tomorrow that I need to study for, and tonight is my big TV night with "Lost" and... drum roll... the two-hour FINALE of "Project Runway"!! I'm really on pins and needles... Lau-ra, Lau-ra, Lau-ra!!!

Thank you very much...

Now time to study for a bit and try to keep my eyes open...

A Night of Noise

Tonight was a bit of a pisser.

I'd intended for weeks to go see
the Mosquitos (a NY-Brazilian band) who were actually playing in Tucson tonight, along with their opening band, Oppenheimer, who I also really like. However, at the last minute, every single person who told me they were planning to go with me decided to bail. OK, for the record, I fucking hate bailers.

So, I resigned to go alone... that is until Jordy and Katie called as I was in my final stages of debate (is it too weird to go to a concert alone? yes, no, yes, no) and invited me to a different concert at a different venue. Figuring the night was a bit of a wash anyway, I decided to change plans (after all, I have seen the Mosquitos in concert before).

The band du jour at this new venue was called "
Subtle," and I can tell you they were anything but.

I give them serious props for creative, umm, "props" (seriously, the singer had about a zillion different props he used throughout the concert, like fake teeth, silly putty eggs, paper scrolls, a mirror, and many other random items) and general artisticness, but at a musical level, I just failed to appreciate them. Imagine one keyboardist repetitively playing drum chords over and over (generally leading the group) while the rest of the band each did their own thing, including a saxophone, a cello, a guitarist/drummer, a flute, and a gay Hispanic rapper with a very high-pitched nasal voice. At first it was intriguing, but by the third song, I was ready to seal my ears with cement. There was simply no melody, just noise, with the gay nasal rapper chanting rapid-fire lyrics that no one could understand on top of the general cacophony.

I suppose it could be considered art, and if I understood the lyrics, I think they were making some sort of social commentary, but it was lost on me. Katie too. Jordy enjoyed it though. In fact, he seems a bit disappointed in my lack of rock-n-roll appreciation, at one point asking me, "what do you like about music?" after I declared that I loathed Bruce Springstein and Bob Dylan's voices and generally wished to do away with the electric guitar except for minor accompaniment and muted background sound.

I pointed out that I do, in fact, have nearly 190 bands that I enjoy on
my MySpace account, although none of them could really be labeled "rock."

Just to show that I do appreciate music, albeit not of the ilk seen this evening, here is one of my favorite new finds, a Swedish duo called Le Sport (who sadly just broke up last month)... perhaps they could be considered the antithesis of rock-n-roll:

Korg out!!!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Saturday's Wild Party

It appears I got some sh*t from one of my old grad school friends (who thought they would be clever by remaining "anonymous") because I didn't post any photos of the most awesome party ever* last Saturday night.

This would be because yours truly forgot to bring her digital camera, or any camera at all, for that matter. However, lucky for me, a girl in my department sent her photos out on-line today, and she did a fairly good job of getting a feel for the whole scene. So I hope this sates your curiosity about the evening... and brings back many a fond memory.

Since I'm scared to death someone from the department might find this blog one day, I'm not commenting much about the pics, but if you have questions or would like make a snarky remark about anything below, please feel free to e-mail me!

This is my Quran Studies/Islamic Law professor at the bottom left (only one year older than me), my Iraqi Arabic teacher in the yellow, and Lindsey in the grey tank. I have no idea who the handsome fellows in the back are.

My Quran professor and his wife, my Arabic class TA, two Turkish students, and the former director of our department, Dr. B.

The girl who sent the pictures and our Turkish PhD student... both are pretty cool.

More Turks and Persians...

A. and S. --- drinking too much, along with me.

Jordy & E. -- the cutting edge in hipsterism.

Regaling my audience with colorful stories... with Katie, Dr. B., and our Arabic Dept. director (and her husband's leg).

Also, please note I am wearing a silk tank top in October. Yes, Arizona has its benefits.

Time to study now. Laters.

(* = mild sarcasm)