Wednesday, February 21, 2007

This week's 24: So many questions, so many bitchslaps...

First, what’s up with Grizzly Adam Logan? He’s disgraced and becomes a hermit in Los Angeles? If you’re going to wear plaid and an overgrown beard, move to Montana.

Chad Lowe doesn’t look like the beat a man with a MagLite type of person. Then again, he may have taken some lessons from his ex-wife.

So MacNichol isn’t bad? Who would have known? With his jowls and bug eyes, I pegged him for a baddie.

Meanwhile, where the heck is Karen Hayes? Wasn’t she supposed to make it back to CTU? If the writers are accounting for flight time, I’ll give them a pat on the back for continuity.

Prediction of the week: If President Palmer is assassinated, Al Sharpton is making a guest appearance on ‘24’. Please, the two black presidents of the United States of America assassinated would be the kind of high profile racial coincidence Mr. Sharpton pounces on.

This week’s bitch slap goes to Morris. It’s not about you Morris. Get over it. Soon you’ll be faulting Milo for being taller, skinnier and hairier than you. Get over it. I’ll give you the guilt that you gave the terrorists the device to kill thousands of innocents but that’s not what you’re whining about. Shut up, grow a pair and do your job.

Runner up goes to Graem’s whiny wife. Rena, when a person tells you to run, you run. You don’t run back and forth between dumpsters. Keifer was right to dump you. You’re not the tough woman he needs. I understand your legs may be weak from playing Peter Petrelli’s invalid wife but men with guns are chasing you. Run!

Finally, a hug for Milo, for getting shot at. Ok, the hug is for the fact Jack looked at him and pretty much summed up his through and through as a ‘flesh wound’. Dude, you may get shot at everyday. You may get torched and electrocuted weekly. I’m a computer programmer. The closest I get to getting shot out is in Gears of War.

The kill count this week:

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Spring Cleaning...

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m living in the excess. I have so much, yet everyone and everything around me pulls me to more. Why? Why do I need more?

I’ve been trying to pull away from it but it’s not easy when things like, anniversaries, weddings, business trips and store credit come to play.

I have this thing where I don’t buy what I don’t need. I have gift certificates up the wazoo but I haven’t used them because I don’t need anything right now. My husband is the complete opposite. “If you don’t use the credit now, you’ll forget and not use it. So find something to buy.”

Now I’m not saying I’m not into extravagant and luxurious items. I do like them but I don’t need them. Happiness isn’t found in a $200 pair of pumps although my confidence meter does rocket when I’m wearing them.

On the eve of Lent, I’m feeling as if I’m not doing what I should be doing. I complain of the lack of time I have for my family. I complain of the lack of manpower I have at work. I complain I don’t get enough downtime. I complain of my bills piling high. Yes, I do lack time but I’m much more fortunate than others in other aspects and I sometimes forget what I’ve been blessed with.

Sure, I tell myself I know I’m blessed but when all I do is complain that I work like a madwoman, am I really in the know?

It’s not just the monetary items. I say that I try to look out for others before myself yet I didn’t offer to walk an older neighbor back to her apartment building in the snow. When someone I knew was coughing and could use a glass of water, I didn’t leave my seat to get it. I know some may say I’m being hard on myself but these things bugged me. Why didn’t I just act on the need? Why did I just go about my day without considering others?

I’m thinking too much of myself and not others. I need to remember it’s not about me.

This year for our wedding anniversary, I’m going to ask my husband to not exchange gifts. I don’t need anything. Our house doesn’t need anything. Maybe a coat of paint but that can wait until it’s warmer. I don’t think he needs anything. Instead, I’d like us to volunteer some time in an upcoming event. I’m no sure what. I have to check my volunteer mailing list but I’m sure there is something going on the week of/after our anniversary.

I haven’t asked him yet if he’d mind. I doubt he would but I’ve been reluctant ever since he’s been making me look at a Sharper Image catalogs to find something we ‘need’ as we recently received a store credit. Personally, I’m not a Sharper Image fan but they do have a good 1-3 year return policy for faulty items.

I also think that God’s trying to tell me something. For the last 6 months, yes, anyone else would probably take less time to come to the realization the religious education coordinator, Lourdes, has bumped into me on the train, on the bus, on the street by my job. Well, she keeps asking me if I’d consider teaching CCD to students.

Personally, I don’t feel I have enough religious conviction to be telling impressionable minds who God is and what Jesus did for us. Still, she keeps popping up in the most unlikely places.

Then, out of the blue, Father Patrick Sullivan, who left our parish two years ago sent me an email. He asked me to speak to other parishioners to see if they would be interested in a bible study taught by his fellow Brother. He was the one who originally sent me a letter asking me to pray and think about teaching children.

Ok, it took me two years from the first mention of it to realize God’s sending messengers to me.

So I’ve called the catechist formation office and will be considering attending classes. I’m waiting for the spring semester syllabus. I’ll be traveling to different churches to attend classes. It may take me a year to finish the core requirements and electives.

I still don’t think I’m the right person but I nearly everyone in the bible didn’t feel they were fit to do what they were asked.

Before you go into a rant or a tizzy and think I’m going to join a convent with my latest reflection, know that I’m not considering that and feel God has some other purpose for me. I’m merely saying I’m feeling empty and no high ticket item is going to fill that. What I need now is to follow the signs and see where they take me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Is there a robot to help walk dogs yet?

We have a new robot. Meet the new addition to our family, SpotBot. He’s so cool, he doesn’t need a name. Ok, we haven’t named him yet. We’re just amazed at the work he does.

I’ve been eyeing this puppy since I read it won the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. With two dogs, a steam cleaner is a must. We already have a upright Bissell but felt a targeted cleaner wouldn’t hurt.

So with the Christmas money we received, we invested in Spotty. Hmm, Spotty might work.

We had a hard time getting it to start. If you experienced lack of suction and spraying get your mind out of the gutter, does this little trick I found:

Switch it to manual. On ravel the hose and start on regular cycle. Over a cup or bowl, for the next two minutes continue to pump the trigger to assist the siphoning. dirty dirty Soon you’ll see a stream of cleanser squirt out of the hose. Ok, I’m going to wash my mouth out with soap now.

So far, we’re loving this baby. It’s actually entertaining to watch Spotty do his thing. Grab a bowl of popcorn and watch as he goes through a 6 minute deep clean cycle. Gasp in disgust as the see through tank fills up with grey murkiness that you didn’t know existed on your carpet.

I felt like Deborah in everybody loves Raymond when Marie sent the steam cleaning saleslady to her house. I was horrified at the dirty water.

My husband even did a upright steam clean patch and then set SpotBot on the same spot to see what would happen. The water was still murky grey!

I’m researching but it looks like you may get some discount if you are an owner of a Bissell and order the cleaning solutions from their website. That would be an added bonus as we have two Bissell’s now and could use a break on the solution.

Slowly but surely, my house is being overrun by bots. Could my apartment be the central headquarters for the bot uprising of 2014?

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Things to do in Manhattan or a guide to stalking Pantrygirl

My cousin asked for suggestions of places to shop and visit during her trip this weekend to Manhattan.

I figured I’d share my suggestions with the world wide web as well.

Take them or leave them.

Village to dos (east and west side):
Places to eat that are cheap and yummy that come to mind are on the lower east side. They are a bit out of the way from most places but if you're hanging out in the west village, it's not that bad of a stroll.

For noodles, try Momofuku Noodle Bar 1st & 10th.
For yummy arepas (stuffed corn pita pockets), try Caracas on 7th & 1st.

Again, these places are out of the way but if the day is nice and you can stroll from the West Village to the East Village quickly.

There are a few funky kitsch shops on W8th & 6th. There are a lot of tiny shoe shops and stuff there. The NYU area has tons of tiny stores you can check out and street artists & chess players at Washington Square Park to check out.

If you walk south on Broadway towards Spring Street, you’ll hit another set of name brand shops.

Union Square to dos (eastside):

Around the Gramercy/Union Square area, there are tons on name brand shops on 5th & 20th. There's a Daffy's on the corner of 16th around the corner from Victoria's Secret I like to shop at.

If you keep walking down to 14th and make a left, you'll hit Union Square. Check out Sephora, Filene's, Virgin Records and DSW. You can also check out the latest protesters. Someone is always peacefully protesting at Union Square. It's like the US version of Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park. They also have a greenmarket which is fun to browse but it may be too cold for most vendors.

You’ll see a diner looking spot. The Coffee Shop is always crowded and the service has been poor. I prefer the eats on the eastside of the square but Lrudlrick would tell you differently as he spent many a years working on 5th & 19th.

Around the corner from Shoe Mania (the one closer to Virgin), on Broadway & 13th is Max Brenner's a yummy place to get a quick sweet chocolate fix.

Midtown West to dos (Westside):

If you want to stay midtown, closer to Times Square and the Theatre district, there's Macy's on 34th & 6th and the Manhattan Mall two blocks down. They’re not cheap but not expensive. It's mall fair. I always tell people who have to shop at Macy's to shop on Wednesdays when it's coupon day.

If you're in the neighborhood, go to Korea town (32nd) for some yummy Korean BBQ & my favorite Asian Hello Kitty bubble eye characters shop, Opane. Sure it’s expensive but what 30-something year old woman doesn’t need a Hello Kitty pencil kit with pencil sharpener.

Afterwards, go to 34th & 5th and go to the Observation deck of the Empire State Building or burn off the BBQ and walk up Broadway to 42nd St and Times Square to the TKTS booth for discounted day of theatre tickets. Get there before 3pm for evening performances and 10am for matinees (Wed/Sat only). Don’t expect ‘Jersey Boys’ but there are plenty of great shows available. Just avoid the time share guys that harass you online. (Yes, they try to sell time shares of NY apartments.)

Upper Eastside (obviously, eastside):

Honestly, the only time I go to the upper eastside is for work purposes & the museums. I have nothing against the eastside, just find my home is on the Westside so I stay within proximity.

If you like classic European art, check out Mr. Frick’s private collection on display at the Frick Museum (5th & 70th).

The Guggenheim is on 88th and one of my favorites, the Met on 82nd. On a nice summer day, you can find me on the roof top enjoying a cocktail and surveying Central Park.

MoMA (53rd & 5th) is awesome. If you like Modern Art, MoMA is a great place to spend the day. Personally, I call MoMA a Westside museum 'cause it's on the cusp of East and West Manhattan but I'm biased.

H&M (5th & 52nd) is my favorite place to stock up on clothing staples cheaply. Although, I read an article about how cheap clothes equals quick throwaways and I may be adding to the trash problem. I’m not a one timer girl though so I think I’m ok. I mean, I still have a pair of pants from 10 years ago I wear. No, there not PVC leather pants.

4 blocks down on 50th is Rockefeller Center. Avoid buying anything there as nothing is cheap but feel free to ice skate. The tree is down but you can always go to the Nintendo Store and play some games.

Upper Westside (hello, Westside):
Many of days were spent hovered over the viewing monitors at the Museum of Television and Radio (52nd & 5th). They have interesting events and collections.

If you like to check out the high end shops, check out the Time Warner building (Columbus Circle aka Broadway & 59th) You can get a nice smoothie at Whole Foods’ Jamba Juice.

Walk up Broadway or Columbus Ave and you’re at Lincoln Center (W62nd). I also spent many a days in the Performing Arts Library. If you like theatre, you can pretty much find anything and everything in this library.

The Metropolitan Opera House is a having a great season. I believe this Opera in the movie theatre is bringing a new audience to Opera.

If you keep walking up Broadway, you’ll hit the IMAX theatre and Ollie’s, a chain noodle shop. Further up on 72nd is the sodium processed meat paradise, ‘Gray’s Papaya’. My parents love Gray’s. It’s a quick cheap eat that fuels you for Barney’s Co-op (76th) for your trendy clothing needs.

The Museum of Natural History (CPW & 77th) , the famous ‘Night at the Museum’ museum which incidentally wasn’t really shot in the museum, has a exhibit on the evolution of man that looks really interesting. I went to the Gold exhibit last month which Lrudlrick swears was fake gold. “The museum would never display that much real gold.”

The Hayden Planetarium is housed next door. I saw a Slim Goodbody show there when I was in elementary school. I’m probably dating myself. Nevertheless, the laser lightshow is still a hit with potheads.

Central Park to dos:

You really need nothing to do at Central Park. I love the park. You can just walk around the lakes and meadows. Of course, it jumps during warmer weather but in the winter, it provides solace nonetheless. It’s the oasis in the heart of the bustling city.

My favorite places to check out include: Belvedere Castle, the Boathouse, the Zoo, Wollman Rink, the Ramble, the Discovery Center and the Bandshell. Of course Balto & the Carousel is nice too but you can’t hang out there too long without a kid without looking a bit weird.

For me the best times to check out the park are the summer and the fall/winter. The Park’s personality changes with the season. Be safe though and don’t go running off the beaten path alone. It’s much safer than it was when I was a kid but always be careful.

I haven’t mentioned my favorite places in Harlem, Washington Heights, the Lower East Side & the outer boroughs but I just realized, I spent the last half hour composing this instead of working. Plus, I’m sure this can give you ideas for your trip.

Other museums I haven’t mentioned that are worth the trip: The New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn, The Cloisters (Medieval Art), Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum (E91st & 5th) & The Museum of Chinese in the Americas (Eastside Manhattan, Mulberry & Bayard).

I plan to check out these soon: The Taipei Gallery of Chinese arts (6th & 47th) & El Museo del Barrio (5th & 104th).

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Happy Valentine's Day

NYC snow heart at the bus stop.

Yes, that's grey snow. I believe NYC has a copyright on it.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A rare treat, a real live person at customer service...

Remember a few weeks back I told you about my possessed shower cleaner? Well, I called the Scrubbing Bubble people to find out if this is a common occurrence. They didn’t say yes or no but they happily offered to replace my automatic shower cleaner. The customer service folk were extremely nice and apologetic.

If anyone else is having a problem with their machine, give them a call. They ask for the number on the machine.

Thanks guys for showing there is such a thing as customer service. Between’s non-existent customer service line and the impersonal internet customer service chats at other companies, I was beginning to feel like consumer feedback an automatic recycle bin.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Next week on 24, the Bauers go to therapy.

If anyone has Agent Burke’s number, pass it on to me. That man is hot. Nothing says hot then a suitcase full of torture devices. Anyone else Agent Burke is a submissive during his downtime?

There is seriously too much testosterone running the in the Bauer men. If the last 5 seasons demonstrated Jack had relationship issues with the female of the species, this season shows he has just as many issues with males.

Holy cow, towards the end, I sort of felt bad for shorty Bauer. “See dad, I’m as tough as Jack. I survived Burke and his briefcase of torture and didn’t fold. Sure, I told him I ordered the assassination of President Palmer, the insurance one, Jack’s friends and Jack but I didn’t tell him about you pop. I’m just as tough as Jack, pop.”

I’m the eldest sibling in my family and I can’t say my brother ever had sibling envy but I’ve watched enough television to feel for short Bauer.

Ok, the moment has passed…

I had just finished commenting on how Babe’s Dad could play either good or very bad when he confirmed what many thought, Daddy Bauer is one bad father. Could you imagine the mind games the three men Bauer played during their youth? If Mama Bauer isn’t in rehab right now, she’s probably having her brain fried repeatedly by the Haitian guy in Heroes.

Did you hear the guilt trip he laid on Jack for leaving? I hope we get into Jack and Daddy Bauer’s back story soon. Writers, skip the Rena Sofer’s Jack’s lover and boy Bauer is Jack’s offspring. Wasn’t Kim enough? Jump to the juicy. What made Jack leave his dad’s business? What is Daddy Bauer up to? What did Jack do to make Daddy Bauer ok the assassination of Jack? What was game night like in the Bauer household?

Right now, Jack is probably thinking China was better than the hell he’s in right now. Brother just admitted he tried to kill him several times, ordered the assassination of his friend and boss, President Palmer and ordered the murders of colleagues Dessler and Almeida. He’s about to find out he’s pushing up daisies, his dad is not going to win Father of the Year and that his credit score is kaput due to missed mortgage payments the last 18 months.

Next week we have a Valentine’s gift from the 24 gang, 2 hours of Bauer family hijinks. How Jack didn’t grow up to be a serial killer is beyond me.

The kill count this week:

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Words to Live By

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective. -- 1 Cor 15:10

My mom likes to beat up bunnies.

I know. I know. I missed The Carnival of Bauer. It’s not because I didn’t watch it. I did and to be frank, it was a filler episode. Aside from the is Milo a spy or is the middle eastern chick a spy debate, there wasn’t anything that left me at the edge of my seat last week. Even Karen’s resignation and Chad Lowe’s introduction was weak.

I missed the carnival because of work. For the last three weeks, I’ve been traversing the island Manhattan and working in the office on the weekends to catch up on my ‘real’ job. I’m pooped.

I’m slowly weaning myself from the office visits but it’s going to take some time.

This weekend we celebrated my mom’s impending birthday. My cousin came down from Boston for the weekend and joined in the festivities. It was good to see her.

We introduced mom to the Wii and I haven’t seen her that happy and giddy in ages. She absolutely loved it. The best part of the night was watching my mother box her husband.

Lrudlrick was surprised at how happy the Wii made my mother. He didn’t believe me when I said I wanted to introduce the Wii to her. “You really think your mom would want to play the Wii?” Well, hours into the game play, Lrudlrick was silenced.

The weather, work and Saturday’s festivities led us to pass on our friend’s Super Bowl party. Instead we opted to stay in. Of course, this also allowed me to watch the best part of the Super Bowl At least, for this year, Puppy Bowl. Yes, I’m a Puppy Bowl fan. I watch Meerkat Manor. Would you ever doubt I’d watch the Puppy Bowl.

pg: I wonder if the ref is a real ref or an actor? Maybe he’s a dog trainer.
L: I’m pretty sure he’s not a real ref.
pg: Did you know the Puppy Bowl has steadily increased viewership since 2005 and that all the pups shown are adopted? Looks like the winning toy is the neon hedgehog.
L: You know that you’re analyzing the Puppy Bowl. You’re providing color commentary.
pg: You laugh now but when it’s time to phone that friend, I’ll be the one on your speed dial.

The commercial that gets me the most is the one with David Duchovny voicing the animals in the shelter. “I don’t know what I did to get here.” Holy cow, the images of the sad pooches makes me turn into Ralph Kramden. I’d be running out with every pooch.

The Samoyeds got me at the Puppy Bowl. They were just big puff clouds running around.

Speaking of commercials, none of the Super Bowl commercials stuck with me. Some were humorous, like Bud’s Rock, Paper, Scissor and Snicker’s Man Kiss, but none were standout ads.

The game overall was filled with challenges and turnovers. The first 14 seconds were great but then it sort of fizzled for me.

In the sports front, the All Star game in Yankee Stadium means only one thing. My brother is probably going to sell his own blood to get tickets. I’d love to go but the ticket prices are probably going to be out of my range.

I do plan to grab a few more games than my average 3 games per season this year. We’ll see what happens.

Oh my brother got a super cool mouse that is shaped like a Yankee baseball cap. Super cool find, Wai!