State Swap

I enjoyed Knoxville immensely. Not so sure it felt the same way about me.

Despite United Airlines best attempts to keep me in Washington D.C., I got back from a trip to Tennessee yesterday. My friend Melissa and I went to The Volunteer State with our usual intentions: to make friends with locals, and get outside of our liberal enclaves and see something different. People are almost always baffled by this desire to visit what you might call The Middle-of-Nowhere. People at home, and in the towns we visit, can’t understand why we would want to visit these places.

With all the TravelZoo deals in our inboxes, you’d think we’d be spending our precious vacation time in Jamaica. But the couple of days we spent in Los Banos, CA still stands as one of my favorite trips of all time. The people there were so kind and  gracious to us that we still send them postcards any time we head out on another trip — and at Christmas. Tennessee was an altogether different experience though. Continue reading

More on Elephants & Books

A few weeks back I tried to read Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint. I’m still working on it. In the meantime, I read Water for Elephants and I loved it.

The movie version will be out any moment — with some questionable casting — and what will, likely, be an even more predictable ending in cinematic form. But the cast of characters is worth every moment you spend reading (though it won’t take long at all). From Walter the drunk, dwarf clown to Camel the ancient, alcoholic roustabout they’re all fun and heartbreaking. This is the kind of book you have to put down from time to time because it’s just too much to take…and you’ll put off finishing it because you don’t want it to be over. Continue reading

“With Grace In Your Heart & Flowers in Your Hair”

I am not-so-patiently awaiting a new Mumford & Sons album. A couple weeks ago I event sent my cousin in England an email asking if she could smuggle me any Mumford stuff that hadn’t been released in America, but as it turns out there isn’t anything like that. So, my best b et has been to revisit the songs that didn’t necessarily stand out to me as favorites over the past Mumford-obsessed-year. This is one of them:

Why Do I Do This To Myself?

eat-pray-love-movieAgainst my better judgement I watched Eat Pray Love on Saturday night. It popped up in the “New Arrivals” section of my Netflix and I had nothing better to do, so I figured I’d see if the movie somehow managed to be more worthwhile than the book. Nope. It was worse.

I read the book a few years back when I was working in book publishing and felt out of the loop for not having read it. It was a quick read, and it’s pretty infectious in that you can’t help but wish you had the time and money to go on the same kind of adventure. But I found Elizabeth Gilbert immensely unlikable and just know that had I met her in those days I would have thought she was fun for about 3 months and then realized all the same things she realized about herself — namely that she was boy-crazy and had no real sense of herself — and would have wanted to slap her. (To be fair, I’ve been freakishly self-possessed since I was…well…born.)  Continue reading

I Want My NPR!

It’s no secret. I love NPR. From the time I get into the office in the morning until I get home in the evening, I listen to NPR. I yell at Faith Middleton, cry at This American Life, and rock out to the Tiny Desk Concerts. I give to my local station once a year. So you can imagine how irate I am that republicans are trying to do away with federal funding for public media. As a journalist, it makes me even more angry.

I’m listening to On Point discuss the latest debacle involving my chosen media outlet. One caller suggested NPR would be better off without federal funding and that it would raise more funding if it was more inclusive in “cultural, non-elitist terms.” I have mixed feelings about this. Continue reading

“I Know I Have Fickle Heart”

I joined the rest of America last week and downloaded Adele’s new album, 21. At first I thought I’d just be listening to a few songs on heavy rotation, which was sad because I’ve been looking for a new album to love as much as I loved Mumford & Sons’ Sigh No More last year. However, I downloaded it right around the same time I picked up the new Dennis Lehane and since I couldn’t put it down I needed some reading music, which turned out to be Adele. Now, I’ve moved on to Portnoy’s Complaint and I’m still listening to Adele on heavy rotation (which would make me seriously depressed if it weren’t for the feisty “Rumour Has It”).

So I was happy to find this NPR Tiny Desk Concert with Adele. She’s one of those singers that, no matter how awesome the album is, every song is better live. I really love “Rumour Has It” but a song called “Don’t You Remember” really won me over with this live performance:

A Power Shift?

Illustration from Slate's "Sex is Cheap"

Two of my best friends are celebrating important milestones. One is just days away from giving birth to her first child. The other got engaged on Saturday. So, I started reading this Slate article through the eyes of someone who is currently surrounded by evidence of other people’s major life commitments. While reading Slate’s “Sex is Cheap,” I kept thinking about an NPR show I listened to about “emerging adulthood” this morning, and couldn’t help but think of them as somehow connected.

The Slate article says:

The terms of contemporary sexual relationships favor men and what they want in relationships, not just despite the fact that what they have to offer has diminished, but in part because of it. And it’s all thanks to supply and demand.

Anyone who has been dating recently knows that much of this is true. There is nothing more stunning than young men’s complete unwillingness to put any real effort into dating. Continue reading

The Best of Both Worlds

This “postaweek” thing has me sort of scrounging for things to post. So, I’ve been leaning pretty heavily on YouTube and videos. So, I was puttering around my house, putting groceries away, and listening to music when one of, if not the most depressing song I’ve heard in years came on. It’s a beautiful song, but it’s the kind of song you could see getting played over a Bridget Jones montage or something, where some poor single gal sits alone in her house sobbing.

But I figured if I was going to share something so sad, I should share something that has made me happy lately… something that literally makes me LOL every time I see it.  Continue reading

Four Seasons

By David (MK), Flickr Creative Commons

As I was slip-sliding my way from the car to my house the other day, I started thinking about how much I couldn’t wait to see green again. I don’t hate the winter like many people — despite the dry skin, shoveling, and general inconvenience — and I can not imagine living in a place that did not have four distinct seasons. As I was cursing the ice, I was thinking about my favorite flower: the tulip.

I associate the tulip with the beginning of Spring. Sure, the crocus comes up first but it’s so low to the ground it’s easy to miss. The tall, showy tulip is out of its element in Connecticut — that’s for sure — but for me, it screams SPRING IS HERE.  Continue reading

Adventures in the Land of Fitness & Snow

kevindooley, Flickr Creative Commons

I’ll let you in on a little secret. In 2006 I was in really good shape…at least for me. I belonged to a kickboxing gym and went to classes three or four times a week. Then I joined the gym’s demo team, and added a practice onto my normal gym schedule. After about nine months, I was pretty jacked. I could do a pull-up for the first time since I was in grade school. But then I moved.

When I left Connecticut and went to New York I wasn’t particularly concerned with staying in shape. I lived on the 7th floor of a building that, for all practical purposes, had no elevator. I went down those stairs, then walked about 10 blocks to the subway, got off the train and walked a few avenues over to my office, and then did the whole  thing in reverse at the end of the day. Add to that all the times I went up and down the stairs to get dinner or drinks, and I dropped about five pounds in a month without even trying. Continue reading