Monday, March 29, 2010

The Legend that is Frederic Lilien

After a night-long of binge drinking Friday (seriously, 6pm-2am, go me/my liver), and waking up on a friend’s couch, I decided it was time to get my life in order and do something good for my mind: sit around all weekend watching movies.

Actually, this was more culturally and mentally stimulating because I drug my ass off the couch and to the National Museum of Natural History to see movies both Saturday and Sunday at the Environmental Movie Festival. I thought I had missed all the “good” movies aka movies about the ocean and dolphins, whales, turtles, any type of sea creature naturally. So I settled on seeing “
The Legend of Pale Male”.

Here is the summary for this movie:

This is the true story of how one hawk lays claim to Central Park and sets in motion a chain of events that will unite New York City behind his cause. He inspires a young man to become a filmmaker and together they set out on a 16-year journey through life, death, birth, hope and redemption. Known as “Pale Male,” the hawk becomes a magnificent obsession and a metaphor for triumph against all odds. His nest, perched on a posh Fifth Avenue co-op, becomes an international tourist destination – a place of pilgrimage. Then, without warning, the residents of the building decide to dismantle the bird’s nest. New Yorkers discover just how deep their connection to nature really is and how much they are willing to fight for it.

Eh, a story about a little'll have to do, I supposed. But. OMG. I fell in love with this hawk and this whole movie. Although a niche topic, I could so see this movie in a mainstream theatre (note: my all time favorite movies are Pretty Woman and The Little Mermaid, if that says anything about my taste in CLASSIC movies, I don’t know what else does!) But this movie has it all: a lost soul searching for himself, camaraderie and friendships born out of random events bringing people together, NYC!, nature, love/sex, baby birdies(!!), Mary Tyler Moore, drama, protests and scandalous jail time—what Oscar winning movie combines all that? I am such a cheeeball, I was laughing and then suppressing tears moments later (CANNOT.CRY.AT.A.MOVIE.ABOUT.A.BIRD, unless it is Scuttle, of course).

The movie was directed and produced by the cutest little Belgian man,
Frederic Lilien, who was there to introduce the movie as well as answer question after the screening. I sorta fell in love with this man, who as a lost young man of 23 found himself in NYC through nature. His annoying accent (at first) really grew on me throughout the movie and when he came up to answer questions at the end, I was smitten’ (Sorry ladies, he is taken and about to become a Dad himself….collective “awww”).

But bottom line: See this movie. I was dismayed to find out they don’t even have a DVD of this movie available for purchase!?! But you best believe, I’ll be first in line when it does come out.

I also saw another movie on Sunday called
Poisoned Waters: Puget Sound. Now nothing can take the place of Pale Male in my heart, but this documentary showed how polluted our waters are (frogs with six legs and male fish morphing into females, whaaa?). According to the documentary, although industrial and agricultural polluters are to blame, so are everyday citizens, using everyday products, cleaners, etc. While the current regulations purify water for old toxins, they are out of date for the new and possibly more dangerous chemicals that have recently emerged.

It was interesting to find out that in Europe, companies must prove that a new chemical or product will not cause harm to environment and humans before it is approved. In America, we do the opposite – we use a product and don’t find out for 20-30 years after the damage has been done that a product is unsafe and dangerous. Europe seems to be ahead of the logic game here, time to step it up our rational thought process there, USA.

Poisoned Waters stresses the importance of having regulations change at the federal government level, which can only be achieved through advocacy and pushing our elected officials to protect not only our environment, but the health and well-being of our generation and generations to come. I mean male fish changing into females is not a good sign. Let’s stand up and
take some action to stop water pollution!

And give my future husband, er,
this dude*, some props.

*Upon future researching/stalking, I discovered Mr. Lilien edited a TV program called
The Dolphin Defender. I knew this man was a godsend.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

And the Oscar Goes To....Flipper!

Ever since I was a little kid, I have been interested in the environment. My conservative parents must have shuddered in horror when I took up "greening" our home by obsessively sticking bricks in toilets to save water and cutting up the plastic soda rings so an innocent duck's little head wouldn't get stuck. I wasn't a complete hippie ("let it mellow if its yellow" was not in my vocabulary), but I did have a passion. I think this may have stemmed from my grandmother's environmental pursuits living at the beach; cleaning up and beautifying the beach and helping those tiny baby turtles make that treacherous trek to the ocean each year. I had so much enthusiasm for this as a child, but over the years, lost it somehow. I guess that's what happens when selfish teenage hormones take over and all you care about is who will ask you to the homecoming dance and why did your crush blow you off between 1st and 2nd period last week? I digress.

Anyways, once you hit that inevitable quarter life crises and start questioning your place in the world (is my purpose reallly to play kickball and flipcup the rest of my days?) things that you valued as child start cropping up again. As a child you were full of dreams and the I-can-accomplish anything attitude. You had hopes, ideas and the desire to make this world a better place. You were not yet pushed down by the reality of the world, finances and naysayers. But lately, as I begin to think about where I'm headed and what I want to do with my life, I think, why not? Why not pursue those interests and passions that have really always stayed with us from innocent children. Sure, we may have turned out as the less-than-perfect adult version of ourselves than we imagined at the age of 10, but that doesn't mean growth doesn't continue to happen.

As such, I hope to embrace this passion I had for the environment all those years ago. I mean there was something seriously going on in my head when I thought it was perfectly acceptable to take a picture with a SeaWorld dolphin trainer (whom I aspired to be someday) and show it to my friends, telling them that she was my cousin. As if, because she was my cousin - and not some complete stranger-this made me cooler and closer to becoming a dolphin trainer than her being a perfect stranger. This is just how my brain works I guess.

Although I long ago gave up on the dream of becoming trainer to THE BEST ANIMAL in the world, I hope to dive (pun intended) back into the world of environmentalism in any way I can. Luckily, I live in DC, the advocacy capitol of the country, so I am able to take advantage of events such as the Environmental Film Festival, which presents 155 diverse and thought-provoking films that celebrate the wonder of the natural world and illuminate the growing challenges to life on earth.

This year's festival specifically explores the connections between food and the environment. Food, environment and movies...the only thing missing here is alcohol, but count me in! Also, anything involving Philippe Cousteau (my obsession about Jacques is another post entirely) will entice even the most ardent hating tree hugger (c'mon, he's HOT.)

So if you live in DC, check out some of the movies that are playing at various venues through March 28.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Buffet Line

(I can write about this now, given the time and distance allowed since...)

I’d never really been in that situation before. Two very different guys, two very different feelings. If Rabbit had never needed to fill a room in her house and resorted to Craigslist, I would have never met Mr. Clean. He was cute, he was goofy, he was fun. He laughed at me, I laughed at him, we laughed together. We talked and talked. Gchat really is the 21st century form of the love letter. He was genuine and sweet, but silly and carefree. We made a bet, we had dinner, we kissed, we held hands. He skipped out of work to bring me a breakfast bagel. A bagel with cream cheese (ew) no less. But I ate it, because he had got it for me. A bagel had never tasted so good. The way he looked at me in the mornings simultaneously scared and excited me.

But I needed this to stop. Mr. Clean came along at the wrong time. There was already another guy. But everything was happening so fast. I couldn’t stop myself. He was always there, whenever I asked him to be, there he was. I took a step back. I told myself “don’t text him that,” “don’t say what you want to say”… don’t let him like you, you have invested yourself elsewhere. Don’t hurt him.

A friend told me to “get out of the buffet line already,” choose one and follow through. Put your heart into one or the other, see what happens. But how did I choose, when I didn’t know if either wanted to be chosen? Because sometimes, they don’t.

And then he went away for a while. A week is not long enough to be considered a “while,” but when you realize the person you want to talk to everyday has been gone for even a few days, it seems like forever. This is good, I thought. I can clear my head and figure out where to go from here. But I wanted him to come home. My heart would jump if I saw him on gchat. Not wanting to seem too eager, I backed off, didn’t message right away. Wait for him, don’t annoy, he’s on vacation. And then all of a sudden, I was playing games. This hadn’t happened before with him. I was in unfamiliar territory. I missed him. I cared.

I was at my friend’s wedding when it all became clear. I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure it out, but then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Apparently, it was obvious to everyone, but me. The entire time I was pushing Mr. Clean away, emotionally at least, I had inadvertently fallen hard. I hadn’t felt like this since I had a ridiculous high school crush. He just got me. He felt right. It just all felt natural, the way it should be.

Maybe it was my happiness from seeing my good friend marry the love of her life, or maybe it was the giggly wine-induced coma I was in, but I texted my friend that night: “I made the choice. I’m happily leaving the buffet line.”
And it was never really a choice to begin with.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Medical Leave

This past weekend I had a couple flag football games. And knowing my klutzy self, I stuck my finger out to try and block in incoming ball. Uh, this was real smart and also resulted in a jammed finger. Since only 3 girls of our entire 20 plus team ever show up to games, and we need exactly 3 girls to play, I couldn't even go off and cry on the sidelines. So I did the next best thing...sucked it up, play the game out then went straight to the bar to drown my pain in beers outside enjoying the beautiful weather. Ice was applied, beers were downed and all was right in the world. Minus my grossly bruised and swollen finger.

So I probabaly should keep typing to a minimum. I have a couple already written posts I'll try and throw up here later in the week. Warning: they are a little sappy and emo. What can I say, heartache inspires me.

Now I must go reapply ice. (Shut out to Italian Mother for takin' her concussion like a man and holding on to that ball after the wildabeast went crashing into you. "Sir, this is FLAG football, not tackle." You rock.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Just Class and Craic

Well, top o’ the mornin’ to ya! The day is upon us – my favorite holiday: St. Paddy’s Day. I never really appreciated the value of this day until about four years ago, when my journalism conference, which was held in NYC, happened to fall upon the weekend of St. Patrick’s Day. I had visited before, but on the way to our hotel, I remember thinking that NYC must have little Irish pubs stocked away under the streets that popped up like a children’s book when that day of green debauchery approached. I had never seen so many damn Irish pubs in my life. Little did I know, an Irish pub would soon be the death of me (and my dear friend Rabbit).

Rabbit and I ventured into a small little pub near Times Square called Connelly’s. It must have been mid-week because the bar was pretty empty. A creepy older man, and two younger Irish lads approached us and started buying us drinks, so of course, we went with it. Despite the destitute bar, there were still three cute Irish boys workin’ it behind the counter. With the free drinks flowing, I must have been drunk when I went to close out my tab from earlier in the night. You know those receipts where they ask you to write your phone number at the bottom? Well, most sane people probably don’t even know what I’m referring to because you just scan over this part. If you do know what I’m referring to, you realize that nobody has EVER filled out this portion of the receipt. It’s seriously just a waste of a tree. Well, in my drunk state, I felt it necessary to completely fill this receipt out. I mean, I am a diligent student, I dot all my I’s, cross all my Ts’ and write my cell phone number at the bottom of the receipt. Readers, if you take anything from this blog, I hope it is this: do not fill out this portion of the receipt. Ever.

Anyways, the three Irish boys start hootin’ and hollerin’ when they realize I “gave them my number.” ‘Scuse?? No, no dear little irish men who I can’t understand. I am just doing my part, filling out my shit, yadda yadda yadda. I forget about this and pass out in our hotel only to wake up to a missed call from my cell phone. 212 area code. That’s a NYC number? But I don’t know anyone in this city? Until Rabbit reminds me that I may have written my damn cell phone number on my receipt last night. After a quick 411 call, we realize that, yes, indeed I just had a missed called from the bar last night. Well, two can play that game boys!

The next night, we decide we really must go back to this bar. I mean, they already have my number, what else do I have to lose? I’m not sure if I met him the first night, but I certainly remember him from the next night. Leprechaun. Of course he was the least cute of the 3 bartenders there, and of course I fell for this red-haired, crazy little Leprechaun. I mean look at his pour! Actually, gentlemen listen up. The way to this lady’s heart: As I stand there at the crowded bar, a annoying young man approaches me. This man, will not, despite my rolling eyes and cold shoulder, leave me alone. I’ve momentarily lost my friends. I am in dire straights. But this will not go down in Leprechaun’s bar! Leprechaun rushes to my aide and softly explains to the man to “please leave my wife alone.” Oh Leprechaun, my knight in shining armor and savior from creepy men. Now, maybe I should have been equally creeped out by Leprechaun’s savior tactics, but he had me at “Can I get you another apple martini?”.

The next day was Paddy’s day. No one but Rabbit and I wanted to go out, but damnit, we were going to live it up on this evening of regret. And then, standing semi-naked, frantically trying on clothes in the dressing room of an H&M I received this text: Hi love! Where’d you go last night? Will I see you tonight?” My Leprechaun lover was calling for me! And who says love?…..swoooon (texting was also the only form of communication I could actually understand what he was saying). Rabbit and I quickly knew what our plans were for the evening: hang out with cute Irish bartenders. On St. Patty’s Day. God, we are so cliché.

That night got a little blurry. When we finally did stumble into Connelly’s after midnight, chaos ensued. I’m not really sure how exactly we passed the next 5 hours at that bar. All I know is that at one point Leprechaun was kissing me from behind the bar and the bouncer was glaringly at us menacingly. I mean, is that even really legal? Also, I lost Rabbit for a solid hour. When she finally reappeared the only thing she kept repeating was, “Have they played 50 Cent yet, I put that on the jukebox and they haven’t played it yettttt”. Oh girl, not only had they played it, the whole bar bust out in “Go, go, go, go / Go, go, go shawty / It's your birthday / We gon' party like it's yo birthday / We gon' sip Bacardi like it's your birthday”. And let’s be honest, this is just a song Irish chaps should just not even attempt.

As the morning drew near and we returned to our hotel, Leprechaun needed one last goodbye before I left the next morning. I was staying in a nice hotel, but sharing a room with 3 other girls (including Rabbit who was now, beyond drunk and passed out), so Leprechaun and I said our goodbyes in the hotel lobby and sitting out in the hallway. I made out with a Leprechaun on St. Patty’s Day, and I’m damn proud of it. We stayed up talking and kissing all night. Literally, I had to tell him to leave so I could pack my shit and go to the airport. I surpressed his request to go get breakfast, or stay and just leave the next day. I was on a legit field trip, I am a responsible student, Leprechaun!

And that was my first St. Patty’s Day spent with a true Irishman. While other Irishmen have come and gone over the years (that’s a story for another time), four years later, that same little Leprechaun still has a soft spot in my heart. Is he a gentleman? That is debatable. Is he a little crazy? Most definitely. Does the fact that he is a bartender and hooks us up with drinks add to his appeal? How could it not?? Will I always remember him on this here holiest day of drinking? Ya betcha. He’s just class and craic, and that’s how I like ‘em. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Blackouts and Breakdowns

This past weekend, my good friend Rabbit (this name is suitable for a variety of reasons) and I made our annual trip to New York City. This trip started four years ago when we went to this fair city, as young, innocent college students for a journalism conference. Little did we know we’d be leaving there with massive hangovers, a new love for the Irish and the beginning of a life-long friendship. When the other girls said they would prefer to stay in and watch Titanic on St. Patty’s Day eve, and our last night in the city that never sleeps, I knew Rabbit and I would soon be best friends as we gazed at each other and silently thought, “Well, F*ck that. “ What ensued that night included being over served by our friendly bartender (Leprechaun) and leaving the bar with NO TAB. Happy St. Patty’s Day, indeed. I got no sleep and we had to pack Rabbit’s suitcase for her (she lost any motor packing functions around 3 a.m.). I’ll never forget when she put her puke bag through airport security. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

We now refer to these trips in volumes. Vol. 1 was our awakening to bars (for her really), and the fact that the lot of Irish folk travel to NYC for Patty’s Day. A minor obsession also begin, but more on that later. During Vol. 2 Rabbit was still in college, and I was just fresh out in the working world, but we managed to cross paths. (Unfortunately, she was not victim of an Elton John sing-along in the Upper East Side that lasted well past sunrise and the being locked in the bar from the inside—it’s good to be friends with the bartender). Vol. 3 was basically a shitshow of ridiculous shenanigans on both our parts; beautiful Irish and American boys, Brooklyn and town cars featured prominently in this trip. Score one for the hometown team! (and by hometown team, I mean Rabbit and an underage college lad. Way to pull a Demi Moore.)

Although by Vol. 4 (aka this past weekend) we had both matured considerably (she now has a boyfriend, no more lucky charms for her!), we still found ourselves in situations that only the two of us could find ourselves in. Standing there in the TKTS booth, looking like such obvious tourists, we made friends with a fabulous gay fellow who was giving us recommendations for a show. He squealed in delight when he discovered we were from D.C. and promptly introduced us to his friend who, also, used to live in D.C., although hates it with a passion (awkward for us, the tourists from this town of hatred). Said friend had just published a book. A book, you say? Why this sparked our interest:

Rabbit: Oh, congratulations! What’s the name of your book?

Gay book writer: (light chuckle): Blackouts and Breakdowns

Rabbit: (after we have exchanged quick know-this-concept-all-too-well glances and suppressing laugher) Ah, yes sound familiar.

Bahaha, sounds familiar? Sounds about right. We could have co-authored this book, especially in reference to our NYC trips. We decided henceforth to label Vol. 4. Blackouts and Breakdowns.

Although no actual blackouts and breakdowns occurred, we still have another memorable NYC trip to add to the record books. And, as always, we learned a little bit more about the city we adore from afar, and ourselves.
  • Do not visit the Empire State Building in the middle of a hurricane, or other hurricane-like conditions, such as gales and squalls. This does not make for a pleasant view of the skyline, but does create some entertaining videos on your camera. Also, the ESB smells pungently like whiskey. Or maybe that was just us.
  • Dudes from Iceland can be very creepy. That is all, Sven.
  • An all you can drink brunch can only be made better by subsequently visiting the Museum of Sex. Be sure to grab a cab, and instead of telling him the cross streets, shout loudly, “We are going to the Museum of Sex! Oh, you didn’t hear me, I said the MUSUEM OF SEXXX” and giggle like the 14-year old girls you become after 3 hours of constantly flowing champagne.
  • Control your umbrella, bitch. If you happen to lose control and slam it into your unsuspecting friend’s forehead, do not then, ask if she got hit in the face – when you can clearly see the red mark. Concussed!
  • If you are lucky enough to be friends with an Irish bartender, he will hook you up. Chicken wings, 4-5 coronas, 3-4 Magner’s and 4 shots (combined here, I’m no alchy!) does not equal a $19 tab. And I thank you, Leprechaun.
  • Having the entire bar bust out in song after you play “Come Sail Away” is just awesome. And when you play a single country song, it’s much easier to make friends with “the onlyyy red-blooded republican gals in New York!!!!” or so said the overzealous girl who proceeded to play the Dixie Chicks album anthology. Don’t know if I’m a red-blooded republican, but a Dixie Chicks fan can do no wrong in my book.
  • And when you promised your friend you’d only stay for 2 drinks, and she stays for 5 hours so you can play kissy face with a Leprechaun, you know you have a true blue friend.
So, no, there were no blackouts or breakdowns this year. But there was food, drink, endless laughter, and a puke-free ride home by all. And really, what more can you ask for?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


(Stumbled across this poem today, it makes me smile...)

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

----By Max Ehrmann

Monday, March 8, 2010

Love Letter to Jeremy Renner

Dear Jeremy Renner,

You have not met me yet, nor have I seen your Oscar-worthy performance in
The Hurt Locker, but I am very dissapointed that you failed to invite me as your date to the Oscars this weekend. You, a relatively unknown actor until now, first caught my fancy in the thriller S.W.A.T. I realize your hottness paled in comparison to Colin Ferrell's during that movie (also, because you were playing a scumbag), but I still took notice.

Even your doppelgänger Banarama, whom I briefly dated, didn't know who you were (scarily, you are also the same age....hmmm? Twins?). I remember explaning on the first date that "from the side you look exactly like the cop-gone-bad in S.W.A.T." Banarama unfortunately didnt know who you were, and I, unforunately, didnt know your name. This quickly changed as I gradually learned that Banarama would never go anywhere with me that involved meeting other humans in public, let alone friends. So as hard as I tried to recount stories about this man who, shaved both arms/legs, didnt like to eat food and who wouldnt use the bathroom during our dates (which exceeded the 6 hour mark), I needed my friends to put a face to the name, lest they began to think he was an alien, which some did in fact, conclude. That being said, I exposed you to my friends and coworkers. You were the face to the legend of Banarama, and also just a beautiful face in and of itself. Your existance is now known to countless more individuals (or young female professionals) because of me (and Banarama).

Therefore, as a cataylist to your increased fame and fanbase (in the metro-DC area, at least), I think a simple invite to the Oscars would have been appropriate. Maybe you were rendered temporarily insane by your recent run-in with Jessica Simpson, but I think we all know you just got her number because you are a gentelman (and, I pray, not crazy). I lieu of myself, I think you brought the second best date—your mother. She deserves an Oscar herself for producing such a good-looking, talented young man. Good genes all around here, me thinks. Urban dictionary thinks so too...Jeremy:

"A named based on the biblical name Jeremiah. Used as a name for children who are blessed with a large brain and/or penis. Also used as a replacement for 'perfect'; " 4 buckets of pure awesome rolled up into a tasty bite sized homunculus. Looks good in drag. When he opens his mouth, pure clever spews out and penetrates all those who dare oppose him. He is the master of the universe;" "One sexy hunk of man."

Four buckets of pure, bit-sized awesome? Jer, I guess I can overlook this little slip-up: I am still very open and acceptable to any courtship advances you'd like to pull on me. Just remember, I've been here since the beginning, and when I say beginning I mean all the way back to summer of '09 when I realized my date looked exactly like you from the side and I googled SWAT to see what your name was. I assume this is how all fandoms/romances/obsessions begin. Anyways, dear Jeremy, I look forward to being in your hurt locker, you sexy hunk of a man.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Viva la Chile

A few months ago I got the privilege of visiting Chile. My best friend from home had been living and working there and me and a few of my friends knew we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go see her. I’d never really had a burning desire to visit South America; I’m usually a beach-vacation lover but am an avid travel and jump at the opportunity to go somewhere new. Naturally, I didn’t expect everyone to speak English, and hoped some of my limited Spanish speaking skills would come back to me. They didn’t. (Side note: Sadly, I did take Spanish all through high school and even a few semesters in college. Maybe I shouldn’t have had my now Spanish-teacher friend write the essay answer out for me to memorize for the exam. I guess that’s technically cheating, but that took just as much effort to memorize! Memorization, isnt that what learning is?? And my teacher even called my house to congratulate me on my stellar performance She must have been awestruck at my ability to comprehend a year’s worth of Spanish in a night of studying. But needless to say, my Spanish language skills are, less than stellar, to put it nicely). This language barrier actually begin during our layover in Miami. My friend was perusing the duty-free perfume when the saleslady approached her and started speaking Spanish. My friend just stared at her and goes “HI!” This, apparently, was her way to inform the saleswoman that she in fact, did not speak Spanish. Why she didn’t just say, “Oh, I’m sorry I only speak English" is beyond me. I think the saleswoman just assumed she wasn’t all there in the head and left her be, so it worked in the end.

But despite the language barrier, Chile was a wonderful experience. We stayed in a refugio in the middle of the Andes mountains the first few days. I’ve always been a beach over mountains lover, but when you are in the middle of the Andes Mountains, you can’t help be completely enveloped by their awesome beauty. Also, we went a little crazy due to elevation and lack of oxygen. My friend (same one who had the awkward Miami interaction) had a slight panic attack while staying there because they turned the electricity off at night to save money and power. It was very au natural and most of us enjoyed it. She, on the other hand, freaked, and documented her freak out on her ITouch. (“Yes, I love technology, but not as much as you, you see, but I still love technologyyyyy, always and forever.”). She survived and we hiked the Andes because our cowboy never showed up to take us to go horseback riding tour. The park ranger kindly explained that the cowboy was probably just drunk, and not to take it personally. That’s just how they roll in Chile.

After the mountains we went to the bohemian port town of Valparaiso to spend a few days on the beach, visiting Vina del Mar and other small beaches. Valparaiso can be explained in two words: hills and colors. The whole town is built on a hill/cliff and is decorated with houses and apartments painted every difference shade of the rainbow. And the hills are steep…to the point that you take an elevator-like ride from our hotel down to the sea-level business part of the city. But it’s a bustling and vibrant place with cute little restaurants and bars around each winding corner. You can’t walk a foot before seeing a roaming dog or fashionable mullet (both which were common ALL over Chile, but I especially noticed the dogs in Valpo).

We also had time to explore the capital city of Santiago. Santiago isn’t that much different from many other major cities, but what stood out most to me was the warm hospitality we received from my friend’s host family. They welcomed us into their home and treated us like we were family, and not strangers they had just met. When we arrived they invited us over for a Chilean meal of ceviche and pisco sours, and lots of wine. It was one of the best meals I’ve ever had, and although my friends and I spoke little Spanish and the family little English, we all managed to communicate and laugh and laugh. (Much of this laugher was due to our friend teaching their 12-year old son to say “Make it rain” …imagine the trill on the “R” and a cute, chubby little Chilean boy saying this and only this, as it was the only thing he learned, at the most random times. Complete with hand gesture.) They also invited us over for their daughter’s graduation party. This party involved their ENTIRE extended family, and we were welcomed with open arms. And boy, do they know how to throw a party. It didn’t even get started until 11 pm and lasted until the early morning hours. At one point they even broke out the Cuban rum. When the old aunts and uncles start shouting inappropriate English words they know (VAGINA! CLIT!) you truly have a rockin' fiesta.

So, my heart now goes out to Chile and its people after suffering this devastating earthquake. My friend has been home for months and thankfully her host family is all alright. But I pray for those less fortunate and the country as a whole. During our short time there these people welcomed us as their own and I hope we can do a little something to give back to them. The Chilean Embassy in DC is accepting donations to go towards the relief fund. Anything you can give will help! Gracias!

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Bachelor: ATM

It’s another Monday night (I'm lazy, late posting), which can only mean one thing—the Bachelor! And this isn’t just a regular ole-episode. This is the nail biting, sweat-inducing, fling-yourself-off-a-balcony-because-you-“love”-two-women-and-can’t-make-a-decision season finale. Although I’ve already heard the internet rumors that Vienna gets the rock, I still tuned in for the drama and heartbreak. And since this is the final rose ceremony, leading up to a marriage that odds are against, I bring you another episode of my own version of the Bachelor, the Bachelorette: Re-tards of the Dating World. This time Chris sits down for a one-on-one with a well-known fan favorite, ATM.

Chris: Some of our viewers are confused how you got your name, ‘splain please.

ATM: I cannot express my deep sorrow for how this name came about. After first meeting our bachelorette, I left her at “our” bar. Just left her there and ran away with another. I’ll never, ever forgive myself for that (starts crying).

Chris: C’mon man, don’t cry. We all got over that rather quickly. But just so our audience knows, there was a major miscommunication on how our fair bachelorette was to get home that evening. After she accepted your douchey-actions she realized, well better hit up the ATM, cabbin’ home alone tonight.

ATM: Exactly, and if nothing else, I am a southern gentleman. I offered to give her money to get a cab. (Sob.) I am such an idiottttt.

Chris: Shut it dude. Anyways, our bachelorette was mildley annoyed, to say the least. She was so distracted that she was unable to withdrawl money out of the ATM due to your incessant bugging, after deciding to strand her. But I see that you guys moved past that. How’d you do that?

ATM: I continued to pursue her persistently. I maintained constant vigil at her place of work, looking to pounce when she entered. Consistency and constancy were my motto. I would not take no for an answer. It only took 5 months of non-stop texting and phone calls to persuade her. The day she said yes, oh the joy I felt!

Chris: Persistence and stalking are fine lines, ATM. But, she did finally crumble, there was a method to your madness.

ATM: So we had our magical first date, and it was ah-mazing. I had dreamt of that day for months. Champagne, sports, food, drinks, the works.

Chris: Bribing with alcohol, that’s the way to win their hearts.

ATM: Oh no, no bribing involved. Pure, unleashed romance.

Chris: Unleashed romance, eh? Not sure both parties would quite describe it this way, but then your fairytale beginning came to a crashing end. How did that make you feel?

ATM: I’m not sure what happened. (Shaking his head). Where, oh where, did I go wrong? Her friends loved me, and I them. She's my soulmate. 

Chris: Well, sometimes, poor ATM, it’s just not “there” for some people. You win some you lose some, better luck next time, 'naw what I’m saying?

ATM: But it was there for me!! I could just see our future together… (gazes absent-mindedly out into space with a grin on his face).

Chris: Yes, you made that very clear when you announced your desire for marriage and babies “one day.” Just a guess: that may have possibly pushed her over the edge. Requesting another date may have been a bit more appropriate—given her aforementioned hesitations and normal patterns of human dating—before ya know, discussing the forever and always.

ATM: (Sighs). All is fair in love and war, I suppose. But, fate will have it’s way, I am sure of it! I shall not accept defeat.

Chris: Oh ATM, your never-ending, unrealistic fairy-tale romantic/obsessed notions bring us all hope. Now, go join E-harmony and find yourself your a bride!

ATM: LOVE WILL CONQUER ALLLLLLL!!!!! (grabs bachelorette's photo and runs for the door)

Chris: Aaand, that’s a wrap.