Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pretty things for your Wednesday...almost Thursday

There's been way too much bellyaching on this blog lately. Can't have that. So, to cheer things up a little, here are some pictures I took earlier this afternoon at Anthropologie on 4th Street in Berkeley:

Love these little guys! I kinda have a thing for owls and I am totally in love with cookies, so these adorable cookie jars combine the best of both worlds. Although I think they are both so cute, I like the white and green one better. Something about those big eyes that just speaks to me.

I also thought this newspaper bird was super interesting and creative. There were all sorts of little critters throughout the store today, but clearly, this one took a lot of time to create. Its very sweet. Be sure to click to see the larger version and all the detail.

These beautifully colored plastic things were hanging from the ceiling by the windows. Since it was a wonderfully sunny day, the colors were extra bright. I mean, clearly, they're just old colored water bottles all cut up and splayed out, but they still reminded me of the extraordinary glass flowered ceiling of the Bellagio's lobby in Las Vegas. Of course, that whole installation was done by Dale Chihuly and is an incredible, multi-million dollar work of art. Antropologie's version...well, they're sort of the poor man's Bellagio. But I still appreciated the colors and the textures as the sun shined through.

Aaaaah, there. I feel a little cheerier already. The sunshine definitely helped my mood today. Fingers crossed for more sun tomorrow....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Olympics water-works

What IS it with this year's abundance of incredibly touching, tear- jerking Olympic stories?! I don't know why this Olympics has been so emotionally different for me as compared with past years, but I CANNOT stop crying! Alexandre Bilodeau opened the flood gates and since then, tears have been a regular occurrence as I sit and watch on my couch. I'm so moved by all the stories, you'd think my icy heart has defrosted.

Since these stories are nothing short of amazing, here are the ones that have really made me lose it:

Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette's mother died unexpectedly in Vancouver after traveling from Montreal to watch her daughter fulfill her Olympic dream. Rochette skated a clean short program before letting the tears start to flow, and let me say that I doubt if there was a dry eye in that building. My god, I can't even imagine what this poor girl is going through right now. I don't know how she has managed to summon the courage to hold it together and continue to compete. Rochette is currently in third place going into the free skate. I hope she nails it and takes home a medal of some sort. To be able to execute any sort of performance under those circumstances deserves some sort of recognition. Needless to say, I cried like a little kid watching her performance tonight.

I'd seen snowboarders sporting stickers that read, "I ride for Kevin" in the X-Games and in Vancouver. I had no idea what they meant until last night. Back in 2009, things looked good for snowboarder Kevin Pearce. He was in line to make the Olympic team and possibly upset the ubeatable Shaun White. Then, he sustained a terrible head injury in a training run on December 31st. Since regaining consciousness, Kevin's had to re-learn how to talk and walk. Slowly, he's making progress, but its his relationship with his mentally disabled older brother that started my water works a-flowin'. Tom Brokaw did an excellent piece on the family last night and if you really want to be inspired to be the best you can be, click and watch. I challenge you not to cry or at least tear up a little.

Dear lord, I need to toughen up a bit. I don't know what the hell is going on with my emotions when watching sports! I used to not get this sappy. I used to be able to watch competitions without the hard lump in my throat and my eyes welling up. Well, there was that one time where BT and I sat together on the couch (much too closely) and got choked up over a McDonald's commercial during the Summer Games one year, but that was a freak occurrence that I can fully blame on the fact that we had gotten too much sun that day. Yep, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it. These days I really have no excuse. I'm getting soft. More evidence that its the beginning of the end for me. First, I've given up on fashion, and now I can't hide the fact that I can and do get all gushy inside. Good lord. Someone put my out of my misery.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Olympics Update

First off, I am loving snowboard phenom Shaun White. For years, no one has been able to touch this 23 year old in competition, and yet he remains totally grounded and humble. He took home the top honor in the men's snowboard half-pipe in 2006 and again this year with some of the biggest tricks the sport has ever seen. He's pretty much unstoppable. He knew before his second and final run on Wednesday night that he had won the gold medal. As he stood poised to take his final run anyway, his coach told him to do whatever he wanted. I assume his coach meant whatever tricks he wanted, because when Shaun said that he just wanted to ride down the middle of the half pipe, his coach said "No." White could have opted to essentially give his coach the middle finger and gone ahead with whatever he felt like doing and no one would have questioned him, because, ummmm HELLO, he's Shaun White, ruler of the half pipe kingdom. But at 23, the kid possesses something that other stand-out athletes his age lack...respect for those who know better and humility. He nodded his wild red locks, gave his coach a fist bump and proceeded to throw down the most ridiculous run of the Games.

With his last run, he showed the world that he deserved that gold medal. In a competition where he probably would have won just based on his reputation, Shaun White proved that he's actually really fucking damn good at what he does and that when he's at the top of his game, no one can even come close. Sure, he probably could have expected the IOC to hand him the gold based on who he is and that would have been OK , but nothing is further from the truth with this kid. Regarding his win, he was flat-out stoked. He reacted like he wasn't the favorite, like he didn't have a chance in hell. It was really touching and incredibly endearing. I love that as dominant as he is, he doesn't really know it. A LOT of athletes could take a page of the Shaun White book of how to win graciously and how not to be a dick and let your head get too big (*cough* the entire NBA *cough). I dig him and his style. Lots.

Evan Lysachek and Evgeny Plushenko...hmmm. Instead of tackling the Cold War of men's figure skating, I want to talk about what went wrong with places three through six. Third place and the bronze medal went to Daisuke Takahashi of Japan. Fourth was Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland, fifth place was Patrick Chan of Canada and sixth was Johnny Weir from the US. Takahashi fell during his long program. Lambiel fell during his long program. Chan fell during his long program. Johnny Weir skated cleanly and beautifully. But because he's probably become more famous for the outlandish antics and quotes he regularly gives to anyone holding a press pass than he is for his skating, he was judged VERY harshly on his program. Love him or hate him, the crazy fur-wearing queen can skate. Well. And he was robbed of a bronze medal on Thursday night. The look on Takahashi's face said it all. He was scared for his third place spot after Johnny's program. But that's the thing about sports where winners and losers are chosen by judges; if you turn them off by saying insane things in the press, they will fuck you. Its just a shame that it had to be done so blatantly at such a large competition.

Lindsey Vonn wins the latest award for making me tear up. Her reaction to winning her first ever gold medal in the women's downhill was something that all athletes who REALLY want it have felt. I couldn't not get emotional while watching. SO great for her.

USA vs Canada in men's hockey on Sunday. Since I'm sure to be hungover, I'll be camped on the couch ready to cheer on...well, that's the thing. I'm not quite sure. Five San Jose Sharks play for Team Canada, while only one plays for the US. The US are the underdogs here and everyone loves to see the favorites get toppled, but I'd kinda like to see Canada win it all on Canadian soil. *shrug*

That's all for now. I have things to say about Tiger Woods, too, but I need to crash. Check back soon for more sports and heated opinions from me.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Your newest Olympic heartthrob

Ladies and gents, meet Alexandre Bilodeau, the first Canadian EVER to win a gold medal on Canadian soil. He captured the top prize in Moguls, which in my opinion, is an INSANE sport.

The story of his relationship with his disabled brother is touching, and watching his brother's reaction to his win was nothing short of tear-jerking. Not only is Alexandre the poster child for a huge heart and a beautiful soul, take a gander at that smile:

photo credit:

Not so bad, eh? If that smile and his story aren't enough to make girls around the world fall in love with him and put posters of him up in their lockers, I don't know what is. He's humble, he's honest, he's adorable, and he's damn good at what he does. How can he not be the sentimental hero of the Games thus far? Hope he enjoys the limelight because I have a feeling he's going to be seeing quite a bit of it. And good for him. I love it when athletes like this do well.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Snow Leopard

In case you live under a rock, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC begin tonight. I LOVE the Olympics...the sports, the competitions, the thrill of victory, the athletes' stories. I devour it all.

Speaking of the stories, have you heard about Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong,the Snow Leopard? If you're looking for someone with a really inspirational story to root for, this is your guy. What?!? You haven't heard of him? and read. He's the first skier from Ghana to ever compete in the winter Olympics. Yes, Ghana. As in, AFRICA. Amazing.

Even if he comes in dead last, he's my Olympic hero. I think his story is fascinating and truly what the Olympic spirit is all about. Can't wait to see him compete. In fact, I can't wait for the Games' Opening Ceremonies in less that two and a half hours! Its gonna be nice to actually be in the same time zone where the Games are held and see the events as they happen. I just need to figure out when the Snow Leopard will be competing and clear some room on the DVR.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Documentation FAIL

I'm taking a general nutrition class this semester. So far, we've learned the basic chemical compositions of water and carbon dioxide, the difference between a calorie and a kilocalorie, how to read the nutrition label on various foods, and why the American food supply is killing us slowly. Really, nothing groundbreaking. If nursing schools didn't need to see this class listed on a piece of paper proving that I took it, I'd have dropped it on the first day. Its so far beyond lame, I fear my head will explode during lecture most days.

Anyways, our current assignment involves documenting what we're eating for five consecutive days. I had been doing well up until today, Superbowl Sunday. DJC and I were invited to a party and upon arriving, we were greeted by the most ridiculous spread I've seen in a while. As far as documentation goes, today was a giant mess. Seriously...LOOK:

I think its safe to say I had some of nearly everything in these pics. Please note the box of See's Candy in the last one. Yeah, I tore it up. But as much as I mowed through almost everything offered, I did skip this one:

Yeeeeccch. Spam sushi. DJC had the best quote of the day, "I like the way it looks, the presentation. I'm not having any, but I like the way it looks." Hahaha. Yep, that's about right.

But there weren't only savory options to graze upon. There were sweets. Aaah yes, there were sweets. Behold, my Kryptonite:

Red. Velvet. Cupcakes. The ONLY thing that kept me from faceplanting in either one of these containers was that the cupcakes weren't good. I mean, even a mediocre red velvet cupcake is still pretty good, but these really, REALLY weren't. Such a crime against dessert, they were. So sad. Thankfully, these filled the void:

Holy moly. How the HELL am I even going to document everything that passed by my lips today? I honestly don't know where to start. Perhaps I should start by making it to spinning class in the morning....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

More rants and raves

Friday afternoon, I logged on to Chabot's website to make sure that every last one of my transcripts had arrived in time to meet their nursing program's timeline. They require that each school mails transcripts directly by January 29th, which can be a scary thing. Leaving my nursing school future to the disgruntled, underpaid, overworked LaWandas of the local junior colleges gave me cold sweats at night. For good reason, too.

As I scanned through all of the schools that had managed to do their jobs and get my transcripts to Chabot in time, I wasn't immediately alarmed. But then, was missing! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! NO! This could not be happening! I had worked hard on my application and had gone to great lengths to get all of my paperwork in line and then BAM!, Diablo Valley College 's ineptitude took all of that away in a blink of an eye. I was certain Chabot would reject my application because it was incomplete. In this day and age of more applicants than program spaces, colleges are looking for any reason to narrow the applicant pool. I was literally in tears.

I picked up the phone and called DVC's admissions and transcript department. Some bitter, angry woman basically told me that it takes 10 business days to process a request. Today, Friday the 29th, was the eighth business day. EVERY OTHER SCHOOL managed to process my requests on time, but DVC held on to it for eight business days. I asked the unhelpful lady if there was anything I could do. She told me that this whole thing was my fault because I should have paid for the rush processing. I asked if I could do that right then and there. "No," she barked. "Rush processing takes 48 hours." Fuck my life. She basically told me that there was nothing I could do. I was shit out of luck.

Did I mention that I cried? Well, I did. LOTS. Like hysterically. With the impossibly low probability of getting into a lottery school , I couldn't afford to take myself out of the running of any of them! AAAH!

I called Chabot and belly-ached and blubbered my way through several phone messages to anyone in the nursing department whose answering machine I could get. I felt like I was screwed. I briefly scanned the original application and found several references to the fact that they do not accept late transcripts under any circumstances. *sigh*

By Saturday morning, I had come to terms with the fact that my application would be rejected. It sucked, but ultimately, it was my fault for not checking to see if my transcripts had been received earlier in the week. There really was nothing I could do at this point.

Monday morning, I got a call from Chabot's nursing department stating that they would accept transcripts up until Friday of this week (Feb. 5th). I IMMEDIATELY got on the phone with DVC again and was greeted by a friendly, incredibly helpful woman named Renee, who basically told me that she couldn't even find my original request and that's why it hadn't been processed. When I explained my situation, she apologized profusely and promised to help me out by putting my transcript in the mail that same day. When she said this, I honestly felt about 1500 pounds of stress lift off of my shoulders. Renee, my savior, hooked it up. The bitter woman from Friday made me cry...and Renee made me dance around with joy.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Product name WIN

Love it!


HURRY! Watch this before it gets taken down!!! CLICK!! NOW!

Yeah, the song isn't the greatest, but HOLY MOLY, the performance as a whole is reeeeeeee-diculous! The outfit! The artistry! The fact that she's actually singing! The water! The athleticism! The BALLS on that chick (not really, but you know what I mean)! All of it, straight up amazing. By far, the coolest thing that happened at last night's Grammy Awards.

And as much as I've come to love Taylor Swift, I was a little embarrassed for her during her performance with the legendary Stevie Nicks. Taylor's songs sound pretty good on the radio, but hearing her live made me realize just how much post-production work goes in to her music. Little country lamb can't sing, ya'll...and she certainly couldn't hang with the likes of Stevie Nicks. It was almost painful.

Anways, this concludes your pop culture update for now. I haven't finished watching the rest of the show yet. I'll get back to you if anything interesting happens in the back end. Word.