Archive | April, 2010

A friend of my cousin’s once told me a story about something that happened to him while traveling. He had grown up in Switzerland when he was very young, moving to Italy when he was about 7 or 8. Later, he moved to the U.S., and he currently lives in Florida. Several years ago, he was traveling back to visit some family in Italy, and went through Newark, which is no doubt one of the larger and uglier airports in the U.S. And one that sees a lot of passengers.

While rushing to his gate, he ran smack dab into another traveller. While they stood, sorting things out, they realized that they knew eachother. They had gone to school together.

In Switzerland.

I suppose that sort of thing happens a lot, but it always makes my head spin. That you could bump into someone you know, far from home. I wish I could see all the decisions and occurences that lead up to two people arriving at the same place at the same time. Or see all the near-misses – the times we very nearly see someone, but don’t. It plays out like a movie in my head. I take a second too long picking out a shirt to wear, and enter the grocery store through one door, barely missing a friend who leaves out another one. (more…)

By now you’ve all heard about the volcano that erupted in Iceland, grounding thousands of planes across Europe, costing the airline industry millions of dollars, and dumping a copious quantity of incredibly fine ash across the continent. In other words: it’s made a pretty big name for itself, as far as volcanoes go.

If you have not heard about it, let me be first the welcome you to Earth. I assume you are here to take the Kardashians back to their home planet, and I’m more than okay with that. I never really accepted them as part of our species, anyway.

Also, seriously, how on (insert your planet here) were you able to avoid news coverage on this issue? It’s been covered in absolutely every paper and news outlet I can think of, despite the name of volcano itself being practically unpronounceable. NPR actually provides the correct pronunciation, which is actually worse that trying to spell it. Eyjafjallajokull. And just an FYI: in Icelandic, the double-l is actually pronounced as t-ll. That should clear things up, right?

My infant tongue can make of this name nothing longer or more explicit than Eye-uh-fyall, so we’ll just go with that.

Just last week I was quietly lamenting to my husband that it would be nice to visit Eye-uh-fyall, and our exchange shed some light on just how much of a space cadet I am.

Me: I’d really like to go see that volcano in Iceland.

Rand: Again?

Me: Zuh?

Rand: You know we’ve been there, right?

Me: What the crap-hell are you talking about?

Rand: You remember the hike we went on in Iceland? We saw that glacier that was up on a mountain?

Me: Uh- huh … you mean that was the same place?

Rand: Yup.

-

(more…)

Last week brought sad news, happy news, and the comforting realization that I am not the most offensive person on the internet. Not that I thought I was, or anything …

  • Poland is in mourning after President Lech Kaczynski and numerous other governmental officials died in a plane crash. They were heading to Russia for the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, in which thousands of Polish military officers and civic leaders were murdered by Russian troops during WWII. Interestingly, I also wrote about President Kaczynski in this blog post a few weeks ago.
  • In far, far better news, President Obama has extended hospital visitation rights to gays and lesbians, ensuring that same-sex couples will have the same rights as married couples at the nation’s hospitals. It kind of falls into the category of legislation that should have passed ages ago, but it’s still an amazing achievement for the president, and one that I’m pretty happy about. Regardless of your political views, and whether or not you agree with someone’s life, there should be little debate over the fact that you should get to see your partner when they’re in the hospital. (more…)

Note to readers: The original title of this post was “Holy cats, my blog proves useful for once!” I found that title apt, but figured this would be easier for me to find when doing a search. Sigh … practicality and what have you.


Last month, I took a few jabs at the expense of the city of Rye Brook, NY. I know, I know – shocking, right? That I would take the piss out of a town? Absolutely unbelievable.

But it indeed happen. I blame demonic possession. As a result, I might have mentioned that Rye Brook’s food scene is the culinary equivalent of a trying to find a date for prom: there’s no real viable options, and if you end up with anything, it’s just because you wanted to dress up and go out.

Reader Raf C took issue with my position, and maintained that there were some viable options in Rye Brook. He recommended a few spots, including Polla a la Brasa, a Peruvian restaurant in nearby Port Chester. Since it ended up being ridiculously close to the hotel, we decided to stop by.

We ordered according to the New York Times’ suggestion: their eponymous rotisserie chicken dish, lomo saltado (beef stir-fry over french fries), a slice of tres leches cake, and an alfajor cookie.

There are many words that I could use to describe the meal at hand, but the best one that comes to mind is this: ZOMG.

Yes, ZOMG, indeed.

(more…)

Okay, first, a few disclaimers: my friend Christine suggested we visit a grocery store called Stew Leonard’s while we were in New York. Christine is all kinds of lovely, and I trust her judgment completely (check out some of her brilliance). Sadly, we didn’t have the sort of visit I (nor Christine, I suspect) would have hoped for. Nevertheless, I’m completely glad we made the trip there: it was fun and surreal. Plus, how could I not go to a place that’s been described as “The Disneyland of Dairy” in The New York Times? And while things didn’t exactly go as planned, I actually like it when it happens during travel. It usually makes for a good story. And let’s be brutally honest: sometimes Dick Moves! make for great stories.

Like Disneyland, Stew Leonard’s even has its own clearly marked exit off the freeway, and has a street named for it.

Yay! I love cow products!

Yay! I love cow products!

-

(more…)

This blog entry doesn’t cover a new topic. In fact, judging by the number of results I got from a Google search, it seems like a lot of people have addressed it. But even though it isn’t new, I still think it’s something worth talking about.

I want to know why the hell Alaska Airlines insists on including prayers with all their food.

No, I’m not kidding. Every time you purchase food on Alaska Airlines, you’ll get something that looks like this:

WTF?

WTF?

-

(more…)

I had another post intended for today, but I recently encountered an unexpected (and theoretically preventable) problem with my camera, so I figured I’d pass the information on to you all, and save you a bit heartache at my own expense.

But first, a little bit of self-promotion. I recently wrote an article for cozi.com about digital photo archiving, and it’s worth a gander, especially if you take a lot of photos. Basically, I took apart Real Simple’s advice on storing images (they suggest taking them all off your hard-drive and -GASP- burning them onto a CD. Which is a recipe for disaster). Naturally, since I keep all of my photos in several locations – both on my hard-drive and on a Flickr account – I figured I was safe. I didn’t consider that there could be problems with the memory card inside of my camera that could be causing me problems. But low and behold, there were problems. Serious ones. When I went through my pictures from the last few trips, I found saw this:

Damn it.

Damn it.

-

(more…)

I suspect that even people who rarely travel will end up taking a  trip or two because they need to attend someone’s wedding. After all, people generally like to get married in some crazy, out-of-the-way place that has sentimental value only to them (Ashland, Oregon, anyone?). Personally, I find that to be awesome. After all, your wedding is probably the only time in your life you can get your friends and family together in one place of your choosing. And usually, no one can complain a  lick, because it is, after all, your wedding (note: this wasn’t true in my family, of course. But that’s another blog post).

I have no problem traveling for people’s weddings – and, in fact, actually love to do so. We went to two weddings last month, and had to travel to vastly different places for each. I had a blast. There’s something wonderful about being in a place that’s new and different, but finding yourself surrounded by familiar faces. It’s like a field trip for grown-ups.

But, sweet merciful heavens, do I hate having to pack for a wedding. It’s near impossible: you need extra shoes, a dress, and all the accoutrements that go along with dressing up. This usually means a lot of space taken up in your suitcase by stuff that will only be worn once, plus knowing that regardless of how much you pack, you will inevitably forget something really, really important that you’d rarely otherwise need (for me, it’s usually a dressy cardigan and a clutch purse. However much I try, these are always left on my dresser).

As of late, though, things have gotten easier on the packing-for-wedding (and any other formal event) front. I’ve been creating a list of rules in my head, and they’ve proved so useful, I figured I’d pass them on to you …

  1. (more…)