Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Random House

An importer of wine and sake.  A deportation officer.  Two graphic designers.  A stage producer.  A software marketer. 
What do they all have in common?
They - WE - are all taking beginner level voice lessons on Wednesday nights at a local music school.  Tonight we learned what "solfege" means.  We've also started singing Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe".  A very old song, but it has such a sweet innocence. 
Life is good.

A Lost Art

How often do you write? As in, pen on paper, free form, NOT typing (as I'm apparently doing right now).

I have a notebook at work - most of us probably do - but rarely write anything in it. It's just so much easier to jut down notes in an Outlook email and keep to-do lists and appointments in Google Desktop. Forget "writing" a friend - that's what we have txt msgs and emails for. Letters are so WW II.

A couple weeks ago a friend of mine had a birthday. In the card I wrote a couple paragraphs in addition to the usual "happy birthday!". A few days later, I received a "thank you" card in the mail from her with a long hand-written note. All of a sudden it took me back 20, 30 years. A HAND-written note! Someone put pen to paper and WROTE these sentences! It's become so rare these days when practically everything's electronically input.

Her handwriting is beautiful, by the way. She's a graphic artist by training and has taken calligraphy classes. It looks just like the handwritings you'd see in a Janue Austen movie - fluid, curvey, and classic - truly a lost art in today's world.

I'd forgotten about the whole thing until this morning, when my Daily Candy email promoted a local calligraphy class next month. Write on! How very....old school! I'm in. :)

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Saw the Bucket List yesterday - a touching film starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, about two dying cancer patients fulfilling their last wishes and squeezing the last bits out of the great experience that we call life.

Saw the movie at a Sundance theater, a new theater in San Francisco. I didn't know this - but at the time of the ticket purchase, they ask you to pick your own seat on a touch screen, just like you would booking a flight online. Very cool!

Walk in and you'll find that the theater isn't big at all. It only accommodates maybe eighty people, IF that. The arm rests are wide, and comfortable, complete with cup holders. The seats are oh so comfy. The whole place smells clean, and the floor's not sticky at all.

If you have a Sundance theater in your city, I'd recommend checking it out.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Irony

Saw someone yesterday that I hadn't seen in almost a year and half.

"So you had jaw surgery. What did they do?"

"I don't want to tell you." I half-joked to avoid the gory details, and we moved on to other subjects.

Was telling a friend about this just now. She said, "You could just direct him to your blog." "Oh no, that's too personal." I responded, then laughed - "Too personal for someone I know to read, but not too personal for random strangers online who are also going through the same experience." Now THAT's ironic.

But you know what I mean.

Updated on Jan. 17th - Mary commented:

"I think it's human nature not to want to expose to much to someone whom we might feel more vulnerable to. There is a certain appeal to anonymity, don't you think? M"

Yes, that's exactly it. You summed it up perfectly. Sigh. Thanks Mary.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mid-Life Crisis?

Here's a no-nonsense article in the New York Times about mid-life crisis. Often times, the author points out, they're just "a garden-variety case of a middle-aged narcissist grappling with the biggest insult he had ever faced: getting older".

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Two Sides of the Same Cord

Swedish singer Sophie Zelmani's "Going Home".

Chinese singer Faye Wang's take of the same melody. I love her voice - clean, elegant, and angelic. In fact, she says she hated its crystal-clear quality so much that she used to smoke, hoping to make it more coarse. !!! And that dress! She's probably the only one that can put it on without looking ridiculous.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Die Vs. Diet

Flipping through the current issue of Fitness magazine and found their survey of 1,000 women, on how, when, and why they diet.  Yeah yeah, diets are all the rage after the holiday binges.  But they did have some juicy data points:
The most popular weight-loss plans are:
  • Slim-Fast (35%)
  • Weight Watchers (34%)
  • Atkins (25%)
Our #1 dieting trick?
  • Drinking water constantly (67%)
  • Chewing a lot of gum (20%)
  • Smoking (15%) -  !!
30 - the minimum number of pounds most women want to lose.  Typical target weight?  131 to 145. 
Anecdotally, I saw a new Weight Watchers ad campaign in NYC last month that flashed catch-phrases such as "Diets are mean" and "Take a diet from dieting" on subways and cabs. 
Ironically, there are fellow human beings who're malnourished and struggle to survive, while we fight the battle with fat.  Is this all happening on the same planet?  What can we do to level the playing field?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Clean Air!

Smoking has been banned in every commercial corner in France.  Thank goodness!  No more stinky hair or overcoat because you had to sit in a cloud of smoke to enjoy live jazz in a local piano bar. 

Money Money Money

IRA is on my mind this morning. The maximum amount you can contribute for 2008 (either ROTH or Traditional) is $5,000. It pays to max out as early as possible, so your fund can snowball throughout the year - January through December - as opposed to just a month or two at the end of the year.

Missed out in 2007? No sweat - you have until April 15th to make up for the previous year. The maximum amount for 2007 is $4,000.

Of course, I'm no expert on any of this. Read up on Jim Cramer. He's handpicked some gems.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy 2008!

Mark made hush puppies, coleslaw, and catfish for dinner tonight. Great southern fried food - exactly the right way to kick off a new year where I'd like to lose a few pounds. :P Also on this year's "bucket" list?

1. Eat more veggies and fruits.
2. Get a physical done.
3. Take French and either photography or voice lessons.
4. Adopt a puppy.
5. Visit Vietnam.