Ok, beloved bloggers and blurkers, I'm off. Next time you see me, I'll be Mrs. Baji. But before I leave for my trip, help me decide what in-flight reading I should take with me. Voting booth is on your left. Gratzie.

Oh, and to keep you amused while I'm gone, check out this fine display of balletic grace in hi-yah moves.


This weekend, I attended a Ferragosto (an Italian festival held in August to celebrate the end of the summer harvest) in West Virginia. Following John Denver's directions, I drove over the Blue Ridge Mountains, crossed the Shenandoah River, and arrived at the quaint woods of Berkeley Springs which is populated by deer, hawks, bears, and (nearly run over twice by yours truly) snakes. When I arrived, I had barely gotten out of the car before a plate of food was handed to me. Is there a drink zingier and more refreshing than Limonata? I submit that there is not. Ripe cherry tomatoes and fresh mozerella drizzled with olive oil. Bruschetta rubbed with garlic and topped with olive tapenade. Monster plate of pasta with fresh sauce and plenty of parmesean cheese. Mmmmm . . . drool.

If I had not been busy stuffing my face full of Italian food, I might have entered into the D.C. National Rock Paper Scissors Tournament!


Just got back from seeing Hero with Jet Li (but without Najm - *glare*). For an overall review, check out Najm's review of the movie. The grand saga of the beginnings of ancient China was interesting and the scenery was amazing. The story-line of the assassins was intriguing and I'm a big fan of the twist. The musical score was wonderful and nicely enhanced the action and drama. And, the best part, the color scheme and visuals were enchanting and dazzling. I'm sure the comparisons to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will be endless and inevitable (especially regarding the gravity-defying fight scenes which are soooooo 2000), but the moments of tranquility and the delicious eye-candy scenes are worth it. In particular, the graceful battle among the swirling, yellow leaves in the forest (the splash of yellow during the red scene) was spectacular.

I usually like my hi-yah movies with more weaponless fights; this one was purely swordplay throughout. The exception to that preference is when something that would not ordinarily be thought of as a weapon is used as such - like an umbrella in the Once Upon a Time in China series and (one of my favorite flicks) Iron Monkey or a wooden bench, a long-sleeved shirt, kitchen utensils, or almost anything in almost every Jackie Chan movie. But keeping in mind that this is more historical drama than chop-sockey comedy, I did enjoy this movie. It was a treat to recognize some of the locations and remember my own visit to China. I would have liked to have seen more steely-eyed Donnie Yen and less spastic Ziyi Zhang, but I was happy with my Jet Li fix. I'll give this movie two swords (at ten paces) up.


In honor of our side trip to Italy for our honeymoon, check out this hilarious flashtoon about the difference between Europeans and Italians. Beep Beep, Ciao!
Just saw a really interesting piece about Young Muslims in France on PBS. If you get a chance to catch a repeat, check it out. At the end of the piece, there was an interview with Professor Fawad Gerges which you can read here. Blurbage:

MISHAL HUSAIN: Let me put to you, then, the view that we had from the Muslim Imam in the film. The more you attack headscarves, he said, the more headscarves you will have. What do you think of that?

FAWAZ GERGES: Absolutely. I think you're going to see tens of thousands of Muslim girls and women wearing the veil in the next few months and next few years. And this is why I tend to subscribe to the idea that the decision itself could produce the opposite results from the intended consequences. It could Islamasize French society or the Muslim community further. It could fuel political Islam and supply more ammunition to conservative Muslims in France who would like the community not to be fully integrated into mainstream French society.


MISHAL HUSAIN: Our film shows a whole variety of opinions about the veil from Muslims, from the French government. What do you think is going to actually happen now on the first day, for instance, that the ban on veil comes into effect in schools? What is going to happen?

FAWAZ GERGES: What's likely to happen is a major collision, a major confrontation between students and school officials. I am not really very worried about this particular collision or confrontation because I think France is very viable democracy. And so far, fortunately, the debate is being challenged through institutional means. Let's hope that this particular debate remains channeled and institutionalized through the French political system and does not go underground. This is really where the danger lies.

Guess I'll report back on my observations when I return from my trip to France in September.


Here's the pix you've all been waiting for . . . the bride.


Good news: Started my day with a delicious cuppa espresso sweetened with condensed milk.
Bad news: Also started my day running around trying to jump start TP's busticated car.

Bad news: When TP doesn't listen to me, sparks fly. Literally. He wouldn't listen to my instructions on which clamp goes on which part of the battery and bright, hot sparkage ensued.
Good news: Car finally started and I still had time to rush back, polish up, and get to the courthouse in time.

Good news: We got married in the eyes of DC with Lil Baji as our witness, guest, and photographer.
Bad news: Jaleo, the Spanish tapas restaurant that LB treated us to afterwards, is too delicious for my own good.

Bad news: I'm off the market now, fellas.
Good news: I'm off the market now, ladies.


Today's news:

I tried out some new Lush products (gotta love free samples) and thumbs up to the scent but thumbs horizontal to the shampooing with a crumbly bar. Think I'll stick to liquidy/creamy Kloranes or Bumble and Bumble or M.O.P.

Asian Tiger Mosquitoes are going to be the death of me. Or, at least of my epidermis.

Overstock.com is consistenly cheaper than Amazon.com and with only $1.40 for shipping, it is hard to resist. See?

My beloved genius, Joss Whedon, has been busy writing a new installment in the X-Men series called "The Astonishing X-Men" which will be released sometime in February, 2005. *stands in line*

Stay tuned for tomorrow's news: I'm getting married, Chapter One. Here comes The Bride.


I miss Peter Sellers. I laughed my throat raw last night catching and watching part of The Pink Panther Strikes Again. The lengthy, slapsticklicious fight scene between Inspector Clouseau running around in ripped pants and his manservant/houseboy/helper-assassin Cato had me in stitches. Especially the slow-motion moments. So. Funny. Made me think of cybermom and her favorite lines (which she frequently encouraged me to re-enact in my younger days) --

Clouseau: Does yer dewg baht?
Inn Keeper: No
Clouseau: Nice Doggy (bends down to pet a dachshund - it snarls and bites him). Eh thought you said yer dewg did not baht!
Inn Keeper: Zat... iz not my dog!

Audio version here. For more information on how to speak Clouseauese, visit your local video library. Or clickety click.


Ok, you blurkers (blog + lurkers, for the uninitiated), I know you are out there. Reveal thyselves. Who actually reads this blog?


From my friend, NYC, who, like me, would have gotten Edinburgh if it had been "What European City Are You?"

Apparently, I am Seattle. Your turn: "Which American City Are You?"

Your dark exterior masks a caffeine driven activism. You'll take up a cause and you'll get ugly to advance it.


Friends don't let friends eat blue raspberry sherbet. Oh, ok, yeah, they do.

(fun fact, Baskin Robbin's blue raspberry sherbet contains no crustaceans!)


I watched two skilled fishermen in action yesterday. They appeared to have their method downpat. They were patient, they were calm, and they would cast their lures out gently into the stream. Most of the fish ignored the bait but every once in a while, there would be a slight tug on the line and then the fisherman sprang into action. They leaned back and reeled the fish in despite all the splashing and flopping about. The fishermen would admire their catch, talk about it with each other, and then eventually unhook the poor sole . . . uh, soul . . . and let it return to the stream.


Replace "fishermen" with "volunteers for the Democratic National Convention," replace "fish" with "potential voters," and replace "lures" with the sing-songy mantra "Would you like to help elect John Kerry?"

Last night while waiting for Najm to be released from his alleged alien abductors (ahem), I watched two young women in bright red DNC t-shirts chant "Would you like to help elect John Kerry?" over and over and over again in an attempt to snag one of the busy commuters coming in and out of the Metro. For every 50 people who shook their heads, smiled, and kept on walking, there was 1 person who would actually stop, get drawn into conversation, and pull out a checkbook and sign a form to support Kerry before being released back into the flow of pedestrian traffic. "Would you like to help elect John Kerry?"

I was impressed with their indefatigable (can't help pronouncing that word ala Monty Python's Knights of the Round Table: in-dee-fat-eee-GABLE) spirit that gave them the stamina to stand there and try to get their campaign message across. It was a busy sidewalk and around dinner time and people had places to go and things to see and food to eat. But every now and then, these determined anglers snatched a wriggling commuter from the stream and deftly pull 'em in.

"Would you like to help elect John Kerry?"
"Would you like to help elect John Kerry?"
"Would you like to help elect John Kerry?"

(the siren song that hooked the peds sounded remarkably just like this.)


No wonder traffic is all jacked up on 13th St. There is a movie being filmed there. Starring George Clooney and Matt Damon, neither of whom are anywhere near DC, Syriana is being filmed in mah 'hood. Based on a true story blah blah CIA thriller blah blah terrorism blah infinity blah, the title of the film refers to Middle East "hot spots". Anyone else ever heard this moniker? My guess is they are shooting the film from Cardozo High School because of the amazing, unobstructed view it affords of the White House, the Washington Monument, and the Jefferson Memorial. That's precisely where I watched this year's Fourth of July fireworks. And that's precisely where I was stuck in traffic yesterday on my way downtown. Guess we'll see if my guess is correct in July, 2005.


Attention all DC residents planning on getting a DC Marriage License!!!


So get this. One of only eight states in the union (and DC is not even a state which brings up the whole taxation without representation issue which is for another blog entry another time), DC requires its residents to undergo a pre-marital blood examination prior to applying for a marriage license. I mosey on into Georgetown University Hospital (bastages!), get my blood drawn, pay fifty bucks, wait around for a few days, and go pick up the results. You'll all be happy to hear that I am disease-free. When I ask where the "DHR 366" card that is supposed to accompany the results is, I am told that the DC government no longer provides those little blue cards to Georgetown (jerkhats!) anymore and that there is no need.

"Really? But on DC's website it says that it is required."
"Yes, that must be outdated information. DC doesn't sent those cards to us anymore. Georgetown no longer issues those cards."
"Uh. Ok."

Today, TP and I went downtown (down to Chinatown!) to file for the marriage license. Guess what little blue DHR 366 card was required after all. We had to lose our place in line (never a fun thing to do in a federal building), trek over to the Municipal Center next door (security stop #3), and request that little blue card (which I wanted to rip into shreds at that point). But wait! No cash? Check or money order only? While TP ran to the Post Office at the Department of Labor to get a money order, I found out that when DC started charging $10 for each card, Georgetown (fargin' iceholes!) stopped offering them but never told its patients that the card is still mandatory in order to get the marriage license. I fumed, I called Georgetown (rassin' frassin' no-good, lily-livered, moth-eaten varmints!) to ask politely that they stop lying to their patients, and I got no satisfaction out of it. I was furious. Then, I was just tired. Then, I was sleepy and a little hungry. We went back to the Superior Court, got our paperwork in order, and got the hell outta Dodge.

Still, I suppose any day I don't have to use my A.K. I gotta say it was a good day.


I'm off to the beach. See ya, suckahs!

BTW --


Things That Horrify and Amuse Me at the Same Time
  • Canned Armadillo Meat Soup (saw this at the Korean Korner International Grocery Store the other day).
  • The fact that "Korner" in "Korean Korner" is spelled with a "K".
  • Reaching the bottom of a pint of Haagen Dazs Raspberry Sorbet. By myself. In one sitting. By myself.
  • Knowing what "L.L. Cool J." stands for.
  • "Donnie Darko" is going to be re-released in DC in two weeks and even though LB has it on dee-wee-dee and I've seen it so many times, I'm still going to see it in the theater.
  • Knowing the lyrics to the theme song of "Golden Girls".
  • Watching a guy dig into his right nostril with his right pinkie and occasionally sniffing his pinkie and bringing it to his lips for (no joke) at least fifteen minutes. I kept turning away in disgust but could not help looking back to see if he had stopped. He never did.
  • The fact that this Will Ferrell parody of a George Bush campaign ad is so close to reality (thx, Gunnar).
  • There are exactly thirty days to go until my wedding and I still don't know what my outfit will look like. Or my jewelry. Or how many people are coming. Or whether there will be room enough for me to attend. Or what's going on.

Your turn. What horrifies and amuses you?


Went to Traffic Court today to contest a parking ticket that this jackhole Office P. Scott (fie and curses upon you and your kin!) put on my windshield despite the fact that I was parked in a legitimate space. Photographic evidence of the obscured signage in hand (the sign had been spray-painted over by some hoodlum but, having lived here for several years, I know what the original sign said and people have been parking in that legal space for a long time), I foolishly drove through downtown traffic which was incredibly congested due to the latest terror alerts and beefed up security in that area. Dodging trucks barreling down on me, skirting insane drivers racing through red lights (where are the stupid traffic enforcers now?!), and responding in kind when a tailgater flipped me off just because I wouldn't move up and crush the cars in front of me in the stand-still traffic (plus, after the third time he honked at me for not running a red light, I somehow couldn't seem to get my car to go above 5 miles an hour while he trailed behind me . . . go figure), I arrived at the courthouse.

Went through security, stood in mandatory line at the information desk even though I knew exactly where I needed to go, and got my little, paper numbered stub (wasn't sure if I was supposed to order fries with that or sit down). Half an hour later, I was told to join the herd to have a group hearing with the administrative hearing officer. The only white guy in the entire building, the hearing officer (who put on such airs that one might confuse him for a proper judge if one did not know better) sat us all down and turn by turn heard our pleas and rendered judgment. I seemed to be the only one there who came prepared with a clear and consise statement, photographs, and an attitude. Mr. Reichert listened thougtfully, nodded his head, and dismissed the infraction charges.

$30 fee waived! Who wants ice cream?!

(trivia note: did you know that "?!" has a name?! it's true. invented in 1962, it was called an "interrobang" and looks like this.)


We are family
I got all my sisters (and parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins, and faux cousins) with me
We are family
Get up ev'rybody and sing.
Ev'ryone can see we're together
As we walk on by
and we fly just like birds of a feather
I won't tell no lie
all of the people around us they say
Can they be that close
Just let me state for the record
We're giving love in a family dose

This song was brought to you by the letter T and the color orange (the terror alert level which the government is trying to color us with but which my own Muppet-themed system refuses to acknowledge - still no sign of Ernie).

Great weekend with the fam which has been expanded to include the Scrabble Champion and the soon-to-be Birthday Girl. After an hour and a half delay at the airport, we arrived at the homestead to the open arms, open hearts, and open mouths of the welcoming committee. TP got a heaping helping of "love in a family dose" throughout the weekend as wedding plans were discussed, mass quantities of food were devoured, and moments of calm and silence were as scarce as hen's teeth. Late nights (in high heels!), early mornings (in cups of tea!), and days filled with love, affection, overeating, and undersleeping. An ocean of thanks to my family for a wonderful time. And for those of you who missed out, here you go, eat up, you are looking too weak . . .