Thursday, June 28, 2007

the gap o' dunlow

i lived in ireland for a while in 2003. i miss it. this is one reason why:

i love gravity sometimes

last weekend's big group hike through the Big Tujunga Narrows afforded me the opportunity to fiiiiiiiiiiiiiinally jump off a big cliff.

let it now be known: i love jumping off cliffs (when there's water at the bottom to catch me).

Thursday, June 21, 2007

trying hard not to let my happiness be Hindered

This song is the worst. Ever.

Read the lyrics - terribly unprincipled narrative expressed in really uninspired ninth-grade prose. Its badness is compounded by the embarrassingly earnest, cheesy music it's set to, and then it skyrockets into i-would-rather-saw-my-bottom-lip-off-
with-a-dull-knife-than-hear-this-one-more-time hideousness with its a.w.f.u.l music video, which i've conveniently posted for your viewing displeasure.

the only happiness i've derived from the trauma of the popularity of this drivel was finding that some string quartet somewhere recorded a version of it. yes, truly. and yes, i did pay 99 cents for it on itunes, and i did share it with a few unsuspecting friends. it's like the kenny g version of 'you're beautiful' that makes me want to shove a fork into my eye, but also delights me because it's so ridiculous. i mean, it's way better to find ways to laugh laugh laugh at this crap than to think of interesting ways to maim yourself with kitchen utensils in order to deal with the madness.


Honey why you calling me so late?

It's kinda hard to talk right now.
Honey why are you crying? Is everything okay?
I gotta whisper 'cause I can't be too loud

Well, my girl's in the next room
Sometimes I wish she was you
I guess we never really moved on
It's really good to hear your voice saying my name
It sounds so sweet
Coming from the lips of an angel
Hearing those words it makes me weak
And I never wanna say goodbye
But girl you make it hard to be faithful
With the lips of an angel

It's funny that you're calling me tonight
And, yes, I've dreamt of you too
And does he know you're talking to me
Will it start a fight
No I don't think she has a clue

Well my girl's in the next room
Sometimes I wish she was you
I guess we never really moved on
It's really good to hear your voice saying my name
It sounds so sweet
Coming from the lips of an angel
Hearing those words it makes me weak
And I never wanna say goodbye
But girl you make it hard to be faithful
With the lips of an angel

Monday, June 18, 2007

sundry june happenings

MazdaTron was infiltrated while I was in Guatemala. His insides were stuffed with shredded paper. Not to worry - moving the paper out of the cab and into the bed of the truck proved to be a great idea. So comfortable to nap in...
I bought 71 boxes of milk chocolate-covered mint Oreos at Big Lots. I'm sharing them widely. I also bought a LiteBrite and a canvas on which something yet to be determined will be drawn or pasted.
Sniar Nire came back from a month in Viet Nam, China, and Tibet. We celebrated my birth and her return to These Great States (United) by having a meal at Kathmandu Kitchen, one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants. 25ish people showed up (about 10 more than I'd reserved for), and we sort of overran the place. I mean, out of maybe 12 tables, we took up 10. Goat and lamb and lentils and momos and soybeans and mango lassi were enjoyed by many. A mini guitar-hero fest/ chocolate-covered mint oreo tim tam slamming celebration ensued at Toasty Bons' place.
Good times were had by some.
Team CompTron (aka Team Sparklepants, Team Sniar, Team Kattack, Team get it) was almost all in attendance (sadly minus Swiss Miss and Mush).
Rocks were climbed in San Diego the following day by Kat and myself for the first time ever. We found it to be exhilerating.
Lunches were also shared last week. Some days were happy, some days were weird, and some days were unphotographed (sorry, Sniar & Dax. next time.).
I beat Freya on expert on Guitar Hero last Wednesday in just 3 tries. This made me happy. Playing a gig with Sammy Farrell and Mike Tanner at Room 5 on Friday (with ensuing Sam family/UFO story time) also made me happy. I like being a pseudorockstar.

A more coherent topical posting to come soon, fear not.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

just another tuesday

Things that happened:
lunch at Wahoo's with Bonnie & Sara, accompanied by boy-from-church sightings and followed by a Leonidas hot chocolate run.
after work, creative idea time with Kat + an Albright Sportsmen baseball game. The big adventures came after the game was over, though. The idea to simply go for a late-night run on the beach turned into something a little more.

22:47 - We parked south of the pier and went running north, eventually scaling a small part of a building to hide our fleeces in the wall molding.
23:01 - Climbed over a wall and into a private resort-y place, where we found a small treasure trove of kids' toys and sandcastle-building tools. We borrowed some and...
23:41 - ...built a castle compound, Anenome Heights, close to the water.
23:56 - Collected our fleeces and began running south.
00:17 - Made a stop at the rings & ropes. I taught Kat how to climb a rope, and she had her first success (huzzah!); she reciprocated the gesture by teaching me how to get across the rings.
00:51 - We strip down into the ocean. The water is not ridiculously cold once you're in it, and the swim was pretty exhilerating. Getting out of the water and back into the wind was a little less enjoyable.
01:22 - Back at Mazdatron, we towel off a bit. I curl up in what shredded paper remains after a week of driving around with it in the bed of my truck.
01:38 - To Norm's! We'd never been there. We dined on steak & eggs and BLTs with quiet dignity. Okay, quiet dignity is a lie. I was wearing my blanket and no shoes; Kat had her bathrobe on, and we drank 4 cups of hot chocolate. Much laughter was laughed.
02:57 - We returned home to #107, generally thrilled with life. Tuesdays are worth celebrating more often!

Monday, June 4, 2007


The 26th year of my life was pretty cool. Because I like being reflective and making lists, here are 17 things that happened during it (they are not listed with much grammatical care. sorry):

1 Introduced TEAM SPORTS into my life!
2 Really fell in love with cycling. Bought my first road bike.
3 Magically learned how to do a cartwheel (thank you, Sea of Cortes) after 25 years of being unable.
4 Took aikido classes for a couple months. Learned to ninja roll.
5 Got a gun (thanks, RyDog).
6 Graduated from verbally spelling out German words to actually saying them, in sentences replete with both terrible grammar AND begeisterung.
7 Perfected the art of the Tim Tam Slam.
8 Acquired a sister-in-law.
9 Acquired two dirndls - a $6 extra-small Goodwill find from M. Hammerabi and a more-than-six-euro leather affair from sud deutschland – plus a rockin’ pink unitard and an amazing red sweater dress.
10 Became an EXPERT at Guitar Hero! Rock on, Toasty Bons, my prodigy tutor.
11 Bought things I said I’d never buy: a one-piece swimsuit. Chacos. a swimcap & goggles. a helmet. a watch. I love them all, incidentally.
12 Got two haircuts. Remind me never to visit that crazy Persian lady at Supercuts again, please.
13 Lived with eight different people.
14 Lost my cell phone twice. Germanic things make me lose control of it – thank you, Oktoberfest. Thank you, Switzerland.
15 Learned to jump over a 5’6” wall and realized I can climb a rope.
16 Recorded one awesome CD with Ms. Samantha Farrell & company. Occasionally did rock-star duty at shows in Hollywood with said superstar Sammy.
17 Went to Nebraska – shoveled snow and went sledding for the first time! Also adventured in Mexico (holy dead crab, batman), Las Vegas, Utah, China, Germany, Guatemala, Illinois, Central CA, random hills and mountains, and - drum roll - Iowa.

this post brought to you by Malcolm Gladwell and his cool ideas

I have no intention of doing a review here - I just want to share some passages from this ueber-cool book Blink: the Power of Thinking Without Thinking that I read a couple weeks ago. I've always respected fast decision making that relies on the subconscious, and this book made that respect make sense. Really good read.

"We live in a world that assumes that the quality of a decision is directly related to the time and effort that went into making it."

"Our unconscious is a powerful force. But it's fallible. It's not the case that our internal commmputer always shihnes through, instantly decoding the 'truth' of a situation. It can be thrown off, distracted, and disabled."

Thin-slicing: the "ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behavior based on very narrow slices of experience." Example: marriage expert John Gottman - if he "analyzes an hour of a husband and wife talking, he can predict with 95% accuracy whether that couple will still be married fifteen years later. If he watches a couple for 15 minutes, his success rate is around 90%"....and recently he discovered that if he looked at only 3 minutes of a couple talking, the accuracy of his predictions still remained very impressive. How did he do it? He knew to focus on four particular negative emotions: defensiveness, stonewalling, criticism, and contempt.

"Spontaneity isn't good people's decisions are under the fast-moving, high-sress conditions of rapid cognition is a function of training and rules and rehearsal."

"The act of describing a face has the effect of impairing your otherwise effortless ability to subsequently recognize that face."

Sometimes, "all that extra information isn't actually an advantage at all; in fact, you need to know very little to find the underlying signature of a complex phenomenon." And sometimes, "that extra information is more than useless. It's harmful. It confuses the issues. What screws up doctors when they are trying to predict heart attacks," for instance, "is that they take too much information into account."

If you do something that puzzles a child, the "child would immediately look up into your eyes. Why? Because what you have done requires explanation, and the child knows that she can find an answer on your face. This practice of inferring the motivations and intentions of others is classic thin-slicing. It is picking up on subtle, fleeting cues in order to read someone's mind."

"We take it as a given that first we experience an emotion, and then we may - or may not - express that emotion on our face. We think of the face as the residue of emotion. What research showed, though is that the process works in the opposite direction as well. Emotion can also start on the face. The face is not a secondary billboard for our internal feelings; it is an equal partner in the emotional process."

"We have come to confuse information with understanding....The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former; we are desperately lacking in the latter."

Guatemala esta cool! Alto cinco!

random notes on a whirlwind long weekend in central america (this trip brought to wendy courtesy of super-cheap spirit air fares, a generous boss, veterans of america's wars, and my being born 26 years ago):

* 5 days, guatemala, accompanied by best friend Kat (with whom i've made memorial day/birthday excursions every year for the last 4. we are, uh, starting to look like each other.)

* Antigua: a tremendously colorful and unique colonial city. saw plenty o' church and nunnery ruins sprinkled 'round the city, enjoyed plenty of street food and strawberry licuados.

* The Most Uncomfortable Night Ever on overnight bus to Tikal; sat in 3-seater bench crammed next to tiny restroom in the very back of the bus - and there was a really overweight lady with serious intestinal distress climbing over me and into the bathroom every hour. budget travel, ole!

* Tikal! ancient temple ruins! monkeys! toucans! malarial mosquito bites! insane jungle roads! awesomeness in a half-shell!
* Semuc Champey, the golden pinnacle of the weekend: hiking in the jungle, swimming in gorgeous limestone pools, jumping over rocks, climbing down a waterfall and into the cave behind it, seeing the biggest spider ever, wearing Chacos and loving them.
* Nir the Israeli and an epic taco/churrasco/fajita/nacho eating session during which it became quite apparent that we were delirious and sleep-deprived. How do Israelis feel about little dogs? I know the answer.

* 27 May 007, the day I turned 26. Bus drama involving Guatemala time (no rush!), pouring rains, and a blown tire meant we didn't get back to Antigua in time to hike the volcano Pakaya (though the driver did have a cassette tape with Ghostbusters and Eye of the Tiger which played on repeat and made me laugh). We did, however, get full-body massages and hear some great live traditional Guatemalan music - and Kat surprised me at dinner with 17+1 lit candles in my birthday flan. And receiving so many COMPTRON anagram poems of love in my surprise birthday email account (happybirthdaycomptron!) absolutely made my night and my year - thank you all, thank you thank you thank you.

* Grocery shopping: what Wendy travels would be complete without it? Final day Guatemala City food purchases were inspired primarily by the Honeymonster. Please, frightening hairy yellow cereal man, come visit us in America!

Friday, June 1, 2007

that banana gets around

when i travel, i pack light. moving around quickly means no native is going to know that i’ve worn the same shirt 4 days in a row, right? when i get home and download my travel pictures, however, the alarming frequency of repeat wears becomes amusingly obvious. i took only two t-shirts to germany and wore them 14 of the 19 days i was there. uh, yikes. one of those two shirts promotes ‘nino’s banana hut’, and i just realized that it’s been a lot of places with me in the last year:

china & hong kong
west jasmine alley

a toast to nino and his travels!