Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hellacious Tuesdays

It has been a most frantic and stressful day. The tale begins yesterday, when I was first led astray from the golden path of rational and wise behavior by the enticing allure of free food. Food that is not free is seductive enough; but food that is free? I am helpless against it. So needless to say, I partook of the dread bounty, irreversibly throwing my eating schedule for the rest of the day. As a result, I was not hungry at dinner time and I didn't become conscious of my hunger until the wee hours of the morning, at which point I was only still awake due to paper-writing.

Thus begins part two of the chronicles of my foolish ways, as I had not properly planned and written my paper over the weekend, but was instead choosing to write it the day it was due. At last I tame the beast and send it to my professor, but only to be at this point thrust into the arms of still further folly, as I then had to write a paper for my class that at this point was only six hours in the future. I type along for a good hour and a half until I finally have that printed and ready for the class looming in my future. To bed at 4 in the morning, I awake to a shrill alarm clock at 7. I scurry to class in the pouring rain and successfully produce my paper for class, and then am subjected to an hour and a half of tedium. At long last released from this, I head to my next class, which is a Japanese culture class. Interestingly enough, we were exploring martial arts for that particular class, which would have been wonderful and entertaining on any day except the day on which I last ate 18 hours prior and had only three hours of sleep to sustain me. After an hour and a half of minor exertions, I dash to the housing lottery which began ten minutes before my class ended. I arrive only to find myself thwarted by a long, winding line of people. The school had severely mismanaged its procedures, resulting in undue waiting, stress, and boredom. Thirty minutes in, I begin to feel lightheaded, however, I could not pursue a chair without losing my place in line. At long, long last, after a total of fifty minutes standing in line, it is my turn to draw a number for housing. I pull number 38. I was very fortunate indeed!

My original plan had been to skip lunch and instead take a shower and do homework for my 1pm class, but this was when I was still naive enough to believe the housing process would take 20 minutes. But at last acknowledging that at the very least I needed food, I immediately head to the dining hall, where I scarf down a burger and head back to my dorm to finish my homework. 

By this time the housing had been so unexpectedly long, I had but twenty minutes remaining in which to do my homework. I furiously began throwing things together, trying my best to beat the deadline. Ten minutes before class I had to begin walking in order to not be late. I cross campus and arrive, immediately resuming my work. I did manage to put something together in time. It was hardly my best work, but it was passable. The class usually lasts three hours, but my professor kindly released us early. The class is a theater class, for which I had just applied make-up to be graded. It is my custom to return to my dorm and photograph the evidence of my theatrical escapades. However, this time I opened the door to leave and was greeted by a downpour. I closed the door and pondered how to reach my dorm without a blurred mess covering my face by the end. At last I concocted a most ridiculous but effective plan, pulling out my large drawing pad and using it as a bill over my forehead and then removing my sweater and using it as a tent over my head. I'm sure the combination of this set up along with my already outlandish make-up and unwieldy tackle box and bookbag was an amusing sight to behold. 

At last arriving at my dorm, I did, in fact, manage to photograph the make-up. Then I remembered I had to pick up an important letter from the Registrar, the office of which closes at 4:30pm. By this time it was nearly 4pm and I had strange make-up covering my face. Thus began the adventure of make-up removal. Layer after layer of cold cream was applied, massaging it in and using water to wipe away. This process was repeated again and again, each time managing to remove a small layer. My face by this time was a gray blob and the make-up directly surrounding my eyes was stubborn. By the end I settled for a slight gray haze and what was essentially white eyeliner around one eye and black around the other. It was an interesting look.

I make it to the Registrar's with some semblence of normalcy and successfully acquire the letter. At this point, at long last, I have a break! I spend it napping, but only have an hour before I have to head to the housing selection process. I go with my cousin as we hoped to both have singles in the same general vicinity to one another. Everyone attempting to get a single is present, and due to our good numbers I am fifth and my cousin seventh in line. Despite this, however, by the time I approach, both my first and second choices are already claimed. However, my cousin and I managed to both get singles together in a house on the outskirts of campus, which was more than satisfying. From there I run directly to my last class of the day, the "lab" portion of my theater class. It also is allotted three hours, but my professor again released us early. At 9pm, my day hectic day at long last requires nothing more of me! After class I grab dinner with some friends and then head back to my room for some much needed rest. 

In other words, I haven't updated recently because I've been busy. My bad. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Life & Its Many Obstacles

Being a college student, the work week is not a convenient time to write. Additionally, I'm working this weekend at my family's business, Chartreuse & Co., which features home decor and design. Until the next post arrives, here are some pictures:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Super" movie

At last I saw the impatiently awaited movie "Super" starring Rainn Wilson (forever to me Dwight from "The Office"). For us to see it involved an extended car ride due to the multiple incorrect exits we took. At long last we reached the correct exit, only to miss it and get off at the one beyond, winding our way around on non-highway roads until we reached the Metro. Upon reaching it we rode it in to the heart of DC, disembarking five minutes before the movie was supposed to start. We then ran down the road in search of 11th St, passing 10th and then realizing our mistake upon arriving at 9th St, as opposed to 11th. We then frantically turned around and sped up the other way, at this point nearly reaching the show time and still not seeing the theater. At last we stop inside a hotel and ask for directions. The woman behind the counter provided clear and accurate directions that led us directly to the theater at long last. By this time it was five minutes past, but the cashier assured us the movie had not yet begun.

Arriving after the trailers but just in the nick of time for the movie itself, we got surprisingly good seats and settled in for a nice laugh. However, that's not quite what we got. All in all it was a good movie and it did have its comedic moments, but a great deal of it was depressing and dramatic. Having to reset my expectations halfway through the movie, it is difficult to gauge its quality as a drama or action film. But the cast and acting was of a good quality and some of the messages were uncommon but worthwhile. In the end, I'm glad I saw it, although it was somewhat unexpected.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Beans in the Belfry

Playful name, bohemian aesthetic, delicious edibles. The ideal café, no? Beans in the Belfry, centered in a romantic stain-glass windowed chapel in the heart of Brunswick, MD, is an attraction unto itself, not simply a quaint stop while in the area. Odds and ends decorate the little chapel, from old pews to ragged sofas. Everything is mismatched in the most charming of fashions, and beyond the desire to simply be a part of the warm and sumptuous atmosphere, the drinks provide a cozy touch to soothe the fringes of a more general untamed and exotic flamboyancy.

Friday, April 8, 2011


I have due cause to be pleased with the rain today. Well, aside from my natural love of it. But today, it cancelled my phys ed class, rendering me a great service! As it was my only class today, this means I am completely free to engage in such trivial matters as writing blog posts. Ah, rain. Well done, my pet, well done indeed.

But beyond being cheerful about a day off, I welcome rain with open arms any day. It is beautiful, calming and dramatic; fresh and clean! It inspires poetry and creativity. Plus it makes soup and tea particularly soothing and relaxing.

Oh, and I'm eating a Starbucks birthday cake pop right now. Ha!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Elusive Birthday Cake Pop

As the title suggests, for sometime the Starbucks "birthday cake pops" had eluded me. It had been love at first sight; I beheld the new (and improved) menu with wonder, awe, and desire. It was a pink lollipop covered in white sprinkles. It had a nonsensical name. It was edible: It was perfect.

I immediately decided I had to have one, but they were all out. I figured everyone had wanted to try one because they were new (and beautiful, duh) but that I would be able to try one upon my next visit. Wrong. Five times in a row I ordered one only to hear the same, tedious chorus: "Sorry, we're out of the birthday cake pop, but we have the rocky road and tiramisu!" No, curses! Why do you think the other two flavors remained untouched, unloved? Because they were lesser, that's why. No, I would not settle. I eventually figured I must live in an area with a particularly high demand for pink, childish candy so when I was in Pennsylvania I stopped at a Starbucks and ordered one. "Sorry, our shipment doesn't come in until Tuesday." This was Monday. At this point it was simply fact: I was, in fact, jinxed. They did, unsurprisingly, have rocky road and tiramisu.

About the tenth unsuccessful try, one Starbucks employee even took pity upon me and gave me a rocky road for free. It was tasty, but I knew, deep in my heart, it could never match the perfection of the devious and taunting birthday cake pop. 

At long, long last, I arrive at Starbucks sometime in the afternoon. Rejected so many times at this point, I only expect further failure and sorrow. But I knew I had to keep trying. So I ordered my drink and a birthday cake pop. Rather than the familiar "we only have rocky road and tiramisu", instead I'm greeted by the sweet, sweet song of success: "Will that be all for you today?" All for me today?! My day has just been whole and meaningful! Yes, I was well satisfied with my order. There was no need to add trivial goods that would only pale in comparison to my gorgeous birthday cake pop. There was no match: I had found love. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Madame Butterfly

It was determined last week that my theater costume & make-up class would take a field trip to Baltimore to see a production of Mme. Butterfly in lieu of class. I knew neither the premise nor the details of the play, but I enjoy theater, field trips and the occasional change of class location and activities, so I was pleased. It was arranged that we would meet our professor at the school where it was being performed (he was a professor at this school as well), so needless to say by the end we were all confused, a quarter of the class didn't realize we were actually doing the field trip, and those of us who did make it were an hour late. It also involved a six-person group in a five-person capacity vehicle and me driving on a beltway again.... with eight and a half months' licensed driving experience and three and a half hours of sleep. I'm not sure I'm fond of this trend. At least it was the Baltimore beltway this time.

We finally arrive after a very cramped drive at intermission. We find our professor, who is understanding of the complications we encountered, and everything at last seems settled. The second row is unoccupied, so we seat ourselves there and wait for the show to begin. To fill me in, one of my friends who is reading the play for another class tells me what turns out to be the surprise ending (she was only reading the end for class and didn't realize it was a surprise). For those familiar with the play, this information was in itself somewhat perplexing. But I shrugged and waited to see how it would be handled.

The show begins and from the start multiple references to the first act are made, but I'm able to piece it together. The script had humorous lines and the actor who played Mme. Butterfly was highly skilled, tackling the challenge with apparent ease and finesse. Although the date was repeatedly mentioned, my mind kept reverting back to the perception of it as being set in the nineteenth century. It was startling every time, forcing me to rework my interpretation. Eventually I just gave up and pretended it was in the nineteenth century.

In the end, I wish I had seen the entire production. But as an alternative to class, I was still happy with the opportunity and to be able to have an amusing and eventful adventure with my friends (it involved an emergency McDonald's stop - how could the trip be anything but worthwhile?)... seven hours and 45 minutes long. Phew.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Byzantine Catholic Liturgy

This morning my friend and I, who are Roman Catholics, decided to attend the Sunday Liturgy of our brothers to the East, the Byzantine rite. My friend being a Catholic-phile and I an enthusiast for different cultures, we found a Byzantine Catholic Church an hour from where we live and were enthusiastic. We drove across the Capital Beltway (My first time driving on said beltway. I was very pleased I managed to not kill us in a fiery, albeit dramatic, accident) and at last arrived at our destination.

The Byzantine rite is culturally rich and highly devout. I admired their sense of decorum and reverence throughout the Liturgical service. On the whole it seemed similar enough to be comfortable, but different enough to be fascinating. Icons and adornments were in every direction. More incense was incorporated. Several priests were present to assist in the Liturgy. It was an interesting twist on the familiar. The Russian and Greek influences were apparent from the language used to the icons to the manner of administering Communion. On the whole, it was an intriguing means of fulfilling our Sunday obligation.


Over the past three years or so I've become involved in dancing. The college I attended freshman year had a club in which we learned mostly swing, but also charleston, lindy hop, tango, salsa, polka, waltz and a handful of aerials. About a year prior to this I was introduced by a friend to a casual and folksy dance called "contra." My first reaction was to question the origin, composition and intent of this foreign form of dance, but the aforementioned friend tempered my puzzlement by informally defining contra as a conglomeration of dance, especially square, folk, and "Austen-esque" eighteenth century British styles. The basic mechanics of contra involve couples forming long lines and then performing specific predetermined movements in different patterns. Over the course of the average dance, a couple will continually move up and down the line, repeating the same steps until the dance is called to an end. All in all, good exercise and lots of fun!

My favorite aspect of contra, however, is the laid back atmosphere and casual nature of fellow dancers. By no means is this the kind of dance that is practiced ad nauseam so as to appear impeccably trained on a stage. Rather, contra is recognized as an activity to do with friends. Never do I feel pressure to perform nor worry about making a mistake. If I or anyone does, it's simply laughed off or received with a smile and everyone simply alters their movements to keep in time with the dance. Contra is certainly a wonderful way to spend an evening with friends, or a fun excuse to get out the door for the night!

The Wine Basket

I went to a fundraiser with my extended family yesterday which consisted of lunch, fashion show and raffle/silent auction. The food was excellent and the dessert was a generous portion of lemon pie (generous by my standards is, indeed, quite generous). My personal favorite for the afternoon, however, was the raffle, in which I won a wine basket. I wanted it because it included a box of chocolates. I got my chocolates and was made very happy. As a fun extra, it included several boxes of various crackers and pretzels, glasses and polka dot hand towels and twelve bottles of wine. I also look forward to using the insulated picnic basket the batch came in this summer on a fun venture outdoors!


Movies can be hit or miss. I'm always very excited, therefore, when a movie with a great premise and promising execution emerges into the full beam of Hollywood's limelight. I'm not particularly news-savvy when it comes to remaining up-to-date on current affairs, so I usually hear about such matters through friends who are somewhat news-competent. This is how I came to hear about "Super."

To those familiar with the tv show "The Office", all I need say is it's a comedy about Dwight's actor as a superhero. Given that information alone, I'm already anxious to see it upon its release in a week. The very fact of my eagerness then further amplifies my general delight, in that rarely do I hear about a movie before its release, and thus rarely have the opportunity to become enthusiastic. But this year is brimming with potential in the fanciful world of cinema. 

Also due to come out this year are multiple superhero movies: "Thor", "Captain America" and "Green Lantern". Also the final installment of the "Harry Potter" series. Beyond this summer buzz is another rendition of "The Three Musketeers" in October!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Late Night Starbucks

My local Starbucks remains open all night during the weekends. It's three miles from my house and has a drive-thru. Needless to say, I take advantage of these amenities on a regular basis. In fact, I so habitually frequent the place, I believe a vast percentage of my monthly earnings are lost within a matter of days to Starbucks. I even recognize the employees who run the drive-thru. I should just keep a tab. But do I protest this state of affairs? Certainly not! Hence my continued patronage. In fact, I can think of little better to spend my money on. This is the way I justify it: let's assume a hypothetical scenario in which I would not go to Starbucks (don't laugh too much). Instead, I would use my funds to be practical. Would my quality of life have improved? Certainly not.

Money can, in fact, buy happiness.

The April Fool

It's my cat's birthday today. Yes, she was born April Fools' Day and yes, she is very foolish. It's sort of the chicken and the egg conundrum: is the cat a fool because she was born on April Fools' Day, or was the cat born on April Fools' Day because she's a fool? Thus the timeless question is applicable to even the most inane of topics.

I'm a visual person, so here are some pictures of Chesapeake the cat, affectionately called "Baby," who just turned nine years old today.


I thought it might be fun to keep a blog about such enjoyable topics as cats, movies, books and food. I'm a lover of all these things and could easily talk someone's head off about any of them, prattling a good ten minutes before realizing that they might not actually share my enthusiasm for the minute details of my cat's desire to go outside or that really tasty lemon cake lollipop I had (it was really good, okay?). So instead I thought I'd split the difference and write a blog where those who share my interests can be amused and in so doing, spare the poor passerby unfortunate enough to walk unwittingly into my web of societal bonds, inciting one to endure my prattling for the sake of politeness. So: cat, food and entertainment lovers, enjoy!