The interview

Nick of What You Can Get Away With provided me with interview questions.

Here's how it's done:

1. If you want to participate, leave me a comment saying "interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions - each person's will be different.
3. You will update your journal with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

This is what Nick asked me -

1) Hollywood calls and they want to make a movie of your life. What's on the soundtrack?

American Girl by Rick Springfield

Only the Good Die Young by Billy Joel

Stripped by Depeche Mode

Vogue by Madonna

Sabotage by the Beastie Boys

Little Red Corvette by Prince

Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For by U2

2) Who do you identify with most - Wile E. Coyote or the Road Runner?

The Road Runner

3) All the historical monuments, buildings and museums in DC are going to be demolished except one. Which one would you save?

This was by far, the most difficult question for me. My first instinct was to spare one of the monuments, The Jefferson Memorial. Then I thought of the buildings, the priceless artwork and irreplaceable volumes. What to do - save the National Cathedral but not the Folger Shakespeare Library? How does a person weigh the value of Ginevra de Benci in the National Gallery of Art with the documents stored in National Archives or Library of Congress?

In the end, I decided to save the U.S. Capitol Building. To this day, I stand in awe of the structure. I always cringe through the brief scene in Independence Day when the Capitol columns burst into tiny fragments.

I would rescue the Capitol Building with all of its history, artwork, documents, and magnificent architecture. It stands as the memorial to the ideal of government by the people for the people.

4) You can go to any place on Earth at any time in history for two weeks. Where and when do you go to?

I would travel to Florence, Italy, in 1492 and meet with Lorenzo de Medici before his death. Then I'd use the opportunity to solicit a dinner invitation from Leonardo da Vinci and laugh with the humanists over Christopher Columbus' foolish quest to cross the Atlantic.

5) What's the one question you wish science was able to answer definitively that it can't already?

Where does time come from?

Love at first sight

Most of you know how I feel about reality television. Well.... one show finally got to me. Last night, I watched Queer Eye for the Straight Guy on NBC and today I feel an urge to finally commit to cable.

I watched the Fab Five assist the hopelessly romantic John with preparations for his big night - a marriage proposal to his Armenian love. Those guys thought of everything, even providing the Armenian translation for "I love you."

I've always been fascinated by the stories of how couples met and what happened the night he (or she) proposed. So I started thinking about the couples in my life.

My grandparents are going to celebrate 57 years of marriage. Their marriage was arranged, but you'd never know it. My dad met my mother at a dance. He watched her, gathered his courage to ask for a dance, and by the time that song was over he knew she was the woman he would spend the rest of his life with (sigh).

A friend of mine dressed up as Santa and proposed to his wife on Christmas Eve in front of her entire family (no pressure there).

As for my dear cousin... a male friend of mine was over. My cousin dropped by for a visit before my flight the next morning. We all hung out for a few hours - nothing significant appeared to happen. When he leaned down to give me a hug goodbye, he whispered in my ear that he was going to become part of my family. That whole night, I hadn't even been aware that I was witnessing something special.

So, forgive me for prying, but how did you propose? Were you nervous? Were you expecting the proposal or did it come out of left field? And how did you know you wanted to marry that person?


This one's for Buzz

Today Buzz threw down the gauntlet - he sent everyone on a mission to "feed their head".

New and interesting information crosses my path on a daily basis - nature of my work. But this is what I've come up with today.

1. Researchers are a few steps closer to defining arousal.

I learned that understanding arousal is the Holy Grail for neurobiologists. Arousal is supposed to be at the heart of all human emotions.

2. Parts of the Berlin Wall still exist

I was under the impression that tourists completely destroyed the Berlin Wall in 1990 - gone forever. Today I learned that people are making a living from dismantling and selling pieces of the wall. Hurray for capitalism!

3. Paul Sereno discovered another dinosaur species and named it "regal reptile from Narmada."

Actually, it's officially called Rajasaurus Narmadensis. I searched for the reason why most dinosaur names end in "-aurus," but couldn't find anything relevant (zilch in the dictionary). I'll spend some time brushing up on my Latin tomorrow. (the answer is probably really obvious)

Thanks for the inspiration Buzz! Oh - and if you read this, I just wanted to let you know I haven't forgotten about my list of famous Actors.

Stay tuned!

Music Thursday

A great tune - Should I Stay or Should I Go? by The Clash. I'm on deadline (you'd never know it though) and writing away to my high school faves - U2, Depeche Mode and New Order.

God, I love music!

I wish I could share with you, but the lyrics will have to do.

Pure genius

Who remembers Rockhound, Steve Buscemi's character in Armageddon? In the film, he was a genius who graduated with a PhD. in his teens, published in prestigious journals in his early 20's, and, in adult life. developed into a disturbed individual with peculiar, sometimes violent, tendencies.

Well, let me tell you - these people exist. For real.

One of the many things I enjoy about my work are the chance encounters I have with genius.

This morning.... I spoke with a guy (who will remain nameless to protect the guilty) who received his first PhD (in mathematics) at the age of 19, went on to attain 2 more PhD's by his mid-20's (in something really hard, like physics), taught for 5 years at a string of universities like Cornell, and worked for General Electric, before deciding to quit his job, take art classes at night and bike cross-country while trying to make a name for himself in political cartooning. WOAH!

He's the exception, not the norm.

Libya pays dues

Libya formally accepts the blame, almost 15 years after Pan Am flight 103 was shot out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Meanwhile, around the world, airline and airport security continue to top list of concerns.


Digging for answers in the past

I've often wondered what it would be like to traipse across the globe like a female Indiana Jones, mining for ancient trinkets and the buried treasure of everyday life long forgotten.

What did Heinrich Schliemann do when he realized he'd unearthed the walls of Troy? What a thrill it must have been to rediscover Pompeii.

Well archaeologists are at it again - digging deep to reveal the ancient city of Pozzuoli in Italy.

Meanwhile, in Rome, a group of 35 archaeologists are excavating to determine whether Caligula really was a megalomaniac or if his whims were widely exaggerated after his death.

The verdict = he was off his rocker.

"It's like someone -- a president or a king or you know, Bill Gates -- turning St. Peter's into their entrance hall," Darius Arya, one of the directors of the excavation, said during a break from the dig in the Roman Forum in the heart of Italy's capital.

I sometimes wonder what future archaeologists will think of us when they unearth our cities.

Internet and video stores push Penthouse publisher towards chapter 11

You know times are bad when porn loses money.

"Founder Bob Guccione narrowly missed losing his Penthouse Mansion, one of the largest private homes in Manhattan."

Girls' weekend in Savannah

I know what y'all are thinking... Savannah? In August? I've got to be nuts, right?

Well, that remains to be seen - but the flight is confirmed, the rooms are booked, and I will be joining my best friend in Savannah over the extended Labor Day Weekend. Woohooooooo!

We've been planning a weekend getaway for months - but for one reason or another, haven't been able to confirm anything til now.

See, as T-Bone wisely pointed out in today's cliche post, it took me a while to realize what I had until it was gone.

I've been extremely fortunate in my life. I've always had that one best friend. That elusive creature who didn't compete with me for a man's affection. Or grab the Jones of New York skirt marked down 80% out of my hands while I wasn't looking. Or try to sabotage a presentation to look better in front of the boss.

The friend who, after hearing for the millionth time that he'll never find anyone better than me, still pats my arm and nods - without rolling her eyes. You know - that one friend you never phone before dropping by. The one who would meet you out for wine or coffee at 10:00 p.m., just because. The partner-in-crime who had your back, pushing you towards datable candidates, while dragging you away from potential trainwrecks.

The one who tells you straight up when you're being a b*tch.

Well, she moved away a year ago - leaving me with many well-intentioned friends, but no one who just "gets it." It's been quite an adjustment for me. I never realized how good I had it, until I didn't have any local best girls left. Local is the key.

So even though August isn't the most ideal time to lounge around in Savannah, I'm really looking forward to that southern hospitality Adam's always writing about while meeting people on the River Walk, shopping, doing the cemetery ghost tour, and, of course, chatting late into the night over bottles of wine.


100 things

This morning, Buzz challenged his readers to include wishlists and the "100 things" list - to provide a little insight into who we are. Buddha already beat me to the punch with his list.

It was much harder coming up with things than I thought it was going to be......

100 things about me

1. Chocolate is my favorite food.

2. Seafood/shellfish are my next favorite.

3. I live to travel.

4. In another life, I worked at a flight school and spent my free time in the sky.

5. In yet another life, I was a photojournalist with my home in a sack.

6. My first camera was a plastic Yogi Bear instamatic with roll film.

7. I shoot with Contarex, Nikon, and TLRs now.

8. I have a Sanyo camera phone, but am resisting the urge to buy a digital camera. I love spending time in the darkroom processing film, working with chemicals, playing with different types of paper, and developing photos.

9. If I won a lottery, I would spend most of the cash on hi-tech gadgets.

10. My godmother bought me my first diary for my 7th birthday (it was candy pink with glitter).

11. I have filled over 25 blank books with the nonsense of my life.

12. I used to hate it when my mom would say I was just like my dad. Now I agree with her.

13. My family is scattered across 4 continents and an archipelago: North America, South America, Europe, Africa and the Azores.

14. In addition to English, I can speak Portuguese, a little French and kitchen Spanish, and studied Mandarin in college.

15. I can lead a walking tour of the National Mall from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol Building in 5 hours, counting a lunch stop and two bathroom breaks.

16. For 2 years, as a little girl, I co-starred in a weekend local cable show – a Portuguese version of Sesame Street.

17. I used to watch John F. Kennedy Jr. play soccer when he was a student at Brown U.

18. The ceiling above my bed is covered in constellations and the initials of lost loves.

19. My favorite constellations are Cassiopeia and Orion.

20. I miss looking up into a star-filled sky.

21. Some nights I sit on my roof and watch the planes line up for landing. This usually reminds me of when the sky was empty for 4 months when National Airport closed after the 9/11 attacks.

22. If I were invisible for a day, I’d go to the Natural History Museum and dance naked wearing the Hope Diamond.

23. If I could meet with a character from the past, I would dine with Leonardo da Vinci.

24. If I could wake up tomorrow with one talent, it would be the ability to draw/paint.

25. If I could change one thing about myself, I would give myself better than perfect vision.

26. My two favorite Impressionist painters are Edgar Degas and Vincent van Gogh.

27. My favorite color is cobalt blue.

28. The iris is my favorite flower.

29. I don’t like roses.

30. I don’t like to cook.

31. I’d rather feel too cold than too hot.

32. I love to kiss.

33. Most of the guys I date top 6’0, even though I’m 5’4. I like tall guys.

34. I fall in and out of love quickly.

35. I’ve only been out on two truly bad dates my whole life.

36. I enjoy surprising people with presents.

37. I have successfully thrown three elaborate surprise parties.

38. I was raised Roman Catholic, am familiar with most organized religions worldwide, believe in a higher power, but don’t practice anything regularly.

39. I love basketball (although I prefer NCAA to NBA).

40. I was impossible to be near when Michael Jordan moved to DC.

41. I bumped into him three times.

42. I used to throw things when I’d get mad. I don’t do that anymore.

43. Now I just yell.

44. I used to wear Wonder Woman underoos and tie up the neighborhood kids with my magic lasso.

45. Aside from being born, I’ve never been hospitalized. (no broken bones, no stitches, no aches, no pains, no surgery, etc. etc. etc.)

46. I have never had a cavity or any dental work (aside from cleanings and getting wisdom teeth pulled).

47. I love music and have an eclectic collection of CD’s.

48. I enjoy all types of dancing... club, salsa, ballroom, swing, jazz, ballet, etc. It takes me a while to learn choreography, but once I have the steps down, I'll never forget the dance.

49. I’ve seen U2 perform live over a dozen times.

50. I’ve seen the Beastie Boys perform live 7 times.

51. I’ve seen the Rolling Stones perform live 6 times.

52. I’ve seen Billy Joel perform live 6 times.

53. I’ve seen Phish perform live 6 times.

54. Nelly Furtado is my cousin’s cousin, but not related to me.

55. When I was 6, I told my parents I wanted to play piano. They bought me an accordion. I still long to learn the piano.

56. I was first chair flute and auditioned for state band my freshman year of high school.

57. My sophomore year I quit the band and joined the drama club.

58. In 1989, I performed in London.

59. The titles and positions that are no big deal to me, are the ones that impress other people most.

60. I force myself to work out. I’m not athletically inclined. Given the choice, I’d lounge by the pool instead of swim in it.

61. I joined the track team as a freshman to chase after the cute, older guys in school.

62. By senior year, I was on the team to tone up for beach season.

63. I love the ocean and spent the first 18 years of my life at the beach.

64. I’ve gained an appreciation for the mountains, but given the choice of mountains or beach, would live on the beach.

65. I grew up in a small town, but have morphed into a city girl.

66. I would like to have a log home in the country someday. After I buy my beach house.

67. I have no pets.

68. I love big dogs: German Shepherds, Akitas, Rottweilers, Anatolians, Siberian Huskies.

69. When I was 9, I was bit by a Doberman Pincher while delivering Girl Scout cookies. I ran home and my mom thought I had been hit by a car (the blood covered uniform mixed with my hysteria led her to that assumption). That was the end of Girl Scouts for me. I was terrified of dogs until I went away to college.

70. I’m not afraid of any animals now. Well… maybe a lion or tiger or bear…. Not afraid of domesticated animals now.

71. I despise shopping malls.

72. I make most of my purchases at boutiques and online.

73. I am cursed with a long memory.

74. This is much harder than I thought. I often underestimate how difficult a task can be - but won't stop til I'm finished.

75. I am a sprinter, not built for any exercise requiring endurance. My best running event was the 400 (440) and with the exceptions of photography and writing, most of my hobbies and interests are short-lived.

76. I know a lot about many different things because I’ll take an interest in something, live-breath-sleep it for a few months, and then move on to something new and different.

77. Some examples of my discarded interests: the seven wonders of the ancient world; the ten laws of architecture; alternative construction methods to stick-built; Egyptian hieroglyphs; military history and strategies (the art of war); painting techniques used during the Renaissance period; swing dancing (Lindy Hop); playing pool; Italian; ship building; code-breaking; basics of aerodynamics; water colors; Australian wines; and yoga.

78. My new interest is chess.

79. I can be overbearing with all of my opinions.

80. I have an opinion about almost everything and usually have a good reason for it.

81. I welcome the opportunity for debate and listen with an open mind. But I’ll be the first to admit that it takes a lot to sway my position.

82. I enjoy playing devil’s advocate.

83. I am one of the most selfish people I know, but hope someday to change that.

84. Sometimes I’ll say something vicious and wish I felt worse for it, but don’t.

85. Other times I’ll lose sleep over something stupid I did or said and hate myself for weeks.

86. I used to love my car and drove really fast all the time. Now I walk, take the metro or cab it.

87. Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Citizen Kane are two of my favorite movies.

88. Most of my favorites come in pairs.

89. I get really pissed when people assume things about me.

90. I’m afraid of spiders (completely irrational).

91. I like lightening storms.

92. I’m not afraid of the dark.

93. I like feeling on top of the world – love pressing my forehead against the glass of observation decks and looking down.

94. Tallest observation decks I’ve been on – Stratosphere in Vegas; Space Needle in Seattle; Eiffel Tower in Paris; Washington Monument in DC; Empire State Building in NYC; John Hancock Building in Boston; Sears Tower in Chicago; peak of Lagoa do Fogo in Sao Miguel, Azores.

95. The roller coaster wrapped around the Stratosphere in Vegas is boring. Its claim to fame is location - high up - but it does little else.

96. My childhood was bereft of Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, Mr. Sandman. etc.

97. On the other hand, my little brother believed in Santa until he was nine.

98. Bookshelves line most of the walls of my apartment. I love to read – fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, biographies, experimental fiction, etc.

99. When I can’t sleep, I start counting, silently, to myself (I never think of sheep though).

100. I’ve always been better with words than numbers.

Calgon, Take Me Away!

Murphy's Laws are alive and well. It's one of those days - somehow someone managed to complicate the simplest of tasks (it is almost inconceivable to me and had I not seen it, I would not have believed it) and everyone on the planet is interrupting me with calls.

This was supposed to be my slow day. S-L-O-W.

Instead I'm blogging and getting ready to tear my hair out (at least I have my priorities in order).

Is anyone else having one of those days?


On a side note, Haloscan has been acting up and not been very reliable. So I'm following S's example and doubling up on the comments. Sorry for any confusion.


Family matters

My first cousin's wife just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Two people - with entirely too much time on their hands - started arguing over the nuances between "once removed cousins" and "second - third- fourth - etc. cousins".

Would that make this bundle of joy my first cousin once removed? My second cousin? Or something else entirely?

And what does that make my dad's first cousin's daughter to me? I always thought she was my second cousin.

Does anyone know?

Phobias and other irrational fears

Growing up, my all-time favorite book was Charlotte's Web. And even though I've been deathly afraid of spiders for as long as I remember, I loved Charlotte and would cry when she died at the end.

Homes in Massachusetts have spiders. If I saw one crawling up my wall, I would hop on top of my bed and let out a piercing shriek until someone, anyone, came to my rescue. And even after witnessing said offending spider meet a crushing blow via kleenex (or my bro carry the thing outside and set it free), I wouldn't be able to sleep. I would feel thousands, no millions, of creepy crawly spiders moving under the covers and over my skin.

My brother (the animal lover who would set the spiders free) subscribed to a service - I forget the company name (maybe National Geographic?) - but every month he'd receive a new packet of illustrated cards, featuring a photograph of a living organism on one side and a detailed description of genus/species/habitat/eating habits/peculiar morsels of trivia on the flipside. The company provided a neato plastic bin to house the animal cards.

Why is this particular memory flooding my brain? I just saw a creepy, crawly spider in my office that vaguely resembled the one card I found in my Charlotte's Web book eons ago. I'm a professional. I can't panic. I can't hop on my desk and scream bloody murder until someone runs in to kill it. My colleagues will think I'm a lunatic.

The spider is small. I am much larger than the spider. The spider is tiny. I can crush the spider with my fingertip. The spider is slow. Actually, it can crawl pretty fast. And it's got the web action. It spins a cocoon around its victims and eats them later. A village of spiders could be waiting for me. It could kill me with its venom (could be a black widow). Or crawl into my ear and to my brain.


Who else suffers from a completely mind-numbing fear?

"Oh what a night"

More like a surreal weekend. I felt like a guest star on "This is Your Life." But I suppose it's natural for a person to assemble a sorted collection of acquaintances after living in a city almost ten years.

It all started when an old friend showed up for drinks at Zola. I didn't think he'd make it out because it really wasn't his scene - but two black martinis later, he looked right at home.

Man from the Past #1

I was walking out of Zola when someone grabbed my arm, pulling me back toward the bar area. It turned out to be this random guy who used to call me when production companies would hold auditions for extras. The only time we ever talked or met was at these casting calls. I hadn't seen him in three years.

So we hopped in a cab and headed towards an old favorite - The Eighteenth Street Lounge. At one point, before my mature and sensible phase kicked in, I was hanging out there three times a week. It felt like putting on an old sweater that had been carelessly buried beneath a pile of clothes.

Man from the Past #2

We decided to grab stools at the bar instead of sitting on the comfy couches scattered throughout the main floor. ESL is a swank lounge with rooms that open up into one another. Candlelit with jazz rhythms beating in the background and a faint mix of cigar and incense. It was early, so I could still spot the people at the far side of the room. Leaning against the fireplace mantle was this guy I had adored and dated on and off until 1999 when I discovered he knew absolutely nothing about basketball (actually, most sports including football, basketball, and hockey ~ but, he could golf). For whatever reason, I was appalled by this fact and mentally moved him into the "just friends" category before losing touch. So we spent 15 minutes catching up on the past 4 years.

Moving right along to Andalu.... the evening begins to get a little hazy here. I guess I should explain - I don't bar hop anymore. I tend to start off at one place and end up at another. In my book, that's considered an exciting evening. So to hit three or four establishments in one evening falls under "Partying Like a Rock Star."

Men from the Past #3

So we're at Andalu, and I'm at the bar frantically waving a $20 bill to get the bartenders' attention, when these two guys start pointing my way from the end of the bar. I glance behind me, no one there, and stare back at them. Turns out, when I first moved to DC, friendless and alone, I used to hang out on their front stoop drinking Busch in cans. We must have hung out almost every night for a summer before they moved out of the basement apt. and relocated to New York City.

We finished the night at Club Five... danced the hours away like fools. I arrived with an impressive entourage.... having picked up a new person at each pitstop along the way.

It makes you appreciate what a small world we live in and how random life really can be. Don't burn bridges!