Archive for May, 2008

Enjoy ‘Sex,’ forgo ‘Zohan’ and learn a new bus trick

Posted in Movies on May 30, 2008 by poojaland

I went to two very different movie screenings this week … Tuesday, I went to see “Sex and the City.” The crowd was mostly women (of course) and totally into it (of course). It was completely over the top and borderline cheesy at times, but I really loved it. Mainly I was just excited to see those four girls again! I was surprised at how much of an emotional roller coaster the film was; it was funny, sad, tragic, dramatic, outrageous… I highly recommend it to any and all “SATC” fans. I may go see it again.

Last night was a screening of “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan.” Apologies in advance to anyone I know at Sony who reads this, but…man, it was HORRIBLE. The only mildly funny/interesting parts were the cameos. Other than that, it was truly excruciating. Taylor, who sees a lot of movies (2-3 a week) declared it the worst movie she’d ever seen — even worse than “Son of the Mask.” Now, I have a pretty corny sense of humor, and can find “dumb” funny movies hilarious, but this was a looonng way from even “dumb” funny. It was just “bad” funny. So those of you who’re thinking to go check it out — you’ve been warned. I’m really curious to see what the critics have to say about it.

Finally, on a completely different topic — I took the bus from work to the screenings, which were at Pacific Place. It was my first time on a Sound Transit bus (I always take Metro). As the bus approached downtown and my stop, I looked around the bus a bit and realized I couldn’t see a bell-pull string thing that you yank to let the driver know you want the next stop. I kept looking all around, but couldn’t see any instructions on the walls or anything to clue me in to what I was supposed to push/pull/yank to request a stop. I started getting a little anxious, and then decided I’d just walk up to the driver before my stop to tell her that I wanted the next stop. But then — a guy in front of me reached up to the wall behind him and pressed this thin, vertical yellow strip on the wall and then “bing!” the “Stop Requested” sign lit up! Funky! I was kind of curious to give it a try myself, but as my stop approached, someone else pressed it before I got a chance. Next time! Here’s a pic I took surreptitiously on my cameraphone for any other Metro riders who randomly hop on an ST bus:

Rice showers and squatting in the woods

Posted in hiking, weddings on May 28, 2008 by poojaland

Sunday afternoon, my family went to the wedding of a family friend’s daughter. She’s Indian (raised in Seattle), and he’s white, but the ceremony was all Indian. Everything was really lovely. I got some laughs before the ceremony started; my dad was sitting next to me, and for a while, was holding his friend’s year-old son on his lap. I heard a family friend behind me ask “Who’s that kid on his lap?” I put my hands palms-up, shrugged my shoulders and said, “Surprise!” All our friends within earshot were cracking up.

So, as we had all walked in, we were handed an Indian sweet and this little bag of colored dry rice. About 2/3 of the way through the ceremony, the priest (another family friend) told us that at three times during his next series of incantations, we were to toss a little bit of the rice up toward the bride and groom. My family was sitting about four rows back in an area with seven or eight rows, which meant that every time the tossing started, we’d get pelted in the back of the head by the rice throwers in the rows behind us. And then, some random person behind us (I didn’t want to turn around to look and give them the satisfaction) started throwing rice randomly at the wrong time! Yeesh. A few minutes later, the guy sitting next to my dad got up for a bathroom run, and on his seat was this pile of the colored rice! We were all like “Huh??,” wondering how/why it had gotten there.

Also, haha, one instruction you’ll hear at an Indian wedding that you’ll never hear at a Western-style one: “Put the coconut over there.”

View of the falls from the viewing deck

Monday (Memorial Day), my friend Chrissy and I headed to Twin Falls for a mini day hike. En route, we picked up Stacey in North Bend. We got a bit of a late start — noon — and due to the nice weather (mid-70s), the trail was pretty packed. But it was so great to be walking near the river’s edge, and then up to the side of the waterfall itself. There was a great, cool breeze coming off the water, and the falls and river were super full due to all the runoff. Midway up the trail, we walked down some stairs to stand in the mist of the falls’ spray. The wind and spray were so intense that when I faced the fall head on, I literally lost my breath. We hiked up to the top — I think just about two miles? — and then wandered a bit down the John Wayne trail, which is an old railroad track, now sans track. We sat on a random log off the path to have a snack. And then..

Stacey, Chrissy and Maggie in front of the
falls

I copped a squat in the woods to relieve myself for the first time in like 10 years (the last time was in India). I had been quite enjoying drinking from my new Camelbak backpack, and there wouldn’t really have been any place to squat in private on the way down. Then we packed up and headed further down the J.W. Trail, and…wouldn’t you know it — hit some Porta Pottys about 10 minutes later. Typical! Then we walked over some trellises/bridges with some great views of I-90 and the mountains, and crossed an area where people — even kids as young as three or so — were doing some rock climbing. Around 4:15, we got back to the car and headed to Stacey’s. Her house is amazing — it’s on one acre of land, almost literally at the base of Mt. Si (there’s only a road and some trees between her front yard and the mountain). We ate some more, lounged on her patio, tossed the slimy squishy toy to Chrissy’s dog Maggie, looked for goats on the mountain (“Goat Watch 2008”! we actually found three), saw a couple birds’ nests (one with little babies, one with eggs) and generally enjoyed the beautiful day. I think we sat out there for like two hours; it was a great way to wrap up the long weekend. Here’s a shot of the view of Mt. Si from Stacey’s yard:

SIFF opening-gala grand adventure

Posted in Movies on May 23, 2008 by poojaland

Wow. So yesterday was … A Day. The main event was the evening’s outing — the SIFF (Seattle Int’l Film Festival) opening-night gala and screening of “Battle in Seattle.” Where to begin..

8:00 a.m. — I pull on my backpack and walk up the street to catch the bus to work. Keys are (thank god) tossed into backpack and *not* purse.

11:15 a.m. — Get my purse out of my backpack in order to go to lunch with some co-workers as (another) send-off for Derek, who made a special trip to the Eastside to meet up with us.

1 p.m. — Return from lunch. Plop my purse down next to — but not inside — my backpack.

3:30 p.m. — Pull on my backpack — sans purse, still — and head out early to catch the bus home.

4:40 p.m. — Back home. Get ready for the premiere, finish up some work.

5:40 p.m. — Final preparations before needing to head to Capitol Hill to pick up my “date,” Lara, en route to McCaw Hall for the gala. Go looking for my camera, then remember it’s in my purse and then also remember that, SH*T! I left my purse in my office!! My purse has my cell phone (I have no landline at home), ID and credit cards/cash in it. Run to my computer.. luckily Eric (officemate) is still online in the office. I have him call Lara from my cell — which was in my purse — to let her know that I have to head to Redmond to pick up my purse, as I’ll likely need to show ID to get our tickets at the McCaw Hall box office, and won’t be by her place until probably 6:45 instead of 6, as was the original plan.

5:50 p.m. — Dash out the door and hit the freeway, negating the fact that I’d been good and bused in to/from work earlier.

6:15 p.m. — Due to thankfully light-ish traffic, get off 520 in Redmond. Hit immediate backup about two blocks from my office. Traffic is not moving at all. Turn off to try a detour, but again get stuck in a backup. I can now see flashing lights down 148th about a block past the turn off to my office; some kind of accident has the two lanes blocked. After 10 minutes, I’ve moved about four car lengths. I pull into the 7-11 parking lot and begin booking it on foot the 1.5 blocks to my office.

6:30 p.m. — Arrive in my office. Say a quick “Thank you!!” to Eric, grab my purse, and begin booking it back to my car. Along the way, my left foot begins hurting where the base of my big toe joins the rest of my foot. I stop for a second to look down. Turns out I’m already getting a f*cking blister! The shoes are good quality (BCBG), and Nordstrom had “stretched” them for me when I bought them, but it was my second time wearing them, and first time wearing them while walking so quickly.

6:40 p.m. — Head back to Seattle. Hit traffic just past the 520 W/405 S junction. While my car inches forward, I pull off my left shoe and try to stretch that part of the heel out more. I put on my earrings and necklace.

7:05 p.m. — Am pulling up to Lara’s building. Ask her to bring along some band-aids for me. I put a couple on the worst parts of my left food while we wait at a red light.

7:15 p.m. — Park in pay lot a block from McCaw Hall. Dash (or in my case, painfully stumble) across the street and walk up the now-deserted red carpet, past the $25 (!!) valets. Pick up my tickets — after NOT being asked for any ID — and run into the hall. Due to the lateness, Lara and I had to sit a couple rows apart. The timing actually worked out okay, though; they were still just doing general intro/SIFF plugs when we sat down.

7:40 p.m. — “Battle in Seattle” writer-director Stuart Townsend comes out to say a few words. He also quickly introduces the cast members who came out for the premiere — Charlize Theron (also Townsend’s girlfriend), Michelle Rodriguez, Andre Benjamin and Martin Henderson. Too bad Channing Tatum didn’t make it out.. After asking the audience for a show of hands of who was around for the WTO riots — and seeing a TON of hands go up — Townsend hilariously says “Oh sh*t.” Then…the movie begins.

….

Despite being distracted by my aching left foot and the fact that I REALLY had to pee (no way was I going to make my row stand up again, after I’d been seated late), I really enjoyed the film — Townsend spent something like six years on the film, doing research and interviews, and visiting Seattle several times. I thought it was a great behind-the-scenes look into the organization/process of protests, and the fall-out — both of the participants and innocent bystanders. They also showed the reactions from the Seattle mayor and police, and even the frustation of one WTO presenter who was trying to get his important issue heard. I think the film releases in September, so I’d urge Seattleites to check it out. Though most of it was filmed in Vancouver, it’s still a really cool snapshot of an infamous part of our history. I can’t believe it’ll have been 10 years since the riots, come November. The audience really got into the film — clapping or shouting praise when a character said/did something admirable..

After the screening, the cast and director came back out on stage to do a Q&A with a SIFF guy and take some audience questions. We found out that they all own Priuses! Well, I think everyone but Andre Benjamin, who says they don’t look cool enough … yet. Below, from left: Charlize, Andre, Martin, Michelle, Stuart, SIFF moderator:

Around 9:30, the Q&A ended, and everyone headed to the hall’s courtyard for the afterparty. I think nearly all of the 3,000 screening attendees stayed for it.. There were mad crowds around the alcohol table ($5 a drink), and the only foods were cakes and cupcakes. We stood around and ate a little, then headed to what I think is the Exhibition Hall next door, where there was more food, full bars, a small dance floor and lots of areas to sit around and chat. Once in there, we ran into some fun Aussie friends of Lara’s from her Amazon days. Though my feet were really killing me at this point (see right), we all stood around and ate (the food we got our hands on was really horrible) and chatted. Around 11:30, Lara and I decided it was time to cut out. I went to hug her friend Liz goodbye; Liz gave me a one-arm hug, but then sort of pulled me towards her, which resulted in my smashing my mouth onto her bare shoulder and leaving a sparkly lip-gloss imprint. Typical!! I wiped it off and mumbled something like “Oops! Haha, I smooched your shoulder,” but she was still talking about something or another and probably just thought I was doing some strange sort of Indian goodbye.

Before we left, we posed on the red carpet..

Once Lara and I got back to my car, I remembered that I had my gym shoes in my trunk, so I eagerly pried off my heels and put the tennies on instead. Ahhhhh!

After getting home, I applied Neosporin and band-aids to both of my feet — two per foot. Now I’ve got my fingers tightly crossed that I’m in better shape come Monday, as Chrissy and I are planning to do a day hike somewhere..

Some other notes from last night:

Interesting to see how Seattleites decided to dress for this event.. a lot of people were somewhat dressy, like Lara and me, but there were also folks in zip-up hoodies, jeans, and I even saw one guy carrying his bicycle helmet around.

“Celeb” sightings: KING 5 (?) sports dude Tony Ventrella. Super Deluxe lead singer and solo artist Braden Blake (I was going to say hello, since I’ve been a longtime SD concert-attendee and we’re acquaintences, but I didn’t). Some older guy Lara swears has a recurring role on one of the “Law & Order” shows (I wasn’t able to get a look at him).

So.. all in all, the day ended up well, despite the stress, drama and aching feet. I was worried we wouldn’t be able to get in at all, being so late! Hoo-ee.

Spoilt ‘Idol’

Posted in TV on May 22, 2008 by poojaland

Due to the nature of my work (entertainment) and the fact that my office is on the West coast, I often get e-mails to my work address that spoil TV events before they happen here, i.e., a recap of the “House” episode that will start at 9 p.m. PT hits my Inbox around 7 PT. This is the case every week with “American Idol”.. I often don’t mind if I happen to see one of those mails, just because I’m not that concerned or I’ve pretty much predicted who’ll get the axe. However, tonight, finale night, I was determined to watch it without knowing who’d win it all. So I whipped out my laptop around 8 p.m. PT and let my work Inbox refresh. I parnoidly (is that a word?) covered the subject-line area of all the mails so I could avoid reading a revealing headline (I’m sure you’re wondering why I even opened my e-mail at all, but I wanted to make sure there were no non-“Idol” issues I needed to address). I successfully got through the non-“Idol” mails, but then.. in the lower-right-hand area of my taskbar, a new message popped up. In the Outlook I have, the little pop-up says whom the mail is from, has the subject line, and the first line or so of text. When I saw the little pop up, I glanced at it out of habit, and D’OH! There it was… “_______’s ‘Idol’ win means ….”

So now I know. And the results won’t be revealed for like another hour and a half here on the West coast!! I don’t know yet whether I’m happy with the results.. I thought David A. did a much better job last night, and I think he has an incredible voice, but….it always seems like he’s singing at some sort of religious event. David C. is much more “real” to me, and has sort of paid his dues a bit, but his voice can be a bit too grating at times.

Anyway, watching the show will be a little anticlimactic now (I’m actually TiVo’ing it while I catch up on some other stuff; “Idol” is like a fashion magazine in that 70% of it is nonsense, so I like to be able to fast-forward through the crap), but I’ll of course at least watch the last few minutes to see how the reveal goes over with the judges and winners. Augh!

_uacct = “UA-4104546-1”;
urchinTracker();

Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket?

Posted in shopping on May 21, 2008 by poojaland

If there’s one grand rule of a woman’s life, it’s that if you set out to find one specific article of clothing — i.e., a black T-shirt, or some dark jeans or tall boots — you’ll have to go to several different stores on several different days before finally settling on an item by saying, “Wellll, it’s not exactly what I wanted, but it’ll work.” (And of course, you also will find lots of other items you didn’t need but just had to buy.)

Anyhow, I went on a treasure-hunt outing this evening. I have a red-carpet event to go to later this week, and had nothing in my closet that would be right for that sort of occasion. In fact, I only own two dresses — both of which still have the tags on them … I’d decided that my last-resort option would be my simple black dress. It’s not super formal, but would probably do in a pinch. But, I still wanted to see if I could find something more appropriate. So tonight, I started off by going to Ross. I didn’t want to spend more than maybe $70, and I figured Ross would be my best — though most long-shot — chance of finding a cheapish dress. To my surprise, the store actually quite a good selection of summery, somewhat formal dresses. I almost yelled “WHAT!” out loud when I looked at the price tags: each was between $15 and $22!! I ended up trying on six of them. Two of them were keepers, and I found a third on a second go-round of the racks that I ended up buying as well. I don’t know yet whether I’ll keep all three… it’s very tempting, just so I don’t have to do another panicked “What am I gonna wear?” run on a future such occasion.

And the icing on the cake — out of curiousity, I wandered over to the jackets/blazers section to see if they had any cute jackets to wear with a dressy outfit. They only had like five items in my size, but one was just what I had in mind!

A few hours post-shopping, I’m still sort of in shock. You have to understand that I have a rather odd body shape: I’m about 5’4″, which makes me about an inch taller than a true Petite size, but about three inches too short (without heels) for the majority of pants and jeans. I have a small waist, but.. um, “child-bearing” hips. And then I’m pretty small and narrow up top (I often shop in the kids’ section — much cheaper and the fit is surprisingly good). So finding clothes I like and that are flattering is often a huge ordeal for me, especially when it comes to things that need to be somewhat fitted. I could believe I actually was able to do one-stop shopping. It was a banner day!

_uacct = “UA-4104546-1”;
urchinTracker();

Gettin’ my eatin’ and dancin’ on

Posted in restaurants on May 19, 2008 by poojaland

Well, it’s been a busy but good weekend. Friday, in the early evening, I met up with some folks from work and their spouses for happy hour at Kate’s pub in Wallingford. I’d never been there before, or even heard of it, but I really liked it. Mainly because all their food is half off — not just the appetizers. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any specials on mixed drinks, but I really enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. Very laid back with friendly servers, and parking was a breeze.

That night, it was off to Capitol Hill to try another new place, Chez Gaudy, in honor of Lara’s 30th birthday. It’s very hidden — the entrance is an alley and not really marked either by the street or in the alley. Inside, the decor is very eclectic and ragtag — draperies, funky mirrors, old suitcases. The menu is described as “rustic Italian.” I had a funky appetizer — toast with wasabi and cheese on top, with a wasabi/miso/garlic dipping sauce. Plus some greens with a balsamic reduction and a second dipping sauce of this strawberry-jam stuff. The toast was a little chewy, but I really liked the flavor. For dessert, we shared chocolate cake, fruit trifle and a rhubarb pie tart. The rhubarb pie was gone by the time it came around the table to me, but I really loved the trifle. It had the perfect balance of fruit and cream. Oh, and our server guy was really hilarious. He came by every 15 minutes or so, and if a seat was empty because someone had left or was in the restroom, he’d plop down to chat with us or sing along to the music. So, all things considered, I’d give it a thumbs up.

Saturday was all about a good friend of mine who’s getting married in July. Her shower was in the a.m., then we all met up again in the evening for drinks, food and dancing at Ibiza. I’d been hesitant about the festivities since I’m sort of past the age of enjoying clubbing — and I never went through that phase in my early/mid 20s — but I actually had a really good time. Once 10:30 rolled around, the place got loud and cramped. It was super, super hot — I was sweating in my tank top and jeans — and the other folks there were all much younger. I only had one drink towards the beginning of the night, but as the night went on, well, I couldn’t help getting bitten by the dancing bug. I have a good sense of rhythm, but I’m short on moves, so I’m sure I made a bit of a fool of myself, but it was still fun. Though.. I was definitely tempted to take a shower when I got home around 1:30. Yew!

That’s me on the left. FIERCE!

_uacct = “UA-4104546-1”;

urchinTracker();

Shoe envy

Posted in shopping on May 14, 2008 by poojaland

This afternoon, a random, comedic vignette from my past popped into my head. It’s typical of the strange things that either happen to me, or are caused by me. “This is my life as a Cover Girl,” as I like to say.

Anyway, this happened probably three years ago. Anuja (my sister) and I were at Nordstrom Rack in Lynnwood trying on shoes. As any of you who’ve been there (or to any Nordy’s Rack, I’m sure) know, the shoe area can be quite messy — right shoes tossed about right and left. I was randomly trying all kinds of shoes on, and at one point, I stuck my foot into a shoe that’d been on the ground; it was this cool suede clog with some sort of design on top. I took a couple test steps down the aisle, and then a lady at the end of the aisle turned around, looked at my “new” shoe and said “Oh.. that’s actually my shoe.”

Ooops! I was embarrassed at first, but then I found it to be quite hilarious. Not sure if the shoe’s owner found it quite as amusing as I did, but I think she did at least crack a smile after I said “Ha, sorry!” and took her shoe off. At least I’d been wearing socks!

That’ll all from the Poojaland vault for this time..

_uacct = “UA-4104546-1”;
urchinTracker();