Archive for March, 2010

L.A. = Lots (of) Attractions

Posted in Uncategorized on March 31, 2010 by poojaland

I headed down to L.A. last week to spend a few days running around town for various meetings. I’ve been working with a cache of folks down there for nearly five years now, but had never met any of them face to face, so I finally got an opportunity to do as much. I had meetings from when I landed on Wednesday morning through Friday evening, and then I went off the clock and hung out with one of my BFFs, “S,” through Sunday afternoon.

I actually lived in L.A. (specifically Northridge and Santa Monica) from 2000-2003 while I was in grad school. I did revisit the city in December of 2006 to help with a work event, but I was helping some co-workers put on the event, so I don’t count it as a true business trip. Plus, we had one rental car between three of us, so I didn’t really do much around town on my own. Anyways, once I decided to hang out those extra couple days on my own time on this trip, I immediately started coming up with a list of favorite restaurants and hang outs I wanted to head back to. Thankfully, S was willing to entertain me (this was key not only because I of course didn’t want to drag her anywhere she didn’t want to go, but also because I’d have returned my rental car by then and wouldn’t have any transportation!).

Here I am posing with the chicken brochette. On my right is the huge glass of BN's delicious white sangria.

I was able to hit up nearly everything I wanted to — except my favorite bakery/late-night eatery, Mani’s — and also enjoy some of S’s suggestions. I had chicken brochette at Bossa Nova in West Hollywood (chicken brochette = boneless, skinless chicken wrapped in bacon, deep fried and served on a bed of gorgonzola cream sauce; the WeHo BN location is at Robertson and Santa Monica), delicious bread and pasta at Fritto Misto in Santa Monica, yummy breakfasts at Toast and Jinky’s … yes, I did a LOT of eating! For work alone, Wed.-Fri., I had three lunch meetings and two breakfast meetings.  S and I had been thinking to hike Runyon Canyon over the weekend, but on Saturday, we stuck close to her place to let her furniture delivery folks in (she’d just moved), and on Sunday, we instead decided to grab breakfast and then walk around Santa Monica, on both the Promenade and beach area. The weather during the week had been warm and pleasant, but on the weekend, the sun really busted out, and the temps were in the upper 70s/low 80s — a bit much for this Seattle gal!

Saturday night we went to a night of sketch-comedy by the Groundlings, an improv/comedy group that’s up there in reputation and fame with Chicago’s Second City improv. I think Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig both started out with the Groundlings. It was a mostly fun night, though I didn’t find it consistenly funny. I definitely want to check them out again next time I’m in L.A., but on an improv night instead.

Some random bits from the trip —

  • I’d forgotten — but then was quickly reminded — how bad the smog is in L.A. Ick! I’m spoiled by the blue, blue skies we get in Seattle, along with the great views of the water, mountains, forests, etc.
  • The water quality, as I think most of the rest of the U.S. knows, is really awful in L.A. as well. Drinking water has this funky taste to it, and the shower water is “hard water,” which means it’s more difficult to get a good lather going with one’s soap/shampoo (or with mine, anyway!), and I felt like my hair was never truly clean of shampoo/conditioner/product residue.
  • I used a GPS to get around, for the first time ever. It was super, super handy. I do have an iPhone, but the GPS allowed me to not have to deal with looking down at my phone, hitting a button to get the next direction, etc.
  • All the people I met with were really friendly and nice, and also very attractive, and all of their cars that I saw — with the exception of one guy who I think had an Escape hybrid — were Audis, BMWs or Mercedes-Benz’s. Holy intimidation! I drive a Camry! S pointed out that maybe some of them are leasing their car for appearances’ sake..
  • Getting around L.A. sucks most of the time. The various parts of the city are so sprawling. You spend a lot of time in traffic, even on city streets, and at any given time of day.

All-in-all, it was a good little getaway, and I had fun being away “on business” (I even got a corporate American Express card for this trip!), meeting my cool partners down there, spending time with S, and of course, eating so much delicious food. I had bacon every single day!

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Posted in Uncategorized on March 22, 2010 by poojaland

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TV recommendation: ‘Dexter’

Posted in Uncategorized on March 19, 2010 by poojaland

A couple years back, a co-worker of mine received, but then put up for adoption, a copy of season one of “Dexter” on DVD. I’d heard good things about the show, so I snatched up the discs. Sat down one night, fired up episode 1, and….wow. I was sucked in within just a few minutes. The show stars Michael C. Hall, playing a character that’s a complete 180 from the straight-laced, rather vanilla gay mortician guy he played on “Six Feet Under.” On Dexter, he’s a tan, shaggy-haired blood-spatter expert for the Miami Police Department who moonlights as a serial killer who kills serial killers.

I watched Seasons 1 and two of the show in rapid succession (I think the same co-worker also received the second season on DVD), but am only now, like a year later, watching Season 3, which has Jimmy Smits appearing in an amazing guest-starring role. The show keeps you on your toes with twists and turns around every corner — stayed up until 1 a.m. last night watching two episodes after Thursday-night swimming, and then had to force myself to turn the TV off and go to bed (I work from home Fridays, so I let myself stay up later than usual). Oh, and Season 3 was nicely released on Blu-ray, which makes for even more inviting viewing.


I’m sure most of you have heard of this show by now (I think it’s into its fourth season on Showtime now?), but if you haven’t, I highly urge you to give it a look-see. It’s intense and gritty, but everything about the show is just utterly mesmerizing to me, from Hall’s performance as Dexter, to his relationship with his foul-mouthed police-offer sister (who’s actually Hall’s real-life wife) to his struggles to appear to be “normal,” to the way the show is shot, and even its color palette. More info at Showtime’s official Web site for the show.

The saga of… a cavity

Posted in Uncategorized on March 15, 2010 by poojaland

Went to the dentist a few weeks back for one of my regular six-month check-ups. They took my yearly X-rays, and surprise! I somehow managed to get a cavity…under a filling! Yes, this is one of the many the silly, stupid things that happen to me! To give some explanatory back story — a year ago, I had a filling put in on a molar on the left side of my mouth. I still have a bit of pain if I’m chewing something hard/crunchy on that side of my mouth and hit a certain sweet spot. I did go back to the dentist for a check-up a few months after that left-side filling so he could try to fix things, but though he did some polishing and filing of my tooth — then, and again another few months later — I still do have occasional pain. Apparently the filling has led to a “bite-pattern adjustment,” and it will slooooowly get better over time.

Anyway, to counter that sore spot, I’ve been chewing food more on the right side of my mouth. And this cavity-under-the-existing filling that was discovered? Yeah, it’s on the right side of my mouth. So I explained this to the hygienist after she first pointed out the cavity on my X-ray. She said that was likely a factor, but mentioned that, bearing in mind I don’t drink a lot of sugary sodas, I could also have highly acidic saliva (or something), which could contribute to a cavity being more likely to form. She told me to start rinsing with ACT with flouride mouthwash to help with this.

So, I went to the dentist this past Friday to get the new filling put in. As I was leaving, I asked the nurse if she had any special instructions for me. She said to wait maybe an hour before eating, and also to be careful when I did eat, as if the numbing stuff hadn’t completely worn off, I was at risk to bite the inside of my cheek by accident. So I was done at the dentist around 3:30. 4:30…little hungry, still very numb. 5:30…hungrier, still numb. 6:30…STARVING, but still numb. 7…finally break down and try to carefully eat some Fig Newtons. The numbing solution finally was all worn off around 8:30. Come to find out that oops, I did bite the inside of my cheek at least a couple times. No pain yet, but I could feel a little raw area with my tongue. The next morning…yowsa! OUCH!

Now it’s Monday, and the little raw area is a very tender bump. So I’m now eating more on the left side of my mouth. I better get serious with the ACT mouthwash, or I’ll have another cavity-under-a-filling on that side to match!!

Weighty issues

Posted in Uncategorized on March 5, 2010 by poojaland

I’ve never owned a bathroom scale. I do try and weigh myself at the gym at least a couple times a year, just so I have a number in mind if I ever need to enter my weight for something (i.e., machines at said gym, driver’s-license renewal form, etc.). However, a friend in high school once profoundly told me “Muscles weigh more than fat,” and though I never was a calorie/pounds counter to begin with (thank you, Mom and Dad), I took her phrase to heart. So now, I really could care less what the scale says when I step on it — it’s all about how my clothes fit, and what I see when I happen to catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror from the neck down (usually I don’t have my contacts on when I get out of the shower, so my view in the mirror is of a thankfully fuzzy brown blob). I just think it’s a waste of mental energy to get hung up on losing x-number of pounds when if you’re simultaneously exercising more, any pounds you gain/lose aren’t necessarily indicative of how much fat you lose.

This all just popped into my head recently, as I lost a little fat earlier this year, so as I’ve had to deal with my favorite jeans being too baggy/saggy on me (boo to them not fitting, not over losing fat!). I’m especially bummed to not have any ankle-length pants that fit anymore. On top of that, it took me some time to find decent hiking pants — it’s only been in the past year or so that companies are stocking petite-length pants in stores — and now those two awesome pairs I had that fit perfectly are also bagging on me. One of those pairs, by Mountain Hardwear, cost $100, so their being too big really sucks! Thankfully, I was able to use a 20%-off coupon on them at REI, and they’re not so big that I can’t still wear them (they just are a bit roomy around the butt, and there’s no belt loop or tie closure to tighten them at the waist). I can’t tell you how excited I was when I found those pants and discovered they were the correct length. Oddly enough, they weren’t even marked “petite”!

It’s been a super mild winter in Seattle — no snow at all! — so I’ve been able to get out and go hiking a handful of times already this year. That means that one of my top missions for the next few weeks is to find a new pair of hiking pants. REI here I come!

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Posted in Uncategorized on March 1, 2010 by poojaland

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