Friday, January 31, 2014

Breaking News

No, I don't actually HAVE breaking news, but this post is about some things that confuse me and it involves "breaking news."

So yesterday I was watching Ellen. In Columbus, it airs at 4:00. The local news on that station comes on at 5:00 and is then on for 90 minutes. Yesterday was also the day that Ohio State formally announced their new president. I say "formally" because of course the news was out the night before so this wasn't a big surprise. And it certainly wasn't the Breaking News that Channel 4 declared it to be. I mean, I get it that this is a big deal for some people, but you couldn't have waited until 5:00?

Of course, the more nationwide "breaking news" bullshit that happened recently was when Andrea Mitchell was forced to interrupt an interview about the NSA to report on Justin Bieber's arraignment. WTF? And just in case for some reason you haven't seen it, here it is:

This got me thinking about a couple other things that I just don't get.

Head-in parking

This isn't the first time I've seen this, so I seriously Googled "head-in parking" to make sure that it meant what I thought it meant. Can anyone explain this to me?

Age ratings on TV

Am I crazy? Don't you read "iffy for 14+" to mean that only people UNDER 14 should watch the show? Obviously that makes no sense, and it makes my brain hurt.

This next picture is the opposite of not making sense. You may have seen this picture on my Instagram, but it bears sharing again. Gwensday was Yahtzee night in the 'hood at Angie's house. Instead of buying ice to cool the beer and white wine, she did this:

Brilliant, don't you think? Finally, something good about winter!

Linking up for Friday Favorites, even though only one of the above items qualifies as a Favorite.
 photo FFaves_zps6c1a013e.png

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How To Tell It's Winter (besides the obvious)

I know, it's late January, there's snow on the ground and temperatures are below zero even without "windchill." Personally I think windchill is stupid. I sure as hell can't tell the difference between what "feels like" -10 and what "feels like" -25. It's just fucking cold. End of story.

But there are some other ways to tell winter is upon us, and here are mine.

1. The fireplace is on during all waking hours. Thank the tiny toasty-warm baby Jesus for our gas fireplace that we can just flip on and off.

2. It takes a good five extra minutes to get ready to leave the house, between the scarf and the hat and the gloves and the heavy coat. And then another five minutes upon arriving home to shed those same accessories. God help me if I get home and urgently need to pee.

3. Señor Gato Negro and Bella grow enormous manes. Gato's is more obvious because it's grey against his otherwise all black coat.

Left: Bella in summer
Right: Bella today

Look at that luscious mane!

4. So many pockets. Even more items get "lost" because of all the pockets. (This came from Aaron.)

5. The cats cuddle, both with us and with each other. Well, Bella cuddles even in the heat and humidity of summer, but the other two normally do not.

Sometimes they make it difficult for me to blog work.

6. We enter the Land of Perpetual Laundry, mainly because every damn day we wear a load of clothes. And we don't even have kids!

Yesterday's clothes.

It was so cold yesterday that Little Rock Bar wasn't even open, so no karaoke this week. (Wish I had seen that before I walked up there.) Stay warm, my friends!

Linking up with Kathy and Shanna on this crazy cold GWENSday

Monday, January 27, 2014

So Long, January - Weekend Windup

I don't know about you, but this was a weekend fit for staying in. Cold, snow, wind ... it was nasty. We didn't exactly stay in, but we saw lots of movies.

Friday I went to see Frozen. I enjoyed it a lot and at times I had to remind myself that it was an animated movie. I do have a couple observations, which may be minor spoilers so you can skip to Saturday if you don't want to read them. First, what's with the marriage proposals after knowing each other for one day? I almost thought I was watching Downton Abbey. And then, just what the hell constitutes an act of true love? Kristoff racing Anna back to the castle to get a kiss from someone else sure seemed like true love to me. And Olaf risked turning into a puddle to stay with her! "Some people are worth melting for." Regardless, I liked it.

Have you seen this version of "Let It Go" in 25 different languages? Pretty cool.

Saturday Aaron and I saw The Wolf of Wall Street. Leonardo and Jonah were really good and the movie is reminiscent of Goodfellas, minus the violence, add a whole lot of raunchy sex. I felt it was too long, though. That night we went to our wine and supper club, where the theme was Greek food and it was delicious!

Sunday after church we did a movie doubleheader with Colin and Amy. We saw 12 Years a Slave, which was so powerful, and I'm sorry JLaw and Julia, but Lupita Nyong'o was just outstanding and totally deserves the Oscar. Then we saw Her. I was skeptical about this and probably wouldn't have made a point to see it if it weren't nominated, but we were all pleasantly surprised. It's set in the not-too-distant future so the technology is cool but still relatable. [Why is spell-check questioning me on "relatable?" It's totally a word.] When the end credits rolled, Aaron said "THAT was Joaquin Phoenix?" Yep.

We were at the Gateway Film Center so after the movies we had a bite to eat at Liz Lessner's latest endeavor, The Torpedo Room. Pretty yummy (I had a chorizo quesadilla and I loved it), kinda pricey, but we had fun. [Apparently spell-check also doesn't like ethnic foods. Go home, spell-check.] Then we went home and watched most of the Grammys. Oddly, I don't have much to say about them. Loved the Beatles tributes. The mass wedding was cool but Madonna, what the hell? Loved Sara Bareilles with Carole King and Pink with Nate Ruess. Loved Beyonce's dress (what I saw of it) but hated her hair.

And finally, just to show you how bad this stupid weather is, here's one of the closings I saw on TV:

Friday, January 24, 2014

Food Weirdness

Oh, the strange things that inspire blog posts...

Back in December I was in Bath & Body Works stocking up on hand soap and I bought this:

I recently started using it in the kitchen and I love the way it smells. Actually, I like the smell and taste of pear "stuff," especially in my sauvignon blanc, but I canNOT eat an actual pear. I think it's the texture and it kinda grosses me out. This got me thinking about other food oddities.

Bananas. I'll eat bananas, though they're not my favorite, but I can't stand banana flavored things. And really, banana flavored things seem so over-the-top. Exceptions: I do like banana bread, and I LOVE plantains, maybe because they're usually doctored up with not-good-for-you seasonings. And speaking of not-good-for-you, I also really like the Bananas Foster dessert at Brennan's in New Orleans, but I'm not likely to order it anywhere else, and don't even attempt to get me to eat a banana split. Blech. ***Holy shit, I just found out that Brennan's is closed. This makes me sad. Aaron and I have very fond memories of that place and here's a picture of us there for our anniversary in 2012.

Broccoli and cauliflower. Do not even try to tell me that if I like one I should like the other. No. I love broccoli: raw or cooked. I despise cauliflower. I cannot stand it. Cauliflower could go to Asshole Island and I'd be perfectly happy. Perhaps I should seek therapy over my intense hatred of cauliflower. Full disclosure: a couple weeks ago Amy D made a cauliflower soup but fortunately I didn't know that's what it was before I ate it. It was all garlicky and shit, though, so that makes everything better.

Strawberries. I really like fresh strawberries and I like strawberry jam (especially homemade), but I do NOT like strawberry ice cream or candy or drinks or desserts. True story: when we were kids and we'd go out to eat at Elby's Big Boy (as it was known in PA), the only thing my brother would eat was strawberry pie. I mean that was his dinner. Yuck. Anyway, I have an exception to this rule as well: the strawberry balsamic martini at Marcella's is one of my favorite drinks ever. Of course, Marcella's is on the Restaurant Odyssey and at our pace, we won't get there until a year from now.

I know I'm not the only person who has quirks about food, so tell me yours!

For this week's #backthatazzup entry, follow my train of thought here. "Banana" made me think of Bananarama and I chose "Cruel Summer" because right about now I'm dreaming of summer.

Cruel Summer by Bananarama on Grooveshark

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

It's Jackets Time!

Last night Aaron and I went to a hockey game. Did you know Columbus has an NHL team? (I suppose if you either live in Columbus or are a hockey fan, then yes, you know this.) The Blue Jackets (CBJ) came into existence in 2000. They've made the playoffs once, in 2009. My former employer used to have a suite at Nationwide Arena and occasionally I'd get tickets, but I hadn't been to a game in quite a while. A friend gave us his tickets for last night's game against the LA Kings, and what a game it was!

Even though it's ridiculously cold outside, we decided to walk the almost-mile-and-a-half to the arena, but we had to stop off at the R Bar, which is the hockey bar in Cbus, plus we love the subs there and we desperately needed food. While there, I took this picture and Instagrammed that bitch with #CBJ and wouldn't you know, at the game they put it up on the giant screens at center ice.

Also, Labatt Blue has three limited edition 24-oz cans promoting the Blue Jackets. I'm digging this logo:

As for the game itself, the Blue Jackets were going for their seventh consecutive win, which would be a franchise record. AND THEY WON! Final score: 5-3. RJ Umberger scored two goals (OMG, if we had seen a hat trick I might have peed my pants).

No zoom, no cropping. That's just how close our seats were.

We had a great time and we'll definitely be seeing another game sooner than later. We did decide to NOT walk home so we grabbed a car2go (one hiccup, no scraper in the car so Aaron had to use his drivers license on the windshield). ***UPDATE - Aaron emailed car2go and told them about the missing scraper and they gave him 15 more minutes of drive time. Yay!

Oh yeah, and then I went to karaoke and stayed until closing. Oof.

And how's this for a Gwensday treat? My girl Erin hooked me up with a new blog design and I'm in love. If you're wanting a new look, you must check her out over at Love, Fun and Football.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

We Turned it Up to 11

We considered going to a movie but ultimately decided to stay in. Colin and Amy came over and we watched Kill Bill: Vol. 1, which all of us had seen except for Aaron. And even though I've seen it, I was so startled at the beginning by a gunshot that I spilled my (red) wine and we had to pause for clean up. After the movie we raided the music closet and took turns playing songs. I swear, with every song Aaron turned up the volume even more. It got loud. Really loud.

I went to a birthday party for one of our honorary nieces, who turned four.

That afternoon, Aaron and I went to see Gravity and loved it. We've become convinced that it was really filmed in outer space. (Not really, but damn, it was well done.) Colin and Amy happened to be at the same theater seeing a different movie so we met up with them afterward for a drink. In the evening we went to dinner at our next-door neighbors' house.

After church I went with Amy D to a jewelry party (danger!) and then several of us got together at our house for chili and football.

Señor Gato took a shine to Amy D (this is a rare thing).

My weekend turned into a long one, not because of MLK Day but because Aaron and his coworkers were at the house installing a bunch of new stuff like remote control window shades and speakers and touch screens to control all that shit and more. So I felt it best to vacate the premises.

I went to the gym (sorry, should have warned you; I hope you were sitting down) and saw two movies. I finally watched Hunger Games: Catching Fire which I enjoyed quite a bit and then saw August: Osage County. Look, I like Meryl Streep but I'm not usually one to gush over her. But I'm telling you, she's outstanding in this movie. All the acting is fantastic. It's pretty dark, but has quite a few moments of comic relief, too.

SAG Awards
While I didn't watch them live, I did make a point to watch the SAG Awards. Here are three of my best dressed:

photos from E!Online

1. Lupita Nyong'o does it AGAIN! I can't explain how much I love this dress, but I bet I wouldn't like it nearly as much on most other people. She is just so stunning I can't stand it. And congrats on the SAG win!

2. Amy Adams - I love blue and I'm a huge fan of asymmetrical features. I didn't see any red carpet stuff so the first time I saw this was when she was onstage introducing American Hustle and I'm pretty sure it took my breath away.

3. Jennifer Lawrence totally redeemed herself from the Golden Globes dress debacle. I love this.

Three of my worst dressed:

photos from E!Online
4. Oh Edie Falco, what the hell? This is just strange, and it doesn't help that the pose is extremely unflattering as well.

5. I've seen this one on some best dressed lists, but really, Kerry Washington? And honestly, I wouldn't like this even if she weren't pregnant.

6. I was struck by how grown up Abigail Breslin is in August: Osage County, but this dress is way too old for her.

Friday, January 17, 2014

You look like that girl...

If you know me, you know how much I love the movie Dirty Dancing. And to remind you of how old I am, I was in college when the movie was released. After a while, I started getting comments like "you kind of look like that girl in that movie... you know, the one with the dancing..."

I tried to find a picture from around that time that would indicate this but I'm not seeing it.

But a few years ago I had posted a picture on Facebook and my friend Trudi said "you look like Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing." You decide.

I also used to hear that I looked like Jennifer in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but I always attributed that to her bitchy demeanor.

Apropos of nothing, that particular picture of me came from this picture from choir tour in college:

Yes, that's Aaron, then me, Jen and Dee. Classic picture, circa 1988.

Of course, then Jennifer went and had a couple nose jobs and I did not, so the resemblance doesn't exist anymore. Ah, well...

And what else could I choose to play today but this:

I've Had The Time Of My Life by Dirty Dancing on Grooveshark

Do you have a celebrity doppelgänger?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Stop #15 - L'Antibes

Aaron's taking over today for this long-overdue review. Y'all be nice to him, okay?


Many of you dedicated readers may be asking yourselves "Hey, what's with the restaurant odyssey?  Did they quit? Give up? Forget? Losers."  Well we haven't forgotten, and we most definitely haven't given up.  As I sit here on Tuesday January 14th I'll give you the Cliffs Notes first.  We're still on the RO, and we just ate at Barrel 44 a couple of weeks ago, so be as prepared to read some reviews as we are to write them.  We've got lots of catching up to do.

Three seasons ago in late April Gwen and I were joined by dear friends and neighbors Dru and Jeannie for a fabulous evening at L'Antibes.  The restaurant holds special memories for Dru and Jeannie, so when this somewhat arduous tour was first conceived and shared with our peoples in the 'hood, they excitedly committed to join us on our first trip to this well-reviewed restaurant. Now, L'Antibes isn't actually on High Street, although technically its address is. But one of the rules Gwen and I created, that we shall dine in every Short North visible from High Street, is affectionately called "The L'Antibes Rule" because a) we've never been there and b) it has a reputation for being one of the finest restaurants in the area, if not the entire city. So far the only other qualifier for this rule is the delicious Tasi but given our progress I suppose there is still time for others to join the list.

Jeannie and Dru (this was not taken the night of our dinner)

While you might have to wait another year or so for the final verdict, I can't imagine any contenders in the current line-up of Short North eateries that would challenge L'Antibes for a complete dining experience.  The French-inspired food was both wonderful to eat and beautiful to see, and was clearly prepared and served with the (European) respect that food, and the opportunity to eat, is a privilege never to be taken lightly.  I trust take-out is not an option here.

L'Antibes is quite small and intimate. When the weather turns warmer, they have outdoor seating allowing for more guests, but it wasn't quite patio season so we dined indoors.

We started with cocktails that we can't remember, not because they were strong but because it's been about 9 months and we didn't write them down, and an amuse-bouche of mushrooms on a little crostini.  This photo alone tells you the evening will be one of fine dining, doesn't it?


Gwen and Jeannie both had the smoked salmon appetizers (1), I had the crab cake (2) and Dru had the foie gras (3).

Salads were had by all - Gwen a spring salad (4), Dru and Jeannie both ordered avocado salads (5), and I had a green salad with beets.  Delish.

In a shocking move, Gwen did not order scallops, but went with one of the specials that evening, which was a fish with risotto (7). Jeannie had the fish as well, while Dru had the duck (8) and I ordered short ribs. I'm not going to bore you with how awesome these dishes were because it belittles the quality. Suffice to say it was most excellent.

We did, however, have one hiccup in the evening that speaks further to the quality of this place.  When I ordered the "short ribs" the server mistakenly heard me say "sweet breads."  I'm sure they were excellent but I wouldn't know because one bite told me I had the wrong part of the pig on my plate.  The error was immediately corrected without question, and it wasn't until we returned home that we realized that our server comped our second bottle of wine for what was an honest mistake.  Here's where L'Antibes stands apart from the crowd: am I surprised that he unnecessarily comped a bottle of wine? No. But he never mentioned it, which to me is a super-classy thing to do.  

Well done, L'Antibes.  Looking forward to seeing you again as soon as this tour is over. (Editor's note: if you're keeping track at home, this is the third time Aaron has expressed his desire to go back to one of our stops.)