Sunday, March 25, 2007

Two Mini Breaks and FAME

A lot of things have happened recently. Chiefly I went on a couple of vacations and became a ceWEBrity.


I thought it'd be a good idea to cram in the vacations before I start my new job since my vacation allotment is less than generous. So first stop on the Pre-Job Vacation Extravaganza was Chicago. I love going home because my parents are the abso best. Also my sis Zoe was home and she's always good for a laugh and some shopping. My dad started taking tai chi because he's getting old and that's what people do when they get old. He does it at least once a day and even wears special shoes for it. Too cute!! The positions have fun names like single whip and ward off left.

I didn't do much at home. I went shopping with Zoe a lot, hung out with mom and dad, and watched tons of tv.

Nice nails, Zo!

We went out for a family dinner at legendary Indian restaurant Tiffin. It was excellent and the service was impeccable.

A while ago Zoe and Dad found themselves home alone for a week or so. The rest of the fam wondered how they were getting along, just the two of them in the apartment. An idea for a sitcom was born. It would be a Perfect Strangers style set-up with the tagline, 'She's vegan. He's 70!'

I also saw my friend Robin. We ate Korean BBQ. I love how many little things they bring you with your dish.

Home was nice and relaxing. I had a terrible time flying out because of a thunderstorm. I don't want to recount it. It's just your normal frustrating air travel saga and it'll make me mad to think about it. I did see Lisa Ling in the airport in the same situation as thousands of other stranded passengers. I wanted to take a picture and submit it to the "Stars Just Like Us!" feature in US Weekly.


Some angels (named Brian and John) helped make me a total ceWEBrity this weekend. They submitted my Tasting Rachael Ray video to Gawker. In the subsequent 7 hours it got picked up by several food blogs, Best Week Ever, Fleshbot and some other random blogs. My website visits went from 6 on Thursday to 10,385 on Friday. My bandwidth is like almost gone. I'm such a giddy girl! Also the guy who made Hamburger America George Motz is curating a Food Film Festival this summer in NYC and asked me to be part of it. I've seen Hamburger America tons of times -- in part because of Sundance Channel's commitment to biweekly screenings, but also because I love burgers and it's a fun little film. The point to Item II is that I am really famous and you should probably defer to me.


News of my cewebrity status came moments before my departure for the long awaited CHAINCATION 2007. It was a great way to start a vacation that has been in the works for about 5 weeks. Gretchen, Matt, Zaq and I loaded up Zoe's 1992 Toyota and headed in a southerly direction. We were bound for Greenbelt, Maryland -- home of ERIN K. YOKEL. There were mixes galore on the car ride down. Mine included several songs with the word 'chain' in the title. The theme of the Chaincation was, of course, chains. We went to California Pizza Kitchen, Chevy's, Target, Nordstrom, Forever 21, Express, The Apple Store, Banana Republic and others. We ate a lot of tasty but bad-for-you food like chicken fingers and quesadillas. Here are some other highlights in list form with accompanying pictures.

A. Tour of the Discovery Channel Building Lobby

B. Drive-thru Liquor Store

C. Hot Tubbing (featuring Matt Burnett in a Speedo -- the water was NOT the hottest thing in that tub MEEEOW!)

D. Dippin' Dots Stand at the Mall

I daresay ice cream can be MUCH more fun that Dippin' Dots.

E. Awesome Candy Packaging at Target

Doesn't it look like the goofy-faced monsters are hemorrhaging candy? From their mouths?! I liked to imagine the accompanying sound effect to this packaging as a kiddie puke noise.

F. Farmers Market With Wacky Mushrooms

G. Eggs ASAP

Even though only 1/2 of The Chain was able to attend, I had a great time. It made me so stoked to plan the next Chaincation, hopefully with a 100% attendance rate. Thanks Erin, Kathy and Uri for being such great hosts.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Flossy Floss-Ay

It's official. I'm a Fergie fan. Sure she made the Black Eyes Peas terrible and caused their eventual demise. She's forgiven because her pop stuff is on par with the best BEP jam (coincidentally titled 'Joints and Jam'). Her songs keep getting better. 'Fergalicious' was my #1 jam for a few months. Now 'Glamorous' is getting some major play on miPod. There's clapping (used to much better effect than the clapping in the new Avril song (which blows)) and Ludacris (ma coeur). She's just a 45-year-old babe that strongly resembles a transvestite, likes to spell things out (sometimes incorrectly) and have fun! Also her high jinks are the best in the biz. Peeing onstage?! Being too drunk to remember lyrics?! Not since Jim Morrison have onstage antics been so entertainingly ridiculous. You go girl!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

You [Conde] Nasty Twin / I Ain't Care

It's true. Big Pun (RIP) said it in 1998 and now, nine years later, the prophesy of these lyrics is finally revealed. I am the new Assistant Photo Editor at Allure Magazine. Big Pun's pet name for me is Twin because I'm a Gemini. That's how I knew the song was about me. The 'nasty' part has been shrouded in mystery for nigh on a decade until this past Friday when the HR woman called me and was like, "You a Conde Nasty, Naomi! Congratulations! Now, what is your social security number?" And I was all, "I ain't care. It's ***-**-****." Anyway, I'm excited. The Conde Nast building is one of the first Green buildings in New York or the world or something. So that's cool. Also the cafeteria is all famous and junk. I'll probably see Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, like, all the time. I will miss some things about PMc. My boss Anita is pretty wonderful and I will miss going to Balducci's with her every day. I will not miss working in a basement, being sexually harassed on a daily basis and interacting with douchey photographers. In summation, The Sarah Silverman Program: not as funny as it should be. Thoughts?

Thursday, March 1, 2007

C'est Comme Ca Que Je Roule Quoi

I've been to Paris a few times and never considered it anything special. Sure it's beautiful, but only in the way that all of Europe is beautiful because it's mad old but still modern and that dichotomy is kind of interesting or whatever. This trip, I absolutely fell in love with Paris. I'm going to do some unpacking to figure out why. Join me!

Laila and I set off from JFK late Friday night. I insisted we fly KLM because I'd heard it was very luxurious. It was. There was a lot of leg room, a very extensive selection of movies and TV shows to watch, and the free alcohol, of course. Also they love birds and bird videos which was neat.

We arrived in Paris after missing our connection in Amsterdam.
Jo met us there from Dublin which was a fun surprise. Here's Daniel moments after we arrived.

He's there on a Fulbright studying Oulipo, this literary group based in Paris. It sounds really boring, but some of it is really boring. JK it's cool. Like look at this exercise from a New Year's pamphlet Georges Perec sent to his friends in 1979:

quelle différence y a-t-il entre la moutarde AMORA et la moutarde
aucune, sinon que le couvercle de l'une se décapsule alors que celui
de l'autre se dévisse.
(what's the difference between amora mustard and maille mustard?
only that the lid of one uncorks [roughly] while the other unscrews.

je connais un homme qui erre, sans trêve, sans répit. il est toujours
habillé d'une vieille redingote et porte un faux col jadis blanc, que
les années ont jauni.
(i know a guy who wanders constantly. he's always wearing an old
frock and a detachable collar that used to be white but that the
years have yellowed.

Clever, right?

One of the first things Daniel mentioned about Paris was that about 50% of the signage in the city is in Comic Sans typeface. I found this baffling and charming. What a funny sense of humor and design to put so many signs in the ugliest font ever!! One point for Paris (though I think this point is nullified because every time I saw a sign in Comic Sans I died a little bit inside).

Basically, our trip was an exercise in wanderlust and eating. Every day we set out walking in some direction. We'd walk until we wanted to eat (I say 'wanted to eat' rather than 'got hungry' because our eating had little to do with our collective hunger level). Then we'd eat. Then we'd walk more. It was extremely leisurely and enjoyable.


Laila ate about 1000 huge meringues. They were gooey inside and oh so sweet.

I always forget that my favorite thing to eat in Europe is ham sandwiches. They're delicious. Baguettes with butter and ham. So simple. So tasty. I had one pretty much every day. The ham in Spain is better, but the Parisian baguette and butter are not to be beat. One point.

Laila insisted we eat a prix fix (or a forumle) one day. We wound up at the most insane restaurant ever that did NOT respect standard portion size. This three course meal consisted of a HUGE salad (with corn (de rigueur for Parisian salads apparently), whole radishes, tons of tomato, and beets), half a chicken with fries, and THREE DIFFERENT FLAVORS OF CREME BRULÉE in standard sized ramekins. It was out of control. I felt so ill afterwards. I couldn't even finish the creme brulées.

Here's Laila, defeated after the intense mealsperience.

A dog was in the restaurant too. Cute!

Daniel ate a lot of tartines au beurre.

Definitely the most amazing thing we ate was macaroons from Ladurée. These cakey cookies came in tons of exotic flavors, including fleur d'orange, cassis and rose. The taste actually deepened and changed as you consumed them. It was remarkable.


We walked by an ice skating rink on of the first days we were there. The kids were using these ingenious things to make sure they didn't fall over. I was really impressed that the French thought of this. It's so smart!

Daniel works at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BnF). This bridge exits right into the main plaza of the BnF. Curvysexycool bridge, eh?

The BnF is amazing! It's kind of like the Getty Center in L.A. without the weird, holistic, New Age-y undertones. The space is a big boardwalk with four buildings at the corners. The buildings are meant to look like open books, an effect that is kind of lost when you're actually standing in the plaza, but apparently stunning when viewed from a helicopter. In the middle of the plaza, there is a large courtyard that looks like something out of Jurassic Park.

It's a line enthusiasts wet dream. Check this linearity!

There were also these neat shrub containers.

I was really impressed with the BnF. I expected the National Library to be some boring neoclassical bullshit, but I was surprised and pleased with what I saw. One more point for Paris.

We also visited some cemeteries on what was dubbed "Death Day."

We saw famous peoples' graves, including Ionseco, Chopin and Sartre. Daniel was understandably appalled that Perec wasn't listed on the Père Lachaise map of notable people. Normally I wouldn't have been particularly impressed with the cemeteries, but on the way home from JFK we drove by a cemetery in Queens that was the most depressing piece of shit ever, so I'm retroactively giving Paris a point for pretty cemeteries.

We also saw some people making out for about a year. They got mad at us for taking pics, but they secretly loved it. I guess PDA is the cool thing in Paris.

Here's a statue of Voltaire the looks just like Mr. Burns from The Simpsons.

Heyyo! 10 points for this:

Laila found the French translation of the American novelisation of the film Face Off. It was an amazing find which she lovingly gave to Daniel.

Later this happened . . . VOLTE FACE F'REAL!

Lastly, TIN TIN TINS!!

I've lost track of the points, but I'm sure they total the numerical equivalent of a return trip to Paris. I couldn't have asked for a better host. Here's Daniel's number in case you want to go to Paris and have a great time too: 88 83 07 96 10. The numbers are anagrammed, so you'll have to unscramble them. HAHAHA GOOD LUCK THERE ARE 3,628,800 POSSIBLE COMBINATIONS!!!11