August 29, 2008

Don’t judge me.

With the fall movie season approaching, it’s hard to avoid the hype and previews of all the next big releases. While there are some movies that I’m fully committed to seeing and loving, there’s another category to consider - Movies that I am (or should be) embarrassed to want to see. I’ve broken it down into both upcoming releases and a review of the trusty Netflix queue.

Coming soon to a multiplex near you:

The Accidental Husband – This looks terrible. Uma’s last foray into “romantic” “comedy” was truly painful to watch. I don’t watch or care about Grey’s Anatomy and therefore Denny Duquette does nothing for me. But I am powerless to the pull of Colin Firth as a romantic lead. He’s so uptight and stuffy, but he just wants to be loved. How can you resist?

Eagle Eye – Not typically my type of movie, but this one looks pretty thrilling. And, really, I’m a fan of anything Joe Rogan does – I mean Shia LaBeouf.

The House Bunny – In my defense, this was written and produced by the folks that brought us Legally Blonde, and there’s not a human being between the ages of thirteen and sixty who can tell me they didn’t chuckle at that one. On the other hand - well, it costars Rumer Willis and Katherine McPhee and, um, has been done a million times before. And let’s not forget that Anna Faris was in the aforementioned painful ‘My Super Ex-Girlfriend.’ But still – I can’t wait. Side note – How weird was it that Colin Hanks was a priest on Mad Men a couple weeks ago?

And finally.

This is clearly the motherlode of embarrassment. I don’t know anyone who I could possibly convince to see this with me – and I’m not all that sure I could convince myself to see it in a theatre surrounded by its target audience of 8 year olds. However, the bottle of wines that I shared Parts 1 and 2 with and I got quite a kick out of the singing and the dancing and the adorable ridiculousness of it all. And, come on – the part where Vanessa Hudgens stands up in the bleachers belting out a song about her eternal love (I presume) for Zac Efron? Let's go Wildcats!

As for the Netflix Queue…

Please note: Most of these have been in the queue for over 2 years, dating – approximately – to the time that Trevor & I stopped living with Jessica. I’m willing to bet that I would have already seen these if she & I still lived together!

Coach Carter – I chose this to highlight instead of co-Netflix dwellers The Great Debaters and Glory Road, because Samuel L. Jackson is awesome and he WILL inspire you. Or so I hear.

The Rules of Attraction – James Van Der Beek? Hello?

Le Divorce – Am I the only one that still holds onto the hope that Kate Hudson will stop sucking someday? Maybe Naomi Watts will raise her up in this one – or they might just rest comfortably in mediocrity together.

Tristan & Isolde – Wow, I really wanted to see this in the theatre. That Gavin Degraw music video, the love scenes…hawt. What with my newly reignited, Pineapple Express-inspired love for James Franco, it might finally be time.

Hey, where did all the ones starring Amanda Bynes and Hilary Duff go?? TREVOR!

August 28, 2008

No, I'm not strong enough to be your man.

Sheryl Crow performed at the Democratic National Convention this week. And, while I can, I suppose, applaud her participation in the political process, I really find her song choice - "Strong Enough" - a dubious one.

The first 2 verses are almost applicable - if I squint my eyes, I can think that this applies to a frustrated citizen...
God, I feel like hell tonight
Tears of rage I cannot fight
I’d be the last to help you understand
Are you strong enough to be my man?

Nothing’s true and nothing’s right
So let me be alone tonight
Cause you can’t change the way I am
Are you strong enough to be my man?
It's the chorus where she loses me. I mean, is repeating the phrase "Lie to me" really the most appropriate thing to do when dedicating a song to a political candidate?
Lie to me
I promise I’ll believe
Lie to me
But please don’t leave
And then it's just completely senseless.
I have a face I cannot show
I make the rules up as I go
It’s try and love me if you can
Are you strong enough to be my man?
Okay, maybe it works again.
When I’ve shown you that I just don’t care
When I’m throwing punches in the air
When I’m broken down and I can’t stand
Will you be strong enough to be my man?
Yeah, no.
Lie to me
I promise I’ll believe
Lie to me
But please don’t leave

This could be dangerous.

Dear DailyCandy,

So often your emails are about high fashion and things that I really cannot afford. But you really came through for me today.

I look forward to having some of the guiltiest of guilty pleasures play as my background music at work for years to come - or until someone figures out how this is illegal and takes it unceremoniously away (It still hurts, Scrabulous.).


PS: Are you conspiring with Sirius Satellite radio? Because the OC theme song just came on - and that's one of the shows this delicious website offers.

August 27, 2008

Give me down to there hair.

Every few months, I take a trip to Newbury Comics and beef up my Broadway musical CD collection. I let it rest dormant for too long, and if I don't keep learning about new plays and re-hearing the songs, people might think I'm not *actually* a total drama nerd at heart.

The last purchase I made was 'Hair,' an awesomely ridiculous 70s musical about an Army-bound kid having a crazy night with hippies in New York. Parenthetically, the movie version starred Treat Williams, which always made it weird to see him on Everwood.

Anyway. Upon importing the CD into iTunes and searching for its associated artwork, I got a kick out of what it chose:

When it rains, it pours.

My company is re-launching its corporate website, and part of the new initiative is weekly marketing blogs. (Note to self: If ever asked about personal blog, ignore, until entry using 'What a hottie' is far enough down.')

The first step for the corporate blog is for each marketer to fill out a biography questionnaire that our senior copywriter will then craft into an introductory bio for our first entry. I just finished mine. What better way to feel young and unqualified than to answer questions about what makes you nimble, quick, fiercely independent and inquisitive without talking solely about pop culture and drinking?

What personality trait and/or talent and/or hobby and/or life experience demonstrates your ability to be quick and nimble? I type the way I talk – very very quickly. This helps ensure that I can do my work, call a client, play Word Twist online, IM, and read Forrester Research all at the same time.

What personality trait and/or talent and/or hobby and/or life experience demonstrates your intellectual or practical impatience? Almost nothing makes me madder than hearing someone say “I don’t read” (don’t get me started on not voting…). First of all – yes, you do. If you mean that you *can’t* read, then fine. But if you know how to read, you do it every day and are constantly absorbing information through words. So don’t be so stubborn about not reading books because you were forced to read high brow literature that you didn’t get in high school. There is something valuable to read and absorb and learn about on every single topic you could possibly be interested in. And, yes, magazines count as reading. Even US Weekly. I guess.

Any major fears or phobias?
Dance clubs.

Favorite thing to do on the weekend?
Go out to eat, try a new beer, spend time outside.

This shows personality, not immaturity, right?

The two topics that I am working on for my real entries are “Marketing Cliches for the Web 2.0 World” and “Is that an ad?” I think it could be really interesting – and I like the idea of having a “professional” blog out there in the interweb, but I’m also pretty nervous about being even a part of the face of the company. We are supposed to:

• Write from the heart.
• Be insanely useful.
• Keep the reader’s problems in mind
• Write with a tone that is upbeat and on strategy, reflecting that we are an agency on the cusp of what’s next, forward-thinking and strategic.

But no pressure.

August 25, 2008

A final word on the Olympics

According to numerous voiceovers, there are 28 sports played in the Olympics. If that number seems low, it’s because several sports are combined under 1 heading – like Aquatics. Not the most sensical system, but hey – if it was good enough for the Greeks… What are the 28 sports? Funny you should ask:

Aquatics – Includes diving, swimming, synchronized swimming & water polo.
Athletics – Includes all track & field events, from discus to marathon.
Canoe / kayak – Includes flatwater and slalom kayaking.
Cycling – Includes road & track cycling, as well as mountain biking and the newly added BMX.
Equestrian – Includes dressage, jumping and eventing (a combo of the 2, plus the cross country portion)
Football (Sooooccer)
Modern pentathlon (I knew absolutely nothing about this event, so here you go:
  • Pentathletes achieve points in each discipline according to their performance.
  • Shooting comes first; the pentathletes have 40 seconds to fire 20 shots from an air pistol at a 17cm-square target from 10 metres.
  • Fencing follows, with a round-robin competition between each participant.
  • Swimming is third, a freestyle race over 200 metres, with athletes seeded in heats according to their personal best times.
  • The pentathletes then head to the show jumping ring, where they have 20 minutes warm up on a horse drawn by lot before completing an obstacle course of between 350-450m in length and including 12 obstacles with one double and one triple, for 15 jumps.
  • The final event is the 3000m run, with a handicap start according to the points total of the athletes after the first four events. Competitors set off at intervals which correspond in seconds to the Pentathlon points difference between themselves and the athlete in front. The first athlete across the finish line wins the gold medal.
Shooting – Includes 15 different events!
Table tennis
Wrestling – Includes freestyle and Greco-Roman.

This will be my last rambling post about the Olympics, so I want to make sure I cover all the bases. First, a few additions to my Favorite Olympians:

Bryan Clay. What an amazing athlete. What a family man. What a hottie.

Dara Torres. Many things to love about her, but here's my favorite factoid: At the age of 41, became the first female swimmer over the age of 33 to medal in the Olympics…that 33 year old woman was her, in Sydney.

Team USA Softball: What terrible irony that them losing their gold medal match to Japan might actually save their sport from being eliminated from the Olympics (It had previously been decided/announced that because of A) Its association with baseball, and B) Excessive US dominance, the sport would no longer be played during the Olympics.

Natalie Coughlin. Where has the Natalie Coughlin love BEEN, by the way? Hello, 6 medals! Really amazing! Farmers Market montage! Totally hot!

My new least favorite Olympian: This Cuban who was so upset about losing the bronze metal match that he kicked the referee. In the head.

Scream-inducing moments of the Olympics:

Most tear-inducing moments of the Olympics:

  • The German weight-lifter, who came from behind to win the gold, holding up a photo of his 25-year old wife who died in a car accident last year, on the medal stand:

  • The Brazilian marathoner who was attacked on the course in 2004 and won a bronze medal - Reflecting on the experience, he asked why he would be upset to have possibly lost the gold medal because of that whack job, when he was able to leave with any medal at all.
  • The US Men’s Volleyball coach taking a moment in the corner after his team won gold.
  • Alicia Sacramone barely holding in her tears as she was interviewed about all her errors during the team competition – and then losing out on a medal in the individual vault by just a few hundredths of a point.
  • Michael Phelps’s mom during all of his medal ceremonies.
  • The “What does it feel like?” montage. If I can find it on YouTube, I will share ASAP.

PS: Can I please have Mary Carillo’s job for the next Olympics? I am absolutely willing (and, um, probably just as qualified as she is) to go around “experiencing the culture” of the location. (Kite flying, really?)

What the *#^$??

Because normally Netflix does everything so right, I was slightly appalled today to discover a major disconnect in my "Movies You’ll ” queue.

Apparently, based on Trevor’s and my ratings of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' (Season 6) and 'Friday Night Lights' (Season 2), we would ♥ the following “films”:

UFC 80: UFC: Rapid Fire
UFC 79: Nemesis
UFC 76: Knockout
UFC: The Best of 2007
(Don’t worry, this one’s a 2-Disc Series)


August 22, 2008

I pledge allegiance...

A non-exhaustive list of my favorite Olympians.

Walter Spearmon
– You’re telling me that in every round of every race run at the 29th Olympiad, not a single person stepped out of their lane, but in this race, TWO medal winners did? Innnnteresting. Seriously though – poor guy. He was my track boyfriend before he ran so well anyway, and then watching it all fall apart made me feel for him even more. What the hell NBC interviewer? “You’re going to protest?”

But seriously – Track. Boyfriend.

Shelly-Ann Fraser

Pure joy. She is so adorable. And kind of fast.

Shawn Johnson -I just want to keep her in my pocket – how could you ever have a down day with her being so perky and supportive all the time? And she was so cute on Ellen (Is it just me, or is everyone cute on Ellen? She has to be the most affable talk show host ever, and the absolute best at putting her guests at ease.).

Aaron Piersol – Dude, it’s cool. I’m just gonna swim these races and you know if I win, I win, if I don’t, I don’t, and it’s cool man, because I’m just a laid back kind of dude with rockhard abs.

Kerri Walsh – She talks so fast when she’s excited and it’s adorable. I love that she and Misty May clearly actually like one another and are friends, and I think it’s obvious that that’s why they’re so indisputably awesome at what they do. And I get the feeling that Kerry is kind of the heart of the team – just by how she speaks for them in interviews, and how she immediately goes to Misty to celebrate:

I also think that Kerri really had to elevate her game to match (and maybe now have surpassed?) Misty when they started playing together. So yeah, go have your babies – but hurry, so they’ll be of a reasonable age for you to start training hardcore again for 2012.

My least favorite Olympian? This guy:

That's my favorite!

A conversation last night @ ABC Club got me thinking. And no, it wasn’t the one about 18th century British literature. It was about Favorites (That’s my favorite!!).

In this era of away messages and Facebook and avatars, we all have become numb to the idea of creating a profile – an online persona that summarizes us up to the outside world. There are just the standard answers that you rattle off, just like, when you’re little, you automatically know the answer to “What’s your favorite color?” and “What do you want to be when you grow up?” (Purple & a teacher, thanks for asking.)

But actually deciding your 1 (1!) favorite, that’s a whole other soap opera. Firstly how do you even qualify “favorite”? For the purposes of this entry, I’m defining favorite by the selection’s personal relevance and its longevity (I mean, I’ll always love 'Camp Nowhere,' but I’m just not sure that film has stood the test of time…) – What does it mean to me (and why), do I want to share it with people and would I need to have this item on my electrically-wired desert island?

So, with that totally arbitrary definition nailed down, it’s time to think long and hard and make some tough choices.

Television-wise, it’s clearly a no brainer. Not only was 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' a critically brilliant show, it was the most influential piece of pop culture on my life - literally something I would not be the same without. That’s my favorite! Favorite episode: Halloween:

Movies! After a temporary brain fart last night, I remembered that
'Say Anything…' is in fact my favorite film ('Before Sunset' is so good though!). I don’t understand how Cameron Crowe could make such near-perfect movies as 'Say Anything...' and 'Almost Famous' – and then bring us 'Vanilla Sky' and 'Elizabethtown' (which, unlike the rest of the general population, I didn’t even hate.) – what a disappointment. 'Say Anything…' doomed a lot of women to unrealistic expectations of men, and it created one of the most age-appropriate love stories I’ve ever seen. But it’s so much more than that! It’s funny (really funny) and touching and relevant and, man, how mad does John Mahoney make you?? So, yes – 'Say Anything…' 10 stars.

Favorite song? Well holy shit. I have a new favorite song every week, and I’m not sure there’s an easy way to measure this – Play Count is first thing to consider, but my iTunes at work is way too new, and the song list on my iPod is by no means an exhaustive representation of my CD collection. The old Mini might hold the more accurate measurement, but it’s got to be about more than how many times you listen to a song, right?

I feel like your Favorite Song should be independent of an associated event. For example – I feel like I have to eliminate ‘At My Most Beautiful’ because it’s associated with our wedding, and would therefore always beat out everything else. Actually, such awesome memories are associated with it, it would then become my favorite movie, television show and song. Done:

So, that's eliminated, and the analysis continues...

But here’s the thing.

The beauty of a movie is that you have hours to connect with characters, and when it’s your favorite, you get to really know those people. So even as you go through different stages of life, and your tastes change, you will still love that movie, you just might relate to other parts more. Like, 'Say Anything...' – when I first saw that movie, my favorite part was Lloyd’s speech about not wanting to buy, sell or process anything as a career. I loved how he was so idealistic and able to talk about what he actually wanted to do with his life with adults. Now thinking about it, I am particularly affected by the scene where Lloyd teaches Diane to drive. They’re literally falling in love in front of our eyes, and it’s such a normal, realistic interaction. Where I am in my life has sort of determined which part of the movie I’m drawn to – making the whole movie better every time I see it. (Of course, there’s also the “Bitches man!” scene, as well as anything featuring Eric Stoltz in a chicken outfit… So there’s always something to relate to and love. See above paragraph about it being my favorite.)

But with a song, you only have 3 minutes – maybe a more sophisticated music lover would argue that a song can evolve with you the way a movie does, but I’m just not sure. I find it very hard to think about a song that meant a lot to me in the past that I still love as a song and not just a memory– the forerunners for favorite songs tend to be songs that I loved for some reason in the past that now hold sentimental value.

And – on the other hand – I find it heartbreaking that there are songs I’m just now discovering, and I wish I had had them in my life so much sooner.

So, with all of those caveats, I am naming ‘Piano Man’ by Billy Joel as my favorite song. I am naming 'A Better Son/Daughter’ my favorite song of the moment. And I am naming Ben Folds as my favorite musical artist. Phew.

Favorites that require less explanation:

Website: PopWatch
Musical: Rent
Book: Handmaid’s Tale
Game: Scrabble
Beer: Anchor Steam
Food: Avocado

Maybe I’ll start planning an honorable mention list.

What does that even mean?


City of New Orleans is one of the greatest songs - camp or not - ever.

And the sons of poor man porters
And the sons of engineers
Ride their fathers magic carpets made of steel
Mothers with their babes asleep
Rockin' to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel.
Good morning, America, how are ya?

August 19, 2008

Wait, don't go!

As I said last night to Trevor, I am getting “Sunday night depression” about the Olympics. You know, that feeling of dread when you realize the weekend is dangerously close to being over and the next one seems So Far Away?

It’s hard to put into words why I love the Olympics so much. It’s a time when my Dad and I can agree to be Proud to be an American. The first time I caught myself yelling “Go USA” to the TV, I realized that this is a different 17 day period in my life. Maybe it’s that I see such potential there - Individual accomplishments + team morale + pride in your country… It’s a real opportunity for the world to come together, and it’s what sports and diplomatic relations should be all about.

I love the obscure sports that someone – many someones actually – have spent their entire lives perfecting. And I love that they are finally getting recognition for that commitment on a global stage.

I love the country processional – and I love how they did it this year in Beijing, where it wasn’t alphabetical. Is there anything more awesome than those countries with 1-3 representatives, decked out in a “native” costume, representing an entire, giant population and looking so so proud to be doing so?

I love the come-from-nowhere victories. Or the almost victories – those work too. It’s more than just an underdog story (And seriously – when exactly did Shawn Johnson exactly become an underdog? She’s not, people! Look at the Romanian girl who won the floor exercise – THAT’S a story. Shawn Johnson is an amazing (and adorable) gymnast who has all the fame in the world for her sport. I refuse to be manipulated into feeling sorry for her.) Like the US Men’s gymnastics team – competing without the Hamm brothers, with 2 alternates on their team – really giving China a run for their money. These are guys who (clearly) are not used to being the center of attention – and they really thrived on it. They had something to prove, and they did it – that’s awesome. And dude, was there anything more tear-inducing than seeing the third alternate – the only one who wasn’t called up – in the stands, equal parts bawling his eyes out and cheering his team on? Another great come-from-nowhere victory – Stephanie something something who won the discus competition, with a first round throw that was yards past anything she’s ever thrown before (as a side note, it was also about 160 feet further than any discus I ever threw went). She wasn’t even supposed to be a contender, and everyone had 5 chances to catch her – and they couldn’t. She also broke the US track & field mini-curse, becoming the first to gold medal in the Indoor Stadium.

And you know what – I love when people adopt a country to represent in the Olympics. Maybe not necessarily when Chris Kaman does it b/c he knows he would never make it on the US Basketball team, but when someone like Bernard Legat, who was a Lost Boy of Sudan feels so strongly about his new homeland that he wants to represent them. Or, the 31 year old woman from Russia, who represented the Soviet Union in 1992, but moved to Germany when her son was diagnosed with leukemia and her friend, the coach of the German gymnastics team, offered to sponsor them and get him treatment (she won the silver medal on individual vault by the way – take that youth-dominated sport!). These people are acting out their gratitude and respect in a truly epic way, and it’s pretty awe-inspiring.

I love the Olympics because it humbles some of the biggest egos around. And yes, I’m talking about Kobe and Lebron. And I’ll throw the Williams sisters in there too. Watching Kobe take photos with other athletes during the Opening Ceremony, asking them how to say things in their own languages, going to the women’s basketball games, cheering on Michael Phelps, and Misty May and Kerry Walsh, and – in general – talking respectfully about representing his country… I’ll be honest, it makes me pretty proud. The Olympics can bring that out of Kobe – and I hope he remembers that. (Of course – the other side of that coin is that the Olympics also create some pretty giant egos – being that it’s only once every eight years that most of these sports are in the spotlight. Utain Bolt, anyone? But I don’t begrudge him – or any other athlete who goes a little overboard in the celebration department. You have to remember that these are guys who don’t get to do an endzone dance every week – this is very nearly it for them. They don’t have the practice, or the media relations people telling them how to behave – what they have is sheer joy, and let that come out as it may.

I love the heartbreak, I love the montages, I even love the ridiculously late nights. I love everything except Bob Costas.

Here is my Bob Costas rant, who, as my family can attest, has driven me absolutely bonkers since 1996. Must he be so patronizing and so…American? During the Opening Ceremonies, nearly every word that came out of his and Matt Lauer’s mouths was a borderline ignorant commentary on how hilarious all these other countries are. And there’s the poor NBC correspondent for China who really knows his shit and was trying to shed some meaningful light on the symbolism of everything, while Costas and Lauer do the equivalent of snickering behind their hands at the back of the classroom. And it’s the same every night. Get off your high horse talking about Utain Bolt and patronizingly interviewing Bela Karosi, just hoping he says something truly absurd. It’s always been like this – and I, for one, am sick of it. I think I will make a bumper sticker about a regime change in 2012.

Thus concludes Ashley’s Life: Olympics Edition. Stay tuned for Things to Fix About the Olympics and (ripped off from EW) Studliest Olympians.

August 14, 2008

Beer me.

Last night, Trevor and I went to a Vegetarian Beer Tasting at the Cambridge Common in...Cambridge.

Tasting menus are always so enticing, but hard as a vegetarian to justify $40-$75 a plate when you know you're only going to be eat maybe 1/3 of what is served, or (in my case) feel very uncomfortable asking for special treatment (Side note: Last night, the woman from Beer Advocate said to not feel this way about tasting menus,that if you call in advance and request a vegetarian option, any restaurant should be able to provide one. And if they can't, "then they're not real chefs." Nice!!)

The dinner last night went like this:

mozzarella tomato salad (Pinkus Pilsner)
arugula/grapefruit/avocado salad (Oxford Raspberry)
gazpacho (Orlio IPA)
black bean cake (Peak Organic Pale Ale)
fries with ale-spiked ketchup (Wolaver's Oatmeal Stout)
empanada with tomatillo salsa (Wolaver's IPA)
angel hair pasta with peppers and feta cheese (Orlio Common Ale)
a cheese/fruit plate (3: A double-edelweiss, a Hefeweizen and a regular wheat - I'll have to ask Trevor for their actual names)
peach cobbler (Wolaver's Brown)

It was all amazing. The cheese plate was out of this world, and the ale-spiked ketchup was even better than the homemade ketchup at Matt Murphy's... The empanada was probably the best stand alone dish. The peach cobbler / Wollaver's brown was the best pairing. And the best beer was probably the Peak Organic Pale Ale, which I'd had before, but is always just such pleasant surprise.

I took me about 24 hours to be ready to eat again. And I can't wait to do it again! I'd never eaten at the Cambridge Common before and hadn't been there since I lived in Somerville - at which point I wasn't exactly the biggest beer connoisseur, so I am particularly excited about hitting it up often with Trevor for new, local and organic offerings.

August 6, 2008

Space for sale.

Could there be more sponsorships mentioned in this paragraph?

The 2008-09 season tips off on TNT, which marks Turner Sports’ 25th season of NBA game action, with a doubleheader on Tuesday, Oct. 28, that features the Boston Celtics opening up defense of their NBA championship by hosting 2007-08 NBA scoring champion LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers at 8 p.m. ET. The second game features the first regular season game for the top overall selection in the 2007 NBA Draft presented by Sprite Greg Oden and the Portland Trail Blazers as they visit reigning MVP presented by Kia Motors Kobe Bryant and the 2008 NBA Finals runner-up Los Angeles Lakers at 10:30 p.m. ET. TNT’s coverage of the Cavaliers-Celtics game will also feature the championship ring ceremony for the Celtics beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

August 4, 2008

Salty box

And just like that, another Saltbox weekend has ended. Much, much too quickly. This year's attendees:

Crazy Chris

It might go down as the best (but absolutely the fastest) SB weekend yet. Trevor, Sarah, Nil, Matt and I drove up together and arrived a little before 10, having survived a torrential downpour that left our driver yelling "I can't see!". Some Taboo, hot tub, Truth or Dare and late night grilling followed and then...spontaneous dance party initiated by the best last-minute addition to the cabin roster ever, Ms. Lindsay Schneipp. Saturday and Sunday passed in a blur - The Farmer's Market in Waitsfield, VT is almost enough to move me to the Mad River Valley permanently. We bought tons of fresh food that we were able to use (except for the Kale, which I mistook for actual lettuce. Now I need to figure out what on earth I can do with it) for dinner that night. Blind beer tasting, wine sampling, river swimming, Uno, communal pasta dinner, major Sunday morning breakfast, a trip to Montpelier/The Dairy Creme to pick up the intrepid traveler Whit...

What made this weekend so damn-near-perfect (consistent rain, a missing hammock, no visit to Trent/Cabot Cheese Annex and very little bocce are holding us at a 9.2 instead of a perfect 10) was the group of people, all of whom participated in good spirit - no negativity, too-coolness, or naysayers.