Sunday, April 30, 2006

The MDH is back!

Finally, The Maryland Debutante's Handbook is back!!!

I don't have much insight into life today, but I do have some updates.

I've been all over the place these past few weeks so have scarcely had an opportunity to talk to Mom on the phone, much less anyone else, and very much less write anything. I've been in Virginia working the past 3 weeks at Menokin and it's been going pretty well, aside from some highly stressful episodes and the fact that there is hardly any edible food in the town we're staying, or the town nearest that.

On Wednesday and Thursday of last week, we ate at the same place, out of desperation. It's called Anna's Italian Restaurant or something, and looks straight out of Napoleon Dynamite. There are neon lights everywhere, mostly pink, and some wrestling trophies next to the counter. In the corner is a palm tree with Christmas lights. Boss A was in such despair on Thursday night that he almost ordered a triple order of french fries because everything on the
menu is pretty scary. We ended up splitting a pizza called "Three Cheese Bianca" (I include the name of the pizza because even though you probably think it's totally irrelvant and mundane, I thought it was hilarious.) Ricotta cheese on pizza is so hard to beat. The pizza was garlicky, cheesy, salty and delicious and I could eat it every day.

I just had the best weekend ever. I went to Pennsylvania to see Third Eye Blind on Friday and Saturday night. They debuted some new songs for us, and I got my picture taken with Stephan and half-way met Tony. I got home today and slept for 6 hours. Now it's 12:30 and to me it feels like 7 in the evening, and I'm starving, but I don't want McDonald's and I don't want to change out of my PJs.

When I got home, I talked online to some people I met this weekend, and while describing what I've eaten today (a pack of nabs and some honey roasted cashews), I had to tell someone what nabs are. From Urban Dictionary: "inexpensive small packet of crackers with cheese or peanut butter." And its sample sentence is the best: "man, give me a pack of dem nabs."

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Sunday, and some scarier stuff.


I went to church today at St. Anne's Parish, where Francis Scott Key attended from 1789-1800. It was first built in 1704, and when the congregation got too big, a new building was started in 1775. But construction stopped completely when the Revolutionary War started and building materials were needed to build forts. The new church was finally built in 1792, but a fire destroyed that one, and the present structure was built in 1858. Compared to 1704, 1858 sounds modern, but by the standards I'm used to (Kentucky standards, that is), 1858 is ancient.

Anyway, I would have taken pictures of the church's gorgeous interior, but I was afraid that was a no-no, it being Easter and all.

After church, I went to 49 West and--as always--the mean waitress waited on me. I know I should know by now that if I sit where I like to sit, she'll wait on me, but I can't help it if she waits the best tables in the place. She was better today, anyway, and the coffee was really good, and I had about the best waffle I've ever had in my life with lots of fresh fruit and berries. I tipped her $5, which was a 50% tip, thinking how bad it would be if someone who clearly came in from church was a Scroogey tipper. But when I left, I decided I should have left her $10 since it's Easter and this is the day out of the year Christians should be most generous to others. But if I would have left her $10, I would have felt guilty about not giving her $20, so it's sort of like the "If you give a mouse a muffin, he'll want some jam to go with it" scenario, but not really. Then again, if I did leave her $10 or $20 in a joyous Christian spirit, it would still probably have an ulterior motive--I'd be thinking "If she remembers I tipped her so well, maybe she'll do a better job waiting on me next time," so it's probably better that I left her $5. I should have probably just left $1.50 and been done with it.

Next I went to the Annapolis National Cemetery and wandered among the headstones for an hour. I was the only person there
.
















To the right is another view of the headstone on the bottom left of the picture above.



















I wonder if the men and women buried there know when someone comes to visit. Just in case, I serenaded the spirits with a Neko Case song and told them Happy Easter, and that I would come back to visit.

I may be a bleeding heart liberal, but nothing makes my heart bleed more than the men and women who die in arms, and those who mourn them, such as Vera Brittain (1893-1970), one of my heroes. I could go on and on...and will on this subject soon enough...

...but I need to pack for Virginia tomorrow. Another week on-site. I've been shopping for the job, buying construction-site worthy tops to wear instead of my coffee-shop-working-for-tips shirts. Try as I might, I can't not wear makeup on site. I just can't do it. It's just not me! I shouldn't have to be ugly just because we're working in dirt and rubble...right?? As Boss A said when I told him of the situation, he said, "Just be yourself. Everyone loves you...Your problem isn't that people don't like you; it's that they like you too much." Whatever that means. I think it's a good thing. It's really weird to think of myself as being likeable, much less really likeable. I like being likeable, though. (Anyone reading this right now and actually understanding what I'm saying--you should probably get on Lexapro--or your choice of antidepressant--if you aren't already. It will make you feel happy, fun, and likeable. I sure didn't feel like this 3 years ago.)

That's it for now. I don't even know what I'm talking about anymore.

2 more things:

1) Buy the May/June issue of Adbusters magazine--it is a doozie. I know stuff about US overseas army police torturing prisoners to death isn't news to some people, but for many it is. Check these numbers out:

98 detainess are known to have died since Aug 2002 in the custody of US officials abroad; the US military classifies 34 of these deaths as suspected or confirmed homicides; at least 8 men were tortured to death; 5 months prison sentence is the harshest punishment to anyone involved in a torture-related death.

And our Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has given formal approval for various inhumane torture techniques such as hooding, exploitation of phobias, stress positions, and sensory deprivation. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has stated that the Geneva Convention has become obsolete. The article "Is Right-Wing America Becoming Fascist?" alone is worth the cover price. I know some of you will think, "Here goes Erin, giving in to liberal propaganda" but this is legitimate stuff. If you can't buy a copy at your neighborhood subversive literature bookstore, order one online. Or something. Or do some research yourself and find out what is going on not just in the world, but in our country.

2) Watch "The Constant Gardener." Do it!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Finally: Queen week on American Idol!

I just (and by "just" I mean about two hours ago, but since this day is creeping along at the speed of...something really slow, it seems like it was 5 minutes ago) had a great surprise:

This week on American Idol: Queen songs!

Let me go ahead and say I've been waiting--nay, dying, for this. After sitting through boring Barry Manilow week and Stevie Wonder week and 1950s rock n roll week and country music week, all of which have been incredibly lame, I have been ready for something good.

Let me also go ahead and say that with American Idol my favorite show, and Queen my all-time favorite band, one of my main pastimes of the past month has been considering which Queen song I would do if ever on American Idol. I finally decided upon "Hammer to Fall" or "I Can't Live Without You" since "Killer Queen" is a little deep for me. But still, I always pictured myself singing Queen on one of the auditions or in the "Songs from our birth years" episode--I never even dreamed of a whole week dedicated to Queen. This is truly super.

These are my predictions for song choices:
Ace Young: Ace is cute but can't really sing too well so will rely on something sexy and danceable. He also has an affinity for dark 80s pop songs. Maybe "Another One Bites the Dust." Or if he really wanted to real the girls in, this would be the perfect week for it with "Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy." I'd rather see Ace do "Killer Queen" than Taylor Hicks, but I'm thinking Taylor's got the theatrics for it.

Paris Bennett: Paris has probably never heard a Queen song except maybe in the intro to "A Knight's Tale" when the audience at the joust sings "We Will Rock You." Still, she's got a great voice. She should do "Somebody to Love." It's a difficult song with plenty of soul, and she could probably do it justice.

Taylor Hicks: He's a wild card. I'm gonna predict "Don't Stop Me Now" for Taylor, since it's really fast-paced, fun, and theatrical, and he could really jump around on the "Cause I'm havin a good time, havin a good time!" part. Could also see him doing "Radio Ga Ga."

The Bald Guy: He's boring and one-dimensional. Needs to do something really great. I can see him doing "Tie Your Mother Down" for its rockworthiness, but also "The Show Must Go On" for its darkness, strong guitars, and huge vocals.

The Stupid Hick Girl: She should just forfeit this week and go back to her holler. I do really not want to see her defile Queen. I got angry enough with one of the kids earlier on this season for defiling "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," but this will be a million times worse. I'm going to predict "You're My Best Friend" for her, because it's one of Queen's cheesier songs although I personally love it and want to walk down the aisle to it.

Katherine McPhee: one of the best singers in the competition. She should do "Breakthru" because she has a tendency to be boring and this would really show her spunk. I don't know. She's a toughie. Maybe "I Can't Live Without You" would be a good one for her. Then again, she likes to steal the attention so I could see her pushing for "Killer Queen" as it will be a crowd favorite no matter what.

Elliot Yamin: My favorite in the competition at this point. I want him to do "Radio Ga Ga" but he likes to pick the ones with the heavy emotional hit. Still, "Radio Ga Ga" would be so much fun, and it's a great one for highlighting his gorgeous voice.

Bucky Covington: Maybe "I Want It All," since it's a rocking out song, but I could also see him doing "Killer Queen" (doing it a huge injustice, I mean). I don't know. Someone's gotta do "I Want It All," and it will be him or The Bald Guy. Of course I love "Fat Bottomed Girls," but who knows if Fox will let it be on the show--I would almost bet nobody will do it. Still, Bucky would be the one for it. He's definitely the white trashiest of the bunch.

Now personally if I was in it this week, I'd be singing "The Show Must Go On" or "I Can't Live Without You."

Erin on the High Seas

For the past few months, or maybe weeks--who really keeps track?--I have been considering the merits of marrying a Latino. They include:

Improving my Spanish
Learning how to cook chile rellenos
Trips to exotic Latin-American countries to visit interesting in-laws
Eating really good food with interesting in-laws in exotic Latin-American countries

I boarded my Southwest flight on Monday with group B. I was originally in group A, but after my flight was cancelled I was stuck on a later flight and bumped to group B. This meant that I didn't have my first pick of seats on the plane and had to fit in wherever I could. Naturally when I saw an empty seat next to a young Latino, I took it. An interesting flight ensued, during which I learned that we nearly have all of the same interests (and by "all of the same interests" I mean we are both interested in American Indians and both want to escape the US) and, even more important than shared interests, he is from a Latin American country. One that is so small and [presumably] exotic that I'd never even heard of it before. I'm going to email him. Maybe we'll get married and have children named Lourdes and Miguel and eat homemade chile rellenos and dance the merengue and move to Costa Rica and be expats.

I'm used to lazy beach vacations where you get up at 10, roll out of bed and stumble down to the beach for a day of salt air, salt water, Diet Cokes and peanuts, and when you are done in the sand and the sun you stumble back to the hotel, take a shower and dress for a dinner of local fried shrimp and hush puppies. The cruise was as different as possible and I probably won't take another for quite some time, unless it's on my private yacht or sailboat and I can go wherever I want. Too many people, too much noise, too little time in the sun and the waves. But the food was good, the quality time with the fam was good, and the exotic Hungarian waiter Gabor was good.

Here are some pictures.


Our ship, Sovereign of the Seas, not to be confused with Scourge of the Sea.

Look at all of those people. Ewww. Among them was a bleached & permed & very very loud redneck woman we not-so-affectionately dubbed "Fishfood" because we really really wanted to throw her overboard.

Me & my momma.

Government House, Nassau.

The old man on the sea.

Unfortunately my plane trip back to Baltimore was considerably less exciting. The men sitting next to me were too old.