Tempted by Blogger.

September 4, 2008

So I’m thinking about switching over to Blogger. I use it for my fiction blog and I feel like it’s a hell of a lot more customizable. I can’t stand the layouts on this thing. Switching over would be kind of a drag, but I’d rather do it now than 100 posts down the road!

Can anyone tell me why I should stick with WordPress? Which one do you prefer, and why?


Inspiration on the Subway.

September 4, 2008

“If we had a keen vision of all that is ordinary in human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow or the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which is the other side of silence. ” — George Eliot

Pretty good for a Subway/Barnes & Noble ad, eh? A nice nugget of inspiration for my morning.

If looks could kill.

September 3, 2008
c/o thetvaddict.com

c/o thetvaddict.com

Who’s beautiful? You’re beautiful, Michael C. Hall. All spring and summer, I was sad, thinking I’d have to wait until Sept. 28, the season premiere of your miraculous murder drama Dexter, to see your beautiful face regularly again. But lo, when I stepped out of the Subway at Times Sqaure last week and onto the escalator, there you were, on the wall to my right, looking all GQ on… well… faux magazine covers. Thank you, Showtime, for reminding me that good things are coming later this month: the first day of fall on the 22nd, and, just days later, the root of my semi-worrisome obsession.

Click here to see the rest of the posters.

Just watched my first episode…

September 2, 2008
Me and my friends in high school. Sike! The GG cast.

Me and my friends in high school. Sike! The GG cast. (But you already knew that.)

Of Gossip Girl. Ever. Last night. Yes, I’m a season behind the cool train. But maybe that’s a good thing. I’m not sure how I feel about this development. Part of my soul has died, yes, but part of it is pretty damn sure I’ll be glued to the couch, sucking in all that vapid prettiness next week. Oh god, it’s so vile.

FYI: My boyfriend’s roommate, his sister and her friend (the latter two, giddy first-year FIT students) made me do it. Perhaps more traumatizing than the show, the sister’s mom texted her multiple times during the hour, messages such as: “Omg what just happened?” and “Who was that?” Who is supposed to watch this show? With all its beautiful people, wacky wardrobes, Hamptons escapades and perfectly synchronized drama? Help. I’m lost.

xoxo Raquel

PS – The new 90210 premieres tonight. I’m staying away from that one, because it’s bound to be many times as bad. Oh, and it’s sacrilege.

No. 1 Hater.

September 2, 2008

Oh goodness, everything I’ve posted so far is a rant. I’m not the No.1 hater, I swear — I’m just picky. I promise notes on some things I like in the near future. Brace yourselves for my sweet side :).

What not to eat: Belcourt.

September 2, 2008
c/o Citysearch

Belcourt, c/o Citysearch

Where: Belcourt (French/pan-Euro brasserie), 84 E 4th St

When: Saturday brunch, 1 p.m.

Who: Me and the boyfriend

How I found it: I’ve passed by this place a million times en-route to the bf’s casa, which is just around the corner. I couldn’t think of why we hadn’t tried it. I checked out the brunch menu, and it looked good, so we took the plunge. (We’ve been trying to branch out from our tried-and-true haunts.)

Review: Don’t be fooled by the cute decor or the handful of cute couples eating outside at cute dinette sets (Imported French furniture! So le cute!). Belcourt is one of those places that SHOULD be good — good reviews (for whatever reason), great location, nice service, cool people, good menu — but just doesn’t nail it. Or even swing the damn hammer.

The first warning sign was that the fresh squeezed orange juice didn’t taste very freshly squeezed and was an odd bright orange color, in contrast to the pale orange you see at better brunch places like delicious Corner Shop Cafe on Broadway and Bleecker (also trendy, but it understands food). Not sure if they chose a different type of orange (Blood orange, a la Dexter intro? Sorry — I’ve got season premieres on the brain), but it wasn’t a good choice, whatever it was.

Then the entrees. He took a simple dish: eggs sunny-side up, paprika potatoes (sounded intriguing), sausage and a little side salad (total, $9). I, a perpetual sweet tooth and lover of all things breakfast, chose the bourbon and vanilla French toast ($10). Not one thing on the boy’s plate tasted good. Burnt toast (like, charred burnt, like they burnt it on purpose, thinking someone might say, ‘Mmm, burnt, my favorite! I can never burn it like this at home!’) plastic eggs, hard, flavorless potatoes and a salad that tasted like it had sat out a few days and been doused in lemon to spruce it up. Um, and sausage that tasted like an unseasoned wad of ground beef. Mine was drowned in vanilla, soggy and just awful. The ingredients all sound good in your head, but the execution is unbalanced and overzealous and the food is just heavy and bland.

Rumor has it that, for lunch or dinnertime, the fish here is tasty, but I wouldn’t chance it. If you can’t cook toast, Lord knows what you’d do with the more finicky fish.

Bonus Material: The guy who owns this also owns Nomad across the street. Also looks cool, also tastes like an overambitious home ec assignment.

Death by Huffy.

August 30, 2008
A bunch of kids in the LES (where I live) playing bike polo. I didnt even know that existed. God bless Google Image Search.

A bunch of kids in the LES (where I live) playing bike polo. I didn't even know that existed. God bless Google Image Search.

Bicycles. All the rage now. Yay bicycling! Yay going green in a toxic world! Yay exercise for fat Americans! I feel like every other person in the city rides a bike around now.

On principle, I adore the idea. I just choose not to ride a bike because I enjoy walking (and think it would be inconvenient to have to always worry about a bike wherever I go). But I digress…

My problem with bikers is their utter disregard for the rules of the road. Key example: Yesterday. Little innocent me, on my way home from work, nearly getting plowed over as I crossed Cooper Square (or 3rd Ave, or Bowery, or whatever you’d like to call it) on a red light. A red light. To vehicles, that’s supposed to mean stop, but to two cyclists on the road, who must not have known they were riding vehicles, it meant: “Mow down Raquel! She’s completely unawares!”

Thankfully, I wasn’t, and used my catlike reflexes to dodge.

Bicyclists are supposed to follow normal car rules — evidence here. (They aren’t supposed to ride on the sidewalks, either, but how many times have you almost been hit while walking on what’s reserved for PED[feet!]estrians?)

Do you ride a bike? Do you follow the rules? Have you had near-death encounters involving bikers? Dish, if the memories aren’t too traumatic to recall.

– End rant.

Who are you? (Who, who, who, who)

August 29, 2008
Palin, c/o CNN.

Palin, c/o CNN.

Politics. I hate to enter the whole debacle, but I feel like I have to. I’m mostly independent (perhaps due to my commitment issues, see my first entry), but I was excited when Hillary decided to enter the race. Excited, yes, because she was a woman, but more so because she’s experienced and very intelligent and she knows what the hell she’s doing (and what she would have been getting into). Even if she didn’t do great things as president, I don’t think she would have sent the country into a tizzy, and she would have broken ground for future, perhaps more qualified, female leaders.

I don’t like Obama for the opposite reason: He’s not experienced. He can say he’s ready to lead this country in a terribly critical time all he wants, but I won’t believe it until he proves it. When John Kerry was campaigning in good ‘ole ’04, he had throngs of guys he worked with or went to war with vouching for his character (I know, I saw him speak in Ohio). I was hoping Obama would pull out something — someone to vouch for him — last night, when he had the world’s attention. He pulled out his wife, who doted on his fathering skills. Hillary said, “He’s a Democrat, I’m a Democrat, kumbayah, enough for me!” and said she supported him, gritting her teeth, crossing her fingers, all of it, I’m sure. Obama’s “specific” plans for fixing America didn’t help much either — No foreign oil! No taxes! Nobody uninsured! (For someone so unconvetional, he sure was generic.)

To me, Obama is a self-made candidate, a man who thinks he should be able to become president just because he says so, just because, perhaps, he’s a decent guy. (Uber-conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer explains it better here. For a more forgiving critique, go here.) McCain, who’s ancient and has tons of credo to back him up, has lambasted Obama in the past for this exact same reason — inexperience.

That’s why I was knocked off my rocker when McCain named Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate today (WaPo broke it this morning). A first-term governor of the fourth least-populated state in the country, former mayor of a 9K-population town, just 44 years old, with no experience in Washington or on the world stage, first in line to take on the world if the aged and not-the-healthiest McCain (God forbid) kicks the bucket? (A good NYT editorial here)

If this was McCain’s last-ditch effort to get at the “disaffected” Hillary-ites, he has no doubt failed. I’ve read dozens of opinions on this. We’re all pissed off, pissed off that McCain thinks that Hillary supporters are base enough to think that a woman candidate=a woman candidate=a woman candidate, and that Palin was the best pick. Pick a more qualified man, and we’d be behind you. Pick a more qualified woman — there are thousands of them — and we might begin to like you. Just a little.

Note: I am not a Republican. I am best described as a social liberal and an economic conservative. I don’t like either of the candidates, and this latest move has made me dislike McCain even more. I am tired of this campaign of nobodies and old fogies with old ideas.

Noncommittal commitment.

August 29, 2008
I want them all.

I want them all.

Hello, all,

This is my umpteenth blog. Yes, umpteenth. Yes, I am one of those people who starts a blog, gets into a great kick and then bites the dust. Yep — that’s me in a nutshell. Yes, I am warning you now, as I start another blog. I am Raquel, generally noncommittal. (It’ll make sense later.)

I’m not noncommittal in relationships, silly. I’ve had the same boyfriend for the past year and a half, and before that, the same one for the past two years (quite good for a commitophobe, eh?). But I’m a commitophobe in that I’ve never been incredibly attached to or fascinated by any particular thing.

I feel like every other person has that “thing” that they call “theirs”: be it tennis, clothing, reading, kittens or cupcakes. Those things could all translate easily into blogs. But me, I like all of those things, probably equally, for different reasons. I’d never choose one thing above the other.

The only thing I can think to blame it on is my being an Army brat my entire life. Constantly moving to a new place, and, just upon getting settled, cramming everything into a cardboard box and moving on to another place to (sort of) live.

The only thing that stands above the other things, for me, is writing. My last blog was, literally, a writing blog, where I only wrote serious pieces. That was too hard. That was too straight-and-narrow for spastic ‘ole me. And way too boring for readers.

So here’s one that better suits me (and you). I like food, I like books, I like fashion, I like news, I like movies, I like the beach, I like art, I like photos, I like design, I like the outdoors, I like culture, I like rainbows, I like (OK, maybe love) dessert, I like smelling all the bottles of shampoo and body wash in the grooming aisle (and in friends’ showers). But overall, I like writing. So I’ll write about them all, when they strike me.

The end. (Until something strikes me.)