Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Favorite Billboards Approaching Las Vegas, Nevada

In Vegas, waiting in the taxi line to leave our hotel. Our feet already hurt. Bad sign.
          To break up the monotony of the four hour drive from LA to Las Vegas, and to provide a point of interest in the vast nothingness of the Nevada desert, there are tons of billboards on the way. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • "What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas. Free STD check, 2 miles."
  • "BUY GUNS HERE. Shoot a machine gun for free!"
  • "EXTREME MIDGET WRESTLING" [Picture of midget in crazy costume. Underneath midget are the words "ACTUAL SIZE"]
           Unfortunately, we didn't partake of any guns, STD checks, atheism, or extreme midget wrestling tickets, despite how tempting that last one turned out to be. What we did get were some pretty rockin' 50 cent fake mustaches from Del Taco when we stopped to use the bathroom:

We planned to wear them down to the pool at some point to take sexy mustache pictures in our bathing suits, but we kept forgetting. This will have to do.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Nerd Within

          My parents have sort of become cool. They have lots of friends on Facebook now, and they actually check their feed at least once a day. I'm so proud to watch them blossom into iPad users and texters, who even occasionally season their messages with emoticons. It's enough to make me tear up. Yet there is one way in which they fail to be cool, and this failure burns at my heart with the ferocity of a thousand flaming suns.

To be entirely fair, this may be considered a dramatization.
          But what is their mortal sin, you ask? They have not read the Harry Potter books, nor do they care. At all. And they meet my enthusiasm for Harry Potter land with eyebrow-raised skepticism, despite my eloquent defenses of it. ("BUT THERE'S A HYPOGRIFF ROLLERCOASTER. YOU CAN HAVE A WAND CHOOSE YOU. THERE. IS. BUTTERBEER!") Granted, I'm not the biggest Harry Potter geek in the world. Despite the fact that I've picked what my house would be (Ravenclaw!), I think that the first few movies sucked, and I've never once dressed up as a character when I went to see them. There are bigger fans than me out there in the world. But at the same time, something about Harry Potter makes me all nerdy inside. 

          My boyfriend knew this about me, and to his eternal credit, he bought me an overpriced wand from Borders, which he immediately regretted as soon as I Wikipedia-ed the list of all the spells and what they did, and went around all day pointing at things with it and shouting the spells at the top of my lungs. 

           "Accio remote!" I would shout from the bed, and Boyfriend would sigh, roll his eyes, and irately get up, grab the remote, and bring it to me while I teehee-ed in glee. 
            "You know, I think you're abusing the privilege," he grumbled after I accio-ed several books, tea and his cat. 

             "SILENCIO," I shouted, wide-eyed, pointing the wand at his face. Annoyed to the breaking point, he struggled with me for the wand while I shouted "EXPECTO PATRONUM, EXPECTO PATRONUM," for all the good it did me, before he got it and flung it across the room before we went to bed.

               "Nox," I whispered sulkily while he turned off the light.

              "What did you say?" he asked, ready to get up and break his gift to me in two, like a big jerk Indian-giving jerk face. Jerk. 

               "Night," I shrugged innocently and went to sleep. 

                In the morning, the wand had disappeared, and was never heard from again. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Las Vegas, or How I Fail At Life

          How does one react when they are a 23 year old girl who has just spent a little under a year stuffing her face with eclairs and cheese, only to cram herself into a bathing suit a mere two weeks after her return, and march outside where everyone can see the flub she has tried to tame by doing sit-ups (twice) since she got back?

           Short answer: badly. The medium length answer is to shout "No, from the chest up! Take the photo from the CHEST. UP."

           The longer answer involves pictures. 

This is what I looked like at the pool in Vegas: 

Note the strategic use of the water line.

This is what I felt like at the pool in Vegas:

The only thing I can say is, at least I'm tanner than a hippopotamus. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"I've been there!"

          One of the many pleasures of travelling, besides the food and the ability to annoy all your Facebook friends with your numerous and brag-y online photo albums, is the joy of watching a movie or hearing a story and being able to think "I've been there!" 

I've stood where Brad Pitt is standing in the Cannes film festival pictures! 

I've been to the off-the-map Riviera town of Antibes where Chanel had their Resort 2011 show! 

          And now, I've been where Katy Perry had her epic Paris photo shoot for Vanity Fair. 

However, to be totally honest, my picture is a little less glamorous than my fellow California girl:

This is the exact same carousel, directly across the street from the Eiffel Tower. But instead of looking glamorous and full of fashionable ennui, we're sulking, because we were rushing to one of the batteaux tours along the Seine and had no time for carousel rides. That, and my dad and my camera are losing the battle against the photographer and the equipment that major magazines use. Go figure. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How My Family Spent the Rapture

          I've spent the last few days, including the day of the supposed Rapture, in Sin City, aka Las Vegas. In hindsight, this was a bit of a gamble.

          My fourteen year old brother (the same brother who asked for a Japanese katana sword for Christmas) decided to observe the Rapture in a different style, since he's... let's say "prepared." By that, I mean he's prone to imagining bunker blue prints and what he would do if he were in any given location when the zombie apocalypse were to occur. He reads all the zombie survival guides, keeps canned food in his room, and practices tourniquets. When anyone makes fun of him for doing this, he tells them that they can bleed to death outside of his bunker. Last time I took him to Target and told him to meet me in 20 minutes at the entrance, he showed up holding a giant shovel and a Costco-sized can of whey which he had just purchased. 

          "Um, what do you need that shovel for?" I asked after hiding my most attractive surprise-snort. 

          Completely straight-faced, with the seriousness of a war veteran, he looked me in the eye and simply said, "Digging."

          Yeah, okay. 

(To be honest, these two pictures are just to show off how cute my puppy is again.)

          So my parents tell me that while I was flinging myself down water slides and experiencing the joys of being carded again after a year of living in France, my little brother donned his camo suit, grabbed his pellet gun, his army-regulation back pack of supplies, strapped on his gas mask, and stoically headed out to our backyard playground to make base camp, right after unstrapping his gas mask to kiss the dogs goodbye, telling my dad that he hadn't done his homework yet "just in case" and then strapping it in place again. He stayed out there from 2:45 - 3:05 (the Rapture supposedly occurring at 3pm in California), while my parents stared at him through the window, their brows furrowed in concern (or at least indignation that they only got a peace sign thrown up as the dramatic goodbye from their second born). Then, at 3:06, he nonchalantly climbed down from the play structure tower, unencumbered himself of his survival tools, and went to play Black Ops on his X-Box, never mentioning anything about it again. 

          Too bad he had to do his homework, after all. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

French Fashion Trend: Abercrombie and Fitch

          When I first started teaching in France, I anticipated a lot of curiosity from my students about American life, but one recurring questino that I didn't understand was "Is it true there are really Abercrombie and Fitch stores everywhere?" 

          "Uh, yeah," I answered each time, inwardly adding "...Weirdos," to the end in my head. Little did I know, as far as the young and hip of France are concerned, despite all their stilettos and Paris fashion weeks and Chanel and Hermès, they think that A&F is God. Something about the California beach-style promotional imagery must have ignited their interest because there are fakes being sold everywhere, whether it's pants, shorts, or most popularly, hoodies. That's right; the French love A&F to the degree that their fashion-conscious torsos, usually clad in belted fur vests or high-waisted skirts, will wear hoodies. The logo is considered that cool. 

          My personal favorite is when a fake is so bad that they actually get one of the two names wrong. I had one student showing up in a blue "Abercrombie + Mitch" shirt several times, and the student had no awareness of the irony or the error. 

          But the industry of fake A&F products is about to change, because on May 19, they are finally opening the first French location in Paris, #23 Avenue des Champs Elysees. To promote it, naturally, they had 100 shirtless male Abercrombie models stand outside for a while:

If their goal was to distract me from blogging for a good ten minutes while trying to find "just the right picture," (purely for aesthetic reasons, mind you) then I would call this campaign effective.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Le Hiatus Officially Terminated

          Sorry I may have unintentionally lead readers to believe that I never made it back to the USA alive. I would say that there's no excuse to post so little, but in fact I have tons of excuses: there was my little brother's birthday, my mom's birthday (read: free champagne), my birthday, and a new addition to the family, a puppy who looks so adorably like a stuffed animal that it is surreal:

World, meet Baxter:
The English teddybear goldendoodle with soulful puppy eyes, and a ferocious determination to eat all my pajama pants.
          Overlooking general laziness (simply because it makes me look bad) I also had a period of intense illness, starting with when I boarded the plane and ending a week and a half later, after several boxes of tissues, one heavy-duty antibiotics prescription, and roughly a million instances of my boyfriend trying to cuddle me while I flung him away to have a spastic coughing fit during the best part of a movie we were watching. 

          "I'm um. So glad you're back. So we can be together again," Boyfriend offered weakly while watching me cough up phlegm, retch, and wheeze through my enfeebled nasal pathways. I nodded, sweated profusely, and then fell asleep with my mouth open. He really liked that. 

          I fear all my sexiness may have remained in France. 

I feel the need to end on a health-related comic: