Thursday, January 28, 2010

apples to apples

check this out.

the other day (it was tuesday) i was telling someone about my master plan to buy an iphone.

(a plan, by the w, which is about to come to fruition. this is a big deal. i have thought long and hard and practically and analytically about the switcheroo and i feel very confident in my decision. like, probably more confident than i feel about a lot of my decisions. not to mention my head might explode at the prospect of celebrity gossip at my fingertips at all times!)

anyway, back to tuesday. this someone told me i should hold off because, the word on the street was that the next day (that would be wednesday), apple was going to unveil a tablet computer and i might want that instead.

i told him he was probably wrong.

but in a nice way of course.
(because tablet computers. what is the point? more on this soon.)

then later that night (it was still tuesday) jaron and i were eating indian food that was way too spicy (for me) when his roommate came bounding into the kitchen and said we were never going to believe it but big news! apple was going to unveil a tablet computer tomorrow! (that would be wednesday.)

and i said, tell me something i don't know, buddy. and it felt totally awesome because i never know about stuff like this before people who actually care about stuff like this, but this time i did. (which actually makes me think it wasn't so much big, secret news at all.)

and then apple did unveil a tablet computer on wednesday (which was, that's right, yesterday).
and they named it... the iPad?

i mean, i don't think i need to articulate what that name makes just about everyone think of. especially not when this madTV clip does it so well. (warning: that clip definitely references the vajayjay.)

seriously. are there no women on the apple marketing team?

and now i'll just go ahead and ask the big question, which is: what is the point of a tablet computer anyway? do we really need something between a laptop and a phone? really?

my current answer is no, but i also said i would never need an iphone (i mean who wants to be connected to the internet all the time?) (i do, i do!) so i'm probably wrong about the iPad, too.

though i am definitely not wrong about the name. awful now and awful forever. and that's all i have to say about that.

Monday, January 25, 2010


friday night was game night at dana's. this means food and wine (and fancy lemon soda for me), and settlers of catan.

do you know about settlers of catan? people are quite taken with it. there was a lot of catan playing at the delaware beach house over the summer but i chose to just laugh at other people's intensity about the game instead of playing myself. there is just something sort of hysterical about hearing otherwise rational people shout out things like, "but two sheep for one wheat is a completely unfair trade!"

this time i joined the fray, with heather as my patient tutor and teammate. we didn't win, but we didn't embarass ourselves either, so i am chalking my first catan experience up as a success. next time around my strategy is going to include not sitting next to an open bag of gummi bears, as an hour or more of intense game-playing does nothing for my self-control, and a whole bag of gummi bears in one sitting does nothing for my general sense of well-being.

game night also included a rousing round of celebrity.

do you know about celebrity? everyone writes the names of a bunch of celebrities on pieces of paper, the pieces of paper go into a bowl, the people go into teams, and the teams have to guess what's (or rather, who's) on the pieces of paper. the first time around you can use any words but the celebrity's name to describe them. the second time around, you only get one word (same set of names). the third time around (same names again), you can only act them out.

i will warn you that playing celebrity with a cerebral group such as this one comes with a unique set of challenges. namely that the "celebrities" chosen included hilda solis (secretary of labor), adrian fenty (mayor of d.c.) and william makepeace thackeray (author of "vanity fair.")

for some of us (ahem, me), not too easy to describe (er, recognize), let alone act out. (yes, i wrote down lady gaga and charlie sheen.) but, let's just say that when i pulled out "mr. butt-man" on the charades round, i killed it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

the plastics

deride it though some people might, celebrity gossip has brought a lot of wonderful things into my life.

like today's post over at segullah.

that's right. a philosophical and even spiritual exploration prompted by spencer and heidi from the hills.

i would say stranger things have happened, but actually i am not so sure.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

what's up, seven up?

after a little more than a week of having entirely the right amount of fun, i've spent the past couple days catching up on the responsible adult-type stuff i've been putting off.

or, as kj would say, i've been doing a little admin.

here's what's on my mind.

1. haiti. to say it breaks my heart seems like an unfair understatement, but i don't know quite what else to say. last night i read barack obama's piece in newsweek entitled "why haiti matters" and i loved it. haiti matters to us because we are fortunate enough to be leaders, and leadership is compassion. i often fall victim to thinking there are some problems in the world too big for a good solution, but compassion seems like the place to start.

2. the jay leno/conan o'brien throwdown. it is the train wreck i can't look away from. and i can't even stay up late enough to watch late night tv. i think jay leno is coming off like a big douche canoe here, but then again i've always like conan and his ridiculously tall hair.

3. the water heater at the casa de bennett. i think it must be inordinately small, because two mornings in a row now someone has beat me to the shower in the morning and there has been not a drop of hot water left. this means two mornings in a row now, i have washed my hair in the sink. it wasn't even fun when i tried pretending i was at some awesome, cheap hostel on an exotic vacation. plus, it made my neck hurt.

4. my new home. i am feeling really happy and settled here in a new and more confident way. of course, i knew that i would eventually work my way around to feeling like this, but it's nice to have a taste of it, with plenty more to come, i am sure. my life has the pace and the tone that i like right now. happy sigh.

5. i wish i had had a better hair cut when i met the president. i know this sounds like a "my diamond shoes are too tight" kind of dilemma, but my hair bugs me every time i look at the picture of me with president obama. and that is a lot, including just a few minutes ago. getting a good hair cut in d.c. has proved extraordinarily difficult, but i think i have worked up almost enough courage to try again.

6. fundraising for the press institute. i am in the throes of it. wanna help me out? every little bit makes more than a little bit of difference, especially since all donations will be matched dollar for dollar through march 10. your $20 will become $40! your $50 will become $100! and i will love you forever. think about it.
(and go here once you've made up your mind:

7. i don't think i have time to get scuba certified before i leave for australia. i do have time to get unbelievably excited though.

what's on your mind?

(did reading that make you think of those capital one "what's in your wallet" commercials? because writing it made me think about them. i think i liked the ones with the vikings best.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

what heaven and auto zone have in common

i took a little trip to turkey last spring, if you'll recall, and returned to salt lake exactly six days before i was due to leave salt lake forever.

the timing, admittedly, could have been a little better.

throw in jet lag, a nasty cold and a most unfortunately (though temporarily) frozen credit card, and i think you can see why i was something of a spacehead the day i got back.

which is why, on said day, i drove away from the gas station without replacing my gas cap.

which i realized when i got out of my car in the parking lot at the bank, where i had driven straight from the airport (after stopping at the gas station, obvs) to take care of the credit card situation.

so back i went to the gas station to retrieve the forgotten cap from the top of the gas pump.

except that it wasn't there.

at which point i concluded that i had probably placed it not on top of the gas pump, but on the roof of my car.

at which point i concluded that the likelihood of the cap still being on the roof of my car was, shall we say, slim.

so, in my mind, it was nothing short of a miracle sent straight from heaven above that my gas cap was there! just perched on the roof of the car without a care in the world.

praises be to heaven above!

(my mom's response to this story: "oh, of course it was. i leave all sorts of weird stuff on the roof of my car and it's always still there when i remember it." why i did not ask for more details about this i'll never know.)

now, if you think i learned my lesson after that experience, you must not know me very well. because about a week ago, i realized that my gas cap was missing. for how long, i could not say. and where it could have been misplaced was an even greater mystery.

in short, the gas cap was gone.

and it would have been a true miracle indeed to bring it back.

but, did you know they perform miracles at auto zone? because i finally went there today to remedy my gas cap situation (after it was suggested that my car, sans cap, was at an elevated risk of bursting into flames), and they had just what i needed! a shiny, new gas cap that fit my little tank perfectly.

a prolonged life for me and my car, for a mere $8.76!

praises be to auto zone!

the end.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

catch me if you can

one of my favorite jokes to tell when i was a kid was about a family of tomatoes. there was a daddy tomato and a mommy tomato and a little boy tomato. one day they were walking down the street (tomatoes walking! already so funny!) and the little boy tomato was having trouble keeping up. he kept falling behind and the daddy tomato was getting pretty annoyed. finally, without realizing the little boy tomato was right behind him, the daddy tomato whipped around and squashed his own son! while shouting, "son, catch up!"

catch up! ketchup!

i love that one.

all of that to say, let's catch up! (ketchup!)

for starters, there are a few glaring omissions on my "favorites of 2009" lists of the last post. thankfully i was reminded of them while reading emdawg's yearend lists. so, without further ado, i would hereby like to state that "(500) days of summer" and "away we go" were two more of my favorite movies of last year. even more than "star trek" and "new moon." (gasp!)

there. that feels better.

for those of you concerned with the progress of the 28 goals (and i assume that this is all of you), i am pleased to report that my goal to visit all the smithsonian museums is moving along quite nicely. mel b and i hit up the national gallery last week for an exhibit of robert bergman portraits (delightful) and emily h. and i spent yesterday afternoon in the museum of natural history (thanks, MLK!) drooling over the hope diamond, scoping out the best nature photography of the year and watching a 3D imax movie about the ocean.

i am pretty excited about the ocean these days, you see, because i am going to australia!

what the what?!?

that's right folks. it's a big johnson family exodus, actually. though only one johnson family member will be riding his motorcycle from sydney to perth and back. i'll let you guess which one that might be. the rest of us will be sitting on beaches, hugging kangaroos and snorkeling the great barrier reef. or, at least that is what i hope.

anyone know if i can get scuba certified in a month?

i also did a little branching out in my museum visiting this weekend and headed to the national geographic museum, where they currently have an exhibit about the terra cotta soldiers buried in the tomb of the first chinese emperor, complete with some of the terra cotta soldiers themselves. if you prefer to visit museum exhibits about chinese history with someone who can read all the plaques in a fake chinese accent, i suggest you go with guy smiley (which i did). and if you like jokes about things with no legs walking (which i do. see above), then he's your man, too.

check it out.

a neutron walks into a bar (a neutron walking! already so funny!) and says, "how much for a beer?" and the bartender says, "for you, no charge."

rimshot, heyo!

hilarious jokes aside, the exhibit was totally cool. if you live here, i wholeheartedly recommend it. if you don't, not to worry. you can just visit my own gravesite, which i expect will be something like that of emperor qin.

remember that one time my dad said it seemed like all i did was eat? well, i've been doing a lot of that lately, too. mostly because last week was restaurant week here in d.c. (don't even ask me about my progress on goal #13. it is not good. not good at all.) katie and i hit up filomena, a darling italian place in georgetown and i met ABK for dinner at firefly on friday. while i was waiting for him to arrive, it occured to me that once i came to d.c. to visit ABK, and now he comes to d.c. to visit me (and to go to fancy conferences on foreign relations. or something).

weirdsies. but in a good way.

and emily h. and i hit up coco sala yesterday for lunch. if you love chocolate (and we do), then you will love coco sala. they were only offering their restaurant week menu, which was still scrumptious, but some day i want to go back for a decadent, chocolate-infused brunch. doesn't that sound like heaven?

oh, oh! and of course i can't forget last's night trip to ray's hell burgers with jaron. such good burgers. and root beer on tap. the end.

jaron and i stopped at ray's on our way to see vetiver at the iota.

yeah, i had never heard of them either, but jaron said i was in the presence of greatness and he was right. they were awesome.

speaking of concerts in the middle of the week (so hip!), last thursday we went to see mary sing back-up with the carol bui band at the black cat (we ate at ben's chili bowl before that show. mediocre but famous chili dogs. and diet coke. the end.) and the headliner was this woman named joan as policewoman, who we learned was jeff buckley's girlfriend! which probably explains how she could rock brown leather pants, a gold top with shoulder pads and a ruffled neckline and a big fur coat, which jaron referred to as a lucille bluth fur.

in what is certainly a stellar decision, jaron moved out here last week and it has been super duper fun having him around. i like having a person from an old place with me in a new place and being able to show him some of the ropes has really helped me feel like this really is my home and i know what's going on.

i don't even have to use a subway map anymore!

so there.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

like sands through the hourglass

as a general rule, i am not a very keen or successful observer of the passage of time. (read: i am late for everything, all the time, under just about any circumstance.) and so, my new year was ushered in without much fanfare. (also because i could barely stay up past midnight.) it just sort of became 2010, you know? and the only time i really notice it is when i write the wrong date on my checks. i didn't even make any resolutions because i am still plugging away on that big list of birthday goals.

but, i feel like a new year, not to mention a whole new decade (!) deserves a little more recognition that what i have given it (which is nothing) so i was delighted to come across this little exercise on suvi marie's blog. (note: not her real middle name.)

read on!

1. what did you do in 2009 that you had never done before?
visited turkey. bought a full-priced item from anthropologie. met el presidente. joined a gym.

2. did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for the next year?
i don't remember making any firm resolutions last year, so if i did i am going to go ahead and say i didn't keep them. i did keep last year's birthday goal, though, and i am on track for this year's many goals as well. and that is enough goals for me.

3. did anyone close to you give birth?
back to the "i can't keep track of time" thing, i get a little fuzzy on when my favorite babies were born. but i think i am right in saying that steve and sarah's baby summer joined the party in 2009, so i am going to count that. and three of my favorite people have babies on the way this year, which i am pretty stoked about.

4. did anyone close to you die?
we lost aunt rosemary this year, which still feels impossible.

5. what places did you visit?
denver a couple times to see the family, turkey and paris (just for overnight at the airport holiday inn), the outer banks, back to salt lake (so weird that now i visit salt lake), and d.c. before i moved here. california, idaho, moab. new york a bunch. oh, and montreal, if you count an emergency landing because someone on the plane had a seizure. which i do.

6. what would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
i can't actually think of anything. more time to ride my bike, i guess. and a new biking buddy.

7. what dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
oh geez. this is sort of a hard one. i don't really remember dates. but i am pretty sure i left salt lake on may 10. that was a biggie.

8. what was your biggest achievement of the year?
i would say landing a new job, surviving a cross country move and rebuilding my life in a new place, with my sanity still (mostly) in tact.

9. what was your biggest failure?
the mosaic i attempted to make at craft night. seriously. it was an epic fail.

10. did you suffer illness or injury?

11. what was the best thing you bought?
a map of the d.c. metro system.

12. whose behavior merited celebration?
remember when bill clinton got those journalists released from north korea? that was pretty bodacious.

13. whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
tiger woods. yuck. and charlie sheen. double-yuck. sarah palin, yuck, yuck, yuck.

14. where did most of your money go?
i don't even want to know. food, probably. with clothes i don't need being a close second. and my investment portfolio at a pathetic third.

15. what did you get really, really, really excited about?

16. what song will always remind you of 2009?
"sun in an empty room" by the weakerthans (thanks, evan and holly!)

17. compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?
i am happy now and i was happy then. but at this time last year i was starting to get pretty stressed out about the "next step," and that angst is gone.

b) thinner or fatter?
i would say about the same.

c) richer or poorer?
richer! (thanks obama! and no rent at uncle bob's!)

18. what do you wish you’d done more of?

19. what do you wish you’d done less of?

20. how did you spend Christmas in 2009?
in denver, in my pajamas.

21. did you fall in love in 2009?
no. but it's on my list for this year.

22. what was your favorite TV program?
30 rock.

23. what did you do for your birthday in 2009?
dinner at dana's, cupcakes at emily's, lunch with aunt joyce. made 28 goals.

24. what was the best book you read?
east of eden by john steinbeck.

25. what did you want and get?
a sewing machine!

26. what did you want and not get?
a pony. seriously, nothing comes to mind.

27. what was your favorite film of this year?
for new films, i loved "whip it" and "where the wild things are" and "star trek." oh, and definitely "good hair." and, hello, "new moon," naturally. for revisiting old films, how had i forgotten the genius of "moonstruck"?

28. did you make some new friends this year?
that would be yes. i spent half of the year doing nothing but making new friends, in fact. and i am still at it. so far, so good.

29. what one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
would you believe that i can't think of a single thing? i mean, i am sure i had plenty of ideas in the moment, but i can't think of any of them now, so they must not have been that important.

30. how would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
maybe wanna-be-hipster-suddenly-forced-to-be-pseudo-professional, with a sprinkle of what-would-penelope-cruz-wear?

31. what kept you sane?
netflix streaming. endless cell phone minutes. blogging. getting mail. old friends, even if they were far away.

32. which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
michelle obama. jake gyllenhaal. robert downey, jr. tina fey. and is it just me or did ryan reynolds come out of nowhere with a whole lot of awesome?

33. what political issue stirred you the most?
this is not an issue, actually, but the obama inauguration got me all kinds of stirred.

34. who did you miss?
the salt lake crew. all of them. especially my babies.

35. tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
when we ask, we receive. and when we try, we can accomplish.

happy new year, folks! here's to a great one.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

whose line is it anyway?

tonight i went to an "intro to improv" workshop taught by a guy who sort of looked like this...

no joke.

i thought it would be terrifying and possibly awful, but it was actually totally fun and relaxing to be in an environment where, as lee put it, "silliness is supported."

we started off playing a bunch of games where there was a lot of switching things up and thinking on your feet and saying ridiculous things like "aaooooga!" (is that even a word that can be spelled?) miss angela and i were more familiar with these games than most of the other people in the class, thanks to our years of faithful family home evening attendance. (big booty, anyone?)

and then we did a scene-type activity with a partner where you riffed together off a word someone else from the class threw out, but everything you said had to be true. i was a little bit bummed i wasn't in the pair whose conversation strayed to placentas (so many good stories on that topic!), but my partner and i hashed it out over cyber-bullying, which i feel pretty good about (our conversation, not the bullying. to be clear).

it was really a blast to let loose and let go and not worry about looking good or being funny. and it was also interesting to think about what makes us laugh and why some things are funny and other aren't, and how that ability to just be out there and honest and without an agenda all the time could change the way we interact with eachother.

not to mention that a solid foundation in improvisational technique could only be a benefit in any awkward social situation. and i am bound to have many more of those before my life is through.

and, of course, dabbling in improvisational theater can only bring my closer to my television idol, liz lemon. i was hopingt to find the clip where she starts improvising to save jack's honor during the retreat to move forward but just ends up taking off her shirt. sadly, i couldn't find that one, but i did find this nifty little montage. listen carefully at the end for the most important thing liz lemon and i have in common.

(did you catch that? date with my cousin? check!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

a book by its cover

one time, my friend joel went on a rant about how people always say, "i am going to sushi," when in fact they are not "going to sushi," sushi being neither a verb nor a place, but rather going to eat sushi, and there is something about sushi that seems to invite this phenomenon when other food types do not. i mean, think about it. when is the last time you heard someone say, "i am going to lasagna." never, would be my guess.

so, it is with joel in mind that i tell you last night i went out for sushi with miss angela. it is important for you to understand that miss angela did not think she would like sushi. but then she tried it, and she did. and it is also important for you to understand that i did not think i would like miss angela. but then i tried her, and i did. i really did. (and don't worry, it's ok for me to put this on the internet because i already told her to her face. and that's my rule.)

to use angela's words themselves: "i don't look how i am."

indeed, you think you are getting one thing when in fact you are getting quite another, and i mean that in the best possible way.

(might i also add, goal #23, check.)

and so the old adage that we should not judge a book by its cover is proven (proved?) true once again. and once again i have been shamed for jumping too quickly to easy conclusions. the good news is, while i proved myself to be somewhat judgemental, i think i also proved myself willing to move past my first impressions. i discovered the error of my ways sooner rather than later, and that is is certainly a step in the right direction.
(and i will say here that i think it is in large part to goal #23, which i have always believed in, even when my dad said that making something unexpected a goal sort of takes the "unexpected" out of it. be that as it may, here we are.)

that said, though, i hope that i never have to write a post like this again.

though, on the other hand, there is something infinitely more exciting and fulfilling about finding a friend where you didn't think you would find one.

and, while i am just rambling on, i am going to go ahead and dump this can of worms right out. the fact of the matter is that we are all books with covers, and we are all judged by them to some extent, and while some of our covers might match out contents better than others, a cover can never tell the whole story.
por (a lame) ejemplo, i am consistently mistaken for a mac user, which i am not. what is that about? the shorter hair? the glasses? the clothes i wear? the fact that i reference "30 rock" approximately 1,000 times in a day? i have no idea.

like i said, lame example, but, i guess what i am getting at is, what happened to me and miss angela happens to all of us in some measure.

and that seems like a shame.
i guess one solution is to make our outsides match our insides better. but if that does not feel comfortable and self-honest, then it seems like a shame, too.

unfortunately, i have run out of any further insight on the topic, so i am just going to have to leave it there, but i turn the floor to you for any additional wisdom.
do we need to reconcile our covers to our books? (and why is that our covers don't always match our books in the first place?) or is there a way to avoid judging people on the outside at first? or is the solution to recognize that our first impressions could be wrong and get over them as quickly as possible? why do people say, "going to sushi" but not "going to" anything else? and seriously, are macs so much better?

Monday, January 4, 2010

et, voila!

happy new year, internet family, and happy new blog (for frances)!

what do you think of the new design? if you think it's awesome, you should tell my cousin, trevor, as it is all his handiwork. if you do not think it is awesome, i invite you to leave. right now.

personally, i am thrilled about this new blog (for frances) for the new year. what's that, you say? you'd like a little tour? i thought you'd never ask.

right now, we are in my new and improved content space. you might not notice anything different right now, but this space is a lot wider, which means it can better accomodate the big and awesome picture collages i am going to learn how to put together before the end of this new decade.

now, if you'd care to direct your gaze up(stairs), you will see my smashing new banner. in the middle we have me (natch), a photo snapped by the ever-so-talented-and-lovely dallas graham. if you have any major life event coming up that requires photographing (like maybe a wedding or a wednesday afternoon) you should call him. right now.

on the right, we have a branch of japanese cherry blossoms, japan being one of the places closest to my heart, and cherry blossoms being one of the things in japan that i love the most. and, on the left, we have the venerable abraham lincoln, one of the more well-known former residents of my current home and, if i might add, not a bad-looking statue.

and that concludes our tour. there are still a few minor tweaks left (i'm looking at you, sidebar), and the identity of the blog as far as content and structure is still evolving a little in my brain, but i would say the blog (for frances) is off to a good start in 2010.

speaking of which, the year itself is off to a pretty good start, wouldn't you say? except for one thing. is it just me, or were we supposed to have flying cars by now?