Is marriage a business?

July 24, 2008 at 2:06 pm | Posted in Relationships | Leave a comment

According to Liz Pullman Weston, it is and after reading this article you might be inclined to agree with her. I certainly do, I know of someone whose marriage ended after a short time and who had to struggle with money problems of the ex’s for some time afterward. Talking about money is not a comfortable topic, it’s not supposed to be! But it can save you so much trouble if you take the time to talk about financial problems and goals.

What I’m Reading Now

July 23, 2008 at 6:05 pm | Posted in Books | Leave a comment

In the long days of summer, the quality of TV shows tends to go downhill. Reality shows seem to be taking over the airwaves, and my favorite shows (Heroes, Ugly Betty, Dirty Sexy Money) won’t be back on the air for another month and a half. Therefore, avoiding the ‘idiot box’ has become a top priority lately. Of course, free outdoor events in NYC makes my job easier. I’ve also been exercising outdoors in an attempt to avoid having to use treadmills and elliptical machines indoors (in order to make running on a treadmill bearable, I turn on the TV to watch the reality show offerings on MTV or VH1).

Thanks to the awesome libraries in my neighborhood, I’ve been catching up on notable novels of the last 25 years. EW recently made a list of the top 100 books since 1983 and I’ve been using that list as my guide on what books to check out from the library (saving $ is good). Here are my findings:

Kaaterskill Falls by Allegra Goodman: I have previously heard of Allegra Goodman through her book “Intuition”. The subject matter of KF was an instant draw; I have spent some time in religious communities, although probably not as religious as the one Ms. Goodman writes about in her book. The description of KF was so rich, you could see the colors of the leaves changing, the waterfalls. You also saw the good and the not so good side of living in a religious community, you get the social and familial connection but you might also feel stifled, you might feel your options are limited. I like that Ms. Goodman doesn’t outright villanize characters or try to make them too perfect. They are complete people, with their good qualities and their flaws.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving: Wow, what a doozy of a book and I don’t mean only in length although it is over 500 pages. I wish I could write more details about this book but that would give so much away. You experience a wide range of emotions in this novel, and it will leave an undeniable impression on you after you’re finished.

Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian: Why none of this author’s books made the EW top 100 list is beyond me. I have read several of his novels and have enjoyed each one. The one book you’re probably heard about from CB is Midwives and that’s because it was on Oprah’s reading list. SATF differs from his previous novels; most of his other novels take place in New England in modern times. SATF is set in Europe during the end of WW II. I am a big fan of CB and historical fiction, I found the change in time and place maybe gave the author a boost, I found this to be his best work yet. There are 3-4 different story arcs that come together near the end of the novel. The main characters are a family who is from what was then called Prussia, they were very wealthy once upon a time and were supporters of the Nazi party. If you were to tell me that I would feel compassion for them, I would have probably thought you were crazy. It is the power of the writing that made me change my mind.  Once you start reading this book, you won’t put it down unless you have unbelievable willpower.

I plan on doing these weekly, or most likely, bi-weekly. Of course, if you come across any good novels, write about it in the “Comments” section : )

You Cannot Be Serious!

July 22, 2008 at 3:31 pm | Posted in News and Views, Random Stuff | Leave a comment

Anyone who moves to New York City is aware that there are tradeoffs. You can go to free concerts and movies everyday of the week, or pretty close to it, but the cost of living is expensive. I hear of the monthly rents my friends pay for their apartments now and it is just ridiculous, not to mention the price of food and transportation. According to the New York Times, the MTA wants to propose a fare increase for next year to close down a budget gap. Wasn’t it not long ago that the MTA supposedly had a budget surplus and now there’s a large gap? That takes alot of nerve to even talk about proposing a fare increase, especially with the delays that alot of commuters are experiencing on the subway. First fix the problems with delays, then discuss increasing fares, mmkay?

On a completely different note, I heard of this comment from a nationally known radio host about children with autism. While the comment is extremely ignorant, I do not think this host should be fired. Instead, he should do some volunteer work at a school for kids with autism, maybe he can observe a classroom of older kids with autism, see the work that teachers are doing with these kids so they can find a job, maybe that will change his point of view, or not.

Read this now!!

July 21, 2008 at 2:52 pm | Posted in Read this now | 1 Comment

This is the debut of a new weekly feature. I have always loved reading, as a kid you would find me with my nose stuck in a book most of the time. Although it is more challenging to make time for reading, I try to find time for reading when I can, even if it means reading for minutes at a time while on a crosstown bus or right before going to sleep.

1. When I looked at the cover of this week’s New York Times magazine, I was instantly drawn to this story. It is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a former drug addict and how he got drawn into using and selling drugs and more interestingly, how he changed his life.

2. Having spent some childhood summers in this city, I got a kick out of the cover story in this week’s Travel section.

3. Vacation is one of my favorite words ever. I try to go on vacation once a year. It could be for 2 1/2 weeks in Israel, which I did back in 2006 or a 1 week jaunt through Prague and Amsterdam, like I did back in 2004. My most recent vacation was a 4 day vacation in Las Vegas with my family. I find vacations to be a necessary but overlooked part of life. It gives me something to look forward to on those crazy workdays when the phone won’t stop ringing. However, with rising prices of travel, many people are rethinking their vacation plans, either postponing or canceling their plans. This story leads off the Style section and combines personal stories of how people changed their vacation plans to save more money and also gives some sobering statistics that might change the mind of those people that are too attached to their workplaces.

4. Read this piece about an Orthodox synagogue in the middle of Venice Beach, specifically the conflict between the synagogue and a store next door that sells t-shirts, bathing suits, and lingerie.

Instead of blogging, I’m…

July 17, 2008 at 7:59 pm | Posted in Outings, Random Stuff | 2 Comments

1. going to free concerts in the city (Yael Naim, the 2 free NY Philarmonic concerts in Central Park, Bon Jovi); on this note, I though the sound system for the 2nd NY Philarmonic concert sucked; there didn’t seem to be as many speakers placed around the lawn and it seemed more crowded for this concert than the last one.

Now I can say that I’ve seen Bon Jovi in concert. For a jersey girl not to see Bon Jovi live, what a travesty ; ) Seriously, I never really appreciated Bon Jovi until recently. Their upbeat songs all sound the same, not much variety in their music until recently. I don’t like their new stuff as much as their 80s stuff but their show was phenomenal, made standing on line for what seemed like eternity worthwhile. Jon Bon Jovi is one good looking man who should be sponsoring toothpaste, seriously did you see how white his teeth are?  How many times can you say you saw a rock concert on the Great Lawn? Plus, the sound system rocked!

2. trying to get back into running; I got new running sneakers (Brooks Addiction, in case anyone’s curious) and have been running 2-3x a week (might alternate with spinning class, swimming, dancing one day a week and lift weights or do yoga 1 day a week), there’s an awesome pre-season sports conditioning class at the gym that is super popular, whenever i’ve come to the class, it gets at least 20 people, sometimes close to 30 or more people; what I like the most is the class does it all for you, you get your cardio with the sprints we do in class and you get strengthbuilding from the different exercises with free weights (lunges with bicep curls, pushups, mountain climbers).

3. exploring the great outdoors. Last Thursday, I went hiking in Morris County, NJ with the JOC; we hiked 6 miles and there was so much variety, we walked on roads, grass, had to climb up rocks and the scenery was beautiful, everything from waterfalls, forests, green meadows; oh, and my fellow hikers were very nice as well : ) Yesterday, I went to the Bronx Zoo (another JOC adventure) and decided that I want a lemur as a pet, forget about dogs! Other than the weird eyes, they are cute furry creatures and it would make for a great ice-breaker. I saw tigers, snow leopards, monkeys, giraffes, and tapirs (yes, you heard right).

4. seeing family; Fathers Day was great; we went to a sculpture garden in NJ followed by a family barbecue. My nephews are awesome; a couple weeks ago my mom and I took Big Peanut to the Children’s Museum followed by a sushi lunch. Little Peanut is now walking, it’s funny because he hasn’t quite figured out yet how to work his knees while walking. There is a youtube video of him walking, it’s the most adorable thing ever.

I remember a time when I used to post everyday but the pace was too much for me to keep up with.  There has to be a middle ground between posting everyday and posting 1x a month. Also, I debate with myself over the format of my blog. Don’t worry, I’m not putting away the pen yet, far from it.

So You Think You Can Dance Part 2: 6-18-08

June 19, 2008 at 3:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Courtney G./Gev, contemporary, “Lost” Anouk, Mandy Moore routine: Ooh, Mandy Moore choreographing contemporary, cool stuff. The lighting was superb, chemistry was there, really innovative lifts, Gev really improved from his performance last week. Mixed reviews from the judges, Gev was praised almost all-around, Courtney didn’t perform up to Mia’s expectations.

Katee/Josh, Broadway, “All for the Best”, Godspell, Tyce DiOrio routine: I don’t know anything about Godspell whatsoever. I do know that Katee and Josh are my favorite couples on the show and they will take whatever they’re given and do an awesome job. Some of the choreo was corny but my g-d they made it work. It was entertaining and fun and all the judges seemed to love it.

Susie/Marquis, salsa, “Aguanille”, Wilie Colon and Hector Lavoe, Alex DaSilva routine: I haven’t made it a secret that I’m not terribly impressed with Susie, was shocked that they didn’t get voted in the bottom 3 last week. But I was curious to see what she could do here. The answer: not very much. All the judges didn’t like the performance that much.

Twitchington, Viennese waltz, “A New Day will Come”, Celine Dion, Jean-Marc Genereux routine: The routine is inspired by J-M Genereux daugher, she has Rett syndrome. This is one routine I will watch again on You Tube, the dancing was superb, I hate Celine Dion songs but I was really getting into it. Maybe I can just mute the song and watch them dance. All the judges loved the performance although Mia and Nigel got into a littel dispute over Kherington’s display of emotion, Mia seemed to think her smiling all the time was unnecessary and Nigel disagreed.

Comfort/Chris, krump, some song by 50 Cent/Timbaland, Lil’ C routine: The beginning of the routine was cool but it went downhill for me after. Nigel dissed Chris by saying his granny is more gangster than him. A bit disappointing for the last routine.

My picks for Bottom 3 couples: Well, Will/Jessica and Kourtney/Matt might be voted in there just because they were last week. I think Susie/Marquis can’t avoid the bottom 3 this time around. Chelsea T/Thayne are also contenders since they went first and the routine wasn’t praised. The first spot out is a trouble spot. Comfort/Chris are safe this time b/c she’s so damn charming and cute.

Guy going home: hmm, could be Marquis;

Girl going home: either Susie or Jessica

So You Think You Can Dance Top 18 Part 1: 6-18-08

June 19, 2008 at 3:09 pm | Posted in TV shows | Leave a comment
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After seeing how long last week’s post was, I think I’ll shorten it to 2 parts. I hope the dances in this episode are better than the ones last week. There are 4 pieces from last week that I will watch again on YouTube (Twitchington, Chelsea T./Thayne, Chelsie H./Mark, Josh/Katee), let’s see how many I will watch again this week.

Judges: Nigel, Mary, and Mia Michaels in the rotating spot

The question for the couples this week is what they like/dislike about their partners aka filler.

Chelsea T/Thayne, jazz, “Untouched” The Veronicas, Mandy Moore routine: I was so excited to see them perform after their cha-cha from last week; the concept was interesting and the song is one I will definitely download from ITunes. However, the performance fell flat for me. The costumes didn’t help either, I understand they have to dance in them and all but bows on black dance shoes?!?! A neck ruffle accessorized with a leotard? It seems that this season’s cast has not done justice to Mandy Moore routines to date, it’s a trend I’m not liking. All the judges didn’t seem to like the performance that much.

Chelsie H./Mark, argentine tango, “Mi Confession” Gotan Project, Alex Da Silva routine: This is the first time seeing Alex Da Silva this season, his routines are always fun to watch, hot Latin music, interesting moves. This routine did not disappoint, Chelsie was absolutely awesome, that high kick that almost reached the back of her head was superb. Mark looked like a stud out there, it’s amazing what the right costume and slicked back hair can do. When you think of tango, you think of passion, fire, intensity and that was there between Mark and Chelsie, surprising considering that there is a brother/sister vibe to their relationship. Chelsie’s pinkie toe somehow made it’s way outside her shoe and Cat had to kneel down and fix her shoe; that looked extremely painful; hope no permanent damage was done. All the judges liked their dancing, major praise for Mark, esp. from Mia which is interesting considering she kinda dissed him last week. Nigel wanted Chelsie to be a little bit more sleazy in the performance; imo, this is a ‘family show’, kind of, there is on need for excessive sleaze on this show, there’s enough of it in other shows if that’s your thing.

Will/Jessica, hip-hop, “Whatever U Like” Nicole Scherzinger, Cicely and Olisa routine: First of all, crappy song; whenever I hear anything Pussycat Dolls, I tune out. This wasn’t one of the better hip hop routines on the show, not at all. Will was awesome though, Jessica not so much. You would think with chairs and hats the routine would have kept my attention. Mixed reviews from the judges, mostly praise to Will, Nigel was the only judge that liked Jessica

Kourtney L./Matt, fox-trot, “A Foggy Day (in London Town)”, Michael Buble, Jean-Marc Genereux routine: Awesome choice of song, good costuming, it was a pleasant routine to watch. The lifts were amazing, I always love J-M Genereux routines. The judges had mixed reviews, praise for Matt and mixed reviews for Kourtney. Mia says a funny comment about how she feels that Kourtney is strong only with her leg in the air.

 

 

So You Think You Can Dance Results 6-12-08

June 13, 2008 at 8:34 pm | Posted in TV shows | Leave a comment
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Let’s see if my predictions are right Bottom 3: Raven and Jaime, Susie and Marquis, or Kourtney/Matt, Jessica/Will, or Gev/Courtney for the last slot: Girl going home: Susie, Guy going home: Matt/Gev

Group dance: Wade Robson choreographed that and maybe he has some issues with Nigel ; ), tying him up in the chair; crazy stuff; the one thing I don’t like about the group dances this early in the season is that it’s such a clusterf*ck, you can’t really distinguish the dancers, can’t tell who stands out.

Bottom 3 couples are Raven/Jaime, Kourtney/Matt, and Jessica/Will; surprised that Susie/Marquis were safe, i thought a waltz the first night out is not a good omen; i guess alot of guys voted for Susie….

Solos: I only saw Raven/Jaime, and Kourtney/Matt; noticed Kourtney wobbled a bit and she did not look happy with her solo, Matt’s solo was okay, Raven and Jaime’s solos were more entertaining

Performances: there were 2 breakers from Electric Bugaloo (?), that was fun; I skipped Pussycat Dolls

The judges decided to let Raven and Jaime go; can’t say I’m too shocked with that one; we hardly saw them in the audition footage; even though I liked their solos better than Kourtney and matt, i guess the judges didn’t or maybe they have a thing for dancers alternating between expressions of happiness and heartbreak or constipation, flaing their arms, rolling around all over the stage, and kicking randomly who knows?

In retrospect, I really should have known that Raven and Jaime would be the first to go; at least I predicted the bottom 3 couples fairly well. See you same time, same place : )

So You Think You Can Dance Top 20 6-11-08

June 12, 2008 at 3:41 pm | Posted in TV shows | Leave a comment
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I’ve been looking forward to this show for weeks, I saw almost all of the audition episodes and already have my favorites for this season (Twitch, Kourtney L). In the first episode last year, there were 2 memorable dances (Sarah and Jesus’s routine to Triplets of Bellville, courtesy of Wade Robson and Lacey and Cameron’s contemporary routine courtesy of Mia Michaels); let’s see if there will be memorable dances this time. Better yet, let’s see how long I can last reviewing this show.

The jidges, oops judges: Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and Dan “Danny Downer” Karaty

Raven and Jamie, hip hop, “American Boy” Estelle w/Kanye West, Napoleon and Tabitha routine: awesome song, just danced to it in my power dance class at the gym earlier that night, i was wondering what is that song : ); well I liked Raven in the routine, Jamie not so much…also to get the first spot out is rough; I didn’t see Raven before tonight and I liked her alot, she has spunk and sass; There were mixed reviews from the judges, Nigel and Mary seemed to like it, Danny Downer was underwhelmed; I think they’re in danger of being voted in the bottom 3.

Susie and Marquis, smooth waltz, “Dark Waltz” Hayley Estenra, Hunter Johnson routine: I remember Susie from her Milwaukee audition, loud hair, loud clothes, just seems like she’s trying too hard imo; I am not particularly impressed with Hunter Johnson routines, and this routine didn’t change my impression; it was nice to see Susie in more clothes and she does have alot of talent; Marquis was nice eye candy and even though he messed up the final lift, he hid it well and kept going. The song made me want to go to sleep though; the judges seemed to like the routine, even Danny Downer; however I do think they’re in danger of being voted into the bottom 3.

Kourtney and Matt, jazz, “Tainted Love” Soft Cell, Mandy Moore routine: I love Mandy Moore, she is a cutie, very full of life and spunk, I had high expectations for it and I was disappointed; Kourtney looked pretty hot though; she has presence and charisma. I wasn’t impressed with the routine; there was nothing that popped out for me and usually in Mandy Moore’s choreography there is something memorable, not this time : ( From what I remember, the judges seemed okay with it but I think this couple is in trouble.

Chelsea T. and Thayne, cha-cha, Oye Como Va, Celia Cruz (remix), Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin routine: First of all, I love all the Latin dances, uptempo stuff is awesome! Secondly, I love Tony Meredith, he choreographs fun, interesting pieces that makes you want to get up and shake your butt; now that is what I’m talking about; Chelsea was hot, hot, hot; and Thayne was a good partner for her; that was awesome, that got my attention, super! All the judges liked it and I think they are safe.

 Chelsie and Mark, contemporary, Beautiful, Meshell NDegeocello, Mia Michaels routine: Mia Michaels is insane…in a good way. Most of her routines don’t make sense but you remember them for a long time. I find that her routines get better with second viewings (and sometimes third or fourth). The costuming for Chelsie was unfortunate; I wanted to look at her facial expressions but all I saw was puffy white dress. Nevertheless, Mark and Chelsie killed it and I do think they are safe.

Kherington and Twitch, Broadway, Too Darn Hot, Kiss Me Kate, Tyce D’Orio routine: Wow, this routine rocked! Some of the Broadway routines I just don’t get and others I love, this one is in the second camp all the way. Kherington is a little too smiley for my taste sometimes but this piece suited her personality to a tee. I would love to see her perform a piece that requires her to be any emotion other than happy. Twitch was awesome, wow I use that word alot, maybe I should consult a thesaurus : ) For real, I think the judges have lower expectations for hip hoppers and poppers/breakers. It’s like “Wow, I’m so proud of you..you did all the steps and you didn’t mess up, hooray”,I also noticed they said a similar comment to Chelsie “You’re a ballroom dancer, you’re not supposed to be that good at this”; it is very annoying to hear and comes off as condescending.

Comfort and Chris, Jive, Boom Boom, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Tony Meredith: Yea, another Tony Meredith routine! This makes up for the Hunter Johnson routine earlier. The beginning was hot and then the routine never really took off for me. Comfort has all this fun personality and charm but her upper body was so stiff, something about it just looked a little off. But personality goes a long way in this competition and I don’t see her and Chris getting voted into the bottom 3. I’m not sure if it was a case of bad nerves or she does not know any technique; if it’s the latter, then I don’t think she’ll make it into the top 10 and that would be a shame.

Katee and Josh, hip-hop, No Air, Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown, Napoleon and Tabitha routine: ooh, cool another Napoleon and Tabitha routine; this one rocked! I had low expectations for Katee but she pulled off the hip hop, who knew? Joshua was amazing, he is very likable, that’s for sure.

Jessica and Will, tango, Tango, Cirque de Soleil, Hunter Johnson routine: Oh no, another Hunter Johnson routine, why?!?! Okay, I liked this one a little better than the waltz, Will really rocked this one. He was the perfect performer, macho, agressive; jessica, not so much. I noticed a little wobble near the end.

Courtney G and Gev, disco, Boogie Wonderland, Earth Wind and Fire, Doriana Sanchez routine: Okay, I love disco music; the disco dances on this show are all over the place. This routine was fun, Courtney was the star in this one, alot of spunk, sass, attitude. However, I thought the judges were a big hard on Gev, he wasn’t that bad but maybe you shouldn’t ask me, I was paying attention to Courtney.

Here are my predictions

Bottom 3 couples: Raven and Jamie, Susie and Marquis; the third couple is a bit harder for me to predict. I would say either Kourtney L or Matt or I hate to say this, Gev and Courtney. I would also put Jessica and Will in the mix.

Who’s leaving: Susie and Matt/Gev

 

Birthday Wish List

June 12, 2008 at 2:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

My birthday isn’t until close to Labor Day but it’s never too early to reveal your wish list.

1. a couch/futon

2. a new TV (i’ve had my TV for almost 7 years and it’s not a flat screen, gasp!)

3. a new Ipod (I have an Ipod mini and every accessory that’s out is for the nano, shuffle, or regular Ipod)

4. an all expense paid vacation to the caribbean

5. tickets to Jersey Boys; if not that, then Avenue Q or Crybaby will do

6. tickets to Madonna

I don’t think I’m being unreasonable ; )

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