Thank Heavens for German Ingenuity

February 27, 2010 at 3:58 am (Uncategorized)

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I have never driven a BMW.  I don’t really know the difference between a Mercedes and a Toyota Honda.  I’m not into beer.  But, I understand the genius of German engineering.  For example:

  • The Zewa super-soft Softis are the strongest, yet gentlest tissues I’ve ever used.  I don’t understand German, but I’m sure that’s what this 1987 commercial says.
  • If you have dry skin, the Weleda natural skin care products are affordable luxuries.
  • German films are fascinating.
  • Ritter Sport is AMAZING chocolate.
  • I don’t know if German chocolate cake is really German, but it’s very delicious.
  • Milka is AMAZING chocolate.

So when I noticed that 2-time gold medalist skier Maria Riesch  was wearing a Milka head band in Vancouver I got jealous.

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I mean if I knew that Olympic glory was going  to be the route to a free lifetime supply of German chocolates I might have rethought my career path. I didn’t see a Ritter Sport logo at the games which means it might be up for grabs.

Ritter Sport, call me.  I might not be an Olympic athlete, or an athlete for that matter, but I walk all over town on a daily basis.  Let’s talk.

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15 Years Hence

February 25, 2010 at 3:24 pm (Uncategorized)

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Angela Chase and Jordan Catalano, Fifteen Years Later

According to New York Magazine and The Fab Life Angela and Jordan met in London this week for the first time in 15 years.  And in even more exciting news, you can now watch all of the My So-Called Life episodes on Hulu!   Angela and I were high school sophomores at the same time.  Older and wiser, I want to tell her that boys like Jordan are just going to cost you years of therapy.  Brian Krakow now owns his own start-up and lives in the Bay area. 

Thanks to a special birdie for this great 90s tribute.

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Kudos to Joannie Rochette

February 24, 2010 at 4:39 am (Uncategorized)

This week an only child lost her mother and still found the strength to skate her personal best at the Olympics.

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Flashback to Sonja Henie

February 24, 2010 at 4:22 am (Uncategorized)

On the night of the ladies short skate program at the Vancouver Olympics, here’s a look at the Norwegian woman who transformed the sport in the 1920s and introduced the short skirt outfit!  She’s the only woman to win three Olympic gold medals in figure skating.  Shame that she was apparently a self-obsessed actress as well as a Nazi sympathizer off the ice.

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The Best in Olympic Pop Music

February 23, 2010 at 5:05 am (Uncategorized)

Music is an integral part of the Olympic Games.  The right choice of music can enhance figure skating competitions, help tell a story on ice, and is often the best part of the hyped opening and closing ceremonies.  And that’s the music you can hear. Skiers and snowboarders have been spotted sporting ipods underneath their bulky helmets.  American snowboarder Kelly Clark even sings out loud, albeit poorly, before entering the half-pipe.   Research shows that beat and volume can actually move you to go faster, higher, stronger.   Music is the emotional and psychological partner to the physical–most of us just tap our foot while others go to the Olympics.

Here are some of my favorite moments in recent Olympic music.

1. The new catchy Nike commercial from Vancouver inspired me to buy the album from featured artist: The Hours.  Check out the video and lyrics which draw from politics and even religion.  Way better than the Three Doors Down song that keeps coming up during NBC’s telecast.  I also really like the AT&T commercial featuring Lou Reed’s Perfect Day.

2. Piccabo Street, the spunky American skier, is famous for her funky name and medals in 1994 and 1998.  However, I like to thank her for introducing me to this song.  At the 94 Lillehammer Games, Street used to listen to Gabrielle’s Dreams before starting her descent down the mountain.  I made my dad buy me the cassette single the next day.  Sadly, a forgotten pop song of the 90s.

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3. Gloria Estefan had suffered a major back injury in the 90s.  Recovering from the experience she wrote and performed this song at the Atlanta 1996 closing ceremonies.  It’s a pretty generic pop song, but I happened to hear it live at the 1996 closing ceremonies so it makes the list.

4. Nike’s marketing team did a good job in 2008 during the Beijing Olympics with this commercial featuring the killer Killers.

5. And kudos to the figure skaters that musically ventured outside the rink.  A young Japanese men’s single skater chose Jimi Hendrix for his program and the British brother/sister Kerr/Kerr ice dancing pair was even more modern picking Linkin Park for their final free skate.  My favorite part of their performance was when she lifted him.  Modern twist.

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End of an Olympic Era

February 19, 2010 at 8:11 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s the end of an olympic era.  And, no, I don’t mean the recent loss of dominance by the Russian and former Soviet countries at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.  I mean the official end of puffy sleeves in men’s figure skating!

I’ve always said that my favorite two sports were baseball (GO YANKS!) and figure skating.  While baseball gives me the likes of Jeter, A-Rod, and Hip, Hip, Jorge!, figure skating gives me outlandish outfits.  In the 80s, puffy was all the rage, but on the ice puffy lasted way too long after the 80s ended.  Now a days, the only men in the rink with puffed shoulders, thankfully, are the hockey players.

Watching the men’s figure skating performances at Vancouver, I was struck by the few number of men who opted for the pant/shirt option over the unitard. There were multiple vests, including one sported by American champion Jeremy Abbott after his disappointing performance.  Granted, it was a purple vest.  Russian Plushenko’s vest doesn’t count, because it’s really a unitard.  My favorite men’s outfit by far was a young athlete from the Czech Republic (sorry, I can’t find a picture online to confirm) who sported a pink, plaid, sparkly, sweater vest over a white collared shirt!  Preppy yet snazzy.  A new era indeed.

However, my favorite outfit remains Nancy Kerrigan’s simple black and white number designed by Vera Wang for the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.

As the dogged Visa commercials say: Go World!

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Not Just an Evite

February 6, 2010 at 7:18 pm (Uncategorized)

By popular demand, I’m posting my 30th birthday invitation.  Enjoy!
Yo Fly Girls and Guys,

Remember when Bush was cool, and green day had nothing to do with the environment? When Ice-T was a “cop killer” and not a cop?

I do.

Despite all my rage, I will I bid a bittersweet farewell to my twenties.  But, before the end of my extended adolescence give me one more chance to rewind the clock and relive my suburban, not really angst-filled, around the way girl teen years… Thanks for nuthin’ Dr. Zizmor!*

So, before my reality bites, and now that it’s been over a decade, let’s make the ’90s cool again!

Help me answer burning questions like:

Why was My So-Called Life tragically cancelled?
Why did Screech think he had a chance with Lisa?
What IS the meaning of the word is?
Why didn’t the press comment on the poor fuel efficiency standards of disastrous carbon emitting white broncos?
Who ever won in the end: East coast or West coast?
What was this STP song about anyway?

So, I’ll tell ya what I want, what I really really want: the Roger Rabbit and the Mashed Potato and the Macarena.  I want to go back in time.  For one birthday night only, don’t dis me and just come as you are bring significant others or just a friend and let me pretend I’m a teenager again.

Where:
Slide into my friend‘s apartment.

When:
Cool kids never have the time: 9pm and stay for however long you want to linger until you kick it, or the neighbors complain about our cheesy taste.

Dress code:
So I cry, and I pray, and I beg, for you to dress the part:
Dust off the mary janes, doc martins, flannels, backwards hats and baggie pants, scruchies, Hypercolor Ts, one-strap overalls, and vests. Don’t even bother washing your hair.  Or come as your favorite 90s character/personality.

If there is a problem, yo I solve itLeave a message and I’ll call you back.

I can’t promise citrusy disco lemonade, but there will be some sipping on gin and juice, champagne, and a lot of old school music to dance to. I’m gonna make you sweat till ya bleed! You’ll be the bong in this reggae song. etc.

Some of you might be jealous that my teenage years were during such an amazing, plate-shifting period for music–no, it’s not ironic.  So help me help you get into the spirit of your youth and believe me it will be an unbelievable night!

See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya!

PS It’s my party and I’ll DJ if I want to, but I am taking essential ’90s song requests…beep me. I’m outta hea…

*intended for New York tri-state area audience.

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Ode on a Stolen iPod

February 6, 2010 at 7:12 pm (Uncategorized)

Dear Washingtonian who stole my iPod from the Vida Fitness Metropole:

I know it was my fault.  I left my treasured, black iPod nano in the treadmill water holder on Sunday, January 24th at 4:30pm.  I was remiss, but you didn’t return it to the lost and found.  So, as you enjoy my modern day technological marvel, here are some things you should know.

I have an eclectic taste in music.

If I had known you were going to be perusing my personal music that day, I would have at least created new playlists of obscure indie rock bands and gym appropriate music that would make me look hip, yet approachable.  I own that stuff, but you caught me on a bad day.  Instead, you will find a mix of sad Ryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen songs consoling a very recently broken heart, a playlist about London for a dear friend who is moving, old school music for my 90s-themed 30th birthday party, and and lots of music by Madonna.  I hope you like Madonna.

You should know it wasn’t just a nano.  It was a gift from close friends as I left home and moved to Italy.  It was engraved with a personal message from them, “Ciao! We Love You!”   Every time I looked at it I was reminded of their love and wishes for me.  With my nano I was never lonely.  We were in a symbiotic relationship for over three years.  It was the conduit to the soundtrack of my late-twenties.  It shared the electricity of falling in love, it was a trusty companion when I walked home alone from another bar, a consolation to more than one break-up, it pumped me up before eleven job interviews, countless exams, and sometimes it pushed me to run the extra mile.

Yes, I know it was just a nano, but it had absorbed my tears and my sweat.  It had traveled with me to Italy, Turkey, Spain, France, China, the Philippines, and New Jersey.  How could I have survived Friday night NJ Turnpike traffic without my nano?  We all know the luxury bus wifi doesn’t really work.

The nano brought me the voice of Ira Glass, playlists created just for me, and playlists I compiled for my friend’s birthdays, weddings, and road trips.  Luckily, you can’t steal music.  I can save up for a new iPod and once again walk around Logan Circle while discreetly playing air guitar.  You can’t steal the way I feel when drums perfectly pounce on my problems for four minutes, or how violin strings tilt my mood.

So, I hope you needed a portable music player.  I hope my nano is not some mistress to your bigger, fancier iPhone.  I hope you love it the way I did.  Respect its size and its dependability.  Unlike disappointing boyfriends and bosses, it never failed or stuttered once in my hands.

I hope it helps you get through a difficult period or celebrate a new adventure.  I hope you didn’t prostitute it out to the highest bidder.  It was a lady.  But, most of all, I hope you have friends that would give you such a gift.  The gift of music with an engraved reminder that you are loved.

Thankfully, my friends’ love is portable and it doesn’t need a protective case.

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Chase and Been Chased

February 6, 2010 at 6:30 pm (Uncategorized)

A recent article in the New York Times by Amy Bloom inspired me, a self-professed Luddite, to take the plunge –way behind the curve– and start a blog.   Maybe it was turning 30, maybe it was a another break-up, maybe it was a dead-end 9-to-5 job, but the time seemed right.

So before I get all Julie Powell on you, there’s something to be said about the once smart, creative girl who’s hit a brick wall on the cusp of 30-something adulthood.  (Although, unlike Julie, according to the movie since I haven’t read the book, I don’t believe that I would ever take a supportive husband for granted, or knock Queens–the most diverse and down-to-earth, real borough in NY!)

Chase and Been Chased is for my friends and strangers who care to hear about the random thoughts and opinions of a New Yorker trying to make it in DC.  I’ve chased and been chased by happiness, but it’s so hard to hold.  I’m professionally and personally making sense of what comes next…with a little help from my friends…and chocolate, cheese, music, film, politics, news, and travel.

“Happiness is like beauty: part of its glory lies in its transience. It is deep but often brief (as Frost would have it), and much great prose and poetry make note of this. Frank Kermode wrote, ‘It seems there is a sort of calamity built into the texture of life.’ To hold happiness is to hold the understanding that the world passes away from us, that the petals fall and the beloved dies. No amount of mockery, no amount of fashionable scowling will keep any of us from knowing and savoring the pleasure of the sun on our faces or save us from the adult understanding that it cannot last forever.”  –Amy Bloom

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