Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My birthday

I often joke about how it's not so much birthday any more as a birthweek. At least when it comes to celebrating it! In my case, I had a sort of a birth-fortnight, but that doesn't sound so catchy. So maybe I'll just keep the celebrations going for another couple of weeks and make it a birthmonth.

Last Saturday, I was wined and dined at the Melting Pot by five of my favorite people on earth. After the initial panic of not quite understanding how to order, and after the next initial panic of realizing I was actually cooking, which is not one of my fortes, I relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Breads and veggies in molten cheese, various meats and seafoods dipped in bubbling oil and broths, and of course sheer chocolate happiness at the end! This was special, to say the least, and I am lucky to have such good friends. Thank you all again!

Oh! Not to obsess about restaurants again, as I seem to do a lot - but yesterday, Barb and I had lunch at Logan Restaurant: they had sent me a birthday coupon for a free lunch entree. (See, the birthday shenanigans never stop!) I had a muffaletta to die for. Go forth some lunchtime and try it.

And on my actual birthday, last week, Scott and I discovered that they have half off bottles of wine at Aubree's on Mondays! And here I was all irked by having a Monday birthday. Mind you, it was a twist-off and they just plunked it unceremoniously down on the table with a thunk, but hey, it's just Aubree's. Besides, it was half off, and it was my birthday!

As for gifts... all I can say is, I have generous friends, parents, spouse, and sister. I'm one lucky 41-year-old. Penny, the tiny GaJol små grå shots are still in my freezer - I marvel at my own self-control! And as for my brand new copy of Luftkastellet der blev sprængt (that's the third and final Stieg Larsson book, which I decided to read in Danish!), that'll be so much fun to plunge into. Thanks, Mum! Lots of books to finish first, but I'll get there!

Oh - and finally, the Eurovision Song Contest semifinals are underway, and the final is on Saturday. Wheeee! This, obviously, is also in honor of my birthday. My vote goes to Greece, with their song Opa!

See, now we're back to the molten cheese again.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Fun in D.C.!

On the National Mall!

Vietnam Memorial

Scott and an X15 at the Air and Space Museum

The stunningly beautiful Museum of the American Indian

The Lincoln Memorial

Part of the Berlin Wall at the Museum of American History

An extraordinary stamp collection at the National Postal Museum

Gazing up into the atrium at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda

Picture postcard perfect!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

There she is!

No longer nestled quietly in the Copenhagen harbor, here's the Little Mermaid, a true-blue celebrity at the World Expo in Shanghai.
Strange to see her so out of her element, but I must admit it's satisfying to see her on such a successful global tour!

She really ought to straighten up a little, though. That melancholy slump doesn't seem quite appropriate for such a world class star. I almost want to echo my mother's oft-stated directive from long ago in my childhood: "Maeve, sit up! You look like a question mark!"

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Sunday: "The Girl on the Train" at the Michigan Theater. It was okay. Always fun to see a French film even when it's a little iffy. The best part was having brunch at Cafe Zola first!
Yesterday: Cinco de Mayo celebration on Liza's patio. Burritos, guacamole, tres leches cake, and excellent company.

Tonight: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," also at the Michigan Theater. Absolutely cannot wait.

In other news... the peonies are getting ready to pop in front of my porch. And the roses already have!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bye-bye, Lala

Things sure move fast these days.

Just two or three years ago, I discovered a CD trading service online called They sent me Netflix-style envelopes, I used them to send out CDs I no longer wanted to people who wanted them, and in return I got CDs I wanted, all virtually for free.

Suddenly - it was gone. Or rather, it transformed. Lala was no longer a trading service. The exchanging of physical CDs suddenly seemed like an archaic activity akin to sharing eight-track tapes. Lala was suddenly an amazing music site where you could stream entire songs (or entire albums!) for free, once, using a sort of try-before-you-buy system. After the free listen, you could pay a dime a song to have permission to stream them from the site as many times as you liked. And, if you really loved a song, you could buy it for 89 cents. Not only that: you could upload your entire music library and stream it from the web site anywhere you happened to be.

Suddenly - Apple bought Everyone speculated as to what they would do with it. And then, this week, just four months later, wham. Apple killed it.

It's no surprise, I suppose. It was too good to be true. Just yesterday, having discovered the quirky Mike Doughty over the weekend, I streamed all his solo albums once for free from Lala. I was thinking of buying the "web versions" of the albums to stream whenever I liked, but - ha! Why bother? It's shutting down on May 31.

Still, I should add that I bought three of his songs last night. On iTunes. Apple, take note: music discovery phase on Lala, cash payment on iTunes! Surely I'm not the only one...? And had you kept it going, you could have integrated all that, and in an interesting way. I suppose you might still be planning on doing that, but couldn't you have kept the web site around for us in the meantime?

Well, it's too bad. I have enjoyed a refreshed CD collection, online access to my music collection, and many interesting hours of music exploration through this innovative site.

I salute you, Lala folks. I'm glad Apple paid a hefty 80 million for you. You deserve it. I just wish they had had the imagination to let us enjoy you a little longer.

Maybe they don't think so different after all.

Postscript:Looks as though Apple is indeed planning something Lala-esque. Check this out. (Thanks, Zac.) Interesting. As I said earlier - things sure move fast these days!