Dec 31, 2007

2007 In Review

I envy young married couples and families at this time of year. Not for their domestic bliss or tax write-offs, but for the simple fact that they are allowed to send out Holiday Letters. Usually printed on some inane red and green trimmed stationary and/or decorated with pictures of the children in matching sweaters, the sole purpose of these little notes is to boast about the family's achievements. Last February, little Billy got the lead in the school play! Susie earned her orange belt in karate this summer! Janet won a blue ribbon for her rhubarb pie at the county fair! Bob managed one more year of choking down his bitter disappointment over unrealized ambitions and dying dreams. Hang in there, Bob!

Why should families have all the fun? Why am I not allowed to send everyone I've met a picture of myself posing adorably in front of a fake holiday backdrop? As we all know, I could make even a reindeer jumper look good.

She's right, you know!

On the other hand, I suppose this blog acts as a year-round Holiday Letter ... only more amusingly and with less waste of paper. And I'm saving a ton in postage (let's politely ignore my loss of productivity at work). So let the families have their letters, which will be tossed in the recycling by guilty recipients as soon as decency and waning holiday cheer allow. My words will haunt the internet long after I'm dead and gone, or a least several months after I've lost interest. Blogs are forever.

Speaking of young marrieds, this weekend was packed full of fun and catching up with friends thanks to one of my favorite couples, Kristin and Kevin. They were gracious enough to put up with me put me up for the weekend in a well-appointed guest room. On Friday, Kristin and I met with Ducks and Chris for dessert at the Cheesecake Factory. Ducks works in publishing, and makes gifts of the latest releases.

Ducks: Monkey! Long time no see.
Me: *patting her down* I know you have it - hand it over!
Kristin and Chris: *edging away*
Me: You brought me a book, didn't you? Where is it?
Ducks: Awww, aren't you cute?

And so I am the proud owner of Un Lun Dun by China Mieville. I could barely restrain myself from opening it at the table. Yes, it is a children's fantasy novel. No, I am not ashamed. It will travel afar with me, and excerpts may be read to unsuspecting Indian cousins.

On Saturday morning Kristin, Kevin and I had brunch with Sarah and Brendan on their way through DC. We had an excellent time and came *this close* to being forcibly evicted from The Corner Bakery. Which, for all it's folksy title and atmosphere, is actually a mega-chain staffed by immigrants. Mmmm, just like madre used to make.

Then, much to my delight, there was bridge! Kristin and I always have a good time, because we are compulsive gigglers. This can be slightly unnerving for our opponents.

Kristin: Hee.
Me: Hah.
Kristin: *twitter*
Me: *snort*
Both: *gales of laughter*
Maggie: What's so funny?
Kristin: *blank look*
Me: I ... don't know.
Chris: Can we just play? Please?

But the highlight of the weekend, the proverbial cherry on top, was watching Sense And Sensibility.

Me: Professor Trelawney and Madam Pompfrey, huzzah! If only this movie included Professor Snape, my life would be complete!
Kristin: Wait for it ...
Alan Rickman: *enters*
Me: OMG! I can die happy, now.

It was weird to see him smile.

This post kind of got away from me... Though you may be glad of this rambling during the dearth that will follow. Miss me while I'm gone, my chickadees!

Dec 26, 2007

She's on to me...

Lesson Three from the Family Sri - Censorship
Mom: {something hilarious}
Me: Um ... {correction}?
Both: *hysterical laughter*
Mom: Don't put that in your blog.
Me: {expletive}

Today my mother leaves for India, and I will be joining her after New Year's. From the sound of things I will be spending most of my time in transit - be it by plane, train, rickshaw or elephant. I'm kidding, we don't ride elephants ... we worship them as gods. See, now you don't know what to believe.

I'm really hoping she lets me post it all when I get back. Visiting my relatives is like hanging out with my parents, times twenty. And if you think I'm awkward here in the States, can you imagine me in India? Blog-worthy misadventures will undoubtedly ensue. I may have to record them in my long-neglected journal, on actual paper in actual ink. Freaky.

While I was home for the holidays I came across my journal from sixth grade, which included my... third(?) visit to India. Anyway, it was the first time I was old enough to be fully cognizant of my surroundings. My initial impression of the motherland was, "this place stinks to high heaven."

*sigh* I promise to not be quite so plebeian in the future.

Dec 17, 2007

I'm kind of a gamer

... in that I enjoy video/computer games that do not require too much commitment or hand-eye coordination. My love of gaming started with Battle Toads for old-school Nintendo. My specialty was hitting "Forward" and "Punch" frantically while verbally abusing my digital opponents. As a strategy, I recommend it highly. An homage to the original game can be found here.

Zitz, Pimple and Rash. I think The Professor was a chicken, or something.

Now that I'm adult, my taste has matured... Super Smash Bros, Guitar Hero, that sort of thing. And recently I discovered the games on Adult Swim. More specifically, Viva Caligula.

Oh. My. God. This game makes Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas look like The Sims: Holiday Edition. Game play consists of maneuvering a tiny Caligula around, killing Roman citizens and collecting new weapons. Citizens include civilians, whores, drunks, priests and bathhouse attendants (who die pretty easily) as well as soldiers, tribesmen, gladiators and skeletons (who put up more of a fight). At first you are limited to stabbing people with your dagger until they collapse into a pile of dismembered body parts. But as you gather weapons, you can kill your subjects in new and exciting ways. Once you gather all 26 weapons (each one corresponds to a letter on the keyboard), you unlock the palace and ... well, I won't spoil the surprise.

Basically, this game is
messed up.

I'll admit that this game is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. But since I don't mind a bit of digital depravity, I enjoyed Viva Caligula. It's simple and easy and lots of fun. Just like (in the overall spirit of letting out my 13 year-old gamer boy persona) "your mom." Ha.

Dec 12, 2007

Lessons from the Family Sri

Let's be honest, okay? Most of you read this blog solely for the amusing quotes from my adorable parents. I've come to accept my role as nothing but a scribe, a conduit for their genius. And so I bring you the first of many Lessons from the Family Sri.

Lesson One - Microbiology
Me (about the chicken curry): Mmmm, smells good!
Mom: Don't! It is only half-cooked.
Me: Can I half-taste it?
Mom: OK, you'll get half-sick.

Lesson Two - Philosophy
Dad: What is the word embedded in 'independence?'
Me: Don't you dare say 'depend.'
Dad: The point is, law is blind.
Me: First of all, no. Justice is blind. Second of all, no. Just ... no.

Dec 5, 2007

Not Dead Yet

My birthday came and went, overshadowed by one of my infamous Black Moods. You know that I am usually a woman of infinite jest and most excellent fancy. But even I am susceptible to the occasional funk, especially during the holidays. So I spent most of the anniversary of my blessed natal event curled up on the couch, contemplating the grim prospect of growing older. Yes, I realize that I'm too young to be having a midlife crisis. But when I went to bed at 12:34 AM on December 4th, it suddenly occurred to me - in a few years I will turn Thirty.

Prior to this late night revelation, Thirty had always been a distant and largely insignificant milestone. I had some vague ideas about family and career goals for Thirty, but no real plan. Part of me still expects the things I want to manifest out of thin air (like when I thought I'd get a boyfriend when I turned 16, or my skin would completely clear up at age 20). Turning 25 made me wonder, what if none of that ever happens? What if this is it - working at the same job, coming "home" to an empty condo, dreaming about a permanently deferred writing career?

Maybe it's all part of the process of growing up. When you're a kid your parents tell you, "you can be anything you want to be." As you get older, however, you start to make important decisions (science versus humanities, career versus family, &c. &c.) and some opportunities are naturally lost. You become a real adult person. Going back or starting over would be exhausting. If you don't like the person you've become, tough. You have responsibilities now, people depend on you. You have car insurance payments and a mortgage, birthdays to remember and office Christmas parties to attend.

And I've decided ... I'm not having it. As soon as I let myself settle on what I've "grown up to be," it means that I'm no longer growing. And that way lies madness, not to mention stagnation. So to hell with all of this maturity nonsense! I absolutely refuse to grow older gracefully - I'm going down kicking and screaming.

Who's with me?

P.S. Many thanks to my folks, Maggie and Ruby (and family) for the ah-mazing gifts, to Wistar for taking me out and letting me whine, to FV for you know what, to Liz, Laura, Jojo and my cousin Priyanka (and family) for the lovely cards and to Kelli, Emily, Kara, Mariam, Erin, Sandra, Matt, Andi, Amola, Mike, Davina, Rachel, Danielle, Sarah B. and Sarah Z. for the birthday wishes! Personalized thank-you's will follow, but please let me know if I've neglected to mention anyone. Also, if my brother is reading this he should know that a belated, two-sentence email will not excuse him if he fails to come home safely, bearing Belgian chocolates.