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Warmth!

Thankfully, the condo building finally turned on the heat this evening. It was down in the low 40's yesterday and will be so again tonight. Fall, please come back. I'm not yet ready for winter, although now I can turn on some heat if the weather doesn't cooperate.

Zombieland.

Very cute! One of the best beginnings to a movie I've seen in a long while. However, there is almost no plot and I kind of felt like I was watching one episode of a web series or something. Plus, A kept guessing what was going to happen next (no great feat), loudly, while groaning all the while.

William Shatner doing Pulp?!?!?

Thank you, KEXP. I had no idea that William Shatner did a spoken/screamed word rendition of one of my favorite Pulp songs: "Common People". Whoa. I think I'm seriously scarred.

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Opera in the Outfield!

Last night, A and I (and one of our friends) had a fantastic evening of popular opera and picnicking. The Washington National Opera simulcast their opening night of the 2009-2010 season, The Barber of Seville, at the Nationals baseball stadium. It was a free event where people could go out onto the outfield with blankets and watch the opera on the jumbotron. So cool!

I actually won a contest for a free picnic, a reserved blanket in center field, and access to one of the suites. When we got there, we found a bunch of cool swag in addition to our picnic - free shirts from the Opera, and mugs, blankets and mousepads and assorted stuff from WJLA/NewsChannel 8, which sponsored the contests. We also ended up with two more free T shirts from the Nats staff tossing out more stuff from the infield.

On top of that, the opera was fantastic. Laurence Brownlee's Count Almaviva/Lindoro was great - evidently it's one of his signature roles and he really shone in it. The rest of the cast was excellent, and we enjoyed the more "fun" atmosphere of people talking, food wrappers rustling, and kids running around. It was more fun than sitting in the Kennedy Center, frankly. Well, and we can't afford the rarified air there anyway. :)

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Suicide via Public Transportation.

If you are going to attempt to kill yourself, please don't try to engage your local Metro train as a method.

That's the station nearest my home, which means our evening commute will suck bigtime. Plus, the Metro has been slow, crowded, sweaty, and stinky due to last month's crash, tourists, and slimy DC weather. Now it will only get worse. Yay!

VNV.

Excellent and enjoyable. 9:30 is a good club - acoustics were really nice, small venue, nice atmosphere.

VNV Nation tonight.

I know, I'm a posting loser. But me, A, and some friends are going to head to the famous 9:30 Club to see VNV Nation tonight. I enjoyed them when we saw them last in Seattle. Opening bands are War Tapes and Aryia. Anyone know anything about them??? I have this feeling I saw Aryia at the Vogue centuries ago...

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Movies movies!

Last weekend, one of very good and old friends from FL came to visit me and another long-time mutual friend. She's big into movies, so we hit the theaters twice in 2 days. So here's the rundown on:

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
Are you a woman? Are you in the mood for mindless fluff? Do you find Matthew McConaughey attractive rather than dirty? Can you accept huge plot holes in exchange for 1 1/2 hrs of air-conditioned laughter? This movie may be for you.

Seriously stupid (as in, there are gaps in the plot that are so wide an elephant could step through them), but highly enjoyable. Mr. McConaughey may be a bit crazy, but damn he has a good smile. Basically, this is a Christmas Carol using girlfriends as his ghosts. Question: It's set in the winter, and based on a beloved Christmas story, so why wasn't it released around the holidays? That was a bit jarring. Also jarring: Jennifer Garner's cheekbones. She looked unhealthily skinny - it was sort of gross. My personal favorites: Breckin Meyer, who I've loved since he was the stoner dude in Clueless and Lacy Chabert, who is just so cute!

Night at the Museum II: Battle for the Smithsonian
Did you see the first one? Did you like it? Do you like the idea of the Smithsonian getting a cut of the profits? Maybe you will be able to stomach it.

A disclaimer:  I did not see the first movie. I was able to basically pick it up from the clues in the first 10  minutes, however. This movie was as lackluster as it's possible to be when you've got the run of the Smithsonians to choose from. They did a lot of cool stuff with some of the exhibits, and I really hope it boosts museum-going for DC like it did for NY, but the movie was lame. Lame, lame, lame. And the giant squid does not really look like that - I volunteer next to both of them all the time. Amy Adams, however, did a great job with a sassy Amelia Earhart.

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Peter Grimes...kind of grim.

On Monday we inherited tickets to see Peter Grimes at Washington National Opera. I was pretty excited, having never seen a modern English language opera before. Well, it was not exactly to my liking. The set was fantastic, and the singers were very good, but I found it hard to get into.

1. It's a horribly depressing opera. Oh wait, all of them are.
2. The English is just not that lovely to listen to.
3. It's very modern - I'm not so sure I like modern. Kind of...dissonant...at times.

There were some interesting moments (how can there not be? It's about a possibly homicidal fisherman!), and I did like the chorus effect. But overall not so much my thing.

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I touched Alton!

OK, I realized I haven't updated in like a billion years, but instead of one big long blurb I'm just going for the recent fun stuff. On Friday night, I volunteered at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in their Ocean Hall. Normally I do this on alternate Sundays, but Friday was special. We had a Sustainable Seafood Tasting event, with ~25 of the top DC chefs...and Alton Brown was signing cookbooks!

So I got to be introduced and shake hands, wander around on his tour of the Ocean Hall, etc. What I learned, as he stared at the coelocanth - the bigger the scales, the less tasty the fish. Coelocanths never looked particularly good to me anyway. Their fins are too arm-y.

One of the best parts was that as volunteers, we did almost nothing. I directed guests (suckers paying $75 a head) to the wine, to the restroom, to some of the food stations, but generally I just ran around and ate things. OMG delicious cheese, ceviche, lobster rolls, octopus, trout, etc! And if any of you ever come to DC, go to Georgetown Cupcake for dessert - peanut butter ganache.

For all our "work", the volunteers were gifted with a cookbook from the chef of Restaurant Nora. Looks good! Maybe I'll try making something fancy.

I enjoy the Ocean Hall generally, but this was really super fun!

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