Victoria: July 2007 Archives

Does anyone know anyplace around here that is breaking street date on HP7? I hear that some places are selling it already in New York, and I am wondering if anyone has seen it around here.

Speaking of which, I may have to avoid the internet for the next few days. I am afraid of running into spoilers accidentally.

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The New York Times had an article yesterday about the demand for calorie counts to be given on menus at restaurants. New York City apparently passed a law requiring calorie counts in "some restaurants," that will start to be enforced this coming October.

Do you think this is a good idea? If you knew the calorie counts in food at restaurants, would it affect what you ordered?

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Rob, Mike, and I went hiking Saturday morning, in lieu of our semi-regular gym session. We went to one of the Pennsylvania state parks.

This is great! It's a beautiful day, nice and sunny, but not humid or too hot. The trail is really pretty. There's so much green, it's refreshing. When we pick the trail, Rob jokes that following it was "the first mistake" on our road to being killed by serial killers that horror movies have taught us live in the woods. There is mention of the Blair Witch. We muse that, according to the Scream metric, none of us will make it out alive.

I should probably have had something more for breakfast than just two slices of rye toast. I feel a little hungry.

Is this trail all uphill? Is that even possible? Mike says it's the M.C. Escher trail.

Now it's hot. My back is all sweaty. Rob and Mike - innocently, so they say - start to discuss if we had to resort to cannibalism, that they would eat me first, since I am the youngest and an "herbivore" so I'm bound to be the most tender. Rob starts asking for "mendallions de Vicki." Mike pinches me to check how tender my glutes are.

We are completely lost. More jokes about being lured to our demise. Mike says that he hears a strange noise in the woods, and maybe we should split up to investigate. When we finally find the trail again, and a map showing us where we are, we are disheartened to find that we are not even halfway through. Who chose this trail anyway?

Mike and Rob discuss a proposed trip backpacking in the Grand Canyon, where you have to train for weeks in advance to break in your boots and get used to carrying 40 pounds of equipment. I tell them they can drop me off at a spa for the week.

Hikers approach us from the opposite direction. Rob whispers, "It's the Others."

We are lost again. We start looking for edible berries or vegetation in case we never make it out of the woods. Cannibalism isn't looking that bad.

When we find our way again, we decide to take a short cut of the trail to get back to the car. Our moods are dropping along with our blood sugar levels.

My car is a haven of air conditioning and seating options. The next order of business is to find a restaurant as quickly as possible.

When the first place we stop - a pretentious "tavern" - refuses us entry because the boys are in tank tops, I briefly consider mass carnage, but decide it would take precious time away from finding food.

We end up at a place that is slightly nicer than fast food. I can't tell if the food is really delicious, or if I am just so hungry that anything would taste wonderful.

Mike tries to get us to go again next week.

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I am the proud new owner of prescription sunglasses, a move I felt I had to make since I have been refusing to wear my contacts now for about five years.

It is impossible to convey exactly how huge (and impractical) this shiny red case is. It's like the size of a small Japanese car. How am I supposed to fit this in a purse?


Not that I would actually have gotten them, but my optometrist ruled out my getting the huge, fashionable glasses that are in style now, because my prescription is so bad, the lenses would have had to be super thick. Mike jokes that my glasses are so thick, I can use them to kill ants by focusing the sun's rays. When I told him I was concerned because I thought my prescription had gotten worse, he said, "To what? Seeing-eye dog?"

You can kind of see how fat the lens is here.

These seem to working well, but the front part is so heavy, that they tend to slip down my nose a lot.

How come I haven't heard any discussion yet of the most pressing issue of the day: when are we going to see the new Harry Potter movie??

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Have you guys seen this Wii Fit thing? It looks kind of crazy - click here for Nintendo's promotional video.

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So, last week, a bunch of us had nothing to do, and despite everyone's insistence that they didn't want to see a downer movie, we found ourselves at the Theater Formerly Known as the Ritz, watching "Sicko" (I'm not going to attempt the funky capitalization). Although I was annoyed with the endless, fake-surprised repetitions of, "It's totally free?!?" questions to citizens of other countries, and the Cuba thing came off as totally staged, there was no denying that everyone left the theater plotting to move to Canada as quickly as could possibly be arranged. Yes, the health care system in this country does suck mightily, and there was also that added twist of the knife of six weeks guaranteed vacation time in the European countries. Kick us while we are down.

In that spirit, I have added a link to the Michael Moore "Get Involved" page on the sidebar, and I hope everyone will sign the petition for free universal health care. I'm not too optimistic that this will work, but it's nice to feel like you have done something.

In the news today:

  • you can read about Ed Rendell's problems trying to reform health care in Pennsylvania
  • Rob seems to think we are moving closer to the days of nuclear-powered cars (I think he is just hoping for a Batmobile instead of a broken fuel pump)
  • go to Stereogum and download OKX - they commissioned their favorite bands to cover all of OK Computer to mark its tenth anniversary. In other news, OK Computer is ten years old, holy shit. I think I was working at Borders when it came out.
  • making Jersey look bad yet again, a man erects a windmill in his backyard, which, combined with 56 solar panels, reduces his electricity bill to $114 a year - and neighbors sue to make him take it down.
  • one of my favorite opera singers may have shot himself in the head. And with an air rifle! Is it even possible to kill yourself with an air rifle? I guess we will find out - he is not expected to live.

'What can I do?' - SiCKO
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How have I refrained from posting myself as a Simpsons character until now?

I made this last week - you can make one too at the Simpsons Movie website. It seems to be one of the only parts of the site that is actually working.

And yes, I am wearing anti-food chain propaganda.

Vicki Simpson

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The answer: Newport, RI.

Sunset with Fishers

When my friend suggested we take a short road trip over the July 4th weekend, I thought of going up to Newport, where the rich and famous from the late 19th century spent the summer seasons in their huge mansions. I just finished the biography of Alva and Consuelo Vanderbilt that came out last year.

Marble House
Marble House, the Vanderbilt's "cottage"

Chinese Teahouse
Alva Vanderbilt's Chinese teahouse

The Breakers
The Breakers, the mansion of another family of Vanderbilts

The veranda at The Breakers

In addition to huge mansions, Newport also had really great light. At sunset, it turned everything pastel shades. It looked like it had been painted by that really horrible painter who has those stores in the mall.

House on the Ocean
Rich people still live in Newport. For example, in this house.

Newport also has some damn fine seafood, according to Kris, who partakes of such things.

New York Yacht Club
I think this is the New York Yacht Club

Newport is well-known for good restaurants, so I had researched ahead of time some places to go. I wanted to visit a famous old diner, but it had been knocked down last year. A Tim Horton's now stands in its place.

We did find the Blue Plate Diner, which I liked for its oddly pointy silverware, and the fact that it had Diner City's Ten Commandments painted on its walls.

Blue Plate Diner

Pointy Silverware

Ten Commandments

P.S. Today is Mike's birthday, so leave him happy birthday comments.

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Special guest Evan joins us for Podcasts 7 and 8!