Sunday, November 25, 2012
Sunday, November 18, 2012
The Guidelines: Must be 600 words or less and revolve around a U.S. President real or imagined.
Pale fingers clutch at the silk tablecloth, dragging everything off in a single ripple as the dining room chair lurches backward, a limp body now prone on the ground. There is the sudden smash of crystal-cut stemware, chandelier light glints off flying cutlery, and a thousand gasps suck the air out of the room.
Secret service agents in penguin tuxedos appear from behind curtains and palm trees to descend upon the scene. They push the elegantly dressed crowd back, whisking me away to an underground bunker before I can take stock of the situation.
Moments ago I was staring down a slice of chocolate cake. I had managed to avoid food all night, but now I was starving.
I debated with myself, “Would it be so far out-of-line to require a food taster?” Just to take a few nibbles of my food and drink in order to confirm it contained no poison?
“Snap out of it,” I reasoned back. You are not a Roman emperor or Henry the Eighth. There are no velvet robes and golden goblets here, no turkey legs, no slaves, nor court jesters.
In fact, in my slim navy suit and powder blue tie I stand for quite the opposite.
I flew jets in the Air Force just like my father and grandfather before me. I graduated top of my class from an Ivy League college. I debated the fate of democracy on live television. I’ve looked tyrannical dictators – the kind who should have their food tasted – dead in the eye.
I am the very definition of adept, agile, and adroit while handling any situation thrown at me as the President of the United States. Some have even called me cool.
But then there is this matter of the dessert. A drop of sweat threatens to slide down my forehead.
I never thought my Achilles heel would be paranoia, but I’ve become obsessed with the possibility of an assassination attempt on my life.
It all started last year when a kid, not even twenty-one, shot a couple rounds of ammunition in the direction of the Oval Office. They later caught him in pajamas, filling up his Volvo at a gas station outside of Pennsylvania. He claimed to be Jesus in cahoots with Oprah via Twitter, and that I was the anti-Christ that had to be stopped.
I wasn’t even in town, in China for the economic summit. But later an agent pointed out a knick in the thick, bulletproof glass of the window situated just behind the Resolute Desk. That’s when the threat became palpable: there are people out there who want me dead.
I now imagine my neck snapped in half like a twig by a karate-kid operative with hooded eyes, lying in wait among a crowd of supporters at a re-opened industrial plant in Indiana.
Visions of Jackie O in her pink pillbox hat, of gaunt Lincoln in box seats at the theatre, of young Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver; they run through my head in a loop as I stoop down to kiss the baby that has been thrust at me expectantly. Adorable cooing and rosy cheeks aside, I see a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The Vice President is smiling at me now; his perfect rows of teeth are Shark white. I eye him warily. The very definition of his job is wanting my job. The slice in front of him is carrot cake.
“Hey Phil,” I ask with a strained smile, “Would you mind trying the chocolate out for me to see if it has peanuts in it? I can’t stand peanuts.”
p.s. i had a lot of fun with this.
p.p.s. the winner can be read here.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Inheriting the friends and family of your boyfriend could either be one of the worst or one of the best things about dating.
In the case of Walker, I got extremely lucky: they are seriously the most awesome people. Like, the type of people that just inherently make life better.
And inspired by Anthony Bourdain's talk this weekend (Who, it turns out, was forty-four when he was "discovered." Forty-four people! Never give up.) I thought I should get back to blogging by starting with our recent trip to Houston, Texas to visit some of these people.
I've never been to Houston.
I thought: traffic, sprawl, strip malls, NASA, oil & gas, humidity.
But since everyone keeps moving there; and with articles like this one in the Atlantic; and the fact that it topped the Forbes list of America's Coolest Cities; I've been pretty curious lately...
First was happy hour at Uchi. Which was sushi-that-melts-in-your-mouth AMAZING. I've wanted to eat there since Paul (who I was rooting for) won Top Chef.
Followed by fajitas for dinner at Ninfa's. Pictured below.
The next morning, after grabbing some incredibly good coffee at Catalina, we got our art fix at the Rothko Chapel and the Menil Collection.
The Rothko Chapel has been on my MUST DO BEFORE I DIE list ever since I had a spiritual awakening in a room full of Rothkos at the Tate Modern in London.
I just loved the idea that this place existed in Houston that was built around exactly what I had felt staring at those paintings an ocean away.
And though I'd be lying if I said I had another spiritual revelation, it was awesome: I wish I could dive right into the canvases.
At the Menil I loved de Chirico's Metaphysical Interior with Biscuits and the Cy Twombly gallery.
Then we had Indian brunch at Pondicheri.
Followed by a stop into Walker's sister's apartment to visit Ellen the bunny!
We were ostensibly watching the OU game, but when Walker gets together with longtime friends: Star Wars.
When in Houston in October, you must check out the Dia de los Muertos festivities:
Then on to The Orange Show. I feel this speaks for itself.
Visiting some awesome dogs at a laundromat + Champagne break:
Then a surreal field of Giant President Heads nestled behind a warehouse right by Super Target. I feel this also speaks for itself:
Topped off with dinner at Oxheart.
Our friend Mark scored reservations weeks in advance to this Bon Appetit-approved hot spot.
And oh my, the vegetables + wine pairings alone.
Plus, best bar of the night: Anvil.
...this post would not be possible without Ashton, Scott, Megan, Jay, Liz -- and Mark (pictured left), who let us stay in his beautiful new art-decorated home, drove us around, made an amazing to-do list for the weekend (i so meant to save and keep), and, in small part, because I stole a lot of his Instagram pictures.
My conclusion: I really love getting to explore great American cities. They are infinitely complex and interesting, and Houston maybe even more so for its lack of zoning laws.
Featured Music: Good Time, Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen.
Commentary regarding the drive from OKC to Houston: Buc-ee's gas station emporium = hell.