Sunday, December 31, 2006

Satchel and the 'rents

Dad pointed out rightly that I had promised a Satchel picture but failed to post one. Here are two, featuring my parents as well.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Feliz Navidad

Before I tell my Christmas-in-Uruguay story, I must point out how cool
it is that while all you folks were suffering through the shortest day
of the year, I was having the longest day of the year thanks to my
southern hemisphere-ness. That´s right, December 21st and June 21st
were both longest days for me (rendering the superlative moot) which
means I watched the sun set at 9:30 pm roughly down in Uruguay.

Punta del Este is pretty but a tad touristy and very expensive
compared to Buenos Aires. We did stay at a gorgeous hotel for the
first two nights, and got in a good beach day. But the best was
Christmas eve dinner.

We had made reservations the prior nights and been the only people in
the restaurants where we had reserved. This is apparently because
while Punta is THE destination for wealthy South Americans and
tourists from abroad in the summer, the true season doesn`t begin
until the day after Christmas. This was evident not just from the
empty restaurants, but the vacant nightclubs and the many stores which
were scrambling to finish new signs, new doors, new windows, etc. in
time for the tourist crush. Given this observation, we didn´t bother
making a reservation for Christmas eve, thinking it would be like
another night. Instead, we found ourselves like Mary and Joseph,
wandering around town finding that the few restaurants which were open
had no room. We did find two places which would take us for fixed
price menus, but one was way more food than we wanted, and the other
was $100 US for a three course meal where the entree was spaghetti.

Finally, we stumbled upon a cute little seafood place with a far more
reasonable fixed price menu and a piano player who loved the beatles.
We ended up singing the night away with him and the mandolin player
who joined and the locals dining around us. The special menu did
include a bottle of wine for every person more or less, so everyone
was having a great time. At quarter to midnight, the waitress put a
champagne glass in front of each of us and the entire restaurant full
of people (I should mention how cozy this place was-- there were
probably about 25 people total in this little room) was treated to
champagne. They counted down just like we do for new years, and then
everyone toasted and hugged and said Feliz Navidad! at exactly
midnight. Then we could see fireworks going off over the water way in
the distance, with two simultaneous shows competing (in my mind, I
could hear Marji saying ``It´s the finale!``). The couple next to us
were so far gone at this point that the wife dropped her champagne
glass before she could even toast it.

It was truly one of the most memorable Christmas eves I´ve ever had,
and it was quite a turnaround for three girls who thought they would
be eating potato chips for dinner.

Sadly, I guess I´m missing Marji`s famous beef tenderloin tonight.

Friday, December 22, 2006

I'm in Uruguay, a brand new country for me. We are in this unbelievably plush resort town called Punta del Este, staying at this gorgeous hotel called the Auberge. We're only here for two nights, at which point we join the commoners in town at a more reasonable hotel. This one is so nice we don't really plan to leave the 'grounds' today. While we are a few blocks from the beach, our backyard garden comes complete with a pool, abundant gardenias and hydrangeas, chaise lounges, umbrellas, and a 4pm waffle break. Delightful

Buenos Aires take 2 has been great so far as well. I finally got to see some of the historic sites I missed the first time, including the Plaza de Mayo and their very pink white house. We also went to the modern art museum, which is very nice and in a fabulous building my parents would love. The other high point that didn't involve a ridiculous dinner or my new favorite shoes was tea at the Hotel Alvear. I heard all about this place last time, but again had no time to go. We had a tea there which was delicious and the whole ritual was so elegant, right down to our waitress's white gloves. Also, the all you can eat until you explode tea (we shared 2 for the three of us, at our waitress's suggestion) was $17, so really $34 for the three of us. We opted to spend $2 more/person to upgrade to the rose tea, which included kir royals or champagne as well. Best $2 we ever spent.

Ross, the Alvear is great, Sotto Vocce is fantastic Italian food, and Desde was wonderful Argentine food in the not-to-be-missed Palermo section of town.

Back to my chaise lounge!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Wii Belong

I'm in Palm Desert, leaving for Buenos Aires and Punta del Este in just three hours. It's been nice to be home, I've been blowing my nose, finishing up take-home finals, dealing with Follies as if it's a paying job, and playing with the new puppy (picture above).

Our most exciting adventure was going on a Wii hunt yesterday morning. Satchel, Ross, and I headed to Target at about 6:30, having been tipped off that there was an unspecified number of Wiis coming in that day. Wii-- sorry-- We stood there until about 7:30, Ross and I shivering and cold, Satchel thinking that the leaves and birds that were on the sidewalk around Target were the equivalent of Disneyland. Finally they came out and announced they had 12 Wiis, and started handing out tickets. We were lucky number 13.

Dejected, we decided to follow up on a tip that there were 50 (!?!) Wiis at a place called GameStop in the mall, which didn't open until 10 or so we thought. Since Best Buy, Toys R Us, etc. only had 10-20 Wiis each, this seemed like a ludicrous rumor to draw people away from those lines. We trudged on, and Ross hopped in line and Satchel and I waited in the car, since malls don't like dogs. He called and said there were 30 people in line in front of him, and at this point it was 7:30 and he wasn't sure he wanted to stand in line for 2 and a half hours for something so improbable as a 50-Wii shipment. I sat in the car and tried calling the store to see if they had a recording or anything, he called friends and had them do research. He was about to pack it in and come meet me in the parking lot when someone came out of the store, announced they would be opening right then, and they had the 50 Wiis! I put Satchel in his airplane bag, ran into the mall, and saw the dream of getting two was shot because there were now at least 70 people in line. But we kept Ross company as the little store processed 30 credit cards and tried to upsell 30 other people, and came home with our bounty.

I have to say, the Wii's games are good and the graphics are entertaining, but not nearly as entertaining as turning away from the screen and watching people play it. I only hope the straps haven't broken by the time I return, because I need video of my Dad playing.

Hopefully I'll post in South America, but if not, Happy Holidays. And congrats to the Zaniellos, proud parents of Max!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

3/4 done

It's finals week, which means it's once again time for Follies to consume my life. Tonight was the first readthrough of our script, and I have to say I'm feeling really good about where we are on the show right now. And it's been nice to have a distraction, even if I haven't felt that funny over the past few weeks. Locking myself up in a room for three hours a day and forcing myself to write a comedy show has been a good distraction.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Two weeks later, one year older

Sorry it's been a while. I realize the posts I left up there were hardly uplifting. This has been hard and it's been hard to come up with trite things to say in times like this. But I'm definitely better than I was. I actually laughed so hard I cried the other day. And I spotted something that I felt like posting.

Philly's public transit system is called SEPTA, and it's awful. Today I noticed they have a slogan (servicemarked and everything!) posted inside the trolley's. The slogan is "We're getting there!" I find such acknowledgment of mediocrity in a marketing slogan to be truly refreshing.

For those who are wondering, there is a new puppy, or there will be. He lives with my parents, but will be joining me in Philly in mid-January. His name is Satchel.