Saturday, November 29, 2008

I'm not funny

I don't try to be funny in my blog. But there are some people out there who are damn funny. Two blogs that are examples of this are Plastic Brain Train which is actually a retired blog of my friend, but has a lot of great and hilarious stuff on it, and the other is a friend of a friend's, Jen's Extraordinary Life and Beyond. Jen's blog is linked from another friend's blog, and that's how I found it, etc. etc. The whole blog world thing, I guess. Whatever. Anyway, on her blog I saw her list of 100 Interesting Things about her, and I was inspired. I totally stole the idea, but hers is much better and funnier. I just realized I like lists and didn't think I could even write 100 interesting things about myself... and while they may not be the most profound or amazing facts, I did come up with 101. So, here they are.

101 terribly exciting facts about me
1. I was born in Anderson, Indiana
2. I used to lick hot sauce off of tortilla chips when I was less than two years old
3. I was bald until I was like 2 or 3 years old
4. My eyes were blue before they turned green
5. I tweezed my eyebrows too much when I was in junior high school
6. Now I am forced to use eyebrow pencil, lest I be almost bald-faced chickie
7. I hated reading before I discovered The Baby-Sitter’s Club series when I was in fourth grade
8. My best memory of elementary school is my awesome 4th/5th grade teacher Liz Saplin playing guitar on Friday afternoons while sang along
9. My #1 favorite song from those Friday afternoons was “Harold and the purple crayon”
10. #2 favorite song was “Christopher Robin” (You know, the Winnie the Pooh song)
11. My oldest friend is Erika O’Rourke (kindergarten at PS 58!!)
12. My parents got divorced when I was 18 months old
13. I lived with my grandmother and grandfather in Indiana when I was 4, while my mother went to find a job and a place for us to live in NY
14. I moved to Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn, when I was 5 years old
15. The day I got to Brooklyn I had my first egg cream
16. I moved to Battery Park City in lower Manhattan when I was 10
17. My mother married my stepfather when I was 11.
18. I bullied a classmate when I was in 6th grade, making her jump up and down for tic-tacs and called her “Rat”
19. I’ve had the chicken pox AND scarlet fever
20. I was bullied by 2 ex-friends when I was in fifth grade
21. I played cello and violin in elementary school
22. And took piano lessons
23. I have such vivid, crazy dreams that I wake up crying at least once a month
24. I love sauce
25. I cut school a lot during my freshman and sophomore years in high school
26. Being forgotten is a huge fear of mine
27. I went to three high schools before finally graduating
28. Before graduating, I dropped out of high school for almost a year
29. I went to two colleges, Beloit and Hunter, before finally graduating from Hunter
30. I worked full time through three years of college
31. When I was a kid I was torn between being an artist, fashion designer or model.
32. My mother tried to get me into commercials when I was a kid, and they would have taken me but she asked me how I felt about it and I said I didn’t want to do it. So much for my acting career!
33. My brother Mark is 13 years younger than me
34. Every time I went back to Indiana with my father he’d drive around Indianapolis and make sure I knew which grocery store David Letterman bagged groceries, and where Kurt Vonnegut went to high school
35. I love Christmas
36. I’m Dutch, German, English and Irish
37. I married a Czech
38. I took his name, Spacek
39. I didn’t change it to Spackova, which it would be if I was Czech
40. This caused major issues when proving our marriage in the Czech Republic
41. I have 3 step-sisters
42. I met my husband working in the restaurant Harry’s at Hanover Square
43. This restaurant was where Patrick Bateman goes in American Psycho
44. I broke my ankle by slipping on ice
45. I broke it so bad my foot looked like it was hanging off my leg
46. I had surgery where they put in metal pins and plates
47. I worked in a medical call center for several years and would like to write a humorous novel about it
48. I am halfway done with my Master’s Degree
49. I was a NYC teaching fellow for a year
50. I like kids
51. I want to have a baby
52. I have baby names picked out for 6 kids
53. I pass out easily
54. I passed on in New Orleans while on a vampire tour
55. I like traveling to the South
56. I love to read
57. I majored in cross-cultural literature in college
58. I enjoy African-American and Cuban-American writing
59. I love reading about East-Asian culture
60. I grew up going to clubs where my mom sang, and in recording or rehearsal studios
61. I love epic miniseries
62. I think Colin Firth is hot
63. I really dislike body odor
64. The Czech Republic has many people who have problems with body odor
65. The only sweet things I crave are chocolate or ice cream
66. I love spicy food
67. If I had to eat one dish for the rest of my life it would be spaghetti with tomato sauce
68. If I had to eat one type of food for the rest of my life it would be Thai
69. I wrote a novel during November for National Novel Writing Month
70. When I was 17 I moved to Baltimore with my boyfriend, best friend and a bunch of freaky types
71. I drink Beaujolais Nouveau every year for Thanksgiving
72. I am a good speller and always have been
73. The one word that always gave me trouble was “maybe”
74. I don’t own much music
75. I listen to the same artists/albums/songs over and over again
76. I call my grandmother every other day from Prague
77. When I’m in the US I call her every day
78. I was a women’s studies minor
79. I have been to 7 countries outside of the US (not counting layovers) and it’s not enough
80. I have no allergies
81. I have four tattoos
82. One tattoo was done by a friend with a sewing needle and India ink
83. I can join the Daughters of the American Revolution if I want; I qualify
84. I might, when I’m older
85. I would like to be a famous YA writer like Judy Blume
86. When I hear about something I don’t know about, I look it up
87. I have become very interested in history as I’ve gotten older
88. And even more interested in war
89. I worked at Au Bon Pain when I was younger
90. I’ve never been fired from a job
91. I’m not a great speaker, but I’m a good writer
92. I like to be organized with my thoughts and plans
93. Yet I’m very messy with my things
94. I really don’t believe in most “new” diseases and conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, etc.
95. I played Sylvia, the girl who speaks to dinosaurs in the audiobook of “Dinotopia”
96. I love a good tv series.
97. I often find myself obsessing about characters on TV or in books and feel like I know them
98. My hair is naturally brown but I’ve been dying it since I was 14
99. I am a very empathetic person
100. When I’m bored I Google/Facebook/Myspace search for old friends/boyfriends/classmates/students
101. I have a steel-trap mind for famous names/faces/gossip/news

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Write a novel in 26 days... NO PROBLEM!

Yes, it's true. I have finished my novel and am an official NaNoWriMo Winner!

I just finished and entered my 153-page / 50,104 word novel into the site and am DONE!

It was great. I totally got into my characters, and went places I didn't know I would go, and actually wrote some stuff that was really nice. And good, I hope.

Now I can call myself a writer.

I think I'll take a few days before I start... editing. Oh boy!

Happy Thanksgiving - as my current Facebook status says, I will be celebrating with some fig vodka from Dresden (tonight, in post-novel/pre-Thanksgiving celebration) and tomorrow we will play a little squash, then go to the Christmas market in Old Town Square, then for Thai at Noi (love that place) and then I hope to talk Andy into going to see "Twilight." When I get home I will pretend I'm with family and watch our favorite, "Home for the Holidays." Love it!

Have a great holiday!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The freaky faceless babies

Some of you (Michael) might be wondering about the picture of the weird faceless babies that I have added to my name-bar thingie at the top.

These, as my buddy Crapper might recognize, are actually the same babies, created by artist David Cerny, that crawl up the Žižkov TV Tower.

Now an additional three have been installed at Kampa Park, in Malá Strana in Prague, next to the Kampa Museum, where these giant babies are just "crawling" around.

FYI - they weigh 800kg each and their faces are ventilation shafts.

Freaky, right?

Yet another reason why Prague rocks. Giant faceless babies!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Snowy Prague

The first snow is here!

It started snowing Friday night, and continued yesterday.

Of course, we had to go
into the city and be part of it. We went to the castle at night, then walked down through Malá Strana.

Then we made our way over to Václavské náměstí, had some mulled wine and walked around. It was beautiful!

tram ride!!!

Sparkly Tesco!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Writing, Jazz & Soccer

Still writing... up to about 31,000 words (75 pages) and pushing on...
Did some YA book research last night by looking at Judy Blume's website. It was great! If you are a fan of her work at all, I would suggest you check it out. She has a little back stor for each book she's written. I was especially interested in reading about Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself, one of my all time favorite Judy Blume books.

Besides writing... this week we did a few interesting things. Last Friday we went to Shadow Bar and had drinks, and then went for thai at Noi, the only Thai restaurant that lives up to my standards here in Prague. It's great.

Saturday we went to Blues Sklep with Lukas, Katka and David. We saw the Tony Viktora Band playing jazz and jamming. The best part was the piano player, who reminded me of many things: a muppet, Herb Mack if he were a crazy drunk piano player, Bob Dylan. Because he was so AWESOME, I had to share it with you in a video.

Sunday we went to a soccer match between Slavia (the top Czech soccer team) and Viktoria (a team much lower on the soccer ladder). Slavia won, of course, but it was a good game anyway because Viktoria fought hard, and though it was chilly it wasn't awful, and it was fun! The best part was that Slavia fans wear these red and white scarves and wave them around alot and shout a lot, and it was fun and exciting and the scarves made me think of Harry Potter. I liked it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NaNoWriMo Update

For those of you who are wondering how I'm doing with writing my novel in this fine month of November for NaNoWriMo, things are going great.

As of this moment I am at 21,826 words (that's 50 pages!), only slightly behind where I should be. The current mini-goal is 30,000 words by tomorrow, Wednesday, midnight. So, we'll see if I can get there...

This is a really interesting process, and though I know I will have LOTS AND LOTS of editing to do when it's all done, I am very happy that I got my act together, found this exciting project, and am actually writing instead of just talking about it. My characters are fleshing themselves out, and going to interesting places and becoming rather interesting people, right before my eyes. It's great.

Here's to just 28,174 words left to write, in 12 days!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


We first went to Dresden, Germany on our first trip together to the Czech Republic. Both Andy and I are huge Kurt Vonnegut fans and we were interested in Dresden because it had been bombed by the allies on February 13, 1945, while Vonnegut was a POW being held in an underground prison camp, which he wrote about in Slaughterhouse Five.

Another interesting piece of history about this event was that while the allies were aiming at Dresden, they nearly leveled Prague in error. Prague and Dresden are quite close to each other, especially when you are up in a plane looking down. There was supposedly a navigational error, and actually some bombs were dropped on Prague (affecting some areas of the city, such as Zizkov and Vinohrady, I believe, that are not the main old historical center of Prague) but ultimately I seem to remember that Prague is considered "untouched" by war.

When we visited the city the first time we saw old wreckage from the bombs. This time, though, we didn't. I could swear we were in some of the same spots, but there's a massive amount of construction going on there, and Andy heard that Dresden is expected to be finally built back up by 2010. This is kind of sad, because although the wreckage is sad and destructive and all that, it's a big piece of history that is quite fascinating. I'm glad we saw it the first time (of course, my pictures from then are not digital, otherwise I'd post them here).

But, this time, our trip wasn't so much about history. It was about shopping. Andy's brother Lukas and his girlfriend Katka went to Dresden last week and brought back all kinds of German goodies for us, so Andy's parents decided they wanted to take the trip. It's only about a two hour drive, so we went this past Saturday. It was a nice day trip. We bought a few things, mainly liquor or interesting German food. Here's the pictures. Dresden Pictures

Here's a video, too. My videos are not exciting, they are mainly just a glance around, but I like seeing them since they include the sounds and feel of the place and time, a little bit more than a simple picture.
Oh, yeah, and sorry for the weird guy who pops his head in toward the end... he follows me everywhere and is quite a nuisance! :-)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Night!

This is now a week old... sorry for the delay, I've been lazy!

For election night we went to the Sport Bar Zlatá hvězda, off Václavské náměstí (in what we've decided must be the red light district, or at least the red light street, since there were numerous strip clubs), where the Prague Post (the English language Prague paper) sponsored an election night American news watching party, and it was pretty fun. We drank beer, we watched CNN. There were a lot of people there, but we still were able to find seats at a table and be comfortable.

Being the anti-social pair that we are, we didn't talk to many people, just an Australian guy and some freaky middle aged guy from Wyoming who was heavy, kind of whiny and verrrry drunk. He was like a character from a movie. He introduced himself as the drunkest guy in the bar (he might have been). He wore a wedding ring, yet was hitting on Andy who said at least four times that I was his wife (I was talking to the Australian guy at the time). Then, when I was in the conversation, the freaky guy started asking questions like "Do you think of him sexually?" and asking Andy "Do you want her?" It was weird. And then I was trying to be normal and talk to him about normal things, he kept saying "What's your point?"

Then he said he had troubles, and he was going downstairs to reassess his life, and was gone for 40 minutes. I went to bathroom, and on my way back he came out of nowhere and grabbed my arm. I said "Hi!" and he said, (as he shrunk back a little, stirring a straw in his drink). "Sorry I just... reached out." I said "That's, okay... did you reassess your life?" He laughed and said yes. I said, okay, see you later. As I turned away he asked, "Can I come sit at your table?" Sure, I said. He was freaky, but harmless and clearly had low self-esteem (based on some things he'd said) and was drunk and a little pathetic. I began walking, and as I sat down I saw him turn around and walk out. Whatever. He'd been gone for more than an hour by the time we left, and had left his cigarettes on the table, so we took them. So, we came out winners in the end.

(above: around 3am, drinking coffee between beers to stay awake!)

We left the bar at 3:15am (9:15pm for you New Yorkers), called mom from a pay phone to say hi and happy election night, and then waited for the tram. Because Prague does not have a 24 hour metro, we had to take the night tram to the night bus. This was very exciting, as we'd never done it before.We waited on Václavské náměstí for the tram. There are food kiosks every few blocks on the square, which are apparently open all night long. We had a while to wait for our tram, so we got some mulled wine from the stand by the tram stop.

We'd never been in Prague so late! How fun! The night was really foggy. Near us were other about 15-20 Americans, Brits and Czechs who were also waiting for various night trams, and hanging around. "Wannabe," the Spice Girls song, was playing from the food kiosk and a drunk girl was dancing and singing along. Some Africans were hanging around, supposedly selling drugs. An unattractive prostitute bundled up in white coat and white go-go boots stood by the buys, watching people. Cops drove by and walked by on foot. Our tram came, then we caught our bus, then made it home, watched some more election coverage (this time in Czech) and then went to bed at 6am, after seeing McCain's speech that he'd called Obama to congratulate him.

It was a fun night, even for us old folks, who haven't stayed up so late in years.