Monday, February 27, 2006


I saw "Walk the Line" this weekend with a coworker. If you thought "Brokeback" was amazing, this was even better. There are absolutely no words to describe the performance Joaquin gave-he was simply outstanding, and I would say a winner for best actor at the Oscars this Sunday. Being a musician and singer myself, I cannot believe he learned to sing the way he did in 6 MONTHS. 6 MONTHS! To learn how to sing like one of the most popular musicians in history. Incredible. Same with Reese. They made a great duo in the movie, had great chemistry, and worked together so well. Guess who is buying the DVD tomorrow when it comes out..... (photo here courtesy of this site).

Here is some trivia about the movie that I took from IMDB:

-Joaquin Phoenix performed all of the songs himself without being dubbed and learned to play guitar from scratch.
-June Carter Cash died before production began on the film, so Reese Witherspoon's research included looking through Carter's closet for inspiration.
-Johnny Cash chose Joaquin Phoenix to play him in the film. June Carter Cash reportedly chose Reese Witherspoon for her role in the film also.
-Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix had vocal training for six months with music producer T-Bone Burnett.
-Sony, Universal, Focus Features, Paramount, and Warner Bros. all passed on the project. (Sucks to be them).
-Reese Witherspoon did her own singing. She also had to learn to play the auto-harp.
-It took four years for the producers to secure the rights to the story from James Keach who is a friend of Johnny Cash and his family. After Keach agreed, it took another four years to get the film made.
-Columbia Pictures passed on the project. (Oh well!)
-The scene where Johnny Cash pulls the sink off the wall was not scripted. Joaquin Phoenix actually pulled it off the wall.
-At 5' 8" tall, Joaquin Phoenix is six inches shorter than the 6'2" Johnny Cash.

Speaking of Joaquin, he is my new second favorite actor. He's a dream. Not only is he gorgeous, but an amazing talent second only to my favorite actor, Denzel. Why do you think I like "Gladiator" so much (and "Hotel Rwanda" and "Ladder 49")? There were some scenes in "WTL" where I just wanted to pause them and look at Joaquin. haha I think it's his pronounced jaw-line and rigid facial features that make him so hot. (Top photo courtesy of this site , bottom courtesy of this site).

A discussion of "WTL" has to include Reese too, b/c she really made the movie. June Carter Cash (and her parents!) seems like an incredible person to hold Johnny together through everything (I don't want to ruin it in case people haven't seen it). She was so dynamic and outgoing and thoughtful and level-headed. Wonderful woman. It's a shame she didn't live to see the movie. : ( Reese looked beautiful too with brown hair. Pic here courtesy of this site.

Overall, I hope the movie kicks a*s on Sunday.

As a side note, the movie theatre worker thanked me for throwing away my nacho container (and not leaving it on the floor). He seemed grateful.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The magical Olympics

If people hadn't gotten this yet, I love all things international. That is why I loved watched the Aussie Open, and why I am loving the Olympics. There is just something about people from different countries coming together in a different city once every FOUR years, and it gives people something to look forward to and work toward if you are an athlete. (Pic here courtesy of this site). The Olympics are special.

I have to say that I LOVE the fact that the official name of the Olympics is Torino, and not the English translation (Turin). I mean why do we always have to follow the English translation of things? NBC chose to go with Torino after NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol took a trip to Torino. “Dick was hearing the way the locals were saying Torino, and how it’s so magnificently Italian how it rolls off the tongue,” said Mike McCarley, vice president of communications and marketing for NBC Sports. Quoted from this article. THANK YOU DICK EBERSOL. That article is really good b/c it talks about how some Americans were getting confused over Torino and Turin (what they saw on tv versus the newspaper). Is it that hard?!

Also I found out that some of my fellow Ithaca people (current communications students there) are interning in Torino right now with NBC. How great must that be! If you go to this site, you can click on these students' blogs and photo albums and experiences there. One student said that NBC was very prepared over there with their broadcast center, and they also put up pics of people they met (like PLUSHENKO!!). I'm jealous. : ( They took pics at the Palavela (ice rink), Sestriere (skiing), Bardonecchia (snowboarding), and more. One girl has pics up of the opening ceremonies and her standing in front of the torch, the medal podium for skating, pics of the city, and of athletes' press conferences. Here is her site. What an experience.

As for me, I have loved everything. I love things that I could not do or are not interested in doing, and I wonder how people do them and like them. For instance, snowboard cross. And especially freestyle aerials when the men and women are FIVE stories high twisting and turning and have to make a perfect landing IN THE SNOW. Then there is the bobsled where the people go 80 mph, and of course figure skating. The jumps are amazing, as well as the clean edges in the required spiral sequences (Sasha is great at that). Last night as I was watching Shizuka Arakawa, I was thinking here we are, the gold medal performance. Wow, I was right too. I knew she would win the gold b/c there was just something about Irina and Sasha that night that I saw in their eyes, that they weren't feeling like a champ (whether it was stress, injury, fatigue, I don't know). Don't get me wrong, they were awesome too, but Arakawa was amazing. My favorite outfit of the night: Georgia's Elene Gedevanishvili. Black skates, black leggings, black outfit with gold lines on it. Just nice and bold and dark and pretty. Only 16 and skating in the Olympics. Hum. Fascinating stuff.

Makes me wonder what country I will be watching the 2010 Vancouver Olympics from. For 2014, these cities have bids in: Almaty, Kazakhstan; Borjomi, Georgia; Jaca, Espana (YEA!); PyeongChang, South Korea; Salzburg, Austria; Sochi, Russia; Sofia, Bulgaria. To see the bid logos and timeline for the selection of the city (which will be done on July 7, 2007 in Guatemala City of all places), see this site. It also has cities that withdrew from the 2014 bid, and potential 2018 bids. Seems so far away.............................................

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Mi hermanito and things

As much as it is killing me to leave the Ricky post, this one is about someone even more important: MIKEY!! My brother is great and I am so proud of him-we are as close as a brother and sister could be and have only fought I think twice in our lives (when I kicked him in the stomach when I was maybe 8 yrs old and he was 6, and then when I pushed him into a tv and he hurt his ear-sorry Mikey). I am laughing so hard as I upload these pics.

Last night he did updates on the SU/West Virginia game on ESPN Radio (and SU won thank god)! I listened to him here in Tally! He sounded excellent, and his voice is just MADE for radio. I know I am biased, but he REALLY DOES sound good. Everyone knows it. : ) He sent me a text message around 730 asking if I heard his first update and I said no and I got mad b/c I didn't hear it. Then he called at around 748 saying that he would be on at 803. So I called my mom and dad and told them, and they called me back at 802. Apparently in Syracuse the ESPN Radio channel didn't come in as good as mine here in Tally. So I had my mom on one phone (cell) and my dad on the other (home) and held the phones up to the radio so they could hear it. It was so neat to hear Mikey on national radio saying his name and that he was reporting for ESPN Radio. I was just mad I didn't tape it. When he is famous someday, maybe he will hook me up with Derek Jeter. Or whoever. A foreign soccer player maybe. haha

(* Let me put a plug in here for the band he manages too: New Day. Check out their website at . I booked them for my 10 yr high school reunion that I organized with a couple other people, and they were a hit).

Another thing to report: I am now sleeping in my bed. YES, if you can believe that. I have always always always slept on my couch (for years), and now my back is starting to hurt, so I figured I should start sleeping on something more firm than my couch's cushions. I just have to figure out some way to put a tv in my bedroom, b/c I hate not falling asleep to the tv (the only one I have is in my living room). : / Well, I still keep the tv on so I can see the lights from it.

I wanted to ask a question too, and please leave a comment if you know the answer: I have always been stumped by people that throw their pair of sneakers over telephone wires on the street. Does anyone have ANY idea why people do that? Am I just stupid for not knowing?? There are 3 pairs of sneakers on a wire near my apt. complex, and I have never known the reason behind it. I bet I will feel dumb when I find out the answer, but I'd like to know.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

And Atlanta makes 5.........

...... : ) RICKY MARTIN : ) concerts I have been to. Yes, the 5th. The first time I ever saw him was in Madrid in Sept. 1997. I remember seeing the advertisements all throughout Madrid when I got there, and I remember thinking hum, I think this guy was in "Menudo". The concert had actually been postponed til after my arrival day in Espana, and it was fate that it was b/c since then he has been my hero. All of my friends and family know that if I were to meet anyone famous, dead or alive, it would be him hands down. He is the greatest entertainer, appreciates life and simple things (hence the title of his latest album), loves people and loves helping them (espec. kids), and loves foreign cultures and the diversity foreign music can bring to his music. His concerts are SO full of energy and incredible sounds. I just can't do him justice by describing him on my blog. (Picture here courtesy of this site). This post will be long though b/c I LOVE RICKY.

So, as I said, my 1st concert was in Madrid in the bullring called La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas. As soon as I saw this man dance, it was over for me. We were the first ones in line, so we got right up to the stage for the concert, and had a great view. I will never forget standing in the dirt watching Ricky!

Then I went to other concerts in NYC, Orlando, and Tampa (Livin' La Vida Loca Tour '99, Vuelve Tour '98, etc.). And this past Sunday to Atl. I try to go to a different city every time. This past Sunday I lost my voice screaming for him.... he hasn't been on tour in a while, so I was more than ecstatic to go! Here are some pics. The first one is of the line of people before the concert that wrapped around a couple blocks. The next three are inside the Tabernacle where it was held. The place was so cute and special and had a personality all its own. Perfect for Ricky. Not some big boring arena.

This one here is waiting for Ricky to come out, when my heart was racing with excitement.

AND HERE IS THE CONCERT! He opened with songs from his new album like "Drop It On Me" and "This Is Good". Ricky also performed slower, very cool versions of "She Bangs" and "Livin' La Vida Loca", and had an amazing flamenco dancer that you can see here in the white. Ricky is clapping.
He sang "Vuelve" (here in the red shirt) which is a slow song, and the crowd went NUTS. He danced in the fog here.... it was like a dream.
Here is his traditional pose of his hand over his head (yes its blurry-he kept moving a lot). And then his shirt popped open, and I almost died. He ended with "The Cup of Life" (the 1998 World Cup theme song), and Ricky glitter came out. It was just tissue paper, but I took some to keep-one each of red, blue, and white (in Madrid silver things came down too, so I have Ricky glitter from 2 concerts now). The last pic is the souvenir stand. I bought the t-shirt to the far left. In all, it was the best night ever. I was in the same room as Ricky. That's all that mattered. Thanks to my good friend Michael for going with me too. He got stuck watching me have like 10 heart attacks each time Ricky came on the stage with a different outfit. He's a great sport! VIVA RICKY!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


I had an amazing weekend. I went to WWE "Road to Wrestlemania" on Fri night here in Tally, and then I went up to Atl for the : ) RICKY MARTIN : ) concert. That post will come later. But first, WWE was awesome. I have been to many WWE (and WWF when it was called that) events, and this was no different. It is just so cool to see the wrestlers in person. I went with my coworker, his wife, and her daughter (his step-daughter). It was great b/c we had 4th row seats and we were pretty close to the wrestlers (I bought the tickets the day they came on sale). The bad thing (well, one bad thing) was that 4th row is on the floor and you can't see anything unless either you stand up on your tip toes, you are 7 feet tall, or you stand while everyone else sits (at which point you get yelled at by the usher people). So, I had to keep picking up my coworker's stepdaughter so that she could see the action in the ring. I think I killed my back doing that b/c I can't bend over at all today. Sharp pains shoot up from my lower back... the other bad thing was that his wife was looking SO forward to seeing Shawn Michaels, and his stepdaughter was looking SO forward to seeing John Cena, and they both cancelled. Tough luck!! : (

The thing about my back is beside the point though. I still had a wicked good time! Here are some pics. The first is my boy Carlito (hot) wrestling RVD, then the MIZ! (REAL WORLD!), Chavo!! (hot), the 3-way slam with The Masterpiece (yuck) and Shelton Benjamin (without his mom there) and Kane underneath, 2 pics of Triple H, Flair, and Edge elbowing Flair (the main event was The Big Show and Flair vs. Edge and HHH).

The whole thing was great, and I bought a "Viva la raza" Eddie Guerrero (1967-2005) t-shirt (I had blogged about his death back in Nov.). Everyone was doing the Ric Flair "WOOO" thing too. It echoed throughout the whole civic center. Oh, and Ron Simmons (Farooq) showed up too b/c he went to FSU. I didn't enjoy the women's match too much, but my coworker's stepdaughter loves Trish Stratus, so that was fun to see her so excited. The other cool thing was that David Castillo (an FSU football player that might go into the NFL and wants to be a doctor) was a security person and he was signing autographs and getting pics with little kids. He was so lucky to be that close to the wrestlers-he was right near the ring. WWE hasn't been to Tally in years, and it probably won't again anytime soon (probably after I leave this place), so I better remember it well!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Switching around my top 10 country list

So, yes, the ticos are in town. I always love that b/c I get to see old friends, use my Spanish and translate for them, and see their expressions when they see things for the first time. That is my favorite part about hosting and also bringing students down with me to Costa Rica: it is so fascinating to see how people react when stepping out of their normal daily routine in their own country. Picture someone who has never left Florida going into big San Jose, Costa Rica. And then someone from little Turrialba, Cartago, Costa Rica arriving in big Orlando. I love it.

Anyways, on Monday I went down to O-town with 2 other people to pick the ticos up at the airport (they never fly into Tally b/c it's too expensive). Their flight came in at 1130 PM, we didn't find them in the airport until 1220 AM, we loaded up the rental vans, went to the hotel after driving around a bit, checked in, and went to sleep. By that time it was just about 3 AM (I roomed with one of the staff members and we chatted a bit about her cute little kids). Then we got up at 7 to go to EPCOT!

Now, I am not a big fan of Disney b/c of many reasons (if you care, I can elaborate by email), but I do love Epcot for obvious reasons. I couldn't wait to go to Mexico and Italy. But, probably to everyone's surprise, the country I loved the most there was.......... MOROCCO. That is my new favorite place. I want to go there so bad. I did before, but after going to Epcot, I want to even more. I want to see Fez, Casablanca, Rabat, Marrakech, and everything. When I live in Espana it will be so easy to hop right over.

When we got to Morocco, there was a sign saying that some Arabic music performers would perform throughout the afternoon. I HAD to go. So I went with my friend Juanka for their 310 PM performance. I dragged him there, but he ended up LOVING the music, and got a pic with the belly dancer named Ilham. haha The group is called Mo'Rockin and I am obsessed with them now. haha I got their CD. According to their website, they were founded in 1998 by Ali Ajraoui (Amir Ali) and started playing at Epcot in 1999. "Mo'Rockin blends the music and rhythms of the Maghreb, Middle East, Africa, ESPANA, and America to create unique high-energy sound. " And is it EVER a great sound!! The performers are soooo lively and passionate. They obviously love what they are doing. I couldn't help but smile through the entire performance and pretend I was in Morocco.

The lead singer was the best. Amir Ali. He was born in Meknes, Morocco, and even studied music there (classical violin, Arabic music theory, and more) according to the website. He is an incredible player, and I can see how Moroccans in Orlando feel so close to home when they hear his music. Amir Ali has also toured all around the world. Check out his bio. He and the belly dancer, Ilham, were SO nice too. Ilham has performed for Vanessa Williams, Steven Segal, the Wayne Brady Show, and was seen on Telemundo. Here is her bio.

Overall, I left the park feeling amazing. I went home and listened to the CD right away. Maybe I will convince FSU to have them play here. haha I didn't want to leave the Moroccan pavilion!! The men were GORGEOUS (one in particular), the women beautiful, the architecture takes your breath away, and the souvenirs in the stores were awesome (I bought a yellow tea cup hand made in Morocco). Take me to Africa!!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The ticos are here!!

I know I haven't blogged in a while, but that is because I have barely had time to sleep. We are hosting a group of students and staff from the University of Costa Rica for the next two weeks, and I have been doing everything with them. I will write more soon when I have time, and I will put up pics of our trip to Orlando and Epcot (and my experiences in Morocco, my new favorite place). : )

Friday, February 03, 2006


My new favorite EUROPEAN clothes store is Bershka. I just love saying the name over and over again because it sounds so cool. Bershka. Bershka. Usually I don't like stores like this b/c it resembles Abercrombie and stores like that which are pretty trendy, but I found some great stuff there. Like today I am wearing a black long sleeve shirt with a tie around the front and jeans. The shirt is V-neck and stretchy, and has these ballet-type sleeves. Very European. I also bought a turquoise tank top with little brown/gray sequin things on the straps, a nice purple off-the-shoulder 1/2 sleeve shirt, and another cool brown shirt which I had to give away b/c apparently it didn't fit when I got back to the States. (Don't ask me why I bought it b/c I don't know). The music in the stores is great too-Euro-techno stuff.

I think I may just like the store b/c it IS European. haha Luckily it was right by my hotel in Barcelona, so I could run there whenever I wanted (there were a ton of Bershkas around Barcelona too though). I looked up their website ( because I wanted to see if there were stores in the US. But of course, there aren't. There are stores in Belgium, Cyprus (Baghdatis!), Czech Rep., France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Espana : ) , Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Venezuela. Maybe someday Bershka will penetrate the US market. I think they would make a killing here. Even if they had a few stores in big cities like Miami, LA, Vegas, NYC, Chicago, Houston.

The website says that Bershka was "started in 1998 to meet the demands of a young public thirsty for new colours and fashion". The site is cool too-there are little birds up top that you click on to get gift cards, contact the store, see pictures for press releases, and click on a time of day to see what clothes would go well with that time. When you click on the birds, they fly around. It's neat. You can also click on the humans and move them around. My favorite one is 11 PM-I love the girl's shirt, and when you click on the light from her motorcycle, a guy appears.

So, when you go to Europe, or the Middle East, or Central America, or South America, find a Bershka nearest you.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Tag-a little late, but I am doing it

Jess tagged me a while ago, so I decided to (finally) do this post for her. Sorry Jess!

Four jobs you have had in your life:
1. Babysitting in high school-yes, that was a job b/c so many families requested me. That's how I funded my plane ticket to Espana the first time.
2. Playstation in high school (kinda like Chuck-E-Cheese) cleaning up drool and pee in the tubes kids play in. And conducting birthday parties, which was fun. With Hole!
3. Parks and Rec in high school and summers throughout college. With Mikey and Hole!
4. Everyone knows what I do now, so I will list something else-telemarketer here in Tally, doing political opinion polls and selling things. Sometimes I would get asked out over the phone. LOL

Four movies you would watch over and over:
1. GLADIATOR!! # 1!!
2. Legends of the Fall
3. How to Make an American Quilt
4. Glory
5. I had to add a 5th b/c I can't leave The Sound of Music off this list.

Four places you have lived:
1. Near Syracuse, NY.
2. Ithaca, NY for college.
3. MADRID, ESPANA! (study abroad)
4. Tally, FL.

Four TV shows you love to watch:
1. The Young and the Restless/The Bold and the Beautiful
2. ER (and other NBC Thurs. lineup shows like Will and Grace and The Office)
3. Prime Minister's Questions
4. I can't decide whether to put Cheaters here or Real World or Boston Legal. Meh.

Four places you have been on vacation:
1. Alaska, which was amazingly beautiful. (cruise)
2. Western Caribbean (Jamaica, Cayman Is., then the Yucatan) (cruises)
3. Halifax, Nova Scotia/Newport, RI (cruise)
4. Bermuda and Bahamas (cruise)... there are a ton more places too like LA, Tijuana, Chicago, NYC, D.C., Kentucky, Nashville, FL, all over US... (the other foreign places weren't for vacation-they were study/work related except BARCELONA this past Nov.)

Four websites I visit daily (just look at my links):
1. CNN & ESPN (tennis)
2. Friends' blogs
3. Foreign newspapers
4. WTVH-5 Syracuse

Four of my favorite foods:
2. Mac and cheese
3. Anything Cuban or Mexican (BEANS!)
4. Pot roast (roast beef, carrots, potatoes, celery), espec. they way my grandma (dad's mom)made it.

Four places I would rather be right now:
2. Tortuguero, Costa Rica
3. Somewhere where there is crystal clear blue water, beautiful beaches, and hot sun (South Pacific perhaps)
4. Um, anywhere warm in Europe (right now, there are not a lot of places-not even BARCELONA)