Thursday, April 30, 2009

Back From The Flu

Reporting from the brink - I had the flu - gasp - not the flu everyone's buzzing about you silly swine - just your good old fashioned sleep for 48 hours straight, achy, breaky, sniffley flu; hence the break in posting. Stay tuned...I've got a report from Foxfield Year of the White Sangria in the pipeline.

In the meantime here's a little tickle. We had Andrew McMahon, singer for punk piano balladeers Something Corporate, to promote his new band Jack's Mannequin. Totally awesome musician but also a fellow Cali kid! Hailing from Orange County (translation: LA for you San Diego readers.) I can add him to my deck of art history buffs.

You'll see he has Van Gogh's Starry Night on one arm and Hokusai on the other. Great story too: in between bands he found out he was diagnosed with Leukemia - which he kicked tucas and overcame. So as you're perusing youtube, sneak a listen, you'll hear some of that bubble through the lyrics. Good stuff guys.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rolled Tacos or Bust

A week ago – Kim made the call we were all dreading. Grandma Pat had passed away. She had been bed ridden for going on seven months now, while the cancer attacked her bones, brain and breasts. She was a fighter but this battle she couldn’t win.

My sister and I flew in from our respective corners of the country, Carly from Hawaii and I from DC. Dad and Kim were so excited to have the family back together he even made his 6 hour round trip to Los Angeles a day earlier! Oops.

The trip from DC wasn’t much smoother. After a 7 hour delay at JFK (the co-pilots window had a crack and rather than switch out the planes and get us home in time for the Mexican dinner I had planned, we sat while we waited for the glue to dry. After 7 hours they decided to switch the planes. Harrumph.)

No worries, Carly drove me through the Taco Fiesta on the way up the hill. Thank you Taco Fiesy for serving rolled tacos with guacamole at even the most heinous hours of the night, bringing the upper echelon together with drunk high-schoolers. That’s love.

The next day we spent remember grandma pat. Below are the notes I read to the 100 that had gathered graveside. Wearing a new sundress, I underestimated its coverage and my sister-in-law graciously tugged my ear to pull up my dress. Unfortunately I had already taken my place in front of the crowd. So while I made my introduction I crassly adjusted myself. While most would be appalled it seemed to break the ice. What an easy crowd ;-) Kim, Dad, and Carly on behalf of Aunt Pat delivered very moving speeches.

Among the many new faces that were touched by Grandma Pat – it was great to see some old friendly ones, like Uncle Bill, Aunt MeeMee and Dads lifelong friend Sue. We spent the rest of the bouncing between receptions hosted by their church in Ocean Beach and the family at Grandpa Dwayne’s.

It was a relief to finish the night watching AUSTRALIA. In case you were wondering…fantastic movie. A little long but worth the time.

After a wake up time rivaling that of my collegiate years, the four Richer kids bombarded Dad and Kim to recap the day. Then it was down the hill to spend some time with Mom and Goose. Running a hair late, I snuck into Church with Goose. And what is Church without a meal following. So we rallied the troops and overtook the back room at El Toritos. Goose, KB, Sina, Mom, Tony, Carly, Ben, Danielle, and I thoroughly terrified the waiter but had a great time nonetheless. Topic of conversation: Grandmas new patio.

The one thing my family is really fantastic at? Follow though. So we all piled into our respective trucks and headed over to check out the new patio. We even had uncle jeff come join us at the hot new venue. I love San Diego. It’s like the country only with a beach.

In celebration of Grandma’s new patio – and because my feet desperately needed it – I kidnapped Goose to get our feet done.

Then it was back to the Richer clan. The Richer four were meeting Dad, Kim, Grandpa Dwayne, Aunt Pat, and Krista for dinner on the embarcadero at the Elephant and Castle. Somehow the four of us have a tendency to make an entrance and tonight was no different. As dad called to check up on where we were (we were running a few minutes late) we answered him not over the phone but by shouting at him from across the street. After a few beers and fish and chips, we toasted grandma with a box of Milk chocolate chocolate Sees truffles. I bet that made her smile.

Now for the hour trip back to Ramona. Piling into dads 68 convertible Pony (Mustang) the radio is dead at best. So Carly and I created the classic rock station – belting anything from Journey to the entire Top Gun Soundtrack. We finished the night off in the big Dad/Kim bed watching Twilight.

Speaking Out

This is the statement I made at Pat's Funeral:

As one of the seven from the Estes-Richer clan, I was invited to speak about Grandma Pat – but this may be a shocker – there isn’t a whole lot I can say that you don’t already know about this amazing woman.

Working in DC – I deal with quite a few hobnobbers. They have the cars, the bling, and in this economy – they still have their homes – but the one thing they don’t have is class. Pat had this in abundance. Class is making the people around you feel special. It’s bringing out the best in them – just by being around them. Grandma Pat is one of the few people who rocked this everyday. Just look around – we’re a classy bunch. Pat brought us together and made us look good.

When Dad met his soul mate a few years back – we merged the two families. That can be tricky. I’m sure you all have heard a few horror stories yourself. The four Richer kids are a tough nut to crack. But Pat jumped right in.

I can still remember the first time we met Pat. Walking into the house she shouted across the room, transcending the chaos that is our family to introduce herself. “You must be Jen – you’re the white one.” She had already met the dark one – my sister who has the advantage of tropical sun 12 months out of the year.
Done and Done, the deal was sealed. I found a kindred spirit – a fellow loudmouth. It didn’t stop there – from that point on we were treated as her own. Not a birthday went by without a card from Grandma and Grandpa. And those “no presents please” Christmas' resulted in two trees and five hour unwrapping sessions. Whenever Kim and I were catching up on the phone and Grandma Pat was within a five mile radius she was there grabbing the phone genuinely concerned with how I was doing. And this was by no means exclusive treatment. She did this with everyone. Look around there are at least a hundred of you she did this for – how exhausting.

On the flight here I finally saw the film Marley and Me. It’s about the relationship between a columnist, his family and an adorable Lab. At the end of the movie the newspaper man describes the impact the dog had on the family. He asks the audience how many people do you know that love you like Marley – completely, unconditionally and make you feel that special. Well I can confidently answer on behalf of my siblings; Grandma Pat did.

Nothing Like Tea for Taxes

As the nation files in line at post offices across the country to drop in their returns before the deadline, some conservatism are protesting their hard earned tax dollars being funneled into the bailout plan.

These protests are hosted in the form on Tea Parties reminiscent of the Colonial ones in Boston. Only rather than dump cases of tea into the Potomac, they are delivering Tea Bags to the White House and Congress.

We took the Explorer down to cover the Rally. Forgoing the umbrella’s we hit the pavement.
I found it interesting between all the super networks that sent reporters down, none of them crossed the street into Lafayette Park to interview the protesters.

How do you get the story without interviewing those involved? We took advantage of the camera opportunity and parked the explorer right behind the reporter.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Roll That Footage

Here it is folks......

It's Crystal City's version of screen on the green....this is where we'll be Monday Nights....

2009 Crystal Screen Outdoor Film Festival Schedule:

May 4th 2009 - Spider Man (2002)
May 11, 2009 - Spider Man 2 (2004)
May 18, 2009 - Spider Man 3 (2007)
May 25, 2009 - The Hulk (2003)
June 1, 2009 - Hulk 2: The Incredible Hulk (2008)
June 8, 2009 - Superman: The Superman Movie (1978)
June 15, 2009 - Superman 2 (1980)
June 22, 2009 - Superman 3: Superman vs. Superman (1983)
June 29, 2009 - Superman 4: The Quest for Peace (1987)
July 6, 2009 - Superman 5: Superman Returns (2006)
July 13, 2009 - X-Men (2000)
July 20, 2009 - X2 (2003)
July 27, 2009 - X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Aug 3, 2009 - Fantastic Four (2005)
Aug 10, 2009 - Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
Aug 17, 2009 - Batman (1989)
Aug 24, 2009 - Batman Returns (1992)
Aug 31, 2009 - Batman Forever (1995)
Sept 7, 2009 - Batman & Robin (1997)
Sept 14, 2009 - Batman Begins (2005)
Sept 21, 2009 - Batman: The Dark Knight (2008)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Of All The Gin Joints In All The World

Three dudes walk into a bar....

(crystal city sports pub) and sit down at my table. Two younger dudes and one on the more mature side. What are they drinking? Miller Lite and Blue Moon. I'm busting their chops as per usual...we get to talking...and about 10 minutes into the banterfest my friend DJ pulls me aside to ask me if I know who they are.

Let's see: they don't work for CNN, they weren't recently elected, and they haven't caused an international crisis, so that's a big NO. "They're ball players for the Philly's," she tells me. Of course that was completely lost on me. It's like trying to explain to my mother what Twitter is.

So for the next hour I continue to razz them as I would any other poor sap who sits near me at my beloved pub. Rocking a couple of gynormous diamond rings (World Series rings I was later told) I asked Brett (Myers) what he needed so much bling for? His girlfriend must like the way he looks. To which he responded he was a little partial to. Understandable I guess.

As the evening wound down, at the ripe ole time of 10:30 Cole (Hamels) told me he was peacing out. I called him a wimp. It's 10:30 and we all have to work tomorrow, he could afford to hang out for another 30 min and have another blue moon. "Some of us have real jobs," he shot back continuing the banter. Visibly offended I retort "if I could make it to work in the am so could he."

"My job is physical," he said to which I volleyed, "What are you a brick layer or something?" Never once did they tell me what they did. That's real character kids.

Of course the second my boys realized who I was jee-jawing with they proceeded to run over and pay homage to my new friends, resulting in free beers for the Philly boys. Brett and Cole thanked them but modestly refused. Jaime (Moyer) stepped in and graciously accepted them and invited the guys over to chit chat.

Great guys - all of them - especially entertaining my complete ignorance. Funny side note- as I'm telling this story to Linds (roomie) she goes - I was going to tell you a Jaime Moyer's her law professors son! Ha! It's like 6 degrees of Chez Copa.

The best reaction so far came from my colleague Bill Thompson. With his mouth agape at my blatant disregard for baseball greatness - he says to me - "Jen you are like the Female Forrest Gump." Thanks....I think. I love that he assumes I would have acted any differently had I known/cared that they were more then just three awesome bar mates. And yes, as they left, I wished them good luck on their game today. Having realized I knew all along I knew who they were - they thanked me and smiled cheekily.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009



It's amazing how much can get done before I've had a chance to boot up my work computer. Today's no different. Between picking up the dry cleaning, welcoming a few new faces to the Citadel team (New faces = very good sign take that wall st.) and catching up with the roomie, I was alerted I just 'HAD TO SEE' these before I got down to business. Lucky for you I slapped them all in one spot so you don't have to hunt for them.
1) Youtube Symphony Mashup - a gazillion people playing the  same piece, submitting their videos and youtube making it look/ sound flipping awesome. It goes along the theme of "We're both looking at the same moon and on two different sides of the world" idea, only speaking the international language of music. LOVE IT!

2) Lindsey Lohan's EHarmony Profile - hilarious
May not totally revive your public image but not a bad start.

3) Susan Boyle - Singer - Britain's Got Talent 2009 
Biggest surprise! 47 Year old Susan Boyle wows the judges with her performance in the auditions for Britain's Got Talent, singing I dreamed a dream from Les Miserables. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Yuck It Up: I've Been Had

First thing I do in the morning (after turning the coffee on) is check my email. Clicking into google my little gmail dashboard offered me a peek into the google labs - that mysterious digital think tank where google magic happens (google task lists, gmail stars) yeah I know what's up.

So you can imagine the mini-'O' I had when I read about the latest gadget under the hood of my Gmail: AUTOPILOT. Yes, finally I can respond to your emails real time! Autopilot responds to your emails based on my preferences, writing style, emotional use, and brevity.

Of course, I had to share the news with my other googlephiles (aka googleaddicts) until Bill reminded me of the date today. Go ahead yuck it up - I've been had.
Happy April Fools Day