Thursday, January 08, 2015

Celebrity Meetings

I have always had the worst luck with celebrities - I never casually run into them at a book store, they never sit next to me on the plane. Even S witnessed a movie shoot (at his office building) and got to glimpse at George Clooney. But I recently (does a couple months ago count as recent - it should at least count as somewhat recent right?) met a celebrity and wanted to write about that experience. After I am done with that I might write about another celebrity I met and who was really kind to me. (PS. I just realize that both these celebrities might not make you to go "Wow". But they made me go "Ooh wow" because I love comedy so much)

Without further ado - the first celebrity we met was Bob Odenkirk. He has a new book out called "A Load of Hooey" which is a bunch of sketches. It is hilarious! So he was in Seattle for a book signing. But it was not the usual book signing, it was more like a show. He did some standup, read a little from his book with hilarious voices and then there were some sketches performed. And it was all in a tiny venue so it was like having front row seats to an awesome comedy show. We laughed hard at everything and then it was time for the actual signing. I was hyperventilating the entire time I was waiting in line because Bob Odenkirk is so clever and I am not. I was sure I was going to say something cheesy and stupid and he just roll his eyes at me. S didn't do anything to calm me down and found my anxiety amusing. When we were close to the head of the line, a volunteer asked me to spell my my name and he wrote that on a post-it note that he stuck on my book, to make it easier for Bob (yes we are on a first name basis now) to write and sign. When it was our turn we said our hellos and  I gushed about how much we had enjoyed the show. Then he asks me for my name and I said that I had a rather weird name and he should use the post-it note to help him. To which he replied "I can spell, I am not an idiot" and then proceeded to spell my name wrong! I was annoyed (but not overly so because, you know, it's one of the funniest men on TV) and with all the mock outrage  I could muster I loudly exclaimed "OMG, I can't believe you spelled my name wrong after that speech" He was a little taken aback and then fixed it and then signed it with an additional inscription.


So you guys, my name is interesting and even Bob Odenkirk thinks so! This is specially more funny because the person who introduced him got his last name wrong and he made a quip about that at the beginning of his show. To make up for all this, he spent relatively more time with us and made sure we got a great picture.


When we were heading out S says to me "Well at least you are fair. I thought you only yelled at me when I make a mistake, but apparently you don't care who it is and will yell at anyone if they screw up." I decided I was going to take that as a compliment. :)

Now it's time to recount the tale of another celebrity meeting I had a few years ago when I was in Madras for vacation. I am sure all my readers from Madras know who S.Ve Shekar is (who am I kidding, it's not like I have any readers other than Srini or S when I tell him I updated my blog). And anyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am about his plays. The day I landed in Madras, there was a play scheduled and I decided to do despite the fact that I was tired and jet lagged. It was one of my favorites (Halwa) and I knew all the dialogues by heart and it was amazing to watch a live performance from up close. After it was done, S.Ve.Shekar was interacting with his fans and since I was most certainly his fan I wait in line to meet him. But like I said earlier, I was tired and jetlagged and I had forgotten to bring my phone or a camera with me and I was feeling really upset that I couldn't get a pic with him. Soon it's my turn and I went on and on about how I had bought all his DVDs from kalakendra.com and how much I loved his work. My parents chimed in to say that I had just flown in from the US and didn't want to stay home and miss this performance. I think that touched a chord in him. So he asked someone to take a picture of me with him on his phone and he took down my number (I gave my sister's number) and promised to message it to me. I thought that was very nice of him and as soon as I got home I asked her if she got any messages with a picture and she hadn't. I figured he was a busy celebrity and probably forgot and bemoaned the fact that I forgot to take my phone with me. A couple days later I was watching TV in the living room when my sister bursts out of her room with an excited grin on her face and says "S.Ve. Shekar wants to talk to you!" He actually called me to ask if I had gotten the picture! I was flabbergasted and blathered something indicating I hadn't. And then he said his phone sometimes acted up with pictures and asked for my email address. He said he would transfer the pic onto his computer and would email me. And he did! I was so touched by this kind gesture. I know of celebrities who charge people for photos and autographs and I didn't think they ever thought about their fans. To take all that trouble for someone who was just visiting shows a lot of character. Also I made S totally jealous (he wasn't in India with me)

*I kinda look terrible in this picture because of the a fore mentioned jet lag. But I am still publishing this picture because it means a lot to me

So this concludes another post from me! And a twofer post at that too :)

Friday, January 02, 2015

Foods I miss from Madison,WI

I spent a happy five years in Madison, though the last several months were spent trying to leave it. Since I am a foodie and my memory is also not as infallible as I thought it to be,  here's my attempt to write about my favorite foods in Madison. 
  • Lazy Jane's Cafe! Gosh, how I miss having a standard go to  brunch place. While Madison has more than it's fair share of brunch places, Lazy Jane's stole my heart with their blueberry scones and their Seitan Hash - a delicious, non eggy, vegan, filling dish. Every other weekend in Seattle, I try a myriad of brunch places, but I am yet to find a replacement for Lazy Jane's. 
  • Continuing with the food, I really miss the avocado TLT wrap from Willy St Coop. I love the coop, but Central Coop in Seattle has got my coop needs filled very well. While Central Coop has a very vegan friendly deli, it's not as good as Willy St's. And they lack the avocado TLT wrap - which was my lunch at least once a week. Hope is not completely lost though - I've found a cafe with a vegan BLT on the menu with the option to add avocado. Maybe this will come through for me
  • Bloom's cupcakes - specially the salted caramel one or anything else really. This is the only place where S will eat a vegan gluten free cupcake from, because he knows it will be good. These are easily the best cupcakes I've ever eaten and I have tried Magnolia in NYC and Georgetown Cupcakes in DC.
  • Ha Long Bay - Despite Seattle's abundance of Asian restaurants, Ha Long Bay will be sorely missed. They had a tome like menu, with ample vegetarian options. I am yet to find a place here that has Vietnamese and Thai food at the same place
  • Bandung - Don't be fooled by the fact that this is so low on my list. When I was given a choice to pick my last dinner at Madison, I chose Bandung without any hesitation. All day I was thinking about the sambal goreng tempe I was going to eat there. Unfortunately they were out of tempe and I still feel cheated. This is one food type that is totally missing in Seattle - the only Indonesian restaurant is far far away and does not have any tempe dishes on their menu. If you are in Madison, I urge you to try this restaurant. 
  • Minerva Indian Restaurant - It seems crazy to include an Indian restaurant when Seattle is teeming with Indian restaurants and when I am never fond of Indian restaurants (that's because we cook awesome Indian food at home). But this restaurant is owned by Thamizh people and they have a very unique menu which includes kothu parotta! I am a little sad that this restaurant opened just 6 months before I left. I am yet to find kothu parotta on the menu at any Indian restaurant here. (I might be a teeny bit obsessed with kothu parotta). I organized dinners there a few times with friends from work to introduce people to South Indian food and I am happy to say those monthly dinners are continuing even after I left. 
  • Honorable mentions
    • Sa Bai Thong Thai - they are my standing Friday night delivery place with top notch Thai curries. My work farewell lunch was here. Again, Seattle has about a zillion Thai restaurants and we have a vegan Thai place a few blocks away from home. But I still miss this place.
    • Lao Laan Xang - Another excellent Thai place that I've eaten a lot at. Excellent meat substitutes and awesome curry.
    • Vientienne Palace - A hole in the wall Thai establishment with a unique item on the menu called "Spicy Plate" - which was divine. Sadly we stopped going there the last few years we lived in Madison for no particular reason. 
    • Buraka - An African restaurant which was really good. But we have Queen Sheba here which is a great substitute.
This concludes my list - maybe for now. I think I will come back to this post and add places I've missed.

Update1: I missed a Orient Express - a Chinese place in Middleton. This place was awesome because they had a variety of fake meat options available and I was able to order crowd favorites like vegan Kung Pao chicken etc. I introduced this to a few vegetarians friends and I hope they still enjoy this restaurant

Monday, June 30, 2014

Well, We Meet Again!

Once more I dust off the cobwebs in this space and say Hello to my blogging peeps. Blogging has become so old fashioned now that I guess it is retro fashionable to blog. Considering I now live in a very hip part of Seattle, (Yes, I am bragging, after five years of living in the suburbs, it's nice to live in the city again), I should have more to blog about. Which brings me back to my old complaint - I need friends in this city. Despite all my old complaints when I lived in WI, I ended up making some wonderful friendships. While I am not losing those friends completely, I am again at a loss for people to do things with. "But Janani," you might say, "you now have your husband to do things with." Very astute and very true, my discerning reader. But that is exactly why I need more people to do things with. Not to sound sappy, but S and I are excellent activity partners and we worry that if we don't seek out some fresh blood to hang out with, we will be all too content to just spend time with each other, until it's time to move again and we won't have anyone to help us. Just kidding, we like friends for other things too, but the biggest test for friendship is helping with moving IMO. 

Now that we have the statutory whining out of the way, let's talk about happy things, As most of the very few who read my blog know, I have finally made it to Seattle with a job in hand. And we found an amazing apartment in a great neighborhood in Seattle. We walk everywhere, there's a grocery store, a gym, a bank, restaurants and everything else just a few blocks from home. There is an amazing Coop, just a mile away that is bigger and better than Willy St Coop (but I still miss their amazing avocado TLT wraps!). Oh and my apartment has two patios and also has a teensy water view. But furnishing the apartment is another story altogether. We've sent two sofas away now at time of delivery and we won't get a sofa until three weeks later. I still need to find places for certain things. And I am waiting for this adorable reading chair I want to go on sale. We also need a ton of plants for out two ridiculously large patios (I hope everyone is sufficiently envious at this point). And we need a grill! I know, I know we are vegetarians. But what can I say, veggie burgers taste better when they are grilled and plus we have the space (did I mention our patios?). It feels like I've been working every weekend, to get my apartment ready and it still doesn't feel that way. Most of it is because S and I are very detail oriented and we want thing to match our vision exactly. Some of it is just bad luck though. But happy thoughts! Maybe I will post about our misadventures sometime. I think I will do an apartment tour after we are somewhat done too. I've snagged a few pieces that I absolutely love and I can't wait to share them.
I have some ideas for blogging and I hope the umpteenth time of getting back to blogging sticks. Time will tell I guess.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Someday

Whenever I go on for days or months between blogging, a reader tells me that they miss reading my blog which makes me happy and sad at the same time. And when that happens I try to get my posterior in order and whip up a post. This one is for N.

I am going through a period of restlessness now. I feel like time is slipping away from me and there is so much to be done and I've done so little. Like always I flit between hobbies, one minute wanting to swim like a fish and the other minute looking for ice skating lessons in Madison. I always tell myself that I will accomplish them some day, but I fear I am running out of "days" in my life. The only hobby that I am consitent with has been my French lessons. I've had lessons on and off for almost 2 years now. I will be honest and admit I've not been studying consistently at home. But I enjoy my lessons immensely. I love the language, the way it rolls off my tongue. When I come across something written in French, I try to read it out aloud and when I understand the meaning it makes me immensely happy. Someday (see what I mean when I wrote about "someday" earlier?) I hope to be fluent in French and then I want to learn me some Italiana!

Tomorrow the boy and I complete three years of wedded bliss. I am going to stick my rule of not writing about anything mushy, but I am lucky that I married someone who loves travel as much as I do. We make good traveling partners too. We've been itching to go somewhere because we haven't been anywhere since our Maui trip. Any suggestions? I am planning a vacation to Yellowstone in summer. Where I really want to go is Paris and Venice, but that has been on hold thanks to S' visa issues. Someday...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Notes

I am forced to put up a post because I had signed a blog treaty with my buddy. I figured he would never live up to his end, but he has and so I need to post too. Since the treaty never said anything about quality writing, I figured now would be as good a time as any to post a holiday version of my miscellaneous blather.

Tis the season! I love Christmas - the lights, the cookies and the gifts! Especially the gifts. In case people are wondering, I love receiving gifts. Every time I check my mail, I expect someone to have sent me a gift. This expectation amplifies during Christmas, with the only problem being - there is no-one to buy me gifts. For one thing, my family lives far far away and secondly we don't celebrate Christmas. Last year, I told S that we should exchange gifts. He took that to mean that he could buy himself some random camera crap off the internet and call that his gift from me. The day Amazon delivered it home, he realized he didn't have a gift for me and bought me a perfume from Macy's and gave it to me unwrapped, one week before Christmas. To give him credit, he did remember the name of the perfume that I had tried that last time I was at Macy's. But people of the internet, my whole intent in deciding to exchange Christmas gifts was the act of opening a beautifully wrapped gift on Christmas morning! So this year I am mostly done with my Christmas shopping and I am hoping S gets me something good. When I say good, I don't mean diamonds or ipad good (although those items would be appreciated). It means paying attention to small details good. Let me illustrate. This year for my birthday there was the usual spread of expensive gifts. My favorite was a $10 blender bottle from GNC. Every day I drink a smoothie for breakfast. A couple months before my birthday, someone (who is not me) left my bottle at the gym and it was gone forever. When I stopped at GNC a couple days later I was told that my bottle was not sold there anymore. I wasn't heartbroken, but I was pretty bummed because that had a narrow mouth which was easier to drink from. So for my birthday S scoured the internet and managed to snag one for me. This is what makes a great present!

Speaking about ipads, they seem to make great presents. I sent one to my sis and I was pleasantly surprised that my mother has learned to use it and doesn't the computer anymore. I was also shocked when my technology challenged father told me that he would like to learn to use the ipad because it seems easy. Say what you may about me being an Apple fangirl, but other companies would be wise to learn from Apple as far as usability goes. But for all this talk about ipads, we still don't own one. S and I have iphones and we have a Macbook Pro that doesn't take all day to boot and it sits on our couch or bed all the time. So I don't have a need for an ipad. I am just going to will the universe into giving me one. I will let you know how that works out.

Merry Christmas to everyone. Joyeux Noel!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Thanksgiving Edition

Since it is always fun to make lists, here is a list of little things that I am thankful fo.r

1) S making breakfast for me everyday. I like to sleep in until the last minute possible. S makes a smoothie for me everyday and I just drink it on the way to and at work. It helps me sleep for 10 more minutes every morning and more thankful I could be not.

2) Going home for lunch everyday. I live 5 mins away from work, even with the parking. I love going home for lunch and having my lunch alone. It's my me time, when I can watch TV or play a game or just sit and stare at the wall. Even where there is nothing to eat at home, I buy a sandwich and take it home just so I can be alone for sometime.

3) My iPhone. I am often accused of drinking Apple's kool-aid, but it's seriously the best phone ever. It helps me keep on top of everything and best of all, when I press a button it immediately does what I want it to do without hanging.

4) Mini Reese's Peanut Butter cups at work. This is my all time favorite candy. I am both thankful and resentful that they stock this at work. But sometimes this salty gooey deliciousness in a cup can turn r mood.

5) My erstwhile DVR and now Hulu Plus - for letting me watch my favorite shows even when I don't know which channels and when they are on. I am mess without my dose of Parks and Rec! :)

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The "I am Back" Post

Is anyone still waiting for me to post something? :) Please fill up the reason for my blog's sad state with your favorite excuse - work, travel, abducted by aliens.

It's that time of the year where the days become shorter and the air gets chillier. This year I have decided that I have to stop complaining about the weather and try to learn why Wisconsinites look forward to winter. I love summer is because every weekend we are usually out in the sun. Maybe I just need to go out more in the winter to enjoy it. During the winter we usually only step out to go to movies, restaurants, bowling etc. Internet, please hold me responsible this winter.

This is also the time of the year when I miss home terribly. Everyday I talk to my parents and I wonder what I am doing so far away from home. I should just pick up and move back home, but since I am too chicken to do that, I will do the next best thing and talk about how much I miss home. Sometimes you miss the weirdest of things. I miss my mother's cooking. Ok that didn't come out right, let me explain. My mother is a great cook when it comes to typical Tam Bram cooking. I am still not able to recreate her mor kozhambu to perfection. But she was pretty experimental in the kitchen when we were younger and she would try to make north Indian recipes, but somehow Brahminize them. She makes this awesome baby corn masala without using any garam masala or garlic. It tasted like nothing you would ever get at a restaurant and yet it was pretty awesome. (I used to think I inherited her cooking, but while I am a good cook, the results are horrific when I stray from a recipe and add my own substitutions.) I also miss the hustle and bustle of Madras. I am always looking for an excuse to go to State Street, because seeing people walk around me reminds me of T Nagar a teeny bit. Most of all I miss being around people who love me.

Now that the statutory missing-Madras bit is out of the way, let's move on to other things. I am enjoying the Nintendo 3DS very much thank you (you thought there would be a comeback post without any mention of Mario?) To give credit where credit is due, S never skimps on the gifts he gets me. Mind you, he still has trouble picking gifts (does everyone remember the robot incident from 2007?), but anytime I hint that something would be nice, he buys it for me the day after. while this sounds very sweet and romantic, it is very dangerous actually. People who know me in real life know that I have no problem buying expensive stuff for myself. And when I deem something is too expensive or wasteful, I have a husband at home who buys it for me. To add to that, we both like to travel too and never balk at buying flight tickets to somewhere. Coupled with some expensive hobbies and our love for takeout in lieu of actually cooking dinner, I think it is time for us to buckle down for sometime. It's going to be an interesting few months ahead. My plan is to blame S for everything and hope to win the lottery. I will keep you posted on how this works out.

In other depressing news, the number of books I've read in 2011 is shockingly low. Despite the Kindle! I squarely blame Angry Birds for this (see how good I am ) I would go through books in hours when I was younger and now I am reduced to this. I am taking recommendations for new books/authors, so suggest away. Warning: I will judge you, point at you and laugh if you suggest Twilight or anything similar.

So gentle readers, how is life treating everyone?