25 July 2007


Rachel finally booked her ticket to Hawaii. It reminded me that I'm going on a sweet Hawaiian vacation (because I'm a bridesmaid in a sweet Hawaiian marriage) in about a month or so. When Rachel (my wedding date. She's hot, I know.) sent me her flight information, it reminded me that I should probably actually start planning stuff to do while we're there. I had been thinking that I want to book an island hopper on one of the days so that I can explore an island besides Maui. And until now I had been pretty set on traveling to the Big Island, as I am dead set on seeing an active volcano (which there are at Volcanoes National Park).

However, the National Park Service website is a real Debbie Downer. They need new PR staff because their "safety" page is really not enticing. In fact, it talked me out of going to Volcanoes National Park.

This is their sidebar:

[photo of magma creeping along]
Caption: "View Lava Safely. Prepare well - Stay alive!"

"Stay alive!??" Thank you, NPS, for your advice. This is their safety page in full (Charlotte, don't go! Pregnant women should not be around the volcanic fumes).

Listen, I'm willing to "prepare well to stay alive" if I'm going to see some lava. But apparently the danger level (based on some stupid earthquake like a month ago that's still going on) has increased enough to force a couple of park area closures and it seems here that there's no lava to be seen, at least on one of the volcanoes: "According to scientists at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, NO lava is visible at Pu`u `O`o, flowing on the pali or coastal plain, or entering the ocean."

Well, you can't fool me. I am pretty good with research in the "internets." And I DO KNOW that there is lava/magma to be seen somewhere, but according to this bulletin, that area is closed:

Road and Area Closures Due to Current Seismic
and Volcanic Activity on Kilauea Volcano's Upper East Rift:
An intrusion of magma into the upper east rift zone of Kilauea has prompted the closure of some roads and areas in the park while the situation is carefully monitored.

Side note: as a communications student, I was only required to take two soft science classes to graduate with a B.A. I took Astronomy (along with pretty much every other liberal arts student...I fucking punished the final in that class too) and "Geology of National Parks." Aside from my Ancient Architecture class, this had to be the coolest elective I took in college. I've already been on my gothic cathedral tour of France, I'm ready to see some volcanoes erupt!

National Park Ranger guy, I ask you this: Am I going to see some fucking magma or what? Tell me now before I book my ticket. Until then, I am bookmarking this geological "blog" which will update me daily on the volcanoes' status. If I can't figure out this situation by mid-August, Oahu it is.

24 July 2007

Beep Beep!

Before I tell you about the best part of my weekend, I need to put it into context, by telling you about the other things I did this weekend.

In no particular order (OK, I guess it's pretty chronological):

1. Had dinner at Fado with Lindsay and Rachel Friday night. Fado, it seems, has introduced a "fancy" drink menu. On this new menu appeared one of my all-time favorites, the Caipirinha. I decided to give it a whirl, even though I thought it was kind of weird that an Irish restaurant featured a Brazilian cocktail. And my suspicions were confirmed after one sip. Terrible. It was essentially a bad excuse for a margarita. We decided then and there that we should stick to Irish drinks at Fado. So we had a round of car bombs and left it at that.

2. Attended Rachel's birthday party at Rocket Bar. Rachel and I had scoped this bar out before she decided that this would be the venue for the party. I was immediately sold because they had a video game table featuring Frogger, Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man, Pac Man Junior, Pac Man Plus (there are a lot of Pac Mans), Tetris, Pooyan (this game features fire-breathing dinosaurs that fly through the air on balloons. You have to pop their balloon before they reach the ground or they will come and eat your babies! UPDATE: Wikipedia says the "dinosaurs" are actually wolves. But I don't believe this for one second.), Burgertime (Don't play this game. It sucks. I *think* the goal is to hit the bad guys with burger toppings, but I lost before I could really figure out what was going on.), and Tetris. About a week before the party I asked Ted if he would challenge me at Pac Man, to which he said "do you even have to ask?"

There was a lot of smack talk leading to Friday, and a lot of Ted telling me that he was going to "waste my ass."

I came prepared for battle: $12 worth of quarters in my Marc Jacobs tote.

Long story short, I don't think Ted will be disrespecting my skills any longer. By the end of the night, he declared me the undisputed Pac Man champion.

3. Attended Jessica's Bridal Shower. Conclusion: I need to trick someone into marrying me so I can get a shitload of awesome stuff from Crate and Barrel too. And while she was being inundated with toaster ovens, indoor grills, wine glasses and lingerie, I was manning the blender to make sure Jessica's mom was getting drunk on Blue Hawaiians and Pina Coladas. Charlotte did an awesome job prepping for the shower and turned their house into a veritable "House of Leis," Jessica looked super cute in her new Lily Pulitzer dress, and we dined on Outback coconut shrimp all day long. I posted some pics from the shower in my "Summer 2007" Flickr album.

Also, for one reason or another (probably me not paying attention), I hadn't really absorbed the full scope of the beachhouse we're renting in Maui in September. All I really absorbed was that I am staying with pretty much the coolest people I know for really cheap for 10 days. I was enlightened on Saturday at the shower, though, as to the full extent of the awesomeness. Pool table. Pool. Hot tub. Blender.

If you don't think we're having a pool party every night featuring tropical mixed drinks and Jimmy Buffet blasting from my i-Home, you are sorely mistaken. SORELY.

4. Punched myself in the face (accidentally) twice and stubbed my toe, all in the course of an hour on Sunday afternoon. This really was never a contender for the best part of my weekend. But, man. I just wanted to go on record and declare what an idiot-klutz I am. The inside of my lip is still broken.

OK, so considering I went to dinner with two of my favorite people, a kick-ass birthday party where I dominated at Pac Man (obviously), and a sweet hawaiian bridal shower where I discovered the life of luxury I'll be living in for 10 days in September, the best part of my weekend was....wait for it....

5. Saturday night visit to the Bowie Rita's Italian Ice stand. Who knew Rita's was such a magnet for the weird and ridiculous?

If you've ever hung out with me, you know that one of my favorite things to do is stand around joaning on people. But honestly, if you could have seen the odd ducks pulling up to the italian ice stand that night, you'd have agreed that they were just asking for it. The best was this 40-ish guy wearing a yellow tye-dyed shirt with an airbrushed roadrunner (of roadrunner and coyote Looney Tunes fame) on the chest area tucked into his stonewashed jean shorts. As soon as he queued up behind me in line I snickered a little to myself about his ridiculous outfit. When I got back to Robbie, Jessica, Levi and Rachel (who were already enjoying their italian ices near the parking lot and watching this guy all along) they told me to take a guess as to which car he arrived in. I scanned the lot for about two seconds before I said "That one."

It was a souped up canary yellow hot rod with a roadrunner decal on the back window and Maryland license plate "BIRD 8 U."

The best part was when we all finally got a back view of Mr. Roadrunner. His yellow tye-dyed airbrushed roadrunner shirt had a catch phrase airbrushed on the back: "Beep Beep!"

At that, we all had to step away from Rita's and into the Rent-A-Center parking lot in the hopes that a few more feet of space would muffle our comments and uncontrollable laughter. I think things really hit rock bottom when I noticed that Robbie was spitting out his gelato onto the sidewalk because he was laughing so hard.

That guy, in all his ridiculousness, made my weekend.

17 July 2007

Possible extra footage for "An Inconvenient Truth II" reel.

Last Thursday I get an e-mail out of the blue from my friend, Rich: "Adam is in town. Want to go fishing?"

LG: "Fishing? Um, no."

Rich: "You don't have to fish. Just sit on the boat and drink."

LG: "OK. Sold, sign me up."

So around 1:30 Saturday afternoon, Rich picks me and Adam up and we drive out to Deale, Maryland (this is what I will refer to as "red state" Maryland, or you could also go with "redneck" Maryland. Whatever is least offensive.) to board our fishing vessel.

The Capitan (Cap'n George) isn't quite ready for us when we arrive, which was fine because we were starving and decided to eat lunch at the restaurant on the dock. They served Hush Puppies, so I was a happy camper. Adam decides that this trip, being his first fishing venture onto the Chesapeake, is really a personal expedition for him to find out firsthand as to whether or not we really need to "Save the Bay." If we catch tons of fish, he isn't going to worry about it. If we do OK, he might get one of those Save the Bay license plates. And if we catch nothing, he is going to bat-phone Al Gore.

Just as we're being served our food, Capitan George walks by and slurs the words "Be back in a few, just need a refill," and holds up a thermos. CG is ABOUT 98 years old, from the looks of his leathery wrinkly skin and has clearly subsided on whatever fish he's caught, coffee, cigarettes and booze for at least the past 20 years. At this point, I'm realizing that this boat is going to have to be driven by one of us. Because there is no doubt in my mind that he is refilling his thermos with vodka.

Our fishing trip, which really turned into a booze cruise, was about 4 hours long. Our "first mate," Eric, claimed to be 19 years old. Although if I were a guessing person I wouldn't have put him a day under 25. I guess that's what life at sea does to you. Maybe Captain George is really only 35. Just "weathered."

Eric was (underage) drinking Captain Morgan from a straw out of a Coke fountain cup and told us he once jumped off a lighthouse drunk. He doesn't recommend it to us, though because "there's rocks down there. They hurt." He was pretty knowledgeable about all things Chesapeake, I'll give him that.

With less than an hour left to go "at bay," and having caught ZERO fish, I turned to Adam and said "Well, I don't think we are going to catch a tiger."

Adam: What?

LG: You said earlier that you wanted to catch something CRAZY. Like a tiger. Remember? I was laughing really hard.

Adam: I said "TIRE. I want to catch something crazy like a TIRE." I was wondering why you laughed so hard at that. Who's catching a tiger? THAT DOESN'T EVEN MAKE SENSE.

Leslie: EXACTLY!

Eric: Well, I caught a deer out here once.

Leslie and Adam: [baffled stare]

Eric: You know. It was just like a deer carcass out there. Floatin'. I reeled it in.

Adam: Well you should definitely call Al Gore. He could use that footage. Let's do a contrast shot of a polar bear prancing through a dandelion field and a deer on a boat. Then no one will be able to deny global warming.

Rich: One day at sea and you're already turning into a conservationist. What will your republican friends think?

Leslie: What other crazy things have you caught? Have you ever caught a person?

Eric: Yeah. Four people, actually.

(Now I'm totally losing it and he's telling a story about dead bodies washing up on shore. Which is totally blowing my mind. He said the Coast Guard was already on it though.)

Leslie: So what do you think makes for a better story? Catching no fish or catching one?

Adam: I'm going to go with none.

Leslie: Well, I think you're going to luck out.

Adam's Chesapeake eco-action experiment RESULTS:
-Four hours on a boat.
-No fish caught.

-Deer are going swimming.
-Polar bears are frolicking in gardens.
-The Chesapeake is beyond saving.

Personal conclusions:
-"Fishing" is code word for "sitting near or on water and drinking beer." In fact, even though I went on the trip purporting NOT to fish, I did just as much as everyone else on that boat. And I probably drank more.
-I am the best fisherman.

10 July 2007

Killing me Softly with any song by Nickelback.

Apparently I have conversations with Rachel sometimes that I don't remember ever happened. Like for example, this morning I had a revelation that the new Interpol album was dropping today and I really had an electrifying wave of excitement come over me at my desk this morning when I discovered this "news". Then, in my jubilation, come to find out that I had mentioned something to Rachel about it last week??

Well whether that conversation actually took place or not, I KNOW I have been eagerly anticipating Spoon's new album "GA GA GA GA GA," also dropping today (which I didn't remember until this morning). I guess this new music Tuesday just crept up on me, that's all.

Then, around lunchtime, I heard a DJ mention something about a new Idlewild album also coming out today. Could it be that today was a A LESLIE SUPRISE GOOD MUSIC TRIFECTA?

Well, yes and no. Idlewild does not have a new album. But the band's lead singer (Roddie Woomble) does have a solo side project that came out today (yeah, I know. That name is so ridiculous on many levels). I had a listen on MySpace and it's pretty tight. A lot more folksy than Idlewild, but Roddie Woomble's voice kept me listening and I came around.

Finally, during my MySpace perusal, I listened to Charlotte's new profile song (surprisingly NOT Neil Diamond), which is Mark Ronson's remix of Toxic. Loved it. Clicked on the link to Ronson's page to hear more. AM NOW OBSESSED with his remix of Amy Winehouse's version of The Zutons "Valerie" (there are so many layers of versions of that song. Like a parfait.)

By the way, guess when Mark Ronson's album "Versions" came out? Today.

Is this the best new music Tuesday ever? Possibly. But then I also found out in my "new music Tuesday" search that Nickelback's new album came out today.

So that pretty much cancels out anything good in this world.

[UPDATE: Here are some things to make you feel better--

MP3 of Spoon's "The Underdog" [Which, the first time I heard, doubled checked on IMDB to make sure hadn't been in a Wes Anderson movie before. After reading a few of my favorite music blogs, however, it seems as if I'm not the only one who picked up on it's Anderson-esque-ness.

Foo Fighter's to release 6th album with a track titled: Cheer Up, Boys (Your Makeup's Running)]

09 July 2007

Joel strikes again.

Some of you may recall I worked with one of my writing/media heroes earlier this year: Joel "I don't want him Googling his name and finding this" Stein. He was writing a piece for Time magazine on one of my clients and I basically begged to handle the call.

Why is he one of my writing/media heroes, you ask? Well, if you visit his website (in an ironic twist of fate you can find it just by Googling his name), it's pretty self explanatory. But if you need me to elaborate further, the following power ballad inspired by Paris Hilton's Larry King appearance is based on a dare from Mr. Stein.

Anyone who dares someone to create this is basically rad, in my book:


03 July 2007

Donald Trump is a nice modern gentleman...[long pause]...NOT.

I made my first attempt at playing the tables this weekend in Atlantic City. Rachel, Mike, Tristan, Ted and I went for the weekend and also met one of Mike's friends, Jordan, when we got there. I stuck to Blackjack. Lucky for me, Ted is an ex-dealer (cards, not drugs, I don't think) and might be a compulsive gambler, so I planned to keep him in my corner whenever I needed "hit or stand" advice. (Thanks to Vince Vaughn I always know when to double down).

I, however, had the luckiest first run ever (I won my first 8 hands and got Blackjack 3 times in a row. I think the odds of that are something like 1 in 10,000). So after my wave of luck I think Ted was pretty much like "Fuck this, I'm going to play." Mike stuck around to observe my luck, though.

Meanwhile, Rachel and Tristan were busy playing, what I'm going to call "enchanted" slot machines. Somehow, Rachel won $60 playing penny slots. That's a pretty awesome R.O.I. I don't think Tristan did too shabby either. Both were pretty skilled at seeking out slot machines in the path of an oncoming cocktail waitress too, so they held a pretty steady buzz the whole trip.

After my first run I was up 75 bucks. At one point during play I had definitely doubled my $100 buy-in, so it was probably a good idea to walk away when everyone was tired and ready for bed. But after my big win, the adrenaline was flowing and I wanted to stay out. And like I said, lucky for me, Ted might be a compulsive gambler. So he and I went down to Trump Plaza where I basically lost everything I had just won, plus $25. Now I have a personal vendetta against Donald Trump (just kidding, Donald, in case any of your staff members have a Google alert set up for your name). Just joking (not.) Seriously though, I do NOT want to end up like Rosie! Donald, I don't care what anyone says, I think your hair is great.

So even though Donald whored me for $100 bucks, I still had a really fun night/morning. I think we rolled back in to the Comfort Inn sometime around 5:30am.

Saturday evening we had a cocktail hour (or two) in our Comfort Inn "suite" before going out. So everyone got pretty wastey-pants before hitting the casinos. I did manage to get back to even before dinner and was even up $5. YEAH. YOUR EYES DO NOT DECEIVE. I said FIVE FUCKING DOLLARS. The problem is, when I'm watching tables or playing, I'm not good at noticing when the cocktail waitresses come by because I am trying to focus. So after a couple hours of solid drinking in our room and playing for a bit, I hit a wall pretty early on Saturday night. After dinner the guys went to play poker and I joined Rachel and Tristan in the room for more cocktails or, as I like to call it, "reloading." Great idea, in theory, but this is how it ended up playing out--

Leslie: I need to lie down for 15 minutes.

Rachel and Tristan: Yeah, OK.

About 2 minutes into "rest-period," I was very close to being unconscious. But alert enough to know that those two drunkards were writing on signs and taking pictures of me. And just when Mike called us to say they were done poker and ready for the group to reform and Tristan informed him that I was "down for the count," my second wind arrived:


Mike [on the other end] : Um. OKkkkk.


And at that, I went to go give Donald trump $80 more of my dollars.

My trip net loss was $70.

Actually, I did way better than I thought I would. Considering I brought a couple hundred bucks to play with, a $70 loss isn't too bad in my book. I think Mike ended up down a bit, but nothing worse than me. Ted ended up winning $600 and Rachel ended up winning $60. Mike's friend Jordan won a couple hundred playing poker and flopped a Royal Flush (I don't know what that means, but that phrase alone made ever poker player there shit themselves and gained Jordan access to the Taj Mahal's private "Bengal Club" for an open bar and comp meal).

Also, I would like to mention that we all played a round of Texas Hold 'Em during our Comfort Inn "Cocktail (2) Hour(s)" where the winner received the title of "Best Person...Ever." I won on a Full House.

Too bad we played another hand like 5 minutes later and Tristan won.


02 July 2007


A couple of my friends started an online magazine a while back and this month marks its two-year anniversary. Farmhouse is a bi-monthly online outlet featuring original fiction, poetry, satire, visual art and music. I'm told in the coming issues they'll be adding some new sections and adding some more staff to make it even bigger and better.

I've always enjoyed reading Farmhouse and this month, for their second anniversary issue, I'm super-excited because Farmhouse is running a satire piece I wrote.

I hope everyone will check out the whole site at www.farmhousemagazine.com and also read my article, which you can access by clicking on the "satire" link at the top.

My article's original inspiration is "the guy" in this story. The take on "He's Just Not that Into You" came a bit later, but I thought it worked well from a pop culture commentary perspective. I actually don't own, nor have I read that book. But my friend Jessica does and she likes to read me passages from it sometimes. (From her readings, it's pretty clear to me that no one in the continental 48 states is all that "into me" unless they are totally creepy). I also figured out a way to reference that movie I love to reference and love to hate (but people think I love it because I reference it all the time). You'll understand when you read it (if you know anything about me).

Side note, I was in Atlantic City over the weekend, and am really running on empty right now. Later in the week I'll try and recap the highlights. Don't worry it involves a pact the group made upon arrival that "if anyone gets shit on by a seagull, that person gets free drinks for the whole weekend."

Rachel, who shall now be referred to as "ricochet Rachel" and I got free drinks. (If you need me to spell it our for you, Seagull feces hit Rachel on the forehead and then ricocheted off her forehead and onto my chest.) I guess 15 minutes of laughing and high-fiving is about the best reaction you can have to getting shit on.