Thursday, February 28, 2013

Literary Bite: The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud

The Emperor’s Children, by Claire Messud, is about three 30-year-old friends living in Manhattan. I really should have liked this book. It has all the components of a good read: moving plot, interesting (if not believable  characters, quality writing, and a decent ending. But ooooooooohhhhh mmmmmmmmmmm gggggggggg it was a slog. I just couldn’t get into it, and what should have taken me a week to read (it’s 430 pages) took me three!

I have a high tolerance/ not so secret love for pretentiously witty banter (what can I say? I was raised on West Wing and Gilmore Girls), but parts of this book are just too over the top, even for me. The characters' conversations feel so contrived and ridiculous –  I suppose that's part of the satire of the whole book, but it was too much.

The plot is about the three super-upper class friends who met at Brown, came to NYC in the ‘90s, but despite their “promise” and “talent” have struggled to find success by 30 in early 2001. Gag me. This is not revolutionary – what 20-somethings’ skills don’t exceed the demands of their job? And most people don’t have the luxury to complain about it from the comfort of their parents’ mansion on the Upper East Side.
  • “It all came down to entitlement, and one's sense of it. Marina, feeling entitled, never really asked herself if she was good enough. Whereas he, Julius, asked himself repeatedly, answered always in the affirmative, and marveled at the wider world's apparent inability to see the light. he would have to show them - of this he was ever more decided, with a flamelike conviction. But he was already thirty, and the question was how?” 
Because of this inane whinyness, none of the characters were likeable. Even Danielle, who is the Midwestern “more practical” one, is insufferably annoying (an affair with a married man = you did that to you, stop feeling sorry for yourself).

I understand that the book is about “the gap between the real and the perceived,” and “a stingingly observant novel about the facades of the chattering class.” Murray Thwaite (the father of one of the 30-year-olds) represents hypocritical 1960’s liberalism, and Seeley (his daughter’s boyfriend) represents “postmodernism and its assumption that truth is fungible.” (Thank you NYT for the analysis.)

I will give it this – The Emperor’s Children is a book worth analyzing and the questions it poses are legit. The writing is well-done and Messud seamlessly interlaces the various plotlines. I just didn’t enjoy it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

3 Weeks to the Marathon!

Alright guys, I’m running a marathon in less than 3 weeks. That’s 18 days, approximately 75 training miles, 4 hours in the pool, and Lord knows how much time on the foam roller, to be exact.

Me at the Backyard Burn 10-Mile Trail Race.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m on what I call a marathoner lite program. I didn’t even start training until mid-January thanks to some injury nonsense. In normal marathoning there are phases that build endurance, strength, then speed…but Coach George and I pretty much combined all of those into one 7-week time period.

Though that sounds like a horrific idea, I actually think it will be ok – I’d rather be a little undertrained (“well-rested” ha), than overtrained (exhausted and injured).

Back in the day (i.e. college), I was a not-very-good-but-meh-ok 1500m/3K/5K runner. I love track work, fast mileage, and just generally beating myself up all the time…BUT in the interest of this marathon actually happening, my running/workouts have changed a lot.

Here's how things are different:

  • Now I don’t do track workouts at all. Two days a week my “workouts” are tempo runs: 2x2 miles, or 1x2 1x1 mile, or 1x3 1x1 mile, or 1x3 miles, or 1x4 miles. 
  • My weekly mileage isn’t HIGH, but it’s high enough for me. So far it’s looked like: 46, 47, 40, 52. 
  • I take at least one day completely off per week (except last week whoops!). 
  • I pool at least one day per week.
  • I spend some of every work day sitting on ice, and some of my at-home TV time with my foot in a bucket of ice water (totally normal...and always fun times).
  • If I’m tired, I postpone the workout. (Ok there is some outside influence going on here…normally I just do what I’m told when I’m told, but my running friend is on the Don’t Torture Yourself train and I’m doing my best to stay on board.)
  • I stretch and foam roll a lot. And do my strengthening stuff from Dr. John.

I guess technically I’ve now entered into the tapering portion of my marathon plan, though I feel like I just got started running. I’ve done two 16-milers and two over-20-milers …and, well, that’s all I had time for! I suppose that’s one nice thing about an abbreviated training time-period: it’s enough to get tired, but really not enough time to get tired of training.

And as to the success of my own personal program…I’ll let you know on March 16!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cake of the Week: Carrot Cake Cheesecake

On my 5th birthday I asked for a carrot cake. Seems like a reasonable enough request, right? Except that I’d never actually had carrot cake before – I just liked how the name sounded. And my Mini-Mollie mind did not make the connection that there would be actual carrots in the cake (ok in my defense, I understood at that age that “coffee cake” didn’t have coffee in it). 

It was 21 years ago (!), so I don’t remember a whole lot about that birthday – we had a party at our little blue house, I imagine we played the string game to start things off, an assortment of my best friends (from the neighborhood, ballet class, and my parents running friends’ children) came, I probably bossed everyone around, and eventually it was cake time. 

My mama made what I imagine (and she still claims) was a delicious carrot cake, and I HATED it. I hated it so much I wouldn’t eat it and demanded chocolate cakes for all subsequent birthdays for a looooong time. 

But now I’m a grown-up and some things have changed: I’m significantly taller. I like vegetables and “mixed-up” food. And coffee (cake or otherwise). I know a few more things (17 years of school will do that to you). I’m aware of what goes into what I eat. My friends still come over for my birthdays, but I don’t boss everyone around (as much). I like tangy cream cheese frosting. And I love carrot cake.  

For this birthday, I couldn’t decide between cheesecake and carrot cake SO I COMBINED THEM. Layers of carrot cake, cheesecake, carrot cake, cheesecake -- all baked together then topped with pineapple cream cheese frosting!

Mind = blown. This is The Cheesecake Factory’s recipe and ummhelloyespleaseallthetime. I am a fan.

And it’s actually really easy to make. Seriously, I’m going to have to explore the cake/cheesecake combinations more in depth because I can and I should

Carrot Cake Cheesecake


  • 16 ounces/2 packages cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Carrot Cake:
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 generous pinch of salt
  • 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, well drained with juice reserved
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon reserved pineapple juice
  • Dash of salt
  1. Grease a 9 or 91/2 inch springform pan.  Set aside.
  2. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar until smooth.  Beat in 1 tablespoon flour, 3 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla until smooth.  Set aside.
  3. For the carrot cake:  in a large bowl, mix 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in 1 cup flour, baking soda, cinnamon and pinch of salt, mixing well.  Stir in drained pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts.
  4. Spread 1 1/2 cups carrot cake batter over bottom of prepared pan. Spread half the cream cheese batter over carrot cake batter. Top with large spoonfuls of remaining carrot cake batter.  Repeat with remaining cream cheese batter, spreading evenly with a knife.  (Do not marble with the knife.)
  5. Place a large pan full of water in the oven on the rack under the cake (I usually water-bath cheesecakes, but I didn't have a big enough pan). Bake in preheated 350˚F oven 50 to 65 minutes or until cake is set and cooked through.  Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.
  6. When cake is cold, prepare the frosting: in a bowl of an electric mixer, combine 2 ounce cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1 tablespoon reserved pineapple juice and a dash of salt.  Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency.  Frost top of cheesecake.
  7. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Yummmmmmmm. The end.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekend Report: Birthday Weekend

So you may recall that Saturday was my birthday! For whatever reason, 2/23 is pretty reliably gloomy, so I spent most of my day relaxing, puttering, going for a little birthday run, and getting life-chores done.

I had an conference call scheduled for 2pm (are you impressed by how important I sound?), and by that I mean that LOTR-Emily and I sat on her floor in DC and Skyped with LLC waking up in Hawaii and 6x6 going to bed in South Africa! Four best friends, three continents – aka the best conference call ever.

Then SpeedyKate and I got our hostessing on – my friends came over and she made  an Indian FEAST from her favorite cookbook – Chicken Vindaloo, Amla Chickpeas, Kale, and garlic naan. Yummm. Seriously guys, I'm not a slow cooker person, but this cookbook is amazing. LOTR-Emily made double chocolate cakeballs, and I made myself a Carrot Cake Cheesecake, because why do one or the other when you can do both!? (Recipe tomorrow, I promise.)

The birthday festivities Saturday night didn’t get too out of hand, because Sunday morning I had my second and final looooooong run. Coach George starts every workout proclaiming “it’s a beautiful day for a run!” and Sunday it actually was. The sun was shining, flowers were blooming, I wore shorts, and the air felt like springtime.

We did a 21-mile progression run, starting at around 8-minute pace and working our way down to 6:45s for the last 7 miles. The last part was probably a bit too quick, but it was all downhill. Plus and the gels in my stomach were not sitting well (ugh eating and running)…life rule: the faster you run the sooner you can stop! Think about it.

Sunday post-long runs have become Mollie-reads-somewhere-o’clock, and this week’s location was Union Market, a super-hipster indoor food place in Northeast DC. I sat with a delicious coffee from Peregrine and a semi-disappointing scone from The Bear’s Honeypot (should I quit my life and start a much-needed cookie business in Union Market? Maybe…), and read and people-watched for hours.

Though I was incredibly tempted to stay home for the evening and eat leftover Indian food on my couch, I instead hopped on my bike to go to an Oscars party. Since I’m not a movie aficionado, I definitely did not win the betting pool, but fun friends and good food make it all ok. Though why oh whyyyy do the Oscars have to run so late??

And that, my friends, is that. Birthdays are not a HUGE deal, but they're a great excuse for cake and they also serve as a good taking-stock, goal-setting, sort of New Years-ish life reminder. I'm pretty psyched about this year...GREAT things are going to happen!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Best of the Week #94

Well now for a change in Mollie’s-life-soundtrack pace, how about a little Atmosphere to get us through our Friday? (Believe it or not, I know all the words to a lot of their songs.) This, this, this, this, and this.

In the marathon training department, I’m on track for 50 miles this week (plus one pool day, pilates, and one climbing day)! Unless I don’t run tomorrow, in which case it’ll be 46.

My most popular post this week was Running with Podcasts, which I rarely do anymore because you know what's better than running with podcasts? Running with friends!

Mmmk, now for some Best of the Week links:

Random but excellent: A 1961 New York Times photo, showing Louis Armstrong playing trumpet for his wife, Lucille, in front of the Great Sphinx and pyramids in Giza, Egypt.

Has anyone been following the Haiti cholera problem? Basically, after the earthquake in 2010, UN peacekeepers brought cholera to Haiti and it was (and I thinks still is?) a MAJOR problem. Now, well, this sucks. “U.N. invokes diplomatic immunity on Haiti cholera epidemic.”
  • For nearly two and a half years, the United Nations has sought to skirt responsibility for a ravenous Haitian cholera epidemic that killed at least 8,000 Haitians -- and sickened several hundred thousand more -- since the first outbreak was detected in October 2010, downriver from a sewage outlet used by a contingent of Nepalese blue helmets.
  • Today, Ban Ki-moon phoned Haitian president Michel Martelly to inform him that the United Nations has no intention, or legal obligation, to pay compensation to the families of Haiti's cholera victims.
Also a GREAT read: “In the Time of Cholera: How the U.N. created an epidemic -- then covered it up.”

On the lighter side: "15 Hedgehogs With Things That Look Like Hedgehogs."

Awesome: "World's Largest Rope Swing."

Technology is so cool and people are amazing. “As 3-D Printing Becomes More Accessible, Copyright Questions Arise.” Can you 'Sue The Genie Back Into The Bottle'? I think no.
  • "The technology is coming whether we like it or not," Weinberg says. "And so, as a CEO of one of these companies, you can spend a lot of time and money trying to sue it out of existence — and sue the genie back into the bottle — or you can spend that same time and money and apply it toward finding a way to use the technology to your advantage."
More from NPR on 3D printing: “Print  Me An Ear: 3-D Printing Tackles Human Cartilage.”
  • This insta-ear would have to be tested in larger animals before it's used in humans, Bonassar says. "We're still identifying what the perfect cell source is for these implants," he says. Candidates include human ear cartilage or stem cells from a person's bone marrow or fat.
  • Growing ears and other body parts this way has been the focus of speculation and experimentation for years, and not just by Bonassar's lab. Use in humans has always been "years away." Is that still true?
And even more! “A Factory on Your Kitchen Counter.”
  • But there is a growing sense that 3-D printers may be the home appliance of the future, much as personal computers were 30 years ago, when Dick Cavett referred to the Apple II in a TV commercial as “the appliance of the ’80s for all those pesky household chores.”
  • Like computers, 3-D printers originally proved their worth in the business sector, cost a fortune and were bulkier than a Kelvinator. But in the last few years, less expensive desktop models have emerged, and futurists and 3-D printing hobbyists are now envisioning a world in which someone has an idea for a work-saving tool — or breaks the hour hand on their kitchen clock or loses the cap to the shampoo bottle — and simply prints the invention or the replacement part.
Word. Though I’m not 100% sure this is a good thing for me. Can I has sleep and running please??? (source)

Sometimes I feel like this...sorry I'm not sorry. ALL ABOARD!

Let’s go to Rio, ok? Ok. "Carnival 2013 in Brazil."

Al Roker loves Joe Biden and gets SO excited when he shakes his hand. I looove it!

Aaaah WTF Friday: "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Goes to 7 Continents, Finds Exotic People to Use as Props."

  • For the 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, the magazine photographed models on all 7 continents. A world tour of ill-fitting "swim" wear! But sometimes a half-naked lady standing in front of a gorgeous natural backdrop just isn't enough. So the photographers used natives as props.
  • Using people of color as background or extras is a popular fashion trope, whether it's Nylonmagazine, the Free People catalog, British Vogue or J. Crew. But although it's prevalent, it's very distasteful.

I love everything about this story. "Young Ugandan chess-prodigy: lessons in the slum take her to the world stage." Basically, a girl from a slum becomes an international chess badass and “the ultimate underdog.”
  • She heard about a Western-based religious charity that mentored slum kids and served food near her alleyway, and also taught the kids some odd game called chess.
  • “I was hungry,” Mutesi says, “I’d never heard of chess, and I’d never seen it. So… I was like, ‘Maybe I can also go there to learn about chess and get a cup of porridge.’”
  • Eventually, someone at the organization, a US-based group called Sports Outreach ministry, assigned a five- year old child to teach Mutesi the rules of chess, setting her on a path that would eventually transform her life and outlook, and lead her to compete in international matches.
  • The first indications that she might be a prodigy came when she started to beat the boys in chess. In Uganda, chess is considered too difficult for girls. But Mutesi changed that belief.
  • At the age of 14 she qualified to represent Uganda in the World Chess Olympiad. Even without formal training, she proved apt enough to travel to Russia for the match. She is considered the best female player in Uganda and last year became the first Ugandan female to enter a male tournament and win.
This is insanely cool and beautifully shot: “The Camel Race.”

  • Young camel owner Hamad quits his job for the love of his life: his camel Khudriah who just begins her first racing season. In 2005, a human rights outcry banned the use of child jockeys, and so Qatar's camel races now feature robot jockeys in a reinvented twist of tradition. "The Camel Race" is an insider verité-style look into the tucked-away camel culture of Qatar, revealing a world of modern bedouins, camel racing, and the deep roots of Qatar's heritage.
Color photography from 100 years ago– CRAZY! "Russia in color, a century ago."

  • The high quality of the images, combined with the bright colors, make it difficult for viewers to believe that they are looking 100 years back in time - when these photographs were taken, neither the Russian Revolution nor World War I had yet begun. Collected here are a few of the hundreds of color images made available by the Library of Congress, which purchased the original glass plates back in 1948.
This is absolutely 100% amazing. "Street artist playing Hallelujah with crystal glasses."

Oh and guess what? Today is my birthday eve (let's pretend that's a think, k?). Which means, dun dun dunnnn...BIRTHDAY WEEKEND! :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Healthy Bowls O'Dinner!

I’m 4 weeks out from my marathon and according to Coach George and mi padre, it’s time to “get focused!” My dad berated me last week about rock climbing, and I got an unprompted email from George this week telling me to stop climbing and start eating fruits and vegetables.

Weeeellllmmkfine, I will take a break from climbing. But the fruits and veggies thing? That I already have under control!

Bowl O'Dinner: Butternut squash, asparagus, kale, onions, wheat berries, Israeli couscous, black beans, egg.

I don’t normally blog about my daily dinners because, well, I think you all like reading about and looking at fabulous desserts (right? who doesn’t?). Plus I pretty much never follow a recipe. Plus plus I'm usually far too hungry when I'm cooking dinner to be bothered with good pictures (as you can see).

But I do cook myself dinner every night, and according to SpeedyKate  (whom I enlisted to corroborate my veggie-eating habits to George), “Mollie eats more vegetables than anyone else in the world, I think.”

So to prove to you all that I am not, in fact, internally composed of buttercream, here are some recent bowl o'dinner "recipes." (No quantities included – use what you have, do what you feel).

Mollie's Bowl O'Dinner (which has, in some form, been rocking my world since 2006):
  1. Sauté/pan-steam (i.e. no oil, a bit of water, put a top on the pan): sweet potato/butternut squash, garlic, onion, asparagus, and kale. 
  2. Add water as necessary to keep it from sticking to the pan. 
  3. At the end mix in a spoonful of tomato sauce, and your grain of choice. 
  4. Add an egg (crack it into the veggies and put the top on the pan so the egg gets poached) and finish cooking.
  5. Finish with cheese and salt and pepper.
  • A: Really, any vegetables work. Be conscious of relative cooking times though. (i.e. Sweet potatoes take a lot longer to cook than asparagus, so add them at different times.)
  • B. Grain options: half rice/half quinoa (they take about the same amount of time to cook so you can just do them in the same pot); OR rice/red lentils; OR wheat berries/Israeli couscous (these you have to cook separately and mix at the end – recipe here). 
  • C: Asian-ish variation: instead of tomato sauce, use soy sauce, vinegar, chili powder, garlic, ginger, and a few finely chopped almonds.
  • D: Indian-ish variation: curry powder and chili powder!
  • E. I usually eat everything with fresh red or green leaf lettuce mixed in at the end for crunch (I call it 'hot salad.' And I can see that face you're making through the interwebs, but I will have none of your judgement – it's good!).
2. Wheat Berry Salad: 
  1. Roasted butternut squash, kale, onions, and black beans.
  2. Cook wheat berries and Israeli couscous separately and then mix them together (recipe here). 
  3. Eat it with salsa, cheddar cheese, a scoop of Greek yogurt (like sour cream but way better), and maybe some tortilla chips crumbled on top.
  4. Mix in fresh lettuce at the end; the lettuce will wilt a little bit and be delicious.
3. Whole wheat spaghetti: 
  1. Sauté garlic, onion, asparagus, and broccoli, plus a Trader Joe’s frozen turkey meatball chopped up.
  2. Add spaghetti and sauce. 

On top of this, of course, is chocolate and desserts and popcorn and chips and salsa and large quantities of peanut butter...but that's another story for another day.

Also, here are some previously blogged about real food recipes that fall into the healthy dinner category:

Wheat Berry Couscous Salad
Beet Risotto with an egg over spinach. 
Garlic Scape Pesto Pasta with greens and yellow squash. 

And with that, I rest my case. I eat plenty of cake and cookies, but I do not ONLY eat cake and cookies. If you actually want more details on how to make any of these things, let me know and I'll get back to you.

Marathon focus-face ON!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Weekend Report: The Hirshhorn and Other Musuems and Laziness

Happy Tuesday that feels like a Monday but hooray because it’s actually Tuesday!

Most of my friends left DC this weekend, headed towards warmer (and some colder) 3-day vacation locations. I, per usual, stay-cated like the seasoned professional stay-cationer I am.

Friday I saw some live music at Hill Country, a totally out of place Texas Barbecue and live music venue in Penn Quarter. Twangy creole country, complete with accordion and rubboard, isn’t usually my jam, but this place was definitely an experience. I really really want to go back for live band karaoke – I’m pretty sure that would be AMAZING.

Both Saturday and Sunday I got my culture on and hit up some museums. On Saturday afternoon my friend and I started at the Freer Sackler Gallery and made our way through underground tunnels through to the African Art Museum. In Freer and Sackler we saw some ancient Iranian and Islamic art, which, when you take the time to really look at it, is shockingly awesome. And then the super-interesting Lalla Essaydi Moroccan art exhibit was still in the African Art Museum (I first saw it in July), so that was a cool second look.

This a "wine horn." I'm pretty sure you can't put it down...
pretty sure that makes it some sort of ancient drinking game. 
We also had time to check out the bottom floor of the Hirshhorn before I had to head back to yoga. It was actually pretty cool! Is this a human-sized stick of butter or modern art? Hard to say...

Yoga was at Yoga District on H Street – my first non-Bikram yoga experience. It was not terrible! And we did downward dog and I didn’t HATE it (that much). And we dedicated our practice to love…so that was nice? Haha a little touchy-feely for my usual workout taste, but meh why not?

Sunday morning I biked (!!!) through an intense headwind to get to the CAR long run meeting at the FDR Memorial. (That right there shows intense team dedication…or strong unwillingness to run alone.)

We ran 5K loops around Hains Point, doing 4x2 miles at marathon-ish pace with one mile in between and totaling 16 miles. So. Freaking. Windy. We timed it so that most of the 2 miles harder was with a tailwind, but then ooooh man that 1 mile recovery into brick wall of icy air...oof.

But you know what’s easier than getting lost and running 23 miles? A 16 mile workout. So unlike last weekend, I was actually able to function afterwards, rally, and head back to the Mall to meet another friend for another museum! It was the second to last weekend of Ai Weiwei at the Hirshhorn, so we meandered around and saw the sights. I want this box in my house:

Also some GIANT bowls of pearls.

But less-so some building-the-Bird's Nest wallpaper.

I left the Hirshhorn to walk home, planning on lying on my couch and reading my book, when I realized that there I was, next to the National Gallery – i.e. I should read my book there! So I visited my favorite painting and eventually settled down in the Italian Renaissance wing, A Game of Thrones in hand, flipped my brain off and disappeared from the real world for a bit.  It was excellent.

Monday was a free day and I took it sloooow. After a morning/afternoon of lounging and reading, I got myself moving to head to the rock gym, which was fantastically empty! Then a post-climbing dinner at Chinatown Express ended my weekend perfectly with dumplings and greens and noodles and happiness.

Despite how much I run, I am notoriously horrific at sleeping, so this weekend I did my best to make up for it. Over three nights I slept 30 hours, which is more sleep than I sometimes get in 4-5 days. It was AMAZING and I feel awesome.

Hope you had a good long weekend too!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Best of the Week #93

The sunrise this morning, viewed from  the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and then running back towards the Capitol along the Mall, was beautiful! I will never be a person who carries a phone/camera while running, so the picture in my head plus this one from the interwebs will have to do. Let it suffice to say that there were clouds and pink and blue and purple sky and geese on the reflecting pool and the sun peeking above the Hill. Sometimes no amount of scenery can make a run nice (i.e. yesterday’s workout of death), but sometimes it can.

Speaking of running, I’m on track to run 45 miles this week, plus one day off, one day rock climbing, and one hour in the pool. I realize that 45 miles isn’t much for a marathoner…but I like to think of myself as a marathoner lite and it’s A LOT for me! (Last week was 47.5 total, plus 2 hours in the pool, i.e. tired face.)

And speaking of scenery on the Mall, my most popular post this week was Cherry Cupcakes with Cherry Frosting – who’s excited for spring and cherry blossoms?

Now for some Best of the Week!

I am currently listening to/loving this Pandora station. Also this song.

I read this headline: “What Do You Do When The One You Love Doesn’t Love Food?” and immediately thought you break up with them well duh. Too harsh? I have my standards…

This made me giggle:

On the serious/interesting front, best read of the week: “The End of Atrocity.”
  • When NATO enforced UN Security Council Resolution 1973 by establishing a no-fly zone to halt Moammar Gadhafi’s regime from attacking the city of Benghazi, many critics voiced opposition. Their logic seemed to be that since the international community could not intervene everywhere that mass atrocities were looming, it should not bother trying at all.
  • Responding to this criticism, Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times argued, “But just because we allowed Rwandans or Darfuris to be massacred, does it really follow that to be consistent we should allow Libyans to be massacred as well? Isn’t it better to inconsistently save some lives than to consistently save none?
  • R2P, which actually stands for the “responsibility to protect,” is a political commitment made by all 192 governments seated at the UN in 2005... 
  • The commission introduced the R2P doctrine, which advanced the idea that national sovereignty entails responsibility, and that if a state is unwilling or unable to protect vulnerable populations from the above-mentioned crimes [genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing], the international community has a duty to respond. Led by Canada, R2P was endorsed by all member states seated at the UN in 2005.
This is one of those funny but not funny things: "First World Problems Read By Third World Kids: Ad Campaign Makes Use Of Ironic Meme."
  • A new ad campaign from charitable organization Water is Life features Haitian children and adults reading the everyday gripes and minor irritations first world citizens post on Twitter with the popular #FirstWorldProblems hashtag. "I hate it when I tell them no pickles and they still give me pickles."

I want this book: “Type Delight.”
  • A Recipe book with illustrative handmade food typography that follows the story of Marcelle, a Patisserie Chef who falls in love with typography.

This article is not as fluffy as it sounds: “I Can’t Stop Looking at These South Korean Women Who’ve Had Plastic Surgery.”

  • South Korea has “the highest per capita rate of plastic surgery in the world.”
  • "When you are applying for university or appling for a job here, you put a picture of yourself on your resume or application," Lurie says in a recent segment on This American Life (you can listen to here). "It is sort of taken for granted that how you look will often go into the decision."
  • If you have a limited ability to see beauty in someone who is not big-eyed and small-faced and straight-nosed, do you also have a limited ability to understand, empathize, sympathize and relate to that person, as well? Do you become intolerant of those who don't meet your lookist standards?
Another good longer read: “The Path to Shangri-La: Eastern Tibet’s Unclaimed Peaks.” For serious I want to go to here.

  • What have I learned? Forget Everest. It takes too much time and too much money. Ditto the other 8,000-meter peaks. These monsters only make sense if you’re a serious high-altitude mountaineer. Even 7,000-meter peaks require permits, porters, and plenty of time for acclimatization. The sweet spot is all those peaks under 6,000 meters. And there are a lot of them. The Himalayas sweep like a toothy, 2,000-mile smile across the face of Asia, and there are thousands of seldom-climbed and hundreds of unclimbed summits in the 16,000- to 19,000-foot range. These are pygmy peaks by Himalayan standards—though they’d be giants almost anywhere else—and few climbers even know about them, much less care. These are the peaks waiting for people who want authentic adventure. People who welcome backcountry surprises, and who want to experience a foreign culture without being led around by an overpriced guide. If you can backpack for three weeks on the PCT, hold your own on Fourteeners, or crampon up Mt. Hood, you can climb these mountains.
“'Penguin-cam' gets up close and personal.”

  • Wildlife producer John Downer demonstrates how he and his team went about making a documentary about penguins.
  • In order to get close to them he deployed 50 special cameras disguised as rocks, eggs and penguins.
Wow: #4, 5, 14, 17! I WANT THEM ALL! "19 Hardcore Images Of Bookshelf Porn, NSFW (if you are a bibliophile)."

I 100% agree with this (the boot part):
  • Anywho, on a weekend in the mountains when I am not tending bar or to a fire, I usually am snowboarding.  Snowboarding/skiing is great and all but let’s talk about the absolute best part of a ski day.  It is not getting chili cheese fries and a Bud heavy at lunch, although that is epic.  No, the best part of a ski day is the moment when you get to take your boots off.  Dear lord baby jesus, it is incredible.  Whitney jokes that at the end of a long day, taking her bra off is like winning the super bowl.  If that is the case then taking you boots off after a ski day must be like winning the super bowl, Heisman trophy, and Olympic gold all in the same day.  It honestly is the best.
Is there a huggability to speed correlation? Probably not…but I WISH THERE WERE BECAUSE I WOULD BE SO SPEEDY!
  • His [Galen Rupp's] coach attributes a lot of his current success to the uninterrupted, injury free training he’s had for years. Noted. If I stop getting stress fractures, I’ll be able to run like Galen. WORKING ON IT.
  • Alternate theory, he’s so fast because he’s such a good hugger:

A heat map of apartment prices in DC. "The Rent Is Too Damn High."

Think you’ve dealt with injuries? Well now get inspired: “Inspiring Athletes: Dani Grabol and the Race Across America.”
  • But  while on a training ride in November 2006, she was struck by a drunk driver.  Her injuries were severe, including a crushed tibia and fibula, which required a titanium rod and several screws in her leg.  Doctors didn’t know if she’d ever be able to run or bike competitively again….but they didn’t know Dani.
  • It was six months before she could walk on that leg again.  And yet, within a year of the accident, a determined Dani ran her first half marathon.  Since then, she’s completed two Ironman races (a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run) and even a double Ironman (that’s right–a 4.8 mile swim, 224 mile bike, and a 52.4 mile run).
This sounds like a really cool documentary: “Bicycle Dreams” 300 miles across America in 10 days. DAMMMNNNN.

White Russia – Moscow in the snow.” Can we get some of this in DC???? And while we're asking for things, put me down for another Snowpocolypse please?

Mmmmk that is all. Have a great long weekend!