Friday, June 27, 2008

Real Life Testimonial

I did it. I never thought I would. But I was desperate.

I applied directly to the forehead.

Your Mama

One of my guy friends called me up the other night. He said he was calling because he needed to vent. Ok...

Turns out he was upset because he was really hungry and tired and there was no food in his house. Nothing to eat. He was hoping that maybe I had some food...or might even be willing to cook something.

He was upset, hungry and tired...and I was the first person he called. I gotta be honest...that didn't exactly make me feel sexy. It made me feel like he thinks of me as a mom.

Call me Mama Johnson.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Overheard in Houston

I overheard the most awesome conversation this morning. I walked into Starbucks to get my Wednesday latte. (I go to Starbucks every Wednesday morning. It helps me get through City Council.)

There was a group of older gentlemen all sitting around talking. Here's what I heard.

Old Man #1: "What is lip gloss, anyway?"
Old Man #2: "It's just some clear stuff you put on your lips."
Old Man #1: "I've never put it on MY lips! Why would you need lip gloss. I don't get it."
Old Man #3: "Ladies use it. You don't have to worry about it. All you need to remember is that if you do have any liquids with you, they need to go inside a plastic bag. I don't know if lip gloss has to go in there."

(At this point I realized they were discussing the airport liquids rule.)

Old Man #4: "Remember the days when you flew in a suit and tie? And the ladies wore white gloves."
Old Man #2: "Those were the days. Those were the days."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Single Life

Being single is so lighthearted and carefree. It's filled with breezy summer nights, twinkling stars and gauzy dresses.

Or maybe that was a birth control commercial I saw...I get the two mixed up sometimes.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Two Guys, a Girl and a Crazy Dream

Guys can be really sweet. Case in point: last night a guy told my roommate that he's having a birthday party and instead of receiving gifts from his friends, he has asked them all to make a donation toward our Brazil trip.

Guys can be really awkward. Case in point: last night I introduced myself to a guy at church. He replied "Oh, I know who you are. You're a hard one to forget."

Dreams can be really crazy. Case in point: last night I dreamed I was cuddling with one of my guy friends and we were trying to decide where we could go to have some privacy and make out. No, I do not have a secret crush on this guy.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thanks, I think

One of my male co-workers just asked me if I got my hair cut.
I smiled and told him "yes, about two weeks ago."
He paused, then said "oh, well it looks good growing back."

From Our Moscow Bureau

It's been quite a while since I last sent an email out. But as the weather has been getting nicer, I haven't had time to write as I've been out and about. I'm still going out and doing the touristy things, but I'm also getting into a groove/rut which is making me a bit lazy. You know the drill wake up, go to work, come home, watch old "Bay Watch" re-runs, go to bed.

I think the coolest thing I've done in the past month was go to visit the Cold War Museum. Picture this… The year is 1945. The USA has just bombed Hiroshima. Stalin, out of fear that the USA might one day bomb Moscow, builds a huge underground bunker 18 stories below street level. No one knows that it exists except the small group of men and women that work there. They have been sworn to secrecy (and probably threatened with their life). The underground bunker is a fully functional Nuclear Shelter that was meant to protect a small group of survivors (mostly Government officials) for months after a Nuclear War. In the early 1990's after the collapse of the USSR, the government came in and dismantled most of the valuable items out of the bunker (computers, electronics, etc...). The bunker was left vacant until last year when an independent company came in and bought the bunker and refurbished it for tours. While not all of the bunker is accessible and a lot of it is still being refurbished, you still get a pretty creepy feeling of what life would be like living 18 stories underground.

The best part of the tour was the Russian propaganda films that they show you. Lots of valuable information is given in the film that I never knew about (or will ever believe). For instance… Did you know that the USA bombed Japan for no reason!? According to the film, Japan had done nothing to provoke a nuclear attack. Also, did you know that Churchill single handedly started the Cold War? I don't remember seeing him at any ribbon cutting, but according to the film he was the one that started it all. The film was loaded with crazy information (it's no wonder the Russians hated us for so long). As I am prone to embellish any good story, I invite you to check out the website

It's summer time and that means three things.

Longer days. I've had to put aluminum foil up on my bedroom windows so I can sleep. The sun goes down around midnight and comes back up again around 4:30am.

Warmer days. Everyone is hanging up their winter gear. The girls here wear "Business Shorts" to the office. I'm not sure if it means that they are for "Business", or if they are wearing them to show off their "Business". Either way, I'm not complaining!

Block-Buster Summer Movies! While I can go to my local flea market and get just about any pirated movie I want, some movies are meant to be seen on the big screen. This summer the movie that I was dying to see was the new "Indiana Jones". I had to wait a few weeks, but I finally found a movie theater on the other side of town that was showing the film in English. I gathered up a few of my closest English speaking friends and we headed to the theater. When we arrived we were informed that the film was dubbed over in Russian, but we could listen to the film in English on headphones for an additional $5. Most of us paid the money and prepared to be awed by Harrison Ford. Instead we were let down. Not by the movie, but by the worst voice over's I've ever heard in my life. Some guy read the film to us in English via our ear phones. His English was horrible! He also read all the parts (even the girl parts). You could hear the pages turning (which I thought was pretty funny). But the most aggravating thing was when there was a heated dialogue among several actors, our translator would lock up and only say the last sentence of a conversation.

Needless to say, I hope that Harrison Ford makes a 5th installment so that I can watch it in English back in the States. What would they call it?… "Indiana Jones and the Crusty Skull"

~The Moscow Correspondent

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Losing the will to live

I'm at the city council annual budget meeting. Last year this meeting lasted until 10pm.
I'm boycotting democracy.

Hands Off!

Every week we reporters show up at City Hall, settle into our usual desks, pull out our laptops and prepare to be bored out of our minds for the next three to four hours.

Occasionally one of the councilmembers will break the monotony by making a joke or ribbing the media. Last week one of the councilmembers had a joke going about her home-grown watermelons.

Well this week we showed up and there was a small watermelon at my seat, accompanied by a note saying it was from the councilmember. I smiled and set it aside for my Chronicle colleague, whom I knew it was actually intended for.

But apparently I don't look trustworthy enough. A few moments later the councilmember
herself came over to my desk and pointed out that the watermelon is not for me, but for the Chron reporter and wanted to make sure I was aware of that.

Several sassy replies came to mind, but I respectfully assured her that I was not going to take her watermelon. Of course after she walked away, I desperately wanted to slice into that watermelon. But that would be rude.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I should apply at National Geographic

I spent a rather boring morning covering county government. Then I came back to the station for an only slightly less boring staff meeting. Then we all returned to our desks and were greeted by this guy.

Almost the entire staff gathered around the window, ooohing and ahhhing. Mr. Hawk just sat there for a good 5 minutes, while we all chattered and snapped pictures and generally made much of him. We're not sure whether he could see us or not, but we were making so much noise that I'm sure he could hear us.
For those of you who are veteran readers of the QQ, I'm sure you remember this isn't the first time I've been called in for duty as a wildlife photojournalist.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Search Terms

A friend sent me this screen capture image the other day along with a short message that said "in case I wanted to buy you..."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Adventures in Radio

Working at a radio station isn't as glamorous as people often think. But every once in a while I'm reminded how cool this job really is.

A few minutes ago I was sitting at my desk and could hear people chatting in the hall behind me.
"That voice sounds familiar," I thought.

Then it dawned on me who it was and I turned around to see Debra Winger standing a few feet behind me.

New York City? Get a rope.

It's gotta be a rough day at the office when you have a noose on your desk.
Sorry the picture is a little blurry, but I snapped this shot on my cell phone. Yes, that really is someone's desk here in my office and yes, that coil of rope was just casually placed there.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Thank you, Uncle Sam

I got my stimulus check last week! I turned right around and stimulated my mission trip account.

"What mission trip?" you say.

Thanks for asking! I'm on a team from Houston's First Baptist Church that's going to the Amazon Basin in Brazil. We're leaving at the beginning of August and will spend a week living on a boat, traveling up the Amazon River, visiting small villages along the way.

I'm calling it Xtreme Missions (sounds so trendy that way).

We're going to meet a people group called the Quilombolas. They have lived in Brazil for a couple hundred years and are descended from African slaves. They're a peaceful people, but are a little wary of strangers. We plan to bring in supplies and lessons to help them develop clean water and hygiene practices. This will help us to build trust with them and provide a foundation for sharing the gospel. We know very little about these people, but we believe that many of them have never heard of salvation through Jesus Christ.

They practice spiritism and animism. They live in small villages of about 300 people and they keep very much to themselves. They are very poor and mostly illiterate.

We have a lot of supply-needs for this trip and I will be fundraising to help pay for the travel costs. I'll be sending letters to some of my readers, but if you're interested in giving to the mission work in the Amazon please let me know. We need to collect things like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, tylenol, bandaids, flip flops etc. The need is great, but I believe for most of us it is a very small sacrifice to give out of our abundance to help those who have so little.

And of course, your prayers are needed and appreciated.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Unexpected Results

As of yesterday at this time I had no interesting plans for today. It was supposed to be just another work day.

As of today I:
Had breakfast with Bethany,
Got a tip on a really big news story,
Randomly ran into two friends (Shanna and Raquel) at my news assignment,
Spontaneously picked up Darrick for lunch and
Pulled into my office parking lot at the height of the storm with my umbrella in the trunk.

Monday, June 09, 2008


One of my male co-workers just told me "Laurie, you give great phone."

Friday, June 06, 2008

Letters Dept.

Dear Co-Worker,

You wear too much perfume.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

On the Bright Side

The only good thing I've identified about getting up at 3:30am is that I sleep very deeply at night. Of course, I go to bed while it's still light outside. But I sleep and I sleep hard.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I'm broken down, not good enough.
The broken promises add up to twice their weight in tears, which I have caused.

I'm afraid to sink, I'm afraid to swim.
I'm sad to say I miss my friends, I know that I'm supposed to step away.

But they need me to stay
and keep a watchful eye on all my heroes and all their demons.

But who's going to break my fall when the spinning starts?
The colors bleed together.
And faith, was it ever there at all? And have I lost my way?
The path of least resistance is catching up with me again today.

Not today.
Not today!

~Brandi Carlile

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Letters Dept.

Dear Socially Awkward Man,

I hope this letter finds you well. I'd like to take a moment to share with you a few tips on how you could make life for yourself and everyone around you just a little bit easier and more pleasant. Consider these suggestions and see if you could incorporate them into your daily lifestyle.

1) Don't high-five people when you see them. It isn't as cool as you think it is. High-fives are only acceptable at sporting events, Wii tournaments and when you're hanging with your dudes and talking about scoring chicks. If you simply MUST high-five someone, don't soft-hand or limp-wrist them. Be firm and follow through. Only high-five if you can do it like a man.

2) Don't follow the high-five with a hug, unless you are REALLY good friends with the person. High-fives and hugs do not usually mix. The only exception is if you're celebrating a major softball victory.

3) If you're not sure who someone is, don't guess. It makes people feel uncomfortable when you talk to them about their teaching job or their acting gig only to discover that they're actually a reporter. It is perfectly acceptable to admit that you don't remember someones name or profession after the first or second time of meeting them. It's ok to ask, but be prepared to be gracious about the answers. See 4) for more details.

4) Don't criticize someones workplace after they tell you where they work. This is considered rude and will not help you get dates. Also, don't attack a particular department (i.e. the newsroom) before you know which department the person works in. Most people find it unattractive and offensive when strangers try to make conversation by denigrating their profession.

5) NEVER ask a girl what her name is and then whip out your cell phone and start typing. This will give her the impression that you are about to ask her for her phone number. Based on your violation of rules 1-4, she will not want to give you her phone number and this could create an awkward situation. She will send unspoken pleas for help to her male friends and they will beat you up. It's better for everyone involved if you just leave your cell phone at home.

I hope you find these tips practical and helpful in your journey to become less socially awkward. Remember, you can start small. Try one or two of these things and practice them until they become a comfortable part of your routine. Once you have a few of these suggestions incorporated into your repertoire, you're probably ready to add a few more. Before you know it, you'll be having normal conversations and interactions with other adults!



Monday, June 02, 2008

I'm It!

I've been tagged. These things come in handy on days when you don't have much to blog about.

I love the smell of-fresh-cut hay, woods after a rain, my mom.

People would say that I-am funny and easy to talk to.

I don't understand why-some people don't bathe often enough.

When I wake up in the morning I-get up and take a shower before anything else.

I lost my willpower to-give up coffee. Actually, I never had the willpower to do that, so I didn't really lose it.

Life is-all the little stuff.

My past made me-realize my dependence on God and His sufficiency to meet my needs.

I get annoyed when-other people make me late, when people don't listen to directions and when I have to pick up the slack for someone else.

Parties are not a good time to-try to have 'deep' conversations.

Dogs are-fun to play with and snuggle, but annoying to take care of.

Cats are-annoying to play with and snuggle, but easy to take care of.

Tomorrow is-the day I have to start working the morning shift again. Thanks for reminding me.

I have low tolerance for-chick flicks. And strangers who try to hug me.

I am totally terrified of-cockroaches. Shocker.

I wonder why I thought my life would be-exotic and thrilling.

Never in my life have I-wanted to go back to school.

High school was-lonely.

When I'm nervous-I honestly can't remember the last time I was nervous. Should that make me nervous?

One time at a family gathering-a snake with a flopping fish in its mouth chased us out of a lake.

Take my advice-he's not that into you. You'd know it if he was.

I'm almost always-outgoing, sarcastic and not really letting people know what's going on with me.

I'm addicted to-blogging, reading and Nutella.

I want someone to-want me.