Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Stef's Wedding

I realised that I hadn't posted photos yet from Stef's wedding. So without further ado...

Stef foster and I have a special connection. Not only did we live in the same dorm in college, and then in the same room at our apartment in Evanston; we also share the same birthday (alongside such luminaries as “Bubba” Clinton and Lil’ Romeo). So there was no way that I was missing her wedding.

Stef married her beau, Danny, a sweet, generous and goofy man who is a mean swing dancer. They wed at a converted barn in Gray’s Lake, just outside of Chicago (out by Gurnee for those of you who remember trekking to the outlet mall).

Thanks Andy for this picture! Stef was bridely beautiful, in a simple white dress, and a gorgeous, chunky necklace she got in Ghana, made from an array of beautiful raw stones. She also, of course, wore a damn fine pair of cowboy boots under her gown. Yee-haw!

I started bawling once Danny started reading his vows, which he had written not so many nights before. In fact, it was such a touching affair that Stef, Danny, the officiant, her “maid of AWESOME!” Sarah and even Stef’s mum all seemed to share the same piece of tissue to wipe away their tears. Sarah and the best man sang a tender acoustic version of “Such Great Heights” by the Postal Service.

Stef and her dad built these simple, rustic, elegant center pieces for each table – so beautiful. Someone told me she had sliced her hand open making them!

We had a ton of fun, especially since we attended the wedding with Andy and his girlfriend, Lacey (who is our LA friend Joanna’s sister… it’s so weird to think that he would never have met her unless we knew Joanna, whose family has a tradition of attending the Austin City Limits festival every year, which is where Andy and Lacey met. Ah the incestuous webs we weave!!).

Andy looked fiiiiiiine in his pin-striped suit. This is by far my most favorite photo of the night. Note the smoke coming out of his teeth and the plate o' cake.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Respite for a Day

Got home yesterday evening. Realised that I had been up essentially since 11pm the night before! Dog tired. Can't imagine how people working along the firelines are feeling. Going back tomorrow, although not to San Diego -- going to the Santiago Fire near Irvine, CA (in Orange County for those of you familiar) where the arson investigation is big news. Thought I'd post a few photos I took from this trip.

Took this one at 2a when our liveshots started. This is in Rancho Bernardo where a LOT of homes were ruined. You can see the big particles of dust and ash in the air.

Once the sun came up, we could see the destruction clearly. The sky was grey because there was so much smoke in the air...

And the ground was charred.

Me in the satellite truck. Note the tired look!

The next day, we were at a local highschool which is serving as a shelter for evacuees of the Harris Fire. A lot of these people live in more modest homes, or in trailers... so losing their homes is much more devastating than other families who can afford to rebuild their lives. In this photo, Kara (the reporter I was working with, who is awesome) was about to interview Tony Clark, an evacuee who lived in his home with his 4-month pregnant wife Brandy, his 16-month old daughter, Ivy and his mother who is quite sick. He and his wife told me they were reformed drug addicts, and their house symbolized their effort to get their lives back on track. He was pretty upbeat when we met him, very sweet. The next day, he looked forlorn -- he had found out that he had lost his house.

The sun was reddish-pink, glaring through the smoky haze.

I'll take more photos when I'm out at the Santiago Fire. Thankyou so much for all the thoughtful comments!


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Burn Baby Burn

Hey y'all, I'm in San Diego covering the wildfires for CNN. Don't worry, we are all ok -- thankyou for the words of comfort and offers to come stay with y'all! LA proper is alright now -- that's where Bren is. The real danger and devastation is here in San Diego. As I write, we are parked on a street in a neighborhood where 300 homes have burned to the ground. Burned to the point of charred ironing boards, singed shards of tile and wood, and dust... lots and lots of dust and ashes that fly directly into your eyes. Our lips are chapped, our skin is coated in soot, and it smells like a fireplace. Funny -- one of my favorite smells is the scent of burning wood; I've always found it comforting. Out here, it's anything but. The smell is overwhelming, sharp... It's digging its claws into my nostrils, and my hair and my skin. It's really quite eerie and ominous. I stopped at the Target and the Walgreens near the hotel last night to grab a mask to wear over my mouth -- they were all sold out. I am wishing I'd gotten something so badly.

No big flames where we are, although it's early. There are lots of other areas that are burning violently, which we might visit later today, but for now, it's eerily quiet and calm. There's noone here except for media and emergency vehicles. And it's kinda weird to be walking around the remains of people's homes and intimate memories. I just hope it's over soon.

I'm taking photos, but I forgot to bring the cable, so I'll post them when I get back.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Coming Soon!

Sorry y'all... I have been running around doing stuff since we got back from Chicago, and there's so many photos I want to post! I will post it as soon as possible. Bren is in an improv show tonight at the Hothouse, so if you're around, come on down! It's at 8p.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy Birthday Mandi!

Dear sweet Mandi,

Happy Birthday! You are no longer two years younger than me. Welcome to your 28th year! I am so grateful that you were put on this earth, and that you are one of my best friends ever. Here are 5 things that I love about you:

1) That you are a huggy-buggy
2) That even though you act tough sometimes, you are a goofy mushy-mush underneath
3) That even though you were tipsy, you biked all the way from your house to see me at the pizza place
4) That you gave me free tickets to your gun show :)
5) That you always tell people how you feel, even if that person has hurt your feelings (I'm sorry.)
6) That you do things like call me up just to say I'm hot. (No, YOU'RE HOT!)
7) That you do funny jigs so that I'll look at your black and white stripey socks when I get up to go to the bathroom (see exhibit B)

8) That even though you are far away, whenever we talk or see each other, you make it so it's as if no distance or time has passed at all.

I know, that's eight things, but that is the wonder of Mandi -- once you start counting the ways you love her, you'll have a hard time stopping.

Happy Birthday!! I hope you had a great day! (Sorry it's a day late; Blogger was acting up yesterday).


Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Ugly Duckling

Bren brought home one of the ugliest cacti I have ever seen a few months ago. It had clearly been mistreated, which is saying a lot for a cactus, the cockroach of the plant world in terms of durability. The soil was dry, the stalks were cracked and almost grey, there was this curious bit of fluff on top of it… it was just crying out for a little love. Unfortunately for this cactus, I knew that even with a little love, it would probably look only slightly less ugly than it looked when Bren heaved it up the stairs. I rolled my eyes, sighed in my smug little know-it-all way and gave Bren a withering look.

But Bren loves an underdog. I do too, but usually when the underdog looks like Jake Gyllenhaal on a bad day or something. This thing was UGLY, and was destined for only more ugliness, or so I thought. I mean, this is what the bottom of it looks like:

So I tolerated it, watered it without looking at it, and every now and then, when I felt particularly charitable, I whispered a few kind words at it (AFTER I’d talked to the other, prettier plants of course).

My, did that ugly cactus put me to shame! I went out on the porch today and nearly fell over – I was stunned by the beauty of the two e-n-o-r-m-o-u-s white flowers that had bashed their way out of the top of the cactus! Each flower is as big as my hand, and they are so triumphant! Proud, impossibly white and smooth, in sharp contrast to the prickly and for some reason hairy green arms that hold them up… there is something so feminine about them, as if the cactus suddenly sprouted two buxom breasts and decided to bare them in the breeze that sweeps across our porch. I was so intoxicated by them that I took about 30 pictures of them! Here’s the best of the lot for you. Long live the ugly duckling! I’ve learned my lesson!


Having a Bad Day?

You’re not alone. Apparently, everyone on Earth probably did! Isn't that comforting, kinda? I mean seriously. I'm not being sarcastic. Isn't that a somewhat comforting thought when you're having a bad day?

Mercury went into retrograde today, which coincided with some other celestial confrontation between Saturn and something else I can’t remember. I am relating this information from the yoga teacher at the studio today, who seemed quite affected by what’s happening in the heavens. What it means is, apparently, that communicating with people is going to be difficult today, your computer may not want to cooperate, and so on and so forth.

I never know whether to believe this stuff or not, but I have been feeling very maladjusted the past few days: the headache of last week continued its engagement, bringing some extra body aches with it yesterday. Today was the first day I woke up headache-free (it did appear later in the day), but I was very low-energy, not budging when Diary of a Mad Black Woman came on TV. I watched the whole thing. :) It’s not quite as bad as I thought it would be – I even cried during one scene! AAAGHGHGH!

Anyway, so yeah, I was lacking energy today, and so was Bren. And I remember that Mum was always affected by the full moon – I seem to remember it gave her a headache, and I think it had something to do with the moon’s magnetic pull, which also is responsible for the tides. Is that true or did I make that up in my dreams??? Haahahahaa.

So yeah, if you weren’t feeling completely happy and energetic and joyful today, and you were having a hard time communicating with people, or your computer seemed to be running on molasses… it could be that pesky Mercury at work again.

On the upside, we did spend part of the morning on a joyful note. Fabrice was in LA, so we had breakfast with him this morning. Fabrice was one of the first friends I made at uni; he lived in the same dorm as me and because he’s gorgeous, I clearly had to make sure I knew who he was when I saw him! Haaaaahahaha. Sweet sweet Fabrice is as beautiful and kind-hearted as always. He also still laughs as loudly at Bren’s jokes as he used to, which I know makes Bren happy. It was so good to see him, before he went back to New Jersey!

We are off to Chicago tomorrow for Stef Foster’s wedding, which I am so excited about! I’ll post pics when I get back. Until then, don’t get too frustrated if things aren’t going your way right now. Mercury apparently starts behaving itself… in NOVEMBER!!!!!


Thursday's Hero!

Thursday's Hero is Keven! He made a whopping 3 (or was it 4?) comments on my blog, IN ONE DAY! YIPPEEE! GO KEVEN GO!



Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Looking Kool at Krav

Bren has been taking Krav Maga, for the past 5 months or so. Not only has he shed a ton of weight and got all muscley (whee!) as a result, but he's walking with more confidence in himself, and an overall sense of joy that comes from letting out all your latent Irish-brawling tendencies first thing in the morning with other similarly-challenged brutish men.

Believe it or not, Bren wakes up at 6a so that he can make the 7a class... an enormous accomplishment in itself since Bren is unbelievably opposed to the hours on the clock between 3a and 11a. :) But I get it; he's shown me a few moves, and I have to say that I get a little rush out of it, because the moves helped me manipulate (and HURT) a guy as big as Bren, with only a small amount of effort. whooppeee!

Anyway, a long time ago, when Bren started growing his hair out, he started collecting bandanas to hold his hair back when we went to the gym. That meant he was dipping into my stash, and that just wouldn't do (!) so when I was at Target, I picked up some uber-cheap ones, less than $1 a piece, that caught my eye. They've been added to Bren's Bandana Rotation ever since.

Today, Bren was wearing one of them, and his partner finally said or probably grunted, "What the heck are you wearing on your head?"

It was this one.

They are the stupidest bandanas ever.

And yet, we both love them.

I mean, what's not to love? First off, the bright colors mean you'll never be lost in a crowd -- a HUGE fear of mine.

Second, the odd cartoon characters lure you over with their lashes, only to kinda freak you out with their expressions.

And last, but by no means least, there are the audacious but absurd statements stamped across them like, "I have no excuses for my behaviour!" or "Not my problem!" with the grump-puss looking frog. You can't help but be puzzled by them, and yet I challenge you not to laugh when you see Bren throwing a fierce flying knee with one of these beauties wrapped around his sweat-drenched head.

And so they remain a part of the McSequeira closet. I thought I would share a few pics of the other ones. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Have you guys (in the States) watched "Pushing Daisies"? It's a new show on ABC on Wednesday nights that I can't stop talking about. It is truly the first time, in a loooong time, that I have been impressed by a network TV show. The show (about a man who has the ability to bring dead people back to life with one touch of his finger, but should he touch those same people again, will kill them) is fresh, cinematically-shot, very reminiscent of "Amelie" and Tim Burton stuff... and most importantly, is d e l i c i o u s l y written.

In fact, I pitched the show to my friend Stella (a vocabulary geek, pictured here next to fellow vocab geek, Brendan McNamara) based on this one phrase the female lead utters. The phrase made Bren laugh, and then fist pump in the air. Fist pump. Over a phrase. Said on TV. Ah vocabulary geeks... we are a funny bunch.

The phrase was: "I'm hoist by own petard!". Now, I told Stella it was "batard". But after she couldn't find it in her dictionary and emailed me, I re-consulted the King VG (vocab-geek), Bren, and he said it was with a 'p'. So that was my error.

The phrase means, for those who don't know (as I didn't), that you have unwittingly created your own undoing.

Bren and I just had a discussion over the "unwitting" part -- he doesn't think that's necessary, and I think it is, but guess who has the blog, big man?! Huh? Huh??? YEAH!


Oh. Um, sorry. Where were we?

Oh yeah, so the phrase means to be harmed UNWITTINGLY by something that was meant to harm someone else.

A petard was a popular weapon used in Elizabethan times, a box full of dynamite that was usually hurled over a castle wall before it exploded and made a huge hole in the wall. It was the precursor to the bomb. Soldiers would build a trench so they could take cover I imagine, and then hoist the petard up and over the castle wall. Hence the "hoisting" part. So essentially, the phrase means, "I have been blown up by my own bomb, which I had meant for someone else." Hence the "unwittingly" part of my definition, which of course now Bren says he actually agreed with but that I misunderstood him. Unwittingly.


Incidentally, petard derives from the french "peter" which means... to fart.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Four years of college and this is all I can come up with to describe how I feel. I am not feeling blue anymore thank goodness (and thanks to you all who sent me words of encouragement!). Now, I just feel big and lumbering, and I've had a headache for two days which just won't go away despite how much caffiene I drink or how many aspirin I've popped. So I am just dealing with it -- after all, this is clearly not a big deal. But it is annoying!

Over the weekend, Bren and I went to the wedding of one of our friends, Shelly. It was a thoroughly modern affair, with both the ceremony and the reception held at an art gallery. The ceremony proceeded as follows: The bridge and groom entered the room. The officiant asked the bride if she took the groom as her lawfully-wedding husband. She said yes. The officiant asked the groom if he took the bride as his lawfully-wedded wife. He said he did. And then they were declared husband and wife. I think the whole ceremony took less time than it took for me to type it out! haaha! Anyway, after that we mingled with the guests, meeting some very cool people. Oh and did I mention the bride wore a bright green halter-neck dress? And her bouquet was moulded into a cuff that she wore on her arm super-hero style? She looked feeeeeirce!

Bren and I looked pretty good ourselves. Here's a good photo of Bren trying to squeeze into a crate he found, like the man-doll that he is. :)

And here's one of him looking sweet and lovely. Of course, we didn't think to take a photo of me of course. Sigh. And I looked good!!!

Well that's all. I'll try to be more inspired tomorrow. I've been reading even more Congo stuff. Oh before I go, gotta mention Jimmy Carter standing up to the soldiers in Darfur -- go peanut farmer go!!
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