C'est un blague.

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  • Friday, March 30, 2007

    Maybe because it's March

    ...but I think I know another reason why this ornament was still in stock and on sale at Home Depot.

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    Thursday, March 29, 2007

    Shocking findings

    Now, just what kind of person would do this? I mean, really!

    Oh yea... right. Ooops.


    We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us

    I am such a sucker for this kind of news article/story.

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    Happy dance celebration for SM!

    'Cuz he just got a massive, massive, massive raise -- so now he's making more than twice what I do. Wahoo!

    That eases our finances with the new house tremendously. Yippee!

    Time to go shoppin'!


    Wednesday, March 28, 2007

    Seen around town

    Or, more specifically, on the bumper of the car in front of me crossing the Roosevelt bridge.
    Counting down...
    January 20, 2009
    The end of an error
    Love it!

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    Tuesday, March 27, 2007


    My student in the adult literacy program just called to say that he's going through some stuff and has decided to take a break from the tutoring.

    I'm so disappointed. He's a fantastic guy with a lot of heart, and I respect what he's doing enormously. Plus, he's a real pleasure to interact with and a great student. I was sad to hear that things aren't going so well for him.

    Even though he'll never read this blog -- best wishes to you, E. I hope things work out for you. You're a real joy to work with, and I look forward to picking up where we left off when you're ready.


    Our house...

    Got the signed addendum for the house today. Yay! They signed off on our terms. We have a ratified contract. A done deal.

    So, SM wins our informal bet. He said that they'd take this offer because logic dictates that it's a good one. In this market, they aren't going to get better than the appraisal price, which is what we're agreeing to pay (minus $500 for a second year on the home warranty). I thought they'd at least counter because they've been trying to play it tough all along. But they didn't.

    So much for those exalted back-up contracts! Heh. And ironically, the final price we've just agreed to is only about $500 off of our first, original offer. Heh, heh.

    Anyway, we go to closing on April 30th. I am so glad this is finally done.

    Done, done, done!


    Monday, March 26, 2007

    Wanderlust update


    Internet-organized (and encouraged) littering

    Okay, so that might be a bit of hyperbole, but it's not far off. And even though I stringently despise littering, I have already participated.

    What can I say? I was curious to see what happened. Wanted to join in.

    I know. I know. If all of my friends were jumping off of the Brooklyn Bridge, would I go too? What would my mother say?

    Well, my mother (an ardent anti-litterer as well) is the one who started all of this. She bought me the acoutrement for my birthday.

    Since the "WTF? factor" is probably rising now, I'll explain. I'm talking about Bookcrossing, an internet site as well as a newish word in the dictionary and a global practice.

    Not only can you share books by leaving them in public or passing them along at an organized event or by mail, but you can also hunt for books "released into the wild". Kinda like Scooter and his geocatching geocaching. Kinda, but not really.

    So far, I've released two books. With one more to be released today. I bet all of them end up in the garbage. Oh well. It would be too bad -- a waste of several good books -- but still an interesting experiment. The fun is in seeing if someone does "catch" my books. I've done this kind of thing before (e.g., I picked up a book in the Philippines, read it, wrote my name and the place where I got it and then handed it off to another traveller, asking her to do the same), but the internet takes this to a new dimension.

    Anyway... if nothing else, it's interesting to peruse the website to see what kinds of books have been left around your hometown.

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    Sunday, March 25, 2007

    But who's counting?

    Trips to haul stuff to the storage unit today? Three.

    Truckloads (in my dad's ridiculous -- but in this case, handy -- Avalanche, which I am almost embarrassed to drive because it's so big and clearly just an expensive toy) of stuff packed and hauled to the storage unit? Two and a half.

    Trips with the dolly from the truck to the unit? Five.

    Boxes and pounds of crap carried? Too many.

    Progress seen in clearing out both mine and SM's apartments? None.



    And so it begins... or not?

    Last weekend, we rented a storage space near the house. This weekend, we're moving the first load in. And the irony is that we may not even end up buying this particular house.

    We had the inspection last week and found out that we're facing a bunch of substantial repairs in the near future. Re-grading the backyard to move the "moat" so that water doesn't get into the basement; reinforcing the deck, which is over-extended; replacing the furnace, hot water heater and air conditioning; and the list goes on. Not too many things that aren't anything but the usual wear and tear of the house, but definitely not what we wanted to hear. The impending repairs had us concerned, but it's not like the house was about to fall in or anything. If anything, everyone has said that the house is in very good condition.

    But this weekend, we found out that the appraisal came in lower than the sale price. Not substantially lower, but enough lower that it affects our finances. The mortgage company will only cover up to 95% of the appraised value, which means that we'd have to lay down the cash for the difference between the sale price and 95% of the appraisal value. Which, in this case, is enough of a chunk of change that -- combined with the upcoming costly repairs -- it made us think that this house isn't as good an investment as we had thought. Plus, the increase in the cash up front would kill our liquidity, leaving us with little money to pay for the move, fix the (many) problems and buy furniture.

    So, we've gone back with an addendum based on the appraisal contingency to lower the sale price. We don't think they'll take it because this new provision basically brings us back to the original offer we made (in terms of the sale price). They refused that, so we don't think they'll bite this time. But then again, it's a month later, and they have to move because they've been relocated. They're under the gun to get the house sold.

    That being said, the sellers' agent keeps telling us that they have back-up offers. But I think it's a bluff. Here's why. They keep repeating over and over that they have back-up offers. I think they are trying to scare us into a higher number. They may or may not have back-up contracts, but if they do, I think the offers are lower. They didn't get an acceptable offer in the first month that the house was on the market and then suddenly within a week of our making the offer, they have two? (The sellers agent told our agent that they have two back-up contracts.) If that's true and if one of those offers is substantially better than ours, wouldn't they keep it a secret and play hardball with us? I would. I would clam up about the offers and not give anything in the negotiations, hoping that we scram. That way, they can take the better offer.

    But that's not how it's played out. Instead, they keep reminding us at every turn that they have back-up offers, and they have given us a little -- a bone, as it were -- at each point of negotiation when we ask for credits or concessions. That tells me that their back-up offers are the same, if not worse than our offer. If they were better, they wouldn't care about negotiating with us. If they were the same, then they are taking a huge risk in letting us walk because they may end up in the same or even a worse position than they are now. Also, the sellers are now facing down whether they'll have to pay another month or partial month of mortgage. It might be tough for them to start the process again with a second contract at this late date, go through the inspection, appraisal, get loan approval, etc. and still make an end of April closing. That means they'll have to pay the mortgage for May, too, and get any refund at closing. Pressure on them. So time is on our side. The more time we eat up in the negotiations, the harder their position -- and they also risk losing whatever contracts they have.

    That was my analysis about their position. I could be completely wrong. Either way, SM and I decided that we'll eat the money we paid for the inspection and appraisal if the deal doesn't go through on our terms. That may sound awfully mercenary, but we don't need to buy this particular house. I have no emotional attachment to it (learned my lesson with the first place!!!). We figure that there will be plenty more houses on the market soon, and while there will also be lots more buyers, that doesn't worry us. We're in no hurry to move. No push factors.

    The thing is, all of the cute houses -- the really good ones -- get snapped up right away. So, if we do find one that's really great, we may have to get into a bidding war for it. And we don't want to do that in this market.

    So, for the time being, we're cleaning up my place to rent it and moving stuff into a storage unit convenient to house #2 (and less so to SM's place... oops!).

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    Friday, March 23, 2007

    Shout out to Res ipsa crap

    So I was in Philly last week. Philly is home of Res ipsa crap and the woman behind the blog.

    She emailed me towards the end of my stay and suggested we get together for coffee. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it because of work obligations. And I was disappointed that I didn't get to meet her. I always enjoy meeting blog pals. In truth, it was probably better that we didn't try to meet because the weather was utter crap that day. But still, it was too bad.

    A near miss. (rimshot, please)

    So, for the record, if you folks come my way to the DC-environs, gimme a shout if you wanna meet for coffee. I love the opportunity to meet blog peeps and am always open to the suggestion of a chat over coffee or whatever.


    Best and the brightest.

    Tonight, I attended the KAC-DC (Korean American Coalition, DC Chapter) gala dinner. They honored a number of prominent businesses and Jun Choi, the first Korean American directly elected as mayor of an American city. In this case, Edison, NJ. I spoke with him briefly and was surprised at how young he looked -- and actually is, 35. A really nice, dedicated guy.

    But I have to say that the most kewl thing was meeting Yul Kwon of Survivor fame. And Becky Lee too. Both were the nicest, most down-to-earth folks you'll ever meet. Very normal and gracious. I was so impressed with them personally and with their messages of contributing to your community.

    And when I introduced myself to Becky to tell her that her speech was really important -- she discussed how she used the show as a platform to bring domestic violence issues into the spotlight to further the dialogue and also create positive images of Asian Americans on television -- she told me that she remembered me.


    The KAC DC office shared space in suite with my former office, and she remembered seeing me there.

    Who knew?

    Well, Becky did.

    Really, I was so impressed with those two. It's clear that they are both going to use their celebrity from their Survivor stints in the interests of public service.

    It's also clear that those two will go on to do many more fantastic things. Kewl.

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    Wednesday, March 21, 2007

    Oh yea, baby!

    Tonight is a new episode of America's Next Top Model. You would think that a sophisticated, well-educated, intelligent (and don't forget modest!) woman who is almost 40 would not be interested in this kind of programming. You would think so, but you'd be wrong.

    Oh yea, baby!

    Last season -- and the season before, frankly -- I had already picked out who I thought would win by now. And, pat-pat-pat-myself-on-my-own-back, I was right both times. This season, I don't have a strong feeling towards anyone. I hardly have a feel for most of them and can't remember most of their names. Actually, I don't even have as strong an impression of the girls this time around as I did two seasons ago (ya' know... Jade, Gina, Sarah, Danielle, etc...).

    That being said, I am increasingly getting annoyed at the whining, two-facedness of Renee. She's very pretty and man, those abs! How is it possible that she just had a kid? But that mouth and that attitude? Nuh-uh. See ya'!

    Jael also annoys me the same way that Gina did. The word "flaky" comes to mind.

    Brittany looks like a contenda', and I'm amazed at how good her pictures are... but who knows? I can't remember the names of the rest of them. But I do like the plus-sized models. The Latina girl looks very masculine to me, but maybe that bone structure will work for her. I dunno.

    But anyway. That's what I'll be doing tonight. SM too. We'll be dissing on the chicks.

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    Tuesday, March 20, 2007

    Note to self

    My birthday has passed, but I still haven't decided on what to do for my annual act of giving.

    Last year (2006) was signing up and becoming an adult literacy tutor (class is tonight, which is why I remembered that I had forgotten to what this year's donation would be).

    The year before (2005) was donating my hair (again).

    The year before that (2004) was... I don't remember. Other past donations have included organizing cell phone donations for domestic violence resource centers, clothes drives for non-profits which provide welfare-to-work women with suitable outfits for the office, another hair donation...

    What should it be this year? The idea is to really invest my effort, not my cash. I don't want to take on another weekly commitment (like the tutoring) because I don't think I will have enough time, what with the house stuff, etc. But I need to come up with something soon.

    Any thoughts?

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    This just in...

    I just got this email from SM:
    Got a call from the Washington Monthly saying that they wanted to include "my wife" and I in a list of DC power couples in their magazine.

    I can't help but wonder: 1) is this a prank, 2) is Washington Monthly a real magazine?
    I can't help but wonder who they think his wife is!!!

    I told him that if he actually speaks to a person to ask him/her what they were going to write for his wife's occupation.... Should be interesting!

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    Monday, March 19, 2007

    For another take on politics

    I don't usually care for Chris Rock, and this piece ain't exactly PC.... but damn if it ain't funny!

    SNL at its "pretty good".

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    A new generation of campaign ads

    2008 or 1984? Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama? Apple ad or something else?

    This one by a third-party delivers a message of change in an updated 1984-style.

    I remember the original commercial and the harbinger for change it represented. The message of intolerance for the status quo and "good enough". Definitely anti-establishment.

    And who represents the Democratic establishment? Oh my.

    (3/20/07) P.S. And, the first thing that popped into my head when I saw this was "Oh, the Apple lawyers are going to go nutz when they see this." I don't know much about intellectual property law, but I know an "uh-oh" situation when I see it.

    No wonder no one group is taking credit for creating it.

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    Who? Me?

    Walking through the office today, one of the division heads (a very nice guy) greeted me with a hearty "Hey, Counsel. How are you?"

    That made me smile. I have to admit that it's kinda fun that he was actually referring to me -- that the title is accurate and that others see me that way (as opposed to my last job where they always saw me as a law student, even after I had been admitted to the bar).



    Saturday, March 17, 2007


    Stolen from zuska. Like her, I am also not sure that all of the options captured my preferences, but it's been a while since I did a quizzie. And this one was particularly cheerfully colorful.


    Thursday, March 15, 2007


    So, we did Morimoto last night. Very fresh, modern place in the jewelry district of Philly. The group decided to go omakase for the set price of $100. We got seven dishes, all of which except the dessert, were out of this world. The drinks were quite nice, and, who knew, but Morimoto has his own label beer. Very elegant dining. Hard on the wallet at my salary, but it's one of those things which you don't get to do often. And subsidized by my per diem.

    Today, we took off the morning and headed outta town to sight see. We're back for the afternoon sessions. But first, we stopped by South Street and got us some Philly cheesesteaks. I had a chicken cheesesteak at Ishkabibble's, a Philly institution of sorts. My colleagues went across the street to Jim's Steaks. Fully bellies and greasy fingers all around. Yum. Tonight is Alma de Cuba.

    My pants are already tight. E-gads.


    Wednesday, March 14, 2007


    So Buddakan was fantastic. Fabulous Asian food for less than you'd expect (at least by my DC standards). I got off by only paying $58. There were six of us, and we ordered something like six appetizers and five entrees. Yummy-ola!

    Tonight is Morimoto. Slurp, yum!


    Tuesday, March 13, 2007

    The food week continues

    I'm now in Philadelphia for a conference. I don't know how interesting that will be, but we have quite the menu planned for dinner over the next few days. In about half an hour, we're off to Buddakan. Mmm, mmm, looks very good.

    And, for the first time since this over-eating frenzy, I'm actually hungry! Oh yea!

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    Monday, March 12, 2007


    It's really wonderful to see such a bright sunny blue sky outside at the end of the workday. But damn, the daylight savings time and "springing" forward this weekend kicked -- and is kicking -- my butt.

    Ooof. I'm pooped. I want outta here. Now.

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    Saturday, March 10, 2007


    The contract on the house is signed, sealed and delivered. We have a house.

    Or if not, we have a cause of action.

    Closing is April 30th. Meanwhile, we have two apartments to clear out, clean up and rent.

    Anyone looking to rent an efficiency in Foggy Bottom/West End or a 3 BR/2 BA apartment in Takoma Park? (Yes, the house is only slightly larger than SM's apartment... sadly, the closets and bedrooms are actually smaller in the house than the apartment, but now we have a yard and a basement.)

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    Friday, March 09, 2007

    Done deal?

    Looks like we've got a house. The back and forth and back again over the contract was a right royal pain in the ass. So much so that I got to the point where I told our agent that I was done negotiating. If they didn't take our last offer, which was reasonable, we were walking.

    They took it, and the paperwork is in hand.

    Here's a small picture of the place. 3BR/2BA. Not perfect, not ideal but very cute and a good location. Small closets. Third bedroom is very small, so that will become my closet. The inside is really charming with a pretty sunroom, and the yard is quite nice too. We have a great big deck and a treehouse!
    And my very own washer and dryer. I can't tell you how happy that makes me.


    Happy Birthday

    to ME!

    39 and counting... one more year until I get protection under federal age discrimination statutes. Not a bad reason to celebrate 39, I suppose. Woo-hoo!

    Here's to a great year which brings new adventures of every kind.

    And thanks, ma for the hard labor 39 years ago.


    Wednesday, March 07, 2007

    We put the bid in on the house

    Because this time, we're dealing with normal people, we should hear something tonight or tomorrow. Instead of assurances and other bullshit.

    There is also SOOOOO much more to tell about the investors behind that other house. It's turned into something straight out of a television show. When I get the chance, I'll post more.

    Stay tuned to see if we'll be moving to a 3 BR/2 BA brick colonial with a fenced yard (for Gidget!) in walking distance to the metro (even if it's the second to last stop on the metro line out this way)...


    Tuesday, March 06, 2007

    And the final tally is...


    Remember that $20/day self-imposed spending limit experiment that SM and I attempted for February?

    Well, I made it with $6.22 to spare. SM went over. By about $60. To be fair, if he hadn't splurged on a very nice Valentine's Day dinner, he'd be under by a chunk. But, Sweet Man that he is, he did.

    Me? I gave him nothing for Valentine's Day. I'm a selfish bitch.

    But I made my limit. But only barely.

    My largest expenditure was on ebay stuff. Stupid stuff that I didn't need. But to be honest, I didn't spend all that much. I reined it in signficantly. The second largest expenditure was on food. I think SM's largest expenditure was on food. Valentine's Day dinner aside, he does spend more than I do because he buys his lunch every day. He also went out for a few happy hours. Me? No drinky. Also, I usually eat oatmeal (for which I am developing a reputation in the office... uh oh!) or soup. In other words, I'll eat mush for lunch to buy crap on ebay.

    Ahhh... choices!

    We are going to track our spending for March, but we both know it will be impossible to keep to the $20/day diet. One, because I have a business trip where we'll be eating in many expensive but yummy restaurants -- so there's no point in even trying. I may eat half of that $600 in that week (literally!). Second, my birthday is this month, so I certainly wouldn't want to constrain SM's spending! (See above comment about my being a selfish bitch.)

    But we're going to track our spending to see where we can cut things out. And then, maybe in April we'll do the $20/day thing again. Heck, after this month, we may have to!

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    Rebound house?

    SM and I saw a house we liked tonight. We thought it was cute and liked the location. The price is most excellent too. It's much, much smaller than that other house without a lotta storage space, but it had a lotta character.

    Still, it's not that other house. I guess I still need to get over it, but I'm kinda excited about this new house. And it's nice being excited about another house. We don't think it's a house we could live in forever, though. It's a "coupla years" house.

    But we're seriously considering it. Stay tuned.


    Got my first official happy birthday wish today.

    In the form of a coupon for a percentage off from a clothing website.

    Gotta stop that retail therapy... but maybe after my birthday? I mean, 35% off is 35% off -- and it was a birthday present after all. Right?

    I'm jest sayin'...


    Hung out, strung out...

    I'm with kristine.

    Being made to wait until April 23rd to see the "continuation" of Heroes is just. plain. wrong.


    Monday, March 05, 2007


    Can you tell I'm not happy?

    The sellers of the house that we put a bid on -- THE BID WHICH THEY ACCEPTED -- have now refused to sell us the place and have told us that they are taking the place off of the market completely.


    SM is wholly pissed off -- which is totally counter to his personality. He never gets angry. Never. This is how jerked around we both feel.

    I'm depressed. And that's totally in keeping with my personality.

    Big. Fat. Stinky. Poop.

    It's at times like this that I wished I drank. I don't. Instead I may have to dive into a pool of chocolate. Or something to drown my sorrows.


    I'm not sure, but this just may be over the top.

    Check out my dinners for the next week:
    Thursday -- Bezu (French/Asian fusion)
    Friday -- Rasika (modern Indian)
    Saturday -- TenPenh (Asian fusion)
    Sunday -- Mom's homecooking (Croatian traditional)
    Monday -- 14K (contemporary American)
    Tuesday -- Buddakan (Asian fusion)
    Wednesday -- Morimoto (Japanese fusion by the Iron Chef!!! Need I elaborate?)
    Thursday -- Alma De Cuba (contemporary Cuban)
    Friday -- Pepto and Alka Seltzer? (not because the food isn't good but because it will be too good and too rich... ahh, how I will suffer!)
    That's gotta be the best eating since I took a trip to New Orleans and we organized our entire vacation around what we would eat. Beignets and etouffee and seafood... Oh my!


    I have an Elton John song* running through my head...

    The boss, the boss... the boss is back.

    Her vacation is over, and so is my break.

    Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

    *To be fair, she's actually a very nice person, so this monniker is not at all appropriate in some ways. But when I'm grumpy or annoyed, I still project that persona on her. Clearly, it must be that her coming back brings out the bitch in me!

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    Saturday, March 03, 2007

    A house, a house...

    My kingdom for a house.


    But alas, nothing yet.


    Friday, March 02, 2007

    Book club

    I hosted book club (at SM's place) last night. A fellow clubber and I made Japanese food, home-style. She made stew, and I did te-maki sushi, which is handrolls. Meaning that I prepared the rice, the fixin's, etc., so each person would take a small piece of nori (seaweed) -- a quarter of a sheet -- onto which they plopped some rice and then added whatever goodies they wanted before they smashed it closed and shovelled it into their mouths. Repeatedly. There is no eating this food elegantly because something inevitably falls out. Kinda like tacos. And you eat a lot because, well, it's yummy.

    For fixin's, I had avacado, scallions, tuna (from a can), cucumber, red pepper, carrots, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, takuwan (sweet pickled radish -- the yellow stuff), fake crab meat, egg, string beans... I think that's it. It was yummy, and we had a ton TON of leftovers because, as usual, I was worried we wouldn't have enough (dumb, dumb!), so I made way too much. We used up the rice by rolling more sushi for everyone to take home (the long rolls). So guests got a parting gift, in addition to dinner.

    And guess what I have for lunch? Uh-huh. YUM.

    FYI, rolled sushi is incredibly easy to make, although it does take a long time to chop up all of the veggies (and steam them so they aren't totally raw and crunchy). And it's a really healthy meal (except for the added sugar). If you're interested in doing it, here is a good recipe for the sushi rice, very authentic with good instructions. I cut the sugar down to about 2 Tblsp. (for my own taste), however.

    Thinking about last night's eat-a-thon, I'm starting to get hungry. Mmmmm, sushi...

    And, oh, we didn't talk about the book. Oops. We decided instead to go to dinner next Friday where we'll talk about the book and then see the movie afterwards. Bonus!

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    Life on the red line: my morning commute.

    Anyone who has spent any amount of time in DC and used the metro has probably experienced this: wet metro tiles. Beautiful to look at; deadly to traverse. In loafers or flats, they are dangerously slippery. In heels, they are neck-breakingly treacherous. Whoever came up with the idea to install these slipperly adobe suckers in all of the metros was either seriously stupid and impractical or else was getting kick-backs for the contract. They are just awful.

    The other thing which happened to me was a random act of kindness. As I was getting off of the metro car, a man wished me a nice day and then said that I was beautiful. That's always a good way to start out the day and nice to hear, even if it's from the guy selling socks, t-shirts and porn from a cart (the first two, he called out advertising them; the last was partially hidden under a black plastic bag).


    Thursday, March 01, 2007

    It's hard work.

    Pretending to be busy.

    But on the up-side of things, I am on quite a tear with freecell. I've got a good ol' winning streak going.

    Hmmm... when's lunch?



    I heard on one of those entertainment magazine shows that Katherine Heigl, who plays Izzie Stevens on Grey's Anatomy, is in contract negotiations... and apparently, the parties have not come to a resolution yet. And if they don't, guess who is getting written off of the show?


    And while she might be excellent eye-candy, I'm not at all sorry to see her character leave. She isn't interesting at all. Annoying, in fact.


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