December 10, 2008

Why Christmas Can't Come Too Soon

My mother, admittedly, has a lot of crap at her house. My sisters and I have found some real gems in the past few years when helping to clean the house. Few things, however, make it into the prestigious league of the utterly ridiculous and what-were-you thinking?! class.
For example, one recent favorite was a pink bunny wall hanging. A much larger than life-size pink bunny. It's pretty phenomenal.

When I was home recently, I came across something that really is a winner.



All I needed was a large dish, but instead, when I opened the hutch, I found this little buddy. What you can't see in this picture is that he's holding a lantern and his navy felt cape is really not portrayed to it's greatest strength. Oh, and that leather strap across his chest? Yeah, there's a golden (wooden) horn at the end of it.

What is it? I wondered that too. Apparently, it is a German made incense burner. Owned by a woman who CAN'T STAND any form of incense or strongly scented candle. I'm not kidding. Several times she's broken into fits of coughing in the candle section at Pier One. (Although, to be fair, it is a rather stinky place)

But how does it work?? This is where I thought she might throw her hands up in confusion and walk away but, she totally knew. You take his head off, insert cone shaped incense, replace the head and the smoke COMES OUT OF HIS MOUTH.

I'm so testing it out over Christmas break.
Oh, also planning on naming this bad boy. Any suggestions?

December 3, 2008

Blankets, or: Why I love flying

Last weekend I flew back to Minneapolis from Michigan after being back home for Thanksgiving. Earlier in the week I described this experience as hellish, and while it was, now that I think about it, Sunday wasn't nearly as bad as other traveling experiences I've had.

I believe I have come to this conclusion because of the fact that on my second flight that I was not originally booked on and that took off a whopping 45 minutes after it was scheduled, I sat in first class. And it was legit.

But let me tell the whole story.

As I was finishing packing Sunday afternoon, my Mom came into my room and told me to be prepared, O'Hare was already delaying and canceling flights in spite of the fact that it was barely snowing there. A whopper of a storm was about to engulf the midwest. Subtext: Hide your children and put on clean underwear!

As I walked into the TC airport, it started snowing. I saw the enormous line in front of NWA and thought "Suckaaaaaas! SO happy I'm flying United!" Got in line behind a lady with a really nice green suitcase and 3 other people in front of her.

Then we overheard the United agent tell every person that oh, FYI, your flight? You know, the one that should leave around 4? Yeah. Good luck with that. Try 6. If you're lucky.

Double u teeeeeeee efffffffffffffff?

This line was no longer the happy line. Basically no one had any chance of making their connection (mine was around the time of our updated departure - wah wah...) so they were booking people like crazy on other flights. This meant, for me, that instead of getting into Minneapolis at the respectable 6:35, it was now looking like my plane would be landing (if it could take off at all) around 11:30.

Happy Camper = Not Me.

So. I got to sit in the TC airport around people freaking out about not getting home Monday, their dogs at the kennels, and little kids literally running laps around the terminal, moms and dads barely in tow.

5:30 pm EST: In line to board the plane. The old people and tiny children are heading toward the podium. A boarding pass is about to be handed to an agent when...."United passengers, we are not able to board at this time." !!!!!!!!!!!!! "New wheels up estimated time is 7:30."

I don't know about you, but it is SO ANNOYING to be ready to get on a plane - things packed up, ipod turned off, boarding pass accessible - then being told to sit down for another hour and a half.

Finally, about the time I was thinking about which hotel I would stay at in TC, we got on the plane and got to Chicago.

Earlier, in TC when I had been booked on another flight, I hadn't been given a boarding pass, but instead a receipt type thing that I was instructed to give to a United employee who could then print me a boarding pass.

I still had about 3 hours until my flight, but I wanted to make sure I had a seat what with the hundreds of people sitting around waiting on standby. I did not want to do that, so I found my gate. No United representative there or at any other gate nearby. I was near the info spot for United, so I went there only to find one of the longest lines EVER. Thought to myself that those people probably missed connections. I, technically, hadn't so it didn't make sense that I needed to be in that line. Kept walking and saw someone at a podium with no line. SCORE! Got my boarding pass, and barely registered the fact that it was gold instead of the typical blue before stuffing it in my book and heading off to get some dinner.

After eating and doing my homework, I was sitting near the gate (which was moved, but closeby thank God) and looked at my boarding pass. It didn't have a seating number on it, which my other United boarding passes had, and looking again at the gold then seeing 1A I realized I was going to be living the high life in FIRST CLASS. Sure enough, when I went through the line with the actual business class people, I wasn't turned away.

Let me just say that while I will not in the near future buy a first class ticket, it is TOTALLY WORTH IT. The comfort of the seats alone are a bit astonishing.

I have only been in first class one other time. My oldest sister and I were flying back from our grandparent's houses (well, trailers, but that's a different story...) and while running through the Houston airport (we almost missed our plane) my sister looked at our boarding passes and told me that maybe we had possibly been bumped up to first class.

We were. It was fantastic. Honestly, I don't remember much because a) it was 10 years ago and b) I was only 10 years old. I do remember, however, that I had the chicken and not the lasagna and that they gave us real glasses and real silverware. I also was in the back row of first class, so I could lean back and play my gameboy without annoying anyone. Bliss for a fourth grader is much easier to achieve than one might think, friends.

Anyway, to commemorate this occasion, I decided very early on the flight (before completely passing out - no complimentary drink!) that I would steal a blanket. Unfortunately, I was sitting next to a flight attendant that was just riding, and I was afraid she'd call me on it or something.

Luckily, I was just too stealthy. I hid it under my coat to carry it off the airplane, then went around a corner and shoved it in my bag. And no one was the wiser. Until now. Hmmm.....

Well, I just can't wait until another 10 years go by and I steal another first class blanket. Think of the updates in the material alone!

Oh the memories.

November 21, 2008

I'm an Idiot. Example #379

I've used the same backpack for almost a year and a half. It's green, has a nice corduroy laptop pocket, and generally most of the amenities you'd expect from a moderately large backpack - iPod pouch, cellphone pocket, water bottle compartment, even a special bag to put computer cords in that fits in a specific mesh holder on the inside. After over a year, one would expect to know everything about said backpack, and appropriately have crap everywhere in it.

Done and done.

Despite all of the wonderful things about it, the thing that has annoyed me to no end were the black straps that go around your waist and clip together in the middle. They hung down very low and slapped against my legs. This didn't hurt, but it was annoying and the straps themselves were pretty flimsy and didn't do much for support.
Early on, I always had them clipped together and adjusted tight against the bottom of the backpack, so that they were out of the way. This was annoying as it drove the clipped pieces into the small of my back.
So for a while I used them as they are intended, clipping them together around my waist. Naturally, I forgot about this every time I took my backpack off, which trust me, is not a good way to show how savvy you are with a fancy awesome backpack (see idiocy example #236).
Finally I got into the habit of wrapping them around the straps that attach the backpack to the shoulder pads. While this undoubtedly looked stupid, a mass of seatbelt material on either side of my body, it worked pretty well, and I didn't think about it much, except when I had to re-wrap them around the straps. This, actually was somewhat constant.
Nevertheless, I continued to this. Until Wednesday.

After work on Wednesday, I went to catch the bus. As this is what I always do everyday, it doesn't really matter. Except that when I took my backpack off and sat down, one of the clip straps that was not wound up very much, swung underneath the seat and got stuck on the lip of the bus seat. It wasn't stuck permanently, nor was it broken, but when I looked down at the strap, I saw something that in a year and a half of ownership I had somehow failed to see: Velcro.

Yes, boys and girls, the straps which had served no purpose and annoyed me from day one and that I once contemplated cutting off were attached to metal clips at the base of my backpack with Velcro. VELCRO. As in, you can remove them from your backpack in about 2.3 seconds.

Idiot? Table for one? Yes, lead the way sir. I'll have the special.

November 10, 2008

I wish I knew Dr. Oz

My eyelid keeps twitching.

According to Web MD it could be Blepharospasm, which to me is a mildly scary, yet hilarious borderline that's-what-she-said expression.

Web MD says that a cause of Blepharospasm could be lack of sleep, dryness of eyes, some other scary neurological stuff or...caffeine intake. I'm going to ignore scary brain issues, cause, yeah. I do wear contacts most of the time, but this year I've been trying to wear my glasses more often (cause they're hawt) and I generally get around seven hours of sleep. As for caffeine intake - what do you think? I'm a college student.

So the question becomes, should I give up caffeine and see if the eye twitch goes away?

I'm guessing the answer I will soon arrive at will be somewhere along the lines of hell to the NO.

I began writing this post two days ago, then ignored it for a little while. Today, the twitching hasn't been quite as bad. This undoubtedly will trigger it, because that's my luck, but still, curious no?


In other news (not really): This weekend I watched a couple of episodes of this show on BBC America - I think it's called You Are What You Eat. I don't remember if that's exactly the title, but I don't really feel like looking it up.

So in this show a nutritionist visits couples in the UK that have really terrible eating habits, tells them how freaking gross they are and introduces them to vegetables. She examines their blood, and bowl movements, then they formulate a healthy eating plan and you see the results after a few weeks of their new diet and exercise.

I always feel like I should take a shower and go for a run when I watch this show, but also I feel sort of gratified because I realize that I eat pretty healthily. Sure I indulge in bi-weekly Cheeto scarfing, but I don't cook everything in liters of vegetable oil, or eat 2 loaves of white bread a week.

It has made me very, very scared of what a show like this taped in the US would reveal. In a time when Heart Disease is the number one killer of all US residents, I'm scared for us. I really hope that we are teaching children about healthy nutrition and making good choices in what they put into their bodies, but in reality, I know that many of them will have no clue.

A year ago I decided I would try being a vegetarian. Honestly, I didn't know if I really could do it, and I think the challenge is part of the reason I changed the way I ate. I also had learned some things about the way energy is used and lost when producing meat for consumers that concerned me, not to mention a lack of restrictions and environmental problems with commercial meat production. In other words, I didn't do it because of PETA told me to or because "chickens have feelings too!"

I'm not going to decry anyone of eating meat. I don't believe everyone that does in unhealthy or terrible and going to hell. I'm not trying to force my views on anyone or trying to denounce someone because they believe or act in a way different than I do.

But what I don't understand is why so many people act as if vegetarians are pariahs for their choices. It is especially puzzling when people react negatively to the idea of vegetarianism and then go on to say that they are not interested in hearing arguments for vegetarianism or a lecture about how eating meat is bad. I do not wish to dissuade them, but I don't think it's out of line to expect the same courtesy from them. Belittling me for making the choices that I do is already unfair without giving me a chance to belittle right back (not that I'd want to, but you get the idea).

For me personally when I tell someone I'm vegetarian, I am more often greeted with a "WHY?!" than a more open "Oh that's interesting, for how long?" or "I didn't know that, tell me more." I'm getting a little frustrated with it all, and while I don't want to hide who I am, I really don't like being forced to be defensive. It's not how I roll.

Ok, end of quasi-rant. Going to go make my eyelids act normally by sheer will now.

October 24, 2008

Perks

In my apartment we have HBO. Five different channels of HBO to be exact. This is glorious. Also, it is very, very dangerous.

To wit: Last weekend while eating breakfast I flipped on the TV and saw that Atonement was on. I decided to watch part of it, because it was almost to this one scene (no, not THAT one) that is absolutely breathtaking and frankly amazing. It's the one where Robbie and his comrades reach the beach where all the other British soldiers are waiting around to go back home. They basically just walk around and gape, literally gape at everything going on. The amazing thing about it is that it is over 5 minutes long. With no cuts. It is one giant take with hundreds of extras singing, running, dying, fighting and as I said, walking around.

I was only going to watch that one part. Then do other stuff.
Or.....I could watch the whole rest of the movie because I really liked Vanessa Redgrave's performance, oh and Briony in the hospital being all weird and first-namey.

This is why HBO is dangerous.

Oh, and there are no commercials. Again, great and dangerous.

One of the things I have started to watch on HBO is Real Time with Bill Maher. It's a pretty good show. Notice the pretty good? Yes? That is because I love and hate this show. During the course of the hour, it is not uncommon for me to laugh, cringe, applaud, cringe again, furrow my brow, giggle and vehemently disagree.

Specifically, I don't particularly like Bill Maher. I think that he's one of those people who thinks he's really funny, but also is so confident that everyone else thinks he's really, really funny. It's irritating. I usually change the channel during his monologues a few times not because of the content of what he's saying, but the way in which he delivers it.

My absolute favorite part (usually) of the show is the panel discussion.

There are three panelists, and they discuss what is going on in politics, the world, country, whatever. Its been mostly about politics lately because, well, what isn't? Usually the panel consists of one comedian or actor (sometimes two) and either a journalist or political figure. Also, the panel is either made up of 3 more liberal people, or 2 liberals and one extremely conservative person (ie. WSJ columnists).

Here's the part where I'm going to contradict other things I have said on this blog: The panel discussion is best when the three people have generally the same political ideology. I hate it when there is one conservative, and not because I hate conservatives or don't care about what they want to say.

So much for pluralism right?

I say this because the panel ends up arguing for twenty minutes about one thing and everyone starts to repeat and repeat what has already been said. It turns into every other crappy show on MSNBC and CNN and Fox News and I get really annoyed. On the other had, when the panel is made up of 3 liberals, they can talk about what's going on without getting too defensive, and they listen to what everyone has to say. They are also more free to bring in a different point of view and discuss it, because there isn't a huge divide between their beliefs.

This brings me to Ben Affleck.

I've never really thought much about Ben Affleck. I like the movie Good Will Hunting, and Jennifer Garner seems like a nice enough person, but I never thought he was really that great or interesting. He was on the panel last week along with Martin Short (somewhat surprisingly insightful) and Bernie Sanders (Independent Senator from Vermont. He's also pretty awesome).

I was very impressed. Especially by Ben Affleck.

The video below is a part of the panel discussion. I came around to Ben Affleck especially with what he said starting at around 5:20.





Here here, Ben. Here here.

September 26, 2008

Here's Your Change

Last weekend I went to the grocery store. Let me just say, before I get into the actual point of this whole story, that I really enjoy going to the grocery store. It is a joyous occasion. And I don't know why. There's nothing that spectacular about it - I just really like buying groceries.

Anyway, I found everything I wanted (oh, and needed, I guess) and headed to the check out. As I was handing the check out guy my basket and bags, he noticed the sticker on my bag and read it.

"I will vote?" he said.
I was caught a little off guard. No one had noticed, or at least said anything about it before. I said something along the lines of "oh yeah, a friend gave it to me," before trailing off completely.

"So you're not going to vote?"
"No, I am. Definitely am."
"Oh, ok."

Then came what now seems the inevitable....

"You're not voting for McCain, are you?"

I didn't know exactly what to say. No, I was not, and am not voting for John McCain, but for some reason it felt like a very personal question. Me of little confrontation didn't particularly want to get into a "What's Wrong With America" argument with a person that could easily charge me triple the price for the plums I dearly wanted without me noticing, thank you very much. But I had to answer his question. He was waiting.

"Um, no. I'm not." (cautious chuckle)
"Good. You didn't seem completely crazy, but I thought I'd check."

Hm. As affirming as it is to be told by a complete stranger that you're not quite as crazy as you should be, given family precedent, I didn't particularly like where he was going with this.

I have this crazy idea that people who vote differently than I aren't completely psychotic. I know, he's redacting his crazy statement as I type, but honestly, I don't have a problem with diversity. Stupidity is another matter, and I think we can all agree all political parties have a great deal of that to contend with.

I guess what bothered me most about this whole situation was the fact that he seemed to go from 0 to 60 on the defensive scale and I wasn't even disagreeing with him.

I like discourse. I like intelligent, pluralistic conversations where people can throw out new ideas and thoughts and not get yelled at because they're expressing something different from the "acceptable" course of action. I question my leaders, what they believe and how they act, and there's nothing wrong with saying you like a few things about the guy you're not voting for. We should be able to express our feelings, our doubts, what we know and what we want to learn more about and in turn, be open to the same sentiments from others.

These conversations, unfortunately, are few and far between. Today, for some reason, a difference in opinion is equivalent to being someone's enemy and that, more than a "third term" and more than a $700 billion IOU absolutely scares the hell out of me.

Why? Well, the words "We're" and "Screwed" come to mind...

September 14, 2008

Fun Fact

The word vomit as we know it is derived from the latin vomitoria referring to passageways that led to a tier of seats in an amphitheater or coliseum. It was a very efficient system for getting patrons to their seats, but more importantly, in the event of an emergency, people could exit from them quickly - in essence spewing out of the arena in a matter of minutes.

Who knew?

September 13, 2008

Welcome to America

A few days ago I decided I wouldn't write about Sarah Palin on this blog. I think it's old news, and since the world is still suspended somewhere in the universe, whizzing frantically around the sun, certainly there are other, more interesting things to talk about.

So I'm not going to jump on the band wagon and rehash everything that's been said about her career or her family, or even the fact that she does look a little bit like Tina Fey.

I am, however, going to come very close to the subject to say that as much as most of America (myself included) keeps talking about how ludicrous it is that women will vote for her only because she herself is a woman, and that she has no experience for the job etc. that might not really matter.

Why? Because we live in America.

I remember hearing this story four years ago from a friend of my parents, in the midst of the Kerry/Bush race.

My parents friend knew a woman that had been on an airplane - I don't remember where they were flying - but she was sitting across the aisle from John and Teresa Heinz Kerry. This woman, we'll call her Jan, said that during the entire flight John Kerry was talking to his wife, and while she wasn't really listening in on their conversation, it was obvious he was trying to explain himself or apologize for something. Mrs. Kerry didn't even acknowledge him. The entire flight she gave him the cold shoulder, not responding, not arguing just pulling the very successful Ican'thearyouIcan'thearyou maneuver.

The most interesting part of this story, though, is Jan's response.

She said, "I'd rather have Laura."

Even at the time, when I couldn't vote yet and for that matter wasn't even sure of what I believed, I found this disconcerting. To me, since Laura Bush and Teresa Kerry weren't actually running for anything, I didn't really care who they were. Sure, they matter to their husbands and families, but certainly there had to be something more important to Jan (and, I guess, to America) than the attitude of a spouse on one day of her entire life.

Then again, we live in America. We're interested, whether we want to admit it or not, in the story of it all. This election isn't merely a match-up between the Democrats and Republicans, it's a contest. A team sport.

I think, for a lot of Americans, it's a contest of who is the "better person." I know who I'm voting for, but still, I like thinking about the descriptions of the candidates without any names or affiliations. It seems a pretty accurate slice of America.

A Harvard alum who came from nothing but a diverse background; A survivor, truly, of both war and cancer; A widower, family man and frequent patron of public transit; And a working mother with a large family from a small town.

I think you have to admit, as far as stories go, that one is pretty good.

August 30, 2008

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Then again, maybe not.

In moving back to Minneapolis for another year of college, I had to wrap up my summer job last week. I expect to find a news article any day reporting the office burst into flames after someone couldn't change the toner. It could happen.

I'm not really that sad about it in all honesty. Sure, I'll miss the people I worked with - mostly - and the pay - still lower than it should have been, sorry, this is not the time for a rant - but I'm not too bent out of shape. Ok, there is an actual story I was going to tell. Here goes, um, something.

I've worked in the same office for two summers. This summer was different, I knew the people calling all the time, the procedures, how to work the fax machine, but I did have a lot more responsibility and new things to do. One thing, however stayed the same.

Every day that I had the office coffee I used the same mug. It is, quite possibly, one of the best mugs I have ever encountered. It has Snap, Crackle, and Pop of Rice Krispie fame printed on the outside. It made my morning coffee experience so much better and generally just brightened up my day. It even has its own little quirks. There's a small crack through the bottom of the handle (not bad enough to doom it to the garbage thankfully) and a permanent stain on the side.

In short, I loved this mug. And long ago I decided I would steal it.

I knew no one would miss it because a) it was always on my desk b) there were about 15 other mugs in the cupboard for the other 6 people and c) there was an almost identical Rice Krispie mug in the cupboard. But mine was special.

The other one has a lipstick stain on it - very unflattering - and just didn't seem to have the worldly perspective mine did.

On my last day of work I used my mug as usual and decided to wash and dry it out so it didn't get water all over the other stuff in my purse. My plan was to set it on my desk and as 5 o'clock approached, put it in my bag when no one was over by my desk. This was no problem.
Except
that I also had a Tazo tea glass bottle and a travel mug to take home as well. I had wanted to make an inconspicuous exit, but with 2 or 3 bulky cups in my small-ish purse, I knew this would be difficult.

I decided to put both the bottle and mug in my purse and carry the travel mug to the car. Luckily most people were gone by the time I was leaving and the ones that were left were guys and, let's face it, were not going to notice the unsightly bulges in my bag.

I made it out unscathed. But....I was meeting a few people from work for dinner.

Now, a normal person would not have irrational fears about leaving a mug and tea bottle in the passenger seat of their car, but obviously I am not your normal individual.

I pulled up to the restaurant and immediately thought about what I should do. I wasn't going to put it in the trunk, that's a little too drug dealer-ish for me, and I didn't have a blanket in the backseat to hide them under so I decided (thinking I was taking too long and needed to go inside) to place the mug under my seat. As I gingerly set it on the carpet I reminded myself not to kick it when I got back in the car.

Upon getting out of the car I managed to drop my cell phone, a few receipts and some band aids on the pavement in front of about 15 people sitting on the porch. Brilliant.

As expected, I did kick the mug when I got back in the car an hour and a half later, but other than that I think it was a very successful heist.


Yes, I daresay it was.

July 27, 2008

Gather Round!

Today, friends, I have only a few stories to share. I had very little to do with any of them - I was merely present when they occurred.


#1

I work in an office with people that are all at least 20 years older than me. A few weeks ago two of them began a conversation during which I found myself wishing simultaneously they would continue and immediately stop.

It began when Sara saw an advertisement for a local drive-in and said, "Oh, I've always loved those drive-ins. They're so much fun!"

Me: "Oh yeah I've been to that one. My friend won a t-shirt."
Sara: "Really? That sounds so fun. I should try to go sometime this summer."
Dean, on the other side of the office: "I bet I know why YOU liked them, Sara. And it has nothing to do with movies...."
Sara: "What?! No, no...."
Dean: "Oh come on, a drive-in with some hot young guy."
Sara (ignoring Dean): "I just always liked the atmosphere. Oh, and they always had those great advertisements. You know, the dancing hot dog -
Dean: "HAHAHA....Yeah the dancing hot dog...
Sara: "And the clever jingles."
Dean: "....JUMPING into the bun."
Me (silently): "Gross.........but...that's what she said. "

Dean continued to make jokes then began muttering too quietly to hear. I was severely grossed out, shaking with laughter and very grateful for my cubicle wall.


#2

Recently I have been preparing for the upcoming semester and moving into an apartment. My roommates and I have been emailing about what we have, what we need etc. My Mom has been oddly fascinated with each response (some of which I haven't told her) and frankly quite hilarious with her own responses. To wit:

Earlier this week Mom and I were eating dinner, talking about what my roommates and I were planning to buy at the best store ever when we get to school in August. Then out of nowhere she says,

"I think you should go on and say, 'my Mom is into drugs...'"

Cut to me, practically falling off my chair DYING OF LAUGHTER.

"'....and she'd be willing to buy the first containers of toilet bowl cleaner and Ajax.'"

First of all, just the fact that my elementary school teacher Mother acknowledged the existence of homemade hallucinogenics is hilarious. Especially considering two advil is about her limit.
Secondly, she actually said she was into drugs. Secretly I have always wished for this, but I honestly never thought it would happen.

Then she told me about how during the year when there are speakers that come to her school to talk to kids there's a certain foundation that gives grants to some speakers as long as they mention staying away from drugs, alcohol and the like. She said you can always tell which ones are funded because they give their whole prepared spiel, about the given topic - teddy bears, financial independence - but at the very end they randomly throw in 2 minutes of anti-drug mumbo jumbo.

So she calls these (but only to her teaching partner, at least so far) the drug money speakers.

Yes. That would be my mom.


#3

Finally, a story involving someone I am proud to call my friend.

Thursday night a few of my friends got together for our weekly game of Ultimate Frisbee. Unfortunately, there weren't enough people to actually play, so we played soccer and just stood around. Then Tarabull sort of smacked one of my other friends, Nirem (who had only gotten 3 hours of sleep the night before) who subsequently flopped on the ground. The other five of us just kind of laughed and kept talking. Then Chels suggested we go over to the shore and put our feet in the water. Everyone started walking toward the water, ignoring Nirem, still lying on the ground. Except me, that is.

She had her eyes closed and didn't respond when I said her name. Naturally, I assumed she was pretending to be asleep just to spite me. She didn't move.

"Nirem?" I poked her shoulder. Several times.

"What- Where are we?" Half sitting up, she glanced around. She indeed had fallen asleep. On the wet grass. With five people standing around and talking. In about 2 minutes.

"You really fell asleep? Didn't you hear us talking?"

"Um, a little I guess."

"Hmm."

This was a first. She woke up, almost completely, then we decided to hide from the rest of the group across the street from Nirem's car behind some bushes.

Needless to say we were successful.

July 12, 2008

Does Anyone Have a Kleenex?

A while ago, I'm not sure how long exactly, I was at a friend's house and I used some of her body spray. Let me just state that I am not a particularly picky person when it comes to scents - I know what I like, but my likeness range encompasses more than Clinique Happy. This one, however, was a doozy.

It smelled like sneeze.

Keep in mind that I totally know that this is disgusting.

You know when you have a really big sneeze and you invariably have to inhale afterwards - you get this little whiff of snot filled air - that was exactly the scent of this god awful body spray. It made me gag a little.

Since then, I have been ridiculed many times by my friends because of my opinions of said body spray, so generally I have quieted any sentiments concerning sneezes or their smell.


Fast forward to last night. My parents and I went for dinner at a local pizza place. It's a pretty generic family restaurant with a bunch of pizzas and sub sandwiches on the menu. In the restaurant there are several video games, a bouncy ball machine, and two of those prize machines you can win webkinz or key chains from. The key chain/worthless crap machine had this little loop theme song that would come on about every two minutes, and of course we were sitting right next to it.

As I was listening to the irritatingly mechanic jingle, I heard a strange sound at the end and couldn't quite tell what it was. Then I got it.

"It sounds like someone is sneezing during this song!"

It really did - I'm not making it up. There was a prolonged "chh" sound, exactly like when you have a really big sneeze. It was rather disgusting and frighteningly realistic. I didn't go into the specifics with my parents sitting there, about to eat dinner, but you get the picture.

Needless to say, my parents were a bit doubtful. I sensed a rather strong "Um...okay" unspoken response from both, but as in the case of the sneezetastic body spray, I knew the truth and would not yield to dissent, dammit.

"Just listen. You'll hear it."

A few moments later my Dad confirmed my belief and boosted my confidence. But were we both just crazy? Why would a stupid video game jingle have a sneeze in it?? My Mom hadn't heard it yet, and I needed a third party's opinion.

The song came on again.

"Ok, listen. Here it comes, after this part.....ok. Wait, here it, no that wasn't.....Ok here it is. Right. Right now!"


Achoo!


Victory. Victory is mine.

June 24, 2008

Ala Kazaam!

I've been a wee bit absent from this blog lately, but sorry, I have a life.

Ok, that was a little harsh. Anyway...

I have been busy, readjusting to living back at home for the summer, working full time, and planning some exciting things for the future (coming soon to a url near YOU!).
Though I will not honor you, dear reader, with the blog you so deserve, I will share a fantastically hilarious story with you.

- - - - - -

Last week my eldest sister graced us with a visit along with her 5-year old son Zach. On Tuesday we went to Big Boy for dinner.

Now, before I go on, let me explain something. I freaking hate Big Boy. While he has never really done anything to personally insult me (although I've heard stories and trust me BB, they have friends on the outside...) I'd rather never look at one for the rest of my life. My family generally NEVER eats there, especially when I am there to offer a hearty veto. The reason we went is that some of our friends are currently serving as missionaries in Chile and BB was going to donate proceeds to a group that was going down to help out.
Needless to say, I felt like a complete ass because I was dreading this dinner and really, really did not want to go.

It ended up being fine. I had macaroni and "cheese" and generally had a good time. While we were waiting for our food, Zach asked how something worked, (I'm slightly ashamed to say I don't remember what) and I truthfully replied "Magic".

"Magic isn't real" he said, before initiating the I-know-everything-death-stare.

"It lives in me" I countered. My sister at this point snorted very loudly into her iced tea.

40 minutes later, dying to leave and take a shower, I headed for the door behind Zach who held a takeout box with half a grilled cheese in it on top of his head. Naturally, I grabbed it and held it behind my back. I then initiated the guess which hand game, switching the box every time.

After about 5 guesses my mom walked up and stood next to me, grabbed the box and moved away.
Brilliant? Yes. Hilarious? Absolutely. But the real question: did our intrepid guesser notice the switch?

I revealed both hands and he walked around me asking where I hid it and grabbing the bottom of my jacket.

"I told you magic was real!"

"Where is it!!"

"I told you, I made it disappear!"

Putting my hands behind my back I told him to guess again and *like magic* my mom stealthily replaced the magic grilled cheese. 2 more guesses and tada! the box reappeared intact, possibly even more delicious than before. Presto!



Speaking of magic.....Fun with photobooth!!!!!



May 15, 2008

Failure....

I have failed you, internet. I'm a bad DWTS analyzer, and while I feel bad about this, I'm not going to try and redeem myself tonight. That's right, it's 10:28, I did very little today, and yet I am exhausted and soon will be heading for bed.

Because of my guilt, however, I will make several points about this week's episode of DWTS and include thoughts about the future. Quickly, as I just yawned. And yawned again when I typed it.

- Please, please, look at Cheryl's silver dress. Even for Cheryl it was quite the masterpiece.
- Marissa finally went home. Long time coming, anyone?
- Samantha, while always the worst co-host ever, dropped to a new low. "And for the non speaking. ....Spanish ones. ?" And yes, the punctuation is accurate.
- Len visited all the contestants in rehearsal to give them pointers. He danced with all of them, and him dancing (the girl part) with Cristian and Jason was amazing. (Very reminiscent of Jonathan and Steve Gutenberg's Mango. But with Len) Let's just say my life is complete.
- The Bachelor (although I guess not so much anymore) was in the audience. Seriously? Do they not promote themselves and other abc shows enough already?
- Speaking of the dress, Tom is yet again my hero. "I love the dress...but is anyone missing a weather balloon?" Thank you abc for your masterful casting process.
- Marissa has a whole lot of hair. I'm not even kidding, it's a little ridiculous. How is it even possible??
- I hate that they prolong the kicking off until 8:58:45 and then complain that the loser, I mean the non-mover-forward-er can't get down to the microphone/last dance soon enough. Work on it producers. Seriously.
- Also, what was with the sob roll of all the good times Marissa and Tony had together? They should do that for every contestant. Oh wait, no - they should do that with every contestant that's not Shannon and Derek. Gross....
- Tom Bergeron was on Oprah today, and while it was completely about America's Funniest Home Videos, it made me very happy. Although my roommate and I agreed that evil eye is and will always be so much better than anything on AFI.
- I hope Kristi Yamiguchi wins.
- I'm very excited for freestyle. I think Cheryl's going to do some crazy s*** and Mark is going to make Kristi do even crazier s***. Stay tuned, my friends. Stay tuned.



*FYI - The soundtrack to the Darjeeling Limited is fantastic. See the movie (if you haven't) and give itunes some more business. You won't regret it, I promise.

May 11, 2008

Mom!

The Lanyard - Billy Collins


The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the pale blue walls of this room,
bouncing from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past --
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sickroom,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift--not the archaic truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.



Happy Mother's Day, one and all.


May 7, 2008

No fighting, children

Oh, Tom. Why are you on this show? You deserve so much better....

Here we are again, DWTS glory and late again. I'm starting to sense a trend.
Well, let's see how much I remember from this week.

Kristi & Mark -
I may have said this before, but Mark always has EXTREME facial expressions during every dance. I'm glad he didn't have a fake naval officer's costume on like last week - that was just weird. I loved that CA tried to say that they were off at one point during the judging and both Bruno and Len just started shaking their heads. Amazing.
Their latin round wasn't as good as the ballroom, especially Kristi's outfit. It looked like a flapper dress collided with a giant banana. Very strange.

Mario & Karina -
Mario's ballroom round was actually better than his latin round, which I honestly never expected to happen. Still, I didn't really like it, but then again I don't really like Mario. The most that's-what-she-said-quote came from Mario's ballroom round, though.
Sayeth Carrie Ann:

"It was nice and stiff - just the way I wanted it."
I'm not kidding. And it is truly, what she said. (It's not often that that happens)

Marissa & Tony -
One word for this couple: underwhelming.
Also, Marissa always looks terrible. I feel bad for her. The costume department seriously needs to learn to do their jobs.
Another quality quote from their ballroom (I think) round, this time from Tom.

"Marissa and Tony will get their scores after the break, and we'll adjust Bruno's meds."
I'm dying to know how many times the production staff has said this to one another. There has to be a tally somewhere.

Jason & Edyta -
Highlight of their segment: Edyta made Jason get a spray tan.
Best thing EVER.
Edyta even said it was every dancer's secret weapon! I may like Jason a tiny bit more now because of this. Especially because he didn't want to do it, but did anyway. "With my complexion you should not be spray tanning." That will be the ongoing joke in the locker room next season. It has to be.

Speaking of which, I found out today that many sports teams require athletes to play handball in the off-season to maintain hand-eye coordination. Interesting, no?

Christian & Cheryl -
I was genuinely worried for Christian this week. A ruptured tendon (or whatever is wrong with him), is not something you want to be dancing and DOING LIFTS with.
And yet, he did it. And kicked ass.
They did their first dance to "Beat it" which could have been super corny, but totally wasn't and then in their Latin round....WOW. Probably one of my favorite dances all season. Christian did so well with his hips, foot work, and yes, even the lift. Cheryl basically just grabbed onto him and hung upside down at the end of the dance.
Still A-MAZ-ING.
Seriously, go watch it.

At the end of the night, Christian was in the lead, then Kristi, Mario, Jason, and Marissa.


On Tuesday, many past celebrities came back - Mel/Macks and Apollo/Julianne danced, and Tom talked to Lisa Rinna (barf), Drew Lacey, Jerry Springer and too many others. Except Kenny Mayne. I love Kenny Mayne

I was expecting Marissa to go home because she is not very good, had the lowest score, and probably doesn't have the biggest fan base. But was she in the bottom 2?

No.

It was Jason and Mario in the bottom, and while the evil part of my personality would have LOVED to see Jason go home, he doesn't technically deserve it.
Long story short, Mario went home, kept it semi-classy, and Marissa and Jason will live to dance again.

I'm not going to make a prediction because of the disastrous results it may (or may not....) cause.

April 29, 2008

Bend and Snap

I'm a little behind in posting the latest DWTS blog - forgive me internet. It's Guitar Hero's fault I swear!!

Last night's episode was a lesson in judge hypocrisy, and while not as ridiculous as the Jason Taylor blow out that I will probably never stop talking about, it was pretty stupid.

Overall, I was underwhelmed by last night's performances. I think they were all a little shocked with the whole 2 dances in one week and the judges over scored people, which I think is pretty stupid. They were also shying away from the criticism.

Marissa & Tony -
I think Marissa has just about run her course. She's peppy and squeaky and not a natural dancer, which I guess is the point of this whole shebang, but I'd say she's done next week. Unless....

Christian & Cheryl -
Poor Christian. I thought he did pretty well in his first dance, but his second dance spelled disaster. Literally. Midway through he hurt his muscle near his elbow, tried to finish the dance, kinda did a crappy job and sort of flopped on top of Cheryl at the end. The judges said they would judge his performance only before his injury - which I thought was fine, maybe a 25? - no. A FREAKING 21. What?!
He went to the hospital but is still in the competition. His doctor apparently told him that he would postpone surgery so that he could stay in the competition. Now, I get that it's television and all, but would a doctor really do that? Is it just California doctors that say to hell with your organs, go dance your heart out! I don't know that I buy it. Not to mention the fact that I think it's going to be incredibly difficult for him to dance with one arm. I mean, he's strong, but still.

Kristi & Mark -
It seems the judges forgot how to score people until Kristi and Mark. I don't really see how they can inflate everyone else's scores, not criticize them and then give Kristi a 26 for a dance as good, if not better, than Marissa. I don't understand. Their second dance was good but the judges disagreed (CA & Bruno vs. Len...of course) on whether or not it was too new/hip/fresh/unboring. Tom, bless him, waxed over the whole incident (yelling match) referring to the 3 stooges as "2 hip judges and 1 cranky pants in the middle." Yeah, I'd say that's about right.

Mario & Karina -
Len told him he wasn't very elegant. Duh.
Also, Karina won the barely dressed award of the night (beating Cheryl somehow) and during their second dance my roommate and I turned to each other at the exact same moment and said "does she have a tramp stamp?!" No joke.
And yes, she does.

Shannon & Derek -
Len (I think) said her tango was the best dance of hers yet. I think he's said that before to her and I agreed then, but not so much now. It's not that it was bad, it just wasn't that good. She never really gets into the character and she looked constipated and mildly annoyed during her tango. The second dance was forgettable.

Jason & Edyta -
I still just don't really like Jason. His quickstep (or foxtrot? I really should take notes...) was good, but I didn't think it deserved a 29. Then he did a paso doble to the Monday Night Football theme. I kid you not. While it was sort of funny, but mainly just corny, it was waaaay to much for me. I liked Christian's paso doble better. I think he got into character more than Jason did last night.

Best quote of the night goes to... Len (big surprise)
He said (to Bruno), "I think your hot air has a lot to do with the global warming."

Did I mention I was underwhelmed? Yeah, not the best, but certainly not nearly as bad as whatever Bruno said that was bleeped out during the sex dance last week.


In the end, Def Leopard rocked out, (really. they did. I swear) Samantha was an idiot, there was more bicep drama and Shannon went home. I wasn't that surprised or disappointed, but certainly America is. After all, she and Derek never really answered the are you or aren't you question and because we will no longer see Derek wear that stupid hat sideways anymore.
Oh well. I guess there's always next year.

April 27, 2008

Things Written Down

I usually carry a small notebook with me, and I write things down that people say - strange expressions, interestingly phrased statements, whatever. I think they make an interesting poem all together, so here they are.

use simple words to explain complex things*
so many things
black holes of silence
bolts in the hubcaps of cars
her life was not a rose garden
flutes in the evening
I think everything is serendipity
waiting for glasses for 2 years
A person is a person through other persons
90% of war casualties are civilians - mainly women and children
la vida plena
we don't have a democracy, we have an auction
passing the something

And now, a quick story:

This weekend I was at my aunt's house in Brainerd. We had a good time, (except for the fact that it SNOWED) had a good dinner, watched some movies, and today went to church. Afterward, while waiting to meet my ride back to the cities, I said hello to the pastor. She remembered my Mom's name and asked if I was her daughter. I said yes and she responded with "Oh yes, you look so much like her. Especially in the eyes, right?"
Let me say now that while I do look a little like my mom, I have always thought that I looked more like my dad, especially in my eyes. We both have blue. My mom has brown. Not really the same. At all.

Did I say this? No. I said yes.

Why? Because it doesn't really matter? Because I only see this person 3 times a year? Did I not want her to feel stupid that she's wrong? Maybe I'm the one that's wrong and my mother's and my eyes look similar. But I feel stupid that I didn't say something (I don't even know what!) about how I looked like my dad more. Is this a Catch-22 or am I just being weird?

Probably the latter.



*Originally said in Swedish.

April 21, 2008

Another Day, Another Dance

And here we are again. I have just barely recovered from the Latin dance-appaloosa, so here we go with another fun filled DWTS. Gird your loins, people.

Jason & Edyta -
They went to a hip-hop class to get into it, or something. Like all of Jason's dances, it was ok, not that amazing, he has really big arms blah blah...

Shannon & Derek -
Ok, so last week I said that there was definitely something going on between them. This week, whatever doubts about that have disappeared. Completely. They went to the beach to "practice". Derek, of course, ended up with no shirt on him and quasi wrestled with Shannon. Their actual dance was better than last week, since there was no way she could have been more stiff this time.
While waiting for scores (they got 24), Samantha decided to try to ask questions about their relationship. Predictably, she sucked it up big time, but thankfully DWTS has one thing that will always be going for it. Tom Bergeron.
Said the best host ever (of a competitive celebrity dancing show) "Next week Samantha will be grilling prisoners at Gitmo."
HA! America is indebted to him forever.

Marlee & Fabian -
The dance was pretty bad. They were a little off, and generally just trying too hard. The judges, who since the Jason stumbling debacle have been doing a decent job, made a big deal, again, of how inspirational Marlee is. You could tell she was losing patience. I don't understand why they sugar coat everything with her and then give her half assed criticism. She's still competing and wants FEEDBACK. Since they're judges, and they do this better with everyone else, this shouldn't be too difficult.

Christian & Cheryl -
I like Christian. He's basically, oh what's the term? Smoking Hot? Yeah, I think that's it.
They did a foxtrot. His footwork was great, he was wearing a pink tie, Cheryl was wearing an actual dress for a change (and it was the weirdest thing I've ever seen) and they got a 27. I thought he might have gotten a 10, but whatever.

Usually, the best line from the judges comes from the tripped out psyche that is Bruno Tonioli, but tonight Len was the man. This was his opening line to Christian.

"If you're in the bottom 2 tomorrow, I'll show my bum in the supermarket."

I almost want them to be in the bottom 2, not to see that surely grisly sight, but to know if Len has the guts to do it, and what supermarket he goes to. Does he really do his own grocery shopping? What does he buy? Ensure, at least...
Anyway, with any brilliant statement comes (inevitably) a brilliant comment from Tom.

"I hope you're in the frozen foods department."

I believe that is what we call a burn.

Marissa & Tony -
They seem to really enjoy each other during the rehearsal blurbs, even though Ken seems corny pretty much all the time. I don't really remember their dance, but it was pretty good, I guess, they got a 26, Marissa squeaked a lot...

Kristi & Mark -
Were you wondering when they would get a perfect 30? Well, besides the fact that they totally should have gotten it LAST WEEK CARRIE ANN, they got it and totally deserved it, tonight. I have a feeling that Mark basically is just choreographing for a pro at this point, their routines are that good. Mark was also wearing these giant glasses that made him look super nerdy and I really wanted him to say Lambda Lambda Lambda! more than I can possibly express.

Mario & Karina -
This performance in one word: Overrated.
I don't hate Mario or anything, but really? Let's Get it On as a song?! Come on. First of all, no one can do a cover as well as Jack Black. Second of all, they BARELY DANCED. It was a lot of crap that was supposed to be sexy, which, sure whatever, but where were the FREAKING DANCE MOVES?!?! I didn't understand it. Len didn't like it either, but still gave them a 9 (28 total) which doesn't make any sense to me. Bruno was being a little risqué and had to be bleeped out. Oh and Carrie Ann said it was better than good sex. I kid you not.
Speaking of kids, isn't this a family show?

Tonight saw the first group number. It was kind of a yawn fest with a western theme (sheriffs vs. outlaws) and a little solo section for each couple. Kristi was the head Sheriff (seriously, she was, even though that title makes NO SENSE) and Jason was the head Outlaw. Again, outlaws have a leader? They faced off at the end and Kristi shot Jason, unfortunetely not for real, and the Sheriffs were victorious in that completely staged but "unpredictable" way.


Who's going home? As much as I hate to say it, probably Marlee. I think Shannon maybe has a chance too, but what with the developing relationship/masterful editing, people will probably just keep them in hopes that they'll end up making out at some point. Welcome to America.

April 14, 2008

How Inappropriate Can Television Possibly Get?

Not nearly as much as you'd think without Adam Corolla. Still, I thought the whole set of DWTS was trying to outdo him. If only they knew it would never happen....

Anyway, back by request is an in depth (except not) analysis of Dancing With the Stars. This week I will include random things I notice along with the quasi recaps you've come to know and love. Ready?

If this were Iron Chef America, this episode would be called Battle Latin. Seriously, ask Ted Allen (his blog is high quality, fyi). The dances tonight are the Samba or the Rumba. Oh, and the women are probably just going to be wearing bikinis. No joke.

Mario & Karina:
I still don't like them very much, but I missed the beginning of this episode so all I know is that they got a 27 and danced to A-Tisket A-Tasket which, by the way, is one of my favorite Ella Fitzgerald songs. Moving on...

Priscilla & Louis: 21
Louis has a very wide and square jaw. Also, a strangely shaped head. And that, my friends was the most interesting thing concerning this couple. An overall boring dance, bad song choice and harsh judging, except for the part when Bruno said, "You're available, but reassuringly expensive." Len kinda went overboard with the Mr. Grumpy Gills comments, but that's to be expected.

Marissa & Tony: 24
I felt that Marissa and Tony were breakin' it down a *little* too much, what with the gyrating every, oh 2.3 seconds. Stop shaking and DANCE already. I was a tad annoyed. Also they had probably the weirdest music choice yet, which is quite a feat since they ALWAYS have the weirdest music choice. I don't think of "Tambourine" when I think of Brazil. I think of Brazil when I think of Brazil and, fittingly, Samba music WITH A SAMBA.
Also: Tony is the most Ken-looking dancer. If only his hair was a tad lighter...

Christian & Cheryl: 23
Cheryl appears to be wearing nothing but sparkles, and it's because of her flesh toned bikini con skirt. Normally, the band does a really good job, especially with the crap songs they have to play. "If You're Not the One" is not something they should EVER play again. Seriously. It was terrible. Oh and CA said erotic about 5 too many times. Not cool.


Wow, it's already 7:46...


Marlee & Fabian: 22
Most interesting rehearsal week yet. This was the first week they actually got frustrated with each other during rehearsal, because of communication issues, but they're pros and got through it. Fitting music, but it was pretty obvious that they were off a few times with steps. Of all the couples, they seemed the most into it and having fun, but this was not their best dance.
The judges were weird with Marlee this week. So far they've only mentioned that she's deaf before going on to tell her to work on her arm position like any of the other dancers, but this week they decided to make a HUGE deal about how amazing it is that she can dance without hearing the music. They know she can do this. They saw her Viennese waltz last week. It made Carrie Ann cry. I'm kinda pissed that they tiptoed around her - it's not like they don't know how to criticize someone.

Kristi & Mark: 29
They also had an interesting rehearsal week. Kristi's family came to watch her practice and her daughters were wearing matching dresses. While I realize it was probably staged, it still was cute. Also, they literally didn't stop twirling in the studio which was probably the most adorable thing I've ever seen. Her husband was hilarious and made a high quality joke about her getting into it with Mark. Ok, that sentence was bad, but that was the point, wasn't it?
I truly thought this was a perfect 30 week before I saw how low the judges were scoring everyone. Still they got 29 and the 9 was from CA. Scandal! They also had a good song choice and lilac is truly a good color for both of them, but Mark was wearing purple shoes. Oh yes.

Shannon & Derek: 23
Things we learned this week about S&D: They're totally hooking up.
Also, Derek wore a baseball hat sideways in practice and he got food poisoning and almost DIED (ok, no) but he did almost miss the rehearsal. What will go wrong next?

This isn't to say there was no real entertainment from this part of the show. The best quote from Tom and the second best quote from Bruno came from this segment:

From Bruno: "Shake those maracas!" Yes, it most definitely is a euphemism.

And from Tom: "How do you get spray tan off a suit? Samantha?" Thank you, God.


And finally, the bane of my existence...

Jason and Edyta: 27

First of all, Jason Taylor looks like Xerxes from The 300, and second of all he was wearing a sweater and white shoes. If he got voted off, I would be fine with it. But he won't. Because America loves their balds. Nothing was that special about their dance, Edyta did these weird pose things at the end that didn't add anything to the dance and which Len totally slammed them for (Yay Len!).

And then CA said something I shall never forget.
"These weird sounds keep coming out of me tonight."

THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID.


And with this, dear friends, I bid you goodnight. As for who will go home, I'm guessing Priscilla or Marissa, but I'm sure I'll blog about that, James Blunt and whoever gets the encore (it better be Kristi and Mark or I'll probably cry) tomorrow.

April 13, 2008

Happy April!

Ok, I know that it's been April for over 12 days, but I just found out today (or remembered, did I know this??) that April is national poetry month. In honor of this, and the fact that it's almost spring outside, here is my new favorite poem.


The Springtime by Denise Levertov

The red eyes of rabbits
aren't sad. No one passes
the sad golden village in a barge
any more. The sunset
will leave it alone. If the
curtains hang askew
it is no one's fault.
Around and around and around
everywhere the same sound
of wheels going, and things
growing older, growing
silent. If the dogs
bark to each other
all night, and their eyes
flash red, that's
nobody's business. They have
a great space of dark to
bark across. The rabbits
will bare their teeth at
the spring moon.

April 9, 2008

Consider Yourself Warned

This entry will be completely devoted to ranting about Dancing With the Stars.
Seriously, I'm not kidding.


I look forward to DWTS every week. Especially until real episodes of my faves return (The Office and 30 Rock tomorrow!!!!) It's something to look forward to.

This week, however, I was not thrilled.


Kristi & Mark :
Amazing, as usual. Not that surprised that Len didn't give them a 10, but I don't know if I quite buy the whole "not being emotionally into it" thing he's always spouting off. I'm a fan of Kristi either way so, yeah.

Priscilla & whoever her partner is :
Not a big fan of Priscilla. She's had waaaaay too much stuff done to her face. Any emotion coming from her direction whatsoever, let alone getting into "character", is a small miracle, but I will admit she's very graceful. She did a good job, and I thought it was good that Len and Carrie Ann docked points because of her illegal lift. Still, I thought her score was a bit low.

Which brings us to....

Mr. Adam Corolla and his partner who is the same age as me. (yeah.) :
Unicycle. That is all I have to say.

Marlee and Fabian: Marlee Matlin is probably my favorite person on this show, (besides Tom Burgeron, of course) so I will always be rooting for her. She did a great job, had some amazingly difficult steps and did them very well, especially with her balance problems. Judges? Carrie Ann was crying. I was expecting at least all 9's if not a 10 from CA who could barely say anything. She got a 24. Straight eights. WHAT THE HELL?!?! Ok, I'm not surprised about Len, but Bruno is Bruno and was wearing a sparkly suit so I expected a higher score, oh and did I mention that CA was CRYING????


Thus begins the hypocrisy of the judges.

And the wrath of Klue.


Frankly I don't care about Mario and Karina so I will say nothing.

Now, (the crapfest that is) Jason Taylor and Edyta:
Until this week I liked Jason Taylor. I daresay he was one of my favorites of the guys. No more, my friends, no more. The dance was ok, not as good as last week's, but HE TRIPPED AT THE END. While he, and more evidently, his partner recovered quite well, he still tripped. I truly believed, since they punished Priscilla for an illegal lift, at least Len and CA would dock him a point.

No. They decided to suck at their jobs and slobber over him and his stupid bald head.
CA said she forgave him for his little trip which is COMPLETELY UNFAIR since he did, in fact, trip, which is NOT A GOOD THING, DAMMIT.

He got a 29 and tied Kristi.
I am still bitter (just in case you, gentle reader, couldn't tell).


Cristian and Cheryl:
I liked their dance. Christian got really into it and it was a good paso doble with good music and choreography. Oh yeah, and Christian DIDN'T TRIP. They didn't get as good of a score as THE STUPID POSER WHO GOT AN INFLATED SCORE (see above) EVEN THOUGH THEY DESERVED AT LEAST ONE 10.

From then on I was just in a bad mood. Shannon did fine, even with Derek's neck drama and Marissa looked weird and kinda scary in her makeup and costume so nothing new there.

Adam got the encore on Tuesday, which I think is going to become the foreshadowing for the elimination every week since the Gute got it last week. Sheryl Crow sang a song which I'm still recovering from by listening to good music.

Anyway...

Goodbye Adam. I know I speak for America when I say that we will miss you and your borderline offensive and always politically incorrect jokes.

April 3, 2008

Not So Opaque After All

A while back I entered a poetry contest. By "a while back" I mean over a year ago. November, 2006. How things were different back then...

Anyway, I didn't expect anything to come from it, in fact, the poem I submitted I wrote on the spot in the little box they give you to copy and paste in your poem. I didn't even email a copy of it to myself or jot it down on a sticky note or napkin. I just filled in the blanks.

About nine months later I got a letter inviting me to a reception in.....Reno Nevada (yeah, classy). Apparently I had submitted one of the "better poems." I ignored it for several reasons. Beside the fact that I was 48% sure it was fake, it was over $500 to go (not including plane tickets) but it was in RENO NEVADA. Who the hell has poetry award ceremonies in RENO?!

A week after this packet (colored brochure included) I got an email containing - you guessed it - my poem. They wanted to include it in the book they make every year, because of its "better poem" status. I reread it, and actually sort of liked it. It's sad, but not the most depressing thing ever, and since I wasn't really putting much effort into the whole process of writing it, I was pretty happy the the result. All I needed to do was to mail a copy of the poem with any changes in case of any typos in order for it to be included in the book. The ultimate question was, however, would I pay the $24.95 to have my very own copy?

Why yes, yes I would.

I am slightly ashamed to admit that I truly wanted to receive this bound copy of the book, but what can I say, it sounded cool!

Well. Guess what?

Fake. Completely fake.

Am I mad at the people who organized it and took advantage of naive teenagers (I found this listing on Fastweb, the scholarship search engine) who merely wanted money for college and maybe just a little affirmation of their perceived talent?
Yes. Obviously.

But even more than that, I simply feel like an idiot for believing that it was real. After all, Reno????
I'd heard of people being taken by scams (former Nigerian dictator, fake lottery winners) but did I ever think that I would be one of them? No, of course not. After all, I'm smart and would see right through those kind of things.

Ha.

So to usher in April I thought I would post a poem to commemorate my story, and hopefully (although, probably not realistically) redeem myself.

THE poem, in fact.


Everything Else

I sit here wondering about things.
My attention flutters from Christmas trees
To garden gnomes and their funny hats.
But never to you, never.
I never think about your face or the way you walk.
Or how I wish to say...
Nothing.
I wish to say nothing because I don't think of you
I think of everything else, because
What else would I think of?
The sound of your laugh,
Or the exact color of your eyes?
No, I sit here alone,
Without you,
Thinking about rubber ducks and lamp shades and rain.
And everything, anything else,
But you.

March 17, 2008

The Probably Neverending Story

I sincerely apologize for the following story, and you may wonder after reading it how I could write this kind of thing. The answer of course is somewhat easily, but only because it actually happened.

I'm in a photography class. Last week in our last class before spring break - oh, by the way HALLELUJAH - we went outside and took a roll of film, just for kicks.

We were kind of trying to make a spectacle of ourselves, and take pictures of what we were doing in the process. So we took pictures of all of us standing really close together, frozen in motion (with me and another girl beating up our TA) and, my personal favorite, of us standing on either side of a bike path applauding bikers as they rolled by, just like in the Tour de France. Except, um...not really. At all.
We were having a good time, and were trying to think of someway to incorporate random people in our picture on purpose. We didn't know who they would be, but we wanted it to be, again, somewhat of a spectacle.

Then, we saw Soren.

Soren was a guy standing at the end of a walking bridge holding a sign that said Dick Cheney should be impeached. Completely alone. He said a rehearsed line to all that passed about constitutional violations and the like, and he became our random person.
A brave person in our group went up to him and asked if he would be ok with being in one of our pictures and, being the obviously, um, outgoing guy that he was, he agreed. We all walked over and explained the picture we would take. The class would sit in a semi-circle around him and he would start talking, or start to pretend to talk to us like we were little kids and he was telling us a story. Probably about habeus corpus or something equally enthralling.
Then something happened that I can neither explain, nor recall without reeling back in disgust, as I probably will be doing for eternity.
He turned to my TA (who had the camera) and said,

"I don't want to be in any pictures unless someone shows some nipple."


. . . .


Yeah. I wish I were kidding. Really I do.
My TA replied that those weren't really the kind of pictures we were taking, but....
Soren said ok, but could he provide the, um, requested uh, yeah?

Sure.

?

So the picture, which I'm sure will be a gem, shows about 15 college students sitting at the end of a bridge in front of a weird bearded man, holding a sign with the words "Impeach Cheney" on it, who happens to be obviously exposing one side of his chest.

As we walked away, he handed some of us business cards, which really were just pieces of paper about the size of playing cards with his name and email on them. His name - Soren Sorenson. I wish I had been surprised, because then the whole thing might have been just a little funnier. Alas, it is merely mildly nauseating.

March 11, 2008

Coming Soon: Something I'm Excited About

Marlee Matlin is going to be on Dancing With the Stars this season.

I am already amazed.

Not only is she awesome (because she was on the West Wing. Oh, and won an academy award...) but she is also deaf. How cool is that? Not, of course that she is deaf, but the fact that she's going to participate in a dancing competition broadcast on national television. Still, it makes me wonder if from now on the producers are purposely going to look for unlikely candidates for participants. Just think, next time they could pick someone that was blind, and then the season after that someone in a wheelchair or who needed to use crutches all the time and then finally they'd let Lisa Rinna on, only because she fits into this category what with her, shall we say, intellectual failings.*
I have to admit that I am pretty excited for this season. Penn Jillette is going to be a contestant, so he's definitely going to trash talk the judges every chance he gets, and Kristi Yamaguchi - my childhood icon, I think because of our shared names - will also be tearing it up on the dancefloor. (Yeah, I was just that corny.) She has a bit of an advantage what with her actual career, figure skating, closely resembling dancing, although not as much as its new Olympic rival (and massive waste of time, might I add) ice dancing.

If ever a celebrity ice dancing competition began on television, we'd really be in trouble.


*And yes, I called Lisa Rinna retarded. Deal. With. It.

March 7, 2008

Medium Stature Tales

It has been a while since I have updated my blog, so I have thus decided to relate several events that I have experienced in the last several weeks.

#1 - The Bus

I ride the bus quite a bit. Last Sunday, I sat down behind a little kid. He was probably around six or seven and at first I thought he was alone before I saw another kid a few seats away that I guessed may have been his brother. Even so, they were pretty young to be on the bus alone, but whatever, I'm not Dr. Phil and therefore am not going to condemn their parents for being irresponsible. I'm guessing that's what he does as I have, I am proud to say, never watched his show. Anyway, I was sitting there minding my own business when out of nowhere I see the six year old chewing on the cord you tug on when you get to your stop. I tried to look away and think of interesting or, at least, less disgusting things, but at this I utterly failed. I was transfixed. I understand that he's six and a boy, but this was just so gross!! I could not think of one reason, other than maybe coercion that someone would chew on something that many people grab daily and are probably never cleaned.
Then I saw it. This kid had a piece of gum that he would pull out of his mouth in a long-ish quarter inch strip, wrap around the yellow cord then proceed to chew off.
Ick.
It was wrong on so many levels. I really wanted to tell him to stop, but didn't.


#2 - Music

There are many times that I listen to music on the way to or from class. On this I am certainly not alone, but usually I don't have my music too loud because I'm afraid of dying and becoming a statistic. Seriously, would you want to be on the news because of your tragic bike/mailtruck collision death and have the newscast conclude with "The victim was reportedly wearing headphones and therefore did not hear the screams of small children as the truck began to tip over. She was 19."
Anyway...I was walking to class last week, sans headphones, and as a girl with earbuds walked past me, I heard the music blaring out of the tiny speakers and then, the most depressing part, realized that I could tell what band she was actually listening to. It was really sad.
Oh, and it was Coldplay.


#3 - Oprah

I like Oprah, but sometimes I just want to shake her.
Lately I have been watching her show when I'm home and today she had Vera Wang and the director and cast of Across the Universe as guests.
I like Vera Wang. She's been on Project Runway a couple of times, and she seems like a very nice person and is obviously very good at what she does. (Particularly the marketing aspect - i.e. she's on Oprah. Probably best PR move of the year.) This part of the show was good. While I didn't like all of the clothes she showed, there were some cool things and she's selling stuff at Kohl's now which I think is very respectable for a designer - making good clothes more accessible to "normal" people.
The Across the Universe segment however....not such a fan.
Let me say first that it was a very daring film that took a lot of work and I respect that. But...it was probably the worst movie I've seen in a long time. Well, since Step Up at least.
First of all, it was the most predictable movie I have seen since, well, Step Up actually. (Which, may I say, I was forced to see. I want my $7 and wasted 2 hours back. No joke.) As far as acting goes, the main guy wasn't bad, except his haircut annoyed the crap out of me - it was half mullet half hockey hair - not a combination I would recommend. Evan Rachel Wood was basically the same character she always plays. Naive, sometimes "depressed", sometimes "happy", sometimes "mad", but never committing to anything resembling emotion or conviction. The rest of the cast was dismal, except for the guitar player from Detroit. He was the highlight of the movie for me. Not only could he actually act, sing, and play the guitar really, really well (at least I think it was him...) his character was actually genuine and had a story that made some sort of sense. The music was okay, but the whole time I was waiting for Rufus Wainwright to show up and sing Across the Universe. His version is flat out amazing, so naturally I was disappointed when they sang it in the movie. I will admit that I liked Hey Jude, but this was not enough to redeem the crap fest that is this movie.
Oprah apparently LOVED this movie and so had the director on. The funny thing was that she talked just as much about the Broadway version of Lion King (which the director of AtU created or something, I'm still not sure) than the movie before bringing out some of the cast to sing a medley.
I don't think I'm alone on this, but does anyone else find musical guests on tv shows awkward? Especially when they're just singing with a tape (as in today) and standing there with one hand in their pocket. It's just weird.


#4 - My thumb

Prety much just to entertain myself, here's an updated picture of the thumb. Fortunately it doesn't hurt anymore, but oh how lovely it has become.....


February 22, 2008

Trials and Tribulations

If I have learned one thing in the last 24 hours it has been that consistently hitting the space bar with one's left thumb is very difficult. I suppose if you're left handed it might be natural for you to hit the space bar with your left thumb, but as I am not left handed, this is a very rude awakening. Why have I switched to hitting the space bar with my left thumb, you may ask? Let me recount the story.

Yesterday I had a photography project due at 6:00. As I was not finished after we got back from our field trip, I headed to the dark room to finish up printing some pictures. I had 6 to make in a little over 2 hours. For those of you not familiar with the time frame of printing black and white pictures in a darkroom, this was going to be tight. Needless to say, I was somewhat confident that I could finish and have my project in our class cubby by 6.
My printing took longer than I expected, but I was almost done at 5:40 with only 1 print left to make. I picked the photo I wanted to use, lined it up, put it in the enlarger, adjusted a few things, focused the image and opened the drawer at my station to grab a piece of paper.
*A quick note on the drawers: There are 2 drawers at each station, the top one being a regular drawer to keep extra negatives/crap in. The bottom drawer, however, is light tight (kind of like this) so that one can keep paper in it outside of the containers you buy it in at the photo store. There is a metal top that, unlike the above link, hinges and snaps down as opposed to sliding which protects all of the contents of the drawer from dreaded light and, consequently, ruined paper.
Ok, so I grabbed a piece of paper, and began to close the drawer, but forgot to close the metal lid of the drawer before doing so. This caused said lid to slam down. On the base of my nail on my right thumb.

Yeah, ow.

I commenced freaking out silently as there were other people in the darkroom with me. Then, with tears in my eyes making my last print. But before doing this I glanced at my thumb, which in the orangy light looked like it had something black on it. I momentarily wondered why there would be grease on the edges of the drawers until realizing I was bleeding. Rushing to the sink, I rinsed off my hand, wrapped my thumb in paper towel and proceeded to make one of the worst prints EVER. Normally, I would care, but since after almost 10 minutes my thumb was still bleeding, I probably wouldn't have cared if the picture had been completely black. I just wanted to leave. I turned my project in at 6:01:22 only to forget part of it and return a few minutes later to add more things to my folder. Luckily, our TA hadn't picked up the projects yet, so I probably won't fail. Whoopdi freaking doo.


**Update**

Here's what a normal thumb looks like:



Here's my thumb:

February 3, 2008

Hey sports fans!

It is Superbowl Sunday.

I consider myself an occasional football fan. Usually, if my team isn't playing, I struggle to care about who is winning/losing/bleeding/going to jail on any given Sunday. Now, (I know that what I'm about to type is stereotypical and quite sexist, but whatever) I think this, in part, has to do with the fact that I am not a guy, but even so, I feel a little guilty about it. Granted not as guilty as I would feel if I didn't vote or shower or go to class as those things actually matter, but still on some level it feels like an injustice. A very small gnat sized injustice buzzing in my ear. Only on Sundays.

This being said, today is not one of those Sundays because I really, really want the Giants to win.

I don't particularly like the Giants. In fact, I'm still a little bitter that they beat the Vikings in 2000 41-0 to rob them of their own shot at the Superbowl. I don't really care about their record or the fact that they beat the Packers, and I'm not automatically a fan of Eli because I like Peyton. No, I just really want to see Michael Strahan make Tom Brady cry.

I realize that many people want to see the Patriots win because it would be historic, and amazing and the completion of a perfect season, but where's the fun in that? I think it would be just as historic and even more amazing if a team that everyone was saying would lose and lose big, with a relatively inexperienced quarterback and a defensive end with a HUGE gap in his teeth went out and completely blew away the "best team" in the league in the biggest game of the year.

So with that, I'm going to go put my game face on, root for the underdog, and prepare for the most amazing 28-24 upset turned grudge-match ever to be on national television.

GO GIANTS!!

January 31, 2008

In Istanbul, January is over.

True fact.

According to the world clock on my *beautiful* mac's dashboard, it is at this moment 1:40:26 am in Istanbul. Or is it Constantinople? I forget.
Here where I live, however, it is still January, albeit within the last 6.3 hours, which means that tomorrow is February.

Why is this important enough to include in a blog you may ask? Well the answer, of course, is that I wanted to write a blog and this was really the only newsworthy thing to write about today (besides the fact that I went to Chipotle today for the first time in about 6 weeks. How did I cope???). Also, my blog is of very little importance to many people (including, regrettably, myself sometimes) and thus, writing about unimportant things makes quite a bit of sense.

Which brings me to my next topic: LOST

Ok, I'm kind of kidding, and didn't mean to burn all of those people who like it, but since I brought it up....

WHO CARES?
When I first heard about LOST I thought it would tank in about 2 weeks, simply because it looked like the dumbest idea ever for a TV show and would've made a much better, although probably still bad, movie. While I realize this could be said for many shows (including some that I like) I always thought it particularly applied to this show. Also, it reminded me of a hybrid of Gilligan's Island and The Lord of the Flies which, when separate, are both funny and moving. Gilligan and his aquaintances create a society, tolerate one another, and (the professor, at least) build houses and other necessary tools/objects. Popular - mainly because it lifted the spirits of downtrodden Americans. In Lord of the Flies, the boys end up eating each other, bullying a chubby kid, and revert back to an existence similar to that of their Neanderthal ancestors. As I said, a barrel of laughs.

But could you imagine a show in which Gilligan, Mr. Howell and Maryann run smack into a loincloth-clad band of grimy preadolescent boys chasing a boar while on their way to make soap and champaign for their neighbors???

Apparently ABC could, and convinced a bunch of people, apparently, that this was "good" entertainment. They probably added a soundtrack though, so there's that.

As I said, this is all probably irrelevant, but to me, right now, it makes a little sense. We condemn celebrities and "celebrities" of being irresponsible, fighting for the spotlight no matter how desperate or deplorable they look. And yet, we know about what they do because we read the gossip columns, go on their websites and watch trashy TV shows. We talk about how these people should know better, but shouldn't we too know better? Maybe it's the election year catching up with me, but from where my car is, the traffic is pretty thick and the one way ended a couple miles ago.

In the mean time, I think I'll just sit here and wait for February, hanging by the last thread of my dignity, watching reruns on Nick at Nite.

Except I don't have cable. Damn.

January 29, 2008

Elizabeth Dole Has a Lime Green Suit

In honor of the state of the union, I have to decided to post a poem that I wrote over a year ago for my last high school English class. I think it is also appropriate to post because of the looming election, the Olympics and of course, the leap year.


Elizabeth Dole has a lime green suit.
She wears it among hues of polyester
so boring it makes me crave outrageous fruit

colors that penetrate the grays an blacks that fester
in Senate chambers. Maybe if they all dressed
like Mrs. Dole, they wouldn't worry about their big contributor

and instead try to put to rest
the division they've caused in their own country,
and to honestly do their very best

to actually represent their constituency
instead of hiding behind
the Washington bureaucracy.

On TV we find
talking heads who always claim
to know all answers undefined.

They rant and rave, whine and blame
but never admit their faults. There are far
too many Bill O'Reillys and they are all the same.

Whether hurricane relief or better fuel for my car,
there is always something to count on:
The brilliant failure of our

government to work united instead of withdrawn,
cowering in their corners.
Maybe if they wrote memos with crayons

of bright fruity colors, the expenditures
would decrease and actual progress -
not lobbyist sponsored manicures

would be made among the suits that attempt to impress
respect, but instead inspire
the constant scrutiny of the "fake" press

who are seen only as satire,
but surely will not become mute
until politicians change their attire.

January 24, 2008

Pat Sajak is my hero. Except not really.

I was watching the end of Wheel of Fortune the other night, for no apparent reason. Actually, yes, there was a reason. I was waiting for taco night to start and I wanted to play it cool and show up after 7:01, thus the watching of WoF began. (That is one of the most ridiculous acronyms ever. Besides EVOO, of course)
Typical shenanigans ensued, annoying contestants, one of them was completely lucky in getting a puzzle right, one was a guy who I don't think got anything, another was pregnant, nothing new. Then, Sajak, in his (probably) bottle blond glory impressed/disgusted me beyond human belief. Apparently, he has been nagging the producers for a massage chair to do the show in for, well, forever. Because standing there apparently isn't quite lazy enough. They gave him one, sort of. At the end of the show. Right before the credits. When he and Vanna (VERY unfortunate name) usually engage in the useless and occasionally mildly funny banter. This time, the banter was a shameful display of the most obvious product placement known to man. Sajak sat down first (ignoring the fact that Vanna had been walking back and forth in high heels for a half hour, pushing buttons that I've always doubted the existence of) and starts talking about the thousands of ways the leather vibrates blah blah blah. Then, Vanna's turn which, naturally, involved her sitting on Sajak's lap. Oh how I wish I were kidding. Then to close the show, Sajak, channeling Gene Rayburn, says -


"We'll be here vibrating if anyone needs us."


Of course you will.

January 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Mr. Bean

It was Rowan "Mr. Bean" Atkinson's birthday the other day. I missed it and I'm really, truly broken up that I didn't get him something. I was thinking earlier about all the things I could get him, but nothing seemed right. A new bear would probably just nudge out the one he already has. His watch was nearly cooked inside a turkey, and probably still is a little greasy. And, of course, counseling is always an option. Instead I've decided to share this picture with the world. Although taken before his birthday I strongly believe that subconsciously I knew I would have to make a belated wish somehow, so with no more ado, please feast your eyes on quite possibly the most wonderful and disturbing picture of me ever taken.

January 3, 2008

Resolution

Why do we do this,
participate in this nonsense about changing with a date?
Is today that much different?
Do we really feel a change?
Perhaps the air changes slightly,
the oxygen is taken away,
or the wind picks up,
enabling a vision of living somewhere new -
Venus or Saturn -
deceiving us just as
we deceive ourselves.
I wonder if they make resolutions
on Saturn and Venus.
Maybe there is no air to influence their decision
Or maybe,
just maybe
they examine their lives more
than once a year.
Maybe they care just as much
on April 19 as on December 31
about the people they slighted
the cookies they ate
words said
and not,
laundry yet to be folded
people left at the airport.
Maybe someday we'll find out,
meanwhile, though
we'll wait
rubbing our hands together,
stomping our feet
and checking our watches
standing lonely outside the terminal.