Monday, April 09, 2007

Random Like Ralph Macchio*

Hey there. Did you ever just click that "New Post" button without really any idea exactly what you were going to write about? You have? Great. Then, you have some idea what you're likely in store for here, I guess.

Frankly, I have several various thoughts in mind, but none are particularly post-worthy on their own. So let's try one of those bullet-point posts of randomness, shall we? It works so well for other people... Might as well give it a try myself...

  • List-a-licious
    Those of you coming in through Bloglines or Google Reader may have noticed I added a new post to my "Lists" list tonight. (Yes, I added it tonight, even though I post-dated it for sometime in January. Surely you're all familiar with this mechanism.) I don't imagine my list of concerts attended in 2007 is any more interesting to the average near-stranger from the Internet than any of my other lists are, but my selectively obsessive nature led me to create it anyway. I was a little surprised I didn't create this list sooner, but I realized after the Badly Drawn Boy show a few weeks ago that it was actually my first legitimate concert of the year. So much for all those people who think I go to "so many concerts." Three-plus months with no live music is not "so many" in my book.

    Speaking of books, I suppose I don't even really need a list to help my feeble, near-middle-aged mind recall all the shows I've attended recently, as I now have a lovely and practical book in which to aesthetically arrange the ticket stubs as evidence of all these events.

    This handy and awesomely obsessive-compulsive tool came into my life last week as a belated birthday gift from Stacy, who saw it on my Amazon wishlist and rightly assumed it was something I would find useful and yet would not likely splurge for on my own. Whoo! Clearly I was wrong to think birthdays get ever less eventful with each year. Getting surprises from Internet friends a full two weeks past my birthday? It really doesn't get much more spectacular than that.

  • Seriously, how would they fit a razor blade in there?
    I hope everyone had a very happy Easter. Or, for my non-Christian friends, I hope you had a lovely and relaxing average Sunday. Me, I took part in the third annual Urban Orphans and Heathens Easter Brunch, which this year was held in an Italian restaurant in Uptown instead of the retro haven that is Nye's Polonaise. (L Sass, these local references are for you, OK? Try not to miss home too much.) Nothing says Easter like pizza, pasta, waffles, and cannoli, right? I think a fine time was had by all.

    On the afternoon of Easter Eve, my doorbell rang, and despite the ever-present knowledge that a doorbell can mean only clipboard people and beggars, I answered it anyway. At my door was a polite and smiley woman with an Easter basket for me. "We're just here from [name of new church apparently opening just down the block]," she said, "And we want to wish you a very happy Easter and let you know we're in the neighborhood. Happy Easter!" She also told me I have a beautiful door. No one's ever complimented me on my door before. Do you think she actually meant it, or does she say that to all the heathens on my street?

    In the basket was a handful of Hershey's kisses, a Ziploc bag of Jelly-Bellies, and various bits of church-related propaganda. The What on Earth Am I Here For? pamphlet might actually be useful to me, frankly, if I could get past the fact that its title ends in a preposition. And who knows--the Changing from the Inside CD might actually contain some lovely, soothing tunes. I will have to remove it from its plastic packaging to find out.

    Speaking of plastic packaging, the question of the evening, following this event, was this: When handed a bag of re-packaged Jelly-Bellies from a presumably harmless church-representing lady and two innocent-looking school-aged kids, do you trust that they are wholly un-tampered-with and safe to eat, or do you toss them in suspicion and cynicism? I was on the fence in this dilemma myself. Two of the four friends I asked immediately said not to eat them, while a third friend shrugged and opened the bag to dig right in. The bag is nearly empty now, and neither she nor I have died as of yet. Score one for trust in humankind after all.

  • Also, I eat caviar and rare truffles for breakfast
    I think perhaps my small-town-dwelling father may be right after all: I have become an urban snob. His point of proof was the way I scoffed a few Thanksgivings ago when my older sister and I asked the bartender at the Manitowoc County supper club where we were dining if he had any red wine on hand and he answered, with a straight face, "Well, I've got this Mer-lott..." Not only did he pronounce the "t," mind you, but he pulled the bottle off of ice. I honestly am no wine snob (in fact, the only red I can recall ever complaining about with any insistence is a glass I had in San Francisco several years ago that was so pale it resembled Kool-Aid, and had the legs of Cherry Kool-Aid as well. But still, to my father, knowing red wine should not be chilled = urban snobbery of the highest offense. I may as well have been shunning Wal-Mart and Velveeta as well. (Oh. Wait...)

    Anyway, my point is he may be right. Clearly I have become a snob to some obscene degree. I cannot even imagine what he would say if he knew I purchased an $11 tube of deodorant. He would likely have a second stroke right on the spot if he knew that not only did I use that whole tube, but I recently bought a refill to replace it. And to hear that I made my shipping dollars go further by adding a backup tube and a $13 lip gloss to my order as well? Well, that might just be the very nails in his coffin, so to speak. Yes, thank God my father thinks the Interweb is a crazy fad that will disappear any minute, because reading this might just kill him, I'm afraid.

  • I'd file this under "Strangest thing I've done while sober this week," but I really couldn't justify this even if I'd had the better part of a bottle of wine beforehand, honestly
    Last night, I went to a movie with The Magical Boy. It was a last-minute plan that left little time for chatting and catching up before the lights went down and the previews started rolling, so after the show, we ended up sitting in my car for a good thirty minutes just rambling on about various things. Because no topic is verboten with MB, we somehow segued into the hazards of making out whilst wearing glasses (lenses smudged due to icky facial oils and all). MB claimed never to have noticed this problem, so I did the only logical thing following such an assertion: I blotted his forehead with a nearby library receipt in search of proof. Amazingly, (1. The paper remained clean and grease-free, and (2. MB did not immediately wave my hand (and the aforementioned library receipt) away in horror. My discoveries following this absurd event are thus: (A. The Magical Boy obviously is magical, because seriously, what mere mortal has no shiny spots by 9:00 p.m. in the evening-time? and (B. A true friend lets you blot their face without question or fear. This might be a new test to implement from now on.

All right; that oughtta give you enough to ponder for a while, I think. I'm off on the second-last of my meMarmony dates for this round tomorrow, so perhaps a Round 2 wrap-up of some sort is in the works for later this week. I'm a little concerned that such a recap will only depress me, but if there's anything I've learned about blogging in the past year, it's that you guys can make even the most painful and mortifying events feel amusing, so I look forward to that, anyway.

* This title makes little more sense than the flow of this post, but see here for an explanation, if you'd like. (That title was for you, of course, FunkyB.)


georgeious said...

i heart the ticket stub diary! derek is getting one for me, to put my police tickets into after the show, so how's that for coincidence?

are the clipboard people and beggars bothering you again lately, too? i feel your pain.

Darren McLikeshimself said...

"The What on Earth Am I Here For? pamphlet might actually be useful to me, frankly, if I could get past the fact that its title ends in a preposition."


lizgwiz said...

I've never gotten any candy from the roving Christians in MY neighborhood. Just pamphlets, generally. Once a magnet. I think I'm a little bit jealous, frankly. ;)

And, in defense of Velveeta (there's a phrase I never thought I'd type), it does make an excellent cheese dip. Or should I make that "cheese" dip? Either way, though, throw in some Rotel and I don't care how low-class it is--me likey. Hee.

L Sass said...

I am so jealous that you got to go see Ira Glass. Although, I picture him as, like, an accountant, at a regular institutional-looking desk, just doing a radio show on the side. I'm not sure that I want that image blown (hence why I'm also staying away from the TV show.)

Also, Nye's and Uptown, yippee, yippee! When I moved to New York, it took me a while to understand that in Manhattan, "Uptown" is a synonym for "North." To me, Uptown was just another neighborhood.

Noelle said...

Maybe when you finish the beans you'll see Jesus. Or maybe, they'll keep multiplying like magic until you're full. Did they give you some holy water to wash it all down?

-R- said...

You should have known the jelly beans would be ok because they can't kill you until AFTER they have converted you. Duh.

I cannot believe you blotted the Magical Boy. That is hilarious.

Am I a horrible blog friend for not buying you a birthday present? I did not realize I was so rude.

Finally, I still think you go to a lot of concerts, considering the one I went to on Friday was my first in two years.

stefanie said...

Georgious--Cool. I am glad I'm not the only one who thinks the ticket stub diary is actually a useful thing to have! (This may just mean we are BOTH dorks, but I am OK with that if you are.) :-)

Darren--Seriously. They couldn't just call it Why on Earth Am I Here? (Why oh why do these things actually bother me??)

Liz--Oh, I know. Velveeta is also good for grilled cheese sandwiches, if you ask me. (You need something that melts evenly, after all.) Also, I may or may not have some Kraft singles in my fridge. I'm not saying for sure.

L Sass--I'm staying away from the show not because it'll ruin his image in my mind, but because I don't have Showtime (or is it HBO? Whatever). In any case, I saw clips from it at the theater that night, and I think you'll be happy to know that Ira does sit at a desk, like an accountant, to introduce each segment. He won't be interacting with the interviewees. So I think it's safe to watch.

Also, I have always thought it made no sense that in Minneapolis, Uptown is south of Downtown. Obviously I'm looking at it from a directional point of view, and I've never even lived in Manhattan.

Noelle--I don't know about that, but they did include a little card explaining that each color of jelly bean symbolizes something Jesus-related. I had no idea people were mixing their religion into my Easter candy.

R--That's exactly what I said: that they wouldn't poison me, because then I wouldn't come to their church! Also, NO you are not a horrible blog friend for not buying me a birthday gift. Frankly, I can't believe anyone actually did send a gift. I certainly wasn't expecting it.

Blitz Krieg said...

I kept the ticket from every concert I've been too, my first being back in 1974. Unfortunately in the old days, I kept them in oe of those magic stick photo albums and now they are permanetly fixed.

I've cut them all out and scanned them and hope to eventually build a concert blog with those, photos I've taken and scans of the t-shirts. (I kept all those too.)

Babs said...

I hate to ask this (because I'm a pretty regular reader and I'm thinking I maybe just missed a post somewhere) but can you post more deatils on the Magical Boy? A boy that lets you "blot" him is pretty darn magical. :)

LC said...

Magical Boy sounds like a keeper. At least for now, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

That oil blotting test is awesome! I might steal it from you.

Carrie said...

It's so cute how you are a crusader for all things grammatically good, but you do your parentheses wrong. (I noticed this before, too.) It is like your brain gets a step ahead of itself only when you are listing items numerically. It really should be 1.), with the paren on the right. It's even cuter because you list things numerically in person all the time, too. I can't see the parens while you talk, otherwise I'd have warned you sooner.

However, I might add, if someone could make parentheses visible, it would be you.

stefanie said...

OK, Carrie, you get your own comment reply (and I'll come back for the rest of you later).

First, is this the first time you've de-lurked to comment? Maybe you commented once before; I can't recall. I was just trying to decide how I feel about you using your first-ever comment to chastise my parentheses use! :-)

OK, so you knew I was going to look this up, right? Honestly, I didn't realize there was a set and "correct" format for punctuating in-sentence lists; I thought any of several formats were acceptable (within reason, of course). Leave it to the copy editor to set me straight. ;-)According to The Chicago Manual of Style, however, we're both wrong. They say in-sentence lists should have parentheses around the number or letter (on both sides) with no period or other punctuation. I shall punctuate future lists in that way, and when I do so, you shall no longer tell me that I'm wrong. Deal? :-)

stefanie said...

P.S. Can we agree at least that mis-punctuating in-sentence lists is a minor offense? ;-) I mean, it's not like I preceded the list with a colon when the intro wasn't an independent clause, or that I put ending punctuation inside a parenthesis when it should be outside... (Don't take away my grammar award, OK?) :-)

stefanie said...

OK, now back to the rest of you... :-)

BK--My, that is an ambitious project! I'm uncertain about locating all my old ticket stubs, and my collection goes back only to around 1996! It will be a cool virtual album when you're done, though. (It will be especially entertaining to see the ticket prices, of course. I'm sure arena shows back then were a mere fraction of what they are now.)

Babs--See, this is the problem with having a code name for only one of my friends. I was going to start using his real name, but he said he prefers the magical alias. Anyway, if you look at the comments on this post, you'll see 3Carnations had the same question, and I replied with links to the posts where I've mentioned him before.

LC--I don't know if I'd recommend that test for anyone, but it would certainly be amusing to try.

NancyPearlWannabe said...

I get you on the making out with glasses on thing. It's especially hard when you both have glasses.

Carrie said...

I think I delurked once before, but I can’t remember what for. I knew this was a touchy matter, but in my critique of your grammar, I called you cute...twice, so it can’t be all that bad.

I looked it up in CMS too (because I’m just as much of a geek in this regard as you, obviously). You know, I didn’t care much for their suggestion to use double parens. I thought it was fussy. I decided to use my favorite of all CMS rules, the meta-rule, the one that says: Hey, don’t take all this stuff too seriously. As long as you are consistent, things are good.

At least your backward sense of parenthetically numbering run-in lists was consistent! Yes, a minor offense, and no one shall call in the grammar police.


Thanks for the shout out!!!! :) I haven't done a Random Like Ralph Macchio post in a while. The first one was so, um, "well received" that I should definitely do them on a more frequent basis.

Oh, and ... for the record ... It's *GOOD* to be an urban snob. I'll freely admit that I'm an urban snob!! :) At the same time, I have nothing but love in my heart for the small towns. I was born in a small town ... Heeeeeey, I've heard that somewhere before. ;)

stefanie said...

NPW--That was actually another point I brought up--wondering how it works when you're both wearing them. Guess I've never made out with a glasses-wearing guy.

Carrie--You're right; you were plenty nice in correcting my grammar, so I wasn't offended (just defensive, of course). ;-) I like your meta-rule. I am the keeper of the standards at work myself, and that is sort of the rule I go with a lot of the time: "just be consistent and I don't care how you format it."

FunkyB--Heh. I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that you are the first person ever to invoke John Mellencamp in my comments. Thanks for that. :-)

Simone said...

I just HAVE to say with at least a 2nd reference to a preposition at the end of a sentence: Latin rules on the English language are silly. (I don't care who made them!) Language changes because of the speakers and no normal English speaking person speaks that way! For What on Earth Am I Here? Ridiculous! :D

Simone said...

I mean, For Why on Earth Am I Here