Friday, June 29, 2007

All your base are belong to us

Something very frightening and unfortunate happened to a friend of mine a few weeks ago. On her way home from a club after a Thursday night out, she was pulled over on suspicion of DUI. I say "suspicion of" because she did not actually take a breathalyzer test that evening, so I have no idea how inebriated (if at all) she really was. I won't go into the details (because I'm not entirely clear on them myself and also because it's not my story to tell), but I will say that she ended up missing that party I hosted recently not because she flaked out, fell asleep, or got a better offer, but because while I was mixing mojitos with my new muddler, she was bonding with prostitutes and drunkards in a city jail. Good times.

Hearing that my friend, a respectable, responsible, home-owning, proper job-holding grown-up with her head screwed on mostly straight was suddenly draining her savings to cover bail money and lawyer fees and having to get up at 5:00 a.m. to catch the first of her three-leg bus journey to work instilled a bit of fear in me. And in light of that fear, I did what any sensible girl (read: huge nerd with an Internet connection) would do: I ordered a personal breathalyzer.

You didn't even know you could buy such a thing, did you? Well, you can. And you can spend anywhere from $20 to $120 (or more) on it. I opted for a lower-end model, and I am quickly coming to realize that perhaps, as with so many things in life, you get what you pay for. More on that in a minute. First, I want to clarify something. I feel a wave of backlash brewing, and I would like to stop for a moment to explain that I did not buy a personal breathalyzer because I routinely get myself all liquored up and then casually slide behind the wheel hoping for the best. I did it because frankly, I have no idea what .08 feels like. I suspect most of you don't, either. Clearly this would be useful information to have in mind. If nothing else, I figured it might make a fun party game. You know, in a bizarre frat house sort of way.

I've tried out my little white breathalyzer a few times now, and each time it has met with mixed results. So I thought tonight I might do a sort of hour-by-hour study to see just how well this new toy works. (I'm here to help, people. It's all in the name of science and public service.) I opened a bottle of Riesling as I made my dinner*, and I've been taking periodic swigs and readings ever since. At last check, I had about 3/4 of the bottle downed and was feeling a wee bit wobbly, and yet, this is what my ever-so-helpful Safe Mate(R) personal breathalyzer had to say.


.02! After 3+ glasses of wine! Either I am obese and a lush and my blood is impervious to the effects of alcohol or this little tool is a tiny piece of crap. I am well aware that my weight is running a bit heavier these days, but I'm still going to go with the latter.

Of course, there's always the possibility of operator error. The instructions weren't terribly thorough, after all. Sure, my hairdryer came with detailed and careful instructions documenting each step of use and care. But my personal breathalyzer? Never mind that it's not the sort of gadget most of us have used a thousand times; apparently "you'll figure it out" is good enough in this case.

The instructions aren't just unclear and incomplete, however. They're also poorly translated. This is the silver lining in a possibly pointless purchase, of course. I love an amusingly bad translation. Just check out the features of the Safe Mate Personal Alcohol Tester, as listed in my tiny and near-useless owner's manual...

  • This unit is designed to detect the percentage of the alcohol in your breath, so you may know how much you are drunken!

  • Although tiny in size, it has the feature of much larger (and more expensive) unit. You can also use the unit as a gas leakage tester.

Note that the manual doesn't tell me how to use the unit as a gas leakage tester. Nor does it explain the cryptic string of letters that often scroll across the screen when I try to get a reading. Apparently these aren't details worth mentioning. Hmm.

So. Twenty-four bucks and a bottle of wine later, and I still don't know just how "drunken" I am. Perhaps I should stroll down Central Avenue and seek out a police officer willing to help me with a comparison study? Somehow I doubt Minneapolis's finest would be amused by that proposition. Some other time, maybe.

* Honey mustard chicken (recipe courtesy of Metalia) and parmesan mashed potatoes (like Nabbalicious made). Yum.

Five things someone really needs to invent (Alternate title: Where's my damn hover-car already?)

Some people are big-thinker types with genuinely genius ideas. I am not one of those people. Not usually, anyway. Here, however, are five things that I truly think this world needs... five things someone should invent, like, NOW.

  1. A perfume search engine that would help me pick a scent based on the smells I like and the other perfumes I've liked in the past. Sounds simple enough, right? But wait. There's more. After I've found some promising results, I would like the site to be able to send me samples of my search results for a nominal fee, so I don't have to invest $60+ in a perfume I don't actually like nor go hunting all over town to try them out. Surely I cannot be the only person with this idea on my wish list. Has someone already invented it and forgotten to tell me?

  2. An above-car messaging system to allow me to communicate with nearby drivers. I am envisioning some sort of large lighted display with scrolling text, inputted by voice recognition, of course (reading while driving might be distracting enough; I'm surely not advocating driver-seat typing as well). This system could serve many purposes, from the obvious cursing and reprimanding bad behavior to some not-so-subtle flirting with the very attractive man in the next lane to helpful tips such as "Hey buddy; mind turning your blinker off?" or "Dude! Lights would be good here!" I suppose this system would likely just fuel road rage, but I can't help wanting it anyway. Instead, I have to simply hope that the jackass in the black pickup who tried to run me out of my lane on my way home last night (and then had the nerve to honk at me and flip me off when I didn't successfully make my car vaporize for him) actually reads my blog, because this is the only venue through which I can say to him, "Excuse me, sir, but would you like me to define the word YIELD for you?!? Because obviously you're not quite sure what it means!" Um, yes. Like I said. Rage. Maybe it's best not to pursue this idea after all.

  3. Health clubs that are powered by the energy generated from the people working out within the building. Seriously, if impoverished countries can install merry-go-rounds that pump clean water to a village through the power generated by the kids playing on it, and if a clever Brit can install plates in a road to capture kinetic energy from passing cars and use it to power nearby traffic signals and street lights, why can't we fuel a building using the people-power generated from a treadmill or elliptical inside? How awesome would that be? Al Gore would be so pleased. Come on, science! Let's get moving on this!

  4. A helpful and effective personal shopping service at a store I can actually afford. Sure, the ladies at Macy's or Nordstrom would be happy to help me figure out what a thirty-something who's averse to gauchos and formal shorts should be incorporating into her wardrobe for maximum style and versatility, but it's hard to mix and match when I can afford only one piece. I'm not suggesting a style guide service at Target or Old Navy, but... wait. Actually maybe I am. Hmm.

  5. And finally, just because I am having a ridiculous time maintaining any sort of willpower and sticking to any type of sensible eating plan, could someone please genetically engineer carrots and broccoli so that they taste like cookie dough and mashed potatoes? That'd be great. Thanks.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

All the birds sing words and the flowers croon

Well, we survived 26+ hours on the road in a rented Impala, and miraculously, all four of us are still friends. If that's not a successful road trip, I'm not sure what is. I mean, we made it through Chicago road construction traffic-induced squirrelly-ness (I may have actually attempted to claw my way out of the rear passenger-side window at one point), seemingly unending rounds of The Question Game, minor digestive issues, and a punch-drunk over-enthusiastic sing-along of The Lonely Goatherd that our sole male travel mate was particular unamused by, and we all still returned home unscathed. I should take more road trips, really. Yay us.

I am a little disappointed to report that I was not offered the key to the city or any such similar honors, but I had a fine time in Columbus nonetheless. I'll post some photos on Flickr eventually. It's been a busy couple of days since my return.

I got back just in time to meet Noelle of The Daily Tannenbaum last night. She was in town visiting some college friends, and -R- and I met up with her (and three of her lovely and charming friends) at my favorite local tiki bar. Long ago, I dubbed this spot the "official place to take visiting bloggers," but I didn't actually expect any of them would ever make it here. Thank you, Noelle, for being the first to meet me in the not-so-frigid north. So sorry it was approximately 117 degrees during the course of your stay.

I haven't done this blogger meet-up thing very many times yet, so it's still a wee bit nerve-wracking, not unlike a meMarmony or Match date, except that I actually care what the near-stranger thinks of me and that I am quite confident neither of us is contemplating sex with the other at any point in the future, near or far.*

Personally, I had a fine time, and I only hope Noelle et al did as well. It was one of those times when I was well aware that I was rambling near-uncontrollably and doing so at my usual approximately 300-words-per-minute pace, and yet I was unable to either stop nor slow down. I should have known I was heading down that path when I gushed over Noelle's pretty, pretty skirt before even properly introducing myself, and yet, I ordered a potent tiki drink and the requisite Minnesota deep-fried cheese curds and persisted anyway. To Noelle, Penelope, Dude the Girl, and The Grey Boy, I am sorry if my verboseness frightened you. (I'd apologize to you too, -R-, but frankly you've hung out with me enough that you should really just expect it at this point.)

Anyway, all social awkwardness aside, I say that enjoying tiki drinks, fried cheese, and juice-box wine with similarly bespectacled friends is a fine way to spend a warm summer night, and from the looks of this photo, I hope these two agree.

Noelle, R, and me

* I could have left this comparison out, of course, but I'm sort of angling for a more scandalous rating than my current PG-13, and I figured the word "sex" could only help.

Parents Strongly Cautioned

Thursday, June 21, 2007

On the road again

I am heading out of town again bright and early tomorrow morning, so as usual I am up late, running around like a crazy (or at least madly disorganized and indecisive) woman trying to get everything together before I go. I really am the world's worst packer. I have no idea why I haven't figured out some way to remedy this by now.

This time I'm off on a road trip with three friends to Columbus, Ohio. Yes, Ohio. I am taking a mini-break to the Buckeye State. We are going to go to Comfest and check out my good friend Jamie's old college haunts and, of course, finally see what chili tastes like when poured on spaghetti and smothered with shredded cheese.* Yum.

Since Ohio is to me what Germany is to David Hasselhoff,** I fully expect to be greeted with banners and much fanfare when I arrive. I may be setting myself up for disappointment with that theory (particularly since I didn't actually even warn Ohio that I was coming), but this is, of course, only one of many amusing little delusions regularly stirring around within my pretty little head, so I'm sure I will forget about it soon enough. They do have wine in Ohio, right? That oughtta distract me from my misguided hopes of fame and fortune for a while...

I haven't taken a bonafide road trip in about nine years, so my vision of the whole experience may be a bit hazy. I am imagining wild and memorable times, when in fact, it will likely be just an amusing and yet relatively uneventful 26 hours in the car with some friends. And really, that is fine with me, I guess. I mean, the movie version of a road trip is exciting, sure, but it can be a hassle and a pain as well. As an example, here are five things that could happen on my road trip this weekend, if what I've seen in movies is any indication.

  1. I could fall asleep while my friend Greg is driving and wake up to hear a couple on the opposite side of a divided highway shouting that we are going the wrong way. The four of us will, of course, chuckle carelessly to ourselves, thinking, "What do they mean we're going the wrong way? How do they know where we're going?" Shortly thereafter, we could collide head-on with a semi. Or just be scared shitless by one.

  2. I could decide to transport a supposedly dead deer in the back seat of the car, only to realize, several miles down the road, that the deer is not quite dead and is instead going to tear up the insides of the rental car trying desperately to escape.

  3. My friend Lisa and I could unexpectedly decide to murder a man who messed with us in a bar, and we could find ourselves on the run from the law, try to escape to Mexico, and instead careen ourselves (and our rental car) into the Grand Canyon.

  4. We could miss a turn and head west instead of east, and end up in Las Vegas, where we would count cards in our K-Mart underwear and bet our way to the winner's suite for the night.

  5. Our car could lose its first and second gears, requiring us to run alongside it, pushing it to get to an adequate speed, and then jump quickly inside once it kicks in.

And really, that's just a brief sampling of all the things that might happen while I'm gone. I guess I have 13 hours on the road tomorrow to think about many more.

Have a great weekend, everyone. I'll catch you all next week.

P.S. Please don't rob my house while I'm away. I have people in Ohio who will hunt you down if you do.

* Darren, I totally wanted to link to your Cincinnati chili post here, to make up for you being the only blogger I didn't link to in my scattered whirlwind of a post yesterday, but 11:53 p.m. is just too damn late to be combing through your archives when I have a 7:00 departure time in the morning. (Feel free to refer us back to that post to enlighten us in the comments, though, if you like.)

** I am, of course, exaggerating more than a bit. But I am big in Ohio, after all.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Flying pigs and other miscellany

My deepest apologies to anyone who read Monday's post and thereafter heard the little voice in their head singing The Violent Femmes' "Kiss off" on constant repeat for the remainder of the day. Nabbalicious in particular was apparently a bit peeved. Can't say I blame her, though I do maintain that there are plenty of far worse songs I could have embedded in your brains instead. (See GG today if you don't believe me.) Still, if I had simply added another bullet or two to the list, the whole incident could have been avoided, as I can't really imagine myself ever writing the sort of post that would warrant the title Nine for a lost god. Incidentally, I had to look that line up. I have never had any idea just what they were singing there. (Did you?)

By the way, I do realize I have probably just successfully planted the chorus of "Kiss off" right back in your brain again. Terribly sorry about that. I'll move on now, OK?

As it turns out, if I had included a ninth bullet in my weekend recap post the other night, it might perhaps have been a snack food review for your consideration. Frito-Lay has a new brand of "healthy" snacks that they deem so "Impossibly Good," they've chosen a flying pig as the snack's logo. (After perusing the ingredients list on the bag, I am actually not entirely sure just how "healthy" these snacks really are, but that is not the point of this paragraph.) Anyway, they are called Flat Earth crisps, and a team of smiling Frito-Lay representatives in matching t-shirts was handing them out at the Stone Arch arts festival on Saturday. I took a bag of the Wild Berry Patch flavor and examined the description and ingredients. I am not sure exactly what I expected a chip made from "a blend of rice, potato, and fruit" to taste like, but I definitely did not expect it to taste like Pop-Rocks. Do you remember Pop-Rocks? I have not had that weird fake-fruity, bubbly, exploding candy in years, but upon my first bite of Wild Berry Patch Flat Earth crisps, I said--out loud, I might add, because I am inappropriate like that, and I apparently want people in public places to see me talking to myself and deem me a lunatic (Is it really any wonder I rarely meet prospective dates in my normal day-to-day life anymore? I guess not.)--Anyway, I said (out loud), upon my first bite, "These taste like Pop-Rocks!" And then I smiled to myself and continued snacking on the chips because, hello, a rice-and-potato-based snack chip that tastes like an absurd candy from your youth? Tell me that doesn't sound weirdly delicious to you.

When I went to the grocery store last night, I saw that Frito-Lay's marketing efforts are in force there as well. The outskirts of the Natural and Organic Foods section featured a tremendous pallet of all six flavors. I decided to stay away from the veggie ones for now, because while they might be differently but equally tasty, I could not imagine anything but disappointment when compared to Pop-Rock Candy fruit chips. I bought the Apple Cinnamon instead. (They are reasonably tasty as well, though likely wouldn't have warranted any review or mention on their own.)

Incidentally, if you happen to try these and decide that the absurd berry flavor is anything but delightful, I do apologize. Many of us take blogger recommendations fairly seriously, but not every recommendation can be a hit with everyone. As an example, let's talk about Miss Peach (or, not Miss Peach herself, but a thing or two that she has recommended). By my assessment, Miss Peach is, in all ways, quite awesome. She is lovely and whip-smart and wrote some damn amusing blog entries before real life clearly interfered and took her away from all of us. I even met Peach last fall, and I can vouch for her being a charming and affable dinner companion off the blog as well.

So. Big fan of Peach. That's what I'm saying. Unfortunately, not everything that Miss Peach loves is really for me. College football, for instance. Couldn't give half a damn about that. And Lifetime made-for-TV movies. I thought I could enjoy the occasional guilty pleasure of a dreadfully contrived drama. I have, after all, sat with semi-rapt attention through both She Fought Alone (starring both Tiffani Amber Thiessen and Brian Austin Green, in an awesome pre-90210 pairing) and A Friend to Die For (also known as Death of a Cheerleader, starring Kellie Martin and the always-talented Tori Spelling). This past weekend, however, while I was immobilized in the heat coma on my living room couch, I decided to see just how many Lifetime movies I could sit through before I started wanting to make terrible things happen to the women in the movies myself. (Answer: two and a half. Likely less if they'd been consecutive.)

All of this round-about rambling is my way of getting to the explanation of why I had to abandon Richard Ford's The Sportswriter, despite my long-standing and rarely broken "when I start a book, I must finish it" rule. (Did you all read Metalia's cautionary tale about how writing a little outline before you start a post might be helpful? Yeah, apparently I am not taking that advice.)

Anyway, Miss Peach raved about The Sportswriter a few months back, and because I trust the woman's opinion (and I enjoyed the excerpts she included), I added it to my ever-growing "Get at the library some day" list. Shortly before my Austin trip, I went to the library in search of an on-deck book to start after Prep, and I found The Sportswriter met my requirements. (My requirements, by the way, were three-fold: I needed a book (A) whose title and author I could recall, (B) that the library actually had on the shelf at that moment, and (C) that was small and light enough to fit in my mid-sized messenger bag.)

Don't get me wrong. This book is well written. Unfortunately, it's well-written the same way The Corrections was well written. It contains some beautifully crafted prose, some passages that are awe-inspiring in their spot-on capturing of ordinary life in not-so-ordinary detail. But I didn't care one whip about any of the characters, and 80 pages in, I still had no idea when any sort of interesting or engrossing story might actually start.

I did make it past the point where the famous Nancy Pearl would say I could stop. Her Rule-of-50 (described at the end of this post, which I wrote after seeing her speak in Minneapolis last year) says I should give every book at least 50 pages before deciding if it's worth the effort. If you're over 50, you get to subtract your age from 100 and read that many pages instead. I actually stuck it out past page 67, which, at age 33, is the point I'd have to reach if following that alternate rule. On page 80, though, I read this line:

But that is not so much the point as a way of getting around to it.

And at that moment, I nearly hurled the book at the wall because it so aptly described the entire novel up to that page. I was tired of waiting for Ford to get around to the point, so I will be taking Nancy Pearl's wise advice and not finishing this one. Life's too short and there are far too many better books out there to read. Like The Time Traveler's Wife, which I am fully enjoying even if I can't really accurately describe why. Or Prep, which I might have enjoyed more had I not read it immediately after my favorite so far this year but which I thought was well-written and enjoyable anyway. I still want to write some sort of recap of that for my own records (and those of anyone else who finds that sort of thing at all interesting), and I realize I said I was going to be chronological and not mention The Sportswriter until I'd posted that last one. I just want to get The Sportswriter out of my house, however, so out-of-order will have to do.

Know what else will have to do? This abrupt and non-conclusitory* end to one of my most meandering posts to date. "Kiss off," Pop Rocks chips, Lifetime television, and aggravating novels. How else would you sum all of that up?


* So totally a word. Or, not, really, but I am tired, so it's a word for now at least.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Eight, eight, I forget what eight was for

I am pleased to report that it is currently a refreshingly mild 78 degrees in my house, with a light breeze coming in through my windows and offering a lovely reprieve from the lethargy-inducing sauna I've been living in since last Wednesday. Whoo.

Since I was lying in a heat coma for most of the weekend, I didn't have the wherewithal for any sort of proper post. Besides that, I'm all about the bulleted list recap anyway. All the cool kids are doing it, after all.*

How I spent my weekend, in eight-point bullet form.

  • Realized that earning an English degree does not, in fact, automatically mean I am smart enough to follow what the hell is going on in a Shakespeare in the Park performance of The Tempest if I'm not going to bother paying attention to the first ten minutes of it and if I cannot refrain from zoning out during additional five-minute segments throughout.

  • Spent approximately 90 minutes in transit to and from Walker Art Center (including a few necessary detours and a shouldn't-have-been-necessary 15-minute circle around the parking ramp in search of a spot) in order to spend only about 60 minutes sipping a Target-themed cocktail, snacking on cheese cubes, cookies, and cherry tomatoes, and looking (admittedly briefly) at art. (Note to self: If I'm ever to attend one of these overpriced Friday evening events again, really must get there earlier next time.)

  • Pondered how the weekends might not fly by quite so quickly if I didn't sleep through half their daylight hours. Decided to ignore this information, as sleep is far more fun than making productive use of a Saturday. (Scratch that. Sleep is productive use of a Saturday.)

  • Wondered what temperature my living room would need to reach before I might actually melt into the threads of purple chenille on my couch.

  • Strolled through rows upon rows of tiny white tents bearing art and handicrafts at the Stone Arch Festival of the Arts. To my mild dismay, this year's show was a bit heavier on the craft than the art. I may have seen brightly colored hair scrunchies, 80s-esque fractal prints, and a cartoonish line drawing of a grizzly bear on a toilet with the caption "Bears don't always do it in the woods." In case it isn't obvious, I bought none of these. I did, however, buy a CD by a talented skinny little hipster boy who played a lovely set beneath the Central Avenue bridge. Go check him out. Just don't tell him I called him a skinny little hipster boy, OK?

  • Bit my tongue while a father told his son, "You wanted to see the Stone Arch Bridge? That's the Stone Arch Bridge." Unfortunately, this...

    NOT the Stone Arch Bridge not the Stone Arch Bridge.

    This is.

    Indeed, the Bridge of Stone Arches

    Too bad the kid likely doesn't read my blog.

  • Saw the new St. Anthony Falls Water Power Park... Where history, research, renewable energy, and natural beauty meet! Or, where some brilliant city planner saw an eyesore of a power structure and decided to build a park around it. Whee.

  • And finally, ditched a book that wasn't doing it for me for likely only the third time ever, and started instead on one that's already a hundred times more entertaining. More on that a bit later, however... Like Sognatrice, I'm all about chronology in my book reports, and I'm still one book behind on those.

* In this case, of course, "cool kids" means bookish and bespectacled types with minor kickball phobias and some excess beer in their fridge. You know... sort of like me! (Definitely cool, obviously.)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

This just in: It is hot. Also, I have tips. (Many tips. English tips. Or, no tips. There won't be any tips of any kind.)

First things first. I feel compelled to mention that it is currently 87 degrees in my house. I know this not just because of the handy little digital display on the programmable thermostat in my bedroom, but because the previous owner left no fewer than eight thermometers situated in various areas of my home. Apparently Ralph was a bit of a weather buff. I am actually afraid to go see how much hotter the upstairs thermometer reads. (Hot air rises, after all. Science is fun, folks.) Actually, I'm not so much afraid to go up there as too lazy to do so. Let's just say it's likely 110 up there and leave it at that.

Anyway, I am hot. That is my point. And to all those people I scoffed at when they said they couldn't live without central air? All those people to whom I've said, "You really only need it four days a year..." To all those people, I would like to say, OK fine. You are right. Now can I come sleep at your house tonight, please?

Honestly, what the fuck, people? It is only June. Argh.

All right then. Moving on. Since I have been a bit delinquent and tardy in my Friday Five postings of late, I thought I would get this one in early this week. The topic I'm going with tonight is not culled from any particularly recent experience. I haven't been on a date since the very nice but unattractive guy I met in the Mixology class a while back. Still. I've dated enough in the past couple of years that I'd like to think I've picked up at least a few pointers along the way. And not just pointers for myself (although those are plentiful, too). I'm talking about pointers for the men out there looking to get in good with the women they date.

This post is actually probably a dumb idea, now that I think about it, because (A) by my non-scientific calculations, I have approximately six men reading my blog, and (B) if I do have more than six men reading, a topic like this is more likely to offend and drive them away than make them feel I've helped in any real way.

I don't care. I'm going here anyway. Controversy be damned. Ready?

Five things all men should know about dating us

  1. You really do need to pay for the first date. No, you shouldn't have to. No, it's not "fair" or "right." Yes, it is the 21st century, and yes, chances are the woman you're with calls herself a feminist. I don't care. It is what it is. Just trust me on this. Pay. Don't blame me. Blame the 95% of other guys who insist on ponying up the bill for that initial date. In comparison to them, you'll look cheap, no matter how unreasonable and unfair that may be.

  2. While we're on the topic of first dates, stop thinking that drinks are the better option for a first date just because you don't want to invest the time or cash for dinner. If you choose the right place*, dinner can cost less than two drinks, and you can be out in an hour and a half. Drinks can drag on indefinitely. I speak from experience on this.

    * "Right place" does not mean overtly cheap. I am not suggesting a McDonald's or even Chipotle date. But there are plenty of kitschy and cheap but charming dive bars with good enough burgers to divert attention from the menu price. As a bonus, you get a casual laid-back atmosphere that always wins over stuffy first-date spots.

  3. If you pick her up, walk her to the door at the end of the night. Not only will it gain you points for chivalry in an age when chivalry is at best a novelty, but it also effectively facilitates the lean-in for a goodnight kiss. You can both hem and haw and make small talk in your car, neither one knowing whether to shut up and move forward or not, but the walk to the door is a cut-to-the-chase smooth exit plan with an automatic setup for a doorstep kiss.

    P.S. Ladies, this tip has a flip-side, as so many tips do. If you do not want a kiss, it's really best, of course, not to let the guy near your front door. A quick "thanks for a nice time" with your hand on the car door handle is typically the best option in that scenario. If you play it abruptly enough, you may not even have to have the awkward, "I'm just not feelin' it" follow-up conversation. [OK, honestly, you all hate me now, right? You're thinking I deserve to be single for life? Ugh. I am sorry. Just telling it like it is.]

  4. Please, do us all a favor and forget you ever saw the movie Swingers. The "three-day rule" is not a rule; it's a ridiculous and insulting game you play with our heads. Forget anything you've ever heard about waiting too soon to call after meeting (or after a date). I know no woman who was otherwise interested in going out with a guy but changed her mind and called it off because he phoned the following day. It doesn't happen, guys. Surprise us. Call.

  5. And finally, simply because I can't immediately think of another G- or PG-rated tip, I'm going to get uncharacteristically dirty for the second time this week and list something a bit more personal that's bugged me once or twice. You know how guys don't particularly like being pressured to perform? You know how it wounds your delicate egos if we ask you what's wrong or demand more than you've got at the moment? Well, the same thing goes for women, whether you choose to believe it or not. We may or may not "get there," but it doesn't mean we didn't still have a lovely time. Let it go. Don't pester and make us feel self-conscious. Better luck next time, OK?

Incidentally, I fully realize some of these may be controversial, so feel free to dispute me with your own arguments. No hate comments, please; we're all entitled to divergent views. Tell me, however, what tips are on your list?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Your Not-So-Burning Questions, Parte Dos

Friends, it is time for the second half of my much-belated response to the dating questions you kindly asked. It took me a full three weeks to post Part 1 and merely another week to follow up with Part 2. Let's call that progress, shall we?

I'm going to start with a question that wasn't actually in the original list, but that a commenter named Heidi asked in response to my Ridiculous Theories post last week. Theory #5 involved a bar that I refuse to visit with prospective dates because I am convinced that it is cursed. Apparently whether or not this theory is ridiculous depends upon the evidence. So here it is.

  1. The first time I visited said bar, it was with my then-boyfriend, and we went there basically to break up. Not a good start; wouldn't you agree?

  2. A few months later, I went to said bar with another date, a date who admittedly didn't do anything so awful except I suppose bore me a bit. (Oh, and plagiarize my "I'm just not into you" e-mail in order to brush off someone else.) A mildly bad date maybe doesn't lend a whole lot of credence to the curse theory, but I'm building evidence; stick with me, OK?

  3. A year after that, I went to said bar again with an early meMarmony match. It was a rare third date, and we had a fine time... many laughs, good conversation, plenty of compliments from him onto me... Before the night was through we were making out under a disco ball in his nearby office and talking quite convincingly about a fourth date. A few days later, he told me there would be no fourth date. He'd be dating someone else, apparently, instead. As if that weren't frustrating and ego-blowing enough, he boomeranged back into my Inbox several months later, having broken up with the girl who was at one point "better" than me. An innocent invitation for drinks turned into something that felt pretty date-like, at the end of which he asked me on that long-delayed fourth (or perhaps, fifth, depending on which ones you count) date after all... And then sent continually evasive and noncommittal e-mails until finally saying, "Sorry; I shouldn't have asked you that. I'm just not feelin' it, I guess." Score three (four?) for the jaded burlesque lady; she got me again with that guy.

  4. Around the time of the disco ball, no-fourth-date incident, a friend of mine went to this bar with a date, too. Just as with my date, things went rather well. There was good conversation and much enthusiastic pawing at each other in a car later on, as well as seemingly sincere talk of another date. She never heard from the guy again. Not only that, but another friend who it turned out worked with the guy later told us that he seemingly vanished entirely--quit his job unexpectedly and without explanation and was never seen by anyone there again. Mysterious? Yes. I am telling you, something's not right with this place.

  5. And finally, I have to point out perhaps the most innocent victim of all in this curse. Shortly after events #3 and 4, I was walking with some friends to breakfast at a nearby coffee shop when I saw a sweet-looking elderly couple hobble quietly past the bar in question. Directly in front of the door, for no discernible reason and with no advance warning at all, the old woman's legs gave out and she toppled quickly to the ground. Since then, I can't help but wonder if it's not enough just to avoid entering this bar with a man; I have to avoid even walking past it with one as well.

So. That's the bulk of the evidence. Tell me... bar curse: real or fake? You know my vote, of course.

OK, on to the rest of your questions. I didn't really mean for that first one to be a whole post in itself.

Liz wants to know... What's the age range you've dated? How many years older, and how many years younger than you?
I had one date several years ago with a guy nine years my senior, and twice I've gone out with guys four years younger than I. I'm sure it's all situational and depends on the individual, but in all three cases, I felt like the age range was too wide. The nine-years-older guy was 34 when I was 25. I was losing all my single friends to marriages at the time, and he was starting to gain his back due to divorce. It was just one of several examples proving we were at different places in life. Same goes for dating twenty-somethings now. I just don't see myself relating to most of them. It's fun to step back into that life for a little while, but long-term relationship potential would be tough. (For me, I mean. And with my limited experience dating younger men. Please don't send me hate mail if you're rocking an Ashton-and-Demi thing that works for you.)

Incidentally, the nine-years-older guy was listed as "Steve" in this post; the first four-years-younger guy was Aaron (and was the date on which I wore the shirt mentioned in BeingMcCrary's question for Part 1); and the second four-years-younger guy was the scary one who inspired the majority of this post last summer. (Man, it's fun having my whole dating life chronicled online for quick and easy reference.)

Married Jen wants to know... Do you believe in "dating karma"? Like if you don't like a guy who is obviously interested in you, that it will happen to you the next time?
I don't know that I believe in dating karma from that perspective, but I do wonder what I did to men in a past life to make me so unlucky in love this time around. I'm sure I was some sort of player or heart-breaker; I just hope I had fun while it lasted.

Married Jen also asked... What's the most creatively planned date you've ever been on?
You know, I should really have an answer to this by now, given how much time I've had to think about it. Unfortunately, the best I can come up with is the small dinner party that my first pseudo-boyfriend (in high school) and one of his best friends planned for me and the other friend's girlfriend. I wish I could remember the odd mix of foods they made. It surely wasn't a cohesive menu, but it was a very sweet 16-year-old gesture nonetheless. Slightly more recently, I also remember being about five months into my last "real" relationship and realizing I'd never really had a first date with my boyfriend. We'd started as friends and segued into more than that over time, so we never had an official first date. The day after our conversation about that, he sent me an e-mail asking, "May I take you on a date?" He made a reservation at a fancy restaurant we'd never been to; he picked me up bearing flowers and wearing a button-up shirt that was tucked in; and then he got really romantic and took me to see The Matrix Reloaded after dinner. (OK, so it may not have been totally romantic, but it was a good "first date," anyway.) And since I don't put out on a first date, he didn't even stay over that night. All right; in truth, I think the not-staying-over part was due actually to an early morning golf game; after all, if there's ever a time to be a slut, it's when you're on a first date with your boyfriend of five months.

LC wants to know... How do you feel about dating someone younger than you, nevertheless he shows he is a mature individual?
I know it all depends on the person, so I'm not saying there'd be no exception to my general feeling on this, but... see the response to Liz's question above. Also, I think Red said it best when she proclaimed, "If your age starts with 2, I won't date you." Seems a pretty good rule to me these days.

Metalia wants to know... Do you have an emergency plan to fall back upon (possibly involving friends, and code words) should the date turn out to be a bust from the get-go?
Perhaps I should (I do love a good code word), but luckily I've never really felt it all that necessarily. I rarely schedule a first date on a Friday or Saturday, and when you're meeting for drinks or coffee on a weeknight, it's not too hard to beg off with an early exit. Yes, I've had some painful dates, but generally I figure I can survive anything for two hours. I sat through Jersey Girl, after all. (And even most of From Justin to Kelly.) I do, however, wonder, any time I see a guy glance at his cell phone on a date, whether he might have some sort of emergency plan worked out.

And finally, Poppy, overriding her first comment that she didn't have an "appropriate" question for me, decided to ask this "inappropriate" one... Do you you respect the 3 date rule, wait a lot longer, or go for it on the first date if you feel like it?
I think Poppy's already gotten her answer to this, seeing as I wrote about it in comments on a few other blogs lately. (Apparently I'm hesitant to spill dirty details on my own blog, but have few qualms publishing them elsewhere on the Internet.) Let me start by saying there is a difference between a date and a bit of mostly meaningless action. If I said I have never had my Mildreds off* the first (and in most cases, only) night I've known a guy, I would, I'll admit, be lying. But if it's a real and proper date with a man I'm hoping to date again, I see no need to rush things along so quickly. Call me old fashioned, but can we not retain a bit of mystery, save some things for later, let anticipation build a little bit? Personally, I think the three-date rule is absurd, and not because I want to "go for it" earlier, but because I think less than ten hours into an acquaintance with a potential boyfriend is just too soon for certain things. Yes, I am a prude. Selectively, anyway. And that's all I probably need to say about that.

* I did say I enjoy a good
code word!

Thanks again for complying with my request for questions (and for humoring me as I thereafter neglected to answer them for weeks on end). Got anything else you want to know? Perhaps I'll answer it sometime next year. Perhaps.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Party prep: T minus four and counting

Just in case you thought perhaps my ineptitude in the kitchen knew some bounds, you might be amused to know that I just Googled "How to dice a tomato."

I maintain that if dicing a tomato the right way (as opposed to the sloppy and obviously wrong way I've done it so many times before) were innate knowledge, then this page would not exist. This is how we learn, people. Surely there's no shame in that. Incidentally, the tutorial was quite helpful. I don't know why it never occurred to me to ask Google about this before.

Actually, it might not have occurred to me today either, had I not found this video on how to make the national cocktail of Brazil* so unexpectedly useful in learning how very wrong I've been cutting limes for drinks all these years.

The Internet is an amazing thing, my friends. Whatever did we do without it?


* The hard-to-spell Caipirinha, of which NancyPearlWannabe is a big fan.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Five ridiculous theories my overactive imagination has cooked up

(Some are recent; some are not-so-recent but ongoing. All prove that I really ought to give my brain some better things to do.)

  1. I've had to squash four tiny spiders in my house in the past week. On one hand, ew; I hate spiders (bugs of all kinds, really). On the other hand, I am a little bit relieved. For months and months I saw not a single insect within my home. Also, in the nearly four years that I've lived there, I've yet to see even one mouse (knocking on wood furiously as I type that). Instead of taking this good fortune in stride, however, and entertaining the idea that my drafty old house might be more effectively sealed than I suspected, my kitchen more clean and food particle-free than I thought, I decided that there must be some silent toxin in my house that has exterminated all the bugs and is slowly killing me as well. No bugs surely must be a dire warning sign, a canary-in-the-mine phenomenon, if you will.

  2. Even though there are no bugs in my house, there's no shortage of them outside my house, unfortunately. The ants determined to take over my yard came back again this spring, and I remain convinced that the thousands that have made their way to the surface are just a fraction of the massive ant underworld surely living beneath my feet. I keep laying bait and killing colonies (I learned this last year--you need to bait them, not spray them), but they keep popping up again elsewhere, in equally large numbers each time. I really am frightened to resume my landscaping projects this summer, as I'm worried that when I dig down to unroot the unwanted shrubs in front of my house, I'll finally find the wriggling solid mass of ants I've suspected has been living and growing there all along. *Shudder*

  3. Lots of people probably have the occasional stubborn headache that they worry is a brain tumor. How many of them, however, become so scared it might be a stroke that they actually stare into the mirror trying to decide if one side of their face seems to be falling? Not many, I suspect. That one really might be just me. It was just the one time, but still. (Honestly, Stefanie...)

  4. Because hypochondria is apparently a hobby for me, I have also decided that my expanding abdomen isn't due just to my inability to say no to wine, cheese, and cake nor to the slowing metabolism that comes with age, but that instead I am one of those people with a volleyball-sized tumor growing in her stomach who has no idea there is anything wrong. (Mind you, I cannot actually imagine going to a doctor to say, "Um, I think I might have a stomach tumor," but the thought is there nonetheless.)

  5. There is a bar not too far from my house that I refuse to go to with dates, because I am convinced there is a curse on the place. I will go there with friends (not that my friends and I actually ever go there); it is just women on dates whom the curse seems to affect. I won't bother explaining all the very real evidence giving credence to this theory (I have at least four different stories that serve as proof); I will say just that I have given this theory so much thought that I've actually even decided upon the source of the date-jinxing curse. There's an enormous wooden burlesque dancer bolted to the wall above the bar, and I think she holds the spirit of a jilted lover who has decided to make all women who pass under her gaze suffer unhappiness in love as well. I have actually shared this theory with three different men (after they suggested going to this bar), and oddly, all of them still went out with me after that blatant admission of "Hello, I'm crazy." Note that I am not still dating any of them, however. Perhaps they were just being polite and making a slow, silent retreat.

So tell me. Am I the only one with this brand of lunacy brewing in my brain? Surely you've all got your own set of totally real-to-you theories the rest of the world just doesn't understand... Spill them and make me feel better, OK? Thanks.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Muddle me this

First off, thank you to everyone for your muddler-quest advice. I finally did find one in the overpriced kitchen gadgetry store near my office, so I am all set to muddle away at the gathering I'm hosting on Saturday. Of course, for the price I paid, I could have just as easily bought one on Amazon after all and paid the extra few bucks for shipping, but dammit, I wanted my muddler now, apparently.

Muddle on

I have been in that kitchen store probably only three times before, and each time, I've felt like an impostor, like I have a Post-it note stuck to my forehead announcing, "I don't belong here." It's not unlike how I felt the first few times I entered Home Depot on my own, or how a shy and conservative man likely feels walking into Victoria's Secret. "There is nothing for me here," I think. "I don't even know what half of this stuff does."

Truthfully, it's sort of fun wandering around a place where I'm so completely out of my element, though. I rather enjoy browsing through the bins of mysterious hand-held gadgets (cleverly not labeled in any way, so as to keep any inferiority complexes in check), wondering just what each one's purpose is and how many people would actually know that purpose on their own. My kitchen utensil drawer houses very little out of the ordinary. A teetotaler might be perplexed by the foil cutter I have on hand, but other than that, not much is a mystery in there. The usual patrons at the kitchen store really aren't "my people," obviously.

So anyway, I am hosting a gathering, which means I have spent this week making lists and tidying up and running around spending ridiculous sums of money on food and alcohol. I somehow manage to forget, each time I decide to have a party, just how expensive (and how much work) a party is. It's all self-inflicted, of course. Considering the party will, weather permitting, be in my yard, will anyone really notice if I don't dust my TV screen? Likely not. And do I really need to try to anticipate and prepare for every possible beverage need? Again, no. But once the planning gears start turning, it is hard to make them stop.

Tonight I went grocery shopping, and in addition to party supplies, I picked up a few staples I was low on as well. Everyone, please take a look at this Crystal Sugar bag and let me know if you see anything ridiculous.

I don't deserve my sugar bag

It says "Naturally Fat-Free." On a sugar bag. Because, you know, refined white sugar may be evil, but at least it won't make you fat. Oh. Wait. Right. (Crystal Sugar People, do you see a problem here?) I would love to have been part of the marketing meeting where they decided "Naturally Fat-Free" was a reasonable selling point. And what tag-lines did they reject before finally settling on that? Moreover, who are the people who actually expected to find fat in their white sugar, and are they buying and using more sugar now, because they're comforted by this newfound fact?

These are the things that puzzle me.

Do you think the flour bags now read "sugar free"?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

You ask and I answer (eventually, anyway)

So, um... remember that one day when I was too lazy or uninspired to think of my own topics, so I asked you guys to pick some for me? I suggested you ask me whatever questions you wanted about my dating life, and many of you kindly responded to provide me with blog fodder. And then? Yeah, then I promptly put off answering all your fine queries on the grounds of being busy lazy or something.

I don't know whether I really believe that old "better late than never" cliche', but I'm going to go ahead and finally answer these anyway, as though someone other than Poppy and Being McCrary are still waiting for them, OK? Maybe after that, I can do something equally timely, like perhaps recap the 2004 election or talk about the last episode of Seinfeld. Excellent plan, I say.

All right then. Your questions... (now with answers!)

FunkyB wants to know... Is there one particular (past or present) dating relationship that has become the standard by which you measure all others?
Sort of, but it's not one of my own relationships. I have two (married) friends who are so genuinely well matched and in love that they still look at each other today with the same glow and wonder they did years ago, when they first started dating. I'm not saying they have a perfect relationship (because who does, really, right?). I don't know that I even really want a large part of what they have. I'm a different person from either of them, and what seems to work for them would, I think, stifle me at times. But when I've been sad or felt something's missing from the relationships I've been in, it's usually that my boyfriend hasn't looked at me the way my friend looks at his wife, that he doesn't laugh at my dorky jokes or find my ridiculous quirks charming and endearing the way those two do for each other. So that's the standard, I guess. A lot of it comes down to that.

3Carnations wants to know... What was the length of your longest relationship? Tell us about him.
Almost every time I have mentioned an ex-boyfriend, it's been the same ex-boyfriend--the most recent one, though he's not at all recent anymore. (We broke up about two and a half years ago.) You know how Charlotte on Sex & The City says it takes half the total length of a relationship to get over the relationship? My apologies to everyone who'll shun me for taking any life advice from that show, but I do think she was right on that. Case in point: Jimmy the pothead. We dated four months, and I was pretty much over it in two. The next one took longer. The time line is fuzzy, because we were friends first, then friends-with-benefits, then essentially dating but not calling it dating, and finally, "officially" dating and in love... In all, I round it out to about a three-year relationship, and it was a good year and a half afterward until I felt genuinely over it in some way. Funny how even when you know something is missing and it's time to move on, it doesn't make it any easier to let go.

The Other Girl (formerly of Lately Bothered) wants to know... Now that you're north of 30, what do you call someone who, were you ten years younger, you would call your boyfriend? I can't figure this one out. Sometimes I think I'll get married, just so I can stop saying, "this is my ... uh, person who I'm seeing on a more or less exclusive but not committed basis."
Um, I'm pretty sure I'd still call him my boyfriend. Are you saying I'm too old for that?? No, seriously, I know exactly what you're talking about, and maybe I'm delusional to think it doesn't apply to me, but I honestly thought I had another ten years or so before I had to worry about the term "boyfriend" seeming absurd. I mean, a grandma with a "boyfriend"? Sure, that sounds a bit ridiculous. But at 33? Don't I have a few years? (Please??) That said, I have no good answer to this question. Man-friend? Companion-of-choice? Looover? Yeah, none of those really work. If you come up with anything, TOG, let us know. I'm sure we've all wondered about this at times.

Being McCrary wants to know... How do you decide what to wear on a date? Do you buy something new or go with something you already have?
I am trying to remember the last time I bought something new specifically for a date, and I think it was my first date post-last-breakup. I hadn't been on a "real" date in years, so I felt like I needed new "date clothes." Unfortunately, I didn't even really like the shirt I bought, and I was convinced the whole night that the guy was looking at me wondering why I was wearing some weird shirt with a print resembling dumb little bubbles. I am pretty sure that's the only time I ever wore that shirt, and I actually just gave it to Goodwill yesterday. After that night, I tried to buy a bunch of date-appropriate tops (Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared!), and just wore one of those on every date. I actually keep this weird mental database of what I wear on every date so that I don't immediately repeat the same outfit if I have a second and third date with the same guy. As if most of them would ever even notice. Ha.

Nabbalicious and Paisley want to know... What are your non-negotiables? I mean, aside from the guy needing to have good grammar and spelling skills (which [they] agree with).
You know, I never even said myself that proper grammar and spelling are a must. You guys all just assume I'm far less forgiving than I might actually be! The truth is, when I'm meeting men online, it's hard to see past bad writing and horrendous spelling. I do try to keep an open mind, but it's a struggle, obviously. If he can't express himself effectively through his writing, what else is there at that point? If I met someone in person who was smart and funny and charming, however, and only later discovered he couldn't spell to save his life, I might have to learn to overlook it somehow. But anyway, that wasn't the question, was it? You wanted to know what things beyond grammar and spelling are on the list. Well, there are some pretty obvious ones... No alcoholics, no chain smokers (I'd like to say no smokers period, but one cigarette or cigar here or there won't kill either of us, I suppose), and no one who can't hold his temper. Also, no one who kicks puppies or lacks basic hygiene or listens to Los Lonely Boys or Creed. OK, no, seriously, he must be smart and funny and must find me smart and funny as well. Beyond that, almost everything is negotiable and situational and I just won't know what I can and can't live with until I meet the guy.

NancyPearlWannabe said... I'd love to hear your best/worst dating story. I may have already missed that in a previous post, ... but you can just add the links in if you like. I'm easy like that.
For years, the worst date I could think of was the "NO! I'm DIPPING!" guy listed as "Mike" in my "One Date Boys" post.* No individual part of the evening was entirely unforgivable or tragic, but the man was dull as a spoon and lacked any discernible wit. I was more bored with him than I've been even on Sunday afternoons alone on the couch, nursing a hangover with no cable or computer to keep my mind occupied. That date no longer holds the "Worst" ranking now, though! Now I think I have to shift that title to the "Nonfiction means 'not true'?" guy, the "I think the next president is going to be a woman or a black man" guy, the guy I spent two of the longest hours of my life with, back in February. You can read about him here, if you'd like.

As for best date, I think that still goes to the aforementioned pothead. He was funny and sweet, even from his first phone call, and red flags be-damned, we had a good time together. I remember talking over Thai food on our first date, and getting along so well and laughing so much that he asked the waiter, "Can you tell this is a first date?" "Um, I wouldn't have guessed that; no," the waiter replied. "You guys look like you're having a good time." And we were. We continued to have a mostly good time for the next four months or so. I knew from the start that that relationship would have a shelf life, but it still makes me a little bit sad sometimes anyway.

* Gah! Another Mike! Even more support for the "No Mikes" rule!

OK. That's only about half of the questions I received, but I think you'll agree this is getting just way too damn long for one post. Consider this Part One, then. To be continued... (Maybe even this year! No, really!)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Seriously, folks

Where the hell does one find a muddler? I mean, in what actual store that is conveniently located near my home or work, not through which online vendor who will charge me ridiculous sums of money just to get my muddler here by Saturday?

Honestly, if the Mojito is the new Cosmo, shouldn't the usual merchants* have the necessary wares??


* By "usual merchants," I of course mean Target, though I did check the gadget aisle at two grocery stores, a liquor store, and (gasp!) Wal-Mart as well. (I hate it when I resort to going in that place and then they don't even have what I need. Argh.)

P.S. Please don't make me go to Williams-Sonoma. They know I don't belong there, and they can smell my fear.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

In a nod to Noelle at The Daily Tannenbaum and her "Just post a link" idea...

You need to go here. Because, you know, we don't get nearly enough opportunities in life to be instantly and simultaneously horrified and amused.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Late night grab-bag (a Friday Five of miscellany)

As you may know, Staying In on Friday is the new Going Out, so I had big plans this evening to come home, have some dinner, post a Friday Five, return some e-mails that have sat unanswered in my Inbox for way too long (Hi, Darren; still remember me?), do a little reading, and be in bed by 11:00.

Instead, it is now 2:46 a.m., I have posted no Friday Five, answered no e-mails, and read nothing other than the last of the unread entries in my Bloglines list. I did, however, have a lovely two-hour(!) chat with my pal Guinness Girl, who really should live closer to me so we could drink wine and chat in person rather than via long distance. Before that, I spent another hour and a half or more talking with a friend who has no link to accompany her name, but who I have not seen in months and who I very much enjoyed catching up with tonight. I hate the phone (hate, hate it, as a general rule), and yet, I spent close to four hours on it this evening and enjoyed every moment. What am I--16 again? Why yes, it seems I am. Case in point: remember the high school friend I ran into at the Andrew Bird show a few weeks back? He had not called me, and I played this ridiculous "Should I call him?" game in my head over and over until I finally sucked it up and called him last night. This is not a man I plan to date. It is simply an old friend I would enjoy having lunch with sometime. Why should I turn into a crumbling mess of insecurity over it? Because I am 16. Clearly. And I am dumb. Gah.

That story was not particularly amusing or important, but it is nearly 3:00 a.m., remember? You can't expect much from me right now. Here are five other mini posts of no import.

  1. My initial excitement over the Lily Allen CD that I finally bought while at Waterloo Records last weekend has waned with the sudden suspicion that what I thought was a catchy and can't-lose album is actually a rare and unexpected instrument of torture most likely thrust upon us by terrorists (or possibly our own government). Seriously. Listen to any song on that album and then just try not to have it on constant loop in your head for the next 17 hours. At my desk. In the car. While listening to other songs. While trying to fall asleep. All I hear in my tired and addled brain is "At first, when I see you cry-eye-eye, yeah it makes me smi-iii-ile, yeah it makes me smi-iii-ile..." Aaaghh! Get out! GET OUT! Frankly I'm a little terrified to ever press Play on this one again.

  2. A week and a half ago, I started the bi-annual process of rotating my closet for the change of season. It started out well and productive, but I found some sort of distraction or interruption and abandoned the project with no fewer than four disheveled piles of clothing still strewn across my floor. Have I moved anything in those piles since then? No. Apparently I plan to dress from the floor for the rest of the summer. Who needs hangers, after all. Seems a fine plan, if you ask me.

  3. Sometimes I realize just how much I am still prone to being a goody-goody rule-follower and boat-not-rocker, even years after moving out of my parents' house and living my own life presumably not under the scary shadows of Catholic guilt. For example, I probably shouldn't take personally the automated reminder message from the Target Pharmacy, right? My auto-refilled prescription was ready a week ago, but since I didn't actually need my next month's supply for two more weeks (and since I was busy flying off to Austin on a whim), I hadn't yet gone to pick it up. So they called me again. The robot lady's voice on the reminder message basically said, "You have had your auto-refilled prescription waiting at your Target Pharmacy for ten days. If you are not able to pick it up within the next three days, you will need to call to request the order be filled again." Did she mean to scold me? Was she deliberately conveying how much I have inconvenienced all of the white-coat-wearing pharmacy staff by taking up a small slot in the filled-prescriptions baskets for too long? Probably not. And yet, that's what I got out of that. When I finally picked it up tonight, I wanted to apologize to the pharmacy girl for being such a delinquent ne'er-do-well. I was convinced there would be a note affixed to the bag, informing the Target staffers what an unappreciative customer I clearly am and instructing them to wag their finger disapprovingly at me in response. Yeah, I might need to lighten up just a tad.

  4. Remember when I asked a few weeks ago just how long that new-found and uncharacteristic cooking kick would last? The answer was "Not long," apparently. As proof, let's take a look at my fridge, shall we? If I were to attempt to assemble dinner from the contents of my fridge, the best I could do would be a cinnamon bagel topped with a Kraft single and rice pudding, with seedless red grapes on the side. Yum. (Note to self: Really must go shopping this weekend. Must.)

    Sad fridge

  5. Last night, I woke from a relatively sound slumber because someone on my block (in which home or car, I'm not at all sure) decided that 3:40 a.m. was a perfectly reasonable time to blare loud electric guitar riffs for the entire neighborhood to enjoy. At 3:40 a.m. On a Thursday night. On a usually quiet, tree-lined residential street in Minneapolis rarely overrun by hoodlums or heavy metal rockers. Nice.

I suspect that last one had at least a little something to do with why I was so tired all day today, and why I fully intended to be in bed by 11:00, not 3:00 a.m. So with that, I'm out. It's well past time to go to sleep. Happy weekend, all.