Monday, September 29, 2008

Things that I really ought to be better at by now

  • Figuring out that whole "Am I letting him pay, or should I offer to pay?" thing.
  • Not SAYING when I'm trying to figure out if I'm letting him pay or if I should offer to pay.
  • Answering a reasonably direct question like, "So, is this working for you so far? Would you like to continue hanging out?" with anything CLOSE to a direct and immediate answer.
  • Knowing when a guy is considering kissing me.
  • Helping him out and making the approach a bit easier when a guy IS considering kissing me.

Things that I AM really spectacularly good at:
  • Making potentially awkward situations exponentially MORE awkward.
  • Letting every thought that's batting around in my head find its way out of my mouth.

Clearly despite the ridiculous amount of experience I've accrued, my amateur status is still secure. (Good news! I'm still eligible to date in the Olympics! See you in Vancouver, friends.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Let them (and by "them," I mean "YOU") eat cake

Right then. Sorry about that. I guess it was sort of rude of me to proclaim the deliciousness of a three-minute coffee mug cake and then not tell you how to make one yourself. Maybe I just assumed you all received the same e-mail? Maybe even my own mother forwarded it to you? OK, more likely I just got distracted by something shiny. (Or, you know, something winey. It matters not, obviously.)

In any case, I do hate to be called a cake tease. Here you are, then. The recipe for "The Most Dangerous Chocolate Cake in the World." (And why is it dangerous, you may ask? The e-mail explained that, too: Because we are now only three minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night. Ahhh. I get it now. Let's just make a cup of cake, shall we?)

1 Coffee Mug
4 tablespoons plain flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
Small splash of vanilla

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well with a fork. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.

Pour in the milk and oil and continue to mix well.

Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake might rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

I have made this cake exactly once, so obviously I am an expert, and as such, here are my notes. First, I highly recommend not skipping the "optional" chips, though I'm not convinced you need three full tablespoons. Chocolate need never be "optional," but it needn't be excessive, either. Secondly, I neglected to read the actual instructions until I had everything already in the coffee mug (Wine, remember? I'd had wine.), so I just mixed everything up all at once. As far as I'm concerned, it worked fine. Also, I have no idea what my microwave's wattage is. It is white and medium-sized and was purchased in 1992. That probably doesn't help at all, but my point is, three minutes still seemed just about right. And my cake didn't rise over the top of the mug, but I used a gigantic mug that is likely the size of two mugs, so that could explain that. And finally, I would like to suggest that if you don't have baking cocoa at home, perhaps you could skip that and make an equally tasty vanilla cake? Frankly I'm not sure if that's a sound theory or not, but if you want to try it and report back, that'd be cool. Me, I actually had baking cocoa in the cupboard. It's the egg I'm still sort of stunned I had. It's also the egg (and the fact that I don't usually have eggs just hanging out on hand in my fridge) that will prevent me from making a single-serving chocolate cake every time I want one. My aversion to eggs is finally good for something, it seems. Whew.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stuff and whatnot 2? I really need a better title for the posts of no import.

So we all have someone in our life for whom e-mail is apparently still a novel phenomenon and from whom we can therefore expect no fewer than 18 pointless e-mail forwards a week, right? What's that? No? It's not 1998, and you have somehow managed to put an end to that nonsense? How, pray tell... HOW??

Actually, I suppose I don't have nearly the string of offenders for this that I used to, but I still find myself somewhat routinely visiting to dispel some myth or absurdity that my mother received and thereafter forwarded to everyone in her address book. Yes, that's right, I said my mother. And in case you are wondering, no, she does not read my blog. At least, not that I know of. Um, hi Mom?

I bring up my mother and her forwards not because I want to talk about the ridiculous message she forwarded implying that my choice for our next president attempted to assume the highest office in our land with only 143 days of experience under his belt, nor to ponder the egregious pandering to the right wing in the absurd "let's blame Obama for botched late-term abortions" YouTube video she sent recently. No, the e-mail I'm referring to was decidedly less controversial but no less questionable. It was a message titled "The most dangerous chocolate cake in the world," and it claimed that one could, in fact, bake a legitimately tasty single-serving cake in the microwave in three minutes flat from ingredients I might actually have in my kitchen right now.

People, I was skeptical. I thought this would be a fun experiment, my own research task. I expected to report back on the disastrous results and confidently steer you away from absurd three-minute e-mail cake. But you know what? It was delicious. Granted, I have had three glasses of wine tonight, for no better reason than it sounded like a tasty accompaniment to my dinner salad, and perhaps my currently a wee bit tipsy state might make any chocolate cake taste divine, but I'm pretty sure that's not fully the case. One can make chocolate cake in three minutes by stirring up a few tablespoons of ingredients in a coffee cup. Who knew?

Speaking of food (nice segue, Stef), you know how some of us occasionally introduce some new link by saying, "A friend of mine just started a blog, and you should check it out"? Yeah, I haven't done a whole lot of that here, mainly because none of my real-life friends have blogs, and now that one of them does, I feel compelled to tell you about it, even though it is a blog with a decidedly specific niche, and it's a niche that I can only imagine isn't necessarily useful or compelling to those of you outside the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area. (By my unscientific calculation, I'd say that's, oh, roughly 95% of you. Oh well.) In any case, my friend Carrie (she of the highbrow guilty pleasures and my partner in crime for infiltrating the RNC) is exercising her writing muscles by reporting on her dining experiences around the city, and if that sounds interesting to you (and why wouldn't it?), you should check it out. (Um, hi, Carrie. Should I have waited until you had more than three posts up before I linked to you? Perhaps. I guess this just means you have to go out to dinner with me to gather up some more new material. Deal?)

Next? Let's see. What old business did I have to attend to? Well, there is the fact that I had dinner with -R- last night, and although I did not bring a camera to document it, I can confidently assure the Internet that our pal -R- is, in fact, pregnant, and not merely telling "pregnancy card" stories just for fun. Mind you, the pregnancy card is not necessary. -R- was just as cheery and delightful as usual (well, cheery and delightful with the twinge of deviance and subdued rage that I so appreciate in her), and she looked just as adorable as you'd expect an eight-months-pregnant -R- to be. (Again, I can provide no photographic evidence, but you'll just have to take my word on this.)

Oh. Also, I neglected to comment back to comments on that last post, so to sum up and fill you in, 1. No, I have not gone on my second date with the yet-to-be-Internet-aliased prospect yet, but I will keep you updated once I do; 2. Sauntering Soul, yes, your next house should have a garage, but you should make sure it has no-maintenance siding; and 3. the Little House musical was good but not phenomenal; had the series and books not held a fond place in my heart, I can't say Melissa Gilbert's performance would have moved me much nor that more than two of the songs in the score would be anything more than forgettable. As Little House does hold a fond place in my heart, however, I fully enjoyed the experience anyway. Do with that conflicting review what you will.

Hmm. I also had a Facebook story I was going to share with you, but first of all it is past my bed time yet again and secondly I fear mentioning Facebook in three out of five consecutive posts is overstating its importance in an unsettling way. So we'll table that one for later, shall we? I promise you, however, it is absurd, and it proves I am not the only one among my blood relatives for whom a sitcom titled [insert name here]'s awkward life could be in the works. Really.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Stuff and whatnot

Maybe I was serious when I said I might start writing all blog entries in Facebook status format. Frankly, I am too exhausted at the moment to muster much more than that, and if you have been following my Facebook status updates, you might know why. As I typed in that little "What are you doing right now?" box yesterday, I am TIRED of being Rosie the Riveter, all "I can do it!" I much prefer the Homer Simpson philosophy at this point. My slogan is "Can't someone else do it?" Home ownership has its benefits, my friends. At the moment, I just can't remember what they are.

That said, I have had a satisfyingly productive weekend. My lawn is mowed, the jungle of knee-high Dr. Suessian weeds eradicated; my garage door cable is fixed; my house is clean(ish); my laundry is done (almost); and most importantly, (if I could get a drum roll, please?), my garage is finally fully repainted. Really. I don't know what I'm going to do with my weekends now, with that project no longer lurking in my consciousness like a cloud of residual Catholic guilt. Actually, that's not true at all. I know exactly what I will do. I will lounge with fewer reservations, perhaps take a bike ride or two before the snow flies. And in a few weeks I will be procrastinating on some other odious chore or project, the recently scraped-down and painted garage a suppressed memory.

And let's see... What else have I been up to recently, instead of typing idly on the Internet? Well, I officially closed my match with "Bob," the pierced and heavily tattooed man in the scary t-shirt. (Sorry to everyone who was hoping I would go out with him just for your amusement.) Much like meMarmony, the site I'm on currently provides a drop-down list of reasons when you choose to "archive" a match. But also like meMarmony, sometimes the list of stock standard reasons simply aren't all-inclusive enough. "Because I would be afraid to be alone with this man" was not a provided reason; hence, I had to settle for the decidedly more vague "Not a good fit" explanation instead. Toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe, as they say.

What else? Well, I went out with Mr. Arty-Looking IT Guy (the man whose profile prompted me to pony up for membership at this latest venue in the first place). It was a positive enough date to warrant a second one for more research, but that's all I want to say at this point. Also, dude needs a better Internet alias. If he happens to stick around, I'll work on that.

Hmmm. Also, I finally saw the Little House on the Prairie musical at the Guthrie, I received a semi-hefty property tax refund I forgot I had coming, and I did an absurd little happy dance in my car as I crossed the new 35W bridge for the first (and second) time. My house to Midtown in less than 15 minutes, instead of the 30+ it has taken for the past year! I tell you, it's the little things (particularly when those little things are sort of big things) that matter. Man, I have missed that bridge.

I'm sure lots of other things have kept me busy lately, but at the moment, my brain is too addled to think of them. Also, the third of those ridiculous teen vampire books is waiting for me, patiently neglected on my bedside table for the past week or more. I think I'll spend a little time with Bella and Edward and his purportedly velvet voice and then call it a night. I'll catch up with you soon, my friends.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I guess I could go my usual route and type "Mannibal Morpse"...

So who here (aside from those of us in the Twin Cities) remembers this? It was big news all over the country a little over a year ago, but I suspect it's slipped off your radar since then. Not me. Nope. I'm still detouring every time I leave my house to go anywhere other than work, and consistently dealing with excess traffic on previously sparse city streets that now serve as alternates. Not for long, though. Whoo! The new bridge is scheduled to open on THURSDAY. As in, three days from now. THREE DAYS. Whee!

Frankly, I cannot decide how to celebrate. Drive back and forth from here to Midtown just for fun, simply because I can do so in only ten stoplights instead of seemingly 110? Drive to Uptown a logical and semi-direct way, rather than Mapquesting three different routes and making a wild guess as to which is least convoluted and ridiculous? Oh! I know! Date a guy in the southwest metro, just because he's no longer so geographically inconvenient! Yes!

OK, I am kidding on that last one. Or, on all of them. And I'm well aware this is big news to no more than five of you. Still, I am excited, and it is my blog, so there you go.

Sadly, that is about the most exciting news I have for you at the moment. It rained all weekend; hence, my garage is still unpainted. I did have an excellent time at the They Might Be Giants show that nearly everyone I know mocked me for wanting to attend, but other than that, I was mostly a nonproductive homebody the past two days. Oddly, my feedreader still has 108 unread posts in it, and I still can't remove Christopher Moore's Lamb from my "What I'm Reading" box. What did I do this weekend? Obviously there was a time warp involved.

On a brighter note, that fifty bucks I spent on this latest online date-finding venture is totally panning out for me. I mean, just this evening I got a message excitedly telling me that "Bob" is interested in me! Bob! As in, the Bob whose profile I viewed the other night and decided that even though we'd be an excellent couch-sharing pair on one of those "We Can Solve It" commercials, I just don't really think he is my type. Actually, I'm not convinced I even have a "type," but I'm still pretty sure that under the umbrella of men who might be my type, you won't find a burly, heavily tattooed, bald man with a piercing through the bridge of his nose and a t-shirt that says, um, that says, "Flesh-eating dead body." Call me closed minded, but I am a little scared. (Incidentally, the shirt does not actually say "Flesh-eating dead body." It says two words that I do not want to type, because I am pretty sure that together those words form a band name, but it's a band I know nothing about and one whose fans I'd rather not start Googling their way here. So just imagine a black shirt with red letters meant to look like they're written in dripping blood, spelling out a word that starts with "C" that describes what that Hannibal Lecter guy was, followed by another word that starts with "C" and rhymes with "Forpse." Fun. Am I still in these parentheses? I guess I am. Whoops. Let's remedy that.)

So anyway, "Bob" is interested in me, and you can imagine how excited I am about that. I mean, maybe he'd take me someplace really nice on our first date! Someplace where leather vests are mandatory and you get a free cocktail if you bite off a rat's head! Sorry. I'm unfairly judging Bob by his cover. He may be my soul mate, after all. Let's hope not.

Friday, September 12, 2008

FYI: Jane Austen books and Jimmy Stewart films don't count either

I picked up the third of the Twilight books last night. So much for Web-based library reservation systems allowing me to indulge in the ridiculousness of teenage vampire love in private... When I scanned the shelves of the "Holds" area, there was a decidedly Eclipse-sized gap in the section of the alphabet where my book should be. I looked; I looked some more; and then I went to log in to my account on a library computer to make sure I hadn't remembered the date wrong and in fact, Eclipse was supposed to be on hold for me through September 11 at closing time. After verifying all of the above, I finally went to the circulation desk and casually jingled my keys to get the librarian's attention.

Me: Um, I'm supposed to have a book on hold through today, but it's not over on the Reserve shelf. There seems to be a gap right where it should be, though, so...

Slightly sketchy-looking male librarian: Can I see your library card?

I handed over my card, and he scanned it in their little system. Then he smiled and handed my card back to me.

SSLML (chuckling): That's a special book. It's so special, in fact, that we keep it... (pause while he hunts around the shelf behind the circulation desk) ...back here!

I'm not sure what the slightly sketchy-looking beady-eyed librarian was actually telling me. It's feasible, I suppose, that those ridiculous Twilight books are in high enough demand that they need to keep the reserved copies out of the general public's eye to avoid theft or angry jealous revolt. But I saw a copy of New Moon hanging out seemingly peacefully in the "F"s of the Reserve shelves, so I highly doubt that is the case. More likely, they'd just removed it from the hold shelf already, assuming I wouldn't come to get it before closing time. Or maybe Slightly Sketchy Librarian is reading the Twilight series himself, in fits and starts as reserved copies are returned temporarily to the shelves.

Either way, I refused to be embarrassed about it. Hello, my name is Stefanie; I am 34 years old, and I am reading a young adult vampire series. I am not the only one, clearly. I see no reason to hide in shame.

Still, the incident brought me back to a conversation at the Pizza Farm Tuesday night. The topic was "Guilty Pleasures." I thought it would be a fun game for everyone to play. Unfortunately, while some people came out with "Ludicris" and "Talking to oneself in a Sean Connery voice" (which is really more "secret single behavior" than "guilty pleasure," but it's amusing anyway), the best answer a particular too-refined-for-her-own-good friend of mine could come up with was, "I really enjoy popular fiction... you know, things like The Time Traveler's Wife."

The Time Traveler's Wife? Are you kidding me? John Grisham or James Patterson I'll give you. Harlequin romance novels? Certainly. But The Time Traveler's Wife? I'm gonna call that fully valid modern fiction and claim there's no shame in adding that title to your reading queue. Dear, dear Carrie. Lovely Carrie. You are brilliant and fabulous and good at lots and lots of things, but I'm sorry: you suck at this game.

I haven't done a Friday Five in a good long while, so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to enumerate something at my own expense. The problem is I actually have very few secrets here. I've probably already admitted each of these somewhere within my archives before. Also, I'm sure I could come up with more shameful admissions if I'd just give it a bit more thought. Off the top of my head, though, here they are. Five guilty pleasures o' mine.

  1. Kraft Singles (straight from the fridge, or torn in pieces and scattered on a tortilla--microwave for 30 seconds and then roll up like a yoga mat. Um, an edible yoga mat. Mmm.)

  2. Linkin Park

  3. McDonald's Filet-o-Fish

  4. Various long-canceled hits from the WB: In particular, What I Like About You, Reba, and yes, Dawson's Creek

  5. Wham! (Seriously. Every time I for any reason think of them, I vow I will buy this on CD. In fact, fuck it. I am adding it to my Wish List right now. Come on, don't you want to buy it for me?)

You know what would make this game a whole lot more fun, though? If all of you played along, too. Come on, spill it. What's your guilty pleasure? And none of this valid modern authors nonsense.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Also, I still think a "poke" sounds dirty

So I just thought of this novel idea of something I should do. Stay home one night here or there. Oh, and stop spending money like I have unlimited amounts of it. Also, stop eating like a madwoman. And start getting more than six hours of sleep on weeknights. All right; that is actually four things, but mind you, ALL of them would be excellent ideas. I think the whirlwind that is [insert name of new friend who might not want his name in yet another place on the Internet here] has worn off on me. New Friend is the visiting San Francisco resident who borrowed a good friend of mine's home (as well as his friends) during a Craig's List-enabled housing swap. New Friend has seemingly boundless energy and optimism, but "There's a problem with partying every night," he said. "You never get anything done." Word.

I don't know that you could consider everything I've been keeping busy with lately partying (I'm guessing dinner at a suburban Olive Garden tonight doesn't count as such), but I am broke and tired and my house is a mess either way. I don't know what happened to the hermit who used to live here, but somebody really needs to clean up after her.

What I'm saying is I've been turning on my home computer far less frequently than usual lately, and when I do, I'm having a hard time formulating my thoughts into any sort of detailed and cohesive post. Maybe Facebook is spoiling me. Yes, I caved and signed up. And while it hasn't sucked me in with the full force of time-wasting capacity that I feared it might, I'll admit I'm enjoying it more than I thought. Who knew I could keep so well up-to-date on the goings-on in everyone's life based on a one-line Facebook status update? In fact, I'm thinking of switching my blog to all Facebook Status format. "Stefanie is tired." "Stefanie is off to kick some air at the gym." "Stefanie has realized that after a while, all Lean Cuisines taste the same." Except wait. That is what Twitter is for, isn't it? Lord help me, don't tell me I'm about to jump on that bandwagon, too.

Incidentally, did you try to friend me on Facebook and get no reply? Because two people did whom I do not know, which either means my memory is failing me and I've somehow forgotten the names and faces of two of my mere 100 classmates at my old high school, or someone I know only through an Internet alias has sought to penetrate the "real name, first and last" divide. If it's the latter, I do apologize. Clue me in and I'll likely click that "Confirm" button for you.

Speaking of strangers-or-not on the Internet, this latest venture in online date-finding continues to amuse and confound. At the moment, there is a man in my "New Matches" list who might compel me to click the "Show Interest" button, except that he has reserved his photo for after Stage 1 of the hoops and whistles this site requires, meaning I cannot see his face. And his stats align suspiciously closely to those of a long-ago meMarmony match who has already rejected me twice. Yes, twice. What's that our esteemed president once said? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me... You can't get fooled again!" Minneapolis is a rather large town, but it feels smaller and smaller all the time. Can there really be two 6'2", hazel-eyed small business owners with the same first name, both of whom identify as "Spiritual but not religious," have no kids but want some, and claim to drink only about once a week? Ordinarily I'd say "perhaps," but given how this city's been shrinking lately, I don't know that I want to take that chance.

Meanwhile, I am finally in e-mail communication with the man whose profile prompted me to pony up for membership in the first place. And while we haven't actually met yet, I'd like to remain cautiously optimistic, if for no other reason than my need to believe my gut is something besides squashy and useless. Can my instincts just once serve me well for a change? I have already learned that Mr. Arty-Looking IT Guy lives in my own neighborhood, and while The Neighborhood Giant taught me that geographic convenience isn't everything, it is still a start, wouldn't you say? Wish me luck.

Monday, September 08, 2008

This sort of thing is always so much funnier on TV

So I guess it's fall now, because I'm currently wearing the beloved blue yoga pants I have an almost unhealthy relationship with, and I just put on my fleece-lined slippers for the first time since May. What up, Fall? I wasn't expecting you so soon! Perhaps it's just a preview.

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. Me, I saw three live music performances, had two dinners out at restaurants in newly reclaimed downtown St. Paul, had one giant Sidecar too many at the best old school supper club and lounge this side of Nye's Polonaise, baked some cinnamon pecan blondies (minus the pecans), and attended two parties in the same night (a Sunday night, no less), one of which featured a dinner of Eggs Benedict and a drink that tastes like liquid candy. Oh. Also, I painted less than one full wall of my sad, sad garage, and I went on possibly the single worst date of the year. Those last two have little to do with food or alcohol, however (or with the recently lost four pounds that are obviously coming right back), so perhaps they hardly bear mentioning.

In truth, the date itself wasn't particularly dreadful. A bit mundane and small talky, sure, but that is nothing new. It was the last three minutes that made me remember why I've repeatedly said I'm swearing off this nonsense for good.

How about a discussion question? We haven't had one of those in a while. Tell me: at the end of a date that was by no means spectacular, is it a good idea to ask, "So! What do you think? Should we get together again?" Because I'm sort of voting for no, on the grounds that such a question can only create the sort of formidable awkwardness that dating with the Internet as a buffer was designed specifically to prevent. That is what e-mail is for! Slinking away with a "Thanks but no thanks"--no brave poker face required! Seriously: don't we all know this by now? Perhaps not.

However! If a man does ask that question after a lackluster and mundane, borderline painful date, what is the woman on the receiving end to do? Muster a weak, "OK" and back out later? Go on an equally boring second date and live through the same awkward question again after that? Or politely and honestly say, "You know, it was nice meeting you, and thanks for the coffee and conversation, but I just don't think there's a love connection here, Chuck"?

I have a friend who, in her online dating days, somehow mastered the polite and gentle "No thanks" speech. I think it's time I had her mentor me, a la Phoebe and Chandler in The One with the East German Laundry Detergent. (Yes, I had to Google that. There is a Friends reference for every situation in life, but rarely is the memory accompanied by the episode title.) I need her to mentor me, because somehow my version of the "Thanks but no thanks" line prompts men to argue and rally, saying, "Really? Really? You didn't feel a connection?? What does that even mean, 'connection'? I had a good time; what, didn't YOU??"

I wish I were making that up. I am not. I am also not making this up:

Him: You know, I went out with this other girl... We went on like, five, six dates, and then she said, "I just don't feel that big spark. What BIG SPARK?? What does that mean? Why does there have to be a SPARK?

Me: ...

Him: I'm sorry. I don't mean to put you on the spot...

Me: Um, well you kinda are.

The only way I think that situation could have gotten any more awkward is if I had said, "You know, you're right! We SHOULD go out again! Even though I just told you I do not want to, meaning that strange second date will be clouded by insecurity and gloom from the very start, SURE! Let's go out again! You still want to, right??"

Sigh. On a related note, I just checked my Sitemeter account and found that someone Googled their way here this evening by typing "Stefanie's awkward life." I think that says it all.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Mission accomplished (if our mission was "drink and heckle")

Well, we did it. Last night, two friends and I ventured past the first tier of security guards and made our way within steps of the Xcel. And as much as I would love to tell you all about it with the level of detail and amusement you deserve, I stayed out entirely too late infiltrating the Republicans and hence, a list of highlights is all you're gonna get before my tired head falls flat against my keyboard with an unmomentous thud.

So then. The highlights, as I recall them, in traditionally lazy list form, but this time with NUMBERS instead of bullets, in an effort to prove that this isn't just like Tuesday's post; I'm totally shaking things up here.

  1. Absurd things I cannot believe I saw while pacing the stretch of street just outside the security fence:

    a. A 20-something man wearing a button that said, "I'm Pro-Hot VP." (I have typed three different sentences trying to sum up my reaction to this, but I've deleted all of them and instead just have to shake my head and say "No comment.")

    b. An international antiques shop window filled at all angles with rows of elephants.

    c. The divey bar where I once saw a college kid vomit on the floor five feet away from me, temporarily(?) converted into a much flashier establishment labeled in superfluous neon as "The CNN Grill."

  2. Me, at the Liffey, shortly before Palin's speech: "Let's turn it into a drinking game!" Unfortunately, none of us knew enough about her to predict any repetitive phrases or talking points. "Do you think she'll say 'terrorists' a lot? What about 'hockey mom'? Oh! Moose! Do you think she'll mention moose more than once??"

  3. Me, once our new friend (who is visiting the Twin Cities from San Francisco) began openly and loudly heckling the TV screen: "Are we going to get kicked out??" Answer: No. However at one point, someone not amused by his comments shouted back in our direction, "She can't hear you, you know!" To which our new friend immediately quipped, "Yeah, but YOU GUYS can!" It may have been my favorite moment of the night.

  4. Except wait. Maybe my favorite point was when the attractive guy Carrie and I had both been eyeing made his way over to our table and let us know that despite the fact that he was in a suit, he was not ONE OF THEM. "I'm here to infiltrate!" he said. "That's what WE'RE doing!" I replied.

  5. Also of note: the very drunk, late-middle aged east coast delegate with seven houses (he assured me he had counted them) who slurred to me that if I want to live a happy life, I should never get married and--oh yeah--also that the reason I'm not a fan of Sarah Palin must be that I'm gay. Gay. Because that makes sense. Stellar reasoning from the drunk Republican. Maybe that's why he was only an alternate delegate. Incidentally, I tried to take a picture of this charming man, but he ran from my camera as though he thought I was going to post his picture on the Internet. Which, you know, I would never do. Not me. No how. Nope.


    I had no idea the quickest way to make an unwanted Republican go away was to threaten to photograph him. My friend Carrie suggested that perhaps he's a vampire. A Republican vampire. And cameras are to Republican vampires what garlic and crosses are to regular ones. (It's a theory.)

  6. Oh, and I was also told three times in the same evening that I "kinda look like [Palin]." You know, because just like Asians and black men, all brown-haired women with glasses look alike. Or so it would seem.

And with that, I believe I am officially DONE talking about the visiting blowhards and we can get back to our regularly scheduled frivolity about bad dates and misadventures and the absurd ways I routinely injure myself. 3Carnations? Are you still here? I promise it's safe to come out now (for a while, anyway).

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I predict a riot

For a long weekend recap, bullet points are totally in order, right? I thought so. Here we go.

This Labor Day weekend, I...
  • Took in some local art of the political variety. (My favorite? It's a tough call, but I think I have to go with McCain and Obama as Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots.)

  • Introduced myself to my neighbor's new attractive young roommate with the explanation, "Hi. I'm Stefanie. I'm not showered and stuff." (In my defense, I was outside working on my garage, but still. I am smooth.)

  • Checked out two brand spanking new bars/eateries, like the trendy about-town girl I am not.

  • Baked my first pound cake (and found that plain old boring pound cake can be tastier than I thought).

  • Helped a good friend ring in her 34th year on the planet.

  • Saw the sleepy city of St. Paul turn into a police state.

  • Lost four pounds, despite the aforementioned new bar, new eatery, and pound cake, and the not-yet-mentioned butter-drenched gnocchi and mocha chip waffle cone. (I have no idea how I achieved this, but I have little confidence that it will stick.)

This Labor Day weekend, I did NOT...
  • Finish painting my garage.

  • Have a deep, meaningful conversation (or any not-so-deep but meaningful non-conversation) with my neighbor's new attractive young roommate.

  • Eat more than one serving of fruits or vegetables on any given day.

  • Have a drink with Jon Stewart. (He is totally in town, though. I am listening to him mock Minneapolis as I type.)

  • Attend the concert I had a ticket to, thanks to the aforementioned new-formed police state.

That last bit possibly warrants more explanation, but suffice it to say that the riots you probably heard about during yesterday's protests at the RNC site led Security to block every street into downtown St. Paul from both pedestrian and vehicle traffic, thereby preventing me and my friends (and presumably hundreds of other concert-goers who had similar problems effectively communicating an earlier meet-up and departure time with their friends) from reaching nearby Harriet Island in time for the show. And far be it from me to say anything disparaging about stone-faced, burly men in protective riot gear wielding wooden sticks and tear gas, but those particular SWAT team members? NOT HELPFUL. To wit...

Us: "How can we get through?"
Not helpful guys with sticks: "You can't."
Us: "Well, how can we get to Harriet Island?"
Not helpful guys with sticks: "We don't even know where that is. We're not from here."
Us: (Pointing a mere ten blocks in the distance) "It's that way. Is there any street that's not blocked?"
Not helpful guys with sticks: (Pointing to their right) "Go three blocks that way."

(Upon arriving three blocks that way and meeting yet another set of men in bullet-proof vests and helmets wielding wooden sticks...)

Us: "Isn't there ANY street where we can get through??"
New set of not-helpful guys with sticks: (Pointing to their left, the direction from which we just came) "Three blocks that way."

At the risk of typing something entirely insensitive and inappropriate, can I just say that if this same level of genius and helpful concern for the local residents was in effect in New Orleans a few summers ago, it's no wonder that scene was the well documented fiasco it turned out to be? Nevertheless, SWAT Team: 1, Us: 0. We gave up and went out for late afternoon drinks instead. I will have to catch Billy Bragg next time he's in town. Meanwhile, to the RNC Security staff, I would like my ten dollars back.

Based on yesterday's experience, I'm not so sure our plan to infiltrate the Republicans where they're drinking will actually happen this week, but I'll be sure to keep you posted if it does.

So. What about the rest of you? Seen any good riots lately?