Tuesday, March 31, 2009

There is a more informative and relevant URL I could use on that "Real Girl" link, but it would be a decidedly less safe for work one.

More Facebook things, because seriously, there's just so much material to be found.

Thing the first: I am not going to take the "What type of cow are you?" quiz. I may have gotten sucked into "What is your best Zodiac match?" and "What TV show do you belong in?" but I have to draw the line somewhere, friends. Also, I have already taken the "Political Idealogy [sic]" quiz. My results probably even showed up in your news feed. I am not going to take it again. Please stop asking me.

Thing the second: Today, two of my friends became fans of Jews. There really is a Facebook fan group for everything. But those Jews, they're good people, no?

And I think that about catches you up on my Facebook activity for the day. Oh. Unless you want to hear about how I clicked "Ignore" on a friend request for the third time in a week and a half. I am getting extra devil-may-care with my wanton disregard for people's feelings, obviously. But seriously: the fact that you married a guy I went to high school with but whom I have not spoken to nor seen since high school is not enough of a reason for you to want to be electronically linked to me. It is most certainly not enough of a reason for me to want to be electronically linked to you. Here's a handy hint: If there is a chance that I am going to see your friend request and say out loud to my email screen, "Who the fuck is [insert name here]?" (and you have not even included a note to tell me who the fuck [insert name here] is), there is a very good chance I am going to click "Ignore." Call me crazy and closed minded that way. (Or, don't call me anything at all, because it's entirely possible I am giving all of this entirely too much thought.)

And while we are talking about things marginally related to that last post, would anyone else like to weigh in on the bangs suggestion raised by my anonymous commenter? It probably comes as no surprise that I considered posting a poll about this wholly unexpected issue to garner more scientific feedback, but then I realized that I really don't need to see those results. No matter how the responses panned out, I am not in the market for bangs at the moment. Perhaps I should have them, on account of my face shape or forehead size or my desire to look like Rory Gilmore circa season 7, but I have had bangs for much more of my life than I haven't, and I know I'm not interested in the upkeep right now. I am particularly not interested in bangs for the express purpose of looking older. Seriously, folks. I just turned 35, and I get carded only about one time in ten these days. Telling me I look too young is not exactly an insult in my mind. (Note to the anonymous commenter: I know it wasn't supposed to be an insult. I should clarify that it caught me off guard but didn't offend.)

In other news, my new (to me) laptop is working out quite well. My new favorite position to blog and read blogs is lounging on my couch, legs outstretched, computer on my lap. It is a little bit alarming to me how long I can sit in this same position without moving. I started to feel a bit cold tonight, and for the first time ever, I suddenly considered the fact that the Snuggie is maybe not such a ridiculous idea after all. But then I realized, hello, perhaps I should simply GET UP every now and then to ensure that blood is still moving to all parts of my body. Seriously, it's like I'm one of the former Earthlings on the hover track in Wall-E here. Thank god I don't have a robot to wait on me hand and foot or I might never leave my damn living room anymore.

That said, I did actually get some exercise before retiring to the couch this evening. Despite the fact that my hamstrings are still angry with me for revisiting an old The Firm tape I haven't done in years the other day, I decided to try a new Pilates band workout I bought on impulse at TJ Maxx tonight. So far, no additional pain has set in, but I suspect I won't actually feel any effects until tomorrow. Meanwhile, my bigger problem is this: I have washed my hands seven times since 7:30 this evening, and I still smell cheap rubber on them every time I lift my fingers towards my face. Tell me, does anyone else have any of these resistance band thingies? If so, tell me, will the rubbery scent subside in time, or am I destined to smell like I've just fondled a Real Girl every time I want to work my muscles without weights?

That may not be as important a question as the "bangs or no bangs" one, but it's the one I'm settling on in any case.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Facebook Things (Alternate title: Hi, I'm Judgy McJudgerson. And you are...?)

  1. I have gotten at least three comments in the past week regarding the giant margarita in my current Facebook profile picture. I don't know what all the fuss is about. The picture in question was taken in Mexico, after all, where margaritas are supposed to be as big as my head. One might argue that Mexico doesn't have to hold the patent on giant margaritas just because Mexico is where the tequila lives, but I'm trying to play by other people's rules here. People like the approximately 85% of my friend list whose profile picture features an infant or small child. I was actually thinking that perhaps I should borrow a baby for my next profile picture just to help me fit in a bit more with that crew. As it is, someone might erroneously believe that I am using tequila as a substitute for a baby. Actually, that would be a fine substitute if you ask me. Most days I would gladly take responsibility for tequila over responsibility for an infant, but I realize that's just me. I shared this train of thought with -R- a while back, and even though she does have her own baby (featured in her Facebook profile pic), she suggested that perhaps her next profile picture would be of her with a giant glass of wine. To which I, of course, replied, "Wine! Ah, yes. My FIRST-born child!" Someday perhaps I'll post a family picture of all three of us.

  2. I think a particular high school acquaintance of mine has decided that Facebook's "What's on your mind?" prompt actually means "Precisely what's on your schedule today?" Every day he updates his status to say, "Chip is at work 7 am to 7 am, on the road 4 to midnight" or "Chip is at work 7 am to 7 am, on the road 3 to 11." I do not even know what this means except that if I wanted to rob his house, I'd have a pretty good shot at knowing when to best attempt that. And by "when," it seems I mean anytime, since he is apparently at work 24 hours every day. Incidentally, his name is not actually Chip. But "Chip" sounds just meathead enough to fit the person in question, and using "Chip" in place of his real name will prevent any of you from finding this particular person in my friends list and friending him yourself just to gain access to these riveting updates.

  3. I have never yet created a Facebook event myself, so when I see invitations for various events, I can't be quite sure which information was entirely host-generated and which was selected from a drop-down list of default options. Is "Party - Night of Mayhem" a standard Facebook descriptor? I sort of hope it is. I also sort of want to use Facebook rather than Evite to invite friends to my next party (privacy and such be damned), because I sort of think perhaps there's not quite enough mayhem in my life. Night of mayhem. Doesn't that sound fun? Maybe not. Hmm.

  4. I keep vowing never to click another silly quiz link that shows up in my news feed. In some foolish and gullible part of me, I would like to believe I might actually learn something interesting or insightful about myself from Facebook's "Who is your soul mate?" or "What color are you?" quiz, but in reality, any quiz that is riddled with spelling and grammar errors or asks me if I enjoy the smell of my own farts (no, really; that was on the "What alcohol are you?" quiz, and I refused to finish the remaining questions on the grounds of that one's ridiculousness) is probably not particularly legitimate. And yet? I keep clicking through, out of curiosity or self-inflicted punishment or simple boredom and lack of motivation to find anything better to do. Today, however, when a Facebook quiz asked me for my perfect choice on a first date and one of the multiple choice answers was "Olive Garden (or another nice place)," I became convinced once and for all that these Facebook quizzes are written by 13-year-olds. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the $5 bottomless soup, salad, and breadsticks lunch as much as the next girl, but a bottomless soup bowl does not automatically equate to "nice place" in my mind. But then, I am the giant snob who laughed when the bartender at a supper club in my grandma's town pulled a bottle of "Mer-lott" off ice, so maybe I'm the one in the wrong.

  5. Speaking of boredom and pointless curiosity, I've picked up a little hobby that I'm more than a bit ashamed to tell you about. Every few weeks, I like to pull up my ex-boyfriend's new ex-wife's Facebook profile. Once upon a time, I didn't let myself look at it because it only tortured me. Now that I don't give a damn about her, however, I find myself wholly amused by her profile, and viewing it is the sort of smug guilty pleasure that many of you look to reality shows on VH-1 or MTV to satisfy. It started when I realized that she and the man who I suspect was the reason her marriage ended were leaving each other inappropriately suggestive comments in what is essentially a public forum. Seriously, people, there was love poetry. BAD love poetry. The sort of love poetry found in 80s hair band lyrics. Come to think of it, it may have actually been 80s hair band lyrics, as the man in question is 16 years older than she is and was likely driving his mulleted self to Skid Row and Whitesnake concerts while she was playing with My Little Ponies and drinking out of a juice box. Now, however, it's not only the ex-wife and her new boyfriend whose wall posts I look forward to, but I find myself hoping to see an appearance from the ex-wife's friend "Hojanna" as well. I feel a little bit bad making fun of Hojanna, because it's entirely possible she may be "special" in the "air quotes around 'special'" way. Or maybe she is just a very bad speller. ("I saw your changed relationship statice," she wrote recently. "Whoes the new boe?") A very bad speller with a very bad picture. (Is it really possible that the best photo she could find of herself was one with a wide smile but her eyes fully closed?) A bad speller with a bad picture whose view of reality is maybe a little different from my own. ("I have a boyfriend, too!" she posted on the ex-wife's wall. "I met him on [meMarmony]. He lives in Ohio and we haven't met yet, but it's going really well.") Come on, now. Tell me you wouldn't click back on occasion for more of that comedy gold!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 2002

OK people. On to some happier news. EXCITING news! Well, exciting for me, anyway. I can't claim it will be in any way noteworthy to you. Remember that aging desktop of mine? The one that gets upset with me and demands a rest if I dare to do two things at once (even though the second thing is often something no more complicated than turning on my printer)? That desktop is no longer my only means of accessing the Internet in my home! No, I also now have a new-to-me used laptop which, with the help of a very nice young woman in India, is now connected to my very own brand new wireless network. Yippee!

I was trying to decide from which room in my home I should celebrate by typing my very first wireless post when it occurred to me: I am wireless! I can type a little bit in EVERY room! I am coming to you right now from the comfy purple couch in my living room, but wait! ... Now I am in my KITCHEN!! Whee! Hold on, folks. Gimme a second here... Now I am in my bedroom! Whoo hoo! Oh, the freedom. I can even take you into the... Nope. I'll stop right there. I do have some boundaries, some lines I won't cross. Blogging in the bathroom seems a good one to keep solidly on the other side of that line. I DO look forward to blogging in my backyard come this spring and summer, though. Finally, my desire to be outside and my desire to waste time on the Internet do not have to feud with each other incompatibly! It really is a brave new world; is it not?

I do realize, of course, that this magical new life I'm living is one the rest of you took for granted five years ago already, but I am a minimalistic, baby steps kind of girl. I still have a paper checkbook register, remember? Still tape shows on a VCR. I didn't ditch the rabbit ears and pony up for cable until 2006, and my move from dial-up to high-speed came AFTER that. Maybe by the end of the next decade I will finally trade my land line and prepaid cell phone for a mobile phone with Internet access. Let's not get too ahead of ourselves, though. This Pioneer Days life I'm living, I like to think it has its own quaint charms.

I should note that the laptop came thanks to my pal Steve, who... oh my word; for crap's sake, was he really not in my sidebar all this time? Sorry, Steve. Totally an oversight, I'm sure, which I shall blame on the fact that I routinely forget I even have a sidebar (cases in point: I finished "Persuasion" nearly a week ago, and the same not-so-recent search activity has probably been in that box almost since Christmas) and on the fact that you, Steve, do not update very frequently, and I suspect that every time I thought to add you, I probably assumed, "Huh. Maybe he's quit blogging now."

ANYWAY... Steve! Steve is even more proof that the Internet really is an amazing, amazing place full of all manner of fantastic and helpful folks, because he read about my computer woes and subsequently secured me a used laptop from his office and shipped it off to me. Seriously. I have a new (to me) laptop all because some nice guy out in California found my silly blog and forged a friendship based on words on screen, photos on Flickr, and random nonsense on Facebook. What was that I was saying about a crazy brave new world? It doesn't apply just to wireless connections, obviously. Anyway, thank you, Steve. Thank you for protecting my sanity by assuaging my techno-rage, for keeping me from taking my old desktop and playing out a scene not unlike the fax machine assault segment in Office Space. Ah. Deep breaths. It'll all be OK.

Of course, with the Internet at my easy access anywhere and any time, I may never actually read another book ever again. Jane Austen, I hope you're comfy over in that sidebar spot there. You might be sitting there a while.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The rest of the story, because I promised it to you. But then, back to our regularly scheduled frivolity, I hope.

All right; I owe you an update. I just wish I could decide how many words and how much energy to devote to said update. If you are on the Stefanie Says distribution list, you already read the whole sordid story last Friday, in the latest email blast. I'm kidding, of course. There is no such distribution list. I did, however, send a very long, very angry message to several friends detailing the whole ordeal. Seriously, people, it was so long, it could have been divvied into chapters. At the very least, there should have been headings and subheadings. Girl obviously had a whole lot on her mind, and apparently decided she simply needed to let it OUT.

Last Friday, I was so hurt and so angry, I wanted to tell all of you publicly on the Internet that The Buddhist's real name is Jimmy ______, and that now that he is partially employed again, you can perhaps find him at the __________ ______ store on ________. Also, that he is being kicked out of the Buddhist Center (for failure to pay rent and other transgressions) and is now staying at his new girlfriend's house, and that her name is _____ ____, and she lives at ____ ______ ___ in Minneapolis.

That's right, I said new girlfriend. Guess that explains the vanishing act, eh?

Except that it doesn't, of course. The fact that he apparently met someone far more fabulous (or possibly, far more dysfunctional) than I during the four freaking days that I was out of the country last month doesn't actually justify disappearing on me five days after that with no explanation or notice. I can only assume even The Buddhist himself knows that kind of jackassery was unjustified, as he had almost nothing to say for himself when we finally talked last week.

Did I mention that if I tell this story, there will likely be swearing? If I tell this story, there will likely be swearing. I'm sorry; it's all good and fine to be one of those graceful, even-keeled people who feel they can express themselves far more eloquently and dignified-like without resorting to profanity. I am not one of those people, for sometimes a well placed "Jackass fucker shithead" seems entirely more than apropos to me.

I didn't actually call him a jackass fucker shithead. I did, however, call him an asshole. To his face. Which is something I don't think I've ever done to anyone before. And the fact that I'm starting to feel just a teensy bit guilty about that makes me wonder if perhaps my anger is possibly cooling just a tad. And then I remind myself that The Buddhist is, in fact, an asshole (and a liar and a player and a flake, all of which I also called him)--or at least, has been insofar as I have been privy to see--and as such, maybe I should allow myself the luxury of not feeling guilty at all.

Six paragraphs in and still no real story. Clearly this post is turning out to be just as to-the-point and efficient as that email was. Good work, Stef.

Actually, the full story doesn't even really matter, I suppose. The short of it is that he met someone else at a party--a party I can only assume I would have been at with him, had I not been partaking in forced socialization with my coworkers that particular weekend. He met her, and he apparently fell head-over-heels into some instantaneous relationship with her, and saw no reason to tie up any loose ends or keep any promises upon doing so. It was convenient timing, given that his fellow Buddhists held an intervention of sorts that same week, which apparently culminated in him being asked to leave the house in light of his not paying rent for the past two months, owing nearly everyone there money, and abandoning the meditation practice that bound him to the group and also grounded and centered him in an obviously important and useful way. I can only assume the new girl was happy to take him in, given that her previous boyfriend apparently moved out mere days before she met Jimmy. Perhaps they are perfect for each other. Neediness and codependence is a recipe for relationship success, is it not? I expect I'll be able to find their registry at Crate & Barrel any day now, no?

I didn't find any of this out from Jimmy himself, of course. No, all of this information came courtesy of a friend and roommate of his who was kind enough to fill me in when she realized he hadn't, despite him specifically telling her not to. She offered to meet me for drinks to lend some insight, and as luck or misfortune had it, Jimmy himself decided to get a drink at that very same bar the same evening. It shouldn't have been a surprise, given that it's a bar where he is so much a regular, his Catch.mom profile actually suggests that anyone interested in meeting him might find him there. He hadn't gone in weeks, though, according to his friend and roommate. "He won't be there," she assured me.

He was there, of course, as was his new girlfriend. When he saw me, he was surprisingly unfazed. In fact, after telling me that our relationship was "absolutely" working for him and then subsequently vanishing on me a week later, his only words to me that night (after a chipper "Hi guys") were, "Happy birthday!" Happy birthday. Not on my actual birthday, even, (on my actual birthday he was still AWOL) but on the day after. Happy birthday. I've decided that this shall be the new phrase of choice in any situation where I am in any way tongue-tied, out of line, or wrong. No need for discussion, apologies, or the like. Just "Happy birthday!" It's appropriate in any number of awkward situations. Try it yourself the next time you've been a total ass to someone you know and have claimed to care about.

We talked for a while. Or rather, *I* talked. He said nearly nothing. When I replay those several minutes in my head, I still can't believe he looked at me as blank-faced and expressionless as he did. I may have actually said at one point, "Have you lost your soul??" It was maddening and baffling. I couldn't believe I was looking at the same person who kissed me in my kitchen as he left just a few weeks ago. I don't know what happened to him. I don't know where the Jimmy I knew (or thought I knew) went. It was almost eerie, frankly. Something is going on with him. Something besides a new girlfriend. But obviously I'm not going to be the one still around to find out what.

From everyone I've told this story to, the reaction has been the same. I dodged a bullet. I'm better off without him. I'm too good for him. And while I know they're right, none of those words really help. If I'm better off without him, why am I so hurt and angry that it ended this way? If he's not good enough for me, why was he the one who deserted me, instead of the other way around? He's the loser, and yet, he had two women willing to be with him at the same time. How is that in any way fair or sensical? None of these are new questions, of course. But that doesn't make them any less maddening.

It sounds so ridiculous now, but I thought we had a connection. I thought we had chemistry. I wanted to believe all the wonderful things he said. I wanted to believe he'd actually grown up a lot since we knew each other last. That I was apparently wrong about all of that makes me lose hope and distrust my instincts. More importantly, though, it makes me want to retract every fond thing I ever wrote about him--every past entry where I mentioned his name (not just since January, but in the four years prior). I want to insert an "edited to add..." note on the posts where I said we should have met five or ten years later to say, "WRONG! Once a flake, always a flake, my friend."

I've done a lot of dating, as anyone who's read this blog for very long knows. A lot. Both the upside and the downside to all that dating is that it's hardened and desensitized me a bit. I don't get easily invested. It takes more to get to me. Small transgressions don't bother me much; I've grown to expect them, in fact. That may make it harder for me to let any right guy in and past the shell, but it protects me from a lot of needless "But why didn't he call?" cries as well. The bigger transgressions, though? The ones that come after I have let someone in? Those hurt more each time. The cumulative effect is wearying. Each chink in the armor comes closer to totally destroying it and breaking me. I grow more jaded, more cynical, more slow to trust. I've become a fucking movie/sitcom cliche.

I honestly don't mind being alone. I'm used to it. I'm good at it. Being alone I can deal with. Being hurt and disappointed is what I'm tired of.

This is quickly taking a direction I didn't mean to turn, so I'll wrap this up before I peer any deeper into the damn Bell Jar.

I started this post two days ago, and I actually almost deleted nearly all of it tonight. I don't want to think about this anymore. I finally know what happened, which means I can stop wondering if there was some legitimate reason he vanished on me (something of the head injury or life's rock bottom variety) or if he honestly did just flake out on me with total careless disregard. Now that I know it was the latter, I can be angry and feel justified in the anger. The anger will eventually lift and I'll move on. The wondering would have nagged at me for life.

Friday night I did the crazy person inside myself a favor. I went to Jimmy's Facebook profile and clicked the "Remove from Friends" link. It's the first time I've ever clicked that link, and part of me wondered if it was too hasty. Once it's done, it can't be undone, and maybe somewhere down the line, I'll want to torture myself by spying on his life without me. I'd like to think I'm the grown-up in this situation, though, and letting him disappear seemed like the far more grown-up (and sane) thing to do. It was almost liberating. "Remove from Friends." Gone. Now if only there were a "Remove from Memory" link as well.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Is this what blogging in a third world country is like?

It is no longer my birthday, obviously, so I'd really best post something new, hadn't I? Unfortunately, I just spent well over an hour completing a handful of simple Internet-related tasks that should have taken a mere few minutes, if my computer weren't older than my blog (which just turned four a few days ago, in case you want to bake a belated cake for Stefanie Says as well), and apparently the effort involved in those very strenuous commands was too much for this aging Dell; it's now insisting upon a one-minute rest after nearly every click or keystroke. I waited a full thirty seconds for the blinking cursor to return after typing that last sentence. Friends, I may be content to be old school a good majority of the time (what with my land line and my paper checkbook register and my still-in-use VHS recorder), but frankly, this is no way to live.

I do have stories to tell you... or rather, a story, but that particular story incites enough rage all on its own without my agitation at my inferior in-home technology heightening my ire. Hence, the story will have to wait. This, meanwhile, is just a pointless interim post--a courtesy, "I'm still alive" note so you don't fear that I've gone the way of The Buddhist and simply vanished without warning. The Buddhist is very much alive, by the way, and, as it turns out, very much worthy of all the kneecap-bashing threats generated in the comments on that post. More on that later; I promise.

I'm well aware it's almost rude of me to type that much without continuing, but seriously, it just took me a full six minutes to create that last hyperlink and type the two sentences that followed it, and it wasn't because I was editing and re-editing to fine-tune my thoughts. No, this computer is clearly crying for some shut-eye, and in the spirit of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em," I guess it's the same for me.

Meanwhile, I hope you all had a lovely weekend. I had a German dinner at a Spanish movie night, held a preemie who is so tiny, I'm pretty sure the Chipotle burrito I had last week weighed more than her, and celebrated the first Sunday of spring by not leaving my house all damn day.

What about you?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Katie Holmes is doing it, so it MUST be all the rage.

All right. Let's change the subject here. The post I wrote Monday night was a story I didn't think I could get away with not telling, but I still wanted to delete every paragraph immediately after typing it, and hence, I don't want to leave it in top position for too long. Thank you all for your supportive comments on it, however. I still feel like crap, but it does help in some small strange way to know I have a tiny but determined army willing to break someone's kneecaps if I only say the word. Well, if I say the word and maybe buy everyone a plane ticket. Whatever; solidarity isn't always about details.

In other news, today is my birthday. I sort of want to quietly ignore that, such is my lack of excitement about adding another year to my age. Is it me, or does 35 somehow sound significantly older than 34? Maybe it's that at 35, I can no longer claim to be in my early 30s. I'm solidly in the mid- years at this point, and the way math works, if you round up, I'm nearly 40 now. Of course, ten years ago I was probably equally freaked about 25, and ten years from now, 35 will probably feel pretty damn young. This is quickly turning into the most pointless paragraph I have typed in recent memory, so I'll stop my whining henceforth.

The good news is that the small spattering of snow we got last week apparently counts as my birthday blizzard this year, so for once I will neither be shoveling on my birthday nor fielding messages from friends claiming they can't make my birthday gathering due to a storm. And if all of said friends read my Facebook status over the weekend, I expect to receive no fewer than nine can openers at my party this evening--can openers that hopefully will be accompanied by Target gift receipts so I can trade the extras in for another cute fake leather handbag instead.

I kid, I kid. If you are coming to my party this evening, I require no presents at all. I will require cake, however, so hopefully at least one of you is on that. (Again, not serious. Please just show up, OK? Thank you.)

Speaking of cake, I thought it might be fun to do another then/now comparison just like the '80/'08 one I posted last year. Unfortunately, I have no photos from my birthday in 1990 at my quick and convenient disposal. Frankly, it's just as well, as I can assure you I was not nearly as cute at 16 as I was ten years prior, and it's probably a toss-up whether my fashion sense was any better or worse at that point. If I did have a photo of me to mash into a '90/'09 combo, the '90 half would likely feature pegged jeans, a sweater from The Limited, a pouf of bangs, and blue eye liner. Coincidentally, I was considering wearing the exact same thing tonight.

Monday, March 16, 2009

And now, for a total pick-me-up post...

First off, a public service message to my single friends out there. Have you ever had a Catch.mom subscription, but let it lapse (or set up a user name and password, but didn't actually pay for membership, thinking, "I'm just going to lurk and check things out for a little while first")? During that period of non-payment, have you gotten messages from Catch.mom excitedly telling you that someone winked at you(!), and encouraging you to pony up for membership to find out who? In case you have wondered if perhaps Catch.mom is messing with you, if perhaps NO ONE has winked at you, and these mysterious emails are just a way of suckering you over to the signup screen, YOU WOULD BE CORRECT! Do not fall for this trap, my friends.

I am feeling more than a bit jaded and beaten down at the moment, so before my account could auto-renew recently, I clicked through the four pages of hoops they make you jump through ("Are you SURE you want to cancel? No, are you really, REALLY sure you want to cancel? Perhaps you didn't understand the question. Do you really, really, REALLY want to cancel? You must be joking, right? Because NO ONE could possibly EVER want to leave..."), and I stopped my membership. But because I didn't want Mr. Perfect-for-Me stumbling across my profile immediately thereafter and sending me an impossibly clever, well-crafted message that I would actually never see, I also hid my profile so that no one browsing through the listings would be able to view me. And yet, THREE TIMES since I did this, I have gotten messages from Catch.mom, assuring me that Mr. Right is out there, and he's winked at and is waiting for me. Obviously I am unconvinced. If Mr. Perfect-for-Me has the techno-skills to find and view my invisible-to-him profile and discern a way to wink at me, then he should have the skills to locate me in person and woo me in real life, possibly plying me with free drinks. Until that happens, I'm just going to assume Catch.mom takes me for a sucker, and frankly I won't have some silly web site do that to me.

All this is a roundabout lead-in to the question I have been dodging for a while now. I have been vague-blogging recently, and I do apologize for that, mentioning a stupid boy and a metaphorical stomach ache, but not elaborating beyond that at all. I've talked about only one prospect recently, and hence, the question could of course be distilled simply to, "Hey Stef. What ever happened to The Buddhist?"

What ever happened to The Buddhist indeed. Unfortunately, I can distill it to an equally simple answer. I have no fucking idea, to be frank. The Buddhist has, as far as I can tell, completely vanished on me.

I could tell you the long version or the short version of this story. The long version is fraught with idle details and personal commentary, so perhaps the short, "just the facts" version is the one you'd rather hear from me. The facts are thus. I had my doubts. I knew The Buddhist was in a not-so-great place personally and professionally right now. He lost his job the week we reconnected. His finances are a mess. But I honestly thought he had grown up a lot emotionally since we'd last met. I wanted to believe our paths crossed again for a reason. I wanted to believe maybe it was supposed to work this time. There were red flags just like there were eight years ago. But along with those red flags, there were compliments and glimmers of hope. He used the words "relationship" and "girlfriend" in near-direct allusion to me. He gave me the key-code to his house. He told me to remember what kind of cake I baked for his birthday, because he'd want the same cake again next year. We talked about how the last time we dated, he didn't break up with me when he started feeling freaked out about the status of us; he just grew more distant and flakey until it forced me to break up with him. We talked about that, and he looked me in the eyes and said, in all earnestness, "I promise I won't do that this time. I promise that if this isn't working for me, I will tell you it's not working for me. I promise I won't do that to you again." He told me that, and I followed it, of course, by asking, "So... is this working for you?" and he answered, "Absolutely." And a week later, he vanished with no explanation or warning. And I remain hurt and baffled by it.

Without going into too much detail, I can think of at least two semi-valid (in his mind) reasons he might have completely shut down and shut me out. Because I have an overactive imagination, I can think of at least 11 additional, near-ludicrous reasons he disappeared with no notice. But none of those reasons justify the complete and total vanishing act. None of those reasons keep me from wanting to punch him in the stomach should I ever see him again. I say this, and yet, I know this idiot has some hold on me. I am a smart girl, and yet, I still want to hear from him. I want an explanation. And somewhere, in some shameful, Jerry Springer Guest Candidate part of me that I wouldn't admit if I hadn't just finished off the rest of the sangria I made for a friend's brunch yesterday, I actually want to believe we still have a chance.

What that is about I have no idea. When did I become an "I sure know how to pick 'em" kind of girl? Did I tell you that The Traffic Engineer contacted me yet again not so long ago? The Traffic Engineer, who is a perfectly nice man who unfortunately does nothing for me. A man who I had a completely filters-off dinner with two months ago, in which I sighed about my recent (at the time) "best date of '08" disappointment and he gingerly countered by asking if perhaps I'd considered the possibility that I might be too picky. I was not in top form on that non-date. I didn't care what he thought of me, because nice as he is, I thought little of him. And yet, a month and a half later, in comes another message from the man, asking if I'd perhaps like to see another movie together. Maybe The Traffic Engineer is a prideless loser. The more time passes, the more I think that's probably the case. Or maybe he's just a nice guy beaten down by dating just like I am. It's unfortunate I can't muster any interest in him whatsoever. No, instead I'm crying over some apparently fake Buddhist who should be concerned about karmic consequences and yet who's treated me with more disregard than any idiot since my 25 and clueless days. Perhaps you have some insight on that, because I really can't explain it myself.

Maybe I'm supposed to meet The Buddhist again in another eight years. Maybe the third time is a charm. Wouldn't that be an even better Lifetime movie? Or maybe, as is more likely, I need to admit that I was wrong about him, that all that wondering over the years was for nothing and he has never particularly been worth my time. It'd be easier if it really were just that simple, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What do Dexter, the Bible, and Library Boys have in common? Nothing, except they're all in this post.

I know I'm really late to the bandwagon on this Dexter phenomenon, so maybe the rest of you can help me out on this. If I need to stop the DVD after every episode before the end credits music rolls and that creepy string part comes in... If watching the first season finale tonight got my heart rate up more noticeably than my 30 minutes on the elliptical earlier today... Basically, if I am a big old 'fraidy cat who can't believe she even started watching an entire series about a serial killer... well, should I even queue up the remaining seasons in my Netflix list? Given some of the decisions I've made in my life (dating ones, in particular), clearly I am some kind of masochist, so perhaps now that I've started I may as well proceed. But season one wrapped up so nicely--a neatly contained story all on its own. Maybe that's enough? It probably gets better, but does it also get creepier? I live alone, you see. And there is no boy here at the moment in whose armpit I can bury my face (which is the only way I got through the final scenes of The Ring, mind you). So... I'm uncertain. Advice (sans spoilers, please), anyone?

Moving on to things that are too ridiculous to scare me, do you remember when I took a stab at writing a script for the Angry Alien 30-Second Bunny Theater production of Twilight? (Do you also remember that somebody was supposed to remind me to go look for that production in a couple months? No? Hrm. Then perhaps that's why I had to remember to look for it myself today!) Anyway, it is there now! Whee! And shockingly, my version is not so far off from their end result. Go ahead and go watch it. I'll wait.

Good stuff, no? Yes, friends, the Internet is filled with all manner of wonderful things. Also, all manner of frighteningly hideous and laughable things... like these pants, which have showed up in a sidebar ad beside my email at least five times in the past two days. I know that supposedly Gmail targets the ads its users see based on the content of their messages. I use Yahoo, however, which I can only hope and assume is not so meddling or advanced, because while I have typed the words "Roller skating always = fun" in an email recently, I am quite certain I've typed nothing along the lines of "let's all zip our shiny pants up to our sternum and party like it's 1978." Seriously, we may not all agree on much, but can we all agree the shiny, skin-tight, high-waist disco pant is a terrible idea? I thought so. Thank you. Ah, American Apparel. The great unifier in its absurdity. Naturally, I would expect nothing less from the people who brought us the return of hypercolor and the brilliant skirt-as-dress plan. (Note: If you're clicking through on that last link, go right ahead and skip to #2 of that post.)

To prove that I do still leave my house on occasion for entertainment that isn't displayed on a screen, I should tell you that I went to the Central library last night to hear David Plotz talk about his new book, Good Book, based on the Slate series he wrote detailing the "bizarre, hilarious, disturbing, marvelous, and inspiring things [he] learned when [he] read every single word of the Bible." OK, that Slate series was housed on a screen, of course, but Plotz's appearance at the library wasn't, so the first sentence of this paragraph still stands. I haven't actually read the related Blogging the Bible series, but I very much enjoyed Plotz's talk. And now I am curious to read the Book of Ruth, which is, apparently, like a subcompact Jane Austen novel, a perfect story that encapsulates everything that matters in life and yet can be read in ten minutes flat. I'm also curious just what sort of jabs Elijah made to have Plotz deem him the original insult comic. Plotz's experiment in general is an intriguing and tempting one, and maybe I should try it myself, but he also assured us that if we don't know the Bible very well, his book is a useful and entertaining substitute, so perhaps I'll just read his instead.

My library venture entertained me even before the main event got on stage, though. I seated myself directly behind and to the right of a quiet-looking, 30-ish nerd/hipster hybrid with short dark hair, a scruffy beard, and black-rimmed glasses. He scribbled something in his Moleskine, and a few minutes later, looked up and then shifted himself to let another library patron slide past him into the row. I looked at the two of them sitting on either side in front of me and had to stop myself from laughing out loud, wondering if either man realized they were, essentially, the exact same man. Short dark hair, scruffy beard, black-rimmed glasses. Charcoal pants. One in a muted-tone sweater, one in a similarly colored hoodie. Both jotting notes in tiny books. I surveyed the rest of the crowd. Quiet-looking, dark-haired, bespectacled men were everywhere. Not a one of them wearing a color more vibrant than maroon. A while ago, my friend Carrie wrote about searching for Cafe Boy. I didn't realize Library Lecture Boy was just as specific a type. Usually, he is even my type (minus the quiet part, I suppose, though in a library, quiet is to be expected, of course). In case you are wondering, though, no, I didn't actually talk to any of the Library Lecture Boys. It may have been a "kid in a candy store" sort of scenario, but this kid has a stomach ache, so I'm steering clear.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Range Rovin’ with the Cinema Stars

Hey friends. Guess who wants to borrow my blog again? Nabbalicious! You know Nabbalicious, don't you? You may remember her from such guest posts as Radio on the TV and... Um, I guess just Radio on the TV? Did she really do only one guest post here at Stefanie Says? Dang, and I totally thought I had a perfect Troy McClure thing going on there.

ANYWAY, Nabbalicious has a story for you, and I am all about any way to bring Nabbalicious back to the Internets (not to mention all about free posts arriving magically and unexpectedly right in my Inbox). Take it away, Heather...


It seems like everyone in LA has a celebrity story, and I just think that's really unfair, because I work very hard for my celebrity sightings. Whenever I happen to be on Robinson (where the Ivy and other celeb-approved restaurants are), I keep my eyes out for them in their natural habitat. When we drive by any of the Coffee Beans in Hollywood, I silently chant, "Celebrities... celebrities... where are you..."

Darren often sighs and says, "I'm telling you. The minute you stop looking, you will see one."

"Yeah, yeah… where's Jennifer Aniston?"

In the hunt for my own celebrity encounter, I'm not sure what I'm looking for, exactly, because it's not like I haven't seen them. I saw Hank Azaria jogging in Central Park (he's not as lanky as you'd think), Judy Blume passed me on the street in New York. I saw the back of James Spader's head at an Andrew Bird show, and Sandra Oh walked by me at a Wilco show. I was nearly trampled by the paparazzi in their attempts to get a shot of Holly, one of Hugh Hefner's Bunnies.

But I never really felt like any of those encounters counted. The first four had to be pointed out to me, and the last one I just didn't give two shits about. I wanted my very own encounter. I wanted to be the one to recognize the celebrity, and I wanted to maybe even care a little bit who they were.

I'm also not sure why I care about spotting a celebrity to begin with. I guess I'm like my dog Nabby when she chases squirrels – what would I do if I actually got one? I'm not interested in talking to them. I certainly don't want an autograph. I guess it's like when you want to see a band live after you've heard their music – you want the whole experience. What are they like in person? Well, Us says they're Just Like Us™, but I'd rather find out for myself.

This weekend, it finally happened. Right next to Dominique Dunne's grave.

Me, Darren and my friend Melissa went to Westwood Village Cemetery this past Sunday afternoon to check out the graves of the famous people who are buried there. Westwood Village is easily my favorite cemetery of all the ones I've visited out here because what it lacks in easy-to-findness, it more than makes up for in the bonanza of dead celebrities it houses, including Bettie Page, Roy Orbison (although it's unmarked), Dean Martin, Brian Keith and, most famously, Marilyn Monroe. Westwood is also so tiny that in 90 minutes, you can see every grave in the place and a good third of them belong to industry people. And of those, another third have hilarious headstones.

Jack Lemmon's marker says simply:

Jack Lemmon


Merv Griffin's says "I will not be right back after this message."

Billy Wilder's says, "I'm a writer, but then, nobody's perfect."

So, Melissa and I were standing by Dunne's grave when a charcoal-colored Range Rover pulled up.

The man inside wearing shades asked us, "Excuse me. Do you know where Marilyn Monroe's grave is?"

Holy shit, I thought. That's Pauly Shore. That low, Jeff Spiccoli-like drawl is unmistakable.

"It's over that way," I gestured back and to my left.

And even though on the inside I was remembering how much I enjoyed "Son-In-Law" and "Encino Man" when I was in college (don't judge) (I also smoked a lot of pot then) (are the two related? Probably.), I didn't let on that I knew it was him or even cared. But that didn't stop him from pulling up part of his black jacket to conceal half of his face.

"Uhhh, who else is buried here?"

Melissa and I rattled off some names. "Jack Lemmon… Walter Mattheau… Merv Griffin… Rodney Dangerfield…"

"Rodney Dangerfield is here?!"

"Yep, right over there."

"Okay, great. Thanks."

Melissa looked at me after he pulled away and said, "That sounded a lot like Pauly Shore."

"It was Pauly Shore!"

Darren, who had been hanging back about 10 feet, started making his way toward us to tell us who we were talking to. "I know," I said before he could say anything. "That was Pauly Shore!" Because that's the other thing. When I do see a celebrity, I never, ever know it. I've probably seen dozens and dozens without ever having realized it. Los Angeles is tricky, too, because so many people act important and smug. How can I separate the someones from the no ones if they're all acting entitled?

And that was it. My very own celebrity encounter. I know it's not A-list, but I think the air of total absurdity about the whole thing more than makes up for it.

And now, if you're anything like me, when someone tells you that they met or saw or in any way interacted with a celebrity, you pepper them with questions. In anticipation of such questions, I'll ask and answer them for you.

Did he seem nice?

Eh. He seemed absolutely, perfectly neutral. I suppose "reserved" is the word I would use. Or stoned, if he still is into that sort of thing.

So, he didn't say "Thanks, Buuuuuddy!"

In a cemetery? That is so inappropriate.

Did he apologize for "Biodome"?

He did not.

Was he tall?

He was sitting in a car, so I have no idea. He did get out near the area where Jack/Walter/Rodney are buried, and although he was far-ish away, he didn't look particularly short or tall. He also didn't look fat or thin. Just fit.

How was he dressed?

Not like Pauly Shore, that's for sure. Dark pants, black top, black shades, short curly hair.

Was anyone with him?

See, I thought it was a small woman with black hair and shades. But Melissa thinks it might have been a kid, and Darren seems to be leaning toward this one, too. This person never got out of the car, so this question belongs to the ages.

He must be doing well if he's driving a Range Rover!

I know! That's totally what I said, too!

Come on, he's from LA, he's never been to Westwood Village before?

Hey, it seemed a little off to me, too, but you know how locals never take advantage of their area attractions. Ah those celebrities... they really are just like us.

(Note: Photographic evidence of Heather's Pauly Shore encounter is here. Click on through, please, as I am far too lazy to save and repost to embed the photo on this page. This is a free post for me, after all, and free posts should involve as little work as possible, don't you agree?)


Thanks, Heather! Remember, you can borrow my blog any time. Though I still think you should just re-start your own instead. (No? Well, I tried.)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

This post may start with the usual complaints about Daylight Saving Time, but I promise it complains about several other things as well.

Is it my imagination, or is this "Spring Forward" thing happening earlier than usual the past couple years? Don't answer that, actually. It is not my imagination. Starting Daylight Saving Time three weeks early was yet another brilliant idea from the Bush administration, and now as a result, every spring and fall when I make the tour of my house to reset my clocks, I say a special thank you to my least favorite ex-president as I reset the ONE clock that previously was smart enough to reset itself on its own. That would be my VCR's clock, which, while an ancient and archaic appliance according to most people, was actually advanced enough to know when Daylight Saving Time was supposed to start and end and adjusted its time automatically. That is, until George W. got his hands on it. (Daylight Saving Time, I mean. Not my VCR. Even now that he's out of office, I'm pretty sure Bush has better things to do than rifle through my humble home.) This may be the least of the legacies of the Bush presidency, but it's an especially annoying one to me. Grr.

Speaking of annoyances, I started my weekend off on a fantastic one by getting into a car accident on my way out to meet friends Friday night. I am fine, and I'm well aware that is the most important part, but it's unsettling anyway. The jerk who I hit was making a left turn at an intersection where I was proceeding straight from the oncoming line of traffic, and he claims that since the light was yellow, HE had the right of way. I don't actually remember learning that rule in driver's ed; I'm pretty sure that in lieu of a green arrow signal, the rule is always "Left turn must YIELD," but this guy also said it was legal for up to two cars to turn left on a red light if they don't have a chance to make their turn before the light changes, so clearly he's working off a different manual than the one I received. Let's just hope our insurance company goes by the same manual I'm familiar with and not the wacky "make your own rules" one that jackass seems to own.

On the up side, while the delusional jackass's fancy silver Mustang has a giant dent in its right side, my car sustained almost no damage at all. People may malign my aging Saturn, but I'm telling you, it may in fact be invincible. The bumper is clearly made of titanium, as it has sustained notable impact and force from other vehicles at least four times now and has nary a crack or scratch to show for it. My license plate is mangled, yes, and there's some silver paint from the jackass's side body mingling along with the red paint I still hadn't touched up from that mishap last summer. But actual damage? None, as far as my untrained eye can see. So... GO Saturn, I suppose. Could the Honda Civic a friend of mine recently told me I should be driving instead promise the same?

While I'm looking for silver linings, I could also mention that I finally figured out how to file my taxes almost for free this year, and I was happy to see that my refund was already in my bank account, mere days after clicking "Send return." I saw that, and I promptly did the least fun and most grown-up and responsible thing possible with it--I made a second payment to my credit card bill this month, and I paid my $596 medical bill in full. And then I transferred the rest to savings, because my savings account and I have had a rather unbalanced relationship lately, and I thought it would be nice to give a little for once instead of always being a "take, take, take" sort of girl.

The medical bill, by the way, was for an echocardiogram I had back in January, which I don't think I actually blogged about, despite the fact that a strangely flirtatious Middle Eastern cardio technician slathering goop on my chest and then fondling me with a plastic wand while making uncomfortable small talk would ordinarily spell prime blog fodder. If I worked for a larger company (or lived in Canada), that test would have cost me nothing, of course, but since I do not, $596 was my portion of the bill. Frankly, I am tired of all the criticisms about national health care. In this case, Socialism sounds like a fine plan if you ask me.

I did allow myself at least one small impulse purchase knowing that tax return was in my bank account, though. I've realized it might be time for a new handbag, but rather than let one of my experienced handbag mentors guide me to a proper all-leather investment with a three-digit price tag, I bought this one at Target instead. Carrie and Angela, I'm well aware that neither of you would approve of this PVC, polyester-lined purchase, but at a mere $19.99, I promise I'm not opposed to investing in something more appropriate under your guidance as well.

Let's see. What else have I been up to lately? Well, Tuesday I put on my civics nerd hat (kidding; I actually look terrible in hats) and went to my precinct caucus. I wasn't feeling committed and ambitious enough to volunteer as a Ward or City Convention delegate, but I did volunteer to help with some data entry work this weekend. My friends Amy and Mark, who live 12 blocks and one precinct away, are both delegates, and had I been in the same room as them, perhaps I would have stepped up to that plate as well. As it happened, the only one egging me on in my precinct room was an egg-shaped guy in an R.T. Rybak shirt, nodding and pointing at me in a strange but encouraging way as our caucus leader asked for delegates. Naturally I assumed he thought I was cute and wanted me to be a delegate simply so we'd find ourselves in the same room again sometime soon, but alas, it quickly occurred to me that he probably saw the Rybak sticker on my sweater and was just trying to load the delegation in his candidate's favor. Pish posh.

So I will not be attending this year's Ward 1 or City convention, but I did spend most of the day yesterday helping to enter caucus attendee details into the state voter database. A surprisingly small number turned out, and a few hours in, the woman in charge started slightly badmouthing a few other active party members for transgressions during the caucus. When I said goodbye that afternoon, she thanked me for my help and said that she hoped her catty talk didn't dissuade me from getting involved in additional future events. I didn't have the nerve to say, "Au contraire! If anything, cattiness makes me MORE inclined to participate!" but the sentiment was in my head nonetheless.

And I guess that's about all I've been up to lately. Please tell me that your weekend was more positively eventful than any of that.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Like Christmas for Nerds

Hey friends. Do you know what day it is? It's National Grammar Day!

To be entirely honest, I didn't do anything particularly notable to celebrate this event last year, and yet, I feel it would be out of character for me not to point it out again this year anyway. Maybe I will actually pour myself a Grammartini when I get home. Maybe you should, too. I have no idea what makes a Grammartini any different from any other -tini, but here is the recipe, for what it's worth.

The Grammartini
  1. Pour two-and-a-half ounces of gin, a half-ounce of dry vermouth, and several ice cubes into a martini shaker.
  2. Shake. (The shaker—not your body or your dog’s paw.)
  3. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with an olive. If you must, use a lemon twist instead. The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar likes olives, however. When life hands us lemons, we make lemonade.

Now go forth and spread the word. Remember, times are tight, but good grammar costs nothing!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Airing of Grievances

Otherwise known as an ANTI-Grace in Small Things list. Surely we're all allowed one once in a while, no?

  1. I lost a pair of gloves today. And not just any gloves, but the gloves that are actually warm enough 90% of the time and that match all three of my winter coats. Also, the gloves I wasted an hour mending not too long ago.

  2. I am pretty sure I lost them at McDonald's. I NEVER go to McDonald's, except at rest stops on the way to my parents' house. I am convinced that losing my gloves was punishment for giving in to a bacon and cheese biscuit craving directly after getting my teeth all smooth and sparkly clean at the dentist's office.

  3. I had to go to the dentist this morning. This isn't really a grievance; it's a necessary evil that, in all honesty, isn't even really all that evil. Still, I can think of at least seventeen better ways to start the day.

  4. The public parking lot a half-block from our office that serves as an overflow lot for us is closed for an unspecified length of time. I do not work in a neighborhood where I should have to hunt for street parking blocks away in order to go to work, and yet? That is exactly what I had to do this morning.

  5. The entire surface area of my forehead has broken out in a way I have not seen since the days when I sprayed Rave Extra-Hold on it routinely to fix my pouf of bangs in place. (To clarify, that was twenty years ago. Just in case there was any question about that.) I am blaming this on the not-intended-for-use-on-face sunscreen I rubbed on my face my last day in Mexico, but really, shouldn't that be out of my skin's system by now?

  6. That stupid boy? Still stupid, as far as I can tell.
That really wasn't such a long or horrible list, I suppose. I thought surely I had more grievances to air than that. We probably all know it's that last one that's compounding the attitude that made me compile the rest of them, though.

Tell me. What's eating YOU today?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Edited to add...

OK, I barely had that published when I started to feel guilty about it. Please stop playing the world's tiniest violin for me, for I do realize that 1) I am ridiculously fortunate to have three winter coats, when some people have none; 2) and 3) I am fortunate to have the expendable cash to blow on McDonald's, as well as access to reasonably affordable dental care; 4) I am fortunate to have a job that requires me to find a parking spot in order to go it; and 5) No major breakouts since my adolescent years makes me more fortunate than Jessica Simpson and everyone else who's ever appeared in a Pro-Active commercial.

I'm still annoyed about #6, though. That's totally fair; is it not?

Monday, March 02, 2009

As if I'd ever really consider gnomes "optional"

I've realized that ever since I started a blog, I almost never write in a private journal anymore. It's just as well, I suppose, because when I page back through the journals I've kept over the years, I find that nearly the only thing I ever wrote about was this boy or that boy and the sorts of emotional roller coasters each one put me through. It's valid in some way to get that out, I suppose. Perhaps it does help to make sense of things a bit, or if not that, at least to purge thoughts from such a place of immediacy in my head. And while it makes me feel like a vapid high schooler, I do think I'm probably not alone. I remember Liz Gilbert writing in Eat Pray Love about Cambodian refugees, who talked to the therapists they met with not about torture or starvation, but about relationships and lost loves. "This is what we are like," Gilbert said. "Collectively, as a species, this is our emotional landscape.... There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? and Who's in charge? Everything else is somehow manageable."

Right now the only things I feel compelled to write about are things best kept to a personal journal, rather than one that anyone on the Internets can see. It's not even about privacy so much as about committing thoughts to finality. Typing something in a public forum makes it so; it's harder to change my mind the next day. The problem is, I don't even want to waste the pages of a private journal on the mess that's in my head, because the things I need to write about are things I already filled a full journal with eight years ago. The more things change, the more they stay the same, I suppose.

I hate when people vague-blog, so I'll stop that soon. My point, it seems, is I got nothin'. Or, nothing I'm ready to type about here just now.

Meanwhile, then, let's talk about books and movies, shall we? (Answer: we shall. What, you thought you had a say in this? Ha ha.)

Perhaps my favorite thing about a beach vacation is the luxury of spending essentially an entire day doing nothing except lounging in a chair reading a book. Yes, yes, I know I could do this at home as well; it's certainly not as if I do anything more productive than that every Saturday of my life. The point is, I don't do that. Instead, my reading is typically relegated to a half hour or less before bed, which is why it takes me a month or more to finish nearly any book I start. (Yes, even crazy Mormon teenaged vampire books. Which I am finally DONE with, by the way!) Not so with vacation reads, though! When I was in Mexico last week, I had the luxury of plowing through Who By Fire in its entirety in a day and a half, which is exactly how Lara (who originally told me about this book) would have wanted me to read it. Unfortunately, I didn't bring a highlighter or my Post-it flags to the beach chair, so while there were several passages I had to stop and read twice, pondering why I've never crafted a sentence quite so spot-on or beautiful, I can't actually share any of those passages with you right now. In fact, I don't think I'll even try to summarize just what it's about or why I enjoyed it, as Lara already covered that in her initial review and her follow-up interview with the author. That's right. Lara totally takes the train into The City and has wine with authors like it's no big whoop whatsoever. Then again, I have had wine with Lara. It is a good time, if you ask me. Who wouldn't want in on that? Anyway, thumbs up on Who By Fire is what I'm saying. Even though I'm saying it three months after this book made the rounds in the blog neighborhood.

While I'm recycling other people's reviews in place of my own, how about I let Metalia tell you what she thought of Revolutionary Road? It's fair, you see, because she covered pretty much every single comment my friends and I made over wine after our budget theater viewing of it last night, as well as a few comments we didn't. (Vinnie Delpino was in it? Really?? How did I miss that??)

Revolutionary Road was one of three movies I saw this weekend, actually, and while I didn't hate it, I can't decide if it was my least or second-least favorite of the three. It's a toss-up between that one and Lovely and Amazing, which Netflix assured me I would enjoy but which had me rolling my eyes and yelling at the TV for nearly the full hour and a half. Rotten Tomatoes' 85% "Fresh" rating will have you believe it is a "finely observed comedy," but I found very little to laugh at throughout. They also say it is a "smart and perceptive female character study," but I'd rather not study those particular characters. If I wanted to watch insecure, self-sabotaging women drive every person in their lives away from them, I would watch... Hmm... Actually, I don't know what I would watch. No one I know in real life actually lives their life as a constant stereotype of everything that is wrong with the way women interact with men (and with each other). Exactly where do these stereotypes come from, again?

And that brings us to Wristcutters: A Love Story, which was a strange bright spot by comparison, given that it's actually about an alternate universe inhabited solely by people who've killed themselves. (Cheery stuff, no? Maybe I'm not in a funk about some silly boy. Maybe it's my weekend's movie viewing I have to blame!) Anyway, it starred Patrick Fugit, who you probably remember from Almost Famous, and who was almost likable enough to make me forget I sort of hate Shannyn Sossamon. (All right; maybe I don't actually hate her. Maybe I just hate the impossible-to-remember way she spells her name and the fact that she named her son Audio Science. Yes, really.)

Except wait! I nearly forgot! I actually watched four movies this weekend. Saturday was the latest in the series of "Foreign Movie Night" gatherings my girlfriends and I have begun as a way to pretend we are getting some culture in lieu of forming a book club. (The real point of a book club is just to chat and drink wine, right? We decided we can do that just as easily at a foreign film night without any requisite prep work first.) Anyway, this month we decided to pull out a familiar favorite and re-watch Amelie. I'm sure you've likely all see it, but I nearly forgot how charming that film is. It is even more charming when you preface it with brie and prosciutto on baguettes and cheese-filled, berry-topped crepes. And more charming still when you bring your very own garden gnome as a centerpiece to set the scene for the evening. In fact, I recommend you re-watch Amelie at your earliest convenience, crepes and gnome optional.