Tuesday, September 30, 2008

my foot apparently likes my mouth

Last week I went to a wedding. I was alone and one of my best friends was getting married to someone I'm sort of learning to live with. So I put on a slinky dress and had what I would call a bit too much to drink. And then I stuck my foot in my mouth, twice.

First, someone at my table complimented me by saying that I had such great facial features that I could probably shave my head and still look good. Super nice, huh? Well, instead of just saying "thanks," I came up with--wait for it--"Yeah, I've thought about shaving my head." [I WHAT? Since when had I thought about shaving my head?] Then I said, "But, you know, I'm waiting for someone I know to get cancer so that I can be all noble and pretend I'm shaving my head in solidarity. But it's not like I want one of my friends to get a bad kind of cancer; it would be great if someone could get something he or she could beat in like two days, like toe cancer or something."

I laughed. Nobody else did.

But it's not like that taught me a lesson. Oh no.

At that point, people at the table were still speaking to me. So someone else randomly complimented me on my earrings. Did I say thanks? Oh no, not this time either. I gave up a story about my relatives and how they're so desperate to see me get married, to anyone. I told them I had a theory that the relatives are willing to buy me crazy expensive bling in the vague hopes that it might attract a husband. And then I topped the story off by asking one of the married guys at the table, "So, are the earrings working? Do you want to leave your wife immediately for me?"

I laughed. Nobody else did. And then the guy sitting next to me turned to me and said quietly, "Well, he did leave her. And they just got back together."


Monday, September 29, 2008

i am a creature of habit

I just got a new computer and it's been a real struggle to get it and my wireless up and running. And now my settings are all gone and I have to customize from scratch. It's making me so unhappy that I don't even want to use my computer now.

When I pulled in to work today, I realized that I park in the same spot in my parking lot every day. When I have to park somewhere else, I get all flustered and can't find my car.

When did I become rainman?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

i love it when people surprise

News of my penchant for foreign snacks is spreading from friends of colleagues to people with whom I make small talk. Today someone I see in the gym now and then brought me souvenir snacks from Japan. She was teeming with excitement and I was trying to appear grateful, but the bag looked an awful lot like the mixed bean cracker mixes I can buy at any Asian store here for about $2.

"You have to open it!" she said. "You need to try them right now."

I sensed this was going in a bad place. I opened the bag and looked inside.

"No, try them!" she practically yelled. "I can't wait to see your face."

Seriously, this was a lot of pressure.

I pulled out a small handful, took a look, then put them in my mouth. Peanut covered in flour, green pea, horse bean with sesame seeds. They tasted a lot like mixed bean crackers. My gym friend was practically bursting with excitement.

So I took another handful. I had almost put it in my mouth when I noticed that this handful did not quite look like the others. It had little dried fish.

mixed bean crackers
Mmmm... rice covered peanut, green pea, sugar covered horse bean, dried anchovy. Dried anchovy?!?

And I had assumed that my gym friend was lame. I love it when people surprise.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

want a couple of pills, or a couple of hundred pills?

I hardly ever get sick. When I do, I hate taking drugs. I always say that when you're sick, it's your body's way of telling you it just needs rest. Yes, I'm a bit of hippie.

Well, this week I'm fighting a head cold and it was so yucky last night that I decided to pick up some vitamin C. I went to the drug store down the street--which, btw, isn't some sketchy kiosk but a full-fledged 24- hour drug store--and bought the only bottle of vitamin C I could find that didn't appear to be manufactured for small children.

When I got home, I realized that the bottle had 500--yes, 500--pills, and that the expiry date is--wait for it--October 2009.

Can someone please explain how I (who live alone) am supposed to use 500 vitamin C pills in just over 365 days? Does anyone know of a charity that accepts vitamin C to save the kids in scurvy-ridden areas of the world? Or a book that teaches you how to make hamster furniture out of old pills? I tried to pass a few off to people at work today and they're starting to look at me a bit suspiciously.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

is the food almost tasty too?

almost perfect frozen food
The name of this joint is highly suspect, no? Too bad it was closed when I passed so I couldn't find out what made the food "almost perfect."

Friday, September 12, 2008

and i'm the one who's single, vol. 3

I promise this is the last one in the series, at least for a while.

I was at a friend's event recently and was making small talk with his friends. Here is the conversation that ensued with his friend who makes a living as a project manager (this detail is important for later):

Me: How has your summer been?

PM: Really stressful. My boyfriend and I are planning our wedding. It's so much work.

Me: Oh, are you getting married this year?

PM: No, next year.

Me: So it's a big wedding, then?

PM: Nope, it's just my boyfriend and me. We're eloping.

Me: Oh, so you're having a destination wedding. Where are you going?

PM: Oh, nowhere. We're getting married at City Hall.

Me [trying very hard not to sound bitchy]: So you're a project manager, and you're stressed out about a wedding next year with just the two of you at City Hall?

PM: Wow, you sound a lot like my boyfriend. Last week I had a melt-down over the wedding and he said almost those exact same words.

OK, you know where I'm going with this: that chick is getting married, and I'm still single?

Good times over here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

and i'm the one who's single, vol. 2

Recently, I ran into an old colleague on the street. I asked how she was doing. Here is the conversation that ensued:

Colleague: Well, remember that guy I was dating? We're getting married next week!

Me: Wow, that's great. Congratulations.

Colleague: Yeah, it means we won't have to pretend anymore.

Me: What do you mean?

Colleague: Well, you know how Rob's a bigwig in the company we both work for. Well, he didn't think it was right for anyone in the company to know that we were living together, unmarried. So we've been doing pretty much everything separately. If we go to Wal-Mart, we walk in separately, do our shopping on our own, then meet up again at the car. If we're in the car together in town, I try to duck when we hit a stop sign or stop light, to make sure nobody from work sees us in the car together. But now that we're getting married, I don't think he'll want to do that stuff anymore.

Me [trying to act all casual when alarm bells are ringing in every last bit of my body]: Ummm... yeah, OK.

So let's just think about this for a second: that guy just got married. That guy. And I'm still single.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

and i'm the one who's single, vol. 1

I've said it before and I never tire of saying it: my workplace is a freakshow.

Last week, a colleague begged me to come by so she could show me something. I popped in and (surprise, surprise) she shoved a hand overflowing with bling in my face. And here is the conversation that ensued:

Me: Wow, congratulations. I didn't know you were dating anyone.

Ms. Bling: Well, I wasn't. Two weeks ago, I was just like you, thinking that there would never be any hope for me [note that no such conversation was ever had], when everything changed one night. My friend Dave called and invited me to his house to hang out and eat Chinese take-out. When I got there, he had already eaten and was watching the Olympics. So I sat down in his kitchen and ate my food, and when I was done, I asked him if there was any dessert. Well, he didn't say anything; he just got up and went upstairs. When he came back down, he was holding a box and he asked me to marry him. Isn't that amazing?!

Me: So he was just a friend?

Ms. Bling: Yes.

Me: So had you ever dated before?

Ms. Bling: Nope.

Me: Ever kissed?

Ms. Bling: Nope.

Me [unable to avoid sounding incredulous at this point]: Ever even thought about him as a possible significant other?

Ms. Bling: Not really. I was so surprised, I didn't really know what to say. But then I said yes. So you never know, one of your guy friends might propose to you all of a sudden and then all of your single woes will be over.

Me [confused, possibly even disoriented]: Ummm, OK, but the thing is, I don't think I'd really say yes. If I wanted to be with a guy friend of mine, I think I'd already have done whatever to be with him. The friends of mine who are friends are really just friends, not sort of friends who could be something else.

Ms. Bling [beaming with excitement]: tat-tat-tat, you never know!

And here's all I have to say: I'm the one who's single?!

Monday, September 8, 2008

clearly this is where we should all buy jeans

I spotted this place in Burlington, Vermont. Sadly, it appeared to be closed, ending my dream of finally achieving fashion plate status.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

are all older men crazy, or is it just my father?

First, some background, so you understand who my father is:
Years ago, my parents went through a bit of a drinking phase. My sister calls this time period "the years of never-ending embarrassment" because my dad loved to order Sex on the beach (as in the drink). At any rate, they went to some all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean for a 7 day holiday, and on the 5th day, my father woke up blind. My mother (quite understandably) freaked out and wanted to take him to a doctor. He not only refused to go, but he also refused to go home early. He insisted on making the most of the rest of their holiday while blind.

Finally, my parents came home and my dad went to see a doctor, who told him that he was actually a diabetic and that he had gone into diabetic shock because of all the sugar he was drinking. But the diagnosis isn't the point of the story; my father was crazy enough to spend two days in a foreign country, blind as a bat, without getting help, of his own free will. Crazy person, no?

So here's the story of this week:
My parents have a cottage where they spend most of their summers now. Of course, this cottage is in the middle of nowhere and they refuse to get a landline, Internet access, or a cell phone. Since I hadn't seen them or spoken to them in a while, I decided to pack up my bruised tailbone and spend last weekend with them.

Saturday was a great day, but then Saturday night I was woken from sleep at around 2:30 am by a big thump. My father had gotten up, lost his balance, fallen over, and hit his head on the wall. Insisting he was OK, he went back to bed. Well, the next morning he was so not OK. He couldn't stand up on his own and refused to eat because of nausea. I know enough about medical stuff to understand that that could be just an inner ear infection, but a voice in my head kept saying that it also could be a stroke (especially because I'd just read this). I called around to a bunch of doctors in the vicinity but nobody was working on the Sunday of the long weekend, so I suggested that I take him to the hospital in the area, if only to get him a drip so he would feel better. He reacted violently to the suggestion, insisting that he was OK. This went on all day, and I don't think I slept for more than 20 minutes that night.

The next morning, when he was no better and asked me to walk him across the house, I lost my mind. I told him that the only place I was walking him to was my car so that I could take him to the hospital. He refused to go, so I packed my bags and left. Yes, I left my sick father in the middle of nowhere with no means of communication, and, since their plan was to stay until Wednesday, I spent the next two days waiting for my phone to ring, hoping that my dad wouldn't be in intensive care somewhere. No sleep was had.

At the end of the day, he apparently got better, but then, he didn't go to a doctor at all, so who knows?

Is this how men get when they get older? If I end up with someone who's seemingly normal now, is this inevitably what I'm going to have to deal with once he reaches retirement age? Or is my father just a crazy person?

tailbone issues

Well, I managed to pull a real number on my tailbone and have spent the last couple of weeks recuperating. There wasn't a lot of complaining that you would have actually enjoyed, so I decided to just take a hiatus.

I actually managed to go out for a trail run today without yelping in pain so things are picking up. I desperately need to run a bunch of errands, then will be back to post.

Hope you've all been much healthier than I! Looking forward to catching up.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

away (again)

I swear I don't get infinite vacation time. Back next week. Hoping the seemingly endless rain lets up as there will be a lot of camping. If not, there will be a lot of some small town bars in my future. That's a whole different kind of vacation.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

why does it have to be creepy?

Last week, while waiting at the airport for a domestic flight, I pulled out my laptop. I was in my own little world, getting my butt kicked even further at scrabulous, trying unsuccessfully to move up a level on FreeRice, and answering a few emails from a very long time ago (I've been so remiss lately).

Somebody asked if the seat next to me was available and I nodded, not even looking up.

After a few minutes, the same person said, "Wow, you type so fast - do your fingers ever smoke?" I enjoy brief conversations with random strangers, probably because I find people fascinating. I was mildly amused by this comment, so looked up to have a brief conversation. Buddy was an older guy in a pilot's uniform. After a few pleasantries, I turned back to what I was doing.

I wish the story ended there, because for once it would just be a nice story. But of course it doesn't end there. The next thing I knew unknown older guy--who was flying my plane, of course--was asking if I wanted to fly to Europe with him the next day. Say what?

Don't men ever just want to have a pleasant conversation with someone? Does it always have to turn creepy? I just don't get it.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Well, I'm off on my first trip to Vermont, ever, this weekend. My travel buddy and I have earmarked this, this, and this as must-sees. Can't wait to see what else we find.

Have a great weekend, all!

Update: Such a fun weekend, despite the seemingly endless rain. Highlights were definitely going here and here--both visited with a healthy sense of irony.

We didn't make it to watch the drive-in movie from bed though.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

and maybe miniskirts should default to old people sizes

I'm just going to go ahead and admit that I'm a bit of a girly runner. You're not going to catch me running around in a pair of men's shorts and an oversized tshirt. I've got a full drawer of matching running skirts and shirts which I think are keeping runningskirts.com in business.

Today I was booting around their website, looking for anything new, when I came across this:

Here Runs the Bride.....All Dressed in White!

Introducing our new all white running skirts. Are you running to the alter [sic] in the near future? We've got you covered in our new running bride trousseau! Check out the new "Running Bride" running skirt, one of our new Specialty Skirts, the perfect "gown" for your marathon wedding.

We've combined our high performance fabrics and two pocket design into a beautiful all white running skirt. We've even designed a special mesh performance white "Veil" to complete the ensemble.

OK, so far it seems rather amusing. I mean, what kind of geek runs to her wedding? I would laugh my ass off. But then you get to the end and the drop-down menu from which you can choose a size for this skirt looks like this:


Does anyone else find it disturbing that the default size you can order for the "Running Bride" running skirt is teen 12-16?! I think I last wore that size when I was... umm... 16.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

care for a drink (or perhaps I'm manufacturing a candle)

I took a domestic flight today. I have the worst luck when it comes to seating on planes. On the last flight I took, the creepy man across the aisle (sitting next to his wife) stared at me for a full hour and fifteen minutes or so from take off to landing. On the flight before that, I sat next to humming woman, who hummed at such a fast clip I was a wee bit stressed out.

On my flight today, I set next to Guatemalan travellers. They seemed like nice people, that is until someone came to serve drinks. Strangely, no flight attendant on this flight spoke Spanish (was I in a parallel universe?) and my new Guatemalan friends apparently spoke not a word of English. When the attendant made a gesture of pouring a can of Coke into a glass, the couple looked at her as if she were a Martian. I translated "she's asking if you'd like a drink" into Spanish. Then I got to experience the joy of communicating the intricacies of their drink needs, from ice preferences to types of juice. Once the drinks were served, I also got to translate "thank you," because these Guatemalans were travelling in an English-speaking country and apparently hadn't yet figured out how to say that either.

OK, so if these Guatemalan people are travelling outside of their home country, methinks they're not exactly poor. Shouldn't relatively wealthy people in that part of the world have some grasp of the English language, however tenuous?

But even if they truly have no grasp (as seemed to be the case), how hard is it really to understand the gesture of a can of Coke being poured into a glass? I've travelled through some pretty far-off places where none of the languages through which I can stumble are spoken, and somehow I've always managed to make basic actions understood - and understand the basic actions of others in return. Context always helps, and methinks it's quite normal for a flight attendant to offer one a drink.

Did they think maybe that she was trying to sell them a deserted island, or teach them how to make a nuclear bomb? Guatemala has now dropped a country or two on my "must visit" list -- a good thing for my alarmist parents' ability to sleep, since it consistently ranks among the top 5 countries in the world for homicides.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

i swear some people have never heard of google

My workplace is a freakshow.

This week I was talking to a friend when another colleague walked up to chat. The friend is obsessed with weddings and the other colleague just got engaged, so the conversation switched rapidly from 'Look, it's Santa Claus - no, wait, it's a reviled perpetrator of genocide - arrest him' to a discussion about wedding planning. Oh joy.

The colleague getting married was explaining that they were having difficulties finding a reception hall next summer because only three dates all summer fit their schedule. Here is the conversation that ensued:

Friend: But I don't understand, you're only available to get married on three weekends all summer next year?

The Betrothed: Yeah, well, my fiancee is on the pill and she worked out when she's going to have her period next year, because she doesn't want to have it on our wedding day or during our honeymoon. So that really limits the possible dates.


Friend: Ummm... does your fiancee realize that that's the whole point of the pill, that she can just keep taking them for a while to change her schedule and have her period on whatever day she wants?

The Bethrothed: What? Really?

OK, so I know there are a lot of people in the world who are not what I would call curious, and who feel no need to understand how things work or why things are the way they are. But don't you think that if you were on the pill, you would ask some friends or maybe your doctor, or even do a google search to find out what the parameters are for the medication you're taking?

Perhaps more importantly, why do people feel the need to share this information with people at work? Way tmi.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


aaaaah. I love them. I always welcome them. But what's with the ones that come from a foreign country to visit for the first time, speak perfect English, and can't handle getting around and seeing stuff on their own? I live in a city full of great tourist attractions, many of which I can recommend and point out on a map. I don't get weeks and weeks of endless vacation, so I always tell people that they're welcome to stay and find stuff on their own, and that I'll join when I can. They always sound so excited, but then inevitably they get here, and they sit around and do nothing unless I take them places.

The evil part of me wants to invite myself over to their homes and do the same in return but I just can't bring myself to do it. Do I need to put up a rules board like all the hotels do?

Speaking of hotel rules boards, here's one I enjoyed immensely. Check out the red type. Thankfully, I at least don't have that problem.

strickly no prostitutes

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

trying not be hurt

Please tell me if I'm being unreasonable.

Most of my close friends are men. Not sure why, but there you go. One of my good friends is the guy who relieves constipation with his heated seats (sadly, a major source of search traffic for this blog), for whom I once drove to a restaurant to pay for a dinner date (he left his wallet at home).

Well, that dinner date was the beginning of something big. Friend called me last week, all excited, to tell me that he had proposed and she had said yes. I tried to be happy, but it was hard because I hadn't yet met his fiancee.

That's right, one of my good friends got engaged and didn't bother to introduce me to his significant other (who lives in the same city I do, I might add), whom he decided to marry.

I got upset, maybe more than I should have. After all, when someone calls to tell you that he or she is engaged, I think you're supposed to be all happy, or at least pretend to be all happy, or at least that's what I imagine my mother would tell me to do. I said, "You got engaged and I haven't even met her? When am I going to meet her?"

(To be very honest, I said this a la whiny voice, but it could have been a lot worse, right?)

His response: "Oh yeah, we're going to have an engagement party sometime this summer, so you can meet her there."

Well, today I got an evite to his engagement party and I have one word: crappy. The party's at a bar and a billion people are invited. Generally, that means we'll get about 5 minutes of innocuous conversation, yelled at each other over some ridiculous music. And I got invited 2 weeks in advance, to a party on a summer weekend. I treasure my summer weekends and maximize them by doing all kinds of outdoorsy stuff, and I hate hate hate getting stuck in the city for a stupid party. So wow, I can't wait to "meet" her.

OK, so I know you're hearing only my side of the story, but this all sucks, doesn't it? And it makes sense for me to be hurt, right? I'm trying not to be too hurt, since every indication is that my friend will be one of those people who gets married and doesn't have friends anymore. I find those people disturbing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

why don't the lights work?

All right. I live in a condo building full of young professionals, yuppies, and Hong Kong kids (whose parents buy them a condo to live in while they go to university). It's not the cheapest place, so we don't exactly have refugees from countries without electricity living here. (And that's actually a relevant observation, I promise.)

That being said, I'd like to share an article from this month's condo newsletter. Word for word. Enjoy.

Why don't the lights work?

Many residents have been having trouble determining why a light or fan is not working in their suite. This usually happens for one of two reasons:

1. The light bulb has burned out. To check, replace the suspect bulb with a bulb that is known to be working. If the light works, your problem is solved.

2. If the light still doesn't work it is likely that a circuit breaker in your suite has been "tripped." .... [details on where to find a breaker] To reset a tripped breaker move the switch to "off" and then to "on."

These steps will solve the majority of "problems" associated with your in-suite electrical setup. If your problem cannot be solved by following these steps, or if you have additional questions, please contact the building operator.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

where do i get that mask?

On Thursday after work, I had coffee with a new guy I barely know. The conversation was good. However, I suspect I will never hear from him again.

You see, I live near my city's Church of Scientology. I'm not big on Scientology. In fact, I'm not big on religion generally, but I'm really not big on Scientology. At any rate, the Scientologists here are very industrious in their recruitment, and they're always out on the street, handing out flyers and trying to get people to take their stress tests. (And now that we're on the topic, has anyone actually taken the stress test? I wonder if anyone ever gets told he or she isn't stressed.) Since I pass their office so frequently, the regular recruitment people all recognize me.

So on Friday, as new guy was walking me home from coffee, as we passed Scientology (open at all hours, I swear), one of the flyer guys gave me a big smile and a "hey, nice to see you. How are you doing?" Buddy's head swung around quickly and he said, "You know that guy?"

I tried to explain that I pass by their office a lot, just because I live there. The pace of our walk picked up considerably. The goodbye was cursory at best.

Damn those Scientologists for screwing up my love life. You know how those Anonymous people protest in their masks and tell stories about their family members being brainwashed and mistreated by L. Ron Hubbard's followers? Well, maybe I should get a mask and tell the sad story of how Scientologists ruined my date.

I'm not sure that's the real point of the Anonymous group, but they must welcome all new members, no?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

am a losebag

All right, so I spent this whole weekend braving crazy rapids in a small kayak. I had some great moments and a few good rolls and came out unscathed. Last night, my friends and I drove back exhausted. When it was my turn to drive, everyone else fell asleep and I was left trying to stay awake by eating pretzels, the really big, fat ones. It was a wee bit unkind for everyone to fall asleep at once, but then, it was also stupid for me to eat pretzels, the world's saltiest food, while driving. At any rate, I popped one in my mouth that split into two. One piece went down my throat and the other lodged itself in the roof of my mouth. I tried to dislodge it with my tongue with no luck. Then I tried to use my fingers. Then I started to panic. All I could think was, this is how I'm going to die. I'm driving at high speeds on an interstate and I'm going to choke on a pretzel, lose control of the car and my friends are going to die, and man, is my obituary going to suck.

Then the pretzel came loose and I swallowed it. And I am a losebag.

The other stupid thing I did this weekend was read this book, alone, in a tent in the rain. I'm not sure the combo of solitude, darkness, wilderness and pouring rain is optimal for reading a book about someone's descent into madness. See above pronouncement that am losebag.

Friday, June 27, 2008

back on wednesday, and hopefully in one piece

I'm off to do some camping and whitewater kayaking. Unfortunately, once my adrenaline kicks in, it makes something in my brain believe I am invincible. With any luck, I'll come back with some stories, and all of my limbs intact.

Happy weekend.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

what does mugabe have on mbeki?

I wish someone would explain it to me.

Robert Mugabe's biggest allies through some pretty dark times have actually started to condemn him-- take Tanzania's Mkapa, Ghana's Rawlings, Uganda's Museveni and the British monarchy, for example--but South Africa's Mbeki just won't go there. I feel rage when I read this ANC statement:

It has always been and continues to be the view of our movement that the challenges facing Zimbabwe can only be solved by the Zimbabweans themselves. Nothing that has happened in the recent months has persuaded us to revise that view.

Mugabe has spent almost 30 years as President, pillaging, torturing, murdering and destroying Zimbabwe, and the opposition in the country still hasn't been able to expel him. What more proof does Mbeki need to revise his view?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

i hope their business cards say this

moving across the street
I'm not sure what verb they think they're using here (to patrionate?), but good on them for not letting the pesky problem of trying to find a real word stop them from thanking their customers.

Monday, June 23, 2008

call me an intellectual snob....

Heck, I do it all the time.

Last week a friend took me to the opera. I love the opera. This one was a French piece I had never heard live before, at a theatre I didn't even think existed anymore, and with an orchestra I had never heard before, so it was exciting and new. They pretty much had to bomb it for me not to like it.

Well, the first act started and o.m.g.

Well, the opera wasn't actually in French but translated into English. For real, people? Can the audience not just read the synopsis, follow along with the acting and then enjoy the music as it's supposed to be enjoyed?

But then it got worse. They actually abridged what I guess someone deemed the boring parts. God forbid the audience should be forced to sit through a part with a bit less action and excitement, even for a moment. The soloists talked through some made-up dialogue to advance the action.

And even more horrific... every one of the soloists spoke in his or her normal voice, with the exception of one of the men, who actually faked a French accent. A really, really bad French accent, the kind that makes six year olds laugh.

In what other place would an audience have to endure not just translation and abridgement of an important work of art, but also an insulting attempt at humour at the expense of another culture?! Argh. If I didn't believe in the dumbing of America before, I certainly do now.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

do i need to put a lock on my closets?

Yesterday I put on a pair of pants I haven't worn since last summer. It seems a pencil bandit struck at some point between the last wearing and yesterday. This is a close up of the left leg of my pants.

Hello to you too, pencil bandit, and thanks for not using permanent marker!

Now I have to embark on a pencil bandit unmasking mission.

Monday, June 16, 2008

the (corn) horror, the horror

I love corn on the cob.

I despise buying corn of the cob at the grocery store.

OK, so nobody wants to buy rotten corn. I hear that. But once you tear the husk open a tiny bit, you can predict with pretty good certainty whether that cob is good, bad, or ugly. And yet people--seemingly normal people--feel the need to rip all the husks off in the store to determine that every square milimetre of the corn is good. Like the $0.30 per cob (or whatever it is these days) is a ridiculous amount of money if that cob has even one kernel that isn't at its peak. Or like putting the effort into eating around a kernel at dinner might spoil the entire food experience.

And so now I feel strangely guilty buying corn, even though I'm not one of the crazy people (well, at least not one of the crazy corn-buying people). I feel badly because there's always some poor sucker employee who seems to be tied to a stake in the corn area by an invisible rope, poised with implements to clean up the inevitable corn detritus. I can't help but think what that poor person must do when he or she leaves work and tries to go to his or her happy place, wherever that might be, and inevitably some random cob of corn pops up. Tonight at the grocery store, I felt the need to say to the poor guy, "At least it's seasonal here." He didn't look as if he could summon up the strength (or the sanity?) to reply.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

guilt trips should be reserved for the guilty

So today I got up super early for a running date, showered and picked up a friend to go hiking. I got home from hiking, showered, then went out with friends for an early dinner. I got home at 7:30.

Today coincidentally was Father's Day. I spent a day with the parents last weekend so didn't feel the need to visit today. My plan was to call after I got home from dinner when I could actually talk to my father, rather than just yelling out "happy Father's Day" and having to hang up. And let me just reiterate that I got home at 7:30, which I think is a respectable time to call one's father on Father's Day.

Well, apparently that was not good enough for my mother, who felt the need to call me at 5:00 today and ream me out. "It's clear that you don't love your father," she barked at me.

I give up. I am a bad child.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

wherefore art thou, language that i understand?

This evening I went to see a production of Shakespeare, performed in a myriad of South Asian languages.

I don't understand any South Asian languages.

Longest. Play. Ever.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

my parents will drive me to drink

I visited my parents this weekend. You know, my parents the compulsive alarmists. Now, I must state for the record that they are fabulous people and that I love them. However, sometimes they make me want to scream loudly, into a pillow, for several minutes at time.

Although my parents are complete alarmists when it comes to me and my life, they seem to enjoy rolling the dice when it comes to their own well-being and safety. I think I've complained before about how they have a shack in the bush at which they pass much time in the summers, and they refuse to get a phone. Not just a landline, they also refuse to get a cell phone. They tell me that if anything happens, they can always go to the house next door. Getting to that house actually requires sturdy shoes and I swear there are cobwebs in their front door. Of course, the distance and absence of signs of life does not bother my parents one bit.

Here is the latest conversation that made me want to poke my ears out:

Me: Hey, mom, what do you have on your nose?

Mother: Oh, no big deal. I had a pre-cancerous spot on my nose that the dermatologist had to burn off.

Me: Pre-cancerous? What?

Mother: Oh yeah, you know when your father and I were away we spent a lot of time in the sun. I thought since I've never burned in my life that it would be OK to not wear sunscreen. But then this happened.

Me: You were out in the sun all the time and you didn't put any sunscreen on, even on your face?

Mother: I don't know what you're getting so upset about.

Me: Pre-cancerous, mom. C-A-N-C-E-R.


Monday, June 9, 2008

things that have been said to me in an elevator, vol. 2

On Sunday I ran into my friend down the hall of just-borrow-my-Porsche fame. It's been a while, and I think he's been working on the lines. Here are my top 3 bits from this encounter. Keep in mind that this was all said (amongst other things) in an elevator over the space of about 20 floors. Also keep in mind that he is not someone anyone should take dating tips from, ever.

Mr. Porsche: OK, so for a second I thought you were with that guy who got into the elevator with you.
Me: That guy?
Mr. P.: Yeah. But then I thought about it for a minute and realized that no guy who was with you with any brain in his head would ever actually leave his apartment.

Mr. Porsche: Hey, I think you've got some new muscle.
Me: Thanks, but I actually lost more weight over the last couple of months. Boo.
Mr. P.: Well, if you'd just take all your clothes off, we could settle this once and for all.

Mr. Porsche: Wow, it sure is hot out, huh?
Me: Yeah. I love the heat.
Mr. P.: I just run the AC all the time on days like this. I can't stand to be outside.
Me: Too bad. You must hate summer.
Mr. P.: Ah, it doesn't matter. Nothing that I want to do to you involves being outside.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

i'm like medusa but with bugs

Yesterday I went on a long hike outside of the city. Nobody thought to warn us that the park we were in is a cesspool for mosquitoes at this time of year. Even with deet I got swarmed. Crappy West Nile virus is an asymptomatic infection so for all I know, one of those suckers may have passed it on to me. Argh.

At any rate, I got back in time to shower before heading to a concert. I put my hands in my hair to work in the shampoo and pulled out some dead bugs. I guess I slapped my head a bunch of times to stop them from biting me and they died and stuck to my scalp.

It's hard to gross me out but this was pretty icky.

Friday, June 6, 2008

flying to meetings is ass

Today I flew to another city for a 1 1/2 hour meeting.

I wasn't even the presenter at the meeting; I was merely one of many attendees. After my long morning of fighting traffic to get to the airport, waiting for my flight, getting on and sitting through my flight, and finding a cab and fighting traffic to get to the meeting, I could only think of how ridiculous it all was. My carbon footprint had grown, my company's purse had shrunk, and my patience had been strained - all for a meeting that could easily have been held by netmeeting or video conference. And I wouldn't have been forced to look at the presenter's icky sweat stains (which, btw, were both large and numerous).

Today's one happy event occurred when I was killing time before getting back on a plane. Thanks to some idle time-killing shopping, my house key is now garnished with this fantastic loungefly key protector (yes, that's a little bit of Florence in the background).

loungefly key protector
I've been flashing it around like it's some sort of Olympic gold medal. So far nobody's given me much of a reaction, except maybe the small child who stopped crying to squint his eyes, then managed to focus on the loungefly, and then started crying even harder. But he was like 8 months old and wearing a raunchy velour one piece outfit, so I'm not sure anyone should be listening to his pronouncements on design.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

maybe janez drnovsek wasn't such a crackpot

OK, bad dating choices are us. Normally though, I'm not masochistic enough to confront those bad choices in the flesh once it's over. Something possessed me this evening to break that rule and spend time with an ex from ages ago.

Said ex asked how I was doing. I gave some fluffy answer about trips I've recently taken, volunteer work I've been doing, and a course I've been taking. And then I decided to be honest and ranted a bit about the torment I'm experiencing in the materialistic world that surrounds me. I figure any self-respecting human being would at least try to empathize.

Instead, buddy cut me off with, "Wow, you look really sad. Why don't you tell me a funny story? That'll cheer you up."

Oh yeah, that's a great idea. I should tell you a story that would amuse you in order to make myself happy. Not surprisingly, the night never recovered after that.

Why aren't people allowed to just be tormented once in a while? Do I need to become a Slovenian hermit to be honest about how messed up I think things are?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

rampant materialism, continued

Lately I've been a bit traumatized by the materialism running rampant in my work and social circles. I'm not sure if it's gotten worse, or whether I've just become more intolerant. Last week I listened to a friend lament that the rock on her engagement ring (given to her by the man she lives with, whom she adores) wasn't worthy of her. Tonight this conversation occurred over drinks at a friend's house:

Friend #1: Well, we've been talking about having a second kid. It would be great for our little one to have a sibling, but, you know, Mark really wants his Jag.

Me: [swearing under breath after friend #2 kicked me under the table]

Friend #2: [laughing nervously] You're joking, right?

Friend #1: I guess so. I mean, yeah. Kind of.

For the unborn child's sake, I really hope they opt for the Jag.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

i was wearing jeans and a tshirt

Last week I went to one of the first showings of Sex & the City. In a word: horrific. But it was boring horrific. Not worth writing about.

Let's talk instead about the people who went to this movie.

Everywhere I looked there were women in dresses, tottering in high heels and scaring small children with up-dos and truckloads of make-up. Some were more dressed up than I think I've been for weddings (and I'm no slouch). And then I heard this from behind us:

Chiquita #1: Omg, like that dress is just awesome.

Chiquita #2: I know. I went out last weekend to find something perfect for tonight. And the best thing is that I think I might actually be able to wear it again.


What kind of ridiculous life do you lead when you think it's normal to purchase a new dress just to wear to a movie?! Newsflash, people: over 30 million people starve to death in the world every year. And you're dressing up to sit in the dark and stare at a movie screen.


Monday, June 2, 2008

a hate-on for the help desk

I work in a big corporation. As such, two things must be true:

1. Getting a hold of the computer help desk is an event to be celebrated. If the help desk calls and offers to help, one never, ever hangs up. A calendar page will need to be turned before the help desk calls again.

2. Layoffs are always handled so poorly that all productivity screeches to a halt.

My computer has not enjoyed the time since I last wrote. One day, when I thought I could not handle another moment of mind-numbing motherboard frustration, the help desk finally called. Unfortunately, on this same day, layoffs were rampant in my department.

All morning, my work group (divided among a few cities) had been monitoring who was still at work and who had been laid off by checking to see who was still online. If someone went down, the phone calls began. If the phone wasn't answered, reconnaissance missions were sent to his or her desk to see if he or she were still in the building. Names were flying.

In the midst of this, my help desk friend said he needed to log on to my computer to help me solve my problem. And so he took me down.

Two minutes later - no tall tales here - my phone began to ring. Of course, I was on the line with the help desk and completely unwilling to even look at the hold button.

Then the people started coming to my desk, pale faced. They saw me still sitting there, laughed nervously, and walked away.

OK, so this was funny, right? But it's also a bit messed up.

lost my blogging mojo there for a while

Sunny lost all interest. I started a great new volunteer job. I've been working out at a crazy new gym. I've also been recovering from working out at a crazy new gym. My computer crashed. The weather got better and I've been out on some great hikes. I've taken on a new role at work and I'm so busy my eye started twitching last week.

Enough with the excuses.

Thanks to all of you who wrote me emails which I never answered. That was quite rude, and I apologize. But I needed to come back on my own.

I like this blog. I like the blogs I used to frequent (probably yours, if you're reading this). I'm back. I may make some changes to structure or something, now that this blog is all mine. Suggestions are welcome.

Monday, April 14, 2008

am i being a hard-ass?

Hey, if you break down and cry at work when you've just received the call that your parent has been taken to hospital, or when you've fallen and broken your leg into several pieces, I'll be the first one to hand you a tissue. But people who randomly cry at work--maybe because they feel they've been mistreated, or because they're super in touch with their emotions--make me long for a time when robots might run the workplace. I'd like to get my performance review from C-3PO. Really.

I have to admit that I'm not really into crying to begin with (who are all those people who bawl during movies like Beaches and Yentl?!) but I can't begrudge people the right to cry in the privacy of their own home or car or trailer or backyard or any other place where I am not. But is it too much to ask people not to cry in the bathroom we share at work or in the cafeteria from which I also need to buy my lunch? I think I sound really British when I say this (and British I am not), but crying to me just seems kind of private.

Last week I got sent to an "inspirational" (quotation marks intended) business speech. The speaker was a well-known television personality who has built up quite a brand for herself. Her topic was her ten important hints for business success. Partway through her number one hint she started to cry. Soon the crying turned to sobbing. It went on for so long that I began to wonder where all the moisture was coming from. Were there secret onions in there somewhere?

And all of this was in front of an audience of about 500 people. Not that I was a big fan to begin with, but I will no longer be able to look at her with any respect.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

need some destructive electronics?

tsunami electronics(Try to look past the egregious apostrophe abuse.)

This place made me stop and laugh out loud in Hawaii. I have to assume it opened before December, 2004.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

why do open concept workspaces breed insanity?

This morning I was chatting with a colleague who amuses me immensely. Somehow the conversation turned to the dreaded shared printer, as we both have one right beside our desk. People have a tendency to print somewhat personal documents and forget to pick them up. Over my time at this particular office, I've viewed legal documents for a divorce, mortgage applications (including the applicant's salary information), performance reviews, and even a colleague's child's school report card.

When I got back to my desk after this conversation, I experienced a flash of brilliance. I added the printer next to my colleague's desk to my available networked printers, then got to work. Faking up a clinic's letterhead, I informed my colleague that he had a dangerously high level of vitamins A and K, and that he was strongly advised to cease eating carrots in high doses immediately. I hit print.

And then I waited by my printer. Sure enough, within 20 minutes, a document appeared on somewhat sketchy HR letterhead, approving my application for maternity leave. (I am very visibly not pregnant.)

And so I faked up a letter confirming my colleague's appointment for implants to his gluteus maximus and printed that. And the madness continued.

Soon my stomach hurt from laughing so hard. I had lots of work to do, as I'm sure my colleague did too. But our open concept office made our little game of one-up-manship more crucial than actual work success.

People in Asia spend their entire life in close quarters with others, with no discernible ill-effects . But put us in an open concept office and we start to go haywire. What's that about anyway?

Monday, April 7, 2008

food violence

All right, I not-so-secretly love this story about the two roommates who went to blows because one ate the last English muffin. A shot glass and a vodka bottle were used, inflicting "head wounds." Their parents should be so proud.

Somehow I think this will never happen in my household. If anyone is ever angry that I ate the last of the fake chicken with 140g of fat and 6,680g of sodium, I promise I'll inflict my own head wounds.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

i'm back and i may not feel well soon

Given that I aspire to a vegan diet (I haven't quite gotten there yet), I'm always looking for alternative sources of protein. I love going to Chinatown to scope out new tofu creations, some of which have been a bigger hit than others.

Tonight for dinner I went all crazytown and cooked this sucker.

soybean chicken
Yes, soybean made chicken, in the shape of a chicken--I guess. I was a bit suspicious of this, not just because none of the ingredients sounded tasty, but also because the cooking instructions were "microwave 3-5 minutes."

So I microwaved it for 4 minutes. Then I decided I should add something that people normally eat with chicken. Of course, I don't really know what that is, since I haven't eaten chicken in well over a decade. But I had a sneaking suspicion that green peas might work. After all, the people I know who eat lots of chicken are pretty white and peas are a white person food. Or so my reasoning went.

So here it is on a plate with some peas. (BTW, you're seeing it without sauce, since I wanted to taste it first to decide what sauce would go best--and taking a bite would ruin the integrity of the "chicken" for the shot. I ended up adding soy sauce.) How's this for a white bread meal?

cooked soybean chicken
You know what? I don't know if it tasted remotely like chicken, but it was delicious. Really.

But here's where the story goes wrong: I finished the whole plate and then decided to go back and read the package again. I read the amount of everything per serving and it didn't sound so bad: 7g of fat, 334 mg of sodium, 6g of protein, 1.4g of sugar. But then I went back and read this: 20 servings per container. So I just ate a plate that had 140g of fat, 6,680mg of sodium, 120g of protein and 28g of sugar.

Is this even possible?! It seems to me that if I really just ate 120g of protein I'd feel a bit more full than I feel right now. And I don't even want to think about what that somewhat excessive amount of fat and sodium might be doing to my organs right now.

This has the potential to be much worse than the misguided Dairy Queen visit. Help.

Monday, March 31, 2008

random things that happened to me today

1. I was in a meeting at work this afternoon where someone was presenting a new website that will be "a suppository where people can store all their information." That's right, a suppository. Methinks it might be a bit difficult to shove a website up one's ass, but what do I know?

2. I went to the pool at my gym this evening to do some laps, as I do now and then. A couple of months ago, my gym switched from chlorination to salination. I have been swimming a whack of times since, but still, when I jumped in this evening, I was hit with the intense surprise of salt in my mouth and eyes. How many more billion times do you think I need to jump in to reverse the ingrained expectation of chlorine built up from every indoor swim of my life up until two months ago? Or do you think it will never happen?

3. I bought a box of wine for someone as a birthday gift today. It was a joke gift, but still.

4. I learned today from one of my audiobooks (no, I haven't gotten over the geek factor) that every year the country of Spain translates as many books into Spanish as the entire Arabic world has into Arabic since the 9th century. What's going on there? I have always thought of the Arabic world as somewhat insular, but that insular? Have been thinking about this all day.

5. I am cursing Sunny for introducing me to email Scrabulous and thereby subjecting me to a constant whipping at the hands of my sibling. Said sibling watches a lot of tv while I read a lot of books. Am beginning to wonder if she is paying someone handsomely to administer this ongoing humiliation.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

"we're all about to die"

Recently, my work team endured a team-building exercise. You know when a story starts with this, it's not going to end well.

This one simulated a situation in which half of the team members were in danger. The situation was so far-fetched that at no time was it hard to remember that this was a simulation.

And still, when the "danger" hit, the panic was palpable. Some of the people on the team went berserk. They were unable to make rational decisions, and ran around aimlessly, yelling at a crazy volume. At one point, one colleague actually pushed her hand into another's face and told her not to bother people with her trivial matters "since we're all about to die."

It was so ridiculous that I couldn't help but laugh, loudly.

Seriously, who are these people? First, how could they possibly forget that this exercise was only a simulation? And second, even if they believed the situation to be real, did they really think that reacting like a crazy person would actually help?

For me, the team-building accomplished nothing, other than to underline which people I need to avoid when I smell smoke, hear the pounding feet of an approaching King Kong-like creature, or finally get recruited for that high-risk space mission.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

maybe an urban legend....

... but still an amusing story I heard this evening. At least I'm not telling it, so you can just stop reading when you feel you've heard it before, rather than having to nod politely while your eyes glaze over.

A friend of a friend (it always starts this way, doesn't it?) was dog-sitting a medium-sized dog. On her second day, the dog suddenly dropped dead. She felt terrible and didn't know what to do. She called a few friends, all of whom told her she had to take the dog into the vet.

The friend of a friend didn't have a car and apparently didn't feel comfortable taking the dead dog in a cab or a friend's car. So she decided she'd take public transit (I guess she figured a dead dog in a suitcase is not the worst the subway system has seen). She hauled 50 pounds of dog into an old suitcase and dragged it out onto the subway.

When she came up in the station close to the vet, she found the escalator broken. She was desperately trying to get the suitcase up the stairs when a friendly man stopped and asked if he could help. She gratefully acquiesced and the guy took the suitcase. "Man," the guy said, "this sure is heavy. What do you have in here?"

Knowing that it would be just a teensy bit weird to tell a stranger that the suitcase contained a dead dog, she paused and thought about what lie she could quickly fabricate that would make it sound better than it was. "Electronics," she told him, explaining that someone in her family owned an electronics store.

When they got to the top of the stairs, he turned, punched her in the nose and hurried away with the suitcase. She never saw him or the dead dog again.

(Does anybody know if this is an urban legend?)


Tuesday, March 25, 2008


More snow today. I tire of running on the treadmill, numbing the boredom with random music.

This morning I found myself listening to this. It HAS to stop.


Monday, March 24, 2008

when two old women go shopping together

Today was another nutso day at work, and Sunny had been away for business last week so had nothing in her fridge. And so we decided to pick up some groceries at lunch. This led one colleague to crack that we were two old women who go out shopping together. I'm not sure how said colleague got from "they both need groceries" to "they are clearly old and lonely," but then he never claimed to have passed the logic section on the LSAT.

At any rate, the store we went to was one that prides itself on its self-serve check-outs. I, painfully self-aware as always, refused to use self-serve as I know I have the patience of a mule worm some animal with no patience. Sunny, ever the technology optimist, went the self check-out route with the reusable, cloth bags she'd brought along. I got through the check-out in two minutes with a few more bags to add to the landfill. When I got to Sunny's side, she was swearing under her breath. Apparently, the self-serve check-out operates on a complicated system of weights and measures and anything other than plastic bags sets it into a tailspin, much like me trying to do the conversion between imperial and metric. She called the woman in charge over to help fix the problem more than once. The woman not only fixed the problem, but also deleted the food item Sunny had scanned just before the problem struck, more than once. Self-serve turned into extremely slow-serve, and not the good kind that means yummy ice cream. Or is that soft-serve?

Forget the patience; today I may have the brains of a mule worm some animal with few brains. Perhaps that's what you get when you're old and decide to go shopping with your equally old friends.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

don't do the funky dance

Walking to dinner last night, I passed a man sitting in his parked car, chugging pink grapefruit juice out of a 2L jug. I turned away to laugh, and spotted this fantastic sign. Thanks, man chugging vast quantities of pink juice!

no pedestrians
I stopped doing the funky dance immediately.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

mmmmm... stale tarts

I think news about my obsession with foreign snacks may be spreading a bit too widely. A colleague's friend (who I have never met) went to the Philippines and brought me back these snacks. Don't get me wrong; I was pretty happy that the tarts ended up in my hands. But I have a sneaking suspicion that people are beginning to describe me the way I talk about I-like-getting-gas colleague sometimes.

At any rate, check out the tarts.

fruit tartsThe best before date on the package is the end of July. Now, I don't eat a lot of packaged baked goods, so I may be missing something, but that seems like a long way away. The ingredients are even more interesting though:

fruit tarts ingredientsI had to do some research before sampling these. Langka is just another word for jack fruit (which, incidentally, is a diuretic when eaten in large amounts). Coconut sports I'm still a bit fuzzy on (probably mostly because of the image in my head when I say or write it), but the mention of "jella powder" is what truly perplexes (is it just Jello powder with an Asian twist?). Somewhat reassuring is the fact that the manufacturer is a member of the Sweet & Delicacies Association of Pampanga.

I had a few of these guys this morning and I have to admit that, while somewhat stale in texture, they were extremely tasty. They definitely beat the pants off of Pico Buzzy.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

news about mark and christine

You're probably wondering who they are. Well, I don't really know much more about them than you do. I used to work with Mark, who is married to Christine. And "news about Mark and Christine" was the title of an email I got from Mark today.

The body of the email actually said, in these exact words: "Mark and Christine are separated as of this past weekend, and they are planning to divorce."

Two things:
1. I haven't tried writing an email about myself in the third person, but I wonder if I'm missing out on something. It might make the email responses I get at work more interesting.

2. Group emails for personal information haven't traditionally been my thing either. When I read this, part of me wanted to send an email to my group contact list about the weird little skin condition in that one spot on my back.

But then I guess I just posted that random little piece of info on my blog, which is kind of the same thing as sending a group email to my contact list. If only I'd written it in the third person. Seriously, wtf?


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

does anyone understand this?

All right, so here's another come-watch-me-give-birth colleague story. Sunny told me she had a similar conversation with our friend a few weeks back.

Another colleague was standing, talking to me, when Madam the blurter jumped in.

Colleague [to pregnant colleague]: Can I touch your belly? Do those pants have a panel? I wish I were pregnant like you. It's so great.

Pregnant colleague: Oh, you want to have another kid?

Colleague: No. I just liked being pregnant.

Pregnant colleague: Really? I don't really like always being big and exhausted.

Colleague: Oh, I really miss it. I like it when I have gas because it's the same kind of feeling.

Me: You like it when you have gas?!

Colleague [giggling]: Yeah, I can pretend I'm pregnant again.


Monday, March 17, 2008

the bible was their guide for this?

I do like me some heart-warming church stories. How 'bout this one, with the couple who decided to go at it at least once a day, because their church thought it would be good for their relationship? I'm not really sure why you become a celebrity when you decide to engage in conjugal relations with your spouse, but there it is. And buddy's profound judgement at the end? "I'm surprised it worked as good as it did."

Clearly the Bible mumbo jumbo and/or the constant exchange of bodily fluids have impeded his ability to speak English real good. I wonder if the church is keeping track of this less-than-desirable side effect.


Friday, March 14, 2008

super hot yoga

I went to hot yoga last Sunday for the first time since before my vacation. Everything below my neck hurt for two days. I tried to be brave and went back tonight.

The scent-free freak was in a heat frenzy this evening and had us going at 117 degrees (just over 47 degrees for those of you who do Celsius, and, for the record, I really think everyone should now) and 48% humidity. The sweat was pouring out of me.

I passed a dark parkette on my walk home. A drunk guy swigging from a beer can was swaying back and forth on one of the benches. He took one look at me and started singing, "you are so dirty, dirty are you."

Yes, I was ridiculed for my lack of cleanliness by a guy who probably hadn't showered in weeks. Hot yoga never fails to disappoint, does it?


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

murphy's law of dating

I dated this guy for years in my 20s. He was smart and charismatic and everyone in my life loved him. As is usually the case, our relationship was six months of bliss, and then the crazies came out. This guy grew up in a family of millionaires and had no concept of the need for money. He ran his own "business," in quotation marks because it didn't actually have any customers. I put in many unpaid hours, trying to help get it off the ground. To get a break from all of this business he was doing, he would book us on "surprise vacations," again in quotation marks. When we got off the plane or train, he would never be able to either rent a car (because his driver's license had expired) or pay for a meal or a hotel (because his credit cards were all maxed out). Inevitably, the supposed surprise vacation would turn into an expensive vacation for me. And then we'd go home and I'd have to beg the utilities people not to disconnect the heat and hydro even though he hadn't paid the bill for months. I should mention that this was at a time in my life when I was a very junior political aide and I only ate because I was a reception whore, not because I had any money to actually buy myself food.

Eventually, despite the protestations of all of my family and friends (who didn't have to endure all of the crap), I got out.

And, since that day, apparently business has picked up considerably. In fact, buddy seems to be immensely successful now. He's won a bunch of awards, written a best-selling book and been interviewed on a million tv and radio shows. My parents and some of my friends always call when they see or hear of him and tell me how great he is. As you can probably guess, I love it when they do that.

So this evening he resurfaced again. I was driving home from work, drinking my kale-pineapple-banana-rice protein juice and listening to an audio book about open source software. Yes, we can stop there and acknowledge:
- that drink sounds grody (Sunny almost hurled when she saw me with my kale-raspberry-persimon-rice protein juice last week, but I'm a bit of a health nut and I swear you to that it's quite tasty)
- the fact that I'll listen to audio books is weird all in itself, but it's even weirder that I'll listen to an audio book about software.
But then, it's not like I'm going around speculating why I'm single.

At any rate, the book I was listening to cites the expert and collaborator otherwise known as MY EX. When I heard his name, I spit out my drink. Then I back-tracked a little to check if I was imagining it. No dice. Half an hour later, his name came up twice more.

Annoying. It's not like I'm still in love with him. In fact, I fully expect that life would have gone in a bad way if I'd stayed with him. Still, Murphy's Law is never fun, is it?


no invasions, just reading

I went to a book reading this evening and the Angolan author said something like, "Wouldn't it be great if all countries sent their writers to different countries to share their books, rather than just sending in their armies?"

I could complain about this, but instead, I'll just say that I find it very endearing.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

it's ok for someone else to drive through a storm for us

I need to rant.

So I have this friend I used to work with years ago. She's very smart and highly amusing. However, she and her husband are almost hermit-like in their dedication to never going out. They have used every excuse in the book to get out of events, such as home renovations, someone's imminent death, a possible and crucial phone call, a fender-bender, and even once the loss of too much blood during her period for her to drive the car. Whatever. We've made a lot of plans over the last while, and the last time I saw her was in 2004.

So the crazy twosome invited me over for a dinner party last night. The weather forecast as of last Wednesday said there would be a massive snowstorm all night Friday and all day Saturday (in freaking March, but that's a whole other issue). Their house is not walking- or public transit-distance from my house. Call me crazy, but, while I have great snow tires, I'm not so keen on driving through massive storms unless it's a matter of life and death.

Thursday I dropped her an email and offered, "the weather's not supposed to be so good. Should we cancel?" I figured that with these people, any out would be immediately embraced. Not so much. Friday I tried again. I called on the pretense of telling them what I was bringing, and casually mentioned the weather issue again. No dice.

Saturday I got a bit panicky. I went for a walk in the storm in the afternoon and there was so very, very much snow. It was blowing horizontally. But I figured three tries on tactfully bailing would be too much, given that I was invited to someone else's house, and I hadn't seen them in so long. So I resigned myself to driving.

That afternoon, Sunny texted to check whether I was still going. One hour before, Sunny texted again to see if I were really going. I could barely see out of my window. 45 minutes before the dinner, I was putting on my coat and packing up the cupcakes I'd baked when my phone rang.

Friend was calling to tell me that her husband said the weather seemed "kinda bad" and that she should probably check to see if I still wanted to come. She threw in that the plow had not actually been up her street (apparently a small detail to her). Clearly, I took the out and declined.

Really, the people who do anything to get out of stuff themselves waited until I was on the verge of risking life and limb to give me an out? Ridiculous, no?


Saturday, March 8, 2008

stupid things that happened on a beach

I went to a friend's wedding when I was away. It wasn't technically a destination wedding because the friend and her new husband live there, even though nobody else who came to the wedding does. It was, however, a beach wedding.

The wedding was at this place everyone apparently calls Secret Beach. My travelling companion and I had been tasked with getting to the beach early (it was one of several delightful tasks, let me tell you) to reserve the best spot for the ceremony, so when we heard the word "secret," we were a tad worried we wouldn't find it.

Silly girls. This beach might as well have had a flashing neon sign saying "Get married here!" or a gaggle of Elvis ministers waving in the crowds. When we were there, five--count 'em five--other weddings took place on that beach. Some of them didn't make a lot of sense to me. In one, the men were dressed in Mountie outfits a la Due South. In another, the women were all wearing crazy high heels on the sand, and the men were in white tuxedos. With vests. Why, pray tell, do you think people stand on a warm beach wearing an outfit meant for a much colder climate? Does not seem fun.

There was also a really likable and friendly couple on the beach with just their minister and photographer. They were dressed formally but appropriately for the surroundings, and they had their ceremony on the rocks, away from the crowds. But their photographer had the brilliant idea of getting a photo of their rings in the sand. He didn't want to get the photo in any old sand; he wanted packed sand. So he arranged the rings in some sand the water had packed down and set up the shot. The rest was like a bad movie plot. The tide came in. One wave was huge. The rings washed away into the ocean.

Dumb-ass photographer. The groom seemed to be mildly amused, likely because he knew the photographer was going to have to pay up (and they had a great story for friends and family back home). The bride was a wee bit upset.

My friend turned to me, laughing, and said, "Well, at least they got a photo of the rings before they were gone forever." I thought to myself, yes, this is why we're friends.


Friday, March 7, 2008

thank goodness they won't force me to accept some water

Sometimes the things I see amuse me so greatly that I wonder if some little elf-like creature walks around the world in front of me, setting it all up for my benefit.

(And I think you can see the reflection of my complaint free world bracelet in the window. I didn't even try to set that one up!)


Thursday, March 6, 2008

i'm about to blow

I've been holding it all in for 2 1/2 weeks now. I hope you're ready for a LOT of complaining over the next few weeks. I'm afraid to open my reader as the feeds have piled up like crazy. Real life awaits!

Here's a start....

First, why do Americans insist on vacationing with fanny packs, ill-fitting shorts and white running shoes? Has Paris Hilton or some other drivelling waif started wearing a fanny pack and thus granted a rebirth (or should I say "birth" in this case) of cool? Is material bunching up around your bum the new sexy? Is there a loafer/sandal/flip-flop/mary jane detector at the airport that forces all Americans to leave their good shoes in the bin where all the liquids and gels go? Perhaps when I was busy complaining I missed an important update from Mr. Blackwell.

Second, what is it about me that makes people want to dish? Seriously. I meet people for like two minutes and suddenly, I know how they're voting, what kind of underwear they used to wear, what they wear now and what they're considering wearing, not to mention how they miscarried in their junior year. The most alarming story I heard on this trip was from a Vietnam vet who wanted to dish about all the people he killed in the war. I swear I wasn't wearing fatigues, carrying a book about war, burning Country Joe and the Fish albums, or muttering expletives about Asians. At least, no more than usual.

Third, what could ever possess someone in North America to consciously make the choice to live with another adult and five (count 'em, five) children between the ages of 20 months and 10 in a--wait for it--400 square foot condo? So I've been to Asia and I know that that kind of population density isn't exactly abnormal in some parts of the world, but the thing is, the people who made this choice weren't brought up in those necks-of-the-woods. As if that isn't enough, they homeschool the kids in that apartment. The four that are semi-self-sufficient are turning into cats. They roam randomly, sleep in other people's houses (or, at least, I hope they were at houses), and show up now and then to get fed. More than once when I was there, mom was talking to one of the kids and that kid turned out to not be there, or anywhere near there. Puzzling, possibly disturbing.

Finally, what's with the crummy winter this year? We've gotten a record-breaking amount of snow and it shows no signs of letting up. I'm going to keep hibernating with my stack of books, rejoicing in my losing streak at scrabulous. Damn my sister and her tile expertise! I'm also cursing Sunny for leading me down this garden path to intense embarassment. Maybe I can get the six-year-old next door (the one who plays Silent Night) to join me in a game so I can beat someone and feel better about myself. Plus, she can't play the piano if she's playing Scrabble, right?


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

ugh - when will the madness end

Are we ever going to get to a point where things like this don't happen any more?


Monday, February 25, 2008

we've got you covered

I need to rant about insurance for a minute.

I am beginning to think it's the biggest scam going. Really, is playing the lottery any different? I pay both my car and house premium every single month and what does it get me? Nothing, that's what.

My first complaint is about my car insurance premium. I am accident free. I am ticket free. My car is 3 years old. I do not drive a sports car. My car has not been modified. I do not street race. I am not a 20 year old boy; in fact, I now qualify for an age discount because I am over 35 (sheesh). I would assume that given all of these factors, my premium would go down, or at least stay the same as it was last year. Nope. It went up by $120. Explain this to me please. Does this make sense to you?

Second complaint - house insurance. I spoke to the adjuster this morning about my roof problem. You remember, it's leaking like a sieve. It's so bad, I don't even want to go into the bathroom at all. This presents a problem because I don't have another bathroom; I'm sure I have kidney stones in my future.

Anyway, the guy was an ass. Of course he was, 'cause I have a problem that might require them to lay out some cash. This guy went on and on about how I probably wasn't covered for this reason and that reason - the roofing guy hasn't even come to look at the roof yet, so how would he know. During the course of this conversation, I started wondering what circumstance they would cover and I'm beginning to think there isn't one. I'm sure they are going to come up with every excuse they can not to cover my roof. We'll see what happens; they don't know who they're dealing with.

At the very least, I can afford to get my roof fixed without insurance money. Some people aren't so lucky. I'm sure there are plenty of Katrina victims who have something to say about the insurance premiums they paid regularly. Is it too much to ask the insurance companies to live up to their end of the bargain since they expect us to live up to our end?


Saturday, February 23, 2008

price check, cash 3

I think I may have mentioned that I have a leak in the roof above my bathroom. Don't let the word 'leak' fool you; it is pretty much raining in my bathroom. It's not in one place either, it's in many places. Anyway, I needed to get some cheap towels to put on the floor to soak up all the water, so I went to the dollar store.

This particular dollar store is part of a national chain. The name of the store has the word 'dollar' in it and the tagline for the store - on all of their signs - is 'everything for a dollar'. I don't go to dollar stores that often, but I get the general idea; whatever I buy is going to cost me a dollar. Ok.

I picked up about 10 towels and headed to the cash. When I got to the front of the line, the cashier looked at me and said, 'you know each of these is a dollar, right?' Ummm. Really??? Can I think about this for a minute? Sheesh. wtf. I don't know if I look particularly stupid or not, but why on earth would she ask me that? I have no idea.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

speaking of (non) long weekends....

I don't know how it works in the States, but here, every time there is a long weekend, the gas price jumps by about 5c/L. I have a big problem with this because of the BS reason they always give. 'The price of oil has increased and we have to raise prices so we don't lose money.' Oh yes, the price always increases to coincide with the start of a long weekend and then magically decreases afterward. Do they think we're stupid? Why can't they just come out and say: 'Hey, it's the long weekend and we know you're probably going to drive somewhere for the weekend so we're going to raise prices to take advantage of you, and there's nothing you can do about it. Enjoy your long weekend.'

Seems weird, but this would make me feel better. It would still suck for sure but at least I wouldn't feel like someone was trying to snow me. As we all know, an increase in the price of oil today wouldn't really affect gas prices for months; that gas is going into the reserves and will be used way down the road. Also, the oil companies aren't exactly hurting for cash. Here are some fourth quarter net earnings for you....

Imperial Oil - $886M
PetroCan - $522M
Royal Dutch Shell - $6.6B
Exxon - $11.6B

Here's Halliburton too in case you were wondering (you probably weren't but I feel you should know anyway) - $4.2B. Also, their press release is good reading. Who knew there were favourable tax impacts and foreign tax credits available to them? hmmm.

Here I go, totally off topic again. Anyway, back to the original subject.....

Point is, the gas companies are cleaning up. Yes, I know I choose to drive and have to pay for that luxury, but they could really own up to their price gouging.


Monday, February 18, 2008

happy family day

Today is a brand-spanking new holiday in our region. It was announced a few months ago with much fanfare and excitement; who wouldn't want a day off in the middle of winter. hmmph. Well, turns out that the new holiday is not so popular. It seems that about 40% of people do not get the day off after all. There is some BS about the fact that companies who are federally regulated do not have to offer a provincial holiday to their employees. I'm sure you can guess whether I fall into the 40% or 60%. Bitter.


ps. Rainy left for vacation tonight, so you're stuck with me for a while. Good luck with that.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

snacks requiring an iron stomach

OK, so I've been known to eat pretty much anything on a dare, and also for my love of foreign snacks. But somehow I just can't bring myself to take a bite of these ones, brought back for me from Trinidad.

pepper fruit
Pepper mango and pepper plums. As you can see, they're a weird shade of red-brown. As you can't see, they smell rank. I haven't even opened the packages and the smell makes me retch. I'm sure this situation is amusing Sunny immensely because I sort of feel like I have to eat them. Suggestions as to how to train myself for this are welcome.

In other news, I've been busy taking a crazy long course this weekend and I'm off on vacation tomorrow. This is a darn good thing because the snow is making me squirly. The vacation has potential to be fascinating so I'll be posting here and there on the road. I think I'll be reading comments but I'm not sure I'll be able to comment back. Make sure to be super controversial and offensive where possible so that you leave me steaming. I love that.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

the worst foods in america

Remember when Rainy posted this? She might have been on to something, because Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing has been declared the worst food in America. Just looking at it is hardening my arteries. Check out the rest of the list too. Frightening.


deal or no deal

A couple of weeks ago, I watched Deal or no Deal. Trust me, I don't make a habit of this, but I was still recovering from my tropical disease so you'll have to give me a pass. The contestant was a young married woman whose greatest dream in life is to have a baby. Of course, living in the US, she cannot afford to have a baby because she has no health insurance. As well, she and her husband made a combined $13000 last year. How two people can live on $13000/year is a mystery to me; I assume they had some help from the parents. She applied to the show in hopes of winning enough money to afford the hospital costs to have a baby. Ok.

This was a special episode in which they had more than one $1M prize on the board. Clearly the chances that she was going to take home a lot of money was very high. As the show progressed, she kept getting higher and higher offers from the banker and she kept turning them down. Crazy. At one point, she ended up with over $600000 on the table. You would think that someone who makes such little money would jump at the chance to have 600K. Nope. She turned it down. This is incomprehensible to me. If you walk in with nothing, why on earth would you throw away over SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS. Actually, I do know - greed. No amount is ever enough. Frankly, with her financial situation, she should have settled long before it got to this point. I think she ended up with just over 400K. Lucky - she could have lost it all.

Last year, I saw an interview with Howie Mandel and he said that the hardest thing about the show is that a lot of the contestants are in dire financial situations (no roof over their head, can't afford food, etc.) but they still turn down significant amounts of money on the off-chance they will get the big prize. I would have to give them an intervention.


misery loves company

The other day, both Rainy and I received a forwarded email with the event listing you see below. Why the person who sent it would think that either of us would be interested in something like this in the first place is a mystery for another day. What I'd really like to know is why people assume that you must be miserable if you are single. How offensive. Are people still under the impression that someone who is not coupled is sitting at home crying into a cup of tea and speaking to their 10 cats? Are you somehow impervious to misery if you are part of a twosome? Ridiculous.


RainyBow note: The best thing about this fab invitation is the line that says "Take part in all that is favorable to being 'single.'"

OK, so first, what do these people, who actually used the line "misery loves company," think is "favorable" about being single?

And second, why the hell is "single" in quotation marks? Are the people who were going not really single, just kinda single? Or are they married and pretending to be single? And what kind of event do people who are "married" in quotation marks go to? These are things that will keep me up at night.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

i'm good with the snow we've got, thanks

Last night I had to get home from work in a lovely blizzard. After this snowfall, we had three times more snow in the first 12 days of February here than we usually get in the entire month. It's been a long last couple of weeks. I am thankful I have neither a driveway nor a walk to shovel.

On the way home, I kept thinking things weren't so bad. I was moving slowly, but I was moving. I made a few phone calls, wrote some emails, and listened to a radio documentary and a couple of CDs. After almost 2 hours on the road, I could see my house up the street and I thought maybe--stupidly and optimistically--the end was in sight. Then, on the way up a major (and unplowed) downtown street, I got trapped between a guy stuck in front and another stuck behind me. They got out to shovel and I just turned off my engine. I would have gotten out to help, but neither one of them had snow tires, and really, if you aren't going to have the right equipment to drive in winter and you drive anyway, that's kind of not my problem.

Except that it was, because I was trapped.

Eventually--2 and a half hours after leaving work--I did get home. I think I lost a few brain cells on the way as I cancelled my somewhat intellectual plans and watched the pilot episode of Big Brother, 'til death do you part. Wow.

Last year, in a blizzard that was much, much worse, I sat in my car for 3 hours and 20 minutes, trying desperately to get home. Hungry at one point, I got out of my car, and found a bag of BBQ chips in the trunk. I ate the whole bag, more out of boredom than hunger. They were probably really old but man, did they taste good. This morning I told one of Sunny's team members that my drive home last night was long. She laughed and asked if I'd managed to find a bag of chips in my trunk. Good times.



SunnyShine note: I'm all set with winter. I never need to see another snowflake again. I don't want to shovel any more. I don't want to climb any more snowbanks so Jethro and Princess can do their business. I don't want to trudge through the knee-deep snow in my backyard to get to my car.

Ummmm...did you really watch Big Brother? Really? Am horrified.