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?