Friday, April 29, 2011

Words I Didn't Know Existed, Pt 2

"Words I Didn't Know Existed, For Normal Everyday Things That Already Have Effective Words, Part Two"

Noun: A curve formed by a wire, rope, or chain hanging freely from two points that are on the same horizontal level.
Adjective: Having the form of, involving, or denoting a curve of this type.

Or you could just say, "The curve in the telephone wire."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Elegant in its simplicity.

It's Study Day. Exams start tomorrow.

Spring semester is ending. This doesn't just mean exams, oh no - if you live in the dorms, it means you have to pack up all your shit, get it out of the dorm, and clean your now ex-room, all in time to check out less than 24 hours after your last exam, which you still have to study for and pass.

You're stressed out. You're extra tense because the Cafeteria is running funny hours, the food isn't as good, and people are playing music outside your window all hours of the day under the misguided impression that it's helping you have a good time or something.

What is a person to do in this situation?

Well, up until now, I've just been dancing to Backstreet Boys songs in between manic bursts of essay glottage, but now I know better. I have been taught.

The solution to all of this stress, all of this frenetic panic building up inside of your chest, is to put soap in the fountain.

Can you tell I've been writing literary analyses all day?

Glee has now done Britney Spears, Justin Beiber, Lady Gaga (twice!), and Madonna.

This prompts many pop music listeners, like myself, to wonder, Where in the hell is Christina Aguilera? But then I remember something very important: Christina has a better voice than anyone, ever. (Except maybe Whitney Houston.)

Glee couldn't possibly tribute Christina Aguilera (or Whitney Houston) because there's no way they could muster the vocal adrenaline (see what I did there) to be able to sustain her kind of power for a whole episode.

It would be kind of like this video.

Here's Christina Aguilera's 'Not Myself', off of her latest release album, Bionic, which is really quite a good album despite almost universally bad sales. I'm developing a theory that it's actually a concept album in which Christina Aguilera is exploring the two halves of her personal identity. When you look at the Deluxe album, she starts out with 'Bionic,' a catchy, high energy pop song with heavy synthetic instrumentals, and then you end with 'I Am,' with is nothing but piano and Christina. This is the second song, and its themes can be contrasted with later songs like 'Vanity,' where she does the pop music equivalent of a Walt Whitman - "I am completely in love with myself." (Only in pop music, that's, "I turn myself on. Yeah, I'm vain. So what? So what?")

I find this video somewhat comical, but maybe that's how I'm supposed to see it. Maybe it's a message that, according to Bionic sales, failed to get through.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What I Learned From My Compulsory Television At The Gym

The treadmills at the school gym have televisions set in front of them, muted with the captions on. These are always set to VH1, except for the one on the end of the row that I have to crane my neck to the left in order to see. I don't do that because I have nightmares that I'll be running and miss a stride and go flying off the back of the treadmill into the racquetball courts, and then everyone will just nod and say, 'Mhmm. I knew she was going too fast,' so I never know what's on that one.

(I feel that they all think I am going too fast because I've only ever seen four or five other people really running at all on the treadmills, and I've never seen anyone looking like they were really pushing their speed. Also, running on the treadmill is infernally boring and intolerable to me, so my RPE is significantly higher and I probably look like I'm about to die.)

It occurred to me while watching said VH1 that reality television has really gone too far.

Now, I love nonfiction television. I watch a lot of it - maybe more than scripted shows. I practically live on FoodNetwork and the History Channel while I'm studying. I watch shows like 'Operation Repo' and 'Parking Wars' without a hint of shame. I've watched and enjoyed Judy Judy.

But today I watched a show called 'Audrina,' and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why.

I gathered that the main subject was this girl, Audrina, and the cameras were following her around. But after half an hour, I still had no idea why they got the idea to follow her in the first place. She didn't do anything. She did about the same things I do on, say, a normal Saturday, except with pedicures and small dogs with atrophied legs from being carried around in handbags. She did pilates with her mom and complained about her boyfriend, and then she had lunch with her boyfriend and complained about her mom, and then her sister and her mom got into a disagreement over her brother-in-law.

How is this at all different than what I did last Saturday? Other than the fact that I wasn't wearing as much make-up at the time, and none of my conversations involved the fact that it was about time I got some plastic surgery.

Words I Didn't Know Existed, Pt 1

"Words I Didn't Know Existed, For Normal Everyday Things That Already Have Effective Words, Part One"
(That title was too long.)

–noun Psychiatry .
the obtaining of sexual pleasure by looking at nude bodies, erotic photographs, etc.
Also, scop·to·phil·i·a.
Or you could just say, "I like porn."

Aw, it's a crusade, now.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I did something I don't normally do - I complained about something to someone who was responsible for that something.

I wrote to Clif bar saying how much I wished they would come up with some new flavors of Builder bar. They have all these magical mystery flavors of regular Clif: Maple Nut, Iced Gingerbread, Carrot Cake, Apricot, Peanut Toffee Buzz, Crunchy Peanut... this list goes on.

The Builder options?
Chocolate. Peanut Butter. Lemon. Chocolate Mint. Vanilla Almond. Cookies n Cream.

That's it. That's all they got. It seems like a lot until you eat them all the time, and then you realize that you're locked in this tiny box labeled "Good Quality, Natural Ingredient Protein Bar That Doesn't Taste Like Total Ass" and you start to feel insane. You might even eat other protein bars made with mostly chemicals. You might purposefully choose to eat a protein bar that you know tastes like total ass, just to remind yourself to be grateful for what you've got.

So I wrote to Clif and I told them that I was a loyal consumer of their product (I've been eating Builder bars since I started paying attention to my food at the Canyon), I really appreciated their company's philosophy, could they please please please add some more flavors to the Builder line-up. I pointed out that they had added several nice flavors in the Luna Protein line-up, which I enjoyed, but it's a 12g vs 20g protein difference, and that mattered.

I got a nice email back where they plugged their various products, but then said they would go 'poke' the Builder team. And you know, that's a good response. Maybe they'll add my opinion to a stack of similar opinions and one day that stack will get high enough to be dealt with.

Then today in the mail, I got this:

Well played, Clif. But I will not be distracted.

Monday, April 25, 2011

From The Funny Archives: We Listen To Rap

The English Major: What is cake?
The Best Friend For Fucking Ever: It's like a sweet bread type of -
The English Major: No, I mean, like shorty and swagger. What does that mean?
The Best Friend For Fucking Ever: Oh. I don't know. Drugs?
The English Major: I think it's money.
The Best Friend For Fucking Ever: I think it's cocaine.
The English Major: Maybe it's expensive things. Like cocaine. And money. Yeah. I think so. It makes sense in context.
The Best Friend For Fucking Ever: You should start a dictionary.

The English Major: What does ballin' mean?
The Best Friend For Fucking Ever: I'm glad we both questioned that at the same time.
The English Major: I mean... apparently it does not mean what I thought it meant.
The Best Friend For Fucking Ever: Yeah. 'All drinks on me cause I'm ballin'.' I don't know... We are so white.

I think one of my roommates is animated.

The BearCat-CatBear, while watching this video:

"WOW! This is amazing! How smart ARE these creatures?! No gerbil could navigate this! WOW! Oh my. Oh goodness. Oh, what now? How are you going to deal with this situation? Oh, dear. Oh what - WOW! He he he. Ho ho ho ho. Hah. Hahahaha. Oh, my."

This was with only a moderate level of alcohol, too. I've never been so proud of myself.

This discussion also occurred:
The English Major: "Why did you send me this video of a poptart cat rainbow?"

The BearCat-CatBear: "It's Nyan Cat. It's a meme."

The English Major: "Does it do anything?"

The BearCat-CatBear: "...are you not understanding the concept of a meme?"

The English Major: "But... three minutes and thirty-seven seconds of my life?"

The BearCat-CatBear: "You're overvaluing your life."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

It's like two blocks from the Lake Daniel Greenway, dude.

I ran a quick ten miles with group this morning - while I'm slightly disappointed that it puts me three miles short for the week, it was a fast ten miles (8.01 pace) and the course had some serious hills in it. I've been running really well lately and missing one long run for another ten miler won't hurt anything.

I've been trying to write a blog post for a couple of days now detailing my exciting news, but I keep stalling out. So I'll just go ahead and degloss it from the beginning: I have a house.

My friends and I have been talking about this living arrangement for quite some time now - I've been talking about something similar since I was in high school, but obviously not with these people - and it's kind of trippy to me that it's actually happening. We're waiting for our lease agreement to arrive in the mail, and then the house is ours. Me, The Best Friend For Fucking Ever, Mausers and their Superior Baby, and New Roommate Whose Code Name Has Not Yet Been Decided.

I haven't decided what the name of our Collective will be yet. We'll probably have to have a vote.

To celebrate moving into a house full of people in love with Amanda Palmer, here is 'Vegemite (The Black Death).'

The Librarian likes Vegemite.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

So much for leaving the house early... damn the jorts.

So, I'm sitting here cutting these jeans into shorts.

I bought them at Goodwill for $5 specifically for this purpose, so you can't judge me for destroying perfectly good pants. For one, they're longs. Have you ever seen me? Regular pants qualify as longs on me. I got very excited when I found out that certain brands of jeans manufactured 'shorts' because it meant that I wouldn't have to take my new pants to my grandma to get hemmed anymore.

For two, as whole jeans the blinding whiteness was too overwhelming. You can kinda see what I mean in this picture of the final (pre-washed) results:
They were practically acid washed. I won't do that to my whole legs, but jean shorts are kind of an unfashion statement on me anyways, so I'm ok with that. Jeans have pockets and I want pockets. People wear Crocs because they're comfortable, obviously not because they look good.

Also check out my wavy excuse for a hemline. That's after three tries. I've learned from this exercise that I can't really cut a straight line, even with a guide. But I got it done in the end.

This picture also illustrates the hilarious circumstances that have been occurring lately when it's over 75 and humid and I Absolutely Cannot Stand To Wear A Shirt While Running. Me and my low self-esteem have kept my midriff entirely out of the sun for its entire life.

To help you understand what I mean, here is that same picture, captioned:
I would like to apologize to any member of the general public who might be unexpectedly blinded by my blazing white stomach. By the end of the summer, I'm hoping that it might stop looking like I maintain a secret identity as a mime.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Some people say little girls should be seen and not heard... well, I think...

I woke up this morning with Britney Spears' "Hold It Against Me" stuck in my head.

Obviously this was unacceptable.

So to remedy it, I set out across the interwebs with a purpose. The only way to remedy waking up with over-tuned pop music trying to be both dance-fusion AND clever in your head is to discover an entirely new artist. New to me, anyways.

And I did.

They're called The BellRays, and I think they're pretty much Boss.

Britney who?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Something every zombie hunter needs.

This morning, when I logged into Amazon to check for new free Kindle books, Amazon suggested that I purchase... this.

Yeah, that's right. It's a machete made by Bear Grylls.

Amazon thought I would be interested.

How well they know me... and it qualifies for free shipping, too.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Gotta be strong, gotta be fast, gotta be larger than life.

Today, four of the people in my running group ran Boston.

No, I take that back. They didn't just run Boston. They killed at Boston.

I feel so incredibly awed at them, at the fact that I run with these people. This time last year, I couldn't even conceive of even holding their kind of pace for a single mile. I didn't even know people like them existed. How incredibly cool - how incredibly lucky - that The Librarian and The Girl Who Says Fuck A Lot (who clocked a six minute PR today!) picked me up that day.

It's kind of like how Slim Jenkins managed to get himself adopted by the one person in the neighborhood who would would put up with all his crazy. I really hit the jackpot with running groups. (Also Librarians, but this has already been discussed.)

You guys are totally my heroes today.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I turned the movie off before the scene where he died. I couldn't watch that alone.

I have favorite things. I wish sometimes that I had some kind of marketable skills - like a professional athlete does - so that I could be given free things in exchange for telling people about how great they are.

Today I decided that if I'm ever being interviewed by someone and they ask me what the secret to my success is, I'm going to tell them it's the broccoli. People would be shocked by the amount of broccoli I consume. And according to my research, it's fantastically good for me. It has high levels of vitamin c, potassium, and folic acid as well as fiber, for starters. (It's also an excellent source of something called indole-3-carbinol, which they're still researching but has to be good for something and probably means I won't get any kind of hormone related cancers.)

It's not that much of a secret that broccoli with garlic sauce, from almost any Chinese takeout place, is one of my favorite foods and my number one choice for 'what kind of take-out do you want?'

Other food-related favorites include:

Favorite Sandwich: Vegan Tempeh Sub from Mellow Mushroom
Seriously, Mellow Mushroom has the best tempeh outside of when Laura makes it at her house, which doesn't happen that often. And this sandwich is just really delicious and makes it entirely alright that I can't eat their pizza except on Cheese Day.

Favorite Soda: Diet Mountain Dew Supernova
That's actually a lie - I love Diet Coke a lot, but I've quit drinking dark sodas because they say that the phosphoric acid in them leaches the calcium from your bones, and I want my bones to be as strong as possible because I use them to run.

Favorite Restaurant: Pho Hien Vuong
Otherwise known as 'that Vietnamese place on Spring Garden.' Chances are I will drag you there at some point in your life. They know me there. One of the waitresses will correct me if I put in my usual order wrong, and remind me that I don't want ice in my water.

Favorite Ice Cream: Ben & Jerry's Half-Baked FroYo
Yeah, it's frozen yogurt, not ice cream, but I like the texture of the yogurt when combined with the bits of brownie and cookie dough. Other people on the internet seem to really hate it, but that's ok because more for me. Any birthday cake ice cream with actual pieces of cake in it also wins.

Favorite Cereal: Product 19
Though I did have an affair with Kellogg's Eggo Cereal for about a week. It's waffles. And cereal.

Favorite Protein Bar: Clif Builder's
I also really like the new Luna Protein line, but they only have 12g of protein in them so they're more of a snack type bar than a meal type bar. I like their texture best - that they're all natural and have no trans fat in them happens to be a bonus. They also give me a lot of B vitamins and iron and stuff. I really, really wish they would come out with some new flavors. Yet another reason I wish I was famous for something. If I was famous, maybe Clif would listen to these words and give me more options. If I was famous for being an athlete, I would ask Clif to sponsor me. I'd love to wear Clif gear and eat Clif products all the time.

It's cereal. And it tastes like waffles.

"All the haters are just angry."

I've been listening to 102.1, a.k.a. 102JAMZ, in the car lately. It just seems to suit my driving mood better. I may qualify as Very Strange, flipping back and forth between NPR and hip-hop, but here's the thing: I can only take so much bad news before I start to get mad and worried. When I get mad and worried, I want to listen to hip-hop and rap because it's all about posturing, see? It's about the stubborn, angry look you put on your face when your circumstances are bad and you make them better by force of will. When my entire country is falling to pieces and more people hate than love, that's the kind of attitude I have to keep stored on my eyebrows.

This is Ace Hood, one of my favorite hip-hop artists, with Hustle Hard. The remix, actually, featuring Lil Wayne, who I also really like. It's on heavy radio rotation right now and I still haven't gotten tired of it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

And when we got home, the Jehovah's Witnesses had left us a note.

At the Diner this morning, post-run, I asked the waitress to please see if the chef would put pimiento cheese in my omelet. "You gotta be kidding me," she blurted out, and from that moment on I was predisposed to not liking her.

One, it wasn't that outlandish a request. Omelets have cheese; pimiento cheese is cheese. And two, if you're a waitress, you don't judge your customers to their faces like that. Once they're gone, or you're in the back, you judge them hard, but you don't make them feel like freaks, even if they are freaks. I'm not a freak. I just wanted pimiento cheese in my omelet.

She wasn't a very good waitress anyways. She didn't make big mistakes - everyone's food was right, everyone got coffee and water - but there's a line between being a good, unobtrusive waitress and one who genuinely isn't paying attention, and she was on the 'not paying attention' end of the scale. I usually excuse poor waitressing, because I had plenty of bad days back when I was waiting tables, but for some reason this woman really bothered me.

Also, my pimiento cheese veggie omelet was fantastic. I'm so glad I decided to order it, judgment or not. Moving on.

Today's run was fast and soggy. I ran with The Ultramarathoner and we wound up at an 8:02 pace. I know he probably could have done it faster but I appreciate the fact that he said he was fighting an injury and hung with me. 12 miles at 8:02 makes that one of the best runs I've had so far. I never really felt 'dead' - I think my system has finally managed to adapt to longer runs. For a while I would just constantly feel out of fuel but I felt good today. It gives me hope for when I start pulling the even longer distances.

I've never run over 14; they say anything over 16 feels like an entirely different ballgame. We'll see. Before Richmond I'd like to do one distance over marathon distance, just so I know that I can hold it for the entire 26.2. Maybe some Saturday I can con some people into running the extra with me. I gotta figure out my food/drink plan, too. The One With Manners swears I'll like the sport beans, and I instinctively trust her because her clothes always match. Most of those gels just look like snot rockets and I don't want to feel that in my mouth for miles and miles. Sometimes I brush my teeth twice before I go out.

It was raining for a little while this morning, and I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to see because of the rain on my glasses, but it stopped just about the time we hopped on the greenway, and by the time we got back to the cars most of the heavy water had been throw out of my shoes. They're still wet, of course, but not sodden.

Right about now, though, the storm of the century should be starting up. The cats are appropriately insane and I have to drive to a job in High Point in about an hour, so that should be fun. The job should be fun, too, because it's on my feet all night and my hamstrings are still bitching at me. But I'm gonna do it, because I need the money. None of my other applications have even rated a call back.

If you're reading this and you know of any job openings in the Greensboro area, let me know. I have great references, experience in a variety of fields, and tech skills. I hate to beg but I really do need income.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Momenti di Gloria

I don't have all that much - or any - background in running. Pretty much everything I know I've learned in the past year. There are still gaps. Last night I had to ask The Mormon's First Wife, who is a running coach, about a funny feeling in my leg and what to do about it. I just don't have the experience yet; I know this. I've always been a learn-as-you-go, follow-Wikipedia-down-the-rabbit-hole type of person.

For instance, watching the opening scene of Chariots of Fire again this morning, I noticed for the first time that they were all running barefoot. I've seen the movie probably half a dozen times, and I love that opening scene for the music alone, but this is the first time I've watched it since I really started running, and so it's the first time I've looked at their form, and their feet.

So of course I looked up the history of running shoes on the internet. Apparently 'sneakers' - i.e. shoes with rubber soles - were first patented in 1832, so in the 1930s when the events of Chariots of Fire took place, they had them. The 'best' shoe for runners available then would probably have been made by the founder of Adidas.

So probably they were just running barefoot because it was on the beach.

I had a really good run last night while thinking I wasn't having a great run. Ended up doing the 5.85 mile course from the store at an average 7:55 pace - first time I've done it at a sub-8. I was -

Sorry, I totally forgot what I was talking about there, because a cat laid down on my shins and starting trying to eat my toes through the comforter.

The shoes they're showing for this final race scene aren't terribly different from the track shoes they sell at the store. They're probably mostly leather and canvas, according to the internet, and not good for more than a couple of races owing to the stretching that would occur, but in form they look the same to me.

I found these, which are incredible to me: The Puma Computers

They have to be so heavy! Plus, I sometimes kick the inside of my calf with my opposite heel when I'm tired or just getting it together (it can be two or three miles before my body sorts itself out some days) and kicking with these would leave bruises, I imagine.

That being said? They're so nerdy they're awesome.

One of the things about Chariots of Fire that I both like and dislike is Eric Liddell's religious conflicts. I realize that it's a thin sheet of ice I've just skated onto, but I'm simultaneously annoyed by his religious convictions the same way many of the other characters are - I mean, it's the Olympics, man, and you've got a real chance to win your events - and yet I totally understand his assertion to his sister that God likes it when he runs.

I'm not religious like he is - missionary trips and evangelism and all that - and I don't really understand people that are, at all. In fact they kind of offend my sense of individualism. But I do find something spiritual in running sometimes.

I joke that running is my religion but it's not quite that simple. Running is my outlet for a near-religious sense of the physical and what the body can do. I'll never be an elite like Eric Liddell, but every time I run I prove to myself that I can run. I used to think runners were, to borrow from Magneto, "Gods among insects." It represents something to me, and maybe that something is in the same vein as what Eric Liddell (at least the Eric Liddell in the movie) is talking about.

The difference is that Liddell has this framework of rigid Presbyterianism for everything in his life. If something is good to him, it is because it is of God. Me, I think humans are mostly responsible for themselves. What the human body is capable of - what my body is capable of - it's a kind of miracle, yes, but what makes it miraculous to me is not God. It's the fact that I don't think God is involved in it at all, and yet it works.

Like, sometimes I'll be reading about the digestive system, and how we break down food into basic fuel units, and I just think, "How the hell does something this complex happen?" I'll finish a run, and think about it and go, "How the hell did I do that?"

I think it just annoys me that Eric Liddell possesses this amazing talent, and he puts it all off on God when the real miracle is that it's not outside of him, with God, at all, but inside of him. He worked hard, trained hard, and I think you should own yourself.

I have four, maybe five friends running in Boston on Monday, and they've worked really hard. They're in amazing shape and when (not if) they do well it'll be because of that, because they deserve it. I'd wish them good luck, but they don't need it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Once upon a time, I faithfully kept a Twitter account. I no longer do so, but it's still there (@NurseApathy) and I used this website to come up with some new tweets for you. And I think they're ROFL funny.

"Lord High Protector Kate-itron. And then he died. And Evangeline Prime. Does it exists."

"Your posture - I had no weapons, neither will be awkward? Having sex and for sale."

"Is there so you say 'Aunt Jemima' fast enough for 7 years. 7 years. 7 years have rights."

"March is EDIBLE! This is a forest hippopotamus, maybe. OH!"

"A fake plant. But not why Chaucer doesn't disown me feel great about being Tiger's Secret Lesbian Affair."

"Aw, poor Kato. Oh, Prometheus, please help me up. Oh how I just had thrown it was just burn YOURSELF?"

"Had another baby step towards TOTAL DOMINATION. I feel great about yourself. This parade coverage blows."

"I've got a perfect body... but sometimes I forget."

I've loved Regina Spektor since Camille introduced me to her, playing 11:11 on heavy rotation on the way back from rape crisis training. I got her copy of 11:11, and played it almost constantly until I could get my hands on a copy of Soviet Kitsch.

When Begin To Hope came out, I hate to say I was a little disappointed. It was a great album, don't get me wrong - there's not a song on there that I don't know all the words to - but there was just something... missing. Or added, maybe, some tweak of processing that somehow removed me from the ReSpekt listening process. I was concerned that maybe being more famous, and on larger labels, was removing some of her raw appeal.

Then she released Far, and everything was all right again. I don't know why. Here's 'Folding Chair,' off that album - though actually this version was released on Live In London, which I have yet to obtain. I woke up singing it, which is strange considering I fell asleep watching Sons of Anarchy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Reality Ramble

I've been watching this show called America's Next Great Restaurant, despite (or because) the fact that it has Bobby Flay playing host in it - next to Steve Ells, founder of Chipotle. It's hysterical, watching Steve get more and more pissed off every time Bobby mangles his company's name, which is every 15 minutes or so because they're clearly looking for 'the next Chipotle' and aren't even trying to hide that fact.

Side note: has anyone ever been to Chipotle? I know there's one off Battleground across the parking lot from Brixx, but Brixx has lactose free cheese on barbecue sauce-pineapple-red onion pizzas, so I've never even considered going across the parking lot. I mean, I've parked in front of it a couple of times.

Steve Ells is the star of the show. Dude is a beast. Except not literally, because literally he's this nerd in big, square glasses who, to borrow one of my favorite descriptions of Spencer Reid ever, "looks like a pipe cleaner with eyes." But he gets shit done, man. He plows through the contestants and doesn't even bother hiding his ever-growing contempt for the entire thing.

I actually almost applied to be on that show, because I do have my idea for a restaurant that I'm sitting on, but it wouldn't work well as a chain and I don't like the idea of 'fast casual' dining - are you sitting down or are you scarfing it on your way out the door? Decide.

I'm glad I didn't, because then I would have had to meet Bobby Flay, and that would have gone something like this.

Me: "Why are you in a field where you have to speak a lot if you clearly have a speech impediment you are embarrassed about?"
Bobby Flay: "We will not be investing in your concept."
Me: "No, but really. I can hear that they dubbed you in post. How many vocal takes did you have to do to get that one?"
Bobby Flay: "That means you have been eliminated from this competition."
Me: "I got that. Explain to me why you use chipotle peppers in your cooking so much if you can't say it?"
Bobby Flay: "Security, please remove this contestant."
Me (being dragged out the door): "You could just say, 'smoked jalapenos!' People would understand!"

This is why I'll never make it in Hollywood.

Things That Don't Make Sense

This morning I noticed that my roommate has a t-shirt over the back of her chair. It's for a strip club. How did she get it? Why did she get it?

Entirely unrelated, this is Lisa Hannigan. She's more adorable than the video of this kitten freaking himself out in a mirror I found this morning. See if you agree.

Also, little know fact - if you refresh the tracking info page on the USPS website more frequently, your package will get to you faster. Is true.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Things I Think About When I'm Having Lazy Time

-I wonder if Bobby Flay has ever successfully pronounced the word 'Chipotle."

-If I painted my toenails, would it disguise my poor damaged second toes or make them even more obvious?

-Moseying around the track for an hour while talking on your cell phone is not a good use of gym time.

-The China Wok gave me a pint of white rice along with the brown rice I ordered, and while I don't want it, and won't want it in the next few days, something within me balks at throwing it away. It's rice. It's white and not particularly healthy and it doesn't keep well or lend itself to many other dishes. I got it for free. Throwing it away should not be a big deal. Apparently my brain lives in the Great Depression.

-I just learned about brown butter and I don't know how I got away without knowing about it for so long.

-Also, I just learned how to make ice cream without an ice cream machine. These two things started out as related but they're not anymore.

-If you click 'no' on every 'Is this ad relevant to you?' option on Hulu, what will your ads eventually be?

From the massive pile of RSS feeds I wade through every day...

The guy who does Left-Handed Toons just started this webcomic called "Invisible Bread." I really like his sense of humor and I'd like him to do well. So maybe go check it out and post a little comment to the effect of, "Hey, this is hysterically funny, make more."

And then he'll make more. And I'll laugh more.

Laughter is the best medicine, you know. You don't want me to have my medicine?

Monday, April 11, 2011

New Career Path

I think I'll be a Life Coach.

I can't quite figure out what exactly a Life Coach does, but I think mostly it involves telling people you're a Life Coach, and then picking up the money they throw at you.

You design yourself a logo that is both Serious and Fun, get yourself some cute letterhead and a few life-sized posters of yourself looking both Serious and Fun, and then you have weekend workshops where people sit around with clipboards and write down everything you say. That sounds like a good plan, because I don't always remember everything I say, and it would be nice to have some record of it.

I think you might also get to insult people and get away with it, because you are a Life Coach and they are paying you to coach their lives. And that involves telling them that the decision to put themselves in a pair of jeggings that morning was a bad one, and for Heaven's sake sit up straight and eat those peas.

Do jeggings come in pairs? They're barely enough to be considered ONE thing, nevermind the fact that I don't think it should really be 'a pair of pants,' because you're never just going to wear one pant. I mean, you could put just one pant leg on, but then the other one would be flapping along behind, so you'd still be wearing both pant legs. The word 'pair' clearly implies something that can be separated and still be functional. Pair of earrings. Pair of socks.

If you only wore one pant leg on your leg and sewed the ankle of the other one up, you could keep things in it like swords, umbrellas, or oranges.


BRB. Gotta go make a fortune on Etsy. Watch this. It's from my original workout playlist, and it still gets me moving.

Execution Song, by Swedish rock duo Johnossi.

Edit: I should warn you that occasionally there is a "bad word" in the lyrics. Since my grandmother called today to complain about the fact that my brother's voicemail was just terrible, had I heard it? And I called and it made me laugh.

"The Verizon wireless voicemail box for 'One Cool Mutha-f**ker' is full. Please try your call again later."

Bonfires and Tang Bangers

I'm writing something awful for a class, and I don't like it, so in retaliation I'm posting this. Which is the same story, with the same characters, the way I want to tell it and not the way I have to tell it for the parameters of the assignment.

I've had this kicking around in my brain for a while, and one day I'll get my shit together and finish it. It's a short story called The Last Resort, and it's based on my days working at the Grand Canyon. Only I changed the setting so I could have dolphins and pooka shell necklaces.


The sunset over the ocean from a western beach on Straussenberg Island was quite possibly the most amazing thing Hannah Haskell had ever seen. It was almost the end of her first day as a Sandy Shoals employee, and she was sitting in the sand with her knees up to her chest, wiggling her bare toes deep into the sand and watching the sun sink out of view.

She heard voices approaching from behind, two of them. She recognized the unapologetically sardonic tones and knew without turning they were her new roommates, the two intimidatingly well-sculpted, tanned young women that looked like they had stepped off one of the brochures Hannah was being trained to hand to customers. Beach Bodied, the employee handbook called it, and it was the reason Hannah had spent her first ten minutes as a Sandy Shoals employee standing uncomfortably still in a bikini top and a pair of shorts, while a balding man in a pair of swim trunks pinched her in various places with calipers. Other companies had drug tests. Sandy Shoals Beaches and Resort had the Beach Body test.

“Hey. New roomie.”

“Hannah,” she corrected, determined not to turn away from the sunset.

Footstep squeaked in the sand. The blond one who had introduced herself that morning, Kat, entered her vision. “Hannah,” she agreed absently, scratching at a set of abs so perfect they may as well have been airbrushed. “What are you doing?”

“I’m watching the sun set,” Hannah replied, rolling her eyes over to regard the girl fully. Tiny, no more than five foot three, she nonetheless had a lean, gamine appeal in her bikini top and loose men’s board shorts that Hannah’s four years at a liberal arts college had no trouble identifying. The rainbow pooka shell necklace around her neck was also a big clue.

Kat turned her head to squint at the horizon. “Huh.” She turned back, running a hand through her short, sun-bleached hair. “Well, we’re gonna go get drunk. You coming?”

Hannah tipped her head back to look at her other roommate, who had what looked like a water cooler jug propped on her shoulder. The tall woman glowered at her, the expression particularly effective given the amount of hardware that had taken up residence on her face since the last time Hannah had seen her. “Holy shit,” she blurted before she could censor herself.

The woman flashed her a toothy, pleased look that Hannah supposed was meant to be a smile. “Hiya, Peaches,” she greeted.

“Hi,” Hannah replied sheepishly. “Sorry. I just… you didn’t have those this morning, did you?”

“Have what?” She lifted a hand up to her face, patting gently, a horrified expression filling her eyes. “Oh my God! What the hell is this? My face!”

“Your face!” Kat exclaimed, a hand flying to her mouth – Hannah had no trouble seeing the laughing smile peeking through her fingers, and tried to muster a glare before laughing ruefully. “So, what’ll it be? You coming?”

Hannah looked over at the brilliant colors of the sky, and Kat sighed. “If it helps you make up your mind, I promise it’s going to set again tomorrow. Yvonne won’t have vodka again tomorrow.” The other woman shook her half-full jug to punctuate the statement. Kat held out a hand, squinting at her measuringly.

Hannah allowed herself to be pulled to her feet and brushed the sand off the back of her obnoxiously tight capris. “I thought employees couldn’t buy alcohol.”

Yvonne looked briefly scandalized, shifting the jug from one muscular shoulder to the other. “Alcohol? This is my specially filtered water!”

Kat chuckled and scratched her scalp, gesturing towards a well-hidden path in the tangled jungle-like wilderness that separated the resort proper from the employee housing. “Yeah, filtered through potatoes, at high heat.”

“It sounds very healthy,” Hannah deadpanned, hoping she was following the banter the way she thought she was as she picked her way along the path behind the more sure-footed employees.

“Oh, it is,” Yvonne replied, the ripple of laughter in her tone loosening Hannah’s nerves slightly. “Important for my mental health, especially.”

It was almost completely dark, and Hannah was starting to get nervous about being left behind, when she caught sight of the orange glow they were trooping towards. She smiled disbelievingly at the sight that greeted her when she stepped into the clearing.

“Don’t get too excited,” Yvonne threw over her shoulder. “It’s not like anyone here is what’d you’d call a winner.” She shoved her way past a couple of wildly groping swimsuit models – Hannah was beginning to wonder if she would ever get used to everyone looking like Greek statuary – and over to the water cooler stand. She dropped the jug down with practiced ease, not spilling a drop.

“How was your first day?” Kat asked, shoving an empty pitcher in her hands and fighting open a battered plastic container of Tang. “Don't judge me,” she snapped. “I couldn't get anyone to steal me enough orange juice from the kitchen. Get that judge-y look off your face or go drink it raw with Yvonne.”

Hannah glanced over at her other roommate, who was standing with her head tipped back and her eyes closed, a paper cone held gently in her fingertips, apparently oblivious to her surroundings. She sighed and held the pitcher steady. “Doesn't seem that different than college. Bonfires and tang bangers.”

Kat grinned and licked her fingers clean of orange powder. “You're learning.”

Friday, April 8, 2011

#1 Soy Boy

It's late, so this is hysterical.

Oh, wait. It's just hysterical in general.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

You make souffle sound like no big deal.

This is my new favorite website: Cooking For Engineers.

I love the way they break it down, the fact that every step includes pictures, and that they make their recipes conversational, the way I would get them from my dad, if he was patient enough to actually tell me how to make anything instead of just grumbling when I don't get it right.

You would like that having a Culinary Institute trained chef as a father would mean that I have the knowledge of how to cook deep in my bones. But that's not the case - I'm basically self-taught. I learned how to chop things, and stir pots, and do dishes, but that's about it. By the time I was old enough to really learn, my dad had quit the restaurant business and was working as a handyman. I learned to lay tile, nail shingles, and paint walls. My dad only ever cooked on special occasions. My mom taught me most of the basic kitchen stuff, like how to boil water.

But once I reached an age where they considered me old enough to operate the stove myself, there was an attitude of DIY that pervaded the food culture of my house. We didn't eat out very often and the idea was that there were always enough ingredients in the pantry for us to figure out something. My cooking skills evolved slowly and out of necessity. I found beginner's recipe books in the library and read them until I understood enough to access the ones mouldering in the basement.

I mean, sure, I got lazy and ate a lot of tuna salad, but my tuna salad spiraled out in crazy directions - I went through my curry phase, and my mirepoix phase, and my balsamic vinegar phase - god, the balsamic vinegar phase. I wouldn't be surprised if I still reeked of the stuff sometimes, years later.

But I've always, really, truly wanted to learn how to cook, from someone who really knows. And those are the days when I look over at my dad, and sigh, and go back to watching the Food Network.

And next time I go home for the weekend, I'll help my mom make dinner, and learn something new that will make her widen her eyes and say, "You didn't know how to do that?"

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dreams that tell you to wake up.

I found this song as a Florence + The Machine cover. Ordinarily, I'm such a Florence fan that it would be a no-brainer which one to post. But I think the original song, and the video, are sublime.

Cold War Kids, "Hospital Beds."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Like trying to reheat tater tots in the microwave. It doesn't work."

Something odd happened today. I hit the wall with Chaucer.

I love The Canterbury Tales. A lot. But today's reading was the Monk's Tale, and I pulled a total "tl:dr." That stands for "too long: didn't read," and is used in chat forums during debates and heated discussions. A person will post what's known as a "wall of text," maybe a very well-reasoned response, and someone will respond with, "tl:dr." It's a really snippy way of saying, "Bored now. Shut up. I don't care if you're right (and I pulled this move because you probably are)."

The Monk's Tale hits you will this Wall of Text about how the mighty fall. It's well-written and I understand the point, I think, which is that God - it's always God in Medieval Literature - has set up the Rules of The Game so that everything is fair, and that means that bad things happen to good people sometimes.

But seventeen examples was a bit too much for my brain. When I skipped to the end and saw that the Knight - the noblest and therefore most proper person in the party - interrupts him with a, "For the love of all things, please just stop it," I felt vindicated.

This is Goldfrapp, off of their third album and the third single from that album. It's my favorite Goldfrapp song. I thought of it because sometimes I think Goldfrapp goes on a bit too long, even though they're very good.

Tuesday Morning Philosophy

"You gotta roll with what you got. I'm 5'7". I'm never gonna play NBA basketball. So I'm here, and I gotta make a dessert with hotdogs. You gotta roll with what you got."
-Chef Adam, Chopped

Monday, April 4, 2011

Put aside your initial dread, here.

I know. I gagged at it, too. It's a gut response against the poppy, saccharine little boys we remember shoving "mmmBOP" into all the tiny little recesses of our brains until we had no choice but to hate it for being so very, very catchy.

But I stumbled upon this video by accident, and I didn't recognize them until it was halfway over. And by then, I had given it enough of a chance to admit that I liked it. It's a good song, and a cute video, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Here's Hanson, with "Give A Little," the second release off their latest album, Shout It Out.

You gotta trust me sometimes. Worst comes to worst, you get to see an adorable little boy with a fauxhawk breakdancing.

March Recap


Distance: I ran 207 miles in March, 47 miles a week except for last week when I only had 44. I don't feel bad about the low week for two reasons. One, I cut those miles on Tuesday because my leg didn't feel right, and I'm pretty sure I would have injured it if I had run track as planned. And two, my long run on Saturday was the fastest I've ever run that distance.
Speed: I'm still having trouble with pacing. When I'm running with a partner, I'm consistently between an 8:05 and an 8:15, but by myself I'm between an 8:30 and a 9:00. I did 4 miles at or below an 8:00 on the treadmill at the gym without much trouble, so I know that I can run fast. I just need to figure out how to set and maintain that kind of pace on my own.
Goals: I'd like to start running more races of varying lengths, to set some PRs if nothing else. The only formal race I've ever run was a half marathon. I'm not speedy enough to really slay a 5k or anything, but I'd like to have that PR set so that when I do start getting faster, I'll have something to compare to. I'll be signing up for the Richmond Marathon in November as soon as I have the money.
Other: March was injury and illness free, and for the most part I felt okay. I was really down on myself for a couple of weeks and that affected my perception of my running, but retrospectively I think I did all right.


I rolled out of bed at 12:15AM this morning and snagged the two summer classes I needed, ASL 3 and Geosystems Science/Lab. I was tempted to just stay in bed, and try to register in the morning, but my body clock woke me up at 12:14. I'm glad I did, now - it's a huge weight off my shoulders that I got these courses and can get the schedule I want for Fall. I have to drop off my Financial Aid forms today or tomorrow and hopefully they won't be too busy, so I can ask them if everything is OK.


I sort of have a job, but it's on an event-by-event basis and it's working with charities, which means that most of the work will happen in the Fall, and not now, when I need the money. But I'm sure that I'll need the money in the Fall, too, and there will be a couple of events over the summer. It's a really cool gig - it's like a combination of tech support with a catering job. Tech support on the go.

I'm still looking for more regular work. I'll be checking out one really cool opportunity today that I hope I get, but I've got a lot of feelers out and I'll keep putting more until I get something.


I'm fine. Really.