Wednesday, November 26

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've been so busy the past few days and I'm not going to do anything for the rest of the day except watch TV. Yay! Here are some things to look at:
These whole fried shrimp came with my sushi roll the other day at Happy Fish. April told me I'm supposed to eat them, but I'm a little squeamish when there are eyes still on my food. Tyler poked one with a chopstick and became very alarmed because it was squishy.

I just got the album Youth Novels by adorable Swedish Singer Lykke Li. Everyone should listen to it, it's sooooo good. Here is a photo Tyler took of her at the Doug Fir in September or October. According to her website she's coming back to America for another tour in February. Yay!
I had breakfast with Baby Squirrel on Monday:
Here are some outfits:
Dress: Anthropologie (It was marked down to $50 from $100 because it had a broken button, but there was a replacement button sewn into the lining. Score!); hat: Urban Outfitters; boots: Urban Outfitters.
Dress: vintage; tights: Urban Outfitters; boots: Frye; belt: Target.
Dress: J. Crew; tights: Urban Outfitters; shoes: Frye.

I finally figured out how to style this crazy short haircut:
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23

I'm Turning Into My Parents

(This is part of a group blogging exercise. For more information see here and here).

I think I first realized I was turning into my mom two years ago when I stopped being able to sleep past 8am on weekends. My mom is an early riser, and I mean really early; she gets up at 6 even on her days off. On the maybe three or four occasions she's been sick during my lifetime, she may have slept in until 7am on a day off. The reason she gets up so early is because, as she says, "otherwise the day is wasted!"

I thought this was a crazy notion when I was younger. I mean, how on earth could sleeping in be a waste of time? This was my attitude back when I used to stay up until 5am and sleep until 3pm. But one day, I just realized that even sleeping until 9am is a waste because by that time I never feel like cleaning or doing anything productive. It takes me an hour in the morning to decide what I want to make/eat for breakfast, plus I have to spend a certain amount of time in the morning farting around on the internet. If I get up at 9, it's 10 before I eat, and 11 before I'm done with a cursory internet-farting-around session. After this I have no desire to clean or do anything other than fart around on the internet more. If I get up early, like 7, then for some reason it magically makes me want to clean, which is very important because my apartment seems to be forever messy (I hate cleaning floors, dusting, and putting away clean laundry).

From my dad I've gained a severe hatred of slamming cabinet doors. There is just absolutely NO FUCKING REASON for someone to slam a cabinet door. It doesn't take any more effort to shut it quietly than it does to just let it go and have it smack the board and vibrate until it closes. I thought I was going to go insane when I visited my friend Heather several years ago in Boulder. She lived in an apartment with three or four other roommates, and everyone who lived there would open and then forcefully slam the kitchen cabinets shut. Sometimes I can barely handle my downstairs neighbor, who is an insomniac and goes around slamming stuff in her apartment constantly 24-7: kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, front door, back door, bedroom door, bathroom door, and she opens and slams shut her bedroom windows every few hours at night. Grrr.

My mom has some funny quirks I haven't picked up yet--for instance, she is obsessed with the state of the floors. God forbid her foot ever sense a sticky spot on the floor; if so, you'd better run for your life, motherfucker. If you ever hear her say "This! Floor! Is! STICKY!" you'd better know how to become invisible really fast, because she will go ballistic. Me, I just avoid stepping in the sticky spot on the floor, and it will probably remain there for awhile because I really hate cleaning floors. (Maybe there's a reason for this?) The other thing I remember from when I was a kid was that she'd always always always come into the bathroom when I'd get done with a shower or bath and exclaim, "This place is just swimming in water!" and exasperatedly throw towels down to sop up all the water I'd managed to slosh on the bathroom floor. She has a very particular way of throwing down a towel and swiping it back and forth with her foot that lets you know what an asshole you are if you get water on the bathroom floor.

The thing I wish I hadn't inherited from my mom is a sensitivity to smells. Well, actually, both of my parents are sensitive to smells, but in different ways. My mom can't stand any kind of chemical-based perfumes, and neither can I. Chemical perfumes give us both terrible headaches. I have a hard time dealing with customers sometimes at work, because for some reason the customers at my office tend to be a heavy perfume and cologne wearing bunch. I swear I'd rather smell b.o. than strong perfume. At least b.o. is natural!

My dad, on the other hand, can't stand anything stinky and will go absolutely insane and tear the house apart to find the source of something that is so minorly stinky that he's the only one who smells/imagines it. He has the stupid belief that women all want perfume for presents and periodically insists on buying my mom and I perfume for Christmas or Valentine's Day. That never goes over well. Remember when I said that my office's customers tend to wear a lot of cologne? That's actually about half of them. The other half are heavy smokers and smell of stale, sweaty, pore-secreted smoke. This is perhaps the single most disgusting smell on earth, save for when someone stupidly tries to cover up a dreadful stink with perfume or air freshener.

(On a very slightly related note, I once purchased a mango that had apparently rotted in the middle. As I cut away the flesh, I noticed a very strong smell like feces coming from the center of the mango. It was so nasty I almost vomited. I couldn't help but be reminded of something I read in The Amityville Horror, which is that the smell of feces indicates the presence of Satan. Was Satan in the center of that mango? I didn't stick around to find out).

Last year, after the death of our beloved Ginger Respress, my parents got two Havanese puppies, Coco and Diego, who are sister and brother:
Diego was originally going to be my dog, but he had to live with my parents while I was in school and now they don't really want to separate he and Coco because they do everything together. If I may embark on a tangent for a moment, when I was a child I used to have this OCD tendency to get a blanket or a towel and try to spread it out on the floor without it getting any wrinkles in it. I would grab one side and fling it up into the air and get really frustrated because I could never get it to lay down smooth. (I don't know what I ever intended to do with the blanket once I had it spread out on the floor. That was not as important as the act of getting it to lie down smooth in one go). Oddly enough, Diego has a similar habit. If there's ever a blanket or towel on the floor, he'll pick at it with his teeth and worry it with his paws, attempting to smooth it until he finally flings himself on it in disgust and falls asleep. That's my dog!

An Offering

I photographed this handsome fellow on my deck this morning:
According to Wikipedia, he (or she) is a young sharp-shinned hawk. This bird must like me, because later it left me a present:
Headless bird: yummy!

Lets Call the Whole Thing Off

When Meggers first posted her blogging topic as "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," I couldn't quite wrap my head around the subject. I had to think about it for several days: I'm not in a relationship and I rarely am, so no material there; my parents bicker and argue a lot; my coworkers and I give each other shit from 8 to 5 every day; my maternal grandmother is very disagreeable (she and my dad once had an argument over how the lawnmower works--she insisted it had "little scissors" under it, and when my dad flipped it over to show her the rotor blade she was not happy).

I checked YouTube, but I couldn't find the hilarious video of Christopher Walken singing "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" in which he pronounces all the words the same, therefore defeating the purpose of the song.

I was reminded of the scene in Monty Python and The Holy Grail in which Michael Palin, as the king of Swamp Castle, tells his son's wedding guests, "Please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion. Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who!"

I remembered that my dad--who loves to argue--used to say that we would have to rename our family The Bickersons. I looked up The Bickersons on Wikipedia and discovered it was a radio show from the 1940s consisting of (not surprisingly) a married couple who argue constantly. This show inspired television shows such as The Honeymooners and Married...With Children, and like Married...With Children, was said by some to undermine the institution of marriage.

I think it's interesting how much of pop culture is based on the dysfunctional aspects of marriage. Consider how many extremely successful sitcoms have been built on this premise: The Honeymooners, All in the Family, Married...With Children, Everybody Loves Raymond; even less traditional shows like Arrested Development have this sort of marital bickering as a large part of their comedy. And it's nothing new; marital disharmony is played for comedy in Shakespeare, it's present in Greek mythology. I'm not married, but I'm so tired of seeing this every time I turn on my TV or open a book. People need to find something new to get their material from. I won't harp any longer.

Thursday, November 20

80's songs sure do sound alike

Listening to coworker's radio:

Me: Hey! I like this song!

Me: Doon'tdoon'tdoon'tdoooonn't--doon't yoouu forrgeet aboouut meeee! Doon'tdoon'tdoon'tdoooonn't!

Me: Hmmm, is this the song from The Breakfast Club or from Pretty in Pink?

Me: Breakfast Club, duh.

Me: Duh! But what is the song from Pretty in Pink? How does it go?

Me: But how can I forget you, girrrl? When there is always something there to remiiind meee?

Me: No, dummy, that's not it.

Me: Where is that song from? Is that from some other Molly Ringwald movie?

Me: No, dude. I think it's from The Wedding Singer or some other inauthentic 80's movie--

Me: Like Donnie Darko, but not Donnie Darko.

Me: The song from Donnie Darko

Me: Mad World?

Me: No, the other one......faaate, up agaaaaaaaainst your wiiiiiiiiillllll, through the thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick and thiiiiiiinnnnnnn...

Me: Or something.

Me: That movie is overrated.

Me: But I like Maggie G.

Me: Maggie G. is rad.

Me: I like The Wedding Singer.

Me: Yeah.

Me: What is that damn song from Pretty in Pink?


Coworker's radio 2 hours later:

Me: If you leave, don't leave now........don't look baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Me: Oh, yeah!

Me: Duh.

Me: I always get those damn songs mixed up.

Wednesday, November 19

You can bash yourself all you want, but keep me out of it!

I found out today that Boise State students who graduate in the summer or fall semester "aren't invited" to walk in the spring graduation ceremony because, as the graduation coordinator so eloquently phrased it, "the spring graduation ceremony is just so ginormous." This really pissed me off for a few minutes, because I and several people I know who are graduating fall semester had planned to walk in the spring.

I don't want to walk in the winter ceremony because, frankly, my parents are basically hermits and won't come to the ceremony. I doubt anyone else I know would come out just to watch me walk, either, because it's tedious and on a Saturday morning right before Christmas. Then I realized I don't really want to go down there and sit around with a bunch of people I don't know for hours and hours to walk across the stage when I already have my diploma anyway.
So, I realized that I don't really care that much about walking, but I probably would have had I been a more traditional student and graduated in four years and had a group of friends who were graduating with me. I was fine.

Then one of my other friends who's graduating in the fall but has a scheduling conflict and planned to also walk in the spring ceremony left this lovely message for me publicly on Facebook: "Sorry you can't walk...I'm already over it, and I don't graduate for another month. Boise State blows."

The above comment pisses me off on many levels: firstly (and I'll ignore any snarky smugness and--ahem-- insincerity), because I don't think BSU sucks as bad as everyone likes to make out. Certainly it has annoying administrative policies--but I'm sure every school has some annoying policies in place in differing areas. Certainly BSU leaves several somethings to desire, and yes, the football team gets more attention than the academics. But the football team brings in money and national recognition which will benefit the school academically in the long run (a very slow process, maybe, but it is happening, even though this Statesman article omits any mention of football money or recognition).
Also, Boise State contributes a lot to the community in terms of jobs, cultural events, promotion of higher education, revenue, etc.

Sometimes, citizens, one must make a deal with the devil to get what one wants.

What I don't understand is if you've spent your time, energy, and money to get a degree from a school, why would you go around bashing it all the time? I did this in my nihilistic early-twenties I'm-too-jaded-to-care-about-anything phase, but looking back on was so stupid and ultimately the only one who got hurt by my acting like a too-cool-for-school little bitch was me, not Boise State. If you put so much into something yet you hate it at the same time, to me it's sort of like poisoning yourself. Things are what you make of them.

BSU does have some good programs and professors (MFA Writing, Nursing, Engineering), even if it isn't a huge research institute, even if it isn't world famous, even if it doesn't have the most diverse selection of degrees
available. I've never heard of anybody who couldn't get into a masters program or transfer to another undergrad program because they went to BSU.

I got my degree from BSU; regardless of how it's ranked, when you bash it you bash me.

Saturday, November 15

Crustacean Massacre

As I was getting out of my car with my breakfast burrito this morning, my neighbor showed me a crustacean in the parking lot. "He's cold," she remarked, and covered him with a leaf.

The last time I saw one of these guys was two summers ago in the middle of the summer, also in my parking lot. I named him Lobby the lobster, and I saw him alive once before he got run over and squished. I guess these crawdads must live in the ponds at my apartments, but I never see them anywhere except in the middle of my parking lot.

When I left for my eyebrow appointment this afternoon, I saw that Lobby had been squished, which is to be expected. When I got home, though, there were four squished crawdads!

Poor Lobbies! The parking lot resembled the lake shore when I was a kid and we used to catch crawdads and smash them between rocks. (Those crawdads had rainbow guts, whereas these do not). Was it mass suicide? Or some sort of cruel pet murder?

Wow, today is not a good day for the wildlife at my apartment complex. As I was typing that last part, a squirrel ran up the tree outside my window, tried to jump onto the roof and missed, falling down to the mud two and a half stories below. I hope he's okay! He ran off, so it seems like he wasn't too badly hurt. Poor little insane squirrel!

Friday, November 14

My special power: invisibility

You know, a couple of months ago I made a commitment to myself to stop complaining, but sometimes complaining exorcises ideas that bother me and I am never bothered by them again. I hope that is the case right now. Also, I am a bit on the passive aggressive side and sometimes tend to complain to the wrong audience, rather than the one with whom I have my grievance. This is something I'm working on.

Mikela and I went to dinner tonight at a local pizza place and our conversation eventually came around to one of the seeming paradoxes of dealing with service industry people: the fact that if you are patient, polite, and understanding of how busy servers/bartenders/baristas are, they sometimes ignore you; while rude, pushy, demanding people (who often seem to be stingy tippers) get all the attention in the world.

At dinner, I stood at the bar forever and couldn't get a refill on my beer because I wasn't rude enough to elbow between people eating at the bar and get in the bartender's face (Not that I actually needed any more beer. What I did drink led to the crankiness you are now witnessing). The bartender couldn't be bothered to notice me even though two of her friends were standing right next to me. I always err on the side of being too timid in this type of situation, never saying "Excuse me!" when I need to, so the frustration I feel is ultimately at myself. I don't want to come off as an obnoxious asshole. Why should it matter, anyway? Do I care if the bartender thinks I'm a bitch? What's she going to do to me? How does she know I need something if I don't speak up? She's fucking busy. So what do I do? Why, complain to Mikela, hapless bystander, of course. And be a bad listener. Boo!

I'm afraid of acting like one of those people you're embarrassed to go out with: I used to have a roommate who was so demanding and rude that she would tip horribly if the server didn't banter and coddle her in a specific way. After the laundry list of special things said roommate asked for when ordering, I was lucky if a server even remembered to bring me water.

Conversely, when I want to be invisible it never happens. At work I can't have five minutes in a row without one of my coworkers walking by my desk and commenting on something totally stupid--usually it involves the look on my face. I'll be working quietly and someone will walk by my desk, stop, turn around, and come back to ask me if anything is wrong or why I look confused, bored, or annoyed. My all-time favorite has to be the time a guy came over, crouched down, looked up at the ceiling, and asked me "Is there something interesting up there?" I was in the middle of figuring out some really complicated problem when he interrupted me with his stupid question.

Sunday, November 9

Would this be considered magical thinking or something else?

I lost one of my favorite earrings today. It's a little metal straight piece with a wooden heart at the bottom, and the heart has a baby deer painted on it. It dangles about 2 inches below my ear.

Mikela and I walked from her apartment to Highlands Hollow, and I was wearing a huge cowl-like scarf that wrapped all the way up to my ears and my earflap hat. Between these two things, it's not surprising my earring got knocked off. I noticed it was missing in the restroom at Highlands Hollow. I was bummed, but in the spirit of Poppy in Happy Go Lucky, (who doesn't get too upset after her bike gets stolen, other than to say "I never even got to say goodbye!"), I decided not to make a big deal out of it. I told myself that if I just didn't worry about it, I would find my other earring.

On the walk back, while Mikela and I were enjoying yummy butter mints from Highlands Hollow, I spotted something heart-shaped on the sidewalk at the corner of 15th Street and Hill Road. I knew it--it was my earring. ( And by this time I'd totally forgotten about it, and I just happened to glance down at the sidewalk at the right moment). So the two little baby deer are happily reunited! I will have to be more careful when wearing winter gear and dangly earrings!

Here is a photo of Mikela and I in our matching earflap hats (A total coincidence that we each got one. But I had mine first AND I've been wanting one for two years; it's only this year that the've popped up everywhere).

Saturday, November 8

Several things that end in a big, long rant

I woke up today and went to Bad Boy Burger to get myself a breakfast burrito (nice alliteration, eh?) and noticed that the inversion is here. Yucky doodle.

Synchronicity is an interesting phenomenon I encounter pretty often. You could argue whether the instances I observe are "meaningful" or not, (see the Wikipedia entry for synchronicity), but they are definitely interesting and worth thinking about. Last weekend was a stellar weekend for synchronous events. I already talked about the Star Trek occurrence. On Friday I got a Happy Halloween text message from someone that said something like, "I love you and your friendship means a lot to me, but if zombies were chasing us, I'd totally trip your ass." After I read it, I noticed that the song "Zombie" by the Cranberries (Preachberries) was playing on my coworker's radio.

The next day, I was talking to April about synchronicity, and she said she'd been discussing it recently with one of her coworkers in regard to band names (apparently there is a weird phenomena wherein bands will pop up all over the place with the same or similar band names, album names, and song names, though the bands are all too obscure to have heard of each other), leading she and her coworker to believe in Jung's theory of the collective unconscious. Right after she told me this, I told her that she looked like Anne Hathaway from certain angles. She said that was funny because she used to date a guy who went to high school with Anne Hathaway and dated her. Obviously, I said, that guy has a thing for girls with dark hair and big, dark eyes. "Obviously," April agreed. A few minutes later I noticed a postcard on her fridge with a photo of a bodybuilder dousing himself with beer. "Is this Arnold Schwarzenegger?" I asked her. "I don't think so. Hey! That guy we were just talking about gave that to me--the one who dated Anne Hathaway."

Later that day, I had a random conversation with someone about Transformers. The next day, as I was driving home from my Flying Pie Pizza date and wondered, hm, am I going to see any corresponding reference to Transformers soon? When I got home, I decided to record The Simpsons and Family Guy, and wouldn't you know, my DVR informed me that The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror featured a spoof of Transformers (and The Great Pumpkin).

This morning, as I was waiting for my coffee to brew so I could take it with me to Bad Boy, I started thinking about why I don't watch the Headline News during breakfast any more; because as we all know, the news in America is nothing but bad news--if it's not violence, it's at least people being nasty or negative in some way (especially on CNN Headline News). I picked up the very excellent Heart of a Dog, by Mikhail Bulgakov (who is possibly my greatest love), and read a few pages whilst my coffee was spluttering out the final drops into the pot. Here is the conversation I read:

"And--heaven preserve!--don't read any Soviet newspapers before dinner."

"Hm...But there are no others."

"That's just it, don't read any. You know, I carried out thirty tests at my hospital. And what do you think? Patients who read no newspapers feel excellent. But those whom I deliberately compelled to read Pravda lost weight."


"But that isn't all. They had lowered knee-tap reflex, rotten appetite, a depressed state of mind."

There is more going on here than just stating that the news causes people to become depressed; it's an expression of Bulgakov's anti-Soviet sentiments and more. What's interesting to me is the question of why throughout history the news has seemed to consist of negative and depressing information.

Headline News is either a good or a bad example; I use it because it represents what the average citizen watches--not the more educated individuals who seek out more intellectual and complete news coverage. In each half hour, Headline News devotes about five or six minutes total to the actual headlines, while the other 24 minutes are devoted to commercials, the weather, financial updates, salutes to the troops, entertainment, and special interest stories. The last two minutes of each half hour are given to local news channels to give local news updates.

If you turn on Headline News during the non-headline periods, the features are more often than not (I'd say at least two-thirds of the time) needlessly negative--as are the two-minute local updates, which here in Boise are done by Channel 2 (8 if you have cable) CBS News. The CNN non-headline stories almost always consist of "eyewitness" videos people filmed on their cell phones and uploaded to CNN's website, or that come from surveillance systems at businesses.

Here are some of the things I've seen on these features (conveniently organized into their own obnoxious 30-minute eyewitness show titled "News to Me"): explosions, violent COPS-style arrests, car wrecks, fist-fights, people stealing gas, plane crashes, child abuse, drug abuse, people giving drugs to toddlers, a grown man punching a teenage girl in the face for cutting in line at a McDonald's, teenage girls ganging up on and beating the shit out of another teenage girl for "talking shit" (actually, this one made headlines everywhere)... The local news updates on CNN are always two minutes of local murders, rapes, assaults, arrests, drug-busts, fires...and nothing else.

Why do the news producers think people need to see this shit? And it is shit. It's fucking bullshit. Everyone knows that what attracts viewers/ratings is sensational shit like this, or political or other public figures bad-mouthing each other, (remember that stupid Donald Trump/Rosie O'Donnell pissing contest and how much news coverage it got?), but what I'm interested in is why? Is this really what people want to see? Have they grown so accustomed to seeing terrible shit on tv that they can't get enough of it? (Yes! Hence the popularity of awful torture films like the Saw series).

When I worked at the call center, I couldn't take a breath without some middle-aged woman in a nearby cubie saying to someone, "did you hear about that (insert horrible local child abuse/murder story here)?" They were never interested in discussing anything else and would talk about this stuff all day, every day. When I started working at my current job, I had a coworker who would try to read all the horrible local child abuse/murder cases aloud to me, and she'd get really frustrated when I told her I didn't want to hear them. She was one of the most unhappy people I've ever encountered in my life.

I just want to know: are people so un self-aware that they don't know this stuff is bad for them? Does the media know it's assisting to keep people in a constant state of depression? Why do people like to see/read so much about people being terrible to each other?

Wednesday, November 5

It came from my cell phone

I recently noticed that my cell phone has photos I've been saving for over a year. I don't know what I intended to do with them; some were taken to send to other people and some I took to amuse myself. I now share them with you, gentle readers:

1. These signs grace the interior of the newest parking garage at BSU. They were the first thing I noticed when the garage opened last fall. Can you spot the glaring typo? It really adds to the perception that BSU is not a very good school. The signs were fixed by spring semester; someone stuck a piece of white tape over the "D" on all of the signs. Go BSU!

2. I saw this public art the first day of spring semester '08. It stayed there for months. The Conservative Arts building may be the most decrepit building on campus, but I have many wonderful memories of taking classes there. Ah.

3. I don't know if this is the work of the same clever grafitti artist as the last one or not, but I found this on the outside of the geology labs. I'm not sure if it's an order, a suggestion, a comment on the busy-ness of grad life, or a description of the genderlessness of the Math and Geosciences building itself. Perhaps some meanie was making fun of the supposed lack of sex in the lives of math nerds...

4. The way this is abbreviated makes it look like it says "JC's lord." In that case, I guess it would mean that this car belongs to a lord and the person driving it is JC, who is a serf on said lord's manor. Or that JC worships his or her car, making the car itself JC's lord. Really, of course, what the license plate is saying is that Jemaine Clement is Lord.

5. When I first saw this at my friend's house, I thought it was a tube of acrylic paint. Not so! Even better, it's "a lubricant for the elimination and prevention of hair balls." And in tasty tuna flavor, at that! I love the fact that there is a comb next to it. I wondered if you comb it into kitty's hair, but that is not so according to the Laxatone website. Too bad; it's a funny image.

6. Notice the figure on the right of the window. I think it's supposed to be a ghost, but to me it really looks like a condom. The fact that he seems to be saying "Ooo!" rather than "Boo!" doesn't help.

7. This picture comes from a baby changing table in the restroom at Flying Pie Pizza. As my friend Ryan said, you know those damn babies: leave 'em alone for a second and they fall right on their heads. This baby appears to have a spring on his or her head, so hopefully he or she wasn't injured in this fall. On a slightly unrelated note, Ryan and I experienced a weird sort of synchronous coincidence. We watched an old episode of Star Trek at Ryan's before heading out to Flying Pie (a hilarious episode involving an evil woman/cat in which the redshirt actually didn't die and made it back onto the Enterprise). When we got to Flying Pie, their sign read "Pizza from a chain? Spock, are you out of your Vulcan mind?" Spooky.