January 31, 2010

January 28, 2010

January 28, 2010

Get Your Drink On

When I moved to Virginia, I realized that it’s a very different state from Wisconsin. And I’m not just talking about the way they handle taxes. Or the vehicle safety inspections. Or even the common man’s lack of appreciation for good cheese.

No, I’m talking about the ABC Stores.

Virginia’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC, get it?) runs these stores. They’re the only place to get your hard liquors and adult beverages. Grocery stores? Just beer and wine. Wine stores? Same thing. 7-11s? Don’t thank heaven if you’re looking for tequila.

In Wisconsin, no such segregation exists. I think even the gas stations sell whiskey. How else are you gonna get that tractor home, y’know?

So having no experience with the concept of a special store just for liquor, imagine my chagrin when trying to find crème de menthe. (Note: It was for a pie. I’m not so much a drinking lightweight as I am a “has a sip of wine and falls asleep-weight.”) I pored over the grocery store liquor aisle for a good 30 minutes. And the cooler, since I have no idea how most adult beverages are stored. I just always check both places.

Then I went to a Total Wine, whose friendly manager pointed me to the ABC Store. I thought he was bs-ing me at first, since I assume a place called the ABC Store would cater less to alcoholics and more to, well, kindergarteners.

Luckily for me, there was an ABC Store just a few doors down. I entered, and was completely enthralled. Not by all the liquor, of course—rather, by the TINY AIRPLANE SIZED BOTTLES OF EVERYTHING. While you could get regular sizes of things, there were shelves upon shelves of teeny bottles. Had I not been surrounded by men clutching things in paper bags and swaying slightly, I would certainly have squealed in delight.

All I need now is the comparable store for food products.

Though I guess that would be a vending machine.

Dammit.

(Seriously, though, do any other states have stores like this? Is Wisconsin a lone free-boozer in the wilderness?)

January 27, 2010

January 27, 2010

A Day in the Life

In my never-ending quest to find new and interesting food porn, I stumbled upon a blog whose author posts pictures of what she eats and writes about her workouts. Apparently, this is an entire genre of blog: the “Here is what I ate and how I exercised today” club.

Maybe I should join.

Breakfast: Oatmeal, yogurt.

Snack: Popcorn.

Lunch: Pizza, green beans.

Dinner: Stuffed chicken breast, pita with hummus, mixed veggies, chocolate.

Workout: Treadmill.

On second thought, even *I* got bored reading that.

I guess I’ll continue to write things that irritate me, movies I’ve seen, etc.

So, take two:

I finally saw “The Princess Bride” for the first time ever. I liked the line “Never get involved in a land war in Asia.” I did not like ANY OTHER PART of it.

You may now flame me in the comments.

January 26, 2010

January 26, 2010

Progress Through Thoughtful Planning

That’s the motto of Schaumburg, Illinois, one of my favorite towns in this crazy country of ours.

Before I get into the Reasons Why I Love Schaumburg portion of this presentation, let’s talk about the badass eugenic overtones of that motto. Progress through thoughtful planning? Heil, baby, heil.

Anyway, I’ve written plenty about Schaumburg before. Its Ikea. Its Todai. Its Medieval Times. Its Container Store. All amazing things. All available in the D.C. area, where I now live.

But Schaumburg has them all in one town. WITH PLENTY OF FREE PARKING.

This may be the one thing I miss most about the Midwest. Planners (whoa, there it is again) understood that once people have arrived at a destination, their car does not magically disappear. Every time I pass a grocery store around Alexandria whose parking spaces number in the single digits, I yearn for the giant parking prairies of Wisconsin.

I realize that D.C.’s infrastructure was created when people rode on smaller things like horses or the backs of slaves. Sure, you can’t turn the National Mall into a parking lot (oh, if only—have you ever tried to park down there?). But either someone builds me a teleporter or I start hitchhiking to Ikea. (You can totally hitchhike to Ikea because the people who go there understand thrift, Swedes, and a love of particleboard. Utterly trustworthy.)

To friends-of-blog, think about me the next time you visit any of my favorite places. Consider the fact that I must drive 30 minutes south to Ikea, then 90 minutes north to Medieval Times. It’s as if the founding fathers didn’t realize a girl would want jousting and shelving in the same day.

January 25, 2010

Win, Lose, or Cook

I entered a cooking contest last week.

I’ll give you a moment to let that impossible statement sink in.

Yes, like Diablo Cody and screenwriting or Barack Obama and politics, I decided to grab the bull by the horns. However, while they produced Juno and a wreck of an economy respectively, I did nothing more than make cakeballs.

You’re not surprised to learn that I didn’t enter completely of my own volition. You see, my office just merged with another (yes, sometimes even the federal government seeks efficiency), and the cooking contest was billed as a “meet your new co-workers” mixer sort of thing. Since I’ve never been much of a mixer (shocker), I figured I would fake my enthusiasm via participation in the cookery, instead of actually getting to know people.

It’s not that I mind meeting new people. It’s that I mind meeting new people without fortification from high fructose corn syrup and maybe a cheesy dip.

Anyway, since culinary creativity from me is almost as rare as a Jay Leno fan, allow me to prove it to you.

Step 1: Making the cakeballs.

I don’t have any pictures of the baking/rolling/dipping, because anything I cook is like a law: it’s best not to see the actual creation. Also, papery. The basic steps, though: bake a box mix of red velvet cake. Allow to cool. Mix with one can of cream cheese frosting. Chill for several hours. Form into balls. Freeze. Dip in chocolate bark.

I did that times three. And came up with this:

OH DEAR LORD, IT’S BEAUTIFUL!

Sorry. It’s as close as I will ever come to a parental glow. I’m certain I spent more time on these cakeballs than that Duggar lady did birthing children eight through 11.

Also note that decades of cooking shows inspired me to artfully garnish with not one but TWO colors of syrup.

Step 2: Setting the table.

So, okay, while I wasn’t actually judged on my tablescape (pardon me for going all Sandra Lee on you), I figured I’d give it a shot. It’s amazing what a package of napkins, some vases, candles, and someone’s discarded punchbowl (hooray for trash room diving) will do for ya:

Once the cakeballs were in position and the judges portions were on display, we were ready for the competition:

Step 3: Judging.

Alas, I did not win. Someone had made espresso brownies, which even *I* would have voted for. He was the only contestant in any category (which were appetizers, entrees, side dishes, and desserts) to get a perfect score, of course. Grr.

Still, the end of competition meant everyone had the chance to dig into these:

You may introduce yourself with a hand shake and I smile. I prefer to use cake.

January 21, 2010

January 21, 2010

Laundry Equality

I try my best to present a dignified exterior. When that fails, I shoot for “not a total screwup” and almost always succeed. (The key is carrying photocopies of my master’s degree at all times.) Sometimes TheBoy tells me that we’re on our way to becoming a power couple. Then I remind him that I lick yogurt lids.

See, just as I think that I’m Going Somewhere, that I’m inching closer to world domination, that I’m building karmic goodwill to the point of having John Krasinski randomly seek me out, I realize that I still haven’t mastered all the grown-up rules.

As when I told my mom that I do all my laundry in one load, color be damned.

Keep in mind that my mom has all the magical mom abilities. Yours probably does, too. She can throw four random foods in a pot and have it turn out delicious. She knows how to wrap gifts with scientific precision. She keeps bathrooms so clean that they actually “ping” when you turn the light on.

I inherited exactly zero of these characteristics. I THINK IT’S A SIGN.

So, anyway, my mom was more than a little confused when I confessed to mixing my whites and my colors. I’d been hoping she’d take it as a trailblazing signal to the laundry separatists of the world. It’s the content of the character, not the color of the fabric. Or something like that. Also, if I had to wait until I had a full load of both whites and of colors, I would do laundry approximately once a year.

I found myself with a very horrified, very tiny Korean woman on my hands.

But you know what? Despite the warnings of laundry separatists and countless television shows, not ONCE has washing my red towel with my white socks led to pinkness. It may not be socially-acceptable, but I gave up on social acceptability around the time this picture was taken:

(My face is all red because I’d gotten into a fight with a girl in line when I thought she skipped me. As my body language indicates, the last thing I wanted to do was cuddle up with a shopping mall Easter bunny, dammit. Hence the back lean and wincing smile.)

I’m never going to totally fit in. I might as well save a few quarters on the washing.

January 20, 2010

January 20, 2010

Storytime is for Slowpokes

Patience is not one of my virtues. Anyone who’s seen me operate a vehicle, stand in a grocery checkout line, or deal with the elderly can attest to this. If it’s not operating at the speed of me, I’d like it to hurry along. I compensate for this shortfalling by avoiding certain things. Rush hour traffic. Prix fixe menus. Old people.

And audiobooks.

While I’m sure a great many people derive pleasure from audiobooks, they just don’t float my boat. Sure, you can listen to a book while on a long drive. Or, you could listen to music and accompany Kanye West’s entire “Graduation” album while driving up the eastern seaboard, not that I would know, whatever. Maybe you like to listen to audiobooks while on the train. Or, you could read an actual book and thus have something to occupy both your hands AND your eyes. Plus, audiobooks are slow. If I wanted to listen to someone reading out loud, I would go back to kindergarten. Added bonus: specified times devoted to three of my favorite activities: napping, coloring, and snacking.

For those who can’t read the regular way, fine. For the rest of us, may audiobooks remain a curiosity best used when all else fails. The lifeboats of reading, if you will.

January 19, 2010

January 19, 2010

Pre-Millennial Fudge

During my freshman year of college, my roommates and I put interesting, funny, and/or weird quotes on our door. The only one I really remember is from a chapel speaker who warned, “Jesus could come between cookies.”

Dispensational implications of that quote aside, it raises a good question about the philosophy of dessert. For some reason, good ol’ American meals seem to end with a sweet. The sweet itself varies depending on the meal’s setting, from cake (birthday), to jello (hospital), pudding pie (Midwest), or even fruit (vegan household). But why must we END with dessert? Does the practice stem from a “save the best for last” philosophy? Good things come to those who wait?

If the financial crisis has taught us anything, I believe it’s to SCREW THAT. If you can’t depend on your job, your mortgage, or your bank being there in the future, you probably don’t’ want to make assumptions about that crème brulee.

I’m not advocating meals that start with dessert. No, wait. I totally am. Because here’s the thing. You get dessert out of the way in an orgiastic sugar frenzy. Then you can savor your regular meat and potatoes while just how amazing that triple fudge ice cream was.

Life is short. Don’t postpone dessert.

(In other news, I need to not blog while looking at food porn on Flickr.)

January 18, 2010

January 18, 2010

In My Opinion: The Young Victoria

We often look at the past through rose-colored glasses. The “good old days,” right? Like when my parents were kids. (Except for black people.) Or when my grandparents were kids. (Except for that whole Great Depression thing.) Or when my great-grandparents were kids. (Except for women.) As John Oliver learned, there’s something to the phrase “when I was a kid”:



After seeing that, I began to question whether my yearning to build a time machine and travel to Victorian-era London was a good idea. Assuming I could learn enough engineering and carpentry to be able to build a time machine. Also, math.

Anyway.

Then I saw The Young Victoria and all was well again.

Emily Blunt, she of The Devil Wears Prada and “engaged to John Krasinski” fame, plays the monarch on the eve of adult- and queen-hood. While most of us who think about such things picture Victoria as widowed and dowdy, she actually WAS an ingénue once. Sadly, her overbearing mother and her mother’s evil advisor had a system of rules that made this schooled-by-crazy-Christians girl wince. I mean, Victoria wasn’t allowed to go down STAIRS by herself, lest she fall or be attacked. What. The. F.

Thus the audience is all the more ready for Victoria to be crowned (though it requires the death of her I’m-in-charge-and-so-I’ll-be-as-batshit-crazy-as-I-want uncle, played by Jim Broadbent) and start Taking Care of Business. Which she does.

Also, there is a love story.

I’ve heard that Victoria was actually pretty, um…lusty as a newlywed and wife. I suppose that explains the gazillionteen children she had, as well as her devastation when her husband died at age 42. She wore mourning clothes for the next FORTY YEARS, people. The only way I’m wearing black for forty years is if Jay Leno makes them stop producing Diet Coke.

The film shows how Victoria and Albert were introduced and fell in love. You realize just how far things have come when you see the two waiting days, weeks, and months for letters to arrive, with no other way of knowing what’s going on. It’s not exactly “dear v, i miss u lol,” is it?

Honorable mentions also to Paul Bettany as Count Melbourne (prime minister, girlcrush, and all-around sneaky guy) and Mark Strong as Sir Conroy.

While I’m a big fan of all things historic and/or British, this film’s inclusion of a lot of political intrigue and a little bit of romance means it has a little something for everybody.

January 14, 2010

January 14, 2010

New Blogs

Since the holiday season further reduced the federal government’s working pace to somewhere around “glacial,” I spent a good portion of December checking out some new-to-me internet webloggy things. In case you find yourself with some spare time during your days as a student/superhero/teacher/whatever-it-is-you-are, check these out:

Nicole Is Better. She’s young, she’s vulgar, and she’s freespirited. An ideal counterpoint to my repressively-organized way of life. This is about a visit to the Apple store.

The Typing Makes Me Sound Busy. Jelisa has spent her post-college decade living in North Carolina. I’m not deep into the archives, but it seems like she’s met with more trouble than rainbows. Still, this is one of the best self-contained DMV-centric existentialist pieces I’ve ever read. Not that that's a long list, but still.

I’ll admit it: sometimes the misery of others is just what I need to get through the day.

January 13, 2010

January 13, 2010

WTF Product of the Day, Volume 8: Moldy Sandwich Bags

More than once, I’ve crossed the line of social acceptability in order to bring organization to this crazy world of ours. I will arrange register-side displays at 7-11, making sure the brownies, cookies, and beef jerky are all in their proper compartments. I will wipe down the counter of a public bathroom. I will make sure the condiments in the office fridge are all facing front, and possibly arranged by height (tallest to shortest).

I KNOW I HAVE A PROBLEM, THANKS FOR POINTING THAT OUT.

Anyway, my tendency to clean first, ask later (also known as a “don’t ask, just clean” policy) means that no communal space is untouched. I’ll try to stay out of your personal living or working space, but if we SHARE it in any way, it’s fair game. Just ask my college roommates. Or co-workers.

Thus my confusion at the sandwich bags that make their contents appear to be rotten. To wit:

Okay, here’s the thing. If I see what appears to be a moldy sandwich in the office fridge, I’m throwing it away without a second thought. I’m not checking, I’m not sniffing, I’m not peeking—despite the possibility of free food. Seriously.

I’ve never worked in an office prone to lunch theft. I can certainly see how lunch theft prevention would be important to those who do. But is this really the best you can do? How about putting a lock on your Arctic Zone? How about a note? How about spiking it with ipecac and seeing who hurls?

These are all just thoughts, people. Let’s keep these freakish plastic bags out of it.

Don’t make me throw away your moist maker:

January 12, 2010

January 12, 2010

A Field Guide to Midwesterners

While the vast majority of Midwesterners live in the Midwest, a significant proportion of them have migrated west of Minnesota, east of Michigan, and south of Ohio. (I won’t count those who’ve gone north to Canada, because, well, who are they kidding?)

For those of you unfamiliar with Midwesterners, they’re a different breed than you’d encounter on either coast or in states whose winters do not last nine months of the year. Just in case you ever find yourself encountering a Midwesterner in the wild, I’d like to give you a few tips on spotting one. Other observers should feel free to leave additional tips in the comments.

1. Listen up. Midwesterners who’ve left the friendly confines of their home states are more than likely suppressing an accent. Why, you ask? Perhaps you grew up in the South, where a “hey y’all” accent denoted charm. Or in New England, where your beloved Sawx will rule fah-evah. But Midwestern speech is noted for overly-round vowels, contracted words like “dontcha” and the addition of “hey” or “eh” after almost every sentence. Those of us who’ve relocated try our best to tone it down, but when we’re tired, confused, and/or hungry (approximately 77% of the time), it WILL come out. Listen carefully for a Sarah Palin-like “Ooooooooh yeah, hey?” and you’ve spotted a Midwesterner.

2. Check the menu. Do you suspect a friend, acquaintance, or mortal enemy of being a Midwesterner in disguise? Take them out to lunch. Study them as they decide what to order. Are they drawn to words like “value” or “cheesy”? This is a good sign. A Midwesterner will always attempt to maximize the dairy-to-dollar ratio. In addition, we will rarely send food back or ask for a take-out container. If it is placed in front of me by someone with a nametag, I will eat it. Do not disturb me as I do so, unless you are handing me a moist towelette.

3. Wait until it snows. Growing up, did you dream of a white Christmas? Did you? That’s cute. Growing up in the Midwest, we learned quickly that White Christmas meant relatives stuck at the airport (or, worse, YOUR HOUSE) and that shoveling is only fun for the first five minutes. When snowfall of any kind is expected, a Midwesterner prepares accordingly. Not by squealing in excitement or anything. No, we’ll pull out of extensive winter wear collection—at least three winter coats, two pairs of boots, and one of the following: earmuffs, facemask, snow pants.

You may be wondering what to do once you have determined that you have, in fact, found a live Midwesterner. First, DO NOT PANIC. We are almost certainly friendlier than your average person, as long as you are not trying to sell us something or preventing us from eating. Next, try using the phrase “Big Ten” and see what happens. If all else fails, mention there’s a big sale on yogurt that you don’t want to miss and leave the area.

You’re welcome.

January 11, 2010

January 11, 2010

In My Opinion: Sherlock Holmes

When speaking of the oeuvre of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I think the fact that I use the word “oeuvre” shows pretty clearly what camp I’m in. It’s the one that tries to drop phrases like “red-headed league” and “five orange pips” into everyday conversation. It’s the one who wishes they made deerstalkers in pink tweed. It’s the one who would consider moving into an address involving “221B” regardless of crime rates, drug activity, and/or closeness to a good Chinese buffet.

Thus it’s elementary it should shock no one that I went to see Sherlock Holmes on its opening day. And while you may think a purist like me would be horrified at Guy Ritchie’s updated take on Holmes, you must understand that I am 100% behind any project that provides even the smallest chance of a shirtless Jude Law.

But let’s talk about the movie, and not my freakish celebrity obsessions.

Unless you were raised in a cave or are illiterate, you know the basic premise of Sherlock Holmes. In this film, a guy who shall be referred to only as “British Andy Garcia” plays Lord Blackwood, a member of Parliament who happens to dip into supernatural shiznit in his free time. Blackwood gets on the wrong side of the law, is sentenced to hang, is hanged, rises from the dead, and starts Wreaking Some Havoc Up In Here.

HOW did he rise from the dead? WHAT is his new plan? WHERE will he strike next?

Enter Holmes and Watson.

Of course they solve the mystery eventually, so let’s not worry about that. Instead, I’ll mention some of the notable aspects of Ritchie’s take on the Holmesian process.

There are more than a few good action sequences. A fight near a giant, unfinished ship. A fight on the still-under-construction London Bridge. A fight in London’s version of Fight Club (also directed by Ritchie, btw). There are also, as you may note, a few fight sequences.

Holmes’s famous reasoning gets its day in the sun, as well. On at least two occasions, the viewers hear Holmes deconstruct exactly what’s about to happen step-by-step…and then it does, in normal time. Even with the preface, we’re still awed by the wham-bam of what goes down.

I appreciated the inclusion of lesser characters (Inspector Lestrade, Mary Morstan), and the gritty take on Victorian London. Sure, it was the era of Queen Victoria. But it was also grim, dirty, and rather melancholy. Sometimes, dying of cholera is the BEST you can hope for.

January 7, 2010

January 7, 2010

In My Opinion: Extract

When a movie is labeled a “cult classic,” I tend to get a little nervous. To me, a cult classic inspires devotion in a passionate few but elicits nothing more than an “eh” from the general populace. My penchant for indie flicks aside, I feel that my taste generally strays towards the explosions/robberies/superheroes side of filmmaking. Take Monty Python and the Holy Grail—a movie cited by many of my peers as one of the Funniest Movies Ever. I watched it once. Found it…not great. Granted, I was alone and sober; I’ve been told it helps to watch with a crowd and plenty of alcohol. But still.

Office Space? Same thing. Sure, it was AMUSING enough. But I don’t feel the need to watch it again. I don’t covet a red Swingline stapler. (I do have a crush on Ron Livingston, but that’s more related to his role as Berger than anything he did in Office Space.) Regardless, the ardor of director Mike Judge’s fans convinced me to check out his newest film, Extract. (Also convincing me: it stars Michael freakin’ Bluth.)

In Extract, Jason Bateman plays Joel Reynolds, extract company owner and unhappily married husband. A serious mishap at the plant involving an employee’s boy parts sets things in motion: a con artist named Cindy (Mila Kunis) comes to town and tries to get a piece of the settlement by getting hired at the plant. As she cozies up to Joel, he realizes that he may have found an outlet for his sexual frustration. Being the Good Guy that he is, though, Joel doesn’t want his wife to feel bad. Instead of opting for chocolate, though, he hires a man-whore to seduce his wife without her knowing. Everyone has an affair, and everyone wins, right?

Attempts at hilarity ensue.

Sure, I laughed out loud a few times. I liked Kristen Wiig’s portrayal of the wife who preferred sweatpants to lingerie. Ben Affleck’s role as Joel’s brother/gigolo/drug dealer was amusing. But nothing really stood out to me as flat-out funny. Then again, it’s a workplace comedy about a flavoring factory. What did I expect?

January 6, 2010

January 6, 2010

Crusty

My dad visited for the week of Christmas. While he’s a much, much, MUCH lower-maintenance guest than my mom (side note: OHDEARLORD), he still requires a bit of care. I have to put out the guest towels. I lose a lot of living room floor space. My wonderfully-kempt apartment gets more than a little unkempt. I have to shuttle him around to places like Mount Vernon. In exchange, I of course have all that lovely family companionship. And large meals.

(Don’t get me wrong: my dad is totally my best friend, as we have spent 26 years honing each others’ senses of humor. At this point, we have so many in-jokes that our banter is pretty much one-word rat-a-tat. It’s a thing of beauty. Freakish, freakish beauty.)

So, anyway. Having lived On My Own for a little over a year, I’ve forgotten the idiosyncrasies of life with father. Luckily, they were out IN FULL FORCE during his visit.

My dad works second shift, so his typical bedtime is like 3 a.m. Necessity and circadian rhythms have forced me to become a morning person, even on holidays. You do the math.

My dad eats a lot of food. I mean a LOT. Of food. We have a rule back home: if it’s not labeled with prohibitive signage, any refrigerator item is up for grabs. The number of Post-Its I used as a kid for “Do not eat” signs? Not a few. Unfortunately, I’m out of the habit, it being MY OWN DAMN FRIDGE and all. Thus I had approximately 1/80th of the lovely meat and cheese platter I bought to last the entire week and that was gone by day 2 but I’m not bitter, lalaLAAA.

Oh, speaking of eating habits, here’s a hoot: my dad doesn’t eat the crusts. Of anything. Bread, pizza, pie, etc. The man is like 54 years old, people. My mom and I are both “the crust is the best part” freaks, so it evens out. But seriously? SERIOUSLY?

After dropping him off at the airport, I went back to my apartment, changed into my pajamas, and took a two-hour nap in the middle of the freaking afternoon. I was that fatigued.

For some of us, the word “Hostess” should be limited to individually-wrapped snack cakes.

January 5, 2010

January 5, 2010

Things I’ve Read: The Nasty Bits

The third and final leg of my Anthony Bourdain trifecta (previous reads here and here) was The Nasty Bits. This book is a collection of 37 essays Bourdain wrote for various publications. In some cases, he tries to make nice to a magazine in exchange for an all-expenses-paid trip to someplace like Vegas or Cancun. In others, he scathingly flays his pet peeves for all the world to see.

Thus this is the Anthony Bourdain book I would recommend to anyone who wants to dip a toe into the pool of his oeuvre. Maybe after seeing a few episodes of “No Reservations.” Or eating at Les Halles. Or thinking, “Hey, maybe I should do more on the train than stare at the homeless guy while listening to Owl City.”

The essays are organized into five sections: Salty, Sweet, Sour, Bitter, and Umami. Those of you playing at home may notice said sections are also the widely-accepted range of flavors. (Anyone else flash back to a diagram of taste buds? Anyone? Bueller?) As you’d suspect, the tone of each section’s essays corresponds: the Sweet ones are about things Bourdain loves, the Bitter about things he loathes, etc.

While I didn’t find any earth-shattering revelations in here (who DOESN’T know that Bourdain’s not a fan of the chef-as-celebrity movement?), I enjoyed seeing how Bourdain’s style varies in accordance with his audience, source of funding, and the amount of alcohol involved in writing a piece. Lesson learned: if you’re required to go somewhere you hate, try to get someone else to pay for it.

Sure, there’s a lot of weird stuff espoused in this book. You can be certain this cheap girl ain’t gonna be eating no $500 dinners. She can certainly read about them, though. Then blog about reading about them. In third person. Ahem.

(With this, I believe I’m done with Anthony Bourdain for the time being. I’m currently finishing a book on food in the 1950s—look, I can either EAT it or READ about eating it and I decided to go the voyeur route. Then I delve into some Edith Wharton and Willa Cather. Long story short: no more food books for at least three weeks!) (Well, maybe after the ‘50s one.) (And unless I see something good at the library.) (Sorry.)

January 4, 2010

January 4, 2010

Back To Work Thoughts: A Threeve

• President Obama is technically my-coworker.

• Someone left a quarter of a sweet potato pie in the free food area. I ate the whole quarter for lunch. I’m counting it as a vegetable. A sugar-infused, graham cracker-crusted vegetable.

• If the Trident flavor is called Tropical Twist, why do the wrappers smell like buttered popcorn?

• I spent the last four months of last year accidentally writing “2010” as the date in anticipation. Now that it’s actually 2010, I have written “2009” every single time.

• If I were trapped in my office by fire and had nothing to extinguish the flames with except classified material, would doing so a) be justified and/or b) unclassify the documents?

Come See My Naked Attack Goats*

On a recent less-than-busy day at work, I spent my post-lunch hour sipping an expired Diet Pepsi and shopping for a GPS unit that can function in South Korea.

Knowing me as you do, you’re probably not sure which part of that sentence is MORE confusing. Let me help you out: the soda was free.

So, yes. A GPS unit for a country that is not in North America or Europe. About as easy to find as, I dunno, a diamond made from dodo birds grown in Utopia.

SERIOUSLY, WTF.

My Google research seemed to indicate that the best bet was to buy a unit IN Korea, as that would be certain to have local maps on it and might also (cool product alert) play tv and whatnot. Honestly, if the thing also cooks, I WILL MARRY IT.

The Googledom also pointed me to a website that would allegedly have all sorts of helpful models to examine before I buy during my visit next April.** To no surprise, what popped up was this (click to enlarge):

Okay, no problem. Google Translate was made for this sort of thing, right?

Hey, look, it’s English, also known as God’s-own-language-when-Latin-is-on-vacation-or-otherwise-occupied.

But wait a minute.

Anyone who’s ever seen an internet meme featuring amusing translations knows that Asian doesn’t always equal its literal Indo-European counterpart. “Have a nice day” might become “Put smile happy here OK!!!” followed with a picture of a winking Hello Kitty. It’s just how they roll.

So, sure, I assumed I would have to do a bit of additional translation to find the GPS units section of the website.

Then I realized this website also had news and started reading some of the headlines.

To quote one very angry tennis player, YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS.

Forget the GPS units. I wanna talk about the attack goats. I wanna ask someone why the original naked visualizer wasn’t large enough. I wanna know what to do if I DIDN’T have a good drama in 2009.

I realize that GPS shopping often requires asking a few questions. Little did I realize it would involve nudity and crazed livestock.

* If you found this blog by Googling any of the words in that title, please seek help.
** Do you see what I did there, with the casual interjection of my future First Trip Out of America, Ever? I’M SO COSMOPOLITAN.

January 1, 2010

January 1, 2010

I Am Resolved: 2010 Edition

This year, I am resolved to…

…drink less soda. One of these days, my dentist is going to bitchslap me right out of the chair after yelling at me for the umpteenth time about decalcifying my teeth. You’d think the fact that I brush, floss, and rinse daily would be enough to stave him off. But no. Thus I resolve to drink no more than two cans a day. (Yes, this one is a continuation. So sue me.)

…go back to New York. Some cities can be seen entirely on one outing (Minneapolis, I’m looking at you). Others take a few trips. I think NYC takes a couple of lifetimes.

…call my co-workers instead of emailing them. I may be the least confrontational person on the planet. Ideally, all work-related interaction (and the majority of non-work-related interaction) would be done via electronic means. Why take the time to speak to someone when you can type to multiple people at once? However, I recently read something lamenting how each person in America gets 56 bajillion emails a year and how many of those could be averted with a simple call. I figure I can cut that figure down to at least 55.9999999 bajillion. America, you’re welcome.

…read something by Tolstoy. Any chance he wrote a collection of cutesy essays about food?

…get more sleep. I used to think that 6 hours of sleep every night (even weekends) was my ideal operational setting. Any more or less and I would be in a confused state I call “fwoopy.” Lately, though, I’ve been getting closer to 8 hours and WHOA BABY. Down side: I start getting tired at like 10 pm. On the east coast, 10 pm is dinner time for some people.

What are your plans for 2010?