Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Amberance Conquers Fear and Nature (A Little)

I'm a little bit of a spazz about Christmas as evidenced by:
  • owning 9 Christmas trees
  • making my own bows for said trees, as well as my own wreath
  • borrowing JoE's truck to bring my Christmas decorations to Chicago and still not getting them all here, despite bringing three boxes with me when I first moved and three more back over Thanksgiving
  • washing two loads of laundry consisting only of Christmas related apparel at The Liz this weekend
  • owning right around 30 Christmas music CDs (and thinking that this is not NEARLY enough)
  • walking around my office all week wearing a santa hat with the Ohio State logo on the front
  • multiplying my recipe for cherry thumbprint Christmas cookies by six so I would have "enough" cookies
Yes that's six batches of cookies. About 16 cups of batter, give or take. I take my Christmas cookies very seriously.
Which is why two cookie sheets away from being done baking them yesterday, I did something I have rarely done in the course of my life - I killed a spider. All by myself.
I know; I can tell you don't believe me. Here's what happened: I'm going along happily making cookies and I'm on the phone with Fish, when I walk into my kitchen and see a spider milling around on the backsplash of my kitchen sink. In my recollection he was about a centimeter end to end, so in reality he was probably near microscopic and only barely visible to the naked eye. And it's a good thing too, any bigger and my cute little still warm cookies would have been left for dead. But dammit, I worked HARD on those cookies and I wasn't in the mood to let one of those evil demons coughed up from Hell to steal them.
He was headed right for the cookies, by way of climbing over my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I had to act fast so I grabbed the other end of the Eraser (with the fingernails of my index finger and thumb) and quick as I could threw it in the sink. He jumped off the sponge just as I turned the water on him full blast. He rolled into a little ball, but I'm no dummy and I wasn't about to fall for that "playing dead" trick just so he could unroll and JUMP RIGHT ON ME. I splashed water on him screaming "GET IN THERE! GET IN THE DRAIN! GET DOWN THERE YOU LITTLE FUCKER!" until he floated downstream and into the drain. And then I ran scalding hot water in the sink for the next 35 minutes. "They're tenacious," I explained to Fish, who sat patiently through yet another spider episode over the phone. "I don't want him grabbing onto the side of the drain pipe and hanging on so he can crawl out and get me later. I know his ways."
So yeah, I killed a spider, and I was reasonably calm about it (outwardly, though my heart was desperately trying to escape from my chest the whole time and for a good hour afterward). And I was only mildly shaking while staring fixedly at the sink drain while I washed the cookie sheets later. And the only nightmare I had that night was that I was a character on 7th Heaven. And I saved the cookies. From the spider, if not from me.
Ah, the power of Christmas spirit.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Family Legacy

The one year anniversary of this blog came and went without my making a big deal out of it at all. Don't get me wrong, I meant to - I just was busy and forgot. But I've been doing this bloggy thing for a while now, and one blog has grown into three, and now apparently it's begun to rub off onto my family.

My brother has started a blog. It's primarily a sports blog thus far - an online soapbox for his opinions on various teams and sports, which are many and vehement. So far my favorite part of it is his friend Brooke's first comment...about how hilarious my blog is. No just kidding, that's not my favorite part*. But anyway, go check it out if you're a crazy sports person, especially a crazy sports person from Ohio.

* I lied, it is my favorite part.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I've never been able to understand those people who dread the holidays. They all have the same reason - their families are mess up somehow and they hated the tension or outright fighting that occurred when everyone got together for their mandatory merry-making. It was never like that in my family; everyone looked forward to spending time together. In fact Christmas lasts for three whole days in my family, during which we do totally Norman Rockwell things like sit down and watch a movie as a family or sit around the dining room table playing a board game or collectively building a jigsaw puzzle.

But for two years running now, the holidays have kicked off with some event that makes me dread the coming months.

I logged on this evening to try and post a MySpace comment for a newly minted 22 year old I am friends with (however, MySpace is being a bitch tonight, so Heather, I hope you're having fun in Virginia), and I came across a very long comment on Bizzybiz from my uncle to a post I wrote over a year ago. I would never even have seen it if I didn't have all my comments e-mailed to me. The comment was made to a long-winded angry treatise I wrote about a conversation I had with my aunt last year.

I'm not really sure how to address this. I wrote the post in anger over a year ago. It's not really how I feel now, and truthfully not even how I felt the following week. I actually feel like it's been a really good year as far as my aunt and I are concerned. The few times we talked were pleasant, I was always pleased to get her e-mails, and was looking forward to going on vacation with them next May. But my aunt and uncle are in a different place. They feel as though this was yesterday, because for them it was.

It wasn't my intention to hurt my aunt - I wrote it and got it out of my system. That's what a journal is for. I actually love my aunt (and my uncle) very much. For the record here's a little background on my aunt:

My aunt came into this family long before I did when she married my mother's brother. Since that time, she has done more to see to the welfare of this family than any "blood" relative I can think of, most especially me. I am very adept at shirking any family responsibility which could potentially be emotionally taxing for me. She raised two amazing sons who are both brilliant and well-adjusted, and who both outperform me entirely in intelligence and maturity.

However, she is also relentless in her quest to help out. She means well, but it's not an approach that has ever worked well with my personality.

For much of my memory I have had the feeling that I am a major disappointment to my family. I've consistently failed at every turn to live up to what my family wanted for me. This always becomes strikingly apparent after those types of conversations with my aunt. To her credit, it's because she's generally the only one who is ever upfront with me about what she thinks. Nevertheless, it always has the effect of making me extremely uncomfortable. I can't think of anything more painful. And sometimes I feel like I could drown in the guilt I have for dreading picking up the phone for fear of having to have one of those conversations. But it is what it is.

My uncle ended his comment with a kind of "ball is in your court" message. For sure, I have been an exceptionally lousy niece; I can't deny that. But I also know I can't pretend to be someone I'm not. I've tried it, and it was totally transparent to everyone. Part of my move to Chicago in fact was for me to stop doing that. And part of that is just what my uncle said, the don't get close to me signs are there. I am happiest when I work through my problems alone.

My uncle questioned whether it was worth the exhausting effort to continue to try. I'm not sure, but i think it was meant as a challenge: would I try to be more accessible, or will it always be a one way street? With sad but brutal honesty I think the answer is no. You're not going to find anything in me that will justify your efforts. I'm never going to be the niece or daughter that lives her life and makes decisions you can be proud of. I think our value systems stand in too much contrast for that.

It's a bizarre feeling to adore your family and at the same time know that you'll never fit in with them the way you or any of them wishes you would.

I spoke to Fish and to the bartender before Halloween and told them that I didn't feel like going home to Cleveland for Christmas this year. It just seemed like it would be depressing: half the family missing, no Boxing Day and a rudimentary Christmas Eve to accommodate what I understand is some major kitchen remodeling. (Also, because I'm totally insane, I feel guilty about leaving Kristen alone on her birthday, as if she even knows when her birthday is.) I think now that I was right about that instinct, and it looks like most likely I'll be Christmasing in Chicago this year.

I'm not even sure of what my original point was here. I'm quite sure this post can't do anything except make the situation worse. But it's my journal so I get to determine the content. Anyway, I'm sorry I hurt everyone's feelings; it seems to be something I excel at.

Everybody enjoy your families this Thanksgiving. Eat lots of turkey and get fat so I don't feel like the only one.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled jocular fare.

Monday, November 21, 2005

We Are Competely Sane and Rational Adults

VelociHeather: want to hear something horrifying?
PGS DenMILF: um, yes?
VelociHeather: seriously, brace yourself, it involves your least favorite creature
VelociHeather: a spider just ran across my desk and almost touched me
VelociHeather: a good-sized one, too
VelociHeather: my hand, SO CLOSE
VelociHeather: he was yellow and big
PGS DenMILF: holy crap
VelociHeather: well, not huge, but big enough
VelociHeather: so I yell and my boss freaks out about it too
VelociHeather: then another guy comes over....
VelociHeather: i died
PGS DenMILF: that's horrible, what is he thinking?
VelociHeather: he had just wanted to put it in our garbage can without killing it
VelociHeather: but thankfully he squished it on the way
PGS DenMILF: oh man, i'm checking my whole desk for spiders now
VelociHeather: seriously, i'm convinced there are legions of them waiting for me
VelociHeather: all inside my drawers and files
PGS DenMILF: what the hell? put it in the garbage can alive? it's just going to come back out again
VelociHeather: no shit
VelociHeather: did he think it would say, "oh damn, I don't have my climbing gear, i'm trapped!"
VelociHeather: but again, thankfully, he accidentally squished it on the way to the can
PGS DenMILF: sweet. what's with the touching though? bare handed. it's creeping me out
VelociHeather: no kidding
VelociHeather: i was ready to grab my shoes and smash it to bits
VelociHeather: it was hiding under my keyboard for a second
VelociHeather: BEWARE!
PGS DenMILF: all gaps are suspect now. i'm surrounded, i know it
VelociHeather: you must cover your desk with Raid
VelociHeather: a thick mist of raid, that is the only way
PGS DenMILF: and on me as well
VelociHeather: oh yes

Harry Potter and the Theater of Annoying Gits

Apologies for the post title; every time I see a Harry Potter movie, I find myself saying things like "git" and "bloody" and "What's all this, then?" for a couple of days.

Fish and I went to Harry Potter last night at this dinner and a movie theater somewhere around or near Downer's Grove (I'm sure Fish can fill in the details). It was really cool, you sit down and there's a menu there, you order whatever you want, and they bring it to you right before the movie starts. You can even get fancy frozen drinks and everything! I was amazed by this concept because Cleveland is lame and has no such theater that I'm aware of. I am told that this is fairly normal here.

The movie was good. Very good. The mistake I made was not re-reading the book just before we went. I did this before I saw the Lord of the Rings movies and it helped tremendously in my not being annoying to sit and watch a movie with. But I didn't think to do it this time, and so the ever patient Fish was bombarded with whispered "I don't remember that part" and "What house is Cedric in?" type comments throughout. My bad, Fish, sorry. Hermione, by the way, is growing up to be smoking hot. ("She's 14!" Fish pointed out. It's ok, I can wait.) Also Voldemort as played by Ralph Fiennes is terrifying. I didn't know who Ralph Fiennes was, of course, because that's the kind of thing I don't know. I don't bother to learn names of the actors I like; I just refer to them as characters from other films they've done. "So, you know Cy Tolliver [from Deadwood]?" I said to Fish recently. "He's the one bad guy from Tombstone!" Fish was kind enough not to roll his eyes at me.

"Voldemort was great," said Fish in the car on the way home. "You couldn't even tell it was Ralph Fiennes."

"Um, ok, I don't know who that is."

"Yeah you do; he was in the English Patient."

"Oh," I said. Then, "OH! Yeah, I know who he is. Dude, he TOTALLY looked just like the English Patient!" Because he did, he was all pale and hairless and missing parts of his face that seemed important, such as most of his nose, and it looked very similar to a burn patient. So I was happy about that.

I was also happy about the people watching, which was very funny. "Mullet, 9 o'clock," said Fish, and I turned to look. Lo and behold there it was in all it's mullet glory. Oh and perfectly white by the way. So as not to appear to be staring at the mullet guy, I kept turning my head and found something even better.

"White corn rows, 8 o'clock," I told Fish. And they were good too, not just braids going straight back on his scalp; these were some complicated abstract designs zig zagging around this dude's head. I thought it very K-Fed of him.

What I was not happy about was the other movie patrons. I mean, I know I have a reputation for not liking people, but I try to give them the benefit of the doubt even though I usually fail miserably. Such as the parents of all these school age and not yet school age children who have brought them to a 7:00 p.m. showing of a two and a half hour movie on a school night. Some of these kids were no older than three, and falling asleep in their parents’ arms before the theater even opened for seating. And I wanted to think that it was a once in a while, very rare treat for these kids to be out on a school night and not get to bed until after 10:00 because Harry Potter is special. But in my heart I know that's just not true.

That wasn't even a big problem though, because I recall no crying or talking children (small children anyway) during the movie. What I do recall is some girl who sounded like she was at least high school age and possibly older, SHRIEKING at the top of her lungs at a point of the movie which was not scary, but which was very quiet. Haha, hilarious, you little douche. I clenched my jaw, as I do, and tried to concentrate. The best was yet to come.

What's more annoying than some assjanitor who forgets to turn off their cell phone in the theater and lets it ring three friggin times before they silence it? How about actually answering the phone and then having a FULL VOLUME conversation in the middle of the movie! I was almost too amazed to even be angry; it takes some serious self-centeredness or a complete lack of social awareness to pull that one off.

Overall, though, I'd rate the experience as a success and recommend that everyone go see Harry Potter right away.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Chipotle Charm

As a burgeoning fat girl, it is important to eat huge lunches filled with fat and empty calories. It was with this in mind that I ventured out today to get myself a good, old-fashioned Tortilla of Lard from Chipotle. It did not work out the way I planned.

"Chicken fajita burrito," I said to the Real Mexican! taking orders.

"No chicken," she replied. I frowned. No chicken? It is lunchtime. It seems there should be a constant supply of the most popular meat available at Chipotle being produced during the hours of 11 and 1:30, don't you think? Maybe I'm crazy, I don't know. I'm not in the fast food business. But I look around and saw no chicken in the tray, and no chicken on the grill. Apparently, 2.4 seconds I stood there confused was far too long, because Real Mexican felt the need to start making decisions for me. She warmed a tortilla, slapped some rice on it, and some fajita mix and some black beans. The thing is though, I know perfectly well I didn't say "I'll have beans instead" because I HATE beans. Passionately hate them.

"No, no beans," I said. Real Mexican gave me the look of death, threw out the bean burrito with a vengeance, and warmed a new tortilla. As she testily slapped the rice on, the next Real Mexican on the assembly line asked me, "So you want vegetarian then?"

"No," I said, because I didn't. I was under the impression that was what beans instead of chicken was, and we'd already established that was not something I was interested in. "Steak," I decided. Which was not at all what I wanted, but seemed to be the least objectionable alternative. RM2 proceeds to put steak on my tortilla with the rice and slide it down the line. "Um, can I get some of the fajita mix on it though?" Again, usually when you ask for a fajita burrito it means, you know, with the fajita stuff on it.

"You said no vegetables," admonished RM2.

"No, I said not vegetarian. I want the peppers on it." They must train them to do this or something, because I got the identical look of death that I had gotten from Real Mexican 1. She begrudgingly added about two peppers and one onion.

Assembly line person three added the extra sour cream and extra cheese, and assembly line person four rolled it, wrapped it in foil, and added some illegible hieroglyphics on the top.

I moved down to speak with Register Operator. "Steak fajita?" she asked. I nodded my affirmation. "That will be $8.05." I handed her a 20 thinking I change from chicken to steak and the price goes up two freaking dollars? What gives? I glanced at the menu. STEAK 5.95 reads the sign. Something is wrong.

RO hands me my change and I look at my receipt: steak fajita, 5.95. guacamole 1.35. Huh? Guacamole since when? I hate guacamole more than I hate beans. I also hate arguing with people, which I had already done - twice. I was tempted to eat the money and walk away. Problem is, I'm flat fucking broke, to the point where every cent counts. That's about 10 packs of Ramen noodles worth the overcharge. Also, I didn't even really want a steak burrito in the first place and was not quite ready to be overcharged for something I didn't want by a buck and a half. I swallowed hard. "I didn't have guacamole."

My third argument resulted in my third look of death from the charming Chipotle staff. She snatched the bag out of my hand and threw it at assembly person four. "She says she didn't get no guacamole. Check it and see." I waited nervously while four unwrapped the steak that I don't even want fajita burrito and checked to make sure I wasn't lying about the guacamole. Which of course I wasn't. She looked at Register Operator and shook her head no. RO sighed and took my receipt back from me to figure out what the hell she was going to do now, while assembly person four rolled my burrito back up, poking a GIANT hole in it in the process. RO addressed me. "Guacamole was $1.35. I give you back a dollar thirty-five, ok?"

Technically, this is not what she owes me, because she didn't back out the tax that I paid on the guacamole I never had in the first place. But at this point all I wanted to do was get the eff out of there and back to my office, so $1.35 was just peachy by me.

I went back to the office and sat down at my desk, warily eyeing my burrito. I was starving (fat girls are always starving). I unwrapped it and took an experimental bite.

Let me tell you something: steak burritos from Chipotle are fucking gross. Unbelieveably unpalatably gross. And since we had to do the burrito wrapping twice, there is nasty ass flavored steak juice tainting almost every single grain of rice in it. I am now out $6.50 and incalculable piece of mind for a lunch I'm not even going to eat.

I am now crying. I'm crying over a burrito. I have hit an all time low.

Foody McFacestuff

I have no idea why I'm getting fat again. Seriously, none. I keep from taxing my body by resting constantly on my couch and on bar stools, I drink nutritious beverages such as hot chocolate and beer, and I eat well balanced meals for dinner, such as last night when I had crab rangoon, an egg roll, and two pieces of apple pie. What am I doing wrong?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Burger Time

My friend Heather and I appear to be connected by some kind of cosmic thread, in that we tend to be doing to same kinds of things at the same time, unbeknownst to each other and also 700 miles apart. Like today, when I made my daily check of her blog, only to discover that last night she was playing the classic game Oregon Trail (which for the record I have never played) at the same time that I was being schooled in the intricacies of another classic 80’s video game, Burger Time.

I have a confession to make: I’ve never played Burger Time either. In fact, outside of Tetris, PacMan, and Super Mario 1, I haven’t played many video games at all. This is due both to an almost total lack of interest and the fact that I flat out fucking suck at it. But last night at the Liz the conversation somehow wound from Doom 3 back to Burger Time, and Chester and I goaded Fish into retrieving his Playstation 2 (is this right, Fish? Cuz you got kind of uppity when I referred to your Powerbook as an iBook, and I don’t know much about gaming systems, so I don’t want to get in trouble for referring to something the caliber of an Xbox by the name of something of the quality of ColecoVision by mistake) from his bedroom so we could play Burger Time on the big screen downstairs.

Did I say I’ve never played it? What I meant was I’ve never actually seen it before. And as I watched Chester run up and down ladders, building Whoppers, drinking coffee, and running from deranged hot dogs, I felt young again. And also extremely guilty. Because 1153 once tried to explain Burger Time to me and I called him a liar.

You have to understand, 1153 has four young children, so lying is part of his job as a parent. He’s a good story teller, mostly, but sometimes his tales get a little farfetched. Like the time Bigfoot was walking through his backyard and asked him for directions, or the time he saw the Loch Ness Monster swimming in Lake Erie. So when he told the kids and me about Burger Time, we were understandably skeptical.

“Burger Time! You never played it? It’s the best game ever! You’re a chef, and your job is you have to build these hamburgers. You have a bun, and then a burger, and a piece of lettuce, and them the top bun. On some levels there’s a slice of cheese. And you have to knock them down.”

“That sounds stupid.”

“No, it’s awesome! And while you’re doing that, eggs and hotdogs chase you around and try to kill you.”

“You lie. You’re making that up.”

“I’m totally serious! They chase you, but if you sprinkle pepper on them you can get away.”

“OK, now I KNOW you’re making it up.”

“No I mean it, I’m really serious this time I swear! On the higher levels you get chased by pickles instead of hotdogs.”

“Yeah, whatever.”

This is the conversation that was running through my head last night as I sat on the edge of the couch shouting “Go, Chester, go! Oh my God, look out for that hotdog! He’s COMING RIGHT FOR YOU, Chester, RUN! AAAAGGHH!” 1153, I’m sorry I called you a liar. I just didn’t know.


Happy birthday, mom.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

*Gasp* Shocking!

Every day I'm amused by adult type people who have nothing better to do all day than find things to be appalled about. Witness this article from the Chicago Sun Times.

Ok, actually, I shouldn't make fun of this because I AM appalled. "'No one over the age of 25 knows what it means, but I guarantee you that 90 percent of college students know what it is,' Josh said. " You know what? Fuck you, Josh. I know what the shocker is, and I'm nearly 28. Fucking ageist little brat.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Captain Jack Sparrow Would Be Ashamed

Speedboats? Grenade Launchers? Ski masks? What the hell? That's not romantic at all! What happened to the tall ships, peg legs, eye patches, cannons, pointy hats? What happened to "Aye, mateys" and "Arr, ye scurvy dogs"?

Somalian pirates be warned: If you're not sailing a wooden ship with a skull and cross bones flag flying or dressed in appropriately stereotypical pirate costume, you will get nothing from me except for a swift kick in the nuts. Squa in the nuts, I tell you.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Per Pronto's Request

Here's the new haircut. I'm in my "Trinity" outfit, and giving my patented "come hither" look (which is often misconstrued as my "I'm pissed at you" look). Appropriately, I am sitting in the Lovesac at The Liz.