Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Guest Blogger: Chuck Norris!

(Editor's note: I am happy to bring you the first of what I hope are many guest blog posts. This guest blog is written by a good friend who will be known a Chuck Norris. This codename has a variety of ties with his actual personality, not least of all that he hails from the great state of Texas. Anyways, without further adieu, I give you Chuck Norris.)

Hello. How has your day been going? Never mind that. Now I know we don't know each other, but I want to ask you something. Can you please try to remember this in the future? I mean, try to remember the first time you read this. I ask of this because I don't want you to forget. Not that I don't want you to forget me, but I don't want you to forget the first time you read this. I'm serious. Look at the time. What time is it? Is it 9:09 am? Is it 4:59 pm? Is it cold where you are at? Is it really quiet, or can you hear your obnoxious co-worker going on and on about their weekend trip to Kennebunkport, Maine. Hey, I don't have a problem with New England adventures and cold air coastlines. But when they are visited by and then told of by someone I don't care too much for, I find them hard to like at that moment. Now, if the trip had been revisited by a friend or someone whose company I enjoy, then perhaps I wouldn't say such things. After all, what are friends for?

Surely you can appreciate friends or the company you keep. See, the company you keep at one point or another, must have been a worthwhile endeavor. Can you remember the first time you met a good friend? Your neighbor? Your brother? Your sister? I'm beginning to sound like that guy in that
five-hour energy drink commercial.

Well, let's see, where do I begin?

Let me tell you about the first time I met one of my good friends
(editor's note: me!). I, well I was eating a really boring meal. And she, well she was reading F.Scott Fitzgerald , I think it was This Side of Paradise. I know it wasn't The Great Gatsby, for had it been, I would have been able to talk about Gatsby. Instead it was, "yeah I like Fitzgerald, but not as much as the one who wrote The Snows of Kilimanjaro. Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah." I'm sure if God were watching this unfold, he/she would have been asking, "What day is it? Sunday?" And one of his/her little helpers would have answered, "It's more like Monday."

It's not that listening to the bs or small talk that came out of my mouth wasn't a worthwhile exercise, but anyone reading F. Scott Fitzgerald in the school cafeteria would certainly be able to see right through my bs. And I know you may think BS is bad. But let us examine if by viewing BS from the bigger frame, we can see how much of a good or a bad thing BS might be.


What if BS never existed? Politiks and perhaps prose would be shown the door immediately. Sen. Joseph McCarthy and the red scare? Nope, as Edward Murrow would have said something much earlier. Christopher Columbus discovering what is now known as the West Indies? Nope, as the Queen would have rejected BS. She knew BS when she saw it. And the Trojan horse? Well, you can forget about that too. So you see, without BS, very important circumstances in our world's history would have been nullified. Instead, they are now vilified! Well somewhat. I don't think shooting the bs with a bound-to-be-friend acquaintance is so bad. I mean, it eventually led to in-depth conversations about life, liberty, and the pursuit of romance. She calls them "heart-to-hearts." But if held after having a few drinks, I call them reality checks (we can talk about reality checks at much later night).

But reality isn't so bad. Once you know that we are all in this together, then you know that BS can be quite fun. If you haven't done it, I urge you to try it. But beware, sophistication doesn't come overnight, and even the best of the best have slipped. Just ask Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, and Winona Rider.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Saved by the Sea

What are springs and waterfalls?

Here is the spring of springs,

the waterfall of waterfalls.

A storm in the fall or winter

is the time to visit it;

a light-house or a fisherman’s hut the true hotel.

A man may stand there and put all of America

behind him. ”

- Henry David Thoreau

Sometimes, when the week has been too long and you realize that even the nicest people are starting to get under your skin, it's time for an escape. I had one of those types of weeks last week. I am lucky to live in a culturally rich city. People flock to cities to cultivate their intellect, open their minds to new people and experiment with foods, art, music - enrich themselves. But people are drawn to nature when they need to clear their mind of the clutter, refresh their energy and come back "home again." For me, the ocean, the waves crashing on the shore or and the sand beneath my feet, takes me to this place. I feel at peace near water. Or sitting on a boat, feeling the lull of the tides, I am both at ease and rejuvenated.

Unfortunately, I can't get to the beach as often as I'd like. I'm lucky when I am able to make it down to my families river house, something I hope to do much more of this summer. But it is because of this effect water has on me that the BP oil disaster is especially devastating, in addition to the environmental and economic havoc it is reeking. How can we be so careless with something so important and fragile?

This is what David Helvarg explores in his new book "Saved by the Sea." Helvarg is a journalist who has covered many international issues over the year, but truly made an impact when writing on the environment. This latest book recounts how he transitioned from a journalist to dedicating his life and work to preserving the world's oceans.

Below is a short excerpt. I've never read nay of Helvarg's stuff, but I plan on reading this book this summer, hopefully somewhere where the waves can reach my toes.

"We broke up, but not cleanly. I moved to D.C., away from her and my other love, the sea. Right after I started writing the ocean book I’d always wanted to, she found a lump in her breast. I was with her through the chemo, which was awful but seemed to work. I finished Blue Frontier (W.H. Freeman) and was on the Deep East Expedition 100 miles off Nantucket when Al Qaeda hit the twin towers. When I got back to land Nancy told me her cancer was back. I was with her for the last few months, in the hospital and home hospice, where we could watch the waters of the bay flowing in and out with the tide. After she died at 43 we had a memorial service on one of her favorite beaches. It was a gusty day, feisty like the gal, with the winds whipping the sand and frothing the cold translucent waves. She used to say I never looked happier than when I was coming out of the water after getting beat up by the waves. But the ocean can also provide solace, give you a sense of being part of something larger, even when large parts of your own soul have torn away."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Babies, Babies, Babies

This post is something I just can't ignore. Too many random things have happened in the last few days that make me feel the need to write this expose.

I am not a baby person. Never have been, never will be.

Ok, I lie. I actually do hope, that one day, I may meet a nice fellow, settle down and pop out a few (no more than 3 MAX) kiddies at some point in time. My whole mindset is somewhat skewed but whatevs: I dont actually look forward to the baby through pre-teen years of the kids' lives. However, I think it would be nice to have grown children, when I am an old gieser. Judge me as you will, people have kids for all different types of reasons. This is mine.

Anyways, I guess I'm not really a baby person because I havent been around that many babies. I dont have that many cousins and none of them have had babies. So yea, there is that.

But lately, my life has been all "babies, babies, babies".

Ok, not really but babies/kid things have been occuping more of my time in the past couple weeks than has ever my entire life. Case in point:

Incident #1: This past weekend we went to meet our friend's new baby. Although slightly scared, I was excited to see what kind of offspring our goofy friend had produced. On the drive over there, Blackberry and I stopped at a stoplight and looked over to see the second cutest puppy ever (first being my parents') sticking his tiny little adorable head out the window and looking directly at us. Squeels of delight ensued and then Blackberry said the most honest quote of the day, nay, week.

"I wish we were going to meet a puppy instead of a baby."

I was thinking the EXACT same thing. We can pet a puppy and play with it with less fear of killing it or damaging it psychologically. In the end our friend's kid was pretty freakin' cute, but there was no petting or playing. And certainly no holding, on my part of least.

Incident #2: Yesterday during lunch I went to a coworker's place (aka her sister's sweet apartment that we jacked to watch TV) and watched a show called Little Miss Perfect. This show follows pagaent constestants as they compete. And the contestants are like 5-year old little girls with mostly (and i apologize this i mean but,) "ugly as sin" parents who are trying to live vicariously through their children. Or are just demented. Anyways, I found it appalling that the name of the contest is "Little Miss Perfect." WTF is this supposed to teach little girls. First of all, nobody is perfect, and you should not strive to be. However, that is the title you win if you win the "Little Miss Perfect" pageant. So, basically this is telling all these little immpressionable girls is that since they did not, in fact, win the coveted crown, they are clearly far, far from perfect. Actually, they are what we would like to call IMPERFECT. Gasp.

Incident #3: Last week I went to my volunteer reading. A couple of interesting things happened during this little visit. First, I needed the manager to let me into the room where we hold the readings because it was locked. We got to talking and when I told him my name, he seemed shocked. My last name is, weird and long, to say the least. The man looked at me and goes "Is that your married name??" Um, no sir, no it isnt. I've never seen someone look so relieved. "Well, we better get you married off with an easier name. There is still hope for you child!!" I looked at him and said dead seriously,"I know. That is why my future husband can only have 7 letters or less in his last name." He knew whatsup.

After he asked he tried have me relive my childhood by skipping around the room, to which i politely declined, I got to readin' to the little kiddos. Only two kids showed up and the one girl was intent on reading the My Little Pony book. I think I enjoy going to reading because the kids innocent delight in reading such a simple and clearly outlandish book still amazes me. I guess I loved My Little Pony at some point as a kid, but how did I forget the names of the characters in this!?

I read to them the story of Rainbow Dash and the costume party. All the other little ponies gave her their costumes when hers sadly ripped and she couldnt go on. And then there was Minty who had severe stage fright when she had to walk in Sew-and-So's fashion show, but of course Sunny Daze was their to encourage her and give her the confidence go on. And of course I'd be remiss if i didnt mention Sparkleworks and how she came across the magical Pegasus pony who granted her greatest wish. Ah, I could go on all day about Pinkie Pie and Kimono, but I dont wan't to spoil the endings.

Overall, I've had a big dose of baby/kid stuff this past couple weeks. And while it's all fun and games for now, I think puppy adoption is a little more up my ally for now. However, clearly I am great with kids and available for babysitting purposes. (Disclaimer: As long as the kid is above the age of 13.)

Monday, May 10, 2010

How Green Is Your Summer

Alright so my going green has somewhat failed so far. And, I used my car more than I had anticipated this week as well. I’m a work in progress right now, but I figured those that can’t do…teach! While I’ll still do my best to “go green,” I can still spread the gospel…what else is the Internet for if not repurposing material posted by others? I came across this Green Guide on National Geographic’s Web site and found a fun little quiz, “How Green is Your Summer.” Being the overachiever that I am, I cannot resist a good online quiz. I began this little quiz with some trepidation, what if it revealed that my summer activities were the antithesis of green? But I clicked on with confidence. Here were the results:

Question 1 : “It’s time to barbeque! What kind of grill do you use?” (Nature gas/propane; charcoal; electric).

Hmm, I don’t even own a grill, does that mean I automatically win the green quiz? Off to an excellent start

Question 2: When you throw a clambake or a summer garden party, how do you ensure that you’re having an eco-friendly fete? (By using reusable dishes and utensils instead of disposables; conforming number of guests, and cooking just the right amount of food; buying vegetables from the farmer’s market; all of the above).

Come on Nat Geo, c’mon! Obviously when I throw my semi-annual clambake I bust out the reusable china. What else would be appropriate to serve clams on. (Really, who has a clambake??)

Question 3: Your body is beach ready, but is your swimsuit? How will you choose what you’ll wear to the pool this summer? (Check online for that eco-friendly bikini or pair of trunks you’ve been reading about; Go for the newest, hottest styles..never heard of an “eco-friendly swimsuit”!

First of all, NG you are just too sweet. However, we are a long ways from having a beach ready body. This fact may help answer how I will choose a swimsuit (full coverage, thanks very much). But in all seriousness, unfortunately, I’ve never heard of an eco-friendly bikini, but apparently “women’s swimwear designers like Aaron Chang for Urban Outfitters and Rogan Gregory for Target, and men’s swimwear designers for Billabong and Patagonia are now making eco-friendly swimsuits from recycled plastic bottles, recycled suede and recycled polyester. Alright, I will maintain an open mind. As long as none of these materials attract barracudas, I’d be down. (Since when was suede waterproof BTW?!)

There were a few more questions, but you’ll have to check out the quiz for yourself to learn some sweet summer greening tips. Overall I scored 67 and was told that I am “off to a good start.” Awesome. Now I just need to make sure Mr. Chang’s swimsuit wonders come in separates…

Sunday, May 9, 2010

One Art

One Art
By Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three beloved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

-- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) a disaster.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Melting Pot of Tequila

"Well, let it pass, he thought; April is over, April is over. There are all kinds of love in the world, but never the same love twice." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

So my last post made it seem like my life should be submitted to Fail Blog or something. But really, April was a pretty great month. But it's out with the old, in with the new. I've been really busy lately (which is unusual for a typically mildly lazy person like myself), but what can you do? (This is also my excuse for lack of postings and this super short post I'm whipping up right now.) Some potentially exciting things are happening (moving into a new apt this summer, more detes later if my damn application gets approved), but most importantly, it's almost summer! And we all know what that means. Outdoor Drinking. It should always be written in caps because it is that special.

I'll be participating in some Outdoor Drinking tonight, in fact, as I watch that Nats try and hold on to their above .500 average (GASP). I thought I may be missing out on some good Mexican tequila, but alas, what is baseball if not America's pastime. And what is America if not a melting pot of cultural awesomeness. See photo. That's a pot full of America's diverse citizens and a couple elf-like characters. It takes all kinds, folks. I'm not really sure what's up with the guy holding the ginormous pencil and umbrella. Let's just pretend he is welcoming the homeless masses and illegal aliens (remember, I don't judge).

(Side note: I once edited an article which likened the cultural meshing and richness of NYC to a tossed salad. Um, not that everyone else's mind would immediately go to the gutter, but I felt the need to grab the red pen, mark that junk out and replace with the more socially and non-sexual, yet slightly overused 'melting pot' term. But maybe I should have let it go to see if anyone else noticed. Or sent me hate mail.)

Anyways, what I'm really trying to say here is that they serve frozen margs at the baseball game.

Happy Cinco De Mayo, indeed.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

The last week and a half has been pretty busy and basically just shameless fun, which is not the best excuse for my not following up on the empowering “lets change the world post” from last week. And yet, apartment hunting, drinking, kicking a ball and redneckin’ it up at a NASCAR race (yes, you heard me right), are the exact reasons it has taken me until May (!?!) to post. Soo, here’s what’s been happening (note the pattern):

Environmental Fail
I proposed to only use public transportation (no cars or cabs) for a week. I did not even come close to reaching this goal simply because I am an idiot. In fact, I probably used my car more this past week then I normally do. Why? Well, I can’t read. I could have sworn my annual gyno (so fun) appointment was schedule for this past Monday morning. So, I made sure that my bosses knew I’d be late Monday. I was so about this that I actually logged into my work email Sunday night to remind them (employee of the year right here). Anyways, I am running late to my appointment. I get all sorts of lost in the hospital trying to find the medical offices. Once I am finally there, frazzled but ready to get this shit over with (not a big fan of going to the doctor), the receptionist calls my name and informs me that my appointment is actually tomorrow. UGHH. So, long story short, I repeated the same process on Tuesday. Drove my car to work for the first time in months, twice. Nice.

Since this was a major fail, I’m going to retry this week (although I already know of two occasions I will have to drive). I’ll find something else environmentally awesome do to and have a better report next week.

This title is a bit deceiving. I did have the pleasure of attending my fourth or fifth NASCAR race this weekend. I say 4th or 5th because this was the topic of a good 15-minute drunken conversation I had with my friend Polonius after the race ended. And, does it really matter? Am I proud of “my number”? Could it be higher? No, yes and yes are the answers to that my friend.

No, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been to 1 or 500 races. You will see the same shit each time: white trash old women in bikinis, hot firemen who ignore you to talk to skinny girls with small boobs (no we weren’t jealous), and old dudes from Syracuse offering you free, and likely roofied shots of Syracuse Punch.

Yes, I am proud to say I have attended numerous races. This is a little understood sport, which, to be honest, I don’t really understand. Watching the cars is exciting for about the first lap…and the last lap. The stuff in the middle….ehhh. But tailgating is what it’s all about. Oh, and people watching (see above). You really see all types there. And most people are uber friendly (Syracuse boys and roofies, how much friendlier can you get). But we had a mega B-word sitting in front of us at the race. She was a big woman who had hit up the tanning bed one too many times. And she was with a dude. Not sure if this man was her husband, but one thing is for sure….she was the one that wore the pants in that relationship. I have never seen a woman manhandle a man the way she did. I guess she thought our friend was going in for the kill when she grabbed a napkin out of a bag they had to wipe up something. The woman got PISSED, shook her head, snatched the bag and moved it far, far away from my napkin stealing friend. I thought we might have a fan stand rumble for a second. Our friend wouldn’t have had a chance against this best. But, again, it takes all kinds.

The fail came in the fact that not a lot of our favorite drivers drove in the Friday night race. I understand this isn’t the “big” one, but a certain racecar driver went to my high school and is from the hometown of this race. Doesn’t he owe it to his friends to be in this race? But noo, he is too cool for school, which honestly doesn’t surprise me.

I met this NASCAR "sensation" a few years back and while I still root for him as an athlete, I simply have no respect for him as a person. He is a true duck (read: dick, but less vulgar sounding or if you happen to text it wrong this is how it comes out and its funnier this way, just go with it…)! Flashback to oh, 6-7 years ago? We are all hanging out at a friend’s house and Mr. NASCAR is there. Mind you, he is a good up and coming talent, but he’s not at the top of his game yet. It’s getting pretty late and everyone is talking about plans and the possibility of going down town. Downtown is a good 30 minute drive from where we are at and its past 11:30 at this point. Now, if you ask any of my friends, I am never one to turn down a good time or a party. But I am also realistic, damn it. And at 11:30, going downtown was just a dumb idea. We wouldn’t get there until midnight-ish and last call is probably a little after 1. I say this, as nicely as I can. Mr. NASCAR turns to me and goes “Don’t you know who I am?” Not joking, dead serious. DUCk! Now, I can appreciate a good joke or witty humor just as much as the next guy. He could have made that funny, in fact. But no, because he is a duck, he had to be a jackass about it.

The best part of the race thought, was finding out what happened later in the night. It took her 6 years to let the truth out, but Friday night the beans were spilled. On that same fateful night years ago, Polonious, whom I warned not go, got swept up in Mr. NASCAR and followed him downtown. And, it was just revealed that she made out with him! She said she was so embarrassed she didn’t tell anyone for a year. BAHAHAHAH. As much as I still contend he is a duck, this is just too awesome to not mention. And sad that this is my biggest celebrity story to date. But that’s how we roll down South.

Boy Fail
Why, whyyy do boys not understand that: 1) girls have heard the “I got scared” bullshit line? We have seen the movies. We realize that I got scared = I have no better, nicer, more polite way to break up with you. What I do not understand is why a boy would bring this up months later and remind me. I heard your lame ass excuse the first time buddy Furthermore, when I say, I don’t understand what that means, you are not supposed to say, “Yes, you do” Fine, it means you are chock full of BS. 2) “I would like us to be friends” is re-tarded. Well, if we are talking right now, and have been for the past half a year and we aren’t getting it on, I presume we are already friends. Why get all formal about it now? And, if you want to be friends, then you shouldn’t inquire or care if I made out with the bartender. (Sidenote: No, I did not make out to the bartender in which the lad in question was referring. Does that mean I haven’t made out with another bartender recently? No, no it doesn’t.) But, none of my other friends care if I do, why should you? 3) It is hard for someone who still has feelings to “be friends” with said person. If they could get rid of those feelings, they sure as heck would. But, if you are going to be nice and want to hang out and be BFFs, that could make it a bit more complicated. 4) girls don’t appreciate it when you bring up an in-depth topic after consuming massive amounts of alcohol and then abruptly runaway mid-conversation.

I think the bottom line here is that talk is cheap and that I need to stick to Southern boys, they are far less complicated. This story was relayed to a few friends and each had a different reactions. My favorite so far came from Polonius at the race. Her take? “He’s either a player, or he’s gay.” Aren’t they all.

The whole exchange was fine except for the drunk texting that occurred after he left. Now, none of it made any sense, but it solidified my status is awkward person of the year. Actual text I sent:

“But you have succumbed to the ‘believe what you wanna believe’. Just miss you, omg! Inappropriate, but we are cool ;)”

REALLY? WHYYYY. First of all, that doesn’t make any sense, whatsoever. I have no idea what I was trying to say with that first part of nonsense. Secondly, just saying I miss you wouldn’t have been that bad considering I do miss our friendship and could have just gone with that. But by stating the obvious I just make it THAT much more inappropriate and awk. And then, of course I had to make sure it’s all good by following up with the we are cool. No, we aren’t cool, I’m confused but I’m going to pretend bc this just past into a new realm of weirdness, gracias to me. And the winky face? That is just so, so wrong. In case you were wondering (not sure why you would) there was no response text. Which I can respect, I wouldn’t respond to that chaos either ahhhh, wow.

Sleep Fail
After the race I got to relax down at the river. It was perfect weather and a great time despite the fact that my parents brought their new puppy. This puppy is the cutest thing ever…until you have to put her in her cage for the night. And she will.not.stop.barking. I was put up in the loft at the river, so actually didn’t even had a damn door sound barrier (not that it did a lot Friday night when I was trying to sleep in my parent’s house 2 rooms away from the dog). Luckily I still had my $2 earplugs from the race the night before so I stuck those suckers in. I could still hear the howling, but somehow I got a little sleep.

I was looking forward to a nice noise-free sleep tonight until I remember my landlord still hasn’t brought by my new AC that he promised me a month ago. I’m pretty sure it was in the 80s-90s today. WTF, man. It is hot as balls in my room and I can’t sleep in these conditions. Awesome. But it sure is quiet! I just cant win.

Sigh, well guess it’s off to the futon in the main room in front of the AC that actually works. I’ll be dreaming of cool air and my dignity. G’night!