Sunday, December 30, 2007

He Just Needs an Understanding Girlfriend To Teach Him How to Read.

My new boyfriend, Tim Riggins, is everything I look for in a paramour. Firstly, he’s 17 years old. And he has a severe alcohol problem. Also he’s a huge asshole. Also #2 he’s fictional. What more could a girl want? But what you can’t immediately see during a cursory viewing of Friday Night Lights is that when you really get to know Tim (which, believe me, I have because we are in a very serious relationship) you find that under the hot hot muscles and the stench of cheap beer he is a tortured soul. Tim loves Lila but she can’t get over being a pretentious stuck up bitch and see his true self. Tim is secretly super smart but his daddy never loved him enough and so he hides his smarts behind the pain! Tim has layers. Tim needs an older woman with an acute appreciation for pouty lips to show him what love is. Obviously I am his perfect match.

Those of you who see me as a smart mature young woman with a future might be shocked by my love for a juvenile hall bound high school football player but it's really quite predictable. Sure, outside of my couch potato fantasies I date nice boys. They may not regularly brush their hair and they might often have to cancel dates due to the demands of their guild but they have respectable jobs and button down shirts and 401K plans. They hardly ever do keg stands. But when snuggled up in front of the flickering TV light I turn into one of those girl who can see the good in the drunkard, the promise in the idiot and mostly, the hot ass hidden beneath the layers of clothing the FCC insists my dreams be draped in.

My TV boy trouble started with My So-Called Life. Brian was acing calculus; Jordan (literally) couldn’t read. Brian valiantly helped Angela pass math class; Jordan helped her to appreciate the romance of losing one’s virginity on a stained mattress inside of an abandoned house to a boy who most likely does not know your last name. Brian wrote Angela a heartfelt moving love letter (granted he signed it, “Jordan” because Brian has no self esteem); Jordan (after overcoming illiteracy – see? He has so much promise!) wrote a song for his car. Were this story unfolding in reality I’d have spent Saturday nights playing Risk with Brian (cause one look at that boy's mop and you could smell the love in the air) but since the tale is confined to inside of the cathode tube I was ordering a big plate full of Catalano (extra sauce!).

There have been exceptions to the bad boy rule. I was never a Dylan McKay girl, choosing instead to swoon over Brandon though I mostly blame this on the fact that when I took an honest look at my life in 1992 I had no choice but to recognize that in the 90210 universe I was obviously Andrea Zuckerman (Even if I wasn’t 45 years old.) and part of accepting the nerdy, not rich enough, fashion challenged part of myself was having a crush on the midwestern boy newspaper editor instead of the tortured surfer. (Though seriously that picture on the left is making me wonder if Brandon wasn't actually a girl, which would make sense -- that Emily chick always had a little lesbian vibe going on). Maybe my love for the geeky boys is isolated to California fantasy dramas since I also own a pair of underwear baring the message, “I’m a Seth Girl.” And I am. The comic book geek from the O.C. might be my perfect man. He makes wry comments about pop culture. He generally can’t hold a conversation with a female. He has somewhat ridiculous hair.

Brandon and Seth aside TV generally inspires the unhealthy Jerry Springer ready white trash in me. I was the only watcher in the Buffyverse to cheer on the Spike years. I mean sure he was a little rough around the edges with the drugs and the living in a crypt and the being a blood sucking killer but he LOVED Buffy! He loved her in a pathetic doe eyed sort of way (when he wasn’t loving her in a tossing her around, pulling her hair, sexing up The Slayer sort of way). He had spent 500 some years as a villain and Buffy turned him into a puppy! Post college I devoted Tuesday nights to Gilmore Girls where I was a Jess fan from way back and was never happier than when practical proper boring Rory cheated on nice floppy haired Dean with my favorite high school drop out.

Does this all mean that somewhere deep down I want to trade in my be-cowlicked video game playing nice boys for an illiterate hunk in a leather jacket and beer goggles? Maybe. But real world bad boys never seems to have any substance. They’re genuinely screwed up, not just using screwed up as a cover for sensitive. And since I rarely find myself attracted to high school boys in real life I’m left with 30 year old losers who are, lucky for me, much less tolerable.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Scenes of Cuteness

Scene 1

Brianna is standing up talking to her aunt, a streak of blonde pigtails rushes by her legs, the gust of wind that follows almost knocks Brianna over)

Delanie (voice getting fainter as she runs away): ReadySetGooooooooooooooo Brianna we’re racing!

Brianna: But you already started without me!

Delanie: (running smack into the wall that apparently represents the finish line) I win! (turning around and running toward Brianna) ReadySetGoooooooooooooooo!

Scene 2

Christmas evening, Delanie is wearing new jeans which are at least one size too big

Brianna: Delanie I can see your plumber’s crack.

Delanie: (giving her best irritated look and pointing a finger at Brianna): Brianna. Do NOT look at my butt.

Scene 3

Brianna, Miss D and her parents are seated at a Mexican restaurant, their food has just arrived and first bites are being taken

Delanie: Oh! It’s hot! Brianna, kiss my tongue!

Brianna: Delanie that’s kind of gross.

Delanie (tongue sticking out)i: TISS NY TONGUE!!!!!

Brianna: Ok, I’m a sucker. (Kisses the offered tongue)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Spreading the Geekiness this Holiday Season

Typically any walk I take with my father starts with a series of lies. The first is when he calls it a walk when in fact the proper term is hike or trek or, most accurately, death march. The walk is always “short” and has “hardly any uphill” and “will defiantly not make your legs fall off.” On the few occasions when I have pointed out that he lies about hikes and that I would rather spend my afternoon lounging in the sun with a book and a glass of spiked lemonade and (ideally) a laptop while someone paints my toenails and tells me how pretty I am dad has immediately turned to guilt. “Oh, right, you’re lazy. And you hate nature. And you want to be fat. And you don’t love me. Or the dog.” And then I’m hiking. On the trail (you know, assuming we’re not off-roading on our hike which is incredibly optimistic) the lies continue. “We’re almost there!” “This is hardly steep at all!” “It just seems like a long walk because you’re young, time is relative!”

So it should be seen as a testament to the holiday spirit and family togetherness and possibly my own fleeting sanity that on Monday I offered to go on a walk with my dad. Of course this was no ordinary walk. There was treasure to be had! Dad bought himself a GPS last spring when he found out that his friend Tyson had a gadget that he didn’t yet own and was forced to fork over $300 or be deemed totally uncool. Since then he has used the GPS to dress up jeans and tshirt for evening and as a mighty pretty dashboard decoration for his truck. I think he might have also carried it around in the woods a few times but the way I see it this is all months of wasted time that he could have spent geocaching! The fastest way to turn me from “lump” to “hiking aficionado” is to coat the trail with a thick layer of geekiness. What was once a walk is now an adventure. Trek? Now a scavenger hunt. Nature? Now realistic simulated arena for a battle of wits. Bring it on.

For our first foray into high tech geeky hiking Dad and I took on this challenge -- mostly because Dad knew the area and we thought that would make things easier. And it probably would have been easy – easy and boring. Don’t worry, I took care of that. One of the ways to make geocaching more challenging is to totally not read the GPS correctly. There are lots of ways to do this but I choose to turn on the “pan map” function which allows you to point at a location on the map and get that location’s coordinates and then accidentally start going towards this random point instead of the place where the geocache was placed. Because of this we ended up climbing an extra hill for no reason! I’m sure my dad enjoyed this mostly because the only things he loves more than watching me trudge up a sandy hill is forcing people to eat animal flesh of questionable nature (hey, have you ever had newt? Sure you have, I baked it into your dinner!”) and driving me crazy by implying that he totally loves George W Bush. Because of the holiday and because the extra hill was all my fault I suppressed my natural tendency to follow hill climbing with a heavy dose of whining. Merry Christmas Dad.

We finally righted ourselves and climbed back down the hill (Dad didn’t even mock me, which I considered his greatest gift to me.) and found the correct spot and began turning over rocks and glancing under bushes and eventually bemoaning the possibility that maybe the cache got stolen and we were screwed. But eventually I saw a beam of sunlight glint across a bush and thought “hey, bushes aren’t made of metal!” and low and behold like the star of Bethlehem the ammo case of treasure was revealed to me. The treasure inside might not save me from my sins (especially since it contained an unscratched lotto ticket and I think gambling is not so cool with the savior) but it did make my Christmas. Geocaching rules dictate that you take one prize and leave another we took a matchbox car (which we gave to a friend’s two year old.) and left a Christmas bow which, in retrospect makes us incredibly lame. See, when leaving the house we thought, “it’ll be cute, a bow because we found the cache on Christmas!” but now that I’m thinking more clearly (my mind finally out of the cookie/candy/pie induced coma) I realized that a bow is the lamest prize ever. Probably people in the hip geocaching community will now shun my dad and I. Probably “yeah he left a bow” will be the hip new way to say “What a loser.” Probably the next cache we find will contain a little note saying that if we so much as consider “bow-ing” this cache a stealth agent will be dispatched to take away our GPS forever. Probably our nerd credentials will be revoked.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

On Being a Girl in the Big Bad World of Software Part 2

To graduate from most California high schools one must accumulate two semesters worth of credits in “Regional Occupational Programs” (ROP). The idea (I think, but this knowledge is entirely based on what I heard in the school hallways at age 16, I tried to do research on the program on the intertubes but my California education didn’t give me the skills to slog through legalize without submitting to sleep.) is that if you take an ROP class every term for all of high school the state will help you find a job after graduation. The reality is that schools require the 2 terms to get the state money associated with the program and McDonalds has a lot of employees with impressive flower arranging skills. The ROP options at my high school were Construction, Auto Mechanics, Floriculture, Secretarial Skills and Computers. I eliminated the first two as too dirty and the next two as pathetically useless and so second semester of my freshman year when my advanced math class conflicted with Drama 2 (the horror) I was left with ROP Computers filling up my 45 minutes post lunch.

I was the only girl enrolled in this class (shocker, I know). In fact I was apparently the only girl to have EVER enrolled in this class. At the time I thought this might have made me a feminist badass but it soon became clear that it only made me an idiot. Surprisingly the class was not made up of all nerds (if only…) but had a heavy representation of senior football players looking to shore up an easy ROP credit before graduation. The teacher was a guy my mom had known during her “I live at the Yosemite rock climbing camp with my hippy boyfriend” days (which took place right before the “I live at a cross country ski lodge with my hippy boyfriend/soon to be husband/father of my children” days) and it turns out he’s a little bit famous. A few years earlier he had suffered a fall while climbing that resulted in him loosing a lot of his hearing – specifically he was unable to hear high frequencies at all. This wasn’t really a problem…until a girl decided to take his class. The first test was an oral exam. This consisted of him asking me a question and me trying to answer it over and over in an increasingly louder (and, ironically, higher pitched…) voice until I started crying. Eventually he gave up and handed me an A-. Luckily the rest of the class was taught by a series of programs that the teacher wrote so that he could spend the class period at his desk reading and pretending that his hearing was so bad that he didn’t even notice that class time was primarily focused on tormenting me.

Everyday I came into the classroom to find my monitor, mouse and keyboard unplugged, this meant I had to crawl under the desk and blindly paw at the back of the machine while simultaneously using my free hand to hold down the back of my skirt so as not to expose my panties to the classroom full of giggling boys. Some jokes are apparently funny over and over again for 4 whole months. This kind of tomfoolery haunted my semester until the boys decided to up their game from mischievous to skeevy. One spring day I came into class and football player #1 says to me, “Hey, Brianna, if we gave you $250 would you take your shirt off? Cause we took a collection.” It is at this moment that I make one of the worst mistakes in my young life – rather than flash some boobage, pocket the cash and donate 25% to NOW (and 75% to the cute skirt fund) I decided to care about “principles” (and not even the right principles! Everyone knows Capitalism>Feminism). So my boobs remained a mystery and my pockets remained empty and the teasing continued through June and women were finally allowed to wear pants and own property and men started birthing babies and getting excited about cute shoes. Please write your thanks you notes on Georgia O’Keefe stationary (and I wouldn’t turn my nose up at pair of sensible shoes).Publish Post

How, after this intro experience to the awesome world of technology, I ended up actually majoring in Computer Science in college I cannot explain but after a few years of hanging out with the boys I’ve mellowed and come to love being the only girl in the room. Sadly no one has ever again offered me money for a boobie show now that I’d be happy to take it (off). Life is unfair.

For reference here’s Part 1.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This Should Cost me a Few Readers

During the holiday season I like to reflect upon just how awesome it is not to have a religion. If it weren't for atheism I might have to waste value present wrapping and cookie eating time in church or (even worse) reviewing and possibly questioning my life choices. That would suck. Being a godless heathen allows me to enjoy the commercialism of the holidays (in particular when DeBeers reminds us that if you only bought some diamonds you could avoid talking to your wife for an entire year.) with none of the “Jesus is the Reason” guilt, the naked dancing with none of the having to use the word skyclad, the hamburger topped with blue cheese and bacon and shrimp and the heart attack that follows (and most of all the medical expertise that will laugh in religion’s face and save my life).

When family and friends fail to bring me the xmas gift of my dreams (a Wii and an advanced copy of Spore delivered by a naked Jack White – get on that.) I don’t have to question if this is God sending me a message about the evils of greed and I don’t have to feel bad for kind of hating everyone for like 5 minutes and I also don’t have to repent when the lack of video games to distract me leads directly to spending my evenings swimming in impure thoughts. With Atheism all of these sins are met with a shrug. Unlike most gods atheism accepts me as I am (already perfect).

Atheism is also the lazy girl’s best friend. In addition to not expecting me to read some verbose tome or get out of bed early on a Sunday (the day after Saturday aka the day I am most likely to do something that will make it impossible to get out of bed early the next morning) Atheism makes no demands on followers to convert others to our way of thinking. In fact Atheism would prefer to remain the religion equivalent of the band no one really likes as this allows followers to feel superior to nonfollowers which is one of the main tenants of the faith. In other ways that Atheism rocks:

  • I don’t have to pretend that Easter is the best holiday when clearly painted eggs and candy cannot compete with presents
  • I get to watch Harry Potter movies in peace

Frankly most gods remind me of a very oppressive boyfriend and I’m happy to avoid having the awkward break up conversation (“Hey god, I’m not that into you. Beards don’t really do much for me. Let’s just be friends. And also? You’re kind of a jerk.”).

Ok, I know what you’re thinking – Atheism has a clear downside in the form of uncomfortably high temperatures, the constant smell of rotten eggs and (one assumes) being forced to watch Everybody Loves Raymond on a never ending loop. I am, of course, talking about the burning in hell that occupies my outlook calendar from 2072-eternity (“Brianna will be out of the office with no access to email for the rest of time however if your question is sufficiently annoying we might be able to work it into her torture routine, please send inquiries to”). I say small price to pay for getting to enjoy things like lust, gluttony and sloth. And frankly, I think any God who allows a writers strike to jeopardize my TV viewing schedule for upwards of two months hasn’t really earned my love anyway.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dear 1995 Me

Stealing this idea from Peter...

Hi, it's me, you, blogging from 2007. I promise that is a good thing and I am very famous and important. And hot.

Sooooooo.... You need to chill out. No, Seriously. It is not that bad. I don't even need to know what exactly you're freaking out about right now (and really who can keep up?) to be 100% confident that you need to let it go. I'm going to take a minor leap and guess this has to do with your hair. You have curly hair. Why you are just discovering this at 17 I do not know but feel free to blame denial, having a mother with very little concern for appearances and/or the incredibly dry weather in eastern California. Anyway you have two options – straightening or scrunching. Do not expect hair stylists to help you out, they will forever stare at your head in confusion. Straightening is more reliable but scrunching is faster, both are a gamble. I know, we hate uncertainty, consider this just another way that god is fucking with you.

You should probably let go of being embarrassed that you had an unrequited crush on Cameron in 4th grade because no one else cares. Ditto the fact that you wore hot pink overalls in your 6th grade school picture.

While we’re on the topic of you relaxing here’s another thing. This is going to be hard to believe but you really need to get laid more. Or some. How about once and we take it from there? I know you think that sex is a big mistake unless you have some guarantee that you will totally be dating this boy long term but it terms out that’s actually not really true at all. The slutty girls? Kind of have a good thing going. I mean you know, love yourself, you’re awesome, you don’t need boys, I KNOW. But sometimes (as in all of the time) you take things too far. While we’re on this topic you should also drink more. Really you’re kind of a prude. (No, you are not pregnant)

Ok, on to the good news. EVERYONE cool in 2007 hated high school (ok, except for your friend Amy but you consider this a flaw on HER part.). June 7 1996 == Freedom. (oh, right about that double equals… you kind of go down this computer science path and it turns out pretty well but I am, perhaps, *slightly* geekier than you had expected. Don’t worry geeky is the new cool. I promise.) Anyway, college is awesome. You will not miss your cat anywhere near as much as you think you will.

About college -- All of the girls in your freshman dorm are lame, I know, I tried to be friends with them, it was a disaster. You need to get out. Find the theater kids early, glom on. (except for that one boy that you meet at the party around Halloween who claims to be Matt Damon’s cousin, do not glom on to him, do make out with him and do not care when he flakes on calling you, not worth it. I just Googled that guy and even though he claims to be a “computer bitch” he has next to zero web presence. He appears to still be using Friendster which I promise you is no longer cool or necessarily even functional. Also he has put on some weight. Also there is no way hooking up with him will lead to some Matt Damon action.). Do not even pretend that maybe you’d like frat parties, you will not. The boy from the sailing team who is in your freshman orientation group is adorable, try to talk him out of falling for the slutty girl in your dorm – use your boobs (this advice applies to pretty much everything. You are neglecting a prime asset in your assault on life).

Life wise things turn out ok, which means you can stop worrying (are you sensing a theme here?) and maybe have a bit more fun. But no too much, I like my paycheck.

Love You You!


Thursday, December 13, 2007

And She Put the Clean Dishes Away!

I have been contemplating hiring someone else to clean my house for about 6 months now. The problem is that while I’m perfectly willing to admit that I’m lazy and that I hate cleaning behind the toilet I’m less comfortable admitting that I am willing to pay someone to do these things for me. It's not the money. Or the principal. It's the guilt.

I’ve struggled with Middle Class Guilt (MCG) for years. Back in 2002 it made me hesitant to let Asian girls paint my toenails bright red. In ’05 I finally triumphed over a particularly debilitating flare up and started using that most wonderful of New York City services – laundry drop off. These past victories gave me strength and after looking around at the thin coating of chinchilla dust that was currently serving as décor in my apartment I bucked up and with one email to a friend’s old Cleaning Lady (CL) bravely stepped onto a dangerous path that if I’m not very careful could lead to boats bought for noncommercial purposes (thanks Bob) and possibly even an urge to vote Republican 50 years from now (the horror.).

The real test of if I had finally kicked the MCG came 2 hours before the house keeper arrive – would I be able to fight the urge to preclean? No. I broke down. I did the dishes and made my bed and picked up the living room – I considered scrubbing the stove because what kind of impression would it set if the CL knew I cooked meals on a greasy stove? It suddenly seemed possible that the whole cleaning business is a racket – perhaps they don’t clean, perhaps you just hire them and your guilt eats away at you until you clean your own damn apartment. Impressive business model. Touché cleaning ladies.

The CL arrived at 2pm on the noise. She was young, I have no idea why I expected someone’s grandma to come clean my house – maybe because the cleanest women in my life was my paternal grandmother. She died a few years ago and I miss her chicken soup and marble cake and inability to resist tsking the cleanliness levels of every location outside of her house (she used to SWEEP HER FLOWER BEDS) but thank god she will never see (and judge) the (relative) sty that I live in and I will thus not be held personally responsible for killing her.

At the last minute it turned out that the cleaning lady needed cleaning supplies. (aka “At the last minute it turned out that Brianna is an idiot”). Oh. Right. Since I assume actual cleaning ladies (As opposed to a snobby middle class girls half assedly cleaning her own apartment on a Saturday morning) probably don’t like using a mini trashcan as a bucket for washing the floor (in my defense neither of the drug stores near my house sold buckets.). Especially when the mop only fits into the trashcan if you put it in at the right angle. So when she asked where my mop was I sheepishly admitted to being too much of a disgusting dirty freak to own a bucket. Somehow she managed to resist rolling her eyes when she offered to just use the trashcan from the kitchen. “Sure, great idea – Please don’t judge me.”

And then out of embarrassment and in an effort to avoid offering to help out I locked myself in my bedroom and spent 2 hours on conference calls rather than wallow in my guilt by actually watching the cleaning process. I emerged to a whole new world. The hardwood floor in my living room isn’t gray it’s brown! (Not so the floor in the rest of the house which was inexplicably painted gray and thus will NEVER look clean. Just thinking about this caused me to go on a 15 minute internet search for vinyl floor tiles to cover up the ugliness in the kitchen, sadly it turns out that all vinyl floor tile manufacturers are involved in an elaborate “who can make the ugliest floor ever” contest.).

One more hour, a clean bedroom and $50 (so cheap!) later I was happily living the lie of being a clean person. CL will be back next month. I will try to resist the urge to hug her.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

'Tis the Season for an Immaculate Conception

Warning: The following post makes reference to a certain biological process that happens to women. If you are a squeamish boy (especially if you are a squeamish boy who works with me) you may want to consider the back button your friend.

I have had roughly 80 pregnancy scares over the course of my 29 years. Most of these occurred before I actually participated in the key activity that causes pregnancy. As a teenager I did not consider this sure fire proof that I was not with child because it seemed likely that God would totally deal out an immaculate conception willy nilly just to ruin my life. I already knew for a fact that the big man hated me because I was already cursed with incredibly weak nails, parents who insisted on talking with me honestly about S-E-X (there is no scarier phrase than “Well, your father and I…”) and an inability to hide my gift for math.

You see health class made me crazy. In addition to the joys of carrying around 10lbs of flour dressed up in a frilly pink dress health class also taught me all of the following:

  1. Drugs are bad.
  2. Getting pregnant is incredibly easy, it could happen at any moment and it will RUIN EVERYTHING.
  3. You should get your magical girl visit once ever 28 days because women are somehow linked to the cycles of the moon, just like werewolves.
  4. If you do not get your magical girl visit by day 28.5 you’re probably having bastard triplets.

Here are some things that are actually true

  1. A LOT of girls in my high school got pregnant.
  2. You have to have sex to get pregnant and the sex usually needs to involve 2 people
  3. Some girls (who are obsessed with schedules and things being on time and who also have a primal fear of pregnancy and who also shall remain nameless) actually get their special friend once every 45 or so days (some special friends are not very prompt).
  4. 1+2+3 = FREAKING OUT

This is how things usually go down.

Day 26: Begin expecting visitor in case she’s early

Day 28, 12:15am: No visitor. Try not to panic.

Day 29: Remind self 15 times that it takes two to make a baby

Day 32: Admire cute baby outfit in window of store, consider buying it in an attempt to look on the bright side because clearly I am pregnant.

Day 34: Have little chat with God about more appropriate wombs to host the second coming.

Day 37: Wake up hyperventilating. Decide this is probably not good for the baby, try to calm down.

Day 40: Mix some whiskey into my coffee. Take that baby.

Day 43: Begin adopting pregnancy posture (wide stance, leaning back slightly, hand resting on belly)

Day 45: Oh right. Hi, totally not pregnant. Woo.

And then one day I went on the pill. The pill is magic. Suddenly I had special friend visits scheduled down to the hour! It was amazing. (I wish they made a pill that could make people this prompt then I could slip into drinks all over town.) But last month I forgot to refill my prescription and now? Let’s just say I’m lucky to be in a dry spell or I might have already gotten out Missy Flourbag for a little mommy practice.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I'm Not As Big Of a Slacker As You Thought

As I'm sure my loyal readers have noticed I'm following posting every day for a month with the infinitely more enjoyable event: slacking off every day for a week. But it's not as bad as you think! Recently I was asked to join the team over at Burt Reynolds' Mustache as the designated blogger for the 7th of every month. As this is a humor blog there was a certain expectation that I be funny which is more stressful than letting Fox TV film my dating activities. So all week I've been wrapped up in knots thinking "Friday: BE HILARIOUS!" Clearly I had no time to think of crap to post on this blog of no expectations. I think I have an ulcer in my funny bone.

Anyway, my first attempt at professional level humor skewers my family's Christmas traditions. Enjoy.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Hello, this is Joanna, can I speak with the cutest little girl in the world?

It’s day 30 and I am all but tapped and so will again turn to the well of “little kids make writing easy” to complete my month of blog posts.

Everyone remember Miss D? In case there was any doubt she is still the most adorable person on the planet and I am still a complete sucker. And if you’re wondering how these two facts have combined in light of the upcoming holiday in honor of gluttony and shopping let me just say that the credit card companies have called my brother and asked him to please have as many children as possible. (Kurt: if you are working on this I do not want to know.)

Miss D is recently fascinated with talking on the phone much to the pleasure of her smitten aunt (aka me). A few weeks ago when she was playing sick at Grandma’s in between teaching my parents to sit, shake and beg she announced a need to call me (obviously aware that I have the power to cure colds from 3000 miles away) but when mom put her on the phone she was completely silent. Luckily I know how to fill a conversation lull (she is really going to wow the other kids at daycare with her knowledge of Beauty and the Geek (oh god how much do I hate everyone in the final 2 except for Nicole? A lot. Especially Jasmine. Also I think that being forced to watch 10 minutes of LARP-ing has perhaps turned me off geeks. The CW has a lot to answer for.)). But lately she has developed more of an appreciation for the art of conversation. The last two times we’ve talked she has started with yelling my name (note: she thinks my name is Joanna but I have it better than my mom who she insists on calling Grandma Horst (you know, the wife of Grandpa Horst)) and then answering every question I ask with “yeah!!!” until she bores of me and yells “BYE!” usually this is when I’m mid sentence (“What do you want for Christmas? “yeah!” “Did you tell your daddy to buy me a wii for Christmas?” “yeah!” “Have you given much thought to coming to live with me because I have LOTS of cookies at my house” “YEAH!!!!” “Wonderful, I’ve also been thinking a lot about the best way to track your progress on learning to make vodka gimlets because…” “BYE!!!”). I can only assume that she is mimicking how she hears adult phone conversations, clearly (and understandably) her opinion of most adults is pretty low. Next up? She’s spending some quality time with me at Christmas so she should be blogging in the new year.

Going for the much coveted "international guest poster" award

Hi, everyone. It's me, Mike. You know. Mike? Yeah, that's me.

I’m filling in for Brianna today*, who couldn't be bothered to live up to the rules of NaBloPoMo which require a person to post every day. Okay, so it doesn't say that person has to do the posting, but let's just infer that so that we can all mock Brianna for a while. Done? No? Okay, I'll wait.

Anyway, she offered me endless gratitude (or something) to pen a post for her today, and being the good friend that I am (see me abuse this privilege already?), I just couldn't help but be helpful.

And do you know why?

Because I'm Canadian.

It's a little known fact that Canadians are nice. I know, you didn't realise that, did you? Sure, we use extraneous vowels and generally avoid the letter "zed" because we're still a constitutional monarchy and we have this latent fear that if we stray from either of those habits, the Queen will come over and hit us with one of her hats, but deep down, we're loveable. It's an even lesser-known fact that Brianna has a cosmic destiny with Canadians. She seems to run into them everywhere. I, personally, believe that somewhere deep in her soul, she's in some way Canadian (don't listen to her when she tells you that's "German", not "Canadian").

So, for the sake of a post, and our international friendship, I present to you the Top 10 reasons Why Brianna Wishes She Was Canadian.

10. Lots and lots of snow.

9. Lots and lots of reasons to drink hot toddies in front of a fire because it's so damn cold outside.

8. Sweaters. [Perhaps this isn't coming from her, exactly, but trust me on this one.]

7. We're exceptionally friendly up here.

6. Cool accents.

5. Her singsongy voice would fit in nicely north of the 49th parallel, and not just in that one corner of California.

4. Finally that whole exchange rate problem has been solved.

3. Blue Rodeo.

2. She secretly wishes she could use more French words in casual conversation.

1. Endless opportunities to wear toques in an array of fashionable colours and styles.

And, for the sake of completeness, the Top 10 Reasons Why She's Probably Glad She Isn't.

10. Celine Dion. [We're sorry. We didn't know it would get so out of hand.]

9. Can't use the whole "international allure" angle on Canadian boys.

8. Low, low wages for smart computer-nerdy people.

7. Horrible, horrible "Mexican" food.

6. Hockey dominates the television on any given night.

5. Still cold even in the summertime.

4. Seriously, what's with all the hockey?

3. Doesn't want to be blamed for all those "nor easters" that hit the eastern seaboard.

2. What do you mean the booze has a 19% surtax on it?!

1. Now that she's of legal drinking age, she'd risk picking up guys who aren't even 21 yet, though still legal in the bars.

So there you have it, folks. Two lists, two countries, 30 days of NaBloPoMo. And if I may say so, I think she's done admirably through the month -- meme-less, lets-review-NaBloPoMo-so-far-less, and highly entertaining. She did, however, resort to joining Facebook, a decision she may regret if she doesn't get to blog about it a few more times.

*Hey, this is Brianna -- I'm a big follower of the rules so I'll actually be posting my own thing later today but it will suck much much much more than this post.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

City Songs

On Sunday Peter of made the huge mistake of leaving a comment on my blog indicating that he loves theme based mix tapes (ok, fine, cds. FINE, playlists but I won't pretend to like that magic-less nomenclature.). Seeing an opportunity for free music AND the chance to disappointingly write about music for the second time in one month I jumped on him with the request for some theme based music trading. And (likely mistake number 2) he agreed. Fool! Barely 24 hours later I had the following collection of songs with cities in their title delivered to my inbox

Bobcaygeon -- The Tragically Hip
Newcastle Jam -- Crowded House
Kreuzburg -- Bloc Party
Atlantic City -- Bruce Springsteen
Rio -- Daran Duran
New York's Not My Home -- Jim Croce
Jackson -- Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash
Luckenbach, Texas -- Waylon Jennings
L.A. Woman -- The Doors
New Orleans Is Sinking -- The Tragically Hip

You'll immediately notice that Peter totally cheats.

My first issue was with the song called Bobcagen but while at first I thought this was some Canadian word likely having to do with maple syrup processing or beavers it turns out to be the name of a town (though notable a town that even the (presumably Canadian) guy on the intro has never heard of) and since I come from a place that insists on calling itself a city despite having only 4000 human inhabitants I’m apt to let a lot of things slide. It helps that of the 5 new songs on the list this was by far my favorite.

The second cheater issue is that Peter includes 2 songs by the same band. This was not an explicit rule for the creation of this mix but I was fairly certain the all reasonable people knew that mixes have a MIX of artists. Peter tried to defend his behavior using the following pathetic excuse, “But it’s The Tragically Hip!” Which is Canadian for “but it’s AC/DC” which is Australian for “My country only has one famous band” (cue half of Canada calling me names -- save it folks, I am actually a huge fan of your country's contributions to auditory stimulation and I'm not even mad about the Celine Dion thing.).

There are 4 songs on this list that are songs that I forgot that I loved which means that I spent most of my listening time rewinding (fine, clicking the little back arrow) and thinking "Oh my god I DO want to move to Luchenbach and raise some fine youngin's and then maybe dress up like a bird of paradise and take a side trip to the Rio Grand and dance on a keg in some bar to make my husband jealous!"

Of the remaining 6 remaining tunes I already knew and sort of liked "Atlantic City" (though it's no "Thunder Road") and I'm sure I had heard "L.A. Women" at some point in the past and generally found it too much like the kind of song the fake stoner in the WASP-y frat loved. I was surprised to like Kreuzburg and I can tolerate Newcastle Jam and New Orleans Is Sinking. I know that come some dreary day in February when the subway smells particularly bad and the streets feel particularly harsh I will be very glad to have New York Is Not My Home to commiserate with.

Peter tells me that NaBloPoMo posts are supposed to suck. Thank God. One more day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Moustache Ride

The New York City Movember Gala was last night and me and my comrades (aka coworkers) made a good show of it. There were pastel leaisure suits, there were over priced drinks, there were Playboy Bunnies (sadly no Girls Next Door), there were boys in cowboy hats (one of whom was in The Villiage People), there may have been some booty shaking.

We garnered 3 Mo superlative nominations.

Best Team Mo


And... Yes, the rumors are true-- yours truly was one of 3 finalists for Miss Movember. It is also true that some other chick won just because she was hotter than me. This being essentially a beauty contest I suppose I can't claim I was robbed but given how much more awesome my outfit was than hers I'd like to at least claim to have had my crown borrowed without permission.

Prostate cancer has never been so much fun -- or gotten me in so much trouble.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Mean Streets of Florida

Thanks to my job and JetBlue I spent Monday in central Florida and while I enjoyed the 84 degrees and this Italian meal from a cute little place called Olive Garden (where they give you unlimited bread sticks! have you heard of this?) the majority of my time in Florida was devoted to desperately digging through the bottom of my laptop bag in search of change. You know what they have a lot of in Florida? Oranges? Oldersters? Mickey Mice? Sure, I suppose, but it is a little known fact that 64.7% of the Florida population is made up of tollbooths. This is the main reason why there was so much voter confusion back in 2000 – tollbooths are notoriously bad at using punch cards.

In my short visit I estimate that I donated roughly $700,000,000.82 to the Florida tollbooth association and quarter appreciation society (on the Florida quarter? A tollbooth with Mickey Mouse ears). While I’m sure that if I lived in Florida and had to get a second job at the local Orange Julius in order to afford the cost of tolls I’d likely be pretty pissed off but for my one day visit my main complaint had less to do with money and more with annoyance.

The tolls on a Florida highway are not for any uniform amount – this means that as you sit at tollbooth #37 praying that your aim is good enough to toss $.62 into the maw of the FL Transportation authority and you peer down the road and spy tollbooth #38 about 700 feet ahead of you there will be no way of knowing exactly how much money you’ll be asked for next. I assume that this random toll system was adopted to offset the monotony of living in a climate that hands you 80 degrees day after day all year long and while I appreciate a surprise even more than your average senior citizen I worry that the system could lead to confusion, car accidents and me defacing a tollbooth with lipstick and spit and the leftovers of a 12 ounce can of Diet Pepsi (which I totally would not dream about doing even once officer.).

As fun as the surprise price tag is the absolute best feature of the Florida toll system is the “exact change” rule that is enforced at roughly 40% of tollbooths. The first time I came across one of these machines changeless I panicked. Afraid that my picture would be snapped and Hertz Rent a Car would hunt me down and throw me into some Florida prison where inmates are forced to accurately toss dirty coins into metal baskets or go without their nightly mai tai I dared not driving through without paying. My first instinct was to get a dollar bill out of my wallet, smile pretty and stare at the basket hoping for some sort of bill accepter contraption. By the time I realized that there was no such input device (and that tollbooths are impervious to the “but I’m cute, please forgive me!” smile) there was a huge SUV pulling up behind me which caused further panic in the form of dropping the dollar bill out the window. I immediately opened my door and started to exit the vehicle before remembering that Florida is technically the south the person behind me was probably armed and FOR SURE wanted to kill me – I left the dollar on the highway and slowly got back in the car. Of course I still had no change and I could see Bubba in the rearview looking for a clear shot. While my travel companion (aka He who Never has ANY Change) dug around in the muck at the bottom of my bag (would that you could pay your tolls in ATM receipts and bobby pins) I twisted around to grab my jacket from the back seat and fish desperately through the pockets while wistfully dreaming of the huge can of change that lives next to my front door back in the heaven of New York City where I’m never expected to drive and everyone takes credit cards. I was eventually able to scrape together the $.50 getting off the freeway fee and for the remainder of my stay in the penis of the USA took to keeping a dollar in coins on the dash at all times.

In California there are no such thing as toll roads (And the streets are paved in gold. And everyone has their own personal ray of sunshine that follows them around. And the cows can talk) so my experience with tollbooths didn’t begin until I attended college in western New York – the land of the NY Thruway. The Thruway may place ridiculous expectations on drivers like “speed limit: 55” and “30 miles for only $75!” but at least they don’t force people to stop every 5 miles to pay a toll. You’re handed a card when you get on the road in Schenectady and you pay one toll when you exit the road for an evening of debauchery in Oneida. This allows traffic to keep moving rather than shuttling cars through a tollbooth once ever 17 feet. Can someone tell Florida to get with the program?

Monday, November 26, 2007


Grand statement. Flippant comment that negates grand statement. Mock serious comment that negates flippant comment. Grand statement.

Obvious fact. Huge leap of faith. Coy rewording of grand statement.

Devil’s advocacy. Brief exploration of implications of devil’s advocacy. Contemptuous dismissal of those who dare to go against grand statement. Fools. Reference to Beverly Hills 90210 that proves grand statement.

Self deprecation. Just kidding, I’m awesome. Look how quirky I am! Swear word. (edgy!) You wish you were me. And if you want to be more like me might I suggest grand statement?

Witty banter (astute but still funny parenthetical comment). Song lyric by band you’ve never heard of that vaguely references grand statement but which I am mostly including as a pathetic attempt to seem hip. Wry contradiction of grand statement.

Declaration of success.

*the first person to actually use this as a template for a blog post gets either a picture of my knee cap OR free promotional quote in support of the blog your your choice – your choice!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Slurping My Way Through Chinatown

I love a good theme. Mix tapes containing only songs with cities as their title. Costume parties where everyone has to dress as their favorite rock star. I’m always in. And today? A Chinatown soup dumpling crawl. This afternoon of theme based gluttony was sponsored by a coworker who, earlier this year (during a time of much warmer weather), also brought me the Chinatown pan fried dumpling crawl. He is fast becoming my favorite person.

For those of you not living in an area with a thriving Chinese community might I recommend moving? Because seriously you people are missing out. Soup dumplings are a dollop of meat filling (usually pork) floating in a sea of rich broth encased inside of a thick dumpling wrapper. They are amazing. During our romp around Chinatown there was much talk (between the slurping and moaning in pleasure) about just how they get the broth tucked away in the belly of the dumpling (a more ethnic and perhaps higher brow version of the “how do they get the crème in the twinkie?” debate) and the most likely answer seemed to involve a cube of frozen broth instead of a stock filled syringe but Wikipedia claims that both hypothesizes wrong. Apparently the broth is the result of a meat gelatin alone which when heated melts into a satisfying greasy sauce -- this might not sound appetizing but does explain the richness (and also exactly why the broth drippings were so quick to congeal on my plate). I promise that if you eat a soup dumpling you will not find that last sentence anything other than delicious.

The first stop on the soup dumpling crawl was the overflow location for New York’s most famous soup dumpling-ary Joe’s Shanghai, Joe’s Ginger at 25 Pell. We were brought 2 orders of traditional pork soup dumplings and one order of a pork and crab combo both of which were lovely though there were some incidences of perhaps less than well done pork.

Our next stop at Goodies at 1 East Broadway offered the most impressive showing for soup dumpling variety and we took full advantage ordering FIVE types of dumplings. Sadly when the bamboo baskets arrived at the table all of the dumplings had such a uniform look that we were unable to distinguish the three delight from the seafood until the broth hit our tongues. No matter since all were also uniformly scrumptious. Goodies also brought us a bowl full of fortune cookies at the end of our second stop on the dumpling-fest via which I received this notification.

By 2pm Shanghai café at 100 Mott was so packed that we elected to take our dumplings on the road. And so the crawl ended with the 9 of us munching on pork and pork and crab dumplings in Columbus Park. The broth in the Shanghai dumplings was by far the most flavorful and gently sucking it from our its doughy pocket while sitting under a clear November sky was a wonderful way to end a long American weekend that honors gluttony.

I love turkey and mashed potatoes and most of all stuffing but this year I am thankful to reside in the land of exotic edible delights. God bless New York City.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

You Call It Trash I Call It a Free Blog Post

A few months ago Kajal’s husband bought her the ultimate “you want it but you won’t buy it for yourself” gift – a subscription to US Weekly. This is the most selfless thing any man has ever done. Sadly, I do not have a guilt-free trashy magazine coming to my house once a week so I usually have to rely on the internet for my celebrate gossip – but not today. As I was running errands and trying desperately to think of something interesting to write on these pages for today’s requisite babble it hit me – the blog is the only excuse I need to buy a copy of US Weekly. Because of this little dalliance I can claim that I did not buy the magazine because I am a pathetic shallow media obsessed part of the problem but instead because US Weekly is research for my very serious writing career.

And so without further ado I present….

Awesome things I learned from the December 3rd 2007 issue of US Weekly

  1. Will Smith has apparently crossed over to Scientology. I cannot come up with a reason why anyone would convert to Scientology no matter how badly they may want to sleep with Tom Cruise. In this day and age becoming a Scientologist is like converting to crazy -- basically Will is all “I always thought sanity was the way to really make it in Hollywood but after talking with Tom I’ve realized that loony is highly under rated. Also my refrigerator houses magical butter that when smeared on my forehead allows me to see into the future!”
  2. According to “Stars – They’re Just Like Us” celebrities also have to reapply lipgloss. And here I thought stars had some sort of auto reglossing machinery installed in their lips to save them from the shame of the reapply.
  3. Page 36 has an awesome piece on celebrity mom’s dressing trashy -- US weekly pulled a bunch of tots off of the streets in NYC to ask them “Would you be mortified to see your mom in one of these get ups?” The replies were pretty uniform -- “They look gross, I’d make them wear a lot more clothes” – Hannah, 5. I feel like to be fair the magazine should have clarified that in this scenario the mother of each child would be a smoking MILF.
  4. On page 42, “The Record” reports, “Boy George was charged with falsely imprisoning a male escort in London on November 13th. He is due in court on November 22nd” I kind of need more information here -- Is Boy George a cop? Does he just have a fake jail in his house? And if so is it really called “falsely imprisoning” if you lock someone up unwillingly in your home? Isn’t that called kidnapping? Also – is hiring a male escort not illegal in London? Shouldn’t Boy George also be charged with some sort of prostitution related offense?
  5. The people at PETA are obligated to support Pam Anderson because she is the only vegan in Hollywood (well I guess except for Moby but he doesn’t have huge tits) which I cannot imagine sits well with them. “US Weekly is on the phone and they want us to comment on Pam and Rick Solomon’s marriage I’m going to need a super sized order of tofurkey to get through this.”
  6. Britney Spears has an uncle known as “Wild Willy” who “lives in his car [and] once lived in a treehouse.” Nice try Willy but the "Black Sheep" title is hard won in the Spears family.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sake Infused Three Ways

A couple of weeks ago I hosted my monthly wine club, the theme was sake (aka rice wine – work with me, we’ve been doing this for 2 years and we’re slowly running out of themes). The white girls of wine club didn’t take too well to the asian brew so there were liters of leftovers all of which landed in my refrigerator. Desperate for a way to avoid wasting the sake (waste is evil, especially when there are alcohol starved teenagers all over America) I went in search of a creative way to use the half full bottles and stumbled upon the idea of infused sake. I made cranberry and kiwi liquors a few years ago as Christmas gifts and the process is very similar though infusing sake takes only a few days whereas liquors often require a month long under taking.

Last Sunday I wondered the aisles of my local Trade Fair looking for inspiration and came back with some dried ancho chiles, a pomegranate, some limes, a knob of ginger and some dried pineapple slices. After chopping up the makings of this slightly esoteric mise en place I stuffed the bottles with the following combos and let them stew for 4 days (most recipes recommend a 3-7 day refrigerated brewing time).

Pomegranate and Cinnamon infused Fukunishiki Junmai Sake

This concoction was in honor of my friend Kelly who every Christmas blesses me with a bottle of amazing pomegranate liquor. I thought I might be able to create a similar (though more alcoholic) version to gift her with (once she’s done incubating the little one). I added the cinnamon as a nod to fall thinking that the combination could make a wonderful holiday aperitif.

½ liter of sake

The seeds of one large pomegranate

3 cinnamon sticks

Nose: clean sake smell with a slight cinnamon background

Color: Clear, the pomegranate and cinnamon haven’t transferred any color to the sake.

Flavor: Mild cinnamon, can’t taste pomegranate at all. The cinnamon flavor is pleasant mostly because most cinnamon flavored things in the US are reminiscent of red hots not true cinnamon (or at least true cassia).

Sadly I have to pronounce this attempt a bit of a failure. The sake overwhelmed the cinnamon and the cinnamon overwhelmed the pomegranate and I was left wishing for flavor that never made it to my tongue. If you want a pomegranate and cinnamon drink you’re better off with some pom juice and a shot of cinnamon syrup mixed with your vodka – or, if you’re lucky a dram of Kelly’s Pomegranate Liquor.

Lime and Ginger infused Shirakawago Sake

I am a long time lover of all things citrus. My favorite drinks are vodka gimlets and margaritas so the idea of a lime flavored sake was immediately intriguing. I thought that adding a bit of ginger would produce a light layered beverage that would go well with thai food.

½ liter sake

The zest of 3 limes

3 inches of ginger sliced in ¼ inch discs

Color: Slightly green and reminiscent of key lime juice, the liquid is milky because I used an unfilter sake.

Nose: heavily lime-y, can’t detect the ginger

Flavor: Wow! Like drinking a really good vodka gimlet with a sweet wheaty flavor

This version is a success even if I am sad that I can’t taste the ginger. Ginger is such a strong flavor in its own right I’m shocked that it gets so beaten down by the lime and I wonder if grating it would have been more powerful than slicing. I’d like to try mixing just ginger with sake to see if the flavor is just being masked by the lime. Ginger or not I finished two servings while writing this post (that should explain any typos you find).

Pineapple and Ancho Chile infused Pearl Junmai Ginjo Nigori Genshu Sake

(what a mouthful)

½ liter of sake

¼ cup dried ancho chiles, cut into 1/4 inch strips

½ cup dried pineapple chopped into bite sized pieces

Color: The infusion that picked up the most color it’s dark and ruddy like a good sangria

Nose: Chile smell dominates

Flavor: Amazingly good -- Flavor starts out very sweet with a nice hot background, the after taste is much hotter

I’m not sure why we don't see more chile based liquors and infusions given how obsessed our society is with heat. Inspired by my love for fruity salsas and the whole idea of sweet with heat I added pineapple to the mix – I went with dried at the last minute thinking it might produce a more intense flavor and I’m glad I did – I suspect fresh pineapple would have been lost among the heavy chile taste. This is by far the infusion that I was most excited about and even though I find the lime more drinkable it’s this concoction that I’ll be forcing on guests for the rest of the week.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Personal Style

Even though I’m super famous now I still value the needs of my fans so this one is for Lisa.

I am not surprised that Lisa would want to know about my personal style since a recent date commented on my sharp dressedness on national television. As an extra bonus I’ve tried to illustrate my personal style using the H&M Dressing room feature when possible but sometimes my style needs go beyond H&M.

7 Thoughts about my personal Style

I wear a lot of red which I think looks good on me. I think I look bad in purple mostly because my mom once said that purple is not my color and I have internalized this (but seriously look at that girl over there – totally ug.). As I write this I am on the train to Long Island to have Thanksgiving with Amy’s family who have thankfully adopted me (they feel obligated because I cooked Amy food when she had cancer – I plan on living off that good deed for YEARS) and I just put my purple vitamin water bottle up to my face to illustrate “see? I look uglier every time I put this by my face.” She thinks I’m crazy. I also think I look bad in celery green. I generally don’t like pastels.

Secretly I want to be punk rock. I once had a therapist tell me that I had a lot of walls up and even though I knew I was supposed to be sad about this I thought “oh awesome -- that is TOTALLY punk rock!” And so deep in my closet you will find a small collection of clothing that would be totally appropriate should I ever spontaneously develop musical talent or land myself a rock star boyfriend. This collection includes one pinstripes t-shirt dress that can be worn over a slip that I dyed blood red, the lace of the slip peeks out from the bottom of the dress all sexy like. That rock star boyfriend better hurry up and get here. Unfortunately H&M does not really offer any punk rock clothing for my model to wear, despite the fact that Amy is currently wearing a sweater from there which she claims is punk rock strictly because it has stripes – I’m claiming the outfit on the left is punk rock strictly because the tights are plaid. Both Amy and I are equally uncool.

I hate getting my hair cut because it involves paying ridiculous sums of money (usually upwards of $40) to sit in a chair and make chit chat with some lady I don’t know. Said lady also seems to expect me to have an idea of how I want my hair cut which I do not (“ummm can you just cut it?”). Thus my personal style is dictated by hair styles that only need to be cut twice a year (aka long, no bangs). I can get away with this mostly because my hair is curly-ish and blond-ish both of which I like to believe hide split ends. I am constantly involved in a battle with my curls. If they would just behave I would wear my hair curly everyday but most days instead of bouncy even curls I get some sort of half curly half straight all ugly combo pack and I have to bail out and straighten the whole mess. I am seriously tempted to buy a straightening iron but I can’t decide if I should be buying an expensive one or could get away with the target version. This is what I'd look like with short hair if I wear running around in just my underdutchies.

I have an affinity for shirts with witty statements – this is because I am a computer nerd and computer nerds like to pretend that such things make them look hot. In reality such things only serve as a red flag for noncomputer nerds, the rest of you should consider witty tshirts a public service. (Aside: last night I met the boys who sell this shirt which is creative but problematic since I suspect that the number of people who both get the joke and find it funny is very small – also despite what the boys may think there is no way this shirt will get any girls to sleep with them -- especially if they got the joke). H&M does not offer any witty tshirts in their virtual dressing room because they do not cater to nerds. does not offer a virtual dressing room because nerds like to pretend that they don’t care how they look in their tshirts.

Punk rock aspirations aside The truth is that I dress very preppy. This is obviously at least partially due to my obsession with the JCrew online sale but also likely a result of my junior high obsession with being republican. (the hormones wore off, I’ve reformed). This means that I own a fair number of cable knit sweaters (I’m wearing one right now!) and a respectable number of button down collared shirts (despite the fact that they often result in the dreaded “boobie gap”). The model is wearing heels which is a lie, I try very hard to avoid wearing heels because I can’t walk as fast as I like in them and also because I am a huge wimp when it comes to my ankles.

Amy doesn’t think I have a style – it’s funny because as we all know recently someone commented on national tv that I dress really well. The model on the left is Amy – as you can see she also has no style. She also thinks this outfits is very punk rock.

I don’t know how to put on make-up so I just choose not to wear anything other than blush and mascara and lipstick. When I type that out it seems like a lot of make up but the point is that I do not wear foundation or powder. It’s possible that I *should* be wearing more make up but I fear that if I start down the make-up route I could get too used to it and then be one of those girls who felt like she couldn’t leave the house with out make up on and then I’d annoy myself and also have to get up earlier. I can’t imagine being prettier would be worth it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fall Cooking

Writers block and the demands of the holidays have set in and I think we know what that means – it’s time for a “What I ate last night” post! (With a bonus “What I bribed my developers with” post!).

Inspired by the butternut squash and rabbit pasta dish I had at Henry’s End last week and by the lamb sausage and slowly wilting head of kale that the CSA delivered to me I put together the following very fall appropriate dinner.

Pasta with Sweet Potatoes, Sausage and Kale

1 medium sweet potato peeled and cut into ¾ inch dice

½ of a large onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, diced

1 bunch of kale

1 tsp fresh rosemary

2 sausages cut into slices or crumbled

½ cup chicken or vegetable stock

Canola oil

Salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place diced sweet potato in a baking dish and toss with 1 tablespoon oil and salt and pepper. Cook sweet potato for 15 minutes stirring once at the 7ish minute mark. In the mean time sauté onion and garlic in skillet (I, of course, used my beloved cast iron) when translucent add sausage (if you’re using precooked sausage hold off on adding it until the kale is done). Now is also a good time to start your pasta water. When the sausage has browned add the kale and the stock and cover for 5 minutes. When kale has wilted (you may need more than the five minutes, if it’s not tender let it stew for a bit longer) add the cooked sweet potatoes and pasta. Voila!

Last night I was only semi impressed with this dish but somehow between 9pm and this afternoon’s lunch the pasta transformed itself into a sort of ambrosia. I am now officially dubbing the arranged marriage between mild sausage and the rosemary a success. The pair obviously spent the night commingling in the marriage bed of pasta and veggies and love is in the air (and now in my tummy).

As a “Thanks for doing your job and making me look good doing my job” treat I stole the recipe for Fresh Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies from Rachel at Coconut & Lime. I substituted regular vanilla for the vanilla paste and was happy with the flavor – I also used regular chocolate chips because (obviously) nowhere in NYC sells mini chips. The cookies were amazing -- sweet and tart all at once -- and will hopefully result in developers being good to me for at least another 2 weeks.

For those of you who look at the cookie recipe and think, “I will not use parchment paper because it is precious now that buying it requires a special trip to the cake supply store on 22nd which appears to be the only place in all of NYC selling this elusive product and which is at least a 20 minute subway ride form anywhere I ever go now that my office is located in Siberia and which closes at 5pm because apparently only stay at home moms bake things” I warn you – the cranberries pop as they cook and produce a sticky substance that is officially known as “fucking cranberry goo” and which will pretty much never come off of your cookie sheets.

Third Party Resources

There are a lot of great fall recipes that use the produce of the season. All you have to do is look online! Nowhere else in the world will you be able to find tips on how to win at blackjack and cookie recipes alongside an oil change checklist!