2009 Ramblings

They Call Him Flipper
I'm walking around the other day, minding my own business, when all of a sudden the "Flipper" theme song does a flying barrel roll into my head. As I only know that there is something in the tune about "wonder" and a dolphin "under the sea", things got a bit jumbled from its original TV happy version. One version turned out a bit like this:
They call him Flipper, Flipper the world of some wonder, flying asunder, under the sea!

After You Tubing the subject, I realize that my version is not only completely wrong, but is also several lines shorter than the original 1 minute 34 seconds. Not only that, but the female choir sounds leagues better than myself even in technicolor sound. My Flipper theme song is tucked away into that ever growing corner of my brain reserved for messed up soundtracks and short little ditties from commercials and Weird Al songs (all to be sung only in the shower).

I found, however, that I couldn't get the beloved delphinidae out of my head. It occurred to me that Flipper had been so named for one of his body parts. At first this got me feeling a little sad for the guy (or possibly girl?.... Yup, checked it, a girl - several of them). She was most likely named for the acrobatic stunt, but the name still comes out sounding like a body part. It would be like naming a dog, Tail. Or a human being, Leg. Just think, you go to round up the kids from outside - "Leg! Shoulder! Spleen! Time for dinner!" Perhaps like Leg, Shoulder and Spleen, Flipper also lost a portion of his dophinhood to wedgies and high school swirlies.

But let's face it, there have always been horrible names throughout history. And perhaps not everyone should have the privelege of defining their own prodginy. The ever popular Gwenth Paltro named her daughter Apple. Real World: San Francisco TV star David "Puck" Rainey named his son Bogart Che Peyote. If that's not a name laced with odd possibilities and foreshadowing, I don't know what is. So we'll touch on that one later.

Perhaps one of the worst names I have heard is Thor. My high school psychology teacher apparently took the title for her son from the three days of rain storms around the day of his birth. That's fine if he becomes something dangerous. Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, now to jump his motorcycle over twenty rows of city buses through several flaming hoops while beating up a small puppy, THOR! But if he turns out to be a scrawny little wimpy kid? The best he'll be able to muster is slight popularity in role playing tournaments (with his other aptly named nerd friends, Light Saber and Vulcan Man).

Looking back I realize that Flipper could have been called worse. Blowhole. Ooooo... I swear that one came out of nowhere. At least we can take comfort in the fact that Flipper was able to triumph over her name and become a television sensation for millions of wide-eyed white kids. I'm not sure I can say the same for Bogart Che Peyote, who will be survived by his child, Breathalizer Slammer Punched-in-the-Face.
Anything For A Nice Kitchen

*Note: I have been told by several friends and relatives that if I ever write a book, I should include the following story. But this one is not for them. My crazily best friend ever :), this one is for you.

Let me start by saying that I am considered by most to be quite naive. In more specific terms, I often take people for what they seem to be, and not who they really are. It's not that I'm outright stupid. I just never grew up having to believe otherwise. In white upper middle class suburbs you could be everything short of a raging lunatic and no one but the nosy mothers would be any the wiser. So when my roommate and I decided to rent a summer sublet based solely on the fact that the kitchen was amazing, and the rentee insisted that the other girls were "great", that naivety was coming back to bite us both in the proverbial behinds.

We moved in summer of '04 from our university dorms to the first floor of an only slightly tumble down house. Beyond the kitchen, the selling point for us was that our house did not have beer bottles and refuse cascading down the front porch and into the yard. Plus, we managed to squeeze ourselves into a one person room and pay only $150/month each. Of course, there were drawbacks. The basement was a definite restricted area, and the wood floor in the hallway was wavy. But otherwise the place was in pretty decent shape. The roommates though, were the ones that made our summer even more interesting. We'll begin with the most normal one, Megan.

Megan was the rich girl in the apartment, and the one everyone mooched from. She was constantly gone on what said were modeling conventions in New York, her families beach house in Georgia, and quick trips to Las Vegas (Her father had at one point been the vice-president of Charter cable, or something amazing like that). That meant that the rest of us were none to happy to take advantage of the big screen tv, free cable, and her room - the only one with air conditioning. Megan didn't have a job or any classes as far as we could tell. She did have at least four boyfriends who were all naive themselves about the existence of the others. I had been advised by other roommates not to bother myself with remembering their names, so as to avoid calling one something else and blowing Megan's cover. If she wasn't out on the town, she was sitting around watching Sex in the City and eating Chinese food - a diet staple she insisted kept her "svelte".

Then there was Tina. I think out of all three months I made eye contact with her once. She decided that my roommate and I were the devils incarnate after we threw out her perfectly good molded over applesauce. The result was that she only communicated with us through angry notes written in large, angry font and taped to the back door. She also began hoarding all non-perishable food in her room, which she never let anyone enter except her boyfriend. At first I was convinced the boyfriend was the weird one. They would go in there and argue for hours. Calmly calling each other every curse word under the sun in loud enough voices that they wafted through the door and walls. Then they would emerge still arguing and stomping down the wavy hall.

And last, but certainly not least in the least, there was Kirsten. Kirsten was like some kind of mesh of The Real World and our own personal schadenfreude. My roommate and I met her the day we moved in. She took us into her room to explain in a hurried voice that she and Megan (and apparently the girl passed out on her floor) smoked ALOT of pot, and were we cool with that as long as she did it in her room. We both nodded with empathetic sures, both still reeling with laughter inside from having had our first experience with a pothead. It prooved to be one in a long line of experiences for the both of usthat summer.

Shortly after getting our computers up and running, Kirsten tried using them to order Absenth. She was convinced that a certain kind would allow her to see a green faerie - "You know, like on Moulin Rouge." She got as far as the checkout page only to realize that her mother had canceled her credit card. These were common occurrences, and had Kirsten squarely pegged as an unstable egomaniac. The wonderful thing about living with these types of people, is that you don't even have to search for gossip. Everything is just publicized via slamming doors and screaming rants. The best one was the following:

"Oh my freakin' God! Just because I sleep in the same bed as a gay friend it doesn't mean I'm gay! And I never even touched my cousin's cocaine! Why would I do something that stupid!? Where's my pot!?"

By the end of the summer Kirsten was several hundred dollars in debt and four months behind in rent. Everything in her general vicinity spelled of hemp, and she owed even more money for the porn her and her friends had bought through cable while using the hemp products.

My roommate and I never have had the desire to live in that house again. However, no one ever did use that kitchen except me. And when waking up to a cool summer morning at 8AM with no one in the apartment to hear your Public Radio cranked up or the sizzling bacon and eggs is something that happens at least once a week, then the rest of the experience was worth it.

Everything You Ever Wanted

When I was a little kid I was convinced that the one thing I wanted in life was a red convertible. For a six year-old this might seemed slightly advanced, but I've always believed in pre-planning. When I relayed this message to Santa's Mall Requests Department, I was met with a hearty laugh by his only slight pudgy red lackey and my parents, and encouraged to ask for a My Little Pony instead. I never did lust for a small plastic horse. I did learn, however, that my lifelong dreams change as often as underwear (For most people, fairly often. Although this practice becomes more questionable as nerdiness increases.) What followed the convertible dream was a series of life requests that seemed to become more ridiculous and impossible as a I aged.

The prematurely totaled car gave way to a My Size Barbie. This recent incarnation of Barbie was without a doubt the best. Leagues better than Totally Hair Barbie, whose hair equaled that of one big rat's nest after 2 weeks of use, or even Talking Barbie, whose popularity decreased after the batteries ran out and her head fell off, leaving me with a hulking headless zombie of a Barbie that moaned the phrase, "Schoooollll-l-l-l ishhh coowwwlll..." For me, the magic of My Size Barbie lay in the fact that her clothes would fit me! ME! Never mind the questions of body type, proportions or color coordinating. I would get to steal clothes right off Barbie's back and be a princess.

Alas, my own manikin was never meant to be, because in the next few months I was determined to become a mermaid when I grew up. This fantastical desire morphed into various others over the years. Throughout most of my teen years I wanted nothing more than immortality. After some thought I realized that just living forever wasn't very interesting, so I added some shape shifting powers and creating objects by thinking of them to the list. Had I actually attained all of this, I would likely own what is currently my dream possession: a secret passageway.

Were my mother here at the moment, the catch-all parent phrase would be emerging as we speak. "What do you need a secret passageway for?" To which I reply, "What wouldn't I need it for?" To which mom replies, "What money will you buy it with?" while thinking, "Sure as heck not mine you money grubbing little monkey!" (Yes. Monkey. Sometimes my mental vocabulary generator malfunctions.)

But apparently some people really do need secret passageways, hidden tunnels and trap doors. Several companies out there make them. You know, those doors that look like bookshelves, or panels that lift up when you press a button. My personal favorite though, is the wonderful contraption by the company Creative Home Engineering. It's a staircase that lifts all the way up to reveal a hidden room. My first sentiments went out for the poor sucker who happens to be walking up or down the stairs at the press of the button. My second line of thought went to the person who would actually put in the effort to make and entire staircase lift up a full 90 degrees. Now that takes some kind of creative insanity. And third, what someone would put under a 90 degree lifting staircase? Perhaps a secret dungeon for uses not mentioned here. Or even a secret whirlpool! ... For other reasons not mentioned here. But me? I know exactly what mine would contain: a red convertible, a My Sized Barbie, and a genie lamp.

And a whole cabinet of piña colada mix.

And a puppy.

And a mansion.

Ooh! And another secret passageway leading to a dragon's horde! With a dragon!

Perhaps I should quit while I'm ahead ... after I get my pet monkey.

I Never Liked the Easy Way

Concerned about your weight? Lose weight at any age while still eating as much as you want! We have the weight loss secrets for you! Twenty tactics professional trainers aren't telling you! Feel better, faster, stronger! Improve your sex life! Get that promotion! Look fabulous in shorts!

Really, the list of things magazines and day time TV have been yelling at me for the past three weeks has been getting slightly more extensive. All those promises and guarantees have become mushed together into one big life's-a-bitch-for-everyone-but-me-because-I-wear-size-zero-jeans infomercial. But I guess that happens when you're trying to lose weight.

Yes, I will admit that I have joined millions of other Americans in attempting to decrease my body's fat content. And there must be a TON of us who are trying, because the surgeon general's website is telling me that two out of every three Americans are overweight. It's a sweet day to be in the dieting industry. Alas, the Acai berry companies, Jenny Craig, and even Chuck Norris cannot have my money (or my soul as I sometimes suspect they attempt to steal). For I have chosen to get healthy the hard way - with absolutely no program whatsoever.

This isn't to say that I haven't come up with my own methods. I don't jump up one morning and play full contact tackle football for three hours and then gorge myself on Cheetos and YouTube surfing for the next four days. I am keeping a journal in which I just write down whatever I'm feeling whenever I want. There are only two scheduled days: Mondays I weigh myself, and Thursdays I measure myself. And it's motivating to see the numbers go down. But the biggest motivator is the markers. Papermate Flair Bold Color markers. It's a rainbow pack of sixteen that feeds the latent creative kindergartner in me. So every time I write an entry I can color to my hearts content. Then I can flip back through the pages watching the myriad of hues swirl by like some kind of hippie spaz out. The power of the markers is so great, that it actually keeps me eating healthy and exercising. If I sat around on my butt all day eating junk food, I would have nothing to color about. And I make it a point to match the color to whatever mood I'm in. So I do fun things so I have more excuses to write in pinks, purples and light blues. Icky things are reserved for a kind of liquid pea tone that doesn't seem to gel with the rest of the markers.

But wait! You too can enjoy the benefits of markers! For the low... wait. No... what are you doing with that cricket bat, Lauren? No! I didn't mean it! How about just one marker? Ahhhh!!!!!

Sorry, had to take care of something for a second. My inner weight loss mash up was attempting to convince you that markers can solve all your problems. I would hope I'm not that single-minded. I also joined the local YMCA last year and try to get on the elliptical/treadmill/stationary bike/rowing machine when I can. I belly dance three days a week. I try to do chores that involve moving around. Plus, I've locked my PS2 and Game cube games in the basement and promptly forgot the padlock combination. Exercising on a regular basis is what's keeping me -

Our personalized trainers will give you all the help you need to make you look just like me! Skinny and beau -

Die you monster! Feel the wrath of the cricket bat!

...We're good again. Exercise is what's keeping me up and going, but I watch what I eat too. I don't count calories like a crazy person. I shouldn't have to whip out a calculator every time I want a snack. I just don't go nuts. For example: if Lauren has a slice of pecan pie with chocolate chips, corn syrup and bourbon (my inner Homer is drooling in respectful remembrance), should she also have a root beer float? Is two plus two thirty-one? I really don't care about calories. I just care about what I know is good and what I know is bad. Vegetables and fruit - good. Vegetables and fruit deep fried, dipped in gravy, drizzled with chocolate sauce and served on ice cream with a side of bacon - bad. (And guaranteed this is what the Minnesota state fair will be serving in the years to come.)

Weight loss is hard. It can't be solved by eating only avocados or buying into expensive programs. I got tired of all those quick fixes jumping at me from all directions. So I'm proving them wrong, and doing it the long way. And if any of them try to make me stray from my journey, well, I have my cricket bat.

And then while they're knocked out I'll color their faces with marker.

The World Falls Apart

You know, you really have never experienced a 50's microcosm until you've entered a Joann Fabrics. The hubby and I went down the other day to buy our very first sewing machine, something akin to picking out your first car with several reckless driving tickets under your belt. Allow me to explain.

My first attempt at sewing was an impossible endeavor, to say the least. I was around 16 when I wanted to attend the renaissance festival with some of my high school buddies, and like my cohorts I required some period wear (because everyone knows that dressing as a wench helps you get into character to speak the queen's british accent). I picked out a pattern and fabric with my mom, and swore on my pinky finger that I would help sew every bit. At the time I imagined a sewing machine to be much like some kind of magical robot. One that came equipped with a large chute attached to the side. I would dump the fabric down the chute, insert the pattern with the appropriate measurements, and out would pop my costume. I estimated that this sewing machine would help my mom and I tackle the project in two to three hours, with ice cream to be had afterward to celebrate a job well done.

The inevitable result, of course, was an infinite amount of screaming on both our parts. Me, because I was convinced that all needles hated me, and why did I have to hand baste-stitch that part when the machine could do it for me, and ironing was stupid, and this was taking entirely too long. And my mom, because what did you think this was going to be like, Lauren, and be patient, and because I said so, and we are not having ice cream. The mother-daughter costume session was never attempted again.

So with that scenario in mind, join me in the sewing machine section of the store, where I have just told the saleswoman that I can't even sew a button. She is staring me down as if I'm some kind of half-dead, shell of a woman. Or possibly a crossdressing spy. She is further confused when I explain to her that my husband, who was forced to take home ec. in high school, actually knows much more about sewing and quilting than I do, and that me buying a machine is akin to an English major buying a chemistry set. After what I'm sure was a severe inner struggle, she offers to set up the Singer machine we've chosen, and show me how to thread it. By this point, she has focused her attention on me and is vigorously trying to hammer the basics into my head (I imagine that some kind of seamstress missionary personality has taken over by now in a desperate attempt to save me from by barbaric ways. My husband, by the way, has been completely ejected from the conversation and is now roaming the yarn aisles.).

The mini-lesson lasted about five minutes, and in all sincerity was very helpful. I joined back up with my significant other and we tried to make our get away through the check-out. We had much the same event sans the sewing lesson. Although this woman, upon learning that my husband sewed, asked about the type of sewing. I must admit, he really missed his chance to come back with a straight faced "leather fetishwear". I think though, the confusing gender roles was enough to weird out female employees.

I have a sewing lesson scheduled for Monday, and I'm really tempted to go in with my hand all bandaged up in guaze. "Well, I can thread the machine now, but how do I stop the needle from going through my fingers?" Oh yes, and I'll be wearing a leather pants suit with a tie.


They Could Be Fembots
I have a new short-term goal in life: go to the Tilted Kilt. For those you who don't know, the Tilted Kilt is the Scottish version of Hooters. Many a time I have heard that the waitresses are required to start up and/or join conversations with you. I never believed it was true until my husband came back from a coworker outing there last night. Here are his observations:

1. The tops the waitresses wear have some kind of foam padding in them that are comparable to "bra architecture". This creates what we have deemed a "boob shelf". Yup. Boobs that you could set things on.

2. It is true that the waitresses have to buddy up with your table and engage in conversation.

3. The waitresses are about 80% boobage, 10% legs, and 10% various internal organs. Their brains are located somewhere in their cleavage and focus more or less on frat boy topics.

Now, perhaps there are some very intelligent Tilted Kilters out there - just as there are intelligent strippers and, VERY occasionally, porn stars. However, combine the above general rules of the restaurant, and you have fun just waiting to happen. The still surviving college portion of my brain is shaking the rest of me, begging to have some fun with these ladies. You see, I am of the opinion that if you're boobs are doing all the work for you at your job, you need a more challenging atmosphere. I desperately want to hold a book discussion of "A Brief History of Time" and see just how these women attempt to talk their way into that one. Or even better, randomly switch to Spanish in the middle of a phrase, making sure to use English only for unimportant portions ("Estaba allí last night con mi amigo que disfrazó como Jesus. Y él banged el vaso right on the table. Luego fue in the bathroom para take his clothes off y ponerse su ropa normal. I told him no le importaba porque he was naked abajo la ropa all the time anyway.")

Most likely this will always remain a fantasy of mine, as my impromptu comedy skills have always been pretty lax. But I can always dream. And if I ever get to it. You can be assured that it will show up here, so that no one ever reads about it but me.


Ooh! I Leveled Up!

The Final Fantasy series should really not be as addictive as it is. And you know it's addictive when you spend a good deal of gaming talk complaining about the sparsely located save points, ridiculously long cut-scenes, and overly complicated plot line, and you STILL play for hours at a time.

Wow. I am a geek.


*#@! You Mr. Sun!

I know that the sun has been worshiped for centuries as a bringer of light, life, blah, blah, blah. Today it does not deserve to be worshiped. Today the sun is invoking its wrath on everything that dares to wear light-absorbing colors. It's HOT! No, hot is too general of a description. This is the particular temperature that causes a massive exodus indoors. One where people take shelter for so long that after a while they forget that it is hell on earth outside and venture out the door, and upon feeling the boiling heat invade every bone in their body, retreat back to their holes. I myself have been sitting around doing nothing all day. I also got a burst of energy and decided to get dressed and get moving. Moving then became akin to doing jumping jacks in a pool full of taffy - wasn't going to happen. Explaining why I am once again basking in Artic-esque temperatures underneath the air conditioner.

By the way, this will all repeat come winter.

Coffee High

Walking down the coffee aisle of the supermarket has, and always will be, pure bliss. I absolutely LOVE the smell of coffee. I indulge myself, and disturb passing shoppers, by sticking my nose only millimeters away from the bags to get a good whiff of each one. And it's not just the beans I enjoy. Coffee candles. Coffee ice cream. Coffee perfume (Okay, so I've yet to encounter that last one). I really do gravitate toward the odor. An equally pleasing added benefit to this fetish of mine, is that I DESPISE the taste of coffee. You might be asking yourself exactly how the hating of coffee ever helped anyone. Take this into consideration: never will I have to spend a good chunk of income on grounds, special mugs, grinders, filters, makers, or even espresso machines. Any future children of mine will be able to afford one more college class. ("Mom, I don't even need to take Italian-Mongolian Cross Cultural Studies 101. I'll have all the credits I need by summer. And besides, I'm majoring in nuclear engineering." "Donna Joe III, your father and I put in years of not liking coffee for you to have this opportunity. You'll take that class, and be darn happy we never set foot inside a Starbucks!")

Until yesterday I had never really come up with a way to harness the awesome smell of coffee without actually drinking it. But then it hit me like the fifth espresso shot before final exams. People put all kinds of things in pots for fake flowers. Why not coffee beans? Guests will come in and say, "My, I can tell someone has been brewing coffee. And what a lovely fake orchid." Granted, they might be a little disappointed to discover that there isn't actually any French Roast of which to partake. On the upshot though, they will be awake enough for me to entertain them... as soon as I can pull my nose out of the flower pot.


Rapping Sordid Seamonkies

I never thought that this would take so long. Bloggers must spend a good chunk of their lives looking for just the right template. I swear that it has taken me at least half an hour of searching to come up with this one. And really this is the one that just happened to have the least junk on it. There are odd phrases on many of them. Especially "RSS Feed". I have been speculating as to the meaning of the acronym and so far have come up with the following suggestions:

1. Rats Slowly Siphoning
2. Really, Shutup Sara
3. Rumpled Satin Sheets

I don't think any of these are remotely close. But I really don't think I want to go beyod the mere basics. I'm sure there are people out there who learn how to actually decipher the matrix of symbols in the HTML box. I feel like those people really have discovered some alternate universe. One where the computer phrase "+[kitty/farm]='22Bshoe'" will make a dancing elephant pop up on the monitor. Then there are those, and mind you, I've only heard about them in urban legends, who can supposedly write their own blurbs of technical gibberish. Not even blurbs, but whole novels worth. But thank goodness those people don't really exist.