Sunday, February 22, 2009

I guess they'd also be crushed by high heels

Oscar Commentary:

K10:
But why aren't there centipedes at the red carpet?
Me: Too hot. Their bodies would dry out
K10: They need to get it together!


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Plywood graffiti...

...reaches a larger audience than a bathroom stall.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm way better at bike riding now


Aside from two blocks on a yellow commie bike in Copenhagen, I hadn't ridden a bike in at least two years when I found one in my rental house. (I also found cans of Diet Rite Root Beer and a fine collection of spices from the 1980s in that house). While biking around Ithaca, I immediately developed a new trick while frantically pedaling to catch the bus when I was late for class: slipping, smashing my heels into the metal pedals and tearing the skin on my heels. The key to the trick was repeating it as soon as the wounds were healing.

One rainy night, I thought riding my bike the opposite way down a one-way street seemed like the best possible route, or at least fastest, to go home quickly before I had to work at the bar. I was paying attention to the cars in the actual street, and failed to notice a minivan that was parking until it was too late. I screamed, let go of the handle bars, allowing my bike to drop but still caused me to crash into the hood of the van. A little kid standing on the sidewalk asked if I was ok. The driver asked if I was ok. I muttered "yeah." The little kid started pointing at me and laughing. I decided walking my bike home would be a good idea. Later that night, I was digging through my bag and panicked when I saw that my glasses case was completely smashed. My glasses were fine, and whatever impact they suffered made them slip down my nose less.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Where cheese comes from

Venturing out of the ferry terminal on Staten Island

I do love art, but when it comes to museums I'd much rather look at pickled animals in jars.

The Staten Island museums delivers! Not only do they have dinosaur footprints, Native American artifacts, but they have glass jars with squid eggs, a flying squirrel, a hammerhead shark, and many more...

Oh sweet irony.

Staring like the Care Bears.


Never leave home without your matchbox full of rabbit droppings. These were on a shelf with the rind of a giant lemon and...

...a four-footed chicken. The chicken and magnified rocks were both pretty hypnotizing, but the minerals were more sparkly. (Though while talking to K10 later, she and I decided that rating how things ranked against a four-footed chicken is a really great way to measure awesomeness).

The entrance has a wall of several hundred insects, near a display of the horrors of the Asian long-horned beetle. These butterflies will not decimate forests...or will they?

Shadowboxes full of taxidermy animals is probably the only tradition I'd like to bring back from the Victorian era.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cousins' and mythical beasts

The allure of the stumpy cow statue was too great. We wanted a hot meal, and it was coming from a restaurant named Cousins'.

Marcie, Cody, Garrett and I were heading back to Portland from the Sasquatch music fest in George, Washington. It was the year before Sasquatch turned into a four day fest, when it was just a standard festival show with two stages and lots of bands. Six years later, I'm still trying to figure out why Coldplay headlined over Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips or Jurassic 5. The venue is called the Gorge, and it's completely worth the five to six hour drive from Portland.



As much as the town "George, Washington" screams "booming metropolis," The Gorge is surrounded by absolutely nothing. You have to spend the money to camp at in the official venue campground, which is just a field with banks of port-o-potties. There aren't even old logging roads to park on or a terrible state campground. The only thing around except the venue are farms where Jethro's wife comes out to tell you not to park on her property to eat cold pizza out of the cooler that's jamming into your side while you're shoved into the back of a Volkswagen.

We drove up the night before Sasquatch and the four of us crammed into a two-person tent that Marcie's parents got as a wedding present. (Garrett only made it into the tent for a night and a half--he fell asleep face down in the grass in front of the tent for part of the second night). When we were about to crash the first night, we stared in disbelief at the tent door flopping over. I dug through the trunk and found my duct tape, wrapped a piece around the front pole, pulled off a long strip, slapped the tape down to the hood of my mom's Golf, and said "Everybody in."



On the way home, we stopped to frolic around the concrete Stonehenge replica at the Maryhill Museum.



About a half hour after crossing the bridge back into Oregon, we were in The Dalles, where the gas station bathrooms sell Love Kits for a quarter. We noticed Cousins' on the way up to Sasquatch, and on the way back, we couldn't deny the towering roadside sign or the livestock statues.



The hostess said, "Howdy Cousins!"

When our waiter came to the table, he said, "How are you cousins doing today?"

The menu told a convoluted story about the restaurant's origins: There was a group of cousins who were close and opened Cousins' together to serve up homestyle food and make everyone who came there feel like they were one of the cousins too...I hoped the wait staff didn't cheat at board games like my actual cousins. I let the story of the founding slide, but I had a pressing question when the waiter came back to get our order.

"Random question: Why is the word "halibut" in quotation marks on the "Real 'halibut' fish and chips?," I asked and pointed to my menu.

"I don't know," he said. "But yeah, that's weird. I promise it's real fish."

We ordered veggie burgers and salads.

Abe Lincoln loves going to the food court

Circa March 2003, here is an Abraham Lincoln impersonator I saw walking through a mall food court in Boston like it was no big deal. The picture is small and blurry because I was going on stalker mode, but I totally saw him.



Three days before this, I worked a the "Lincoln Days" dinner at my catering job for the Republicans of Tompkins County. I walked back into the servery, and Abe was sitting at my boss's desk eating dinner before going out to give the Gettysburg Address.

(I've got some more recent photos the world needs to see, but I'm having technical difficulties...mainly that I need to find batteries for my camera and figure out how to upload pics from my phone. I haven't tried that hard to solve either problem. Yet.)

Cat Fancy

In the sixth grade, the girl sitting next to me spent a bit of free time in class pouring over an issue of Catmopolitan, Cat Fancy, or one of those other magazines filled with pictures of kitties that are a step above dressing the cats up as people. Out of curiosity and confusion, I glanced over her shoulder.

With her eyes still focused on the magazine, she said, "My cat's in here."
"Really?" I said. "That's pretty cool."
"Well," she said, "I just pretend. But she should be because she's a princess."

I said nothing. This continued to be my tactic with this girl through the rest of middle school and high school.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Things I despise more than I should...



Chapter 34: VARIATIONS ON REGULAR COOKIE RECIPES THAT JUST ARE JUST COOKIE CUTTERS


In most cookbooks, there are recipes for shaped cookies like krumcakes or madelines that require special pans for their trademark shape. But within the same section are recipes for cookies like "Peanut butter dinosaurs" or "Alphabet cookies" and other things to snack on while doing paint by numbers. Guess what? Peanut butter dinosaurs are just peanut butter cookies cut out with a T. Rex cutter! You know the ingredients needed for alphabet cookies? Sugar cookie dough and alphabet cookie cutters.

I freaking love shaped cookies (see "Really important decision making"), but the word "cookie cutter" is a euphemism for "painfully boring and standard." Even if you're not that artistic or creative, you should have enough of a grasp on the world to think, "Oh hey! my kid likes butterflies and chocolate cookies! Maybe I should combine the two!" or "It's Christmas, so trees would be appropriate and festive " or "I'm gonna make bird and hammer shaped chocolate chip cookies just 'cause it'll be awesome." This year, slipped some Christmas bunnies into the standard holiday shapes, what 'cha gonna about it, Better Homes and Gardens?

Things I am missing

Since moving into my current apartment last May, the following items have completely vanished:
*my gold heels
*my gray heels
*my brown leather jacket
*most of our small spoons, we're down to three.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"When you are engulfed in flames"

I finally finished the newest David Sedaris book, When You are Engulfed in Flames. His twisted sense of humor and snarky asides are what originally got me hooked on his writing. But what makes it "kick ass" vs. "just funny" is his ability to meander while talking about a subject and ending with a single sentence that somehow ties every tangent into the main point in a natural way.

My single favorite sentence from the book will most likely stick out in this passage from his Japanese class while he and his bf were staying in Tokyo:

"In New York or Paris, these machines would be trashed," I told him.
The Indonesian raised his eyebrows.
"He means destroyed," Christophe said. "Persons would break the glass and cover
everything with graffiti."
The Indonesian student asked why, and we were hard put to explain.
"It's something to do?" I offered.
"But you can read a newspaper," the Indonesian said.
"Yes," I explained, "but that wouldn't satisfy your basic need to tear something apart."



(quote is on page 281 of the book)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Alex Trebek doesn't care anymore

Tonight, there was a "Jeopardy" category called "Rhymes with Dora the Explorer." The questions were things like: "If Dora makes rough breathing noises while taking a nap, she might just be this new character" and the answer was "Dora the Snorer."

You look like Scrabby Doo

video

My stand-in Scooby seemed indifferent to my mystery solving skills.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Zoos

The Bronx Zoo

Posing for a cereal bag.

Nature walk through The Bronx.

I can keep them away with a two foot fence.

Broken rules.

A little girl asked me about taking the tram. I told her she had to get tickets someplace. Then I realized that she must've thought I worked at the zoo because of my brown dress. But I thought the "Bug Carousel" was going to be the insect zoo, and not a carousel with insects instead of horses. I was still excited.

The zebras had no animal shaped cookies. Nor did any other place in the zoo.

Tigers actively hunt humans.


In the butterfly garden, I told some little kids what Eric Carle had been lying to them about: butterflies come out of a chrysalis and moths come out of cocoons.

I got inducted into the pollination hall of fame, no big deal.

The National Zoo


I went to the National Zoo in DC on one of the hottest days of the year. I didn't even want to be outside, so I didn't blame the animals for hiding.

Lion impression

So that's a panda. It looked animatronic.


Real animals=too hot to see. Statue animals = too hot to touch.


Panda pose.

Abstinence Only and Chaperoned Dates, part 3

Last night, the fine people of TLC brought their normal Tuesday night line up of two (!!) episodes of 17 Kids and Counting and Toddlers and Tiaras...that's two full hours of watching life decisions I'd never make for myself or anyone else! The Learning Channel, indeed.

Toddlers and Tiaras, "Miss Georgia Spirit"


Little Marleigh is two years old, and her mother Amy said she called her a pageant girl right after she was born. "She just loves it," Amy assures us, as Marleigh kicks and screams and refuses to stand while Amy tries to get her to stand on Xs in the backyard to practice. Amy said she'd keep entering Marleigh in pageants until Marleigh said she didn't want to do it anymore.

Six year old Kayleigh was my favorite. Her mom, Natalie, refused to put make up on her. Kayleigh had no coach, no hair dresser, no custom made clothes. She just walked onto the stage on competition day with an attitude like she she was going to the zoo. She actually looked like a kid playing dress up, versus a kid trying to be a creepy, stylized version of an adult. When Kayleigh had on her shiny blue dress for the evening wear competition, she said the crinoline was uncomfortable. She refused to smile again until her mom helped her take off the stiff petticoat. Guess who won in her division...

Meanwhile, on competition day, Marleigh squirmed and tried to run away every time Amy changed her clothes or brought her out on stage. After the casual wear portion, Amy tried to put lip gloss on Marleigh, and Marleigh screamed and smacked Amy in the face. If those tiny fists of fury don't translate to "I don't want to be in pageants anymore," then nothing short of a heroin addiction is going to get through to Amy.

Abstinence Only and Chaperoned Dates, part 2

Last night, the fine people of TLC brought their normal Tuesday night line up of two (!!) episodes of 17 Kids and Counting and Toddlers and Tiaras...that's two full hours of watching life decisions I'd never make for myself or anyone else! The Learning Channel, indeed.


17 Kids and Counting, "O Come, All ye Duggars"


It's a very Duggar Christmas in February! The Duggar family enters a local parade and and creates a living nativity scene as their float entry. Not to give away the end of the episode, but they win first place for the religious category. But how can you beat a float that had twice the number of characters as any fake nativity scene, plus a monkey, a donkey and several camels.

While Michelle took a van load of offspring to sign up for the parade, little Johannah sprinted down the driveway after the van, screaming that she wanted to go. I know you do, Johannah. I know you're going to run away by age twelve because you're already over this at age three, like when you screamed inappropriately in Central Park, hoping that someone would hear you and take you to a family where your father doesn't go through two cans of Aqua Net a month and where you won't meet your future spouse at a home schooling conference.

The oldest Duggar child, Josh, and his new wife Anna played Mary and Joseph on the float. As they curled up next to the donkey, holding the plastic baby Jesus during the parade, Josh gave Anna a kiss. Anna had the same look of "What have I done" on her face as she did on their wedding day, when they shared their first kiss at the alter. It's the look of a woman who went from holding hands to losing the V-card in the span of a night, and still has no idea how to process the feelings, sensations or thoughts about the physical aspects of her marriage.

Abstinence Only and Chaperoned Dates, part 1

Last night, the fine people of TLC brought their normal Tuesday night line up of two (!!) episodes of 17 kids and counting and toddlers and tiaras...that's two full hours of watching life decisions I'd never make for myself or anyone else! The Learning Channel, indeed.


17 Kids and Counting, "A Duggar in the Rough"

The Duggars loaded up the bus and traveled to Murfreesboro, Arkansas to the aptly named Crater of Diamonds State Park to...dig for diamonds in a crater. All eight girls were properly dressed to walk through the muddy crater, meaning they were decked out in their ankle-length skirts. Joy Anna frowned when she saw all of the mud, telling the camera crew that playing in the mud was "more of a boy thing." I'm so sorry JoyAnna, that you were expecting a big pile of diamonds like it was star sprinkle mountian, not that you've seen Rainbow Brite because your parents limit your access to TV. Finding diamonds requires sifting and digging, and it beats being lowered into a tiny cave like Penny had to do in The Rescuers, not that you've seen that either.

Instead of blaming JoyAnna for her automatic disgust of getting dirty, I'll blame the science lessons she gets during home school from Michelle. In the episode "Trading Places, Duggar Style*," Michelle talks about the family's gender stratificaion in the division of labor, and how the biological differences between boys and girls which dictates what kind of chores and activities a person enjoys doing. This means that girls love to clean bathrooms, while boys are better suited for working on cars. So you're right JoyAnna, you're a girl, you have the "harp playing" gene instead of the "searching for buried treasure" gene.

Jim Bob and Michelle talked about what a great educational opportunity learning about how diamonds are made was for their children, until the park rangers told them that the Crater of Diamonds was several million years old. Jim Bob and Michelle both laughed and told the cameras that sometimes they encounter information that goes against their beliefs, like the one about the world being seven thousand years old. After all, the bible is a far more accurate system of measurement than the fossil record or carbon dating.




*Duggar-style is also the term for when a man has to please himself manually during intercourse because the woman's vagina is so stretched from popping out children.