Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Is Not Leaving Fast Enough

Just this morning I got locked out of my apartment in my PJs with NO BRA, BAREFOOT, WEARING ABOUT TWO OUNCES OF CLOTHING, completely locked out, in the Freezing Rain, while Titan threw up the Chinese lead-infused candy he was too dumb NOT to eat into the grass and the Man Who Brings Lawsuits (aka the Postman) walked inexorably towards us.

Please hurry up, 2010. THANK YOU.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Christmas Eve, about noon, and I'm lazing around the house, putting my gifts together. My tree is decorated all in tasteful gold, my presents from Korea are carefully wrapped, my pretty Roccoco boxes of French lavender drawer liners and fancy soap sit on my sunlit white cafe table. There is some confusion of wrapping paper, looking lovely in the sunlight. James Galway's flute strains, backed by the Royal Philharmonic BBC Choir, serenade me from the computer. I'm emptying out some trash when my next-door neighbor opens his door.

"Hey, why aren't you singing right now?" he says, smiling at me. I smile back.

"You didn't put your request in," I said, and he laughs and turns his attention to my roommate, who is wagging his tail and giving Paul the big begging eyes. "Hey, Titan! Come here, big fella."

Titan runs in and I follow into...Bachelor Pad Craziness.

Eminem BLARES from the laptop, brown leather coats and shoes lay flung about everywhere, and the kitchen has two burners going at once as Paul makes onion jam for Christmas presents. He shoves the pan at me. "You need to have some of this," he says. "Just stick your finger in it. Usually I make it with red onion, but this is milder--good with all kinds of cheeses, although my favorite is blue. Oh, and have a cookie. They're good. Homemade frosting, too."

"Mm-hmm," I say, following instructions.

"Did I tell you about the BLAH BLAH BLAH," he says, adding to the noise level, dumping onion jam into a glass jar and getting some on the counter, which he wipes up faster than I can blink. He breaks off his stream to say, "...huh. Not a very pretty color."

"I have ribbon," I said, and left to get it. My light, white and blue apartment, accessorized with light flute music, of course has a specifically designated wrapping paper box, which I utilized.

Back to the brown leather and loud and gangsta rap I go, four ribbon spools in hand. Paul fusses with the ribbon, shirtless, wearing cap, leather cuff, jeans, and sneakers. He finally glues it in place. "Martha Stewart would be proud," he says, turning up the 2Pac.

It's been a while since I lived with boys, or next to boys, and it's a lot of fun, to see them at home, to see what they do and don't do. Not all boys cook like Paul, obviously, but all of them do something fascinating. And today is a moment which, like all moments, might not be repeated. My apartment is hardly ever this clean or this peaceful; I don't often sit by the window, pensive, with a cup of coffee. (Okay, so I do that on a regular basis.) But I don't THINK of myself as having a peaceful, girly space. I play Xzibit on a regular basis. I turn my music up LOUD. I have people over.

Just in a different way.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Say hi to your neighbor for me.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Better Love Letter, to a Different City

I've seen a lot of really good love letters to New York City, but this one has to be among the top five in history.

Alicia Key's soaring vocals SLAY me.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Love Letter

Tonight is one of those nights that make living in the Pacific Northwest seem worth the other 364 nights of the year. It must be 50 degrees out there, and softly humid with kissing mist. Titan and I walked a long way, sniffing things, looking at things. Broadway is pretty quiet tonight so far, which either means we're in for a quiet night--possible--or this will turn out to be one of those nights in which sirens are still going at 3 in the morning. Could go either way.

On the way to the park we passed a group of hipsters making fun of the urban cowboy in front of them--oh, sweet irony. Right in front of us a drug deal happened, two guys touching hands for a brief moment. I counted five separate people walking home--or wherever they were headed--with full Dick's bags, sipping on milkshakes. And then, while eyeing Roy Street Coffee House as I walked by, thinking about taking my laptop there later, I heard the words "airshow" behind me.

I made Titan slow down, trying to catch the snippets of conversation the couple was having. "They just rolled it out because they'd promised the airlines," one guy said. "Just for the show!" And that was all I could get, even though I tried to follow them--the wind shifted and I couldn't walk closely enough to overhear without stepping on their heels.

It's a misty city, dark 16 hours a day in the winter, with coffee and internet and drug deals and classic hamburger drive-ins, and it's still a company town. And it's MINE.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More Milestones!

Woman! Woe, man. Whoa-ho-ho-ho-ho man.

My birthday was celebrated by friends, food, and wine, and my applications are done and submitted and I have nothing to do tonight and really, life could not be better. Now if the Tank just gets fixed, I will be UNSTOPPABLE. I haven't yet iced my fingers, but that might happen tonight after I rearrange my apartment.

Yes, I planned on rearranging my apartment this evening. I know. I'm not holding my breath, either.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Ladies and Gentlemen: As of TODAY, I am twenty-nine years old. Hooray!

What am I doing about it, you ask? At midnight this morning I was salsa-dancing, and now I'm busting my rear trying to get my grad school applications done. I'd post, but I've typed so much in the past week that my fingers are going to fall off. And I've been at work for nine hours and I have another hour to go.

So if you need me, I'll be over here, drinking a glass of wine and putting my fingers on ice. Thanks.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Winter Hates My Skin, But I Love Products

Wow, a lot of "hate" posts today. Whatever. I like things, I swear--there's good things around me. I'll list some of those, too. Yes, I said List. Because from time to time it's nice to do one of these round-up type of posts about what products I use. (The men in my audience have already left. Hey, come back here! I swear I will talk about Jay-Z later.)

SERIOUSLY, people. We're a nation of consumers and even though I'm trying not to be, these days, there's a few things that are making my life a lot easier right now and I wanted to give credit where credit was due. And the first item I even discovered because I ran out of lotion and refused to by more, so it's RECESSION-CHIC, and that item is:

1. Coconut oil. No fancy brand names here, no sirree. I got the big black tub at Whole Foods back in my vegan days; look for any brand that says "virgin" and "organic". Coconut oil, if you're not vegan and have never heard of it, is solid at room temperature and looks a little like lard; it's white and sort of translucent. It's used in place of butter in most vegan baking and cooking, and it's the BOMB, is what it is. There's a lot of websites that praise coconut oil in near-religious accolades, but you don't have to believe all that hype. I dug my two-year-old jar out of my fridge because I ran out of lotion and since it's barely 35 degrees, my skin will not--NOT--survive without moisturizer. I break off chunks of the oil and rub it on like an ice cube--it melts just fine, and it really works, soaking in evenly and not dripping oil spots on my clothes, and yes, I even put it on my face. But I am a) obsessed with finding single-ingredient things to put on my skin, and b) unafraid to use things like solid oil. I dug my deodorant out of a jar and rubbed it on my underarms with my fingertips for a whole year. I put arrowroot flour in my hair. (Works great as a dry shampoo! Doesn't count as a "liquid" when you travel!) I'm weird.

2. Soy Eggnong. (Silk makes the best one.) Want to drink eggnog but don't want to consume three days worth of saturated fat? Silk has your back. And it's so tasty. Good in coffee.

3. V-8 juice and powdered green mix. Speaking of weird things, I'm also one of those people that likes green smoothies with the weird textures, and powdered green mixes are no exception. I have one from Madison Market, here in Seattle, right now. I'm sure Whole Foods has an equally good house brand. I mix into orange juice along with Vitamin D drops, and I feel actually better after just a day or two of regular use. It MAKES A DIFFERENCE. And V-8 juice just because, hey, veggies are good for you and they're hard to eat raw in the winter. Eating right is one of those things that has to be done EVERY DAY to make a difference, but when you manage to do it for a couple weeks in a row, you wonder why your hair and nails and skin look so great and why you're sleeping better at night, and then you stop eating healthy and sink into a coffee-fueled downward spiral and you wonder what happened. Don't do that.

4. Silk long underwear from REI. A lot better than the stuff from Eddie Bauer, I think. And it raises my core temperature by at least a crucial three degrees.

5. Hats. I LOVE a good hat, and even a bad hat. I wear hats every day that I can possibly get away with them. (All weekend. And I'm thinking of starting to wear them at work.) One of the best things about it being cold is that I can wear hats EVEN MORE.

6. Cashmere. Yes, I know, this is such a SATC-girl thing to put down, it's SO worth the money. Even so, I only have a little bit and I got all my pieces on huge extreme sale. I took a navy cashmere hoodie to Thailand and it weighed about as much as a sneeze and instantly elevated every outfit I wore, and I never overheated. I wore a cashmere SHORT-SLEEVED T-shirt dress out last night over a pair of jeans and I was plenty warm, just sitting in the restaurant. It has some sort of magical heat-sensing addition or something. Cashmere is worth every penny, and you will never take off whatever you put on. I want socks and gloves and armwarmers and legwarmers of this magical stuff.

7. Fresh skin care. Everything I've tried from this line, I've loved. It's super expensive--like, gaspingly expensive, and I don't care. It's amazing.

8. Rose Salve lip balm. Best chapstick ever, and in fact, the only one that works. And it has a bit of shine.

9. Gangster rap. (See? Jay-Z!) Actually I have Kardinal Offishall Not4Sale on repeat right now, and it raises my whole apartment temperature by at least two degrees. Lots of energy.

Things I'm Over:

1. Zeno. This never made a difference for me, ever. It might now that I have less bumpy skin and only have a few concentrated spots, but I've already given up and sold mine.

2. Clarisonic. I might dig out my "sensitive skin" brush and give this another try, far, not impressed.

3. The Furminator. This has to be wielded in expert hands to make much of a difference. I have a great big teardrop-shaped serrated comb that works just as well and covers more area. (And was probably a tenth of the price.) And like I said, Titan mainly gets groomed by pros anyway.

4. All other forms of chapstick besides Rose Salve. I swear every other kind--even a Neutrogena kind I brought back from FRANCE--just dries my lips up more and makes my skin fall off in flakes. Gross.


1. Wool socks. My cotton ones are useless; my toes are going numb.
2. Wool gloves.
3. ANOTHER coat. My Mom is about to kill me--she just found me an awesome coat and I love it, but it's too formal for walking around the city in sneakers and a baseball hat. It looks weird. For more Titan-walking-appropriate occasions, I want a puffy waist-length one with a big hood and a fur trim around the hood.

Not much, right? Anyone else have wish-list items or product recommendations?

Check It. And I Hate on Nickels.

When you check out magazines from the library, they give you an awesome bag!


And yes, I took this picture on the bus. The bus is warmer than the Tank. Plus the Tank was downtown, chilling (HA!) on Western, recovering from carrying a great deal of food and luggage down to C's place over the weekend. I was on my way to GET the Tank and I missed a bus, and I burned fifteen minutes in the Library, which was thankfully open because the City Council added $863,000 dollars back to the library budget.

Also, when you read that article, note two things: 1. Seattle's libraries are USED, people, and 2. Nickels is a douchebag.

Friday, December 04, 2009

We Interrupt This Broadcast

Hello. It is freezing here. Seriously, it was 29 degrees this morning. I am frozen to the bone. And the blower on the Tank is out, so the heat just...drifts...out of the vents. And that car is not particularly airtight in the first place. (My mother is composing a worried email right now. I'M FINE, MOM.)

But put "Gloves" on the Christmas list, will you? Nice wool (NOT COTTON) ones with a leather palm and maybe some leather pads on the inner fingers, and if isn't too much trouble, could they be the fingerless kind with the mitten top that buttons over? Because those are AWESOME.

I'm not particular as to color.

On to the home life: Titan has recently been to the groomer. This is one of those very small things in my life that I totally struggle with because I apparently don't have enough things to think about. (Not true. But it is one of the quirks of the human brain that we focus on, say, laundry, and not on, say, the human rights violations in Burma.) Anyway. Titan's hair situation is beyond even the imaginings of most pet owners. He is part German Shepherd and part Husky, and one of the banes of his existence is that he doesn't live somewhere like the North Pole, where he could fall asleep in a nice comfortable snow storm. Instead I insist at keeping my house at 70 at least. I keep trying to brush him out myself--and yes, I have the Furminator--but without getting the hair wet and then blow-drying it out, you just can't get at the really deep undercoat. I could Furminate him once a week, if I was that kind of girl. (I'm not.) So the POINT is that yes, I pay someone else to brush him out, and I'M OKAY WITH IT, DAMMIT.

And maybe I should sell my grooming equipment.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Seoul Relief

I left Hell--and I mean that in the best possible way--early Wednesday morning. Six hours later I was back on Planet Earth, getting some Seoul, and I was freezing. Hell may be Hell, but at least it's warm. Seoul was relieving in every possible way--it was a first world country, it was calm, and it was so cold it was like plunging into an ice water bath--which, after Hell, was necessary in many respects.

C was filling out her her health card in Seoul this morning and she turned to me. "Is it the 25th?" she asked.

"All day," I replied, and sure enough, 24 hours later it was STILL the 25th.

And now I'm back in God's country. The Cascades rise up like a knife of judgment. "I lift my eyes up to the hills; from where does my help come?"

I don't believe in heaven and hell as externalities to our own reality, but Bangkok turned out to be exactly what I think of as Hell, and again I mean that in the best possible way. There is serious beauty in Thailand, and even right in Bangkok, and there are also more soul-twisting opportunities than I've ever seen. Filthy street dogs laid out, begging, as farangs negotiated with prostitutes. Taxi drivers never turn their meters on, instead attempting to get you to pay three times the price a ride is worth--or take you on a "tour" of restaurant, jewelery shops, and whore-houses. The farang streets are lined with pirated electronics, and the streets themselves are teeming with voracious bugs and bacteria. Every transaction is a negotiation, you can't drink the water, and you have to bargain just for the air you breathe. The culture clash hovers over the city like a black cloud. Almost everything you hear is a lie, even from guides who seem to be on your side--they'll just tell you whatever they think you want to hear. The Western idea of Truth is non-existent. You're struggling between constant frustration and constant amazement, which leads to constant Singha. The native Thais hate you and desperately need you simultaneously, and they know it.

It's a weird town.

And now you're saying, "Sounds like you hated it." Well, it's not that simple. Bangkok is a 24-hour party. (And I dearly love to party.) You can walk around a grocery store with an open beer in your hand at 9 am, and many people do--and not just farangs. Everything is made easy for you, provided you do exactly what the Thais want you to do--there's no cover for any of the hottest clubs and you can feed yourself on street food for three dollars a day. A pedicure and manicure costs ten dollars together. You can outfit yourself in the latest fashions for four dollars, buying yourself a new outfit, WITH SHOES, daily. Hotel rooms right on the river, with decks, are 10 bucks a night. Some of the most beautiful and famous Buddhist temples in the world are within a 10-cent, five-minute boat ride. The food is fantastic and there's a lot of really pretty people. You CAN party all the time because you can pay someone barely a dollar a day to do all your chores and clean your house. The temperature never drops below 80. And the Thais themselves don't hate you as a person, and in fact, are super-friendly. Although that can be problematic--see above--it's a real pleasure to smile at someone with whom you share nothing in common and getting a big smile in return.

So: it's too simple to just assign qualities of good or bad. It's another world, on another planet, and they do things very differently. Fascinating.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Moment of Truth

I'm in Khuraburi. It's 6 pm. I'm late for dinner. C and I are on our way to a remote jungle for two days in the morning.

And what happens?

It's moon time.

There's no TRASH in this village we're about to go to. I'll have to pack everything out.


And there's no soap.

C has some pills that her doctor gave her, just for this eventuality. They may make me crazy. They may not work at all. They may EXACERBATE the problem. C and I confer. It's the moment of truth. I roll the dice and start the pill again.

And there I am in the bathroom, hunting down a bottle of water that I can take pills with, pills I swore I'd never take again, on my way to a wooden hut in the jungle.

Me: "Dear Lord, what have I done to deserve this?"

C stands there for a moment, shocked. "Really? What HAVEN'T you done??"

Forget Everything I Said About Not Yet Being Sick

It's 11:37 pm, Monday night, here in Bangkok. Twenty-four hours from now, C and I will be catching a plane home.

I have spent so much time on boats today that the floor of the hotel here at the computer is swaying, and I haven't been drinking--much.

At least, not tonight. But a few nights ago...

5 AM, Sunday morning. I'm at an after-hours club on Khaosan Road with C and two other girls, drinking bottle service whiskey for something like 30 bucks, with a guy from Portland who loves the Huskies, who's hanging with a bunch of messed up Brits, and I decide to visit the club bathroom. (Western style toilets! Hooray!) And then, all of a sudden at the club, I'm sick, and it's not from the alcohol. I'm kneeling, miserable, wishing I hadn't gotten a drink with ice, in a foreign country where I can't drink the water with a bunch of Brits who are basically only here teaching English because they're too messed up to return to their own country, and there's tiny Thai working girls--and half of them aren't girls--throwing up in the club sinks and I am thinking, "What the hell am I doing here?"

And then this afternoon I climbed Wat Arun at sunset and almost cried, it was so beautiful.

So to say I have mixed feelings about leaving would be an understatement, but there's no better words. (And I generally know A LOT of words.) A lot of really amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experiences have happened--you tell me the last time YOU sang Amazing Grace to a village of former sea gypsies in a town so remote that you have to take a boat and then ride a tractor to get there--and nothing bad has happened at all, but Bangkok is...a beautiful mess. And did I mention it was dirty?

It's dirty and smelly and people are CONSTANTLY trying to sell you something, and they will not take no for an answer. And then there are ALSO places like Wat Arun, (Temple of the Dawn) which is one of the most...visually arresting...things I have ever seen. So it's a mixed bag of incredible beauty and incredible eyesores. And I would really like some cheese. I would like to take a BATH in melted cheese. And I want potatoes--and bread--more than I ever thought possible.

Yesterday, C and I browsed the weekend market at the far north end of Bangkok's skytrain, in which we could buy everything from pets (the animals here are worth a whole separate post) to paintings. Two days ago, I was on the remotest possible village in the middle of the night singing to gypsies. Uh huh. I sang. A lot. And then our hostess sang. I got about four seconds into the gypsy song, taping it with my camera, and I started to cry and couldn't focus the camera anymore. Two days from now I'll be holding my eyes open with toothpicks in Seoul as C and I try to navigate our twelve-hour layover, and three days from now I'll be eating turkey.

I plan to recover my sanity some time in February. Everyone should travel this way.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

IN WHICH: My Skin Freaks Out and I Mention the Word Nipple.

It's now Wednesday evening here in Kuraburi (we can't decide quite how to spell it) and between bug bites, heat and humidity, and general bacteria level (although most things are quite clean, and we certainly don't have digestion problems) my skin is rashing out like crazy. My allergic reaction to my bug bites has abated, thanks to DEET, which by the way I plan to build a shrine to when I get home, but my face, legs, and arms are taking the brunt of the new air. There were some great skin creams available over the counter in Bangkok, including excellent drugs like Differin and Retin-A that a girl would need a prescription for back at home, but I'm flying several more times before returning to Bangkok and I didn't want to check a bag yet.

Finally, in rural Thailand, here in a coastal fishing village, I realized I needed to address this growing problem and went to the local pharmacy. Here, of course, none of the labels are written in English like they are in the big Boots in Bangkok--say that three times fast--and C and I spent several amusing minutes trying to figure out which cream is good for what. We decided that most of the anti-fungal creams were actually meant for athlete's foot--in fact it was C who figured that out--and we ALSO discovered that a pharmacy in a small fishing village in rural Thailand doesn't have the best product turnover; namely, most of their stock expired in 2002. I finally bought a new-looking cream, even though the expiration date read '53--C and I hope that means 2053, or some random Thai date--that contained salicyclic acid and benzoic acid. Who knew a chemical engineering degree and a lifetime of reading skin cream labels would come in so handy? And then our world view was shaken to the core. The old man watching me buy it proceeded to make the most obscene gesture to me and C that I've ever seen. He pointed to me and rubbed his nipples.

Yes, he did.

But he didn't seem to be really leering about it--he kept gesturing to the cream. C and I finally decided that the cream was meant for nipple chafing or sore nipples, maybe for running or breastfeeding, but the ingredient list seemed so appropriate that I bought it anyway.

If I decide to use it somewhere besides my face, I will report back.

HI, MOM AND DAD! I mean, on my arms or legs or something. OBVIOUSLY.

In Which: Rural Thailand Treats Us Well

A lady on the trip with us, N, has written a really great email, so I am going to copy and paste hers below because everyone is waiting for the computer, with some edits by me. (Note: as I'm editing this, it is in fact 8:00 am, Wednesday morning.)

N SAYS: It's 4:30 on Tuesday afternoon as I'm beginning this story and we just finished our second exhausting but rewarding day of work.

We are staying in a small fishing village called Khuraburi. It is 3 hours north of Phuket and it was a very, very, long bus ride from the airport in Phuket to this place, Sunday afternoon.We began today, Tuesday, by walking around the weekly market. The 10 of us negotiated over gifts to give the children at the Burmese school we have been working at, sometimes haggling as much as 25 baht. (Less than a whole dollar.)

We moved on to a delicious breakfast in the local market--we eat there every morning--with hot thai tea and coffee, savory rice porridge with pork or shrimp, and what you might call patties of sticky rice made with coconut milk, wrapped in palm or banana leaves. AARWENN SAYS: This is real Thai cooking, and I am GAINING WEIGHT. It's all delicious, and dinner meals are spicy as heck. Our guide, and a few of us in the party, (including me) consider ourselves to be real spicy food connoisseurs, and our mouths are on fire. And it's absolutely wonderful. I wish I knew the names of the dishes so I knew what to ask for in the states at Thai restaurants, although I don't think most of them are even available. (Hi, parents and grandparents! C and I are not starving!)

Back to N: Next was our long bumpy ride on benches in the back of a "bus"--read: glorified truck--for 45 minutes. When we arrived at the school it wasn't long before the first of the children rushed out to join us in our painting, cleaning, and before long - picture taking. Three little girls took off with our camera and fashion-victim-style sunglasses and took photos of us, themselves, and their friends for the next hour or so. Those photos are priceless and I can't wait to share them.

The work is hard. It's hot. We sweat out the water faster than we can drink it. AARWENN SAYS: Which is good, because the latrines are...latrines. Holes in the ground, although they DO have ceramic or plastic "standing spots". There are about 6 of them at the school, and they vary widely in cleanliness--some are cleaner than most bar/club bathrooms back home, and some left avoided. Thailand in general has a waste management problem, and the Burmese school is in the slums, so there is trash everywhere, huge piles of it out back of all the huts. It's depressing. HOWEVER. In ONE of the latrines, one of the feral dogs has had a litter of puppies! They were born just a day or two before we arrived, if not ON our first day--they don't even have their eyes open yet. It's the little things that make the slums bearable.

Back to N: The children are overwhelming in their enthusiasm. I showed them on a map today where Seattle is, and where Thailand is. Their eyes lit up as they drew their finger across the map and saw how far we had come before showing up to help at their school and entertain them.

We have another day and a half at their school. The last day we will do a skit to teach them about recycling, and oral hygene, and then we give them their gifts of tooth brushes and toothpaste. AARWENN SAYS: Thai food is very sweet, surprisingly so, and the children do not know how to brush, so their baby teeth are rotting out faster than their permanent teeth are coming in. THAT is depressing. However, the older kids, with their permanent teeth, seem to be fine. C and I aren't sure if that's because permanent teeth have better enamel or what. In general, actually, it's obvious throughout the entire area, with both the Burmese and the Thai, that the influence of Western culture has generally had a tremendous positive influence on the health of the citizens in the area. There's a huge difference between Thais our own age, who look exactly like us, and their parents or grandparents, who look much more...rural. Like they just left their hill tribes. On the negative side, the Western culture of consummation of pre-packaged things--sodas and pre-wrapped sweets and things--has TRASHED the area, see the Waste Management problem, above. That's a much longer conversation that I won't subject all of you to right this second--this note is long enough as it is.

Back to N: Then we move on to our home stay in Tung Dap where we will be staying with former people who come from a history of Sea Gypsys who lived aboard their boats. They will be much more modest, but it will be our first time to spend at the beach. They will do a traditional dance for us on the first night we are there--we are all looking forward to this.

AARWENN SAYS: It is hot, for sure, but surprisingly bearable, or maybe we're just getting used to it. And we are fairly covered up--capri pants and short-sleeved shirts--for modesty and to not stand out too much, but again, it is bearable. There is exotic wildlife everywhere, including geckos and the loudest cicadas I have ever met, but nothing invasive. None of us are sick, we are all working very hard, and in general, stepping outside of our comfort zones. I had no idea I would be working with kids this much, but I'm rolling with it, and our accommodations are WONDERFUL! Luxurious little huts with granite floors and gorgeous dark wood fixtures. C and I love and miss all of you. Stay tuned for the next update.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Made it!

We made it! We caught a taxi from the airport and arrived at our hotel with zero wrong turns or communication difficulties, in spite of it being only the second DAY of our taxi driver's career. (That was a fun exercise in translation, trying to figure that out. C rose well to the challenge, while I stared blankly.) It is very hot, no exaggeration; it was 2:40 am here when we arrived and it was at least 80 degrees, with 100% humidity. Customs at the airport took us very little time, in spite of my passport being four months from expired, and we are meeting our tour group tomorrow at breakfast at 8:00 am. There are little buglets everywhere, but they are shy--so far only C, who will attract the only mosquito in hundreds of miles, has a bite. Our hotel is very modern and the room is very large, with all the amenities, right on the river. Things are very, very cheap; a 25 minute taxi ride from the airport to our hotel was 15 dollars for both of us together (and we got RIPPED OFF) and bottles of beer are 1 dollar. (Roughly.) (I feel like we got our money's worth, though, since our cab had a bumper sticker of the Playboy bunny.)

We have not drunk the water--hence the beer--and we are looking forward to our day of rest tomorrow before starting our volunteer work on Sunday. Hello, from Thailand, to everyone.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Thailand in 2.5 Days!

My trip to Thailand is so close that I can start counting, accurately, in HALF days. Life is good.

There's just a few things I have to do before I leave, like, decide my entire academic future.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Dating Post! (Short and Non-Scandalous)

That's right. It's happening. And it's BORING, sorry.

Hi! I'm single. You may have noticed. Or maybe you haven't? I was dating AZ for a short time there, but I didn't really make a formal announcement, which saved me the trouble of making a formal announcement when we broke up. He's a great guy. (Hi, AZ!) But not for me.

Anyway. For those of you who read this blog mainly to catch up with my life and not for my witty commentary on Current Events, now you know what's up in my dating life. No, I'm not sitting at home alone o'nights. Yes, there's men in my life. Yes, I AM currently late for my next appointment, what makes you ask? Oh, you expected as much? Hmm. Eff you too then.

Friday, November 06, 2009

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

It was daylight when Titan and I went into the Rite-Aid. Ten minutes later we stepped out into the pitch black of a murder mystery.

I ducked under the Chase awning to pull up my hood and arrange my coffee and plastic Rite Aid bag; Titan shook his head in a futile attempt to keep water from running into his eyes. The rain was going sideways, hard enough to drown out almost everything but the collective reaction of the hundreds of people on the street, all struck dumb by the sudden downpour. It was almost too late before I could aurally distinguish the thumpa-thumpa-thumpa of the Ferrari motor, the navy blue supercar just idling down the street, from the shouts and distinctive tap-tap-tap sound of the heavy rain, and just as I turned to look at the gorgeous rear end as it passed, a giant glass splinter of lightning stabbed down from the heavens.

It was like a strobe light times a thousand and it seemed to go on forever--everyone on the street frozen, cars in the middle of parallel parking, passers-by in the middle of shouting, mouths open, and then the night darkened again and the Ferrari engine growls were forcefully woven into the cracka-BOOM of the instantaneous thunder. Apparently the storm was right on top of us, as if that wasn't already apparent with the sideways rain. Titan and I braved it home, snot running down my face from my stuffy nose and me babying my cut finger and trying to ward off hacking coughing fits and Titan taking his sweet time sniffing things, me pulling at his leash, trying to get him to just HURRY IT UP ALREADY. All around us, lightning flashed and thunder boomed and car alarms went off. By comparison, contracting swine flu eight days before I have to leave for Southeast Asia seems kind of tame.

On Writing

I've been accused, often--maybe not so much "accused" as I have been "laughably charged", as no one's really mad--that I distort the truth in these blog posts of mine. Friends who are present for an episode and then read about the episode later are always bemused. "That's not exactly what happened," they sometimes say, or else they say, "That's not ONLY what happened."

Hey: I haven't taken any oaths to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing BUT the truth (although I swear I don't make things up) and if I did, I wouldn't be writing.

Because writing by its very nature is a lie.

Or at least, it has only a passing resemblance to the truth. To what actually happened.

It's impossible, at least by amateurs like me, to really capture the wholeness of any scene taking place in Real Life. For one thing, Real Life doesn't stop or start--it's always going, always, and hundreds of back stories, side stories, and hell, cover stories are bubbling away at all times, informing every participant in the scene but totally impossible to capture in the written word. Blog posts, or novels, or newspaper columns, or whatever, have to start somewhere and end somewhere, and they have to make some kind of point. They have to illuminate a lesson or sharpen a moral truth, take 1000 words and create an etching in your mind of Real Life. A good column or blog post is 3-D; if you turn the page sideways you can almost see the image that the writer is trying to convey crystallizing over the page. A good writer sees a scene and cuts away everything that is not, in fact, the point, allowing the dimly lit kernel, the basis of human interaction, glimmer darkly from the page of newsprint.

And that is impossible to do while trying to capture every angle of every conversation said during the half an hour conversation that the writer caught and wrote down.

The best way to capture Real Life is not, in fact, to record every second of it, but instead to pull at a glowing thread, tracing it backwards, following its twists and turns and recording every second of that journey. If Life is a tapestry, good writing is about three inches of embroidery thread. Trying to describe the whole tapestry in words does not invoke images of Real Life in your audience; instead, it makes them think you can't write. Character development in novels is the same: a real 3-D character is almost too much, seems too unrealistic. It's better instead to shine a spotlight on certain characteristics at certain times and leave out most characteristics altogether.

And keeping this in mind is helpful as I try to paint a picture of Capitol Hill on this very stormy night.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Hello. My muscles ache. Like, a lot, a lot. I have a fever. I am fatigued as hell. It tires me to go up and down the stairs. I voted anyway, even though it took a lot of damn energy to walk to the mailbox. Fortunately my friends are effing AMAZING and have already brought me care packages! Seriously, you guys. My friends ROCK.

Now I just need to: a) kick the virus before I leave for Thailand, as they might not let me into the country with an elevated temperature, and b) not develop pneumonia afterwards, as I hear from anecdotal evidence is common. Popping more vitamins now.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Good Reminder

Mom, by email, Friday afternoon: "I know you had a very exciting weekend, dear. But try to remember to take your phone charger HOME with you today."

Me: "Yes, ma'am."

And in spite of that I ALMOST FORGOT IT AGAIN--but I didn't! Thanks, mom. You rock.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

In Which I Hose My Phone and Develop a Social Life Anyway

1. While playing snake pong, take out phone to text T and discover phone is dead. Continue to play snake pong. Move on to basketball. Arriving home at 2:30 am, neglect to attempt to plug in. (The attempt part is important.)
2. Saturday morning, wake up bright and early with dead phone. Only then do I realize--due to my inability to attempt this feat the night before--that my wall charger is at work.
3. Run out to Jeep, start Jeep, and plug phone, via car charger, into Jeep.
4. Not five minutes later, C comes to pick me up for full day of errands. Take car charger with me.
5. C's car plug-in no worky-worky.
6. Phone battery runs out immediately.
7. C drops me off from full day of errands. LEAVE CAR CHARGER WITH C ACCIDENTALLY.
8. Frantically email people about movie premiere plans for Saturday night, since I have no phone.
9. Drop by Neighbor's apartment to use HIS phone. Neighbor asks what my plans are and, hearing it's a ski porn movie premiere, immediately invites hisself. Sweet! Ride! Problem: There may not be any tickets left.
10. Arrive at the Hurricane for pre-funking. Realize I have left my ticket for movie premiere at home. Neighbor offers to go BACK to our collective apartment complex to get it. I tell him four places said ticket "might" be. He rolls his eyes.
11. I go to stand in line in the freezing cold to buy Neighbor a ticket.
12. I make friends with the people around me in line, one of whom lets me use his phone to call Neighbor. I am about to call Neighbor when he re-appears on the scene!
13. Neighbor found my ticket with only a medium effort and returned to the movie premiere on time!
14. Neighbor reassures me that super-mean attack Dawg barely stirred from his 13th nap of the day as Neighbor entered my apartment, rooted around in my stuff, and left again. Huh.
15. Neighbor buys an extra ticket from one of my new friends in line.
16. We even have time to get drinks and food at the Hurricane!
17. T, who was the whole reason I was there, is already there with the divine Miss D, surrounded by boys. One of the boys I already know from salsa. Obviously.
18. I also run into Miss A out on the town with her boy. Neighbor asks if I know everyone in this town. Um, No? Fine. Yes. So?
19. I save 13 spots for the entire crew against an increasingly hostile crowd at the King Cat.
20. Fall asleep on Neighbor's shoulder.
21. On to the next party! Half the gang, including T and Miss D, decide to go to Ozzie's. I am down 100%.
22. 2:30 am. Leaving Ozzie's.
23. Sunday morning: breakfast. And then major intense cleaning. After all, my mother's coming over later!
24. FINALLY, on Sunday afternoon at 4, C, bless her heart, drops off my car charger.
25. Run out to Jeep and plug in.
26. Mother arrives with finished pillow! And I have a clean apartment to show off!
27. Sunday at 6 PM: PHONE!
28. Sunday night: T calls. We chat briefly as we are both on our way to dates. Not with the same person.
29. Sunday at midnight: crash into bed.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Boa Constrictor

It's 9:00 pm on Friday night. C and I are outside Jazz Alley, black boots and trench coats on, swapping stories with a very opinionated lady from New Jersey. Spanish Harlem Orchestra has just rocked our minds for two hours. And then the Bat Signal illuminates the sky: BEER PONG AT ALLEY 24!

Dodging our way through the alley packed with the after show crowd, waving to salsa friends, the CRV carries us gently through the back streets of South Lake Union, following the signal. C makes sure we eat before we arrive on the penthouse level of Alley 24 to find beer pong games already in progress, the gentle rain not impeding either the speed of drinking OR the boa constrictor, who gets passed around like a heavy, moving necklace as we all want to hold her. She snuggles into our coats, trying to stay warm. Three hours later, we're shooting hoops in the park across the street and having the most fun I've had in some time, in spite of the fact that I can't dribble to save my life and S--who became my date after C left--totally shows me up.

The next day, C and I spend three hours jumping on mattresses before I accompanied her furniture shopping, with barely enough time to breathe in between shopping, dog-walking, and getting ready for a helluva party surrounding a much-hyped ski movie premiere. Movie: not great. I fall asleep on my neighbor's shoulder. Party: off the hook. There is much ridiculousness. Around all these events are many additional complications that my subconscious like to add just for fun, like: my phone died on Friday night at Spanish Harlem Orchestra and wasn't revived until the weekend was completely over. I forgot my original ticket for the movie premiere at home and had to send my neighbor to go get it while I held his spot in line, with no phone for last-minute coordination.

And then on Sunday I got to eat and breathe and to see my mother.

All in all, the weekend could not have been better. Plus I can now check "Play beer pong while wearing a snake" off my list of Life Goals.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Tri-Tip: I'm in the line at Tully's and there is a woman in front of me gushing about New Moon. And according to her badge...she has a SECURITY CLEARANCE.
Tri-Tip: I cry for humanity.
Me: They should really revise the security questionnaire. "Do you think Stephanie Meyer is one of the greatest authors living today? You do? I'm sorry, the United States government no longer needs your services."
Tri-Tip: We are snobs.
Me: All the more reason why we deserve our security clearances.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


There are several blogs I read on a regular basis. What's that you say? SEVERAL. No, I'm not giving you an exact number. Jeez. If you met President Obama, would you ask him EXACTLY how many times he did cocaine? Oh, you would? Forget you then.


Some of the blogs I read are definitely more on the conservative side, because a lot of them are frugality blogs and there seems to be a large overlap between frugality and nuclear family values. I would never read one that was political, but many of the authors might have a lot of kids and be generally really Pro-Family, and I was going along reading my Google Reader today and I came across this post:

AMAZING Freebie: Pregnancy Tests

from Frugal Homemaker Plus

Now, I've never taken one, and that's not just a statement made up to calm my parents. It's true: I've never taken one. Never needed to. (Thank you, comprehensive sex ed.) But a few of my friends, mainly due to high stress lives and high-control personalities, have had moments of anxiety, and bought and taken them at once time or another, and they've all been negative and everyone's moved on with their lives.

THE POINT IS that this is my context for pregnancy tests, and therefore I looked at this post and thought about the general audience for this Christian frugality blog and I was like, "What the heck would a bunch of goody-two-shoes Christian girls, married, need pregnancy tests for?"

Friday, October 09, 2009

Attention: Jetta

Hello, Green Jetta initiative. I appreciate what you're trying to do. I like the idea of the Portland to Portland test drive. If I ever buy another car, I may get a new "greener" Jetta TDI.

But when I see this car

hold up both lanes of traffic on 10th Avenue during rush hour as the driver makes two disastrous attempts to parallel park in a spot big enough for two Volkswagen buses, I am not impressed. It does not want to make me buy a Jetta. Or even go near a Jetta. Please train your drivers in the art of spacial recognition. THANK YOU.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Social Life and Veronica Mars

I'm taking the GREs on Saturday, and I have just discovered the TV show Veronica Mars.

These may be the two worst events to happen in the same month EVER, where "worst" is defined as, "you have now stayed up until 4:30 am watching Veronica Mars TWICE in the last two weeks, are in fact getting sick due to your wonky sleep schedule, haven't studied anywhere near enough, and are, in general, acting like you're back in school again already, when in fact this tendency is just more proof you should NOT be GOING back to school, you piss-poor excuse for an adult, you."

It's a long definition, but the Devil's Dictionary is like that. Long entries. (And they're in really tiny print in faded gray ink in an unnecessary ornate font.)


Fortunately my social life has apparently disappeared this week. No one has called, or is calling, which is sort of a blow to the self-esteem, but damn near perfect for my studying.

The problem is, instead of hanging out with people, am I studying?

Why would I do that?

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's a Miracle My Dog is Still Breathing

My jewel box of an apartment is many things--beautiful, perfectly situated, priced right. What it is NOT: large. Or possessing garden space.

This summer, though, as it's the best summer Seattle has had in three decades (NOT an exaggeration, for once) finally propelled me to seek out garden space where I could find it and attempt to grow something. And so I found a sunny spot by a garage wall, bought soil, and planted seeds. Everyone else in my family appears to be able to grow things; my dad has his dahlias, my grandmother has blueberries, apples, and pears, and my mother is really gifted with plants, coaxing tomatoes from nothing.

Apparently I don't have the gene. Results have been mixed: my arugula (so I can offer the Prez his favorite salad green if he comes over) is growing like crazy, and I have one--ONE--nasturtium bravely making an appearance, but everything else was apparently DOA. I pointed this out to my mother on a recent visit to my apartment.

"Hmmm," she said, peering over my little plot. "How often did you water in the geminating stages?"

"Uh...once a week?"

She stared at me. "Daughter! You have to water them EVERY DAY!"

Me: "WHAT? How is that possible? I only have to oil my bike chain once every other fill-up!"

Mom burst out laughing. "I think you chose wisely when you stuck with engineering," she said, still chuckling.

No wonder people left farming behind as soon as they could. That's just ridiculous. At least Titan can tell me when he's hungry. I strongly believe that plants should just...grow. Apparently they don't agree.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Realization Of The Day

When both your mother and your GRANDMOTHER approve of your underwear choices, you are doing something drastically wrong.

Excuse me while I throw everything out and restock. Thank you.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Single Girl Calls an Old Friend, Now Much Married With Two Kids

Ring. Ring, ring, ring. Answering machine.

"Hi L, it's Aarwenn! I just wanted to call and say hi."


"Um, so! I've been following you on Facebook, like everyone else, and it seems like everything is going well. Life here is about the same. Work continues fine and boys flow in and out like normal."

I realize how ridiculous this sounds, not that it's untrue but that it's so far removed from what her life must be like. Back in the day she used to TRAIN me on how to structure one's life so that boys could flow in and out, and now she's married. We used to be attached at the hip. She was the reason my entire sophomore year was a blur. She was a controversial figure in the sorority, a tiny bouncy ball of energy propelled by curly hair and a huge appetite for life that I've never met in anyone before or since.

How do you TALK to someone who flew out from the West for your 21st birthday whom you haven't seen for two years?

Oh yes! Kids!

"I hope..."

Brief moment of terrifying panic that I will get their names wrong. More proof of what a terrible person I am, as I am actually an adopted aunt for Big Sister, and of course there's no way I can get these names wrong--I know them. I KNOW them. But I'm terrified I'm going to suddenly blurt out the wrong name at the moment of truth.

...Big Sister and Little Brother are well!" Whew.


"Um, oh yes, and Husband!"

Oh dear, Husband. The man who fathered the kids who have created this vast chasm between her and me, not that it's anything he shouldn't have done but I can't help blaming him anyway. Otherwise I'd have to blame her, and my emotional connection to her is way too strong to direct any negative emotion towards her. Anything I feel towards her, I feel towards myself. I can't judge, because that'd be judging me, and I can't shun. And I can't blame. So Husband gets the lion's share. Which he fully deserves.

The problem is a friendship can't always be conducted at that emotional level. A friendship forged in the crucible of an evolving sorority and falling grades and a discovery of drinking games and the bone-deep chill of a Pittsburgh winter and a bleak sun rising on yet another sleepless night looks a little odd in the calm midday sunshine of a steady job and a marriage. She can always call on me, and has, in times of great trouble. And in return, I call her occasionally, leaving bright chirpy messages on her answering machine.

"So, guess I'll talk to you later! Bye!"

Friday, September 11, 2009

Things I Like

Which has this song in it:

A more traditional version of which is covered here:

Which led to this girl's gorgeous rendition of Hallelujah:

Hooray, weekend.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Moving On With Life

The five-year plan for my life is coming to an end in January.

In January, I will have worked here at The Office for five years. I've had several different jobs. I am making the kind of money that I planned on. And I have paid off my car. (Because it got totaled, but I didn't specify HOW I wanted to pay off my car.) And thanks to my five years of work, my pension--yes, The Office still has pensions--will be set.

What next?

Well, I'm applying to grad school. And riding the motorcycle a lot, and traveling a lot (not yet at the same time) and completely avoiding writing my novel, although that's obviously what I SHOULD be doing. It's an interesting time.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I Can't Write To Save My Life

So I'll just write a List Of Happenings.

ON the plus side, I have finally waited at work long enough that the wind has died down and I'll be happier riding home.

My life, in handy bulleted format, definitely not safe for delicates:

  • Sunday morning I stepped in dog doo twice before 10:30 am.
  • This is only deserved for waking up early enough to be out the door at 10:30 am. Only idiots do that on a regular basis.
  • I just read some of Tucker Max's updates from his movie premiere tour. No, but no one, should ever do that.
  • Now that you've done that, you'll need to douse your brain in bleach; I recommend taking it straight up the nose. I'll wait.
  • My car got broken into.
  • My car broke down.
  • Midas charged me 63 dollars for some hand-holding.
  • My mother gave me an iPod to replace the one that got stolen from my car.
  • My car runs okay now.
  • But I have basically stopped running.
  • I have rearranged my apartment three times.
  • In two weeks.
  • On Friday, I made a sofa.
  • I can't decide if staying at home and making things is more or less lame than parking next to the swingers boat at Seafair.
  • That was weird.
  • Both ends of the spectrum are weird.
  • I went shooting two weeks ago.
  • On Sunday, I made a jewelry chest.
  • I went go-kart racing last week.
  • I made arugula pesto with my homegrown arugula.
  • I made basil pesto with my neighbor's homegrown basil.
  • I spray-painted things.
  • Poorly.
  • I'm on a budget and it's made me weird.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I'm a Racist, and You Are, Too

Please read this excellent article at The Root: But My Best Friend Is Black!

Amen, brother. There's a reason why I am not a professional writer--I can't put my thoughts as clearly as this man has and I never will be able to. He nails an important point that I've firmly believed for years: We are ALL Racist. You are. Yes, you. And you, too. And you, up there in Canada, and you, over there in Pennsylvania. You are, and what's more, there's no way you can NOT be Racist. It's built into the human condition, and there's nothing you can do about it.

As the author points out, a lot of people seem to think that "Racism" equates to "Member of the KKK", and so they shy away from this word, and of course, with good reason. Very few people in this world would actually join the KKK, or admit that they think black people have less value in this world than white people. Or, indeed, actually think that way at all. But that's not the ONLY way to be racist, and in fact, that's the most rare way.

Much more common: happening to notice there's three young black guys walking toward you on the street corner and using that moment to power-lock your car doors while you're sitting in a parking lot. (For the record: that's awful. You should be ashamed of yourself.) What's even worse: convincing yourself that the presence of the young men had nothing to do with it and that you just happened to remember to lock your doors at about that time. Now you're a racist AND you're lying to yourself. Or, also very common, having a playlist labeled "Black People Music". (I'm sure John Coltrane is tickled to find himself lumped in with Jay-Z.) An example from my own life: I'm often too friendly to young black women here at The Office. (All two of them.) I don't know these girls from Adam and there's no reason for me to give them bigger smiles in passing than anyone else. But I want to encourage their presence, and I worry that they feel ostracized due to their race, and noticing that is just as racist as locking a car door.

Sigh. The problem, like I said earlier, is that being racist is part of the human condition. Humans feel most comfortable with other humans who look exactly like them. I'm no anthropologist, but my own theory is that back when we were apes, recognizing a strange ape in a nest could be the difference between living and dying. "Stranger" usually meant "danger". (And indeed, the two words are almost identical in French.) And until a method arises in which we can see into a stranger's intentions, judging them as a potential threat relies on visual cues, and for some reason, the prevalent social method to avoid danger involves preconceived notions about the stranger's race. This sort of broad stereotyping may have been beneficial as apes, but as humans, it's just as inhibiting to our development as our old "prevent starvation" metabolisms that make it much easier to gain weight than to lose it. It's much, much too broad. A human of another color doesn't signify danger any more than a piece of cheesecake should be stored as fat in case we don't eat again for three days. The scary thing is, racial stereotyping will blind you to the other contextual cues you SHOULD be paying attention to, like: Possible Intoxication. State of clothing. Time of Day. Intentions of possible stranger. Are they on their phone? Are they listening to music? Do they have their keys in their hand because they're obviously walking to their car? They do? Then why are you locking your car door?

I can't, and you can't, get over being a racist all at once, and in fact we'll never chase away the tendency entirely. But shying away from the concept isn't the way to fix it. When a black person says, "That's racist, and here's why," it's our job to listen. Yeah, minorities disagree within themselves, much like how women disagree over what's sexist and what isn't. And yeah, some minority representatives are super-sensitive and thin-skinned and appear to be constantly offended, and that's annoying. But the beautiful thing about humans is, that person would be just as annoying if they were white.

Two more fascinating posts on race, both short reads, one involving Mad Men*.

Feminism's Problem With Race

Why "Mad Men" Is Afraid Of Race

*Which has the official Stuff White People Like stamp of approval.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Taking My Own Advice

I can't believe this was a whole year ago, but it was: Good Reasons for Going to Goodwill.

I had one of those days yesterday in which I ran around and did a bunch of errands, and not ALL of those errands worked out--more about my Motorcycle Saga later--but a surprising number did, especially given that most of those errands cropped up on a moment's notice. I completely failed in Bellevue, which blew. But I checked Google Traffic on my storm and noted that I-90 was moving fine, while 520 was completely stopped for five miles, so I went south on 405 to the I-90 bridge. This was way out of my way, but a worthwhile detour compared to sitting still in gridlock for an hour. And then since I happened to be down by I-90, at the last second I glanced back at my passenger, who was wagging his tail, and remembered a dog park located off Genessee and Ranier, so I quickly cut right and took Ranier Avenue South. I had trouble finding the park on my phone--note to self, Genessee only has one 'n'--but right as I remembered to look for the Tully's on the corner, I approached the turn I needed and swung into the right lane.

Cut to Titan leaping about happily at the dog park and me worshipping my phone, even though it can't auto-correct Genessee.

And THEN I remembered I had a Starbucks Treat Receipt in my wallet from the morning and I swung by a Starbucks, between Franklin High School and the new Mount Baker light rail station, checking out the light rail as I did so. I thought maybe I didn't need the extra calories of a smoothie NOR did I need to spend $2, even though it was such a savings, but then I went ahead, and I'm happy I did, as my nice slow pace reminded me that I was right by the Dearborn Street Goodwill and I had a bag of things to give away in my car.

And THEN while I was there, I remembered writing a post about how everyone should go to Goodwill occasionally, and I thought I'd drop in while I was there.

And then I learned it was 30% off all Linens.

Which was fortuitous since I have two twin mattress-box-sets sitting on my living room floor pretending to be a corner sofa right now, and they could pretend a lot easier if they were draped in something. I walked out with a pile of linens and throw pillows for thirty-three dollars. And the music at Goodwill is way better than the muzak at, say, Dania Home Furniture. I bopped along to Elvis as I stroked used, beautiful, peacock-blue taffeta and was surprised all over again at how much fun thrift store shopping can be.

The Hack Shares

Customer Service Story of the Day: After owning my Storm for less than a month, the touchscreen stopped working. I was scared to take it into Verizon for trouble-shooting. I was certain it wouldn't be covered under any kind of warranty, as I had bought it on eBay, but I thought if I was charming enough, they might give me a quick diagnostic test.

The downtown store at Westlake and Stewart was packed on a Saturday, and I sat for a long time, listening to some melodramatic man's very long phone conversation about his crazy social life, before I got a smiley young man who heard my complaint, looked at my phone, checked for water damage, and said, "Well, you're still under warranty. I'll just replace it."


"Sure!" I said brightly, giving him a big smile. "Thank you!"

He smiled back. "No problem! Isn't this a great phone? We all have them here." As he spoke, his manager pulled out his own Storm to make a quick call.

"I'm a big fan," I said, watching the minutes tick by as the smiley young man transferred all my data and microSD card. Any minute now, I kept thinking, he is going to actually look at my account, realize that I didn't buy this phone here, and bring this entire process to a halt. Never happened. I now have a brand new Storm for the price of a used one.

The best part is, the whole reason I upgraded in the first place is because my Voyager camera only worked occasionally. And of course, the day I went into Verizon to replace my Voyager, they were out of them, so they upgraded me to the enV3, so now I have a brand new enV3 sitting at home in the box.

Waiting to be sold on eBay, obviously.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I'd Be Writing, But I Suck

Seriously, I keep starting posts and getting bored of myself. I'm a hack this month. Please move along.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

That Look

I'm talking with my lead at The Office on a slow morning. We cover car radios, Crutchfield versus Car Toys, car theft, the merits of various GPS units, the new cell phone toy offerings at Sprint and T-Mobile, and the merits of various plans. Imagine the sound of this conversation like a train: chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga. Nice and even.

I mention that I bought a used Blackberry Storm and he wants to see it, so I pull it out. He asks how it is. "I don't know yet," I said. "I haven't gotten to the store to switch my account over. It's used and I don't know how to clear out the previous account."

"Can't they do it at the store?" he says.

"They CAN," I said. "I just...feel bad."


"Um. WHY?"

"I bought it on eBay," I said. "It feels shady."

"It's NOT shady," he says. "You could have bought a used phone at Car Toys. That would be an identical situation."

"I know," I said. "But what if something's wrong with it? I've never bought a used phone on eBay before."

"Better to find that out now before you sell your OTHER phone," he pointed out.

"Yes," I said. "But...I'm scared."

He gave me That Look. I get That Look a lot. That look that says, "I assumed you were a rational human being because you have legs and arms and look much like me, although you have long hair and boobs, and I work with you every day and I KNOW you're pretty rational and can do math and stuff, and all of sudden I discover this huge pit of complete irrationality and I don't understand and I don't know what to do and YOU'RE SCARING ME."

Only because he is a man, it came out like, "...Hmm."

I get it from my lead, and from my dad, and mainly from AZ. (That would be The Boy, who is from Arizona.) We'll be chugging along talking about...oh, food, or Obama, or whatever, and then I'll suddenly veer off into a long and involved story about the Blonde Squad and some extremely small disagreement that we had and who was at fault and what's been bugging me about hundreds of bits of minutiae, and right before his eyes glaze over, he gets That Look.

It's the look that says, "Oh, yeah. You're a woman. This irrational-at-great-length feature comes with the standard equipment. Dammit."

Monday, July 20, 2009

Adventures in Extremism

A few weeks ago I did something I've never done before: I woke up at 3:15 am. On purpose.

I've been UP at 3:15 am many, many times. It's not an exaggeration to say I do it at least once a month, sometimes once a week. (Hey, is it MY fault that all the fun stuff happens at night?)

But all my friends--and AZ--were running this marathon, you see, and the thing about marathons is they never schedule them in the evening. I was not running, but I did want to cheer on my friends, and because I like to be involved, it occurred to me that I could volunteer.

Yes. Well. Before I knew it I was signed up for a starting line volunteering shift, which seemed cool because I got a parking pass, and then I read the fine print.

"Arrive at 4 am."

Me: "Wait, there's TWO 4 o'clocks?"

The really odd thing about getting up at 3:15 was that it threw off the whole rest of my day. I came back at 8:30 am, slept for two hours, woke up AGAIN, and dragged my extremely disoriented ass down to the finish line to meet up with the people who actually ran the race, and then we went out to breakfast, and then AZ and I came home and slept AGAIN, waking up just in time to catch Transformers. Or at least one of us did. (Long story, the moral of which is: Avoid the the IMAX at the Seattle Center. Go to Redmond.)

By the end of the day I was so confused I felt like I had lived three lives and moved to Jupiter to raise unicorns. And then I added alcohol. Woo!

Thursday, July 09, 2009


At the M's game tonight, I am walking across the beer garden carrying a cardboard tray of food in one hand and a bud light in the other, and a man about my age on the prowl asks,

"Hey, can I have a bite of that?"

I shake my head and am about to smile politely when my steps carry me past him and he notices my rear end.


His friends join in.


(Actual BARKING.)

(More barking.)

(I begin to think maybe a litter of seals has somehow flopped into Safeco Field.)

Finally, thankfully, I am out of their range and they forget about my ass. The two guys I am with aren't sure whether to be amused or to jump to protect my honor. I assure them that, probably, those guys just liked REALLY liked my shoes.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Funniest YouTube Video In the World

Don't get it? You clearly haven't been surfing the internet enough.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Balance and the Girl In the Mirror

Man, trying to maintain sanity in a relationship is WEIRD.

I spent all weekend--literally, from Friday evening until Monday morning--with AZ, and it was...good, yes. Definitely good. But definitely a lot of time.

It never felt like TOO MUCH time. Nor did I want him to leave. (I would have just said so.) In fact, it was surprisingly comfortable. But it was definitely...odd.

I'm having a hard time pinning down what, exactly, was so odd about it. Maybe it's just that it's been awhile since I had a boyfriend--almost a year, to be exact--and I'm not used to having someone else in my space. But it didn't bother me. Maybe THAT was what was odd--I expected to feel more smothered and didn't. Maybe it's that having a boy in my space constantly would normally send me down a twisted pathway of "OMG THIS IS SO SERIOUS DOES HE LOVE ME? HOW ABOUT NOW? WHAT IF I FARTED? DAMMIT, I JUST DID--DID HE HEAR THAT? DOES HE NOT LOVE ME ANYMORE?"

But not this weekend. That might have been because we had some time apart--through accident, he went to see a movie without me one night, and I ran some errands by myself the next night--or it might have been because we're comfortable with each other, which is true, or it might have been because I'm working hard on keeping myself in an optimistic and self-confident headspace.

BARF. I'm sorry for that last sentence. That was terrible. But it's true. I can get wound around my own axle very quickly if I'm not constantly told by those around me how awesome I am. And even though they SHOULD be, because I AM, it's unfair to expect my friends and loved ones to spend an hour every day telling me how great I am.

Although obviously there's no better use of their time.

But seriously, they could probably be using that hour for other things, like surfing the internet, matching their socks, watching water evaporate from the sink, whatever. Until I become rich and famous enough to have an entourage, I'll have to have actual friends instead of yes-men, and my actual friends have their own lives and needs, which don't include only meeting MY needs. So I've been working on reminding myself that really, I don't need cheerleaders all the time. I can remind myself that I'm pretty or a catch or smart or an exercising machine. Having a great boyfriend or a great circle of friends only goes so far. If I can't conquer the girl in the mirror, I'll never be comfortable in my own skin.

Stupid BITCHY girl in the mirror.

ANYWAY. Some more thoughts about balance in a relationship:

Up until this weekend, I'd say I would normally agree with Maggie Mason and NOT with the other ladies in the video. After this weekend, I'm thinking that a few outside interests can be helpful for blowing off steam. The kicker: I always want to know that I'm number one. AZ wants to email other girls, fine. When he starts ignoring me to answer his email, THEN we have a problem. And this could change depending on the relationship--at six months, sure, keep those outside interests going. At engagement time, I'd better be the only one.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

On Two Wheels

Aarwenn: I'm standing next to the elevator and a guy in a wheelchair comes up.

Aarwenn: And I'm having an internal complaint-fest about why The Office doesn't put in more obvious stairs.

Tri-Tip: In your own head.

Aarwenn: Yes. So I’m completely distracted when he says, "So, who do you think gets more stares at The Office? A guy in a wheelchair or a cute girl?"

Tri-Tip: Woah.

Aarwenn: The funny part is that was I HEARD was, "So, who do you think gets more STAIRS at The Office?”, because I was thinking about stairs. So it took me a hot minute to process what he actually said, because how could a guy in a wheelchair go up stairs?

Tri-Tip: And you start looking at him funny, because you’re trying to process, "But dude, you don't use stairs!"

Aarwenn: Yes! Fortunately I snapped out of it.

Tri-Tip: Because then you realized he was being quasi-creepy.

Aarwenn: EXACTLY. But this distraction prevented me from reacting very strongly to the creepy. Which is probably better for all involved.

Tri-Tip: Probably.

Aarwenn: Still, I was impressed. It takes balls to call attention to your physical handicap and use that as a reason to be inappropriate.

Tri-Tip: True. Handicapped people get a creepy pass, I say.

Aarwenn: Maybe. If I see him again and he asks if I want a ride somewhere, I'm yanking the pass back.

Published in spite of my mother.

Um, not TO spite my mother. Just IN spite of my mother's advice.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sniffle Sniffle SNONK

Hello! I have allergies. They suck. No, I would not like any Benadryl, thank you. I feel fine, I'm just sneezing all the time, and since allergies aren't contagious, I can at least go to work. (Woo.) It's just a pain in the rear. Or in the nose, in this case. No sinus infection yet, thank Blog. (At least I'm not flying to Japan.)

I am applying coffee.

What I am NOT applying: cupcakes. No, it's not that random. Surely you've heard that cupcakes are taking over the world? That there's now two competing cupcake chains in Seattle and they're opening up stores faster than Molly Moon?

Am I the only one who doesn't grasp the appeal of the cupcakes? I'm just not a fan of that much sugar and flour. Ice cream, definitely--Molly Moon's has a loyal customer in me. Frozen Custard? SIGN ME UP. I've already been twice.

Come to Mama.

But I am so over cupcakes. I was over cupcakes twenty years ago. MOVE ON, EVERYONE. Please. I am beginning to HATE cupcakes.

Other things I am over: Facebook.

Things I am NOT over: Robyn's new album. Yes, THAT Robyn, the one who put out two hits in the nineties. She's back and her new album is seriously AMAZING from start to finish.

Other things I am not over: Dancing! Sadly, no hip-hop for me this week--my allergies kept me home--but I CAN'T GET OVER this choreography:

I thought at first they were high school students, given the venue, and I was about to throw in the towel and never dance again if sixteen-year-olds were this freakin' good.

Then I realized they were all professionals. Whew.

Happy Tuesday! Also, I changed my mind. Please send Benadryl.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Never Mind

Forget that post from yesterday. It was funny and entertaining, but not PC. I'm still deciding if I will post it. If you want to read it and give your opinion, email me!

Moving on: the weather here is absolutely GORGEOUS and I can't get over it. I have all sorts of plans that involve actually BIKING to work and starting a garden, and yesterday I rearranged my entire apartment. The Dawg was very confused.

While I'm rearranging my apartment, I'm having design schizophrenia. Last weekend I tried to buy a TV cabinet; today I'm pretty sure I'm getting rid of my TV altogether. Two days ago I was sure I was buying a real sofa; today I'm thinking about recovering my current one. I'm organizing my entire apartment around a big pink exercise ball that I don't really use and hesitant about making any real changes, like removing a big door that only gets in the way.

However, I HAVE cleaned out my back landing area, so that's something.

Forget me and my design schizophrenia and listen to this song, one of the most romantic songs ever, according to me, and this new update is AWESOME. I didn't include the video link because the video takes the song in a much different direction than the original Toto version. (By the way: song is Africa, written by Toto, updated here by Karl Wolf--who appears to be too poor to afford a shirt on his album cover--and featuring a rapper named Culture.)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Break From Serious

It's a Saturday--watch a fun YouTube video!

I hope alex, especially, appreciates this, since we had an interesting conversation about music forever ago that I still remember. I like Massive Attack, and I like Ratatat and Wired All Wrong. I like Zeppelin and The Turtles and Buddy Holly. I like Beirut and The Duke and the Duchess. What I'm saying is, I like my share of GOOD music, independent music, old music, music with real guitars behind it and real lyrics.

But I also like to dance, and so I have a soft spot in my heart for pop music, even though I know it's terribly manufactured. And videos like this are a good reminder of that.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Here Comes The Rage

I was sitting eating sushi with my mother in the middle of a work day, and although the lunch was going okay, it wasn't our normal happiness level of pink champagne bubbles and newborn kitten fluff. My mom was way stressed out, which I didn't fully comprehend at the time, and I had a different problem: my head was so full of stuff THAT I CAN'T TALK ABOUT that I couldn't, for the life of me, make conversation about ANYTHING else.

You know the feeling, I'm sure. Someone tells you a secret like "I'm proposing to my boyfriend, please don't tell him" or "Sally's parents are getting a divorce because her dad's sleeping with the babysitter", or something equally absorbing and awful, and then you go to a nice party where everyone knows Sally AND Sally's parents AND the couple about to get engaged, unbeknownst to the would-be fiance, and some nice acquaintance asks you a difficult question like,

"Awfully hot weather we're having for May, isn't it?"

And you say, "....Mmmm." Thinking, Don'tsayanythingaboutsally. Don'tsayanythingaboutengagementorweddings.

And then the nice person makes a complicated follow-up statement like, "And I hear it's supposed to be 90 this weekend."

And you SNAP and say, "I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MIKE PROPOSING TO JIM AND I NEVER MET SALLY IN MY LIFE PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE." And then your life is ruined. Boy, some people get so upset about a few secrets.

ANYWAY. That's how this lunch was. My mom was silent, picking at her food, since I had taken her to eat sushi, which she doesn't really like, and the rice was sticking in her braces, and I could barely eat since my head was so full of sex and violence and secrets.

She said something very prying and nosy, like, "Pass the soy sauce," and you can guess what happened next.


She was a little startled, as you may imagine. She rallied, though, and spent the next ten minutes yelling at me for ever letting someone that could be described as a violent alcoholic into my life in the first place. Understandable. I said I had told T-Town, she of Insight and Intrigue, and mom said, "Did she say 'I told you so'?"

And I nodded, just keeping the conversation going.

But the really interesting thing is, T-Town never said I told you so. She told me plenty of times while I was DATING the loser that he was a huge loser who frightened her. But the minute the excrement really hit the cooling device, she was nothing but understanding. The Blonde Squad, too, was nothing but understanding when I told them later that night. No one ever said I Told You So except my mother. Which is only proper, as she does an excellent job.


My brain hasn't really turned on yet and I'm having a hard time focusing. I'm at least an hour behind my first cup of coffee and it might be two hours before my current cup sinks in. This is always the difficult time of the work morning in which a meeting might happen and I would have to attend said meeting and I would leave said meeting an hour later with no idea of what had happened or why.

As a side note, totally unrelated, the Office has decided, for some reason, to stock PINK PENS in our supplies closet and they make me so happy. PINK! Now my notebook is covered with pink cursive, like I'm on my way to third grade or something, and it's wonderful. The pink wakes me up. A little.

Anyway. I've been silent for a little while, you may have noticed. A lot has happened in my life and most of it I can't talk about, or rather, THOUGHT I couldn't talk about. I mean, there's been some violence. There's been some bike rides. There's been some dropping of the bike. I bought leather pants and they look great. There's been some talk ABOUT looks. There's been some clubbing and dancing and some of my friends have made out with other friends. It's been unseasonably warm here and there's been a lot of beach-going.

In general, a very full life, but it's been full of the things that my parents wouldn't want to read about.

HOWEVER. I'm going to attempt to shake that off, because I'm tired of the parental gag order that I've placed on myself. My life is pretty interesting and if I can't talk about it here, where CAN I talk about it?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Happy Tuesday!

Was everyone ready to go back to work? Because I sure as heck wasn't.

A lot happened this weekend, but the upshot is, Angels and Demons is fairly enjoyable, La Spiga isn't as good as I remember it--although the lamb was excellent--and the SUPER BIG NEWS is that I learned that you can poach an egg in the microwave!

No, really.

I am so going to start doing this at work.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Get Out Tonight Because I Can't

Need something to do? Boy, do I have an event for you!

Lady Sovereign is coming to the Crocodile tonight and I am going to miss it. I'm annoyed.

And she's also going to be at Easy Street in Lower Queen Anne and I'm going to miss that, too.


However, my mommy is coming up, and that's pretty awesome, too.

Monday, May 18, 2009

On Being Cool

Many years ago, I was driving my Wrangler around on a gray Seattle summer day, the kind of day where it's just warm enough to have the top down, if you have a convertible, if the heat is on full blast and your muscles are buff enough to keep your body temperature up with relative ease, and it may be gray but it is not raining and therefore you are PUTTING THE TOP DOWN.

Anyway, I was driving north on 99 about to enter Fife, and there was a girl ahead of me in a much older Jeep with the soft top down, her hair up in buns to avoid getting knotted by the wind, sunglasses on although it wasn't that sunny. She had some kind of smiley face sticker on her bumper and I pulled up next to her and waved enthusiastically. She looked over at me, eyebrows raised, and I practically dislocated my shoulder leaning across my Wrangler and rolling down the passenger side window as fast as I could. "Nice car!" I shouted.

She nodded politely, and gave me a half smile, and then the light turned green and she went straight and I took a left. She was obviously not the kind of girl who dug instant warmth from strangers, and we were not going to have a Moment.

And surprisingly enough, that was fine with me. I already knew by that time--and I have been reminded over and over again since--that girls who really are Very Cool don't often have time for Moments.

It's hard, being Cool, and being a Girl. I've met some Very Cool Girls in my time. Not the kind of girl that tries to substitute Attitude for Aptitude--those girls are a waste of space. I'm talking actually cool girls--girls that are, say, UFC fighters. Girls that ride motorcycles or drive sports cars. Girls that are firefighters or snipers or routinely summit Mt. Rainier. Classical musicians. Enterpreneurs. Rock Stars. Women that teach kickboxing for a living. Girls that do something dangerous on a daily basis, that could kill them or cause financial ruin, not just their own but the financial ruin of others as well. Girls that take huge risks. Girls who base their entire lives on a skill that requires daily practice, daily heartache, daily bruises, daily mental breakdowns. THAT is cool.

And surprisingly enough, girls who do that don't have a lot of time for, say, TV shows. Gossip mags. Long dinners with friends. Going out to the clubs three nights a week, or indeed one night a week. Whatever. They're not often in situations in which they need to make polite conversation with strangers, and so they're not in practice, and so they don't. It's one of the great paradoxes of life: those who actually DO something cool are actually the least likely to talk in any group setting. It's always the girl who drops four wine glasses and gets mascara in her eye on a daily basis that grabs the floor to talk about the fascinating daily anecdote from her paper-pushing job, while the girl who just hiked across Peru with only a sherpa for company sits quietly with her whiskey and coke.

There's a lot to explore here: how girls (and people in general) who make a living in a very specialized field have a very specialized view of strangers, namely, that a girl who routinely summits Mt. Rainier already has a group of friends in her climbing team, and her survival depends on being able to trust the team around her implicitly, and therefore may be rightly suspicious of instant warmth from a person she doesn't know. And a girl whose idea of big excitement for the day consists of an overflowing coffee pot is easily able to create instant warmth, because the word "trust" has no meaning for her beyond the obvious rules of life, that a complete stranger will not attempt to, say, punch her in the mouth. (Although that could happen, especially to her.)

Not to mention there is the issue of how best to balance living your life with HAVING a life, at least in which the definition of "having a life" means "going to parties". Which may not be the actual definition of "having a life", but is certainly a solid definition practiced by many. A boy and I were talking about this recently: he wants to be a millionaire by the time he is thirty, and he's exploring various ways to do that, but all those ways take time. And energy. And he wants to have a life as well, because even if he becomes a millionaire at thirty, where's the guarantee that he won't die at thirty-one?

Readers: thoughts? How do you balance the pursuit of amazing things with having a life? Am I alone in thinking that it doesn't make sense to put off "having a life" in order to work?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Study in Walmart Blue

This article in Newsweek about Walmart's view of recession shopping is insightful and well-written--and NOT a bash on Walmart.

But I'm biased--I love these sorts of articles. I love articles that explore ground-up changes, like what a run on toilet seats means for the economy, and I love well-written articles about so-called Evil Companies, which remind me to pull my head out of my liberal ass, and I especially love studies on consumer patterns.

For more:

Why We Buy, by Paco Underhill

The Call of the Mall, also by Underhill. It's not as good, but still a fun read.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Through the Looking Glass

Are you shy and wonder why? Are you OUTGOING and wonder why? Did you ever wonder what it would be like to be on the other side for awhile? And not just with a few drinks: to really be able to try out a new personality?

This article is a quick and required read. Right now. It won't take you barely five minutes, even if you don't read as fast as I do. (My friend C is the only person I know who can give me a run for my money. Hi, C!)

Key sentences:

"Day 25: A pattern is emerging. Since starting on Paxil, I've been drinking like a fish. For some reason, vitamin P combines incredibly well with alcohol. It's more fun to drink than it was before. I want to be drunk every night. I don't get hung over now, and I remain pretty lucid even when sloshed."

"Day 27: Also, the last few days I've considered cutting down on free-lancing and getting a regular job—consulting or something. Previously, I couldn't imagine a job like this. Regular hours and no creative outlet sounded like a nightmare. All wrong for me. But now, stability, routine, and boredom sounds A-OK. Pleasant, even. An easy way to make a buck and just live my life."

"Day 29: After deciding Paxil is worthless and downing three glasses of wine, I find I want to talk to people. No, it wasn't the alcohol. I drink at parties all the time—and go from standing alone in the corner to standing drunk and alone in the corner. This time, I'm craving conversation."

"Day 35: Pre-Paxil, I was a social drinker. Now I'm walking a mile in someone else's brain chemistry. I can see why some of you like to drink so much, maybe even need to drink so much. It's fun for me now, in a way it just wasn't before. On liquor and Paxil, strangers mean novelty, not fear. Group conversations are a chance to play raconteur, not a chance to smile weakly and shut up.

And it's so much better than sobriety. Sober for me these days means extreme detachment. Movies, once a favorite hobby, do nothing for me now. Likewise books—I just don't connect with the plots or characters. I can't recall laughing (while sober) in the past couple of weeks. I'm never sad, but never happy. Why wouldn't I drink?"

"Day 52: It's mercifully over. But a new phenomenon has taken hold. When I get teary-eyed watching a horrid chick-flick on a cross-country flight, I recognize it: feelings. On Paxil, I barely noticed they were gone. Now that they're back, even overcompensating, I never want to lose them again. Bitterness, anger, jealousy, sadness: They all make me happy."

It often takes an outsider to accurately and poignantly describe a phenomenon, and it turns out that personality discussions are no different. Seth described my own brain to me in a way I couldn't possibly have come up with myself. I'm not quite as extreme, of course, and I imagine most other "natural" extroverts aren't, either--after all, extrovertism isn't the same thing as sociopathy. We have feelings. But it would have never occurred to me before this article that group conversations would equal "smiling weakly and shutting up" to some people. REALLY? Boy. Shutting up never even remotely occurs to me. I always have a lot to say, and I especially have it to say in groups. Get me alone with someone and I can be calm--quiet, even. Put me in a group and the spotlight's on me and I will do anything to keep it there. Until this article, I didn't really understand that some people didn't feel like that. I KNEW that, intellectually, or else the entire world would have gone deaf a thousand years ago from all the talking. But still: it's fascinating to see his take.

This article is especially interesting to me because I recently stopped taking personality-changing hormones, aka The Pill. Leaving aside the sexual revolution aspects of the Pill, what it does to your hormones is fascinating.

In a terrible way.

Don't get me wrong--I was on it for many years, and it performed its job admirably. But had I realized just how much more sane and non-emotional I would be OFF the pill--and that I would lose weight just by blinking and breathing--I might have disembarked the train a lot sooner. The most telling moments arrived over several months when my relationship with the LT was imploding, and I cried every day, sometimes times twice a day. The LT and I broke up, and I was STILL crying all the time. And there is nothing worse, men, than crying at the drop of a hat and having no idea why or how to stop it, and assuming you're going crazy and wondering if you'll ever be sane again. Even though I KNEW I was crying for no good reason, I couldn't get a handle on myself. Suddenly, once I stopped convincing myself I was pregnant all the time (that's what the Pill does) I snapped out of it. Immediately. And I lost ten pounds. It was like entering SaneLand over night. Turns out these "hormone" things really do affect this "brain chemistry" thing.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Obsessions of the Day

I absolutely cannot stop listening to Grown Woman by Mary J. Blige.
Seriously. I need help.

Also on the obsession radar this week:

HIGHLY OFFENSIVE BLOG WARNING: Texts From Last Night. Oh Dear Jesus. So Funny. So Addictive. So Impossible To Stop Reading. My friends and I are now emailing our favorites to each other. It is OUT OF CONTROL.

Old episodes of The Mod Squad on YouTube.

These sneakers. I've been mildly sneaker-obsessed lately, since I desperately need new ones, and these are EXACTLY what I want. I would even pay the outrageous price. Problem: they were already sold out of my size by the time I got to the site. (Damn East-Coasters with their three-hours-ahead bullpuckey.) I got plain black, instead, thinking that I would paint them silver, and...they look so much like combat boots when actually on that I have to return them. Fooey.