I'm in the car with the Ex on the way to Jazz Alley and "Ridin' Solo" comes on. I laugh.
"Is this your theme song right now?"
He laughs too. "It's been played a few times. Maybe more than a few times. And it's made the karaoke rotation maybe a few times."
"Wow, I'm famous!"
"Sort of. There's another word with 'famous' in it, have you heard of that word?"
"Nope. No idea what word you're talking about. Never been applied to me before, either."
Monday, December 27, 2010
I'm in the car with the Ex on the way to Jazz Alley and "Ridin' Solo" comes on. I laugh.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Roommate and I are locals, and have lived in Seattle proper for years, on and off, and currently live eleven blocks from Pike Place Market, which we have pretty much memorized, and yet here we are at Information, trying to find a tobacco store.
The Information Ladies don't know one off the top of their heads, so they are looking at a map to help us. I study the map outside. Roommate has been up since 2 am (not a typo) and is getting a little punchy and I'm worried she's going to cause the Information Ladies serious psychological damage. There are several maps of Pike Place Market, all drawn poorly, none with any relation to each other.
"This map is color coded according to building," I say to Roommate, around the corner talking to the ladies. "Apparently there's one in the Stewart Building."
"That's what they just said," she said, frustrated, "but who knew the buildings had NAMES? I just need them to tell me what it's by." (Pop quiz: can you name ANY of the Pike Place Market buildings?)
We finally agree that the tobacco store is probably by the Original Starbucks. We set off.
We walk in frustrated silence for several minutes, pushing our way through the hordes of tourists and Christmas dawdlers. Both of us agree that making maps that only reference building names is probably not the best way to go.
"Just proof that in the Information Age, simply having a lot of information is NOT the same thing as knowing anything useful," I said, rather dryly.
We found the tobacco store.
Posted by Aarwenn at 11:04 AM
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Okay, I have spent some time in Asian countries and third world countries and I rarely get overwhelmed, by ANYTHING, but I am in Seoul, and I just flat out escaped into a Starbucks. Let me tell you how rare that is for me. This may actually be a first.
Do not go into Namnaimun Market without valium.
There are things I actually want to buy, and every time I reach for my wallet I become paralysed by indecision and then I have to sit down, and there's no place to sit and I'm surrounded by 50,000 Koreans and everyone's pushing and shoving and no one loves me and I'm freezing and I have cramps and my roommate is cleaning the apartment and going on ACTUAL DATES and I am weirded out, man, and I need out NEED OUT I'M GOING TO LOSE MY MIND OMG A STARBUCKS.
Yeah. That's kind of how it was.
Posted by Aarwenn at 9:04 PM
Thursday, December 02, 2010
And I'm really pretty okay with it.
In honor of the demise of that relationship, I have an excellent text that I once typed, very drunk, to the most recent ex:
"Wowm jm. Uh noy sure how phrase the fact that I'm too dino to khalsa a penitent."
No, I didn't send it.
Posted by Aarwenn at 9:21 AM
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
(Author's Note: I recently had the opportunity to attend my great-aunt and great-uncle's 60th wedding anniversary with a lot of other family in Denver. It was a real blast, and one of the awesome moments was having my aunt-and-uncle's best friends come in for a surprise, who had been the matron of honor and best man at their wedding. Sunday morning, we were sitting around the breakfast table at the hotel and they started reminiscing about Portland, back in the fifties. It was a wonderful moment that I had to recreate from memory, an hour later--I didn't want to record it and break the moment. The following is the best I can remember.)
Our apartment back then had bunk beds.
That’s right! Bunk beds. Because there was no space for two beds side by side. But it was classy--hey, it had a separate bedroom! That was CLASS.
That’s right, and in the living room we had that double bed, with wheels on the top.
That’s right. If we had overnight guests, we’d lay it flat, you know, but in the daytime we’d push it up against the wall, and it became a couch, you know, because one side of the double bed had wheels on it and it ran up against the wall.
Like a futon, these days.
We shared a bathroom with the couple next to us, and SHE kept the bathroom clean.
That’s right. That was a miracle, such a boon for two bachelors living alone, you know.
Yes. And the walls were so thin that she could easily hear our alarm through the walls, so when our alarm went off, she used to jump up and run into the bathroom first.
That’s right, and one day we got wise to this, so Dave set his alarm for three o’clock in the morning.
(Dave: I cannot confirm my actions at that time.)
They were such a nice couple, though, that the husband--what was his name?
That’s right, Hap. Hap found me (Jimmy) the next day and said, “Hey, you know my wife gets up when she hears your alarm, and I think yesterday you might have set it wrong! I hope you didn’t get up late or miss an important meeting.”
And he meant it, too--he was concerned about us.
That’s right. And then he was so nice about the girls.
That’s RIGHT! The landlady, would only rent to couples, normally, but she made an exception for Dave and I, but she said: “NO GIRLS.” We weren’t allowed to have any lady guests at all in the apartment.
That’s right. So Hap says to me, (Dave), “Don’t worry about it,” he says. “If you want to have lady friends over, you just tell me, and we’ll run ‘em through my apartment.”
And when it rained, we had to put a PLANK down to walk over to the university.
That’s right. Thirty bucks a month, we paid for that place, fifteen a piece.
(Joan speaking.) And then there was that big house on Stevens street that we lived in right after we were married. And we threw a New Year’s Eve party.
(Dave speaking) And that was the LAST New Year’s eve party we EVER threw. All my fraternity brothers came, and their wives and girlfriends, and it got pretty wild.
[Name forgotten] got so mad that we ran out of fixings for Tom and Jerry’s, and so he went into the kitchen and scooped that stuff out of the sink!
(Joan) That’s right. We threw a dinner party there and we [she and Matron of Honor] were making spaghetti, because that was all we could afford in those days, and we didn’t have a colander so we were draining it over the sink and the lid came off and there went all the spaghetti, right into the sink.
[Matron of Honor] We looked around, and we didn’t see anyone, so we just scooped it out of the sink and put it back in the pan.
Well, there wasn’t any more! To serve, I mean, or eat. That was all we had.
That was a wonderful old house, though. On that New Year’s eve party, Margaret’s husband Whitney was supposed to leave for Korea the next day, and in the middle of the festivities, he quietly left the party and went out to his car. No one saw him go.
All of a sudden we hear a gunshot.
All of us, thinking the worst, run out to the car, and there is Whitney with the gun in his hand, very calm. He had just fired it in celebration of the New Year. It was a tradition with him.
That’s right! He fired it into the ground, though, not into the air, because he was smart and careful.
Yes, he was very savvy with guns. Always was.
That was a wonderful old house. It was old and large and falling apart, but I loved it. They knocked it down, you know, because they put the street through there.
Oh, I didn’t know!
Yes, it’s gone.
Well, it wouldn’t have lasted long anyway. It was falling apart. Needed a lot of work.
(Dave) Like that cabin that my father’s friend, Jay Gould, (Author's note: ?) had. It was out by the lake. We used to go out there, and fish during the day and play cards at night, and he (Jay) had to have the biggest and best of everything, so one year he buys this gigantic, high-powered, portable radio. This thing was HUGE, I remember, although of course most of the size was due to the batteries. And it was my job, back when Portland had a ball team, to listen to the radio and call out the score. And I could barely hear it, because the reception was so bad, but still it was my job to sit with my ear pressed against that goddamned thing.
What was that announcer’s name?
Randy Truitt. (Author's note: I got this wrong.)
(Wow, there’s a name I haven’t heard in fifty years.)
Yes, Randy Truitt. And when they hit the ball, he’d announce it, and he had a matchbox in the press box and he’d flick the matchbox--thwock--so that it sounded like you could really hear it.
Right before we got married, Joan’s mother knew that she was going to move out, so we moved her into a much smaller apartment downtown, so she could get to work easily.
That’s right--right around the corner from the big Unitarian church. I slept on a cot in the living room, because we knew it wouldn’t be for long.
(Author's Note: It sounds so...simple. I'm not one to be nostalgic, but...awww.)
Posted by Aarwenn at 10:21 PM
Friday, October 15, 2010
Me: (begins to steer our walking back to work)
Kentucky: "Oh, yeah, guess we should turn."
Me: "Well, if we want to go back to work, we should."
Kentucky: "Let's just keep walking!"
Me: "And arrive in beautiful downtown Kent!"
Kentucky: "Hey, if we kept walking, we'd eventually get to California."
Me: "After a week."
Kentucky: "More like three weeks. How far do you think it is?"
Me: "From here to California? At least five hundred...I'd say, eight hundred miles."
Kentucky: "No! It is not THAT far. Well...where in California?"
Me: "Just to the border would be shorter."
Kentucky: "No, I want to go deep in California. San Francisco or L.A."
Me: "At least 800 miles. Maybe 1000."
Me: "Yes! There's a LOT of California to cross!"
Kentucky: "I'm going to look that up."
Me: "It's 808 miles from Seattle to San Fran."
Me: "And it's 1,135 miles to LA. AM I GOOD OR WHAT?"
Kentucky: "Yes. Quite!"
Kentucky: "If we walked at a 15 min mile pace, it would take us 20 days at 10 hours a day to get to San Fran." (Author's Note: She was right on when she estimated three weeks, earlier.)
Me: "4 miles an hour for 10 hours? We'd have to train."
Kentucky: "Yeah, I'm not saying it's going to happen anytime soon."
Me: "But what great training for Nepal!"
Posted by Aarwenn at 1:58 PM
Saturday, October 02, 2010
Foy: ...He certainly did give himself a billing, this George M. Cohan.
George: You don't have to memorize that one, kid. There's plenty more all over town.
Foy: I'd like to forget it. Say, mister, you connected with this turkey?
George: What makes you think it's a turkey? I hear it's pretty good.
Foy: It's a malicious rumor to gyp the public. Who is this guy Cohan? Where's he from? What is he, an upstart?
George: Oh, he's been through the mill. Played everything. Small time, big time, vaudeville, rep shows. Even followed dog acts.
Foy: Must've looked like an encore. Say, uh, is he as good as Foy?
Foy: Foy, Foy. (Foy sprays George's face) Eddie Foy. Oh, pardon me.
George: Pardon me. I didn't quite catch the name. Would you mind spraying it again?
Foy: Eddie Foy! The star that's got the big show down the street with a chorus of seventy.
George: Why, I thought they looked a little younger than that. I hear now that Cohan's in town, Foy is gonna retire.
Foy: Foy won't retire till he's ninety!
George: Is it gonna take him that long to discover he has no talent? Why, they tell me when he tries to sing, the orchestra puts up umbrellas.
Foy: Tries to sing! Foy is a genius! He keeps his audience glued to the seats.
George: That's one way o' keeping them in the theater. Cohan does it with talent. Look (he points out the poster) - produces his own plays, writes his own books, lyrics and music, plays the leads, and he's a great dancer.
Foy: He dances, eh? When does he get time to practice?
George: When you write your own plays you don't have to practice. Cohan's done all right. He's given the world 'Yankee Doodle Dandy.' What's Foy done for his country?
Foy: He gave 'em seven kids.
George: Does he dance?
Foy: One o' the best.
George: When does he get time to practice?
Foy: Say, listen, young fella. My name's Eddie Foy.
George: I know it. I'm George M. Cohan.
Foy: Oh, so you're Cohan? (They shake hands) Well, if I said anything accidental to make you mad, I want you to know I'm darn glad I did.
George: I don't blame ya. I'd feel the same way if I were up against Cohan. What do you like to drink?
Foy: Oh, moxie-
George: I can supply it! The attraction inside is a whole lot bigger than I am. Come and see it when your show closes.
--From Yankee Doodle Dandy, 1942
Posted by Aarwenn at 12:32 PM
Friday, October 01, 2010
The boy was sitting outside the restaurant, on the ground, I mean fully on the ground, his butt on the dirty concrete and his back pressed hard up against the railing that separated the restaurant's territory from the territory of the sidewalk, with all its casual passers-by, of which Bobby and I were two.
At first I thought the boy was a homeless kid high out of his gourd, with his legs hanging out slackly in front of him, cuffs and shoes resting fully in the filthy alley, his arms hanging limply by his sides, but his shirt and jeans were pristine and not cheap. His face was clean, he was young, and he wasn't mumbling or grinning, but his eyes stared blankly at nothing.
Bobby put a finger on it first: "THAT'S a breakup."
I turned to him. "You're right! I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on."
Bobby nodded. "We're all been there. You have to leave the restaurant, and your feet won't carry you any farther than you to absolutely have to go. So you end up sittin' in some place weird, and you know you're being awkward, and you know you're attracting attention and you're just like, "Fuck ALL of you. I'm gonna sit here and be weird, and fuck you and the horse you rode in on."
Posted by Aarwenn at 10:22 AM
Thursday, September 23, 2010
(After the taxi driver caught my eye a few times, as I was hesitating between grabbing a cab and taking the bus.)
"Ah, I THOUGHT you wanted a taxi! I thought to myself, 'She needs a taxi, she just doesn't know it yet.'"
Yes, I was thinking about taking the bus, but if I did, I would have been late, and I can't be late. It's important.
"Oh? You have an important meeting? Is it with a VIP? Is it work, are you on your way to a work meeting?"
Actually, it's with my boyfriend, so...yes, he's a VIP.
"OH!" (Laughing) "He IS a VIP! He's a super VIP!"
Yes, I think so.
"That is good, you're a good girl. But you know, men, we are used to waiting for women. Women are ALWAYS late."
Yes, we take a long time. We have to get pretty.
"Yes, but they are always worth it!"
"Yes! Women are always worth it. We men, we always wait, but if she is a good girl, she is worth it. If she is nice and sweet, and doesn't cheat around, and a pretty girl...she's worth it."
"You can tell your boyfriend I said so."
I will do that.
"Now, my older daughter, she is not a good girl. Not worth it."
...I'm sorry, what? Your daughter is not a good girl?
"No! She is not a good girl. She's not in school, she doesn't work around the house, all she does is sleep all day and go out all night, she's loud, always playing the loud music, keeping her door closed. Lazy. Worthless girl."
"Yes! I kicked her out. I told her, 'You have to go, get out.' Because you have to be firm, you know. I asked her to do just a little bit of work around the house--help your sister, clean your room, help clean the kitchen, you know, just...HELP! It wasn't a lot--just help out the family, everyone has to pitch in!"
Yes, that doesn't seem like a lot.
"But she wouldn't, so I kicked her out. After two months she came back, she said that she was sorry and she didn't like living without the family, that she would change and it would all be different. And after three weeks...she was back to her old ways. Going out all night, never helping. I kicked her out again. Three weeks, she lasted, but without the family, she is still crying."
"Yes! She is loco en cabesa, as the Spanish say."
(Laughing) Crazy in the head! Yes. Are you Spanish?
"No, I am Egyptian. But I love languages. And you speak Spanish?"
"Un poquito, well, that is still good. I speak Spanish and some Italian, and I am trying to learn Japanese."
"I love languages. I love people!"
"Oh, here we are! Tell your boyfriend that you are worth waiting for. You are a good girl."
Posted by Aarwenn at 12:41 PM
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
That I eat at LEAST twice a week, sometimes more, for reasons that you will soon discover.
The Savoy Supper Version, which I had for dinner last and caused me to moan at every bite, is:
Kale, sauteed with two serious knobs of butter and a lot of garlic, and deglazed with several splashes of dry vermouth and then some lemon juice.
Very gently scrambled fresh chicken egg from co-workers chickens, scrambled for barely three minutes in more butter.
Sprinkle of Pecorino if you have it.
Kale, egg, sea salt, ground pepper, and pecorino: pretty magical. Nutritious, fast, super delicious. (Remember that eggs are much more common at dinner in most of the world. It's just North America that insists on eating them for breakfast.)
And then...there is the Trailer Park Version:
About 3/4 of a cup frozen spinach, warmed in the microwave for about a minute, or until hot. Sprinkle several squirts of lemon juice and shakes of sea salt. (Don't overdo! Sea salt is SALTY.)
One egg, poached in the microwave. (Seeing the theme?)
Dump egg over salted, lemony spinach. Break yolk, mix. Grate pepper, add salt to taste. Possibly add a nice grated cheese, if you feel like it. Parmesan is the classic, but Pecorino is my favorite. Also good with just the lightest sprinkling of truffle salt, which seems ridiculous to sprinkle over frozen spinach, but whatever.
Easy, fast, semi-nutritious. Both go well with red wine, the Trailer Park version slightly better. The Savoy Supper version doesn't need red wine.
Posted by Aarwenn at 2:00 PM
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
"It's ironic," I said, on the phone with Chalie.
"I have this boyfriend who has spent the last several years without credit cards. He doesn't even have a debit card on him. He only buys things through cash."
"So thanks to his excellent example, I've started leaving my American Express at home."
"Oh yeah? Any particular reason?"
"Well, to help pay off my debt," I said, rather shamefacedly. "It's going down slowly but surely, and I thought going on a cash system would help."
"That's great!" she said, politely ignoring the fact that I ought not to have any debt at all, and that my debt roughly totals--or used to total--how much she actually makes in a year. "How's it going?"
"Well, I have one credit card on me--it has a $500 limit, so I can't go crazy with it."
"...and I'm at a gas station, and...my credit card is maxed out. I've paid the dang thing online, but it hasn't gone through yet."
"And the Tank is seriously on fumes. I can't get another ten miles."
"Uh...didn't this happen to you once before? You got stranded at a gas station with an empty bank account and an empty tank?"
"Yes. But that was a long time ago and I think Mom would not be as inclined to bail me out, this time."
"Uh...don't you have a debit card?"
"...It's in the mail. I lost my original one and they're replacing it."
"Oh for GOD'S sake," she said, exasperated. "What are you going to do?"
"Oh, I have a cash card. I can't buy things with it, but I can get cash."
"Oh. So you're okay."
"Oh, yeah. I have just have to walk into the store and hit the ATM before I try to buy gas."
"Okay. So WHAT, exactly, is ironic?"
"Suddenly I have money--paying down my debt and everything--and suddenly I can't get to it."
"Uh huh," she said, her voice dripping with ice crystals. "You. Poor. Thing."
Posted by Aarwenn at 10:22 PM
Friday, August 06, 2010
"So there I was, cruising down East Marginal on the phone," I said, "and of course it was boiling hot yesterday and I had to close the windows because I was on the phone."
"Uh huh," said Helpful Friend.
"And because I'm on AT&T (nice choice, B) the connection kept dropping."
"So I'd lose the connection, shout, 'HELLO!' for several minutes, then give up, hang up with my chin, roll down the window, let the phone drop off my shoulder, and crack open the side triangle, which is the only way I ever get any cross breeze in that car."
"And THEN the person would call back, so I'd pick up, say, 'Hang on,' glue my chin to the phone to my ear, roll up the window, close the side triangle, and pick up again, shifting with my glued-in-place-elbow, saying, 'Okay.'"
"How were you steering? With your imaginary third elbow?"
"Oh Lord," said the Helpful Friend. "Uh, couldn't you just wait until you were somewhere, you know, stationary, before calling people back?"
"No. Everyone calling me was at least three levels above me in org charts. [President of my Company] is only six levels above me total."
"How many times did your phone ring yesterday?"
"Okay, I have two things to say," said Helpful Friend. "One, I am never, ever, riding with you again, at least until you get a goddammed EAR PIECE for that phone. Seriously. You now have a job in which Boeing executives call you on a regular basis. Get. An. Earpiece."
"...and two, did you know that modern cars have power windows?"
Me: "GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE."
Helpful Friend: "True story."
Posted by Aarwenn at 6:29 PM
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Not too long ago--a matter of months, maybe--a bartender and I had an intelligent conversation about absinthe as I waited for Calsee to open her apartment door. The crowd at the bar was extremely mixed, as it always is, at the Zig-Zag; on my left sat a blond, large-framed drunk woman in business clothes, I think drinking a martini; on my right sat small-boned skater kid drinking whiskey and beer, his over-sized t-shirt showing off his closely-shaved dark hair and arm tattoos. I pulled up a stool and asked the bartender what kind of absinthe he served. He offered me tastes of two kinds, and I shared them with the drunk woman in business clothes and the skater kid, knowing that one serving of absinthe is about all I can carry, and even a sip or two over that limit can be too much. They tasted. The drunk woman, very talkative, had barely a sip of each and exclaimed much over them; the skater kid appreciated it more and accepted my gift of the rest of the tastes. (A man after my own heart--never turn down free booze.) I drank my chosen absinthe--I forget what it was, now--and made a little more small talk to my left and to my right, until I asked for the bill. The skater kid made a move for my number, and I turned him down, gently. Calsee called. I strolled out of the Zig Zag, carefully, feeling the affects of the absinthe. Ahead of me on the Pike Hill Climb, walking up to street level, was the drunk woman in business clothes, who had left the bar with a late-arriving date. "This girl sits down," she says to him, loudly, and I realize she's talking about me, "says she builds planes for a living, and orders ABSINTHE!"
I brushed a little imaginary dirt off my shoulder.
ANYWAY, this is not about me, and I can't collect a speck of dirt compared to that bartender. Because that bartender with the intelligent absinthe conversation was just crowned "best bartender in America". Congratulations, Mr. Stenson. Wonder how this compares to being featured in Playboy's A-List?
Posted by Aarwenn at 1:45 PM
Friday, July 09, 2010
I've been putting off renting a truck for Sunday's move--yes! I am moving! On top of getting a new job!--and it turns out it's a good thing I did, because the new apartment building had a power outage and all the outlets in my new places BLEW OUT.
Yes, they did.
Now it turns out that I can't move in until the DAY that I have to MOVE OUT of my other place.
Even for someone as used to living on the edge as I am--and let me reassure you that I have made a damn career out of it--this is cutting it...a little close.
I'm not even sure what I'm going to do next.
And so I'll post a funny exchange from Facebook about LAST weekend:
Me, to T-Town: "After locking us out of your house--in the cold rain, in our pjs, without phones or wallets, getting into a fender-bender, driving like a maniac, and blowing out a tire--not to mention ziplining--Lilith Fair seemed pretty uneventful."
T-Town: "Two questions: 1. How is this different than a normal weekend for you? 2. Were you somehow under the impression the Lilith Fair would be interesting? But seriously, it was great to have you here and you still owe me 20 bucks."
Me: "Well, I don't normally go ziplining."
T-Town: "Good point."
Posted by Aarwenn at 11:20 AM
Thursday, July 01, 2010
I got there because my boss and I are having a discussion about how to identify a language she overheard, not long ago, at the airport, that she couldn't identify on the spot. And since my boss is Irish, has an aunt who is Welsh, has traveled all over the world and spent a lot of time in Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Brazil, AND is a language nerd...let's just say that there's not many languages that she CAN'T identify on the spot. Lots of soft round sounds, and clicks, she said, spoken by three slender dark-haired girls with faintly olive skin. In this case, I think the gender identity of the girls is a red herring, so to speak. We've already ruled out everything on most continents, including Welsh, Basque, Catalan, and Icelandic. Nothing Cyrillic or Germanic, for sure. My boss' description makes it sound African. It's POSSIBLY Romanian or Finnish. Thoughts? (Celia? Rob?)
In any case, Omniglot looks fascinating. I may spend a lot of time there in the future.
Take me there, please.
Posted by Aarwenn at 10:57 AM
Monday, June 28, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
My old friend "Bobby" rolled in last night at a bright and early 1:25 am, and to kill time before I picked him up, I went salsa dancing. And then he and I stayed up until 4 am talking, laughing, and gossiping, over wine. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
This morning I'm blearily staring at my computer screen and this pops up:
Tri-Tip: "You went to salsa and then picked up "Bobby" at 1 AM? You, ma'am, are truly hardcore."
Me: "More like two am, because his plane was delayed."
Tri-Tip: "I salute you."
(Note: Those of you reading along at home may wonder why Tri-Tip knows I went salsa-dancing last night, when this IM conversation is obviously the first time we've communicated today. Is he my boyfriend? Do we talk in the evenings? The answer to both questions is no. He knows because he follows me on Foursquare and Twitter, and has access to the places I check in. If this entire tangent confuses you, welcome to the 21st century. Moving on.)
About 9 am I IMed Kentucky. (Who is new on this blog! Welcome, Kentucky!) The New Job moved me to her work site, which is great because a) I don't see her enough, b) it gives me someone to bug at times like 9 AM when I've gotten two hours of sleep. "Today would be a GREAT day for our first Tully's run," I write to her. "Just saying."
Fifteen minutes later she hits me back. "YES. See you in five."
Turns out she was ALSO at the airport at 1:30 am. We could have gotten a damn drink in the airport while we were waiting for our respective arrivals. We laugh about this, back in her office, comparing how little sleep we got.
"Yeah, I'm pretty sure my eye-bags are purple," I said, mainly joking.
She gives me a critical look. "I wouldn't go so far as to call them purple," she says. "More like lavender."
"Hmph. Well, I haven't slept much in four days," I said, pulling out my concealer, which I happened to put in my pocket this morning, even while sleep-walking, because I knew this was going to happen.
"I'm not judging you, doll! I feel you! But they ARE there," she says, pulling out her mirror. I futzed--gently--with the skin under my eyes, and the concealer, and looked at her for approval. "Much better," she says, encouragingly. "No longer purple. They're still puffy, but you can't fix that without cream."
Posted by Aarwenn at 11:07 AM
Thursday, June 24, 2010
This describes most of my breakfasts. And the following describes the past five of my mornings:
I bit into a chunk of Manchego and sipped my barely-warm VIA as my boss held a hand mirror for me, sneaking around the corner of my cubicle wall, so I could apply eyeliner before the foreign nationals came in. She talked at me a mile a minute as I kicked off my ballet flats and stepped into my brand-new black slingbacks, breaking off only to say, "Cute shoes!"
My slingbacks are the tallest work shoes I've ever owned, and my boss is so well-dressed that I'm currently overhauling my wardrobe so I can keep up. So when she says, "Cute shoes!" I say, "Thank you!"
She turned the mirror around and applied her own lipstick. "It probably wouldn't kill you to be here earlier," says the petite powerhouse, who is going to school full time while managing my department for two continents and half of Europe and Asia, as she wielded her lip pencil.
I make a mental note to overhaul my wardrobe AND go shopping AND drink more water AND eat healthier. Whatever this woman is doing, I would like to also do.
Posted by Aarwenn at 11:35 AM
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
It's 78 degrees. I'm wearing a white t-shirt dress. I'm drinking a strawberry daiquiri which, miraculously, I have not yet spilled on the white T-shirt dress.
I have a strawberry daiquiri because I had extra strawberry filling from making 12 strawberry tarts a week ago, which I'll talk more about in a later post. Also being made as I sip my strawberry daiquiri: a strawberry pie, with the extra strawberry filling, and a loaf of gougere, with extra dough from making cheese puffs, also a week ago. The extra ham and cucumber has been made into sandwiches with the extra white bread, the chicken from TWO weeks ago has been picked clean and tossed--with the leftover meat waiting to be a part of another meal--and I am listening to this song:
Posted by Aarwenn at 7:04 PM
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I have a new job here at the Lazy B, and so far it most reminds me of a mix of the West Wing and the Devil Wears Prada, except that my boss is totally awesome. It's fast-paced, tons of things happen all at once, things change minute by minute, so I'm behind already, and really I just want to take my boss out for coffee and listen to her talk because she's that cool.
My meals here at work have consisted of peanuts, granola bars, and slices of cheese, because I'm too busy to eat or cook, and last night I came home at 4:30 pm and went to bed an hour later.
P.S. Hi, mom. I have eaten some quinoa and yogurt as well. And YES, I am drinking enough water.
Posted by Aarwenn at 1:33 PM
Monday, June 14, 2010
It's hard to stay focused. It's hard to take the long way around. It's hard to come home after work and devote four hours to your side projects. It's hard to remember how to spell "devote".
It's hard to wake up early in order to bike or take the bus, when it's easier just jump in your car. It's hard to pack a lunch the night before, when it's so easy just to buy pre-made food. It's hard to pre-set your coffeemaker, when you can just buy a latte. It's hard to eat simply, when it's so much easier to buy fancy restaurant food. It's hard to read Shakespeare, when it's so easy to read Agatha Christie. (Or worse, blogs.) It's hard to just walk to J.Crew when you need new clothes, instead of scouring thrift stores.
And now that you've taken the easy and more expensive way out of all your obligations, you find yourself with a lot of free time on your hands, so it's even harder to pare your life down to its basic necessities instead of filling it with things that fill your extra gobs of free time.
It's even harder to bitch about these very, very small concerns in the face of so many REAL problems in the world. That is all.
Posted by Aarwenn at 9:42 AM
Friday, June 11, 2010
On gray June Gloom Seattle days, it's wonderful to know that other people are creating amazing things, so I can just sit, and drink my coffee, and stare out the window, and enjoy their things instead.
All of this woman's photographs are so amazing.
Oh, just check out her flickr stream.
And a slightly different take on art, aesthetics, and fantasy:
This is a real artist's commune, only not a commune. From the NYT article:
"The woman, J. Morgan Puett, a fashion designer and artist, is also a kind of radical homesteader, having staked a claim here on land stalked by black bears, deer, coyotes and porcupine. Along with her 8-year-old son, Grey Rabbit, and a changing cast of friends and romantic partners, she has built a home that is an ongoing experiment in art, design and aestheticized living, an artist colony conceived in the communal spirit of 20th-century institutions like Roycroft and Black Mountain College, with her own house, just now being finished, at its heart."
People who can do this with their lives make me think I'm wasting my allotment of oxygen.
And finally, it's probably more artistically appropriate that you listen to something like Ratatat or Tom Waits as you look at the above images, but THIS is what's in my head:
Share Ghost In The Machine by B.o.B
Love the amazing, AMAZING, almost-an-afterthought, harmony in this song.
Posted by Aarwenn at 10:44 AM
Monday, May 31, 2010
A heavier young man in black frame glasses sits with a gray haired lady. It becomes clear that he is, in fact, her son, and they are both from the East Coast and she is here to visit him, as he has apparently just moved here.
(In regards to some work she is doing.) "Well, you can use my computer any time this weekend, Mother...although I don't know how you'll access your files." Black Frame Glasses says loudly.
"I carry them around with me on this flash drive on my key chain," she murmurs.
He gasps. "You DO? That's not safe! Anyone could just pick that up and download all your important information!"
"It's encrypted," she says.
"Oh? OH! Encrypted, eh? Oh, that's good. That's a good thing that you did that. As long as there's no way anyone can break it."
The waiter arrives.
"Now, Mother, you have to let me order for you. Yes, you do, you're a lady!"
He turns to the waiter. "The LADY will have..."
I silently judge behind my coffee. You will not do well in this town of tech-savvy feminists, Black Frame Glasses. Your mother may be used to putting up with your peculiar mix of idiocy and self-importance, but we are not, and furthermore, have no desire to become so. You will do better in the mid-size East Coast town you are undoubtedly from. Please return there.
Also, you shout.
Posted by Aarwenn at 2:48 PM
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Chalie: "I heard a TV newscaster say, the other day: 'I'm told they plan on baiting the bear trap with Krispy Kremes & stinky fish.'"
Chalie: "I figure that trap ensnares just as many middle-school-ers as it does bears."
John: "Maybe they should just bait the trap with middle-school-ers."
Me: "Would that be like killing two birds with one stone?"
Chalie: "No, that would be like killing two stoners with one bear."
Posted by Aarwenn at 4:45 PM
This song's been in my head for weeks.
After that one, definitely watch this one:
Oh, Sam Cooke. MR. SAM COOKE, ladies and gentlemen.
If you have even one second more of free time, you should for sure listen to, "A Change is Gonna Come", "Another Saturday Night", and "Chain Gang". A Change Is Gonna Come, especially, makes my blood run cold every time I hear it.
And, if you've ever listened to a hip hop song and liked it, you are REQUIRED to familiarize yourself with The Clapping Song, just so you can look nobby in front of hip hop nerds.
AND, finally, a more modern blues song:
AND, one of THE most powerful songs from my childhood, and one of the most powerful, emotional songs about school shootings, ever:
(Can you guess what it is? If you're from my generation, you know it for sure...)
(Make sure you have tissue.)
Posted by Aarwenn at 2:18 PM
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Much has already been said about this, and surely a few more words can’t hurt.
I was with Blond from New Jersey just a few days ago. We were in downtown Seattle, looking for a parking spot in front of Pike Place Market, at 3:30 pm on a Saturday, and anyone reading this who has spent any amount of time here already knows that that is…pretty difficult.
Most of West Coast life is pretty relaxed compared to the huge amounts of effort it takes to even buy a cup of coffee in NYC, for example, but looking for street parking at Seattle’s biggest tourist attraction at prime time can tend to rachett up the heart rate a little bit. Blond from New Jersey and myself were unfazed. I saw a parking spot open up at 1st and Pine, and she cut easily across two lanes of traffic, stopped, reversed—everything you’d need to do to suddenly parallel park on a city street. At rush hour. And everyone just…went around her. There were a few polite honks. We looked at each other.
“This is so…easy!” She said.
“For real,” I said. “On the East Coast, someone would have already insulted your mother.”
Posted by Aarwenn at 9:24 AM
Monday, April 26, 2010
I was on a street corner in Ballard with a date, holding his arm and laughing about something, when he pointed, kitty-corner.
"Hey, look, an interracial couple," he said, totally straight-faced. "THAT'S something you don't see every day."
I looked at my yuppie, real-estate-magnate date--who also happened to be black--and burst out laughing.
"Maybe there's a mirror on that corner that reflects us," I said, still giggling.
He gave that couple the five-second once over before shaking his head and turning away. "Nah," he said. "She's nowhere as cute as you are."
Posted by Aarwenn at 11:49 PM
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Listen, small governmenters. I understand that the plastic bag tax scares you. I understand why. I understand that you have issues with a big, blowsy government trying to tell you what to do when they obviously can’t take care of themselves, and you especially don’t want a reminder of that every time you choose to use a fucking plastic bag. I get that.
But here’s the thing: a five-cent bag tax is NOT the government telling you what to do.
I’ll repeat that: A FIVE CENT BAG TAX IS NOT THE GOVERNMENT TELLING YOU WHAT TO DO.
It’s an INCENTIVE. Just an incentive to behave in the way that the government wants you to behave. If you drive too fast, the government will issue you a speeding ticket. If you buy cigarettes, the government will take some tax to shore up against your eventual health care costs. Hell, if you DRIVE, the government will take a gas tax to pay for roads, and the faster you drive, the more you’ll pay in gas, because the more gas you’ll burn.
But you know what? You CAN PAY THE FIVE CENTS. The government isn’t telling you that you CAN’T use a plastic bag. (That WOULD be telling you what to do.) The government is laying out the consequences of your actions so that you can make an informed decision. That is, in fact, one of the governments’ JOBS—to get its citizens to think globally. To remind its citizens that hey, you may not ever see the increased cost of your health care, smoker, or you may not understand why you can’t just go five miles over the speed limit, but we have seen the data on the deaths of young people under the age of 18 and we’ve seen the 100 years of data on smokers’ lungs and we’re telling you, you are incurring a cost on society and we are going to make you pay it.
So when the plastic bag tax failed here in WA, I couldn’t understand why the heck people bucked against THAT tax when they hadn’t bucked much against, say, sin tax. But pretty soon I realized that hey, taxes—and incentives—are easier to ignore when they don’t personally apply to you, EVEN IF they go against your own personal value system. A small governmenter, in my mind, should be equally screaming about the cigarette tax and the plastic bag tax, but it turns out they’re not, because humans don’t think rationally. A small governmenter can look at the sin tax and think to himself, “Well, that’s not really in line with my beliefs, but I’m not going to fight too hard for it because I don’t smoke. Yeah, it sucks that my neighbor is paying two dollars extra a pack, but I don’t PERSONALLY pay it, plus I can kind of get behind where the government is coming from.”
And yet a five-cent bag tax fills people with ire. Why? For the first time, an incentive like this affects everyone.
EVERYONE. Black, white, old, young, female, male. Everyone. Everyone would pay this tax. CHILDREN would be paying this tax. Anyone who can put money on a counter and get candy in return. And so people rose up in arms like never before, because this is the first time such an incentive has applied to them. It’s obviously not the AMOUNT—five cents is almost nothing. It’s not that the tax is difficult to pay—it’s just added to your bill. It’s not even that the tax is hurting the environment, if indeed anyone actually cared about that. It may be partly the smallness of the action—the average consumer can’t really believe that plastic bags are so harmful that they should have to pay five cents. But people pay speeding tickets, and people will eventually pay the plastic bag tax, too.
Because despite what I just said a few sentences ago, this is not actually the first time such a tax has been applied to them, even small governmenters. They still pay speeding tickets, and parking tickets. But the newness of this kind of tax confused them, and so people complained about the government telling them what to do.
But let me repeat myself, if I may: a five cent tax is not telling you what to do. You can just pay the tax and use your goddamned plastic bag, right? Right. Now let’s imagine that the government is telling you that you CAN’T, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, MARRY YOUR SAME-SEX LOVER.
THAT is a good example of the government actually telling you what, in fact, you may or may not do, with your private life.
Let’s now imagine that the government went ahead and said, “Okay. You CAN actually marry your same-sex partner—legally, with all the rights and privileges of any hetero couple, and the law and the health care companies will not be able to tell you any differently. But for this privilege, you will have to pay us, say, $4,000 dollars.”
That’s right. Let’s put an incentive on our gay marriage thought experiment. The homosexual tax. Would people pay it?
Of course not. Why?
Because MARRIAGE SHOULD BE FREE. Because no American in their right mind would pay for an inalienable right.
This argument falls apart, of course, if you don’t believe that plastic bags harm the environment and that the Gay infect everyone around them with their perversion, and the beauty of America is that you are totally allowed to believe that. But it doesn’t change the FACTS: a five cent bag tax is an incentive. Inability to marry the love of your life is living in a police state. If anyone should be complaining about the size of the government, it’s people who love the same damn sex.
Posted by Aarwenn at 9:53 AM
Thursday, April 01, 2010
I bought these boots about three days before I left for Washington, because I am a planner like that. Suddenly I realized that I needed boots. And I needed them NOW. And I spent about twenty minutes looking at Zappos before I found these, and I paid for the overnight shipping, and they arrived Tuesday afternoon while I wasn't there and the driver wouldn't leave them--because UPS/FedEx/DHL packages that require signatures is SUCH a good way to ship things--and I chased them down that evening to the big UPS building in SODO (and not to be a huge chick stereotype about it, but industrial SODO after dark is kind of creepy) and it was cold and I took the big box directly to T's house, and I put them on for her and we both moaned.
Yes, it was like that.
I got on the plane with them. I SLEPT in them. I wore them all day at the National Mall, and came back with dry feet. I plan on giving away all my other boots. They're that good.
(Side note: I got on the plane in a cashmere shirt dress, boots, and coat. How fabulous am I?)
Posted by Aarwenn at 3:19 PM
Monday, March 29, 2010
I like to think of myself as a gypsy. A world traveler. Someone who is familiar with both coasts of this great nation and decently familiar with a handful of more exotic destinations. (My renewed passport was waiting for me on my return from DC! Hooray!) The world is my oyster! I am at home everywhere!
But apparently my roots really show. And it's not because I haven't been to my stylist recently. (WAH-WAAAAAH.) On this aforementioned trip to DC, I was getting a Dark Cherry Mocha to accompany me on my four-hour trip to BWI--because apparently I thought I needed enough sugar to kill an elephant just to make it to the airport--and I was talking to the barista. He spent about three seconds talking to me before he said,
"So...are you from the West Coast?"
And I'm not even that blonde anymore. Apparently my speech pattern gives me away.
It's not the first time I've heard this, either. Shout-out to LT, who was the the first person to mention to me, in his nasal East Texas accent, that I had "the accent" of the West Coast. (Ten effing years ago.) It's not really an accent, per se--it's more of a speech pattern. Quick, quick, slow, says LT. I hear it in my friends, especially after a weekend like this one, in which I was without it, listening instead to the intellectual, measured accents of my sorority sisters. (Not a joke. Those ladies ARE intellectual and measured.) Last night I was in Philly, talking to a bunch of boys from Rhode Island with the thickest East Coast accents I'd heard in some time. They sounded like they came from another planet, especially compared to the firefighter from Charlotte, his drawl thick but soft, unlike the hard percussiveness of the RI accents, like a drumstick hitting a pad. And all Southern drawls are not created equal. My friend from Kentucky has an accent that is totally different all over again, way softer than the firefighter's, and lighter, too. More like smoked clover honey than the slow-moving BBQ sauce rhythm of the Carolinas. My friend Ray-Ray, mentioned here, has a Memphis accent like the twang of a banjo string. You can hear the hills of Tennessee when she talks.
Okay, where's my passport? I have itchy feet already.
Posted by Aarwenn at 11:05 PM
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I was not ACTUALLY learning Ancient Hebrew, or, in fact, re-caulking the bathroom, at the time of the last post. My bathtub was in fact re-caulked last week, but not by me. And the closest I come to Ancient Hebrew is the King James Bible. The verse of the day, by the way, is Mark 6:4, World English Translation. "Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own relatives, and in his own house.'"
What? It was quoted recently in the gangsta rap I was listening to. (Not 4 Sale, Kardnial Offishall.)
Posted by Aarwenn at 9:51 PM
Thursday, March 11, 2010
A buddy walked into my apartment not long ago, picking me up on our way to a movie, and ended up waiting for me to finish learning ancient Hebrew and re-grouting the bathroom, like girls always do when we have to go somewhere, and went straight to the liquor cabinet to pour himself and myself a drink. I heard the clank, clank, clank.
And then he appeared in the bathroom doorway, holding a plastic gallon. "WHAT," he said, with all possible snottiness, "are you DRINKING?"
I paused with the caulk gun still in my hand. "Canadian Club whiskey," I said, perhaps a trifle defensively. "I like it. So?"
He shot me a withering glance and turned around, heading back to the cabinet. "I knew I was coming to your place, I figured you'd have some good alcohol, I KNOW you have taste," he muttered, in a stage whisper. "CANADIAN CLUB. Seriously. And that's all you have?"
"I have vodka in the freezer, asshole," I called. "And I actually have mixers for that, namely, the OJ in the fridge. And I even have ice."
He re-appeared with a screwdriver on ice for himself and a whiskey on ice for me. He took a swig of mine in front of me, just so I could see the look on his face. "Wow, Grandma," he said, looking down at the glass. "Is that you?"
Okay, so Canadian Club is a little on the sweet side, I get it. I like bourbon and that shows in my whiskey tastes. But I also like Scotch, and my tastes change depending on my mood, which is probably why I drank some Canadian Club today and then poured the glass down the drain, wishing I still had my Speyburn. I've been cutting back on my alcohol storage for some time, so my liquor cabinet is down to the bare bones, but I guess I can't get away with just one whiskey from the entire spectrum--and if I do, it certainly can't be CC. If I, uh, want people to willingly show up at my house.
Posted by Aarwenn at 12:08 AM
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
CMU Princesses*, can I get a shout-out here?
The ridiculously difficult engineering school--recently repped in SNL--that I went to is especially famous for its Computer Science program, which is so eponymous that it has its own entire college. Subsequently, I dated a lot--a LOT--of computer science majors, or electrical engineers, or information systems majors, and the first thing they did, when coming to my dorm room, would inevitably be to sit down at my computer to look something up real quick, or download a song on Napster (ah, you remember) and not ten seconds would go by before I heard this:
"...WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT?"
Me: (Sighing.) "Is there a problem, babe?"
Him: (Exasperatedly moving my mouse.) "I can't find a damn thing on your desktop. How do you WORK with all of these icons everywhere? I'm moving them all into [some folder named something that is meaningful to him but that I will never be able to find]. Also, you're running the outdated version of Internet Explorer. Let me upgrade that for you. Jesus, who runs Window 98 anymore? You really need XP--but not the home version, the Pro version. I have a buddy who has a bunch of registered copies. And what the FUCK are you doing with your security settings open on your shared folders like that? This is RIDICULOUS. Let me also download [fifteen applications designed to make my life easier] and install them [all over the place on top of the applications you already know and love]."**
Me: (Opens four beers.)
Eventually I learned that, much like the army, in which you don't volunteer for anything, even if they say, "We need someone to drink, alcohol, large quantities of, and entertain, women, sexy, young, at least nights per week, four..." that I could no longer allow a man NEAR my computer, even if he said, "I have a program that will, complete sets of, problems, download songs, clean, automatically, deliver to, doorstep, your, beer, cases of" there'd always be a catch and I'd spend the next three weeks looking for the problem sets that were due and the chat program I loved and call the guy and yell at him and wake up for class late three weeks in row, and it was ALL BECAUSE I LET SOME GUY SIT DOWN AT MY COMPUTER.
*Princesses: if you are a man or a woman, this applies to you. Did you date a man (or even, possibly, a woman) that routinely played the masculine role in your relationship? And by "played the masculine role" I mean, "walked into your room and moved all your shit around to more comfortably accommodate him/her"? You did? Wasn't that ANNOYING?
**I've taken a lot of the cuss words out. Believe me.
Posted by Aarwenn at 10:24 AM
Monday, March 08, 2010
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
It was December of 2008. I had just gotten a new position at Large Corporate Company, I had just taken on a second job as a server, it was the holidays, it was The Seattle Ice Storm That Ousted Greg Nickels, I was driving back and forth a lot between Tacoma and Seattle, and on one of those trips...
...BOOM. My sleek black Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, the only new car I've ever owned, and the FIRST car I've ever owned, slipped on a patch of ice and died.
It wasn't a problem at that moment--Large Corporate Company was on winter holidays and I didn't need to drive anywhere. But January of 2009 would come, and with it would come a regular 7:30-4 business schedule...in my new position, 30 miles away from my house. Had the crash happened in my old job which was in South Seattle, I could have...worked from home. Taken the bus. Hitchhiked. ANYTHING. Now I had a new job, 30 miles away, that I had to be physically at EVERY SINGLE DAY, and I had a second new job that I had to leave the FIRST new job early for, some days, and work longer hours, other days. And suddenly I had no car. I had no way to drive the 30 miles to work OR leave early to make my second job OR work the longer hours on the days I didn't have to work both jobs AND I WAS TOAST. Should I...buy another car, used? Buy a new car? Quit my second job?
I called my mother, always an ever-present help in times of trouble. "...and so how is it possible that I got hired for two new jobs and crashed my car all in the SAME THREE WEEKS?" I ended, frustrated.
And then the clouds parted and the heavens opened and she gave me this excellent piece of advice: "Miss Dear, often when you change one thing, dozens of other little things will be affected, and you end up with a lot more change than you bargained for."
"When your father and I decided to leave Chicago and move to Kansas City with you, he took the new job...and then, suddenly, several things happened to us all at once. We both got some traffic citations. Other unusual things happened. I remember it well. He--we--didn't take the new job SOLELY to change things up--we wanted to leave Chicago and the new job in Kansas City looked promising. But that change, somehow, affected a number of other things in our lives. Changing energies? Changing wants and desires that are somehow communicated to the universe? Who knows. It happened to us, and I'm not surprised it happened to you."
So true. You're going along in a groove, living your life the same way every day, and pretty darn content in its ways, and all of a sudden you explore some interesting side path and WHOA, hold the phone, your apartment goes to condos and some idiot runs into your car and your favorite clothing store closes up shop, all in the same week. You make some realization about your job. You decide to delete your Facebook account. WHATEVER. The point is, pursuing an interesting side path--for the side path's sake--takes us off the main path we were on and often, we can't get on it again.
Hypothetically speaking, of course. Be forewarned.
Posted by Aarwenn at 12:08 AM
Monday, February 22, 2010
It was the day after Carnival. The sunlight stabbed through my blinds. The kids next door--yes, I live in Capitol Hill, and somehow moved onto the only neighborhood that has small kids in it--were screaming outside at the top of their lungs. I had forgotten, through the winter months, that good weather meant Kids Playing. I had forgotten that they were allowed to do that. Stupid active, happy kids.
I was hungover and had to be mobile. I sent several texts that said, "Hold off on the plans until I can move without throwing up." I waited and chugged some Pedialyte. And then, somehow, with enough drugs--ibuprofen and free coffee from C-- and enough motivation--the promise of excellent brunch at Calamity Jane's with Chalie--I ended up in Georgetown, soaking up the midday sunshine like a volcanic lizard who possibly only blinks once a century.
Me with the shades.
Charger and Calamity Jane's. So. Delicious. Made me happy to be alive. Quite a feat on that particular morning.
Posted by Aarwenn at 3:14 PM
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Our ski season may be shite this year (see: every newspaper in the world covering the LACK of snow at Whistler for the 2010 Olympics) but it is freakin' beautiful, I will tell you what.
I took this with my Storm in an undisclosed location. Sweatshirt by Target. Lashes and nose by DNA. Hair by The Wind.
I'm eating homemade scones with hand-churned honey-orange butter in the gorgeous Seattle sunshine. Tonight I get to get dressed up in a super fancy dress with a super-fancy mask and go to the fanciest damn party Seattle has ever seen. You won't even believe the pictures from last year but--they look like screen caps from a Baz Luhrman movie--but I'll give you the link anyway. Somewhere, someone, is having a really rough morning just so my morning can be this good. Thanks, Someone.
AND, finally, Tom Mother Fucking Waits:
The ocean doesn't want me today
But I'll be back tomorrow to play
And the strangles will take me
Down deep in their brine
The mischievous braingels
Down into the endless blue wine
I'll open my head and let out
All of my time
I'd love to go drowning
And to stay and to stay
But the ocean doesn't want me today
I'll go in up to here
It can't possibly hurt
All they will find is my beer
And my shirt
A rip tide is raging
And the life guard is away
But the ocean doesn't want me today
The ocean doesn't want me today
Oh, Tom. Marry me.
Posted by Aarwenn at 12:25 PM
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Or perhaps more like an absence of any appearance of common sense whatsoever. I was at my local salon* when this blight upon the eyes and brain just sprang out of nowhere to assault human decency:
THE FOLLOWING SERIES OF PICTURES MAY DISTURB YOU.
Hook and shelf. So far, everything appears normal.
I hang my coat on the hook, and...wait a second, where did the shelf go?
Oh, THERE it is.
Are you not supposed to use the hook and the shelf at the same time? Who in their right mind would stack a hook and a shelf that close together? Is the hook only for purses? And no, there is NOT a hook on the other side of the changing booth. I checked.
Fight against poor design, everyone. It makes me stabby.
*Get it together, Gary Manuel.
Posted by Aarwenn at 3:33 PM
It's not that Starbucks is a bad company, or even that it's overpriced. It makes great coffee and great food for a reasonable price and most of the time, I love it.
But. Still. I spent something like 18 dollars on food today and the DAY IS ONLY HALF OVER. And this still happened:
Yes, that's a trashed breakfast sandwich. I branched out from my normal artisan Bacon/Gouda/Parmesan Egg love and got a classic sausage. It was terrible and I couldn't finish it. But I would have never been in this situation had I taken the time to MAKE my breakfast.
It's an important balance: in general, I am all about food on the go. This is one of the many reasons to live in a city--there's food everywhere, and they know you're in a hurry and they serve it to you quickly. But sometimes you get failures, on the same day that you forget to bring your lunch to work, and you end up paying enough money for a damn manicure to be mediocrely fed for the day, and you end up cursing the clouds and wishing you had just cooked.
You know, hypothetically speaking.
Posted by Aarwenn at 1:08 PM
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
I'm walking along the aisle, looking at vitamins, and The Beatles' Hello, Goodbye comes on, and as I'm walking and humming along in my head, a woman walks past me.
She's early-fifties, I would say, although I revise that estimate upwards when I see her shopping companion, who I would peg at sixty, not like it matters. I noticed her because she was mouthing the lyrics, in perfect time with the song, unconsciously and very naturally, with a complete lack of realization as to what she was doing, and as I looked at her doing that it hit me like a tidal wave: When she first heard that song, she was twelve.
Assuming she's fifty-five, she first heard Hello, Goodbye when she was twelve. TWELVE.
She stood there, in her baggy Gap jeans and her grandmother pixie cut and her yellow cardigan and her respectable shoes, the picture of a casual Seattle grandmother, mouthing along to a song from an act that shocked the world, an act her parents probably detested and wouldn't have in the house. Suddenly I saw her as she would have been, the grandmother pixie cut grown out to her waist, strawberry blonde hair tied back with a bandanna headband, big sunglasses on, in hip huggers, maybe singing along to the song at home with her big sister who saved up her money and bought the record to play on the phonograph at home, one of the big sets with the speakers that took up a whole wall like a buffet. The Beatles were just a sign of huge things to come for society, for the world, for women's rights, for free love and too many drugs and things changing faster than anyone could possibly keep up with, and now here they were, being played in a grocery store.
We can't really understand today how SHOCKING acts like the Beatles were to our parents' parents, since oldies is now easy listening music played at grocery stores and in elevators and over phone lines, but it was: it was shocking. It was strange, it didn't sound like music, it had weird lyrics that didn't mean anything, and worse, it made you want to shake your hips. I asked a mid-forties co-worker not too long ago what some of his most memorable albums were from his youth, and he said, "Boston. Kansas. The Scorpions. Poison."
I'm not sure I could name one Scorpions song without prompting. And Boston? BOSTON? Aren't they...you know...terrible?
And I'd consider myself fairly well-versed in music, not the kind of snob who thinks anything made before Nirvana is only fit for the old folks' home. (I mean, come on, that would leave out Guns N' Roses, arguably some of the sexiest music EVER.)
I followed the woman around Trader Joe's for a second or two, trying to see more glimpses of the past. No such luck--the moment was over. And then I realized that I didn't need to follow her, because in another 25 years, in 2035, the Trader Joe's--if there is such a thing--will be playing Nirvana's Polly. And I will be there, in my short practical haircut and tennis shoes, and I will know all the words, and I will remember when that song was demonized as a Sign of the Decline of Youth Today, banned on the radio and at my school, and we had to listen to it on CDs, which were new, and scribble it on the inside of our notebook covers.
Posted by Aarwenn at 7:15 PM
Calm down, everyone. (I got a few concerned emails yesterday.) I write mainly about the bad dates because they're the only ones that generate real material for the blog. They're a small percentage, but they're overrepresented because otherwise, my dating posts would look like this:
"Had a great date with someone I really dig. Woo-hoo!"
See? You yawned already, didn't you? I thought so. I AM making a concerted effort to record the good moments as well as the bad, due to this woman's research on the negativity bias. I wouldn't want to look back on this blog and remember my dating life as a series of mishaps and dates with jagoffs. This is unlikely, as I actually like dating (ducks) and even a date with a Tucker Max knockoff can provide hours of entertainment for me and everyone around me--but you never know.
For future reference, please keep in mind that:
1. Stories are out of order, chronologically.
2. Stories are small glimpses of what actually happened.
Posted by Aarwenn at 11:00 AM
Monday, February 01, 2010
WARNING: PARENTS! Don't read this. Or if you do, don't say you weren't warned.
Hi Tucker! Sorry for the hate. It's not about you--really, it's not. You seem genuinely happy doing what you do, and I'm impressed that you've found a way to make a living at it. Many of us could take lessons from you. And I'm pretty sure you're not reading this anyway--you're a busy man, and from all reports, pretty freaking smart, so for all I know this blog actually falls below your standards. (Putting you in the same category as China.)
The point is, though, that no one else can do what you do--well, as well as you do it--that's what she said, heh, heh--MOVING ON.
No one can do what you do, but other men don't realize that. And so I end up going out on dates with guys that will say one unbelievable thing after another because they think I'll find it...sexy? Amusing? Attractive?
"I'm not really a breast man," one might say. "You could whip yours out right here at the bar and I would just be like, 'meh'. In fact, maybe you should do that. Come on--it's Cap Hill, no one's going to care. I just want to prove it to you."
"I don't really like your perfume," another one might say at the conclusion of a long involved routine about how he likes to rape donkeys on weekends. (Also: Dane Cook, you can bite me too.) "I'm just telling you this because I think you'd want to know."
Yeah? Well, I don't really like you while you're speaking. Maybe you should wear a ball gag--in fact, you'd probably get a lot more play if you did because girls wouldn't have to hear your ridiculous patter like we're on the Dane Cook/Tucker Max LIVE! AFTERDINNER! SPECIAL! Apparently this is the new trend in dating? The girl has to prove she's "cool" and "unshockable" and has ears of iron?
I appreciate a good swear-word-laden joke, but the key word is GOOD. Just trying to shock me or see what I'll put up with--or go straight for the Tucker Max insults without the humor--is not the same thing as having a real sense of humor or actual confidence. Are you funny? SWEET. Lay it on me. Are you just another red-bull-fueled knockoff that sees the existence of famous assholes as an excuse to BE an asshole? Please shred my number. THANK YOU.
Posted by Aarwenn at 2:51 PM
Monday, January 25, 2010
And it happens, oh yes it happens, because it happened to me:
And if that hasn't scared you enough, there's this:
"You know how people were offering flowers up at the alter of Google in Beijing? That's not allowed anymore - security officers at Tsinghua University (right next to Google's offices) are asking you why you're buying flowers and demanding that it not be for the Big G. That's apparently propelled "Illegal flower donations" (非法獻花) to the first big internet meme of China 2010." via Shanghaist.
I'm not sure I think that Google/MS should actually refuse to play with China. But it's worth remembering that we have A LOT of freedoms that we take for granted, here. For example:
OBAMA IS A JERK AND A BAD PRESIDENT!*
Whew. That felt great.
Brought to my attention by a friend who reads The Breda Fallacy.
Posted by Aarwenn at 9:31 AM
Friday, January 22, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
"We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to humanity.
Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Even a superficial look at history reveals that no social advance rolls on the wheels of inevitability. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concerns of dedicated individuals. Without persistent effort, time itself becomes an ally of the insurgent and primitive forces of irrational emotionalism and social destruction. This is no time for complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.
Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion… Not a few men who cherish lofty and noble ideals hide them under a bushel for fear of becoming different."
I'll be listening to Dr. King's speech later today at home. I can't do it at work because I start to cry--which, although understandable, is inappropriate for work. I'd recommend that you all do the same. (Uh, listen to the speech, not cry.) You might think you know it, but it's a sensory shock to me, every time, and I bet it will be for you, too. There's a ton of original versions on YouTube, but the version below is adorable.
And what has been called President Obama's "Race" Speech, although it's actually called "A More Perfect Union", framing race in the broader terms of America's history.
And, although my doings are pretty small compared to the two men above, I wrote a recent post on race too.
Posted by Aarwenn at 12:20 PM
Monday, January 11, 2010
C and I are are up at Crystal Mountain, enjoying a leisurely day of spring skiing--all the more unusual because it is, in fact, early January--and we stop for a long lunch. C is attempting a No-Alcohol-In-January Rule (HA!) but I'm not going to let that stop me. I walk up to the cashier with my water, taco plate, and can of beer. The cashier is a very cute blonde 6'2" male of indeterminate age with a nice smile and a friendly, if relaxed, personality. He rings up C and then turns to me.
"May I see your ID?" he says.
C and I smile at each other. "I love being carded," I say, and she rolls her eyes.
"YOU ARE NOT THAT OLD," she says. "Jeez."
The cashier scans it and hands it back to me. "No, you're not," he says, smiling, sincerely trying to put me at my ease. "You're only six years older than me!"
SHOT THROUGH THE HEART, AND YOU'RE TO BLAME! You give loooove, a ...oh, you know the rest.
Posted by Aarwenn at 12:34 AM
Saturday, January 02, 2010
I had said it, and now I had to do it. And now inspiration had left me and I was sitting alone at my computer, polishing off my Scotch.
"I'm thinking about cooking dinner," I had said lightly, just an hour ago. "Would you be interested?"
"Sure," he said. "I'm eating now but I'll be hungry at 8 or so."
So I had a little time, but suddenly it wasn't enough. I had been advising my friend T on this very topic just a few days ago, and I knew what she had made and I knew I could make that easily, and I knew I liked it. And I was going to be resorting to that--not that it was a bad dish at all, simply seemed too easy--if I couldn't think fast enough.
I looked at the contents of my cupboards. I flipped through a cookbook or two. Amanda Hesser says, describing her anxiety on cooking for her then-boyfriend, "The first meal you cook for someone is intimate. Not just if it's for a date. And not just because no one cooks anymore--it really has nothing to do with whether you are a good cook or not. It's an entry into the way you think, what you've seen and know, the way you treat others, how you perceive pleasure."
So true. It's not the food quality that's at stake: It's you, as the cook. This is why people are loathe to let on that they, say, actually like Kraft cheese singles wrapped in plastic, or Spaghetti-Os. You can like it and eat it in secret all you want, but you don't want OTHER people to know your low-brow tastes. Similar story here. Dishes that seemed perfectly tasty to me were suddenly, no longer good enough--what if he didn't like them? What if he started questioning not only my cooking skills but my tastebuds, and then my very palate? My opinion on what made life bearable? What if he and I clashed so directly on cooking that this would be our LAST DATE?
Possible disaster was looming. Suddenly I was apathetic towards cooking and food in general. My Pandora station annoyed me. The next station was no better. I had to pee. The Cooks Illustrated website stopped working. I drank some more Scotch and decided to go with what I had advised T on and made, several times before. After all: it was pleasurable. And it involved bacon.
Posted by Aarwenn at 5:02 PM