Saturday, November 28, 2009

Por Favor

I spent some time on the treadmill today trying to counteract some of the bad choices I've made over this very delicious Thanksgiving weekend.  While doing so I noticed a sharp pain in my right big toe.  It seems that I might be developing a bunion.  Yes, a bunion.  What.  The.  Hell.

I need a favor from anyone reading this.  If at any time I start to refer to my pants as slacks or my couch as a davenport I freely give any and all of you permission to stage an intervention.  Please.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In Your Facebook

I'm on Facebook a lot, I admit it.  I'm on my computer a lot in the evenings and therefore it is pretty easy to keep a Facebook tab open and periodically go there and click Home to see what's what.  I love watching TV with my laptop on so that I can look people up on IMDB and figure out where I've seen them before.

Back to Facebook, though.  Here are some comments based on my Facebook journey thus far:

1.  I don't friend request people lightly.  Because of this, I tend to deliberate before pushing that button.  Sometimes I deliberate for a while.  I've realized, though, that the downside to this is that there are two situations where that Add As A Friend button appears.  The first (and most obvious) is when you have never requested the person as a friend.  The second (and more insidious) is when you have requested them to be your friend and they ignored your request.  So now I find myself wondering if I request so-and-so as a friend will they be logging in next time and thinking that I'm some kind of psycho who can't take a hint.  I would love to respect their decision if I could be sure that a decision has been made.  I'm tempted to start keeping a log of which requests are pending but that in itself sounds like a totally psycho thing to do.  I seriously do not want to think this much about this.

2.  Does anyone else have a FB friend who uses their account solely to recruit others to their pyramid scheme?  (Call it what you want but if you recruit me to recruit others and the more we recruit the more money we make without lifting a finger, as a professional mathematician I can say definitively that that ain't a rectangle.)  Now I don't mind if people put little blurbs up about their home business or request help for a charity drive (I've done the latter) because to do so is a smart use of social networking.  However, if you friend people under the guise of being long lost pals and then inundate their new feed with exhortations of the the wonderful business opportunity you have for them, you are sleezy.

3.  I play Scrabble and Wordscraper (a Scrabble knockoff) on FB.  I understand how these games work. I don't understand the Mafia Wars/Farmville/Fish Tank style games.  I tried Mafia Wars and from what I could tell you don't actually need skills you just need to be logged in all the time.  Perhaps there were subtleties that I missed but it seemed like all I had to do to advance was to log in and click a button a bunch of times and convince others that this is fun so they'll do it too.  Come to think of it, this sounds a whole lot like a pyramid scheme too.  One where you don't actually make any real world money which makes it all the more unfathomable.  Like patchouli there has got to be an appeal that I am fundamentally incapable of appreciating.  If you enjoy it, though, I wish you the best of luck with your wise guys/crops/fish.

4.  I also don't understand the snowball fight style game.  Is it even a game?  I'm not sure what it is.  There are several for every holiday and season.  Are they cute?  They must be.  I don't really get cute.  OK, that's not entirely true.  Baby animals are cute and make me make noises like "Awwww" and "Ooooh".  (Oddly, I don't find baby people anywhere near as cute as baby animals but that's a WHOLE other blog).  Anyway, if you send me a request for any of these things, I thank you.  First I thank you because you thought of me (or clicked the boxes that chooses your whole friend list) and second I thank you because it gives me the chance to block the application which saves me some time later.

5.  I'd like to pause here and say I have very smart, funny, insightful FB friends and I'm glad you guys are out there because you're way more interesting than the TV shows that I have on when I'm lurking on FB.  Except for Glee.  You guys are going to have to really up your game to top Glee.

6.  I don't have any students as friends.  It's not that I am worried about what they would learn about me because I'm pretty careful about what I put out there.  It's more that I've learned the absolutely most horrifying things about my students through FB.  Mark my words, some of these kids or going to have problems if they ever have an employer who bothers to do an internet search (and a lot of them do).  What they seem to not understand is that it's not just what they post that's seen it's what their friends post also.  Considering how prevalent this is, though, I almost wonder if there will come a time when it no longer matters because  it will be so hard to find someone who doesn't have compromising information out there.

OK, that's it for now.  I have to go see what's up on Facebook.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What's That Mean?

In my last post I mentioned the Always Clean Wipes and quoted a little bit of marketing text for them.  This got me thinking about some of the euphemisms that have been created by marketing departments for (usually) horrifying things so they can been talked about without without actually talking about them.  Some cases in point:

Massengil came up with the concept of feeling "not so fresh down there".  Of course, those old enough to remember the commercial also know that this was used as part of a mother-daughter conversation about swamp crotch.  Has anyone out there actually had a conversation with their mother or daughter about this topic?  No, they have not.  Do you know how I know?   Because if they did both parties would have died of acute embarrassment and they would not be reading this blog.

How about "erectile dysfuntion" or "natural male enhancement" instead of "no boner" and "boner pills".  Erectile dysfunction sounds dignified and natural male enhancement sounds like something that should make you run faster.  (In reality, I imagine it probably impedes running).

Charmin has put cartoon bears to excellent use in order to sell us their toilet paper.  Somehow they've managed to tell us on how it will prevent you from actually touching your own waste and how it doesn't leave pieces of TP stuck to your bum.

There are others but my all time favorite is from the Alli literature.  Alli is a pill that allegedly promotes weight loss by blocking the absorption of fat in foods.  Since the fat isn't being absorbed it stays in the pipeline, if you will, until it reaches the other end of its journey.  As such, the makers of Alli want to make sure people are aware of what they call "treatment effects".  Know what this is a euphemism for?  You'll never guess.  It sounds so innocuous, doesn't it?  Well, if you're taking Alli and you're happily getting thorough your day and you suddenly realize that you just crapped your pants you, my friend, have just experienced a treatment effect.  Don't worry, though, if you've read your literature before popping these pills then you know the makers of Alli have got your back.  They suggest that new Alli users wear dark pants.  See?  No problem.

On that note, I leave you with a classic SNL moment.

Bus Bus Magic Bus

I know it's been a while.  I won't flatter myself into thinking that anyone is paying attention but if you are, I'm sorry.

Where to start?  I'll start with the bus.  Part of my commute to and from work involves a ride on a Boston city bus.  Since Boston is a fairly heavily populated place the busses are usually crowded enough that all the seats are taken and I have to ride standing.  Well, I was waiting at my usual bus stop at my usual time and flagged down a bus in my usual way.  When I got on the bus realized that I was absolutely positively the only passenger.  Since I have an active interior life (I play pretend in my head a lot) I immediately started mentally shuffling through scenarios as to how this could have happened.  The idea that the bus driver had just come on duty was discarded as being too boring.  I imagined reading in the paper about how a Boston city bus driver had been killed and was being lauded postmortem as one of the most dedicated drivers they'd ever had and then seeing the picture and realizing that it was my driver and he'd been killed YESTERDAY.  Then I moved on to how I'm being secretly filmed and the driver was about to start going off his route and how politely and respectfully I handle the situation would later be dissected on some evening news program.  I finally settled on pretending that I was being chauffeured in my own personal big ass bus and relaxed ready to enjoy the ride.  Then I saw this:

For those of you in the know this is a wrapper from something called Always Clean.  It's a wipe that comes with a certain brand of feminine product (and I'm quoting the website here) "restore that shower clean feeling with every change".  Now I don't want to get into a discussion on this wipe's raison d'etre. I do want to point out, though, that the intersection of the set of uses for this wipe and the set of things one does on a city bus in EMPTY.  There is no overlap.  None.

So, it turns out, the real reason I was alone on what should have been a crowded city bus was that somebody violated an unspoken rule of decorum and everyone fled the bus in horror.  That, or it was a ghost-driven bus.  I haven't given up on that one either.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

She (Didn't) Bop

I had to drive in to work today (normally I take the train) so I was able to have some much needed sing-a-long time in the car. The first 40 minutes of the trip are all highway and then last 10 are on Boston streets. What this means is that by the time I was close to work I was one with the music. So much so that I realized at a red light that the state trooper next to me was actually laughing at me. This was embarrassing enough until I realized that I'd been singing along to Prince's "Kiss". Take a moment and imagine yourself singing along to that song.

Go on, picture it. I'll wait.

OK. What kind of faces were you making? Exactly. I think I might be very lucky that this guy didn't pull me over for having Bluetooth sex or something.

Also, I learned on the drive home that the answer to the question WWJD is apparently "cut people off and then give them the finger". I would not have guessed that.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pour Some Shook Up Ramen

I bought some candy the other day for the purpose of smuggling it into the movies. (I'm not a millionaire, people! I can't afford those high flyin' movie candy prices.) I didn't eat all my candy that night (I'm obviously not well) and as a result discovered a full box of Sugar Babies in my backpack today while I was running errands.

Sugar Babies.

Holy crap, how the hell did I forget about how AWESOME Sugar Babies are? Needless to say I ate the whole box while driving from place to place today. I think it's possible that I might have dropped two of them in the car. I can't find them because it's a cosmic rule that they will remain invisible until at least one summer has passed and they have become one with the carpet in my car. Still. TOTALLY WORTH IT. I wish I had more. Right now. I want to be chewing on their teeth-pulling gritty caramelly goodness while I type. I want to put them on my cereal. I want to shove my hands into a vat of them and then throw them into the air while laughing giddily. I want to marry them but we won't reproduce because then it would be Babies having babies and this has gotten weird enough already.

Ahem. So yeah, lots of sugar today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Insane In The Membrane

Since I have already used this forum to complain about my fellow humans and their peccadillos and will definitely do so again in the future, I thought it only fair that I focus on my own shortcomings at least once.

I'm pretty sure that I might end up being crazy someday. Possibly soon. If I'm lucky I might be able to get away with being merely eccentric. Here's why:

1. I listen to my iPod a lot when I'm going to and from work. If the weather is nice I'll walk to the train station rather than taking the bus. Provided, of course, that I don't have a full bladder, haven't left my office too late, and am not wearing unfriendly pants. (The topic of unfriendly pants is a whole other blog post, I assure you.) Anyway, I have a really hard time not dancing to the music when I'm walking down the street or standing around waiting for a train. I'm not talking head bobbing, toe tapping, or even that weird thing where people put their hand to the side of their head and wince like the music is making them simultaneously deaf and incontinent. No, I mean dance. Things like that hop to the side thing that Vanilla Ice does in the "Ice Ice Baby" video or dancing down the street waving my arms like they do in Hairspray. You may be thinking I'm silly because music makes lots of people want to dance. Duh, it's music. My problem is that I'm not sure I'm always going to refrain from busting out some moves. I've caught myself several times now aaaalmost letting loose and it worries me. The hardest song to walk normally to is "Stayin' Alive" (ah ah ah ah stayin' aliiiiiiiiiiive). That song puts me on auto-strut. So someday I might give in to my compulsions and reenact the "If I Were A Rich Man" scene from Fiddler and I guess we'll see what happens.

2. I have three cats. No one who voluntarily shares space with these aloof yet needy barf machines is completely sane. That said, I'm still very fond of them. Dogs are fine, but I don't trust unconditional love. The love of a cat makes more sense to me as it is based more on the barter system. You feed me, I let you pet me. You give me water, I purr for you. You scratch me under the chin, I barf on the carpet (never the hard floors). I never said it was a perfect system.

3. Twice this summer I came back from running errands and discovered that my shirt was on inside out. This wouldn't be so disconcerting if the shirts in both cases weren't button-up collared shirts. Accidentally wearing your t-shirt inside out is for rookies. The closest I came to realizing what I'd done was when I tried to stow a pen and thought, "Huh, I thought this shirt had a pocket." And then, like the mercury from a busted thermometer, that thought went slithering out of my fingers and I continued to roam the word looking like a crazy person.

4. I am 38 years old and if someone plays peek-a-boo with me I still laugh like I'm a a toddler. Belly laughs. That can't be OK.

5. One of my celebrity crushes is Gene Wilder. Case closed.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Nose Knows

Two posts in one day! Aren't you lucky?

This is a topic that has already been touched on by Librarian Lyssa in her excellent blog but it's one near and dear to my heart (nose) so I'll say my piece too.

I never really thought about it before but after almost 40 years on the planet I just have to wonder if not everyone smells things to the degree that I do. As a consequence, I have a couple of things to say:

1. For the love of all that is holy, please, please, please do not use patchouli. Anywhere. Ever. It smells like dead things in an attic. Dead things filled with hate. Patchouli is like a Stephen King book for my nose. I have a 45 minute train ride to work in the morning and I like to listen to my iPod, close my eyes, and doze. Thanks to the patchouli wearer on this morning's ride every time I closed my eyes I imagined a mummy was shambling down the aisle to get me. If someone who likes patchouli can explain to me what it smells like to them, I would love to know.

2. I work at a college. In addition to buildings and grass we have some trees. Thanks to all the construction that has happened on campus some trees have been moved or removed altogether. One tree in particular, however, has survived all the changes. What is notable about this tree is that every fall it grows balls and suddenly starts emitting this...odor. Imagine feet made out of cheese left in a hot car on a summer day. Then someone gets in the car, is so grossed out by the smell that they vomit in the car, and then they leave the car in the sun for a while longer. Thanks to Google, I'm pretty sure that the tree is a ginko. Here's my beef: who on earth chose to plant this tree in the middle of an urban college campus? This one isn't just me - watching the transformation take place on students' faces as the enter the Stink Zone is priceless. Anyway, next time I'm interviewing for a job and they ask me if I have any questions I think I'll ask them if there are any ginko trees nearby.

3. I think by the time people are old enough to go to college they should also understand the importance of washing their hair. College boys, I am talking to you. Unwashed hair is unsightly (YES, the rest of the world can tell even if you can't) and smelly. These folks have access to showers, I know it. It makes no sense to me that someone would sabotage their prime hooking-up years like this.

OK, I'm done. At ease.

From Me To You

I like learning new things. Sometimes I learn things that are awesome. Sometimes I learn things that are horrifying. I want to share with you the one thing that I have learned that is simultaneously fantastic and horrible to an equal and high degree.


In 2004 the NY Times had an article about NYC sanitation workers and their surprisingly large pool of sanitation-related slang. The article can be found here. From this article I learned what they call "disco rice". Think about what that might be and then go here to find out.

See what I mean? Awesome and horrifying. At the same time.

P.S. If you read the article, my other favorite expression from it is "urban whitefish".

And now you know it too. This is my gift to you. You. Are. Welcome.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Monday!

On my train ride in to work today I saw a kid (probably between 16 - 20) who had the neck of his shirt (possibly a turtleneck) pulled up over his nose and mouth. He was holding it there by pinching the shirt to his nose. I figured at first that the guy next to him was smelly but the nose and mouth stayed covered after Possibly Smelly Guy got up. So then I figured he was fearful of germs. You know, swine flu and all that. When I got up to leave the train I saw that the part of his black shirt that he's been using as a germ filter was covered in shiny snot trails presumably from spending an hour pinching his nose with it.

As unpleasant a way that was to start my day, I have a feeling that kid's day got a lot worse when he showed up to school covered in nostril juice.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Memories

I remember one Halloween where I dressed up as a murder victim. A swarthy stocking cap wearing murder victim. I'm not sure why I wanted a beard and a stocking cap but I apparently did. Anyway, my mom helped me make it so that the handle of a plastic knife was sticking out of my chest and the rest of the knife came out of my back. There was blood everywhere. It was awesome. I was so proud of that costume and couldn't wait to get out on the streets to wow the neighbors with my gory goodness. What a charming childhood memory, right? Well...
Does any one out there have a younger sibling that is preternaturally cute? Yeah, me too and I had to take her with me trick or treating. So here's how it went:

Neighbor Lady: "Well, hello! What have we got here?"
Maia & Liv: "Trick or treat!"
Neighbor Lady: "
What an adorable mouse! Oh, and a hobo."
Liv: " Thank you."
Maia: "I'm not a hobo. I've been stabbed."
Neighbor Lady: "Honey, come to the door! You have to see this mouse!"
Neighbor Lady's Husband: "Well, ha ha! Isn't that something! I bet you'd rather have cheese instead of candy!"
Liv: (laughs. cutely
, of course)
Neighbor Lady: "Don't let the hobo steal your candy!"
Maia: "I'm not a...thank you for the candy."

Also, I'd like to make a few comments about adult costumes. First, pimp and ho costumes are played out
. Next, why is it that as far as I can tell the only pre-made adult costume for women that is not a whore costume with devil/angel/maid/doctor accessories is the cow costume. You know the one I'm talking about it. How do those design meetings go?

Designer 1: "How about a firefighter costume for women?"
Designer 2:
"Great idea, Designer 1! How should it look?"
Designer 1: "I'm thinking a form-fitting, low cut fire coat, a short skirt, some fishnets - red - and um, ... some high heel rubber boots."
Designer 2: "Dude, I think you nailed it. That totally sounds like a firefighter"
Designer 1: "Yeah, chicks are gonna love it."
Designer 2: "What about the fat chicks?"
Designer 1: "I dunno, I guess we could make a cow costume."

That's all for now. At ease.