Saturday, January 30, 2010

All You Need Is Love (And an Emesis Basin)

This blog post is will begin with a shoutout to Joe who said I needed to hurry up and post something before he leaves on his trip tomorrow.  Holla!

I love books. LOVE books. I read while watching TV, sitting at stop lights (shhh), riding the train, before movies start - have book will read. You get the point. I read for pleasure almost exclusively. The types of books I read tend to be mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, or fantasy. I do not read romance and I do not read books that are about horrible lingering deaths. I’ve mentioned before my aversion to sad movies. This rule holds for books too. When I was much younger I read Sophie’s Choice and thought I’d never recover. Also, I don’t read teenage angst vampire porn. I might have to, though, just so I can say definitively that I don’t like it. I grew my hair out once for that very same reason. (shudder)

OK, back on topic. Here’s what drives me around the bend. When I’m choosing my next book and I read the cover and there’s an appropriate amount of people missing/bodies found/zombies reanimating I am happy. I feel utterly betrayed when I get into the story only to realize that I am being tricked TRICKED into reading a g**damned romance. Suddenly all the spooky events and plot twists are just a device to pressure two people together so that they can take comfort in each other’s arms. Barforama.

Now you’re probably wondering, Maia why do you hate love so much? I don’t. I swear. I have what I believe are perfectly valid reasons to hate this sub-genre (the romance in disguise). I will enumerate them here and you can decide for yourself if I am just an old grump.
  1. Did I mention how they’re tricky? The fact that they don’t openly fly the romance flag on the dust jacket summary tells me that they know this is some bullshit too.
  2. They follow the same couple of scripts every time:
    • Script 1: Woman is imperiled, man protects her, they fall in love. This kind typically has a lot of description of her trim, athletic body and his kind eyes. What it boils down to is that she is weak and can’t handle shit and he is turned on by her obvious need for a big strong daddy. Ugh. I hate them both.
    • Script 2: Woman and man are both strong (usually law enforcement ) types, they meet, she gets kidnapped and almost killed, he finds her and saves her life. The way the bad guy captures her is by some lame-ass ploy like sending a text message claiming to be from the good guy setting up a meet at an abandoned warehouse. Never mind the fact that our protagonists have never communicated by text prior to this point in the book. These books spend so much time describing the burgeoning love between the two of them that they can only support the most moronic of characters
    • Script 3: My favorite. The bad guy is doing bad guy things. Stalking, killing, whatever. He’s soooo bad. This version has a woman and at least two men involved. They’re all trying to solve the crimes. Teamwork! Sexual tension! One guy is really nice and pines from afar and the other one is dynamic and charming. Naturally, this is the guy our lady fair picks. (Moment of silence for that pioneer John Hughes, everyone). The book is nearing its end and terror still reigns but our romance is hot and heavy. Suddenly it all goes wrong. In a surprise twist we find out the Mr. Right is actually Mr. PsychoKillerQu'est-ceQueC'est . And by surprise twist I mean something that has been painfully obvious for at least 100 pages. And from this, ladies and gentlemen, we learn that you should always choose the quiet creepy dude who loves you from afar over the fun exciting dude who secretly wants to make you into a sofa cover. Rookie mistake.
  3. I guess most of my beefs can be distilled down to the fact that having a romantic plot line seems to give the author permission to completely phone in the rest of the story. They say that love makes people stupid and apparently so does writing about love. Which makes me stupid right now. Whoa. 
After rereading this, I can admit that I definitely sound like a crab. In the interest of full disclosure, I am also a terrible person to sit next to in movies because whenever a character busts out some hackneyed sappy line like, “I’ve loved you since the moment I laid eyes on you.” I roll my eyes pantomime gagging. After rereading that, it occurs to me that I might be kind of an ass. Huh.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The One About Bowling

I just got home from bowling.  It's been several years since I've gone bowling and several years again since the time before that.  I had a lot of fun and hopefully won't wait another several years before I go again.  Here are a few observations:

1.  I have clearly not seen a single music video in a very, very long time because although I recognized most of the songs that they played the only familiar video was for....wait for it....Born in the USA by The Boss Himself.  Vintage!

2.  This bowling alley color coded the balls by weight so you could see from a distance if another lane had a ball with potential or not.  This is absolute genius and also such a painfully obvious thing to do that I can't believe this is the first place I've seen that does it (I'm looking at you, Plaza Lanes in Washington, IL).  Not having to slink around the drunks in the other lanes furtively spinning around each ball until you could see the weight and stick you fingers into the holes to check the fit was such a boon.

3.  Speaking of hands and fingers....I really do not think I'm a germaphobe.  I know I'm not.  Something is definitely happening to me as I get older, though.  Perhaps it's just an enhanced awareness of my own mortality.  Regardless, about an hour and a half into the three hours of bowling one part of my brain seceded from the union in order to dedicate itself to fixating on the horror show of pestilence that I must have on my hands.

4.  On a related note, on the drive home there was a lull in conversation that I chose to fill with, "So, how bad do you want to touch your face right now?" and got the response "Oh my God, it's killing me."  I know we could have washed our hands before we left but, honestly, hands washed in a public restroom    are only half-washed.  I kept myself distracted with fantasies of owning a home autoclave.

5.  I did better than I expected at bowling and I credit it this to the fact that I wore a bowling shirt.  You gotta dress the part.  Plus, in true Big Lebowski fashion, I consumed White Russians.  Also, I find that the more of an ass I make of myself the better I do.  Most of my strikes came when I ended up in a weird sort of airplane/crane hybrid stance.

6.  I must be so much more out of shape then I think I am because an hour into it I was sweating like it was my job and already starting to feel a blister form on my right big toe.  Pathetic!

7. There was absolutely no security with the bowling shoes.  Granted, they were half neon yellow and half neon orange.  But seriously, in my more morally ambiguous and less germaphobic youth I totally would have ended up with a pair of bowling shoes at the end of the night.  Do people not do that anymore or do they have tracker chips in them?  Can you imagine the embarrassment of being tracked down the my Bowling Shoes Retrieval Task Force?

8.  That rug really tied the room together.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Case of Cerebral Flatulence

There is a water filter in my basement that filters the water for the whole house.  Once in a blue moon it needs to be changed.  It's not a very difficult thing to do.  This is the story about how two reasonably intelligent people managed to turn it into a circus.

To begin, it was Huppy who decided it was time to change the filter.  I was in another room and I could hear her steadily growing frustration level.  It seems there's a knob at the top of the filter that allows you to bypass it.  This is helpful when taking the filter out so that the only water that comes out is that just sitting inside the filter itself.  This knob was not submitting to her efforts to turn it to bypass so she turned the water off at the knobs on the water pipes above it instead.  This is where I wandered in to see if a fresh set of hands (or, to be honest, a bit of cheerful optimism) could make some headway.  As she unscrewed the filter, water started spraying out a little.  This wasn't necessarily worrisome as we knew that there would be some water already in the pipes.  Well, I decided (this was my decision and my decision alone, world) that the thing to do would be to just go ahead and unscrew the filter all the way.  My theory was that, like a bottle of soda, once the pressure was relieved the water in there would fall into the bucket underneath the filter and we could proceed.  This is not even close to what happened.  Instead, the water started spraying out in all directions more agressively and then when I made that final turn it blew the filter housing off and a gush of arctic water came pouring out with absolutely no intention of stopping.  Obviously I tried to put the filter back on immediately.  This proved to be a challenge due to the sheer force of the water I was pushing against and the fact that it was so cold my hands were already numb and there were shooting pains going up my arms.  Did I mention this frigid water was going everywhere?  At this point in my story there was a lot of shouting happening.  I distinctly remember actually saying the words, "Oh my God, what have I done?".  Prior to this event I would have classified that statement as something that is only said in books or movies and not by actual people.  I won't keep you in suspense, I did finally manage to get the damned thing back on but not until the water had soaked everything within 5 feet of the filter (including me) and a little o-ring type seal had been carried off in the deluge.  The absence of the seal meant that once the filter housing was tightened again there was still a fine mist spraying out.  It was a vast improvement, though, so we took a moment to regroup.  Oh, hey!  There's the shutoff valve!  I turned it, the fine mist turned into a fine trickle, and all was right with the world.  Except, of course, the shitload of water dripping off of everything. 

Lest you think we are completely inept let me add a few notes. 

1.  The utility closet has no light in it so all activities are done by the light of a flashlight.
2.  The big, monster flashlight is not where it is supposed to be so we had to resort to the small crappy one that only allows you to see about 6 square inches at a time.
3.  The shutoff valves that were originally turned off were at eye level are bringht red.
4.  The shutoff valve that actually worked was gross, dusty, rusty, and located at ankle level.
5.  I should not try to help.

On the upside, Huppy's mood improved dramatically when the situation went from "Big strong Huppy is too weak to turn the damned knob" to "Maia made a huge mess (again)".  All is as it should be.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It Wasn't Me! (For A Change)

I want to tell you all about my experience at the spa the other day.  It was awesome!  Don't stop reading - I do have a story to tell, I'm not just gloating.

My mother is visiting from Iowa so we've been doing fun things this week like seeing Sherlock Holmes at the premium cinema (has booze and food), seeing Wicked, eating lots of good food, and a 90 minute massage at a day spa nearby.  I decided that since I'm still kind of banged up from the pajama pant incident I would try a hot stone massage since that involves less squeezing and pressing.

Let me just say that my mind is my own worst enemy most of the time.  I have to read a book or do a crossword puzzle before sleeping in order to tire it out and distract it with something to chew one while I drift off.  So while I love love love going to the spa and getting a massage, I never manage to relax into it all the way because my damn brain won't shut off.

Here are some of the things the voices in my head say to me:

In the locker room -

"OK, time to put on the robe.  I love these robes.  So big and roomy!  Wait, are you naked?  What are you doing?  Holy crap, you are not wearing any clothes under this tiny tiny robe!  You're supposed to keep your underwear on, you raging perv!"

I press on because you are, in fact, expected to be naked under the robe and I know this.

On the table -

"Did you remember to moisturize? You know your tattoos look ashy when you don't.  Nice job, this poor person has to rub your ashy tattoos.  Wait, did you eat?  You're not supposed to eat!  Oh my God, you ate today.  How could you eat!  What if you have gas?  Don't think about!  If you think about it, it will come.  You're still thinking about it!  Was that a gurgle?  I think you gurgled!  STOP THINKING ABOUT THIS!  Don't clench your butt, they'll see you.  Relax but not to much because you know.  The thing you don't want to think about will happen.  What is this music?  Are those seagulls?  Who thinks seagulls are relaxing?  This is so weird.  Ooh, rainforest, that's better.  A trip to the rainforest would be cool.  No it wouldn't, you hate heat.  Feet!  Do not flinch.  This.  Does.  Not.  Tickle.  Is this towel covering me?  I don't feel super covered.  What if I'm not.  What's hanging out?  Something's hanging out I know it.  Is that a breeze?  Did her boobs just hit my head?  I think they did.  Yup, there it was again.  Should I apologize?  That's stupid, she hit me with her boobs, I didn't head butt them.  I wonder what they think about this whole time.  I would count or recite poetry my head, I think.  Not you wouldn't, dumbass.  If that was true that's what you'd be doing right now instead of worrying about whether or not you're about to fa -STOP.  Do not speak its name.  OK, time to flip over.  Face down now.  I wish I had one of these tables at home.  I would totally sleep on my stomach of I had this face holder thingy.  I love this thing.  Soooo relaxing.  Hey!  You're drooling!  Could you be grosser?  What if that fell on her shoe?  Are those Crocs?  I don't care what people think, those things are comfy.  Those holes look different.  They must be fake Crocs.  Mock Crocs!  Good one, me.  Focus!  You almost drooled again.  Man, I really need one of these tables.  I wonder how much they cost.  Remember that movie Love At First Bite?  Was that George Hamilton?  I think so.  Wait, what?  We're done?  Oh man, I was just getting sleepy!"

So I can't fully relax because I'm too busy worrying that I'm embarrassing myself or about to embarrass myself.  Well, friends I have good news.  I now have an embarrassment credit!  While I was laying there doing my whole routine in my head the most wonderful thing happened.  Truly, truly wonderful.

My massage therapist farted.

This, of course, derailed my internal monologue to a desperate struggle not to react in any way, shape, or form.  It was not easy because, while I am an adult, there is something about being buck naked that automatically puts hysteria a few steps closer to happening and if you add a fart into the mix...I'm lucky I didn't have a stroke for as hard as I was trying not to react.  But I did it.  Which means I totally have a freebie coming.