Date Archives January 2011

As it turns out, despair alone doesn’t kill you

Many thanks to everyone who has reached out to me this week, via text, email, phone call, etc. Everyone’s kindness and support has made a difficult week a little easier, and even though I still feel nauseated and scared and my brain keeps whirring about unfairness and things I could have said and didn’t, it’s not as bad as it could have been, and I thank you all for that. Jason has been a rock for me this week, getting me to eat*, getting me out of bed/out of the house, encouraging me to exercise to keep my spirits up, and being supportive and understanding when simple things frustrate and upset me and push me close to the edge of a screaming, crying, way-overreacting “I’m gonna be homeless” tantrum.

I’ve been trying to keep myself busy. Friends have tipped me off to some jobs and I’ve sent out a few resumes, I’ve boxed up and sent out most of my physical movie media for trade-in at Amazon (something I’d been meaning to do for a while and additionally lessens the load when I decide to/have to move), traded in a big bag of books at half-price books so my bookshelf will stop leaning meanacingly, and have been doing other organization/cleaning tasks around the apartment.

On Tuesday, I took some beautiful thick brocade fabric I’d been saving for over a decade that I bought when I was in Taiwan and reupholstered one of the piano benches I’d bought for a penny from Guitar Center. I’d originally intended to make a top out of it, but a decade had come and gone and the top went unmade and had it been made, it probably would have gone unworn, so it was time to put it to use. I’m also working at getting better about how long I save things for undefined “project” use–if I find myself saving something using the same excuse used by someone on Hoarders, I set a timetable to actually use it, and if doesn’t get done, that stuff gets donated or binned, because I don’t have unlimited storage space for a lifetime of “someday”s and this has motivated me to start and FINISH doing things that otherwise could have been put off indefinitely.

Before:

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After:

I only wish I had enough fabric to reupholster both benches, but I’m sure I’ll find some that I like just as much for the other bench at some point.

*Also his presence keeps me from binging on everything in sight. Hello, eating disorder, I did not miss you.

“Oh my god, I killed our baby!”

On Saturday, a group of us went to Benihana’s and then to Gameworks to celebrate Chris’ 30th birthday. Jason and I had gotten to the restaurant a bit earlier than everyone else, as we’d been out at Archie McPhee, picking up a copy of the “Mr. Bacon’s Big Adventure” board game to give to Chris, a former vegetarian. Though our entire party had arrived on time, we didn’t end up being seated until nearly forty-five minutes past our reservation time, at which point I was maybe a little pickled as I’d only eaten toast that day in anticipation of a ridiculous dinner.

 

Our chef was very nice and told us he’d gone to school in Hawaii. Excuse me, but I believe I’ve found my calling in life: teppenyaki chefdom. But only if I also can attend school in Hawaii.

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Stuffed full and swearing that we’d never need to eat again, we walked from the restaurant to Gameworks for the all-important task of shooting dinosaurs, zombies, and robots to prepare for the dinobotbie apocalypse. Each spinosaur I shot down was in tribute to Chris.

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While there, we discovered one of the most fun arcade games ever: Deadstorm Pirates. It’s a booth style game which includes two force-feedback gun turrets and a ship’s wheel between them. You play as two pirates with “golden guns”, and when you shoot an object together, their power and speed increases. The story is a typical pirate adventure in that you’re battling for some nebulously-defined treasure–the important part is that you get to shoot hundreds of skeleton pirates who explode into bones and dust in a very satisfying way, a kraken, giant crabs, a giant snake, and a pirate who stole his jaw from a Predator. You also get to shoot down other ships with cannonballs, and I may have cackled with delight upon firing a cannonball every single time. Also, unlike the majority of other arcade games, you can actually beat this game in a reasonable amount of time for a not-insane amount of money. Oh, certainly, it was taking money from us like clockwork, but it didn’t ramp up the difficulty (or, like most shooters: cheapness) to a point where it would have been foolhardy for us to continue putting in money, which is a point that I think most arcade games miss. I won’t keep paying to play if it’s obvious that the game is set up in such a way that I’ll never win.

After we beat Deadstorm Pirates, we played the horseracing game, where you pick which sire and dam you’d like to make a baby, and all of a sudden a stork comes along with a brand new foal for you to name and love and race. Our precious baby was named Jerkface.

We put Jerkface through various training exercises to make her grow big and strong and fast. Unfortunately, one of those exercises was swimming her in a pool to increase her cardiovascular health. The instructions were that we were to reflexively tap a button when a bar moved into a certain area and, ominously, if we did it wrong three times, our horse would drown. That’s a sizeable punishment for error! Once you’ve selected a mode, there isn’t a way to back out and choose something else, so I was committed to do right by our child.

…The bar moved very, very quickly, and each time I missed, we would gasp in horror as Jerkface struggled and her sweet little jerky face went underwater. Upon the third miss, I cried, “Oh my god, I killed our baby!”, and sure enough, they showed the horse spasming and lurching in the pool and slowly, slowly stilling. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

And just like that, she was ready to race. What? I thought we drowned her! I guess in the racing world, drowning is not a permanent thing. All of that grieving, for nothing!

After you’ve finished playing, the game spits out a little card that represents Sarah Jessica Parkeryour horsey child, so you can come back at any time and continue playing instead of having to start anew, presumably up until the time your horse is grey and needs to be shot in its stall because its record is too crummy to justify putting it to stud.

Even though I was the babykiller, somehow I still got custody.

Adventures in baking

“Pft. I could make those, I bet.”

Fateful words, uttered one lazy day while watching Man vs Food, which is how I ended up spending my Saturday morning glaring at dough. The challenge? Cinnamon rolls.

I figured they’d be really easy, given that I’ve made other pastries in the past relatively easily. What I didn’t plan on was trying to make dough rise in a chilly apartment. What the recipe doesn’t tell you is that cinnamon roll dough is made of the stickiest substance on earth, stronger than duct tape, superglue or even Superman, sticking to the bowl and to the knife and to my fingers and to the counter. “Lightly dust the counter”, the recipe says. Lightly dust? There isn’t enough flour in my canister to prevent this dough from nigh-permanently bonding with my countertop, which was something I discovered AFTER spreading the dough with a metric buttload of butter, sugar, and cinnamon, when I attempted to roll it up and instead of rolling, it ripped and tore and made a hell of a mess and I invented at least three new curse words.

Man, fuck cinnamon rolls.

A show to watch while eating pizza, pantsless, while belching and scratching yourself

Recently, Comcast upgraded the lines in the area to fiber optic. To celebrate this momentous occasion, I added a phone line I’ll never use and a buttload of TV channels and somehow will save $30 a month. In surveying this new kingdom of channels on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I happened upon one of the best and worst and saddest things I have ever seen in my life: Bridalplasty.

The premise of Bridalplasty is simple, yet mind-boggling: a group of brides-to-be live in a home together to compete to win the perfect wedding…and also to win plastic surgeries off their wish list in order to become perfect themselves. You heard me. This right here is why other countries hate the United States. Just saying.

This is how E! describes it:

Each week, a group of women competes head-to-head in such challenges as writing wedding vows and planning honeymoons. The winner receives the chance to choose a plastic surgery procedure from her “wish list.” She’s given the procedure immediately, and results are shown at the start of the following week’s episode.

One by one, the women are voted out by their competitors and, according to the show’s description, “possibly walking away with nothing and losing [their] chance to be the perfect bride.”

The last bride standing will receive a “dream wedding,” where she will reveal her new appearance to friends, family and the groom. “Viewers will witness his emotional and possibly shocked reaction as they stand at the altar and he lifts her veil to see her for the first time following her extreme plastic surgery,” E! said.

…and yet somehow, it’s gays that are ruining the concept of marriage? I will love and cherish you forever, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health…but not with that nose. Nuh-uh. Or, for that matter, that icky divot on your forehead that I have to look at every time I kiss you. I love you, but there are limits, woman!

Except it’s not the men asking that the women they love live up to some unattainable standard, that they make themselves somehow more appealing to the male gaze, it’s the WOMEN. Already beautiful women with cripplingly low self esteem knocking themselves on camera in front of the men who already love them enough to make a lifetime commitment to them despite these supposed flaws. Universally, the men looked embarrassed and uncomfortable. They expressed that they loved these women the way they are, and equally universally, the women could not accept these statements as fact, laughing them off or continuing to insist that they’re a quarter troll on their mom’s side and half goat on their dad’s side.

And then there’s the whole, "I am going to get an asston of plastic surgery and you, who are making a lifetime commitment to me, will not see my brand new face until the day of our wedding, so hey, surprise, I always wanted to be a tiger-woman! How do you like my cheek implants? My whiskers are fiber optic!"

So, the premise of the show is horribly wrong, and the reality of the show is even worse. One bride-to-be moaned that her fiance has been deployed to Iraq for months and he was finally coming home the day she left to go do the show, and that "I think I’ll always regret not being at the airport to welcome him home." Because, you know, the opportunity for televised plastic surgery was way more important, right? Another of the brides-to-be was appalled that another had to pawn her ring to fix her car "because it shows she doesn’t value nice things." It’s easier to value nice things when you can call the first bank of daddy to fix every problem, right? When all of the competing women were introduced, they also went over their plastic surgery wishlists with a ‘plastic surgeon to the stars’, who augmented them by taking a marker to their naked bodies and saying "Well, you need liposuction here…and here…and here…and all through here…and here…and here…and back there…and up here, also, you have the perfect breasts….for augmentation surgery" until they looked like one large connect-the-dots puzzle. It was horrifying.

And then they got to the first challenge–the girls had to assemble a puzzle of what they might look like after becoming the perfect bride over a picture of what they look like now, as clearly hideous swine-women. If they’re among the first ten brides to complete the challenge, they win a syringe and get to attend an "exclusive injectables party" (I swear I am not making this up). One of the last two will be voted off, and the other’s punishment for not being great at puzzles is to just watch everyone else get happily stuffed with botox and god knows what else. The first bride-to-be to assemble her puzzle shrieked, grabbed her syringe and ran with it downstairs yelling "I’m so stoked! Let’s take care of my buttface!" 

                                                           I’m so stoked. 

                                              Let’s take care of my buttface. 

                                                                                    -Socrates

But still the worst was yet to come. Because the bride-to-be who was voted off was ushered off the program with "Your wedding will go on…it just might not be perfect."

WHAT. Better just call the whole thing off, then! God knows if it’s not a perfect wedding with a perfectly plastic bride, it doesn’t stand a chance. Love and commitment and honesty and hard work–that doesn’t have shit to do with marriage. Look at your successfully married hostess, Shanna Moakler! ….whoops.

Fancy No-Pants

I spent New Year’s Eve at Tristan’s with some of my favorite people on earth. I dressed in as much glitter as I could find because the occasion calls for it, and I also worked up the stones to wear a dress that I bought nearly a year ago that’s always been just a bit too daring for me. I also broke out the super fancy manolo blahnik stiletto boots I bought in December 2008 for the VERY FIRST TIME, because one does not often have occasion to wear shoes quite that fancy. Apparently that sort of occasion comes around once every two years for me.

We are all far too fabulous for a camera to focus properly. It’s Science!

Things I learned that evening: don’t rely on the sandwich from the BBQ bus to hold you through drinking stupid amounts of champagne, the game of things is really the best game ever, I have a spooky mind-meld thing going with Shannon and Mirinda, Emily is not fucking kidding when she says she screams at scary parts in movies, the Star Wars Holiday Special is still pretty well unbearable even when drunk, and the Cooking With Coolio garlic bread is shockingly delicious–my expectations were not high at all, and then I felt a little bad for judging a recipe by its rapper. Although I’m still not quite sure how to measure spices in dimebags. Maybe I should ask my brother.

Creatures of night, brought to light: The Reptile Zoo in Monroe, WA

On our trip to Leavenworth, we passed through Monroe, which I had always assumed was a town of little note. Not so! At one point, Evan looked over and gasped “Reptile zoo!” The two of us chorused louder than any child could manage from the backseat, “REPTILE ZOO!” and demanded that we stop and visit. Emily temporarily halted our pleading by suggesting that we could stop in on the return trip, a compromise to which we were both amenable. I looked up their website on my phone and discovered they had an albino alligator, whose name we decided would be “Chompy”. I further decided I wanted to ride him. Unfortunately, by the time we got back from Leavenworth, the Reptile Zoo was closed for the day, and I was a bit too tired to throw the mighty tantrum that sort of disappointment mandates. So, on New Year’s Eve, we made a special trip to the Reptile Zoo. I was so excited about this trip, I made up a special song and dance number entitled “Goin’ to the Reptile Zoo” which essentially looks like any of my other dances but involves the tuneless singing of “We…are…going to…THE REPTILE ZOO!” over the top, along with some fist-pumping.

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After we finished fooling with the big snake carving out front, I noticed that there were signs everywhere about where one ought to deposit one’s gum. The Reptile Zoo, in fact, seemed more concerned about gum than all of my grade school teachers combined. What was the deal with the gum? Is gum inherently the anti-snake? Do iguanas seek out discarded gum when they want to blow bubbles but end up making a mess everywhere? Does someone loathe minty-fresh breath?

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When we got inside and paid our entry fee, I asked the woman what was up with all the gum signs, because clearly there must be a big issue, right? Right? Someone died and gum was involved, right? Wrong. Apparently someone dropped some on the carpet once and it made a stain. I don’t know that carpet stains should be among their biggest concerns–after all, they’re sharing a room with the WORLD’S TEN DEADLIEST SNAKES!

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…oh. Actually, devenomization is probably for the best. The owners are apparently a little blase when it comes to fang-based danger as some of the tanks had cracks in the glass or little holes that snakes were furiously poking at with their noses in an effort to wreak bitey havoc. Also, after the camel incident* and the tiger incident** and the goose incident*** and the seagull incident**** and the cat incidents*****…I am far better off when nearby animals are not only behind glass but also deweaponized as much as possible. Nearly all of the animals in open-top enclosures had signs indicating that they either might bite or will bite, and that sort of certainty keeps even me from putting my hands where they don’t belong.

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Handwritten signs in marker only add to the feeling of danger. The only writing implement more dangerous-feeling is the crayon, because the crayon says you well and truly just do not give a fuck.

Danger! Chompy! Escapees! And BBQ! ALL UNDER THE CUT.