Thursday, November 29, 2007

i derive my self-worth from gchat

So gmail introduced "group chat" yesterday. While the jury is still out on whether this new feature deserves a thumbs up or thumbs down (early opinion: thumbs down -- though I hate change), I think that the gchat elves are going to have to work on the group chat nomenclature.

When I saw this flashing box on the bottom right of my screen, read the title on top, and realized that my two gchat buddies had left the chat (THANKS FOR RUBBING IT IN MY FACE THAT MY FRIENDS DITCHED ME, GCHAT!), I felt profoundly rejected. I was utterly alone in an empty chat. I went to get some ice cream and then e-mailed myself some smiling emotions in a futile attempt to lift my spirits.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

such as

Lately, I've taken part in a number of conversations in which people discuss "YouTubes." They usually begin with someone (let's call him Eager Edgar) proclaiming after a beat or two of dead air: "Have you guys seen the dramatic chipmunk/Miss South Carolina/Daft Punk body parts/Shoes/narcoleptic dog video?" Usually, about half the people in the group have seen it. "Oh yeah, that video is hysterical," someone will respond. "Yeah, my brother showed it to me, like, a month ago," another will offer smugly.

After about ten seconds, the members of the group who haven't seen the video will quietly admit their ignorance. At this point, it suddenly becomes IMPERATIVE for the people who have seen the video in question to demand that those who haven't watch it immediately - it's as though they have become possessed. "Let's find a computer now!" someone will proclaim ferociously, as though he is leading a march on the capital. "Let's go back to my room now!" another will echo, even though everyone just sat down for dinner like three minutes ago.

Usually seven or eight minutes later, a laptop will somehow appear and -- even though the conversation has moved on -- Edgar will bring up the video again, at which point he'll find it on the computer while everyone keeps talking. "You guys will die," he'll say as it's loading. The video plays and everyone is just sort of silent afterwards, deflated. Edgar will wait a moment before exclaiming, "Wait, wait, wait, I promise you'll like this one," he'll say, typing "baby laugher cute" into the search bar.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

these things are disconcerting

1) when your alarm goes off in the morning, and you turn it off but instead of waking up you get back in bed and have a dream in which you wake up, turn off your alarm, get out of bed, chat with your roommate, lazily brush your teeth, turn on the shower, wait for it to get hot, think about what you have to do that day and then - right as you're about to get into the shower - the dream ends and you wake up in your bed, look at the clock and realize you are going to be late for your meeting with your senior essay adviser

2) when you pass your seminar professor outside of class while you are walking to dinner on a Friday night (you mutter hello as you think about how he looks so much smaller outside of class than he does in the classroom - then, when he responds with a mere head nod, you wonder if he even remembers your name)

3) when a complete stranger refers to you with a term of endearment (some people may like this, but it really creeps me out) -- examples: "here's your change, sweetheart" or "I think you dropped this, dear"

4) when some random guy you do not know who goes to some school you have never heard of (or, more likely, who is listed as belonging to the "New York City" network, or no network at all) pokes you on Facebook repeatedly - like once every two weeks (you do not reciprocate this poking, but that - apparently - does not seem to make a difference)

Monday, November 26, 2007

"but finish"

My brother set up this site which lets me see how people find this blog. One of the best features of this service is that I can see what people search for in Google that brings them to TxtMsgBtl (BTW, this is one way to refer to the blog in texts to your friends).

I find this data amusing/informative/fascinating/odd. While most people clearly know what they have in mind when they type away in that familiar Google search bar ("textmessageinbottle blog" or "awkward moments" or "cheesy text messages"), some of the results are more baffling.

My five favorites searches:

1) "you are so special to me text messages" (because nothing says "I love you" like that perfectly-worded text message)

2) "what did the message in the bottle say" (hmmm, I fear you are going to have trouble finding the answer to this one on the interweb, bud)

3) "but finish" (this one just puzzles me, but I like it)

4) "brueggers pretzel bagel" (WOOT!)

5) "carly zubrzycki" (no idea who carly is, but - if you're reading this, CZub - whaddup?)

the age-old question

construction site in front of DUH, 10:24 a.m.

Thirty-something Construction Worker #1: "Hey, so I heard Lance Armstrong is dating Ashley Olsen. . . you know, the twins."
Thirty-something Construction Worker #2: "Yeah. Weird. Mary-Kate's hotter."

Friday, November 23, 2007

wise beyond their years

my car, 4:47 p.m.

Jack, my 8-year-old cousin: "Josh, are you an adult?"

Me: "Yeah, I guess so. It depends on what you call an adult."

Jack: "An adult is if you are in the grown-up numbers and not a teen-number . ."

Me: "Well then, I guess I am an adult."

Jack: "What is it like being an adult?"

Me: "Well there are a lot of responsibilities. It's different. You're, uh, older."

Jack: "When I'm older, I am never going to have a job and I am never going to work because then you have to work all DAY and all NIGHT."

Me: "Well there are actually some fun jobs you can find--"

Julia, my 6-year-old cousin: "And when I'm older, I am never going to get married!"

Jack and Julia's mom: "Why not, Jules?"

Julia: "Because if you get married then you have to have a baby and having a baby HURTS!"

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

the most irritating clock i have ever encountered

So I was sharing a pumpkin loaf with my friend Liz yesterday at this quaint "tea bar and cafe" on Newbury Street called "Tealuxe" which I had never been to before. It's one of those places that serves like 78 varieties of chai and in which picturesque bundled-up couples huddle over steaming drinks as they cuddle at the wooden tables.

So after thirty minutes of gabbing (and after I spilled my drink on myself just once - not bad for me) we noticed the giant clock projected on to the wall behind us. "TIME FOR TEA" is proclaimed on its face. At first we decided that Giant Clock was kind of cool and different. But then we realized that - for some unknown, godforsaken, inexplicable reason - the time on the clock (9:55 at the time the picture was taken) is NOT the actual time (I took this picture at 5:57 p.m.). WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA?!!?!?!? So is the idea that 9:55 is really the best time for tea and I should have left the establishment and returned in four hours when the clock said I should? Except then I realized that if I left and returned at 9:55, the time for tea on the clock would at that point be 2:07 or something like that. The whole thing makes me want to scream!

So when you think about it, the take-home message of the clock is that is is NEVER time for tea when you are actually in Tealuxe because the clock is always going to be four hours ahead of real time. The blood-curling thought that this potentially clever/useful gimmick has been completely ruined by whoever thought it didn't matter if the clock was set to the real time is enough to make me never want to drink tea again.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

the Tissue Angel

After an uproarious dinner at Legal Sea Foods with my family of five, my wheelchair-bound grandfather and my grandfather's girlfriend Sue, we made our way to the elevator in order to descend to the depths of the parking lot.

As we were approaching our destination, my grandfather complained loudly about needing a tissue. Sue, exasperated, was searching in her purse to find him one when a 60-something woman with a shiny braid of gray hair appeared next to us, seemingly out of thin air.

"Oh, I've got a tissue," the Tissue Angel said, waving a blindingly white tissue in her hand. "It's unused - I promise. It doesn't have any germs on it or anything."

My grandfather's face lit up. "Thank you!" my dad exclaimed enthusiastically. (As always, my brother and I exchanged cynical looks.)

"I was just digging in my bag, but couldn't find it," Sue offered as an explanation as our merry band of eight crammed into the elevator.

"Doesn't that just sum up life?" the Tissue Angel said, wisely. "Still digging, but can't find it."

Monday, November 19, 2007

starting over

I have always been a sentimentalist when it comes to things. I keep absolutely everything. I have a file folder containing all of my schoolwork from 4th grade under my bed. I save every letter, book, photograph, CD, e-mail, etc. This past summer I found an old t-shirt that I wore once in like 2nd grade with the Oakland Raiders logo on it and thought to myself "I can say with 100% certainty that I am never going to wear this again for the rest of my life" -- YET I COULD NOT GET RID OF IT.

Anyway, I am just as obsessive when it comes to text messages. If a text message is at all significant, I save it. If it's notably witty, I save it. If it expresses anger/love/gratitude/sadness in any sort of marked way, I save it. If it represents something important to me in a friendship, I save it. (God, I just reread these last five sentences and I am pretty sure I sound like a complete freak... whatever.)

So saving special texts wouldn't be that big of a deal if it wasn't for the fact that my cell phone can only store 50 texts at any given time. This means I am constantly deleting texts to make sure there is enough room in my Inbox. I am faced with decisions like: "Which would I rather save? The first text Jenna sent me ('Wanna get lunch tomorrow? Let's get hummus again!') or the witty social commentary Kenny texted ('Have you noticed the dining hall workers have stopped even trying to pretend they aren't reading Star Magazine when they swipe our cards?')"

A few hours ago, I brought my cell phone in to the Verizon store because my camera phone wasn't working. The irritable employee said I needed a new phone and that while all of my numbers would be saved, I would lose all of my texts. After a split second of panic, I resigned myself to my fate and nodded solemnly. A few minutes later, I had a new phone with ZERO text messages. And, while you'd think I would feel despondent, I actually feel inexplicably wonderful. I have a new lease on life. I'm starting over. I don't have to worry about deleting texts to make room (for a while, at least). And, as strange as it may sound, I think now I'm finally ready to get rid of that Oakland Raiders t-shirt.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

the fortune's got sass

The snarky fortunes keep on coming!

After devouring half of the carton of pineapple bites our Chinese food place sends with their orders (a sublime post-MSG treat), my brother was greeted with the following dis:

"Today, your mouth might be moving but no one is listening."

This is not a prediction nor a commentary but rather a straight up insult: no one cares what you have to say, dumbass.

things that irritate me

1) when all of the previews before a movie are ones you've seen before

2) when someone posts a logistical/scheduling question on your Facebook wall ("Do you want to get dinner this Thursday?" "Could we actually meet at 3:30 tomorrow instead of at 4?")

3) when someone starts to tell you a story about "the funniest thing ever that happened last weekend" and you realize that she has already told you this story

4) when you run into someone you haven't seen in a few years who you don't really even know (it's lucky if you can even remember his name) but whom you feel obliged to make small talk with ("How is, uh, is it New York?" "Oh, great. Really great. And how is senior year?")

5) when people see a picture taken of themselves on a digital camera, squeal with disapproval and then try to delete it

Friday, November 16, 2007

my answer: first

text message I received last night, 6:19 p.m.

"When theres part of a salad u like least, do u eat it first, last or not at all?"

Thursday, November 15, 2007

leading seminar

I find it fascinating how kids who are completely silent for an entire semester in seminar are completely and utterly transformed when their one week to "lead" class arrives.

Mute Molly sits in the same seat every seminar. She alternates between stretching her arms in the air while yawning, sipping her giant iced coffee and texting under the table for an hour and fifty minutes straight. She never raises her hand and the professor knows better than to call on her... and everyone in the class basically pretends she isn't there.

BUT when it is Mute Molly's week to lead seminar, she becomes someone else entirely. Mute Molly is now a Seminar Monster. She has clearly done all the reading for the first (and only) time all year. She gets to class early. She calls on students to answer the questions she has drawn up as if she is academia's leading expert on Reagan's foreign policy. And when students say something smart, she exchanges knowing glances with the professor.

The next week, everything returns to normal and she doesn't speak once.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

things that happen when your blog gets linked to on ivygate

1) People start pitching blog ideas to you. . . all the time.

- Friend: "I've got a great idea for you. Have you ever walked into class late and walked up the stairs and everyone just looks at you and it's really embarrassing? You should totally blog about that."
- Me: "Um. . . yeaaah."

- Me: "I'll be back later. I have to go pick up my dry cleaning, champagne and some photocopies."
- Roommate: "You should blog about that!"

2) People start asking you how many hits you are getting and if you are freaking out and saying things to you like "Well now the pressure is really on to deliver, huh?" or "Just keep on writing for you, OK? Don't let fame change you." I've got to say, I am starting to really relate to the Lindsay Lohans of the world, burdened by the pressures of the spotlight. (Though I'm not going to lie: I am crossing my fingers that some freshman takes a camera phone picture of me checking my P.O. Box and then posts it online somewhere - "Celebrity Bloggers - they are just like us!")

3) Your parents find out how you have been spending your senior year.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

situations i find harrowing

I am never quite sure what to do when faced with the following situations (which seem to happen to me surprisingly often).

1) You finally get around to writing that really long e-mail to your friend from high school filling her in on your life. At the end you toss in a few questions ("Still liking your Econ classes? Still living with that crazy girl from D.C.? Still dyeing your hair?") to give the impression you care about her life. A week later you get a response from her - it's long, detailed, etc. You skim it only to find she has thrown in some questions at the end for you, too, about things you neglected to mention in the first e-mail. "Does she expect me to write her back another long e-mail?"

2) You walk into a party with your friend Joe and see Aloof Alice, who you know is in Joe's seminar and whom you have been introduced to at least four times. (Yet, despite all the previous introductions, neither of you ever acknowledges the other when you pass on the street.) Joe, of course, introduces you for the fifth time. "Oh, this is Aloof Alice - we're in seminar together," he says. "Uh, we've already met," she'll mutter into her cup, without even so much as looking up at your limp hand held out for a shake.

3) You are sitting in a common room on your cell phone talking to Zach who is on a train somewhere and getting really bad service. You can only hear like every fifth word he says. "Hello?... Zach?... Zach?..." you say. Finally, you give up and hang up. The girl on the sofa across the room looks up from her magazine at you. Zach calls back. You pick up again because you feel like you must. "Zach, I-..." you start. The signal cuts out. Magazine Girl's face resembles that of your mother's when a telemarketer calls. Ten seconds later, Zach calls again.

Monday, November 12, 2007

things that start strong but finish weak

1) Tootsie Roll pops

2) almost every episode of "Saturday Night Live"

3) power hours

4) most of the papers I have written in my academic career

5) the ubiquitous Black Eyed Peas hit "My Humps" (seriously: the last minute of this song is the worst and completely incongruous with the first four minutes of the song)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

the lives of others

Occasionally there are times when I wish other people didn't exist:

1) When I walk onto a crowded Amtrak train and realize my only seat options are either next to the blubbery businessman stuffing a muffin into his mouth as the crumbs fall onto the floor or the waifish 25-year-old female with chapped lips blabbing away into her cell phone as she flips through old issues of Glamour and Vogue.

2) When I am at a concert which features one of those new-fangled gimmicks in which you can text a message to a certain 5-digit number in hopes that it will appear on the Jumboscreen for all to see. Embarrassingly enough, I have been silly enough to craft and send a witty little message at both concerts I attended with such an option - but in neither case did my message make it to screen. Instead, the screen was an endless rotation of drivel: "TONYA U R MY SUNSHYNE," "GIRLZ FROM MIDTOWN ARE HOTTT" or "RED SOX UP 8-7." So frustrating.

3) When I enter the gym and on one treadmill is the girl who declined my Facebook friendship freshman year and on the rowing machine is the guy I e-mailed last week about getting notes from seminar who never e-mailed me back.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


You buy/illegally download a CD. You are happy.

You love it. You listen to it again and again and again. When you are reading. When you are running. When you are doing neither of those things.

Then - suddenly - you'll be in the middle of reading a "New York Times" article about a new trend in swing set design when you realize that overwhelming desire you have had for the past three and a half weeks to listen to the CD over and over and over is just gone.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

i HATE pretzels!

- It is raining and cold.
- I will shortly be leaving for a seminar for which I have done no reading and during which I will have to pinch myself/bite my tongue every few minutes so I don't fall asleep.
- I am a generally irritable person.
- I hate pretzels.

Waiting in line at Bruegger's (if you think about the spelling of that name for long enough, I swear you will go mad) I was confronted with a sign advertising what I think is probably one of the worst ideas in the history of food:

AH! Who thought of this?!?! He deserves to be force-fed a hundred pretzel bagels until he turns into a giant pretzel bagel and gets eaten by seagulls! Seriously! Pretzels are crunchy and bagels are soft! Soft and crunchy things DO. NOT. MIX.

I can just see the meeting at which all the Bruegger's executives are eating Dunkin' Donuts and munching on pretzels and patting their bellies and "brainstorming" ideas for new kinds of bagels. "Uhhh, Stanley, do you think we could we make a bagel out of these?" What will be next? Bagels made of carrots? Marshmallows? Lamb fat?

And, as if this all wasn't discouraging enough, I nearly walked right out of the store when I saw the pathetic ad campaign. It's a close call between who is more misguided: the Bruegger's crew for coming up with this grossness or the ad agency for writing an ad campaign that a class of 1st graders could probably have written. . . and for a lot less money.

how to leave the perfect voicemail

1) Don't say your name. Just jump right into the good stuff. It will make the listener feel pleased that you think she will be able to recognize your voice. (Starting with "It's me" is always nice for establishing intimacy.)

2) Make some funny/sarcastic/wise comment about your current surroundings. Example #1: "Oh god, I just saw this weird girl walk into a shopping cart - I am totally serious." Example #2: "Hold on, I literally just stepped in the biggest puddle you have ever seen! My pants are like soaking now."

3) Take a momentary pause and then cut to the chase. Don't side-step. "So, yeah, I'm returning your call from last night about getting dinner tomorrow."

4) Make some convoluted excuse about why you waited until now to call. "I was tied up with a really long text message" or "I ate a really big sandwich and passed out" will not fly here. The more realistic, the better. (If you are out of ideas, you can always use the "Oh, I was in CCL where my cell phone doesn't get service" excuse.)

5) Mention something exciting and special you have to share with the listener. "I have a Kendra story you will not believe!"

6) End with a self-deprecating joke about the length of the voice mail.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

fall back

Why do people love talking about daylight savings so much?

The night before it's like the only thing people discuss. You hear "Don't forget to turn back your clocks tonight!" three times as much as the ever-present "Are you finally ready to leave? I waaaaant Ivy Noodle," "Honestly, Kelly is being such a bitch tonight" and "So should I text Jeff back or not? Should I wait ten minutes?"

And then the Sunday after the fact, everyone is utterly obsessed. "Did you remember to turn back your clock?," they ask. ("No," you want to say. "I just decided it would be fun to show up to this 1:00 meeting an hour late.")

Friday, November 2, 2007

awkward moments

1) When you are on the subway and your iPod happens to be on something like "Glamorous" by Fergie or "Bye Bye Bye" by N' Sync (this has never happened to me, obviously) and the cool guy who has just the right amount of facial hair and those really big noise-canceling headphones who is sitting next to you glimpses the album art on your iPod and looks away smirking.

2) When you are at a party or small gathering and you know a bottle of a carbonated beverage is going to explode so you have to open it extremely carefully by twisting the cap off insanely slowly and then quickly closing it in a process that takes like 30 seconds but feels like seven minutes while everyone watches you with rapturous attention and says things like "Ooooh, Josh, be careful." "Oh, really? I should be careful? You think that's a good idea?" you want to sarcastically retort. (You don't.)

3) When you are sitting with your friend Ed in the dining hall and that girl who you met at that party who you talked to for like 45 minutes walks by and you say to Ed, "Oh, that's Kara! You'll love her. She's great - really funny." "Kara," you shout! She doesn't hear you, it seems, and keeps on walking with her gaggle of girlfriends in hip outfits to the back of the dining hall. You shout "Kara!" again, this time a little softer (it's more for show than for actually getting her attention at this point). She doesn't turn around. Ed looks down at his half-eaten lasagna.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

remnants of october 31

Outside the Writing Center, 4:07 p.m.

I would love to know the story behind how these rabbit ears ended up so utterly alone, perched on this bush, absent a body. . .