Friday, December 28, 2007

the end of 2007, the end of an era

I spent a good hour or so shopping for calendars online yesterday before I had a sudden epiphany that I am finished with wall calendars. "Why have I ended my annual tradition of buying a calendar?" you might be asking yourself.

Problem #1: You have to flip to the next page each month. This can get to be a hassle, especially when you are using scotch tape to keep the thing on the wall.

Problem #2: Every time it falls (about once every two months), you have to re-affix it. This is so annoying.

Problem #3: I get insanely bored looking at the same picture every day for thirty straight days, even when it's a picture of Britney Spears trying to look sexy in a bikini (11th grade) or Michael Scott smiling goofily (sophomore year of college).

Problem #4: I don't think I have looked at my wall calendar to figure out what the date is since middle school.

Problem #5: Who needs a real calendar when you've got Google Calendar?!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

a lack of color

It's always completely mortifying when you leave your house in an outfit you only wear when you don't expect to see anyone you know (for me: unkempt hair, unshaven, glasses, way too large sweatshirt jacket thing, really tight neon Death Cab for Cutie T-shirt, torn up jeans, massive gray Sketchers) and then, of course, you see someone you know (for me: that girl from middle school who I always partnered with in Science class and haven't talked to since).

The only thing I can think about for the whole conversation is that she must be thinking that I have a horrific sense of style or that I have no friends and have no one I feel the need to look presentable for or that I went blind at some point during high school. Of course, she probably didn't think twice about my outfit and most likely promptly forgot about the encounter after it happened. But that doesn't stop me from brushing my hair and wearing normal sneakers next time I leave the house.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

i do not want to see "superbad" more than once

I've noticed that people are really into giving movie DVDs as presents as of late. The DVD seems to have wedged itself somewhere between the gift certificate and that really cool inside joke present as a gift that shows you care but that isn't too expensive/elaborate.

Never get me a DVD as a present.

Either I've seen the movie before or I haven't. If I have, there is little chance I am going to want to see it again. One screening of "Pirates of the Caribbean" is plenty, thank you very much. I can probably count on one hand (god I hate that expression, but I just used it, so who knows if I really hate it?) the number of movies that I want to be able to see multiple times whenever I please. Unless you are sure you are buying me a rare I-would-marry-this-movie movie, don't risk it.

Or I haven't seen the movie you bought me. There is usually a reason for this. I skipped "300" and "Transformers" because I didn't want to see them, not because I wanted you to get them for me on DVD six months later.

Monday, December 24, 2007

hook 'em horns

Tonight, my family ate dinner at the Longhorn Steakhouse -- to celebrate Christmas Eve, obviously.

Two things of note:

1) Every once in a while, I see something and wonder why it took so long for someone to think of the idea (example: the ketchup bottles that have the cap on the bottom). In the bathroom at the Longhorn, I was confronted with a similar "this is such an obviously good idea I can't believe it" sort of thing: the front page of the newspaper hung above the urinal!

2) After we were finished eating our meals (two steaks, one order of chicken fingers, one honey mustard chicken sandwich, one salmon), our waitress (who could easily play the female lead in the next I'm-an-artsy-girl-who-is-totally-going-to-change-your-life indie dramedy) came over to clear our plates. "You guys were hungry," she said with a grin, as my family members exchanged quizzical glances. "Good work," she said, as if she was speaking to a group of kindergarteners who had just put together a challenging puzzle. "Uh, thanks...?" my brother replied.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

home sweet. . .

I know I haven't been living at home for a few years now, but it's strange to me how - no matter how long I've been away - it still feels right whenever I return. There's that uncomfortable five seconds in which your mind has to catch up to your body right after you walk in the door. But then, after that, you're home and it's your couch and it's your television and it's your weird closet filled with wrapping paper and winter coats and soon you forget that you even exist outside of the walls of your house.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

press "7"

It recently struck me that there are a great number of patterns I have fallen into that I get completely OCD about adhering to even though there is no rhyme or reason at all to the behavior.

For example, if someone (let's say Witty Wanda) leaves me a voice mail which rambles for a while before ending with the ole' "So, yeah. . . if you're not too busy or anything, give me a call back when you can," I always save the voice mail. Then I make a mental note that I need to call Witty Wanda back. Usually I'll wait for an opportune time (walking to the bookstore to return a notebook; clicking through a sorta-boring Facebook photo album; driving for a while on the highway) to make the return call. As soon as I finish my fun, catch-up convo with Witty Wanda, I immediately dial "1" and delete the voice mail she had left me.

Similarly (well, these things seem similar in my head, at least), I always keep my most recent ATM receipt in my wallet. Again, who knows why? Then, the next time I go to the ATM and get a receipt, I throw out the old one (always ripping it in half first) and replace it in my trusty wallet with the new one.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

yet another reason i hate snow

I have been walking around all day in constant fear of the massive pieces of ice that fall from rooftops onto the ground with absolutely no warning and with alarming speed.

How come more people don't get hit by ice? It makes no sense. It seems like every time I go outside (not too often nowadays) I see rock-hard ice careening toward the ground everywhere I look as groups of cheery kids frolic by with rosy cheeks and annoying smiles. "You idiot kids," I scowl to myself, "one of you is going to get cracked in the skull with an errant iceberg and then those cheeks won't be so rosy!"

I think I am officially an irritable 78-year-old trapped in the body of a 22-year-old.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I find writing e-mails back to people who forget to attach the attachment extremely uncomfortable. I never really know what to write in the body of the e-mail.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

"Uh, I think snow just fell into my pancakes. . .?"

diner in Stamford, CT 11:37 a.m.

The ceiling opened up right next to the booth we were eating brunch at this morning. (The diner employee told us to "evacuate" our table.) It was exciting.

Friday, December 14, 2007

working around "is"

As some of you may already be aware, a few days ago Facebook changed one of its most bizarre rules: statuses will no longer have to begin with the word "is."

I have never made myself a Facebook status before (the whole idea of it confused me -- was the idea to tell people what you were doing? to show off your wit? both at once?), but I have enjoyed watching other people make fools of themselves thanks to the "is" constraint.

A few of my favorite kinds of "is"-plagued statuses:

1) The "let's pretend the 'is' isn't here" status. Example: "Trevor is GO RED SOX!" or "Fiona is come to my dance show tonight it is going to be so hotttttt"

2) The oblivious status. Example: "Mickey is is in the library" or "Petunia is is in deep thought."

3) The awkward gerund status. Example: "Kathryn is wanting to go to Boston soooo badly" or "Petra is understanding why Victor will never love her"

4) The abstract status. Example: "Crystal is green!" or "George is The Great Gatsby."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

things i have found to be true

1) When you arrange for a repair man/computer technician/friend to come over to fix a problem, the problem will always resolve itself about twenty minutes before the person is supposed to arrive.

2) When you order hummus/guacamole/spinach-and-artichoke dip at a restaurant, there will always be chips left over after the dip is finished.

3) Despite what they may say, no one really cares how your test went.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

was i alive before i got my laptop?!

If there's one thing I just love, it's the following kind of exclamation:

- "How did people exist before cell phones?"
- "Seriously, Becky, how did people get anywhere before there was Google Maps?"
- "Did people, like, talk to each other before there was AIM?"

Honestly, questions of this kind are just great. I mean, I've often wondered. . . how did people laugh before YouTube was invented? How did people write without keyboards? Come to think of it: did people even make music before iTunes? If only there were people alive today who were around before the internet who could answer such nagging questions!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"you're from texas?! do you know. . . john?"

Everyone is familiar with the "Oh, so do you know. . .?" game. For most people, it is an automatic reaction when faced with the potentially scary prospect of making small talk with someone new. I've never really understood why every conversation between two people who haven't met before must begin in this way, but - alas - a single man cannot change ingrained social conventions.

Most of the time, the game goes in one of two ways. Both of them awkward and vaguely uncomfortable.


"So, where do you go to school again?"


"OK, OK. Do you know. . . wait, what's that kid's name? I think he was in the grade below me in high school. Nick maybe? Yeah, Nick. Last name starts with a "V" I think. . . "

"Nick? Um. I'm not sure - I don't think so."

"Oh, OK."


"So, you're from Nebraska? That's so crazy!"

"Yeah, pretty wild."

"So, this is probably stupid, but do you by any chance know this girl Natasha Hutchins? I went to chess camp with her like the summer after junior year. She's from this town in Nebraska."

"Oh. . . that name sounds really familiar actually. I feel like maybe she went to my rival high school. Yeah, definitely. I can totally like picture her face."

"Really? It is such a small world. Yeah - she was the sweetest girl."

"Yeah. She looked like she would be nice."

Monday, December 10, 2007

paper madness

Whenever I write a paper - without fail - any normal sensibilities I typically maintain in terms of hygiene or cleanliness are completely forgotten. I don't shower, don't shave, eat really gross food, sometimes don't even brush my teeth, etc. And, for some reason, I rationalize all of these uncouth behaviors by telling myself: "You have a paper. Don't worry about keeping yourself clean. You deserve this." (It is unclear what the "this" refers to.)

And it doesn't matter what kind of paper I am writing, my desk and room always get completely covered in clutter: books, papers, pens, clothes, stuffed animals -- you name it, it's on the floor.

And when I get back from handing the paper in the next morning (typically wearing a sweatshirt and a dazed expression), I always survey my body and my room with the utmost disgust.

But then I clean and clean and clean and it is probably the best feeling in the world.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

situations that you can't wait to get out of

1) a conversation with a close-talker in a crowded place

2) a phone call to a relative you haven't seen in a while to say 'thank you' for a gift

3) sections

4) a conversation with a friend's parent while you wait for the friend to return from wherever he is

5) a full meal with someone who really only merits a coffee's-worth of your time

Friday, December 7, 2007

playing it safe

I think it's amusing that many kinds of ethnic food so often get distilled down to just one dish that everyone eats. When someone asks, "Hey, wanna get Indian food tonight?," they might as well just ask, "Hey, wanna get chicken tikka masala tonight?" I can't remember the last time I was out at an Indian restaurant when someone ordered anything else (maybe this just says something about the people I eat with. . . who knows?)

Indian: chicken tikka masala
Thai: pad thai
Chinese: sesame/orange chicken
Japanese: sushi
Vietnamese: pho

Whenever I eat at, let's say, a Thai restaurant, I always want to try something different, break free from the societal conventions. "Ooooh, this noodle dish sounds really interesting," I'll say out loud (people nod, not really paying attention). But, then, in the end, the waitress comes and smiles and fills my water and I order pad thai because I just don't have it in me not to.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

somewhere rita skeeter is smiling

This poster is currently up outside of the Calhoun Dining Hall, with ample space on it for passersby to jot their responses:

"On October 19, 2007, J.K. Rowling announced that Dumbledore is gay. Do you agree?"

This question is just so ridiculous on so many levels. So they are asking if you think the author of the story -- the person who conceived Dumbledore and the entire world he lives in -- is right about a characteristic she made up of a character she made up?!?!

I felt like writing on the board: "No wayyyy, J.K. totally got it wrong, foolz. I saw D-dore mackin' it wit' my girl Britney at the Trumbull Screw last weekend. Lemme tell ya: he's straight as hell."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

too close for comfort

It's always uncomfortable trying to decide whether or not to sit immediately next to someone or to leave a seat in-between.

The other day when I walked into an early morning lecture, I saw a sort-of acquaintance sitting slouched over a coffee cup and rolled up YDN. She saw me and waved. I moved in to sit right next to her but then I momentarily panicked (these chairs were kind of close together. . . was it too intrusive to sit practically on top of her? would her breath smell like coffee? why was I even thinking about this?), did an awkward fake-out and sat one seat away from her. Suddenly, I felt like a fool. Was she going to be offended now? Would she think that she smelled bad or that I secretly thought she was a loser? Or would she actually be happy that she didn't feel obligated to make fake conversation (= fakersation) with me from one seat over? I considered getting up and moving next to her, but then decided that would be too much awkwardness for even me to bear. We ended up not talking once during or after the class.

On a related note, I once went to a movie with a friend who I considered to be a pretty good pal. We entered the movie theater which was about a quarter full and found an empty row. When we moved in to sit down though, he didn't sit right next to me. He sat one seat over, offering no explanation at all. I found this so strangely odd/offensive that I did not talk to this kid for a good few weeks afterwards.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

one is a genius, the other's insane

I spent a good ten minutes last night trying to figure out how to get the heater in my room to work. Eventually I gave up and went to sleep in seven layers of clothing.

This morning, I decided to revisit my quest to fill my room with glorious heat. Though I was still unsuccessful (let's just say getting things to work is not really a skill I possess), I did learn that my heater's name is Pinky. Suddenly it all made sense! Now I understand why he refuses to work: he misses the Brain!

Monday, December 3, 2007

trapped in a snow globe

So I am aware this post might not make me the coolest kid around town (hell, it might even earn me a few enemies), but this is a risk I am willing to take.

I am sick of people talking about how much they love snow.

Honestly, EVERY SINGLE WINTER everyone decides that all I want to hear about is how excited they are for it to snow. Why?! I am from Boston. I have dealt with snow since I was a mere infant. And still - I do not understand the collective fascination with the white stuff. Do people really like being frigid and wet, huddled in massive jackets and hats? Do people really like slipping on the icy pavement and falling on their asses generating black marks that last for days? Do people really like getting snow in their shoes, making their feet feel like Popsicles? Does snow serve some kind of purpose that I am missing other than making me never want to leave my room?

When I walk through the dining hall and hear people talk about the upcoming first snowfall as if it will be the Second Coming of Jesus, I want to ask if they also like blizzards which knock out the power in entire towns? Frostbite? Snowballs which land in eyes? Highway accidents due to icy roads?


Sunday, December 2, 2007

comforting things

1) when you turn on the TV at like 3:37 p.m. and that one episode of "Friends"/"Seinfeld"/"What I Like About You" that you've seen a thousand times but still really, really like is on

2) when a meal or a flight (or any other event for that matter) ends with the delivery of a small hot towel

3) when you get to the front of the line at Starbucks/Bruegger's/etc. and the person behind the counter has already started making your drink/sandwich/etc. because he has memorized your order by now

4) movies that end predictably