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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Begone, swine!

Is anybody else tired of hearing about the pig flu? For god's sake, 50 people in America have contracted it so far. 50. I've had college classes larger than that. Wintery flu season has more people with flu than that. And nobody in America has died from pig flu yet, and my bet is nobody will. About 150 people have died in Mexico, roughly 40 of those deaths confirmed as being pig flu. Why have they died and we haven't? No one is sure, but my guess is that Mexico is a poorer country with lower health standards than America.

So let's just talk about something else already.



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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Search This!

I used to keep a regular eye on my site meter traffic tracker, mainly to monitor the number of hits I've been getting and the avenues by which people come to my blog, but I haven't been keeping up with it recently. I checked in today and got a kick out of some of the searches that lead to blog hits:

(1) "What if a Mormon kisses someone and doesn't marry them?"

Well, of course they go straight to Outer Darkness! Ha! This search has got to come from an out-of-stater... let's see... yep, Vermont. It still baffles me that there are people out there who think Mormons still practice polygamy and have satanic horns, and stuff like that. I mean, Mormons are weird, don't get me wrong. They wear funny undergarments (I had to explain to E recently that "garment" is a word that means "article of clothing" and not "Mormon underwear", but around here, who knows the difference?), eat green Jell-O salads and funeral potatoes at every occasion that involves food, don't drink anything stronger than caffeine-free Diet Coke, and go to church for 3 hours each week instead of 1. Even Hinckley admitted they are a peculiar people. But to think that a Mormon kiss is the equivalent of a marriage proposal? Yeah, this enquirer has never met a Mormon in his life.

(2) "linguists against prescriptive grammar"

The Southern Oracle? You've come to the right place, my boy! Well, really I'd like to say that I'm a descriptive grammarian, but as you all know, I have my little grammatical pet peeves and am actually somewhat of a grammarnazi about certain prescriptive grammatical principles. Like, in my book, you have to say "could have gone," and never "could have went". (I'm looking at YOU, certain someone!) But if I were truly descriptive, I would allow either variety on the basis that both are used frequently.

(3) "how can reiterate be used in a sentence"

Are you with me yet that we should banish either iterate or reiterate from the English language? I'll go put my word banishing boots on and kick one of these bitches to the curb. But since I'm not yet sure which one to banish, for now, when in doubt use "repeat".

(4) "is Jodi Saeland pregnant again?"

(For you out-of-staters, this is one of our local weather people.) My answer: At least one of them always is.

(5) "orange armpit stains from deodorant"

Ah yes, the dreaded deodorant question. I actually have an update on the deodorant matter. Where we last left off, I had switched over to Tom's of Maine as my deodorant of choice during my search for the perfect deodorant. For the record, a perfect deodorant (a) does not stain clothes, (b) keeps you smelling fresh, (c) does not contain Alzheimer's-correlated aluminum. The standard deodorant choices for ladies are white sticks like Secret, but this option violates (a) and (c) [yes, even the "no-stain" white sticks do stain]. Some of the gel alternatives have a tendency to bleach brown shirts orange, though they don't otherwise cake up the fabric. Still, this staining is unacceptable.

I decided to go the natural route to get away from aluminum, and Tom's of Maine worked for me for a while without violating any of the criteria, although I was a tad bit spicy by the end of the day, and generally had to reapply to avoid being truly ripe by bedtime. But eventually, my stick of Tom's got some kind of fungal infection which left me smelling mildewy and wreaked a little havoc on my sensitive skin, thus violating (b) and necessitating my using some of my precious prescription-strength anti-fungal cream, which I prefer to save for special fungal infections. (Not that I really get a lot of fungus, but, I mean, come on, it's prescription strength!)

So after that I bought about a million different varieties of natural deodorant, and none of them came close to the quality of Tom's. Finally, I broke down and got Mitchum (thanks, Claire!), which only violates (c) and seems to be working great so far. I figure I can handle a little Alzheimer's in my wise years so long as I stay fresh and stain-free in my youth. I haven't worn one of my brown shirts yet, though... to be continued...

(6) "lucky charms meow mix"

I am relieved to know that at least one other person out there notices that the shapes of these food items are suspiciously similar.

(7) "don't you know what happens when you can't stop laughing movie"

"Stop that laughing! Don't you know what happens when you can't stop laughing? One of these days you're gonna die laughing." ~leader of the Weasels

Great line, but I prefer, "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way." ~Jessica Rabbit

The movie, of course, is Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and it's the first movie I remember seeing in a movie theater as a kid. I didn't get all the adult humor back then, though, so it takes on a whole new dimension in my adulthood. It's a classic movie.


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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sugar-Free Pickles



This weekend we ran into a friend at the grocery store, and so obviously a photo was in order. The thing that cracks me up the most about this picture is how lovingly Ian is cradling that jar of pickles, as if it were our child. Hilarious. You might also note that we were caught pickle-handed in the candy aisle. Sugar addicts? Guilty. But lately we've been filling our sweet teeth with the sugar-free candy alternatives. Several of the bags over Ian's shoulder are laced with sugar alcohol instead of regular sugar. They have fewer calories and don't cause your blood sugar to spike and crash, but the texture tends to be slightly off and the flavor is often not quite right. So far, the candies closest to the original seem to be York Peppermint Patties, Andes Mints, and Lifesavers Mints (maybe mint candies have less sugar to begin with and are thus less changed?). The Dove chocolates also aren't bad, particularly the raspberry ones. If you eat enough of them, you begin to think the drier, waxier texture is normal. Twizzlers start out right, but end up leaving a funny aftertaste. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are regrettably pasty and not recommended.




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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wuv, trwu wuv, shauw bind you, forwever

When I first started telling people that I was planning to move out of state to go to law school, I got a lot of this: "Oh, that's great! Is Ian going with you?" Which looks innocent enough, but it always left me blinking stupidly, like I've just been asked whether the sun was going to continue to rise and set each day. But of course he's coming with me! I would think, whilst mentally slapping my palm into my forehead. To me this is just a no-brainer, and I couldn't understand where the question was coming from.

It finally occurred to me that if we were married, I would never be asked whether Ian was coming with me or not. It would just be assumed, even though plenty of married people also live apart for some stretch of time, particularly when one is going to school or, for instance, working in military service.

I really shouldn't be bothered by this, but, yes, it bothers me. The implication is that our relationship is not as committed as a marriage. I've been with Ian for longer than many of my friends have been married. Some have been married twice in the same amount of time we have been together. And yet their marriages are considered more committed than my relationship.

Ian has been witnessing this misconception as well. After having told his manager about our plans to move, a lot of people from work are giving him flack, saying he is making the biggest mistake in leaving his job. After all, he wouldn't pick up and move "just for a GIRLFRIEND!", they say. See, this is where the English language is failing us. I am not just a girlfriend, and he is not just a boyfriend. It feels wrong to call each other that. But there is nothing else we can say, since we aren't married. At least, there is nothing we can say that imparts to other people that our relationship is just as sacrosanct as their marriage. (If not more so, but who am I to judge?)

Am I being overly sensitive about this? If I sit and stare at the wall and try to imagine myself as someone else -- someone who longs to wear white dresses and diamond rings and call someone "husband" -- I can almost understand why people might confuse marital status with level of commitment. Almost. But it still offends me.

What would be the right thing for people to say? Maybe, "Oh that's great! What's Ian going to do while you're in school?" This alternative doesn't assume whether he is coming with me or not. But can I really blame people for lacking this social sensitivity? I don't know. I just feel... annoyed.



I should say that, on the whole, people have been very congratulatory and happy for us, and I'm grateful for that. Why am I letting the dissenters get to me so much?

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

It needs to be said

Dear Mr. So-and-so,

You are inflammatory, inciteful (as opposed to insightful, which I am
convinced you are not), argumentative, and apparently always right.
You know best. You are an expert on everything. You love arguing and
teasing for the sake of getting a rise out of people. It is all very
juvenile, I want you to know, and at your age and apparent wisdom, you
really ought to know better.

You have a skewed world view. You live in a secluded and dying little
town. You are connected to the outside world by means of television,
Fox News in particular. (I can see where you get your arguing style
from. Yell people down, cater to emotion instead of reason, when all
else fails, stoop to petty insults and personal attacks. Bravo.) You
think the world today functions the same way it did when you were our
age.

Obviously your political and social ideals differ starkly from ours.
But why does this mean we have to put these differences between us?
Can't we behave civilly and respectfully toward one another for the
sake of keeping the peace? Is it not more important for family to
harbor good relationships instead of pouncing on the reasons we
wouldn't associate if not for family ties? Is it not more important to
accept those you are supposed to love for how they are instead of
trying to change them to how you think they should be? We do not have
the luxury of choosing our families like our friendships. We have to
make do with what we have.

But even in friendship there is room for differences. For instance, I
am atheist. Many of my friends are believers. We accept this about one
another and do not try to change each other. We treat each other with
respect. The easiest way to do this is to not broach the subject of
religion, or to do so only respectfully if it does come up.

You know politics is supposed to be off limits between us. But even if
it did come up naturally (which, let's face it, it never does, you
just like bringing it up), why could we not engage in that discourse
like civil adults and not temper-tantrum-throwing two-year-olds?
Seriously.

You have alienated your son. He thinks you care more about being right
than you care about him. From what you have exhibited I can see why he
feels that way. You tell us to get our heads out of our asses and use
our brains. I advise you to do the same. Think about what you are
doing. Think about the type of relationship you want to have with your
family. Think.


Dear Ms. So-and-so,

You are passive-aggressive, subtlely manipulative through guilt-
tripping, and unable to think for yourself aside from plotting to get
what you want. Nothing we do is ever good enough for you. You want us
to get married, have children, not move to Portland, apportion more
time to you than to my side of the family.

We are not getting married. We do not think our relationship is the
business of the government. We do not think rings on our fingers makes
us any more committed than our love and respect for one another does.
We do not take each other for granted. I do not want to wear a stupid
wedding gown and throw an expensive party for people we barely know.

We are not having children. At least that is not what we plan at this
point in time. We both kind of think babies are evil little trolls. We
are the center of our lives for the foreseeable future, and that is
not how you can be when you have a child. I am about to start a career
that would benefit from undivided focus that would not be conducive to
raising a family.

We are moving to Portland. I am not taking your son from you. He is
coming of his own free will. He is not leaving behind a career that he
could retire from. We want to follow our dreams, and our youth is the
best time to seize the reins and go. Portland will suit us much better
than Utah. We are not happy here, even though there are things about
Utah we will always love.

I need to go back to school. I am a thinker. I need intellectual
stimulation. The law is a field that will continue to challenge me for
the rest of my life. It doesn't take a thinker to do the types of jobs
I can do now. I am bored. Guess what? Your son is too. This move is
good for us. Be happy for us, please.

My family is split. Holidays are a logistical pain in the ass. We are
pulled not only in your direction, but in the directions of my mother
and my father. That makes three directions. So you get one third the
time. That is fair. Besides, let's face it, there is not much more we
can do with each other in more than a day's visit. We don't really
know each other personally, and I'm not sure we could. We have little
to say to one another, and little to do other than watch tv and think
about what we should eat for our next meal. It only takes a day to do
all that.

I'm sorry that we are not good enough to make you happy or proud. But
you cannot guilt us into not moving forward with our lives. This is
happening. Accept it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Travel Travails

I managed to quite luckily make it home to Salt Lake last night around 8:30PM, roughly 4.5 hours later than my scheduled arrival, and 11 hours after I got through security at the Sacramento airport. I'm pretty sure I got the last seat to Salt Lake from the west coast for the next day or two, in fact.

You see, the plane that was scheduled to pick me up at 1:PM in Sacramento yesterday was too small to carry all the ticketed passengers. This is because the plane that was supposed to take us had mechanical failures, so the geniuses at Delta sent a smaller plane to take the previous flight. This new plane was about 6-8 rows shorter than the plane we were supposed to have, and wouldn't you know it, I had a seat in one of those missing rows. Scheisse.

Instead of doing the fair thing and reassigning everyone's seat on a first-come-first-served basis (which would have included me, since I was 3 hours early for my flight because I was so anxious to get out of Sac-town), Delta decided to have everyone keep their seat numbers, so the dozen or so of us in the back of the plane had to either be rerouted to our final destinations or wait for some volunteers to come forward for a $400 voucher so we could have their seats. I think maybe 1 person volunteered, and I was not the lucky benefactee of this seat.

I was completely furious and frustrated, and had a difficult time holding in my emotion when I learned I wasn't getting on that plane. If this had happened in Portland, I would have shrugged my shoulders and stayed an extra night, but I was so bored with Davis/Sacramento that I just did not want to stay another day. Not to knock the city, but it just has such a contrary vibe to my own personal vibe that after 2.5 days the place had really gotten under my skin and I wanted out.

I stood with about 6 other people working with two flight agents trying to fix us all up. The problem is that SLC is a main Delta hub in the west, so flights all over the country have connections in my town. So even people who were not trying to get to Salt Lake as a final destination had little option other than to get a flight through there.

When it was my turn with the agent, he tried to sell me on a flight the following morning, but I had been listening in on the previous patrons, who were discussing the option of taking a super shuttle to the San Francisco airport to catch the last flight to Salt Lake there. I wanted to do that, and I told the agent as much. He was able to book me the last remaining seat on that flight, and I got a $400 voucher to boot. (Since I was not actually a volunteer, and $400 was the volunteer price, I think I deserved something more like $500 and a First Class seat, but by this point I was just so desperate to get home that I wasn't willing to argue.)

They sent our party of 6 down to the super shuttle counter in the airport lobby, but they neglected to send us with the correct boarding voucher for the van. The old curmudgeon at the counter was adamant that we could not take a van without the right boarding pass, and he claimed he had no way of calling back to the Delta counter for us. Are you serious? You guys all work in the same airport. Let's get a little integrated with one another, shall we? So one of us ran over to the lower Delta counter and one of the agents who had been helping us above happened to be there. He came right over and straightened everything out.

By this point it was about 2:PM, and my new flight in San Francisco left at 5:30. We estimated it would take about 2 hours to get there in good traffic, so if no problems happened, we should make it with about 30 minutes to get through security before boarding began.

It was a tense van ride for me. I had a book I could have read or some episodes of Gossip Girl I could have watched on my iPod, but I was so nervous about missing this next flight that I could do nothing but sway nervously in my seat while watching the barren scenery as we made our way to the Bay Area. We ran into a bit of traffic once we crossed the bridge over the Bay, but we still managed to make it in just over 2 hours. Relief! I tipped the van driver with a hearty thanks and booked it into the airport. Security was practically empty at the time, and so I breezed into my terminal without incident.

Not long after I arrived at my gate and procured a sandwich, several people started to come up to the gate counter trying to get a seat on my flight. Apparently some other flight to Salt Lake was cancelled at SF, and now there were about 65 passengers who desperately wanted the seats on my little puddle jumper. I wondered why, with such a demand, they wouldn't just pull a larger plane out of a hanger and fix everyone up. To me, that would be more cost effective than giving all these people vouchers and hotel rooms for the next day. But, hey, that's just cause I'm a practical person.

Still, with all those desperate passengers hovering, I became worried that somehow I might be booted off this next plane. So I sat very anxiously, wishing for a drink, or one of the couple Xanax tablets I had burried deep in my bag, but instead I just rocked and tried to breath. I don't think I fully exhaled until I was on that plane.

By the time I got into Salt Lake, I could have either flown to Europe or kept my rental car and driven home. God, I hate flying. I hate it now more than ever.


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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Rehash

When I was a kid, my brother and I had a nanny of sorts that I will
call "Schweiz" for non-obvious reasons. Schweiz was a high schooler,
while brother Broy and I were elementary, my dear readers. Anyway,
Schweiz had a fascination for cars exhibiting the pounding beats of
monstrous bass. I happen to think such cars are annoying as hell these
days. But the point is, whenever such a boombastic car drove past
Schweiz and us while we were having a walk-a-bout, Schweiz would
invariably call out, "I like ya bass!" where, of course, "ya" stands
for a possessive pronoun, and the rest stands for an appreciation of
good bass.

Today, I found myself having the same instinct to express my verbal
appreciation for biking spandex. Remember how I mentioned yesterday
that there is a severe paucity of cyclists in Davis sporting the
incredibly sexy, empowering, and practical biking spandex? Well I saw
one today. A lone specimen in a sea of t-shirt and jeans-clad
commuters. So excited was I that I nearly called out, "I like ya
spandex, (beotch!)" where, of course, "beotch" would have been an
optional added emphasis of my sweet lust for the biking spandex. But I
figured with so few spandexters around, he might mistake me for
mocking and thus take offense. And I wouldn't want to risk ruining a
man's perfectly healthy relationship with skin-tight sporting apparel.

So I bit my tongue. With much effort. Sigh...

I did the Davis open house today, despite knowing that I'm not coming
here. Davis students and faculty are all incredibly nice in that very
high energetic, pro-active way. That is not my preferred flavor of
nice. It's great if that's your vibe, and I can tell this is a great
law school. But just as in Salt Lake, I would feel like an outsider
here, only in a different way. I am grateful I have experienced this
for myself so there will be no regrets.

Also, almost every prospective student I talked to today is from
California and would want to move to SoCal or Bay Area afterwards.
Talk about inbred! Well, i mean, it's just that in Portland almost
everyone I met was from out of state and about 60 percent of L&C
graduates opt to stay in Portland. That appeals to me, whereas club
California Forever does not.

Once I am home tomorrow I am putting down my full deposit for
Portland. Then it will really be official, and I shall have to
celebrate with Grand Marnier cocktails!

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Sacramento itself is a mad and
confusing little zoo. I got lost twice when there was no good reason
to do so. You see, the freeways are full of those lanes that turn into
different freeways if you aren't paying close attention, and I fell
victim to that twice. And whereas in Salt Lake if you take the wrong
exit you can easily get back on the freeway again, not so here. I
managed to somehow stumble upon a highway that led to my needed
freeway after driving around aimlessly like a lost little clam. No
more of this, please! Can I come home now?

Another thing to mention: my new friend from the Portland trip has
also decided to go to Portland! I will have a friend when I start law
school! I am immensely excited for that. Portland, here we come!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sacramento/Davis

It's official: we are going to Portland for law school!

I knew the instant I set foot outside the Sacramento airport. Sac and
Davis are just so... California... Which is just so not me. So flat,
and overly sunny, and beach-dude-like, and chain-restaurant-and-
traffic-filled. Yeah, even Davis has lots of thick traffic, and it's
smaller than Salt Lake! Lots of bikes around, though, but
unfortunately the cyclists are not the spandex-sporting sort of
cyclists which, I admit, I have a strange fascination and admiration
for. I strive one day to sport a spandex cycling suit of my own...
Just as soon as this body becomes skintight-presentable.

But I digress. I should mention that thanks to salt lake's little
winter2.0 blizzard today, my flight was quite late and I missed the
law preview day. That was a little disappointing but I did get a
chance to walk about campus and see the infamous UC Davis arboretum.
To be quite honest, it was kind of like seeing animals in a zoo; kind
of cool, but too many plaques and lights and fences taking away from
the sense of wilderness. As for the campus, it seemed a little sterile
and stuffy and highly trafficked.

Not for me.

But I will go to the reception tomorrow so I still qualify for the
$150 travel stipend. Why throw good money away?

In the meantime I'm going to try to figure out how to extricate an SD
card from a galvanized plastic container without any scissors and then
I need to rustle up some grub.

Ciao for now.