Fixation Friday Is No More


You might have noticed that I did not post a Fixation Friday last week. I've decided to do away with it because I found myself not writing about things during the week so that I could fill up an FF post. I realized I would post more often and more in-depth if I didn't have to save these topics for a cursory paragraph in an end-of-the-week post. So you can expect more and longer posts throughout the week. I hope you're as excited about it as I am!



'Tron Tuesday 5/25/10

Hi! 'Tron Tuesday! Go!

1. What's even greener than Craigslist and Freecycle? Possibly Rentalic, where you can rent person-to-person. I'm going to see if anyone wants to rent my DVD collection (one copy each of Anchorman and The Protector) and charge by the hour.

2. I learned just yesterday what "icing" is. To sum up: It's a new drinking game in which you basically trick your "bros" into getting down on one knee and chugging a Smirnoff Ice. Ideally you want to ice your bro at the least appropriate time (think at work or a wedding) and in the most disgusting way possible (think a grape-flavored Ice left in a black car in the sun all day). A good question has been raised: Is icing only for bros? Can the ladies ice and be iced as well? At first, I was like, "THIS IS SO DUMB," but after thinking about it for a while, I want to play.

3. I already knew most of this info on veganism in this article in the SF Chronicle, but y'all might learn something or at least get a few recipes (near the bottom). It does, however, include a lot of restaurants I didn't know about... Anyone want to take me out for dinner?

4. The Middle Finger Project has this great article about "the lost art of quitting." From the article:
Quitting has become the equivalent of committing a sin.  It has turned into a moral issue of sorts; we stick with something, oftentimes for the principle of it, rather than the value of it.  And while that may score us brownie points from the integrity fairy, the truth is that it isn’t going to do much in terms of advancement.
Were you always taught never to quit? That it wouldn't look so good if those perseverance gods saw you failing to finish something? Whether that something was a painting that you messed up so badly you didn't even want to fix it anymore or your high school diploma, you're supposed to follow through, to stick with something to the end. In fact, such dedication is rewarded; think of football players who "tough it out" with an injury until the end of the game. How does that make sense with our natural human instinct of self-preservation?

It's not just a no-holds-barred, pro-quitting post. Most important, Ashley says, is our freedom to quit things that don't matter. If something does matter to you (your high school diploma, your piano lessons), then keeping your integrity and persevering will help you to come out stronger on the other side of a rough patch. You'll realize how much it mattered, and you'll be even happier you didn't quit something important than if you just stuck with it because "that's what you do."

5. Feeling down but don't think an ordinary affirmation will cut it? Sign up for Daily Drag Queen Affirmations for a liberal dose of fabulous every morning. Luckily, you can try before you buy, and you can find old ones on YouTube:

So... anyone want to take me out? I promise not to ice you... or do I?



The First Award I've Won since High School

When I was in high school, I was a total awards slut: "I know you thought I loved you, National Merit Scholarship, but sorry, I sort of just fell into bed with the Latin Club presidency last night and got Eiffel Towered by the University of Indianapolis Contest's Poetry and Creative Nonfiction categories, plus Indiana University's High School Journalism Institute has been sending me racy text messages."

But after graduation, I kind of stopped being the best overachiever ever to walk the grassy plains of the tri-state region, much less the world. So I didn't really win many awards and haven't again... until Friday.

This is big news, guys, which is why I canceled Fixation Friday today in lieu of a post about my recent honor. A huge thank you to Alone... with Cats for deeming me worthy of the Versatile Blogger Award as well as anyone who ever reads my blog. I started it as a way to update my family and friends back in the Midwest on my personal life, but then I realized it was unsustainable and it was way more entertaining to blog about popsicles, food poisoning, science, and fashion dilemmas. It ain't much, but I like writing it, and I like when you read it, so thanks! You're awesome.

This award apparently has no official certificate, website, ceremony, or even really qualifications (because if it did, I sure wouldn't have received it), but I understand it works in this manner:
  • Thank the person who gave you this award.
  • Share seven things about yourself.
  • Pass the award along to 15 bloggers whom you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!
Done and done on the gratitude. Now, seven things about myself... I don't know if I can come up with an overarching theme on this except for "embarrassing stories." Since my brain lives at 3825 Memory Lane, Apt. WTF, enjoy this brief trip to its home, and perhaps gain an understanding of why I am so bizarre:

1. One time in sixth grade at a Steak & Shake after a swim meet, I decided to impress this guy I had a crush on from fourth grade through high school by eating one of those shriveled jalapeno peppers in the jar of "hot sauce" (more like spicy water, amirite?). I downed five glasses of water and nearly cried. I don't think he was impressed.

2. When I was in middle school, I made it my life's work to learn all of the lyrics to every rap song on the radio so that I could sing along at the North Deanery dances and look cool (I didn't look cool).

3. It was Cinco de Mayo in my college town, and it was precisely two months after I had turned 21. I went with a group to the Coliseum, where a friend was bartending. We ordered margarita after margarita and who knows what else?

Further evidence that the Earth is out to get me.

I finished the night by being unable to lift my head from where it had fallen on the wire table, crying for probably an hour over how I felt like nobody liked me, trying to order more beer, and doing a faceplant into a bush. That bush apparently was flowering at the time because the next morning, I blew my nose, and a flower came out into the tissue.

4. I ran away from home three times growing up. Every time, I wouldn't get more than a few blocks before my dad would roll up in the police cruiser and yell at me to get in the car. This would be followed by lectures from my parents on how to stop being an ungrateful little b*tch (not their words). Then I would hide in my room and cry at how unfair life was and write terrible child poetry in which I'd rhyme "dad" with "mad" and "sad." It's hilarious now, but at the time it seemed so very tragic.

5. Up until probably seventh grade, I played the most ridiculous games with my friends at recess. A lot of them involved one or more of us playing the parts of babies.
a) Castle Four Square: There were usually about eight of us. Half of us would hang in the 1 and 2 squares and be in the palace: the king, queen, prince, and (of course) a baby princess. The 3 and 4 squares would be the peasantry. The goal of the game was not actually to play four square -- that was more of an incidental occurrence. The objective was to advance into the palace by tricking the baby princess to come to the plebeian side. Why the princess would oblige is still a mystery; we all knew what was up.
b) Pirate Babies: When my friends and I were the first group of kids to get on the playground, we pretended it was a pirate ship... operated by babies. We all performed various imaginary pirate ship functions, but we never went ashore or attacked other ships (babies suck at a lot of things, most notably pirate ship operation). A friend and I, however, did the weather channel: One of the slides was slick enough that we could hold onto the overhead beam above where you'd sit to go down the slide and walk on it like a treadmill, so that's obviously where we gave our extremely accurate weather report.
c) Coated Crusaders: We were a pack of superheros with ridiculous names (One friend was Donut while I had to be Peanut Butter -- UNJUST) and powers that were directly tied to the patterns on our jackets. When anyone got a new jacket, she lost her old abilities but gained new ones. I had a purple jacket with stripes on the inside, so my power was making a big jail around stuff. I think I got the raw end of this game.

6. I was kind of a big deal in spelling bees growing up. I made it to something major, like regionals, and lost on "succulent." Insignificant, you say? My fragile ego was shattered, I tell you.

7. My little brother had just been born, and a whole bunch of family members came over. I was the oldest, and only for a while, so I was used to being the center of attention. But there was a new baby (and a perfectly adorable one at that), and my dramatic five-year-old brain was envious. I concocted a harebrained plot to make people love me again: I immediately "contracted" a mysterious "illness" that left me unable to use my legs. This wasn't enough to attract the notice of the adults in the house, so I had no choice but to use my arms to pull myself around on the floor when I needed to get anywhere.

More effective than polio vaccinations.

Little did I know that the grown-ups were on to my little game the whole time and brought me some Baskin Robbins. Suddenly, I could walk! I was cured! Ice cream saved my life!


Now I'm supposed to name 15 (recently discovered?) bloggers who also deserve this award. Does anyone else feel like that's pushing it, like that's maybe too big of an arbitrary number? I'll try:

Agent Lover
Emily Nagoski: Sex Nerd

Crap, that's only 14. I guess it'll have to do. Feel free to print out, sign, and frame the certificate below:



'Tron Tuesday 5/18/10

This post comes after a rough weekend full of not enough sleep and too much booze at Bay to Breakers. I walked four miles in a masquerade mask and am still recovering. So this doesn't exactly have much of an Intertron-roundup feel to it and more of a look-what-I-saw-and-did-this-weekend feel:
Bay to Breakers is officially a footrace across the city, unofficially an excuse for anyone willing to wake up at 7:30 to put on a stupid costume, get drunk, and walk as far as possible along the race route before passing out. It's one of the quintessential San Francisco things I've wanted to go to since I've been here and never been able to before. It's definitely something I would recommend going to once, but I don't feel like I need to go again. A big group of us started at Hayes and Van Ness and continued to Hippie Hill, where we met up with a couple others. We ate burritos, landed in Buena Vista Park for a while, headed to a party where we didn't really know anyone, and then went to PS's house, where a wicked dance party ensued. There are photos, but they aren't so flattering to anyone, really.

Anyway, here's a funny video from over the weekend:



Fixation Friday 5/14/10

So! I had a pretty rough week, including missing work, arguments, cutting fingertips off AGAIN, dreaming of Swiss cheese, and having almost no food in the house. But I'm rallying some gratitude for this list of items that are making me happy this week:

1. Bridget, my family's dog. She was coming to her end, so they had her put down on Monday. I'm sad I couldn't see her in her last days. She was a very sweet basset hound, and she lived something like 14 or 15 years. More on her next week. As my aunt said, "R.I.P. ZIZZY!"

2. Paychecks. I am very, very, very grateful for paychecks this week. With paychecks, you can buy food! Pay bills! Do something fun with your friends!

3. Working out in the morning. I finally bit the bullet and did it, and you know what? It wasn't as bad as I had been building it up to be. It definitely wakes you up, and there's nothing to dread or back out of at the end of the day. Now if I can just learn to function on less sleep, we'll be set.

4. Columbo. I'm not sure whether I mentioned this before, but I have fond memories of watching this with my father when I was small, before my brother was born. My dad worked nights and took care of me during the day while my mom was at work. We spent a lot of time watching television, from Sesame Street and cooking shows on PBS to Columbo and Banacek. So I got the first two episodes (they're actually made-for-TV movies, which I did not know) on DVD from the library, and I was a little afraid that it was one of those things that is way more awesome in your memory. Luckily, it was still awesome. I appreciated it now more for its humor and Lieutenant Columbo's cigar tic, glass eye, constant fumbling for a pen, and simpleton act than for its mystery and good-guys-winning elements.

5. THIS SONG! Thanks to WJE for turning me on to CSS:

So that's it. Happy Friday! Have a nice weekend.



DEAR INTERTRON: An open letter to ladies who pee

Dear fellow females and, really, anyone else who uses the women's restroom:


Seriously, consider all the pride that many of us put in our superiority, especially in the realm of tidiness. Think of how we stereotypically nag at our housemates, our partners, our families to do the dishes, take out the trash, vacuum the shag carpeting. Then recall the state of the last women's restroom you used. Not the one in your own home, mind you, but the ones we share, the ones in which we put our heads together, so to speak, to make it sparkle.

Every time I walk into a public women's restroom or a toilet at the airport, at work, or in a restaurant, I feel nauseated for any combination of the following reasons, all things that directly result from sloppy use of the facilities:
  • The handles of every door are damp.
  • There are paper products all over the floor.
  • The floor is covered with unidentifiable liquid.
  • The toilets are each filled with enough toilet paper to wipe the asses of every obese person in the U.S.
  • The toilets have not been flushed since the Reagan administration.
  • The toilet seats are soaked in mystery liquid.
  • Sometimes a futile paper toilet seat cover is plastered to the seat by said liquid.
  • The trash cans are overflowing with used tampons and pads, not even shielded from my view or olfactory sensibilities by the courtesy covering of toilet paper.
  • The sinks are a cesspool of hair, paper products, and still more unknown liquid and materials.
  • The paper towel dispenser or hand dryer is inevitably coated in a sticky goo of soap and melted dreams.
  • The walls are covered in blood, liquid of indeterminate origin, and fecal matter.
Okay, that last one was a stretch, but you get the idea. I bet, no matter what sex you are, you were grossed out just reading this list. It has got to stop. So I propose that anyone who uses any kind of public-ish bathroom follow these common rules of courtesy:
  • Clean up as much mess as you can stomach the instant you enter the stall.
  • If you get piss on the seat (it happens to all of us), wipe it off, and flush it down with the rest of it.
  • Speaking of flushing, hang around for the extra five seconds to make sure your excrement goes down. If at first you don't succeed, try again. If you still can't get it to work, blame the broken toilet, but tell someone whose job it is to fix these things. Don't just dash out of there like a bat out of hell and pretend it wasn't you.
  • If you are entertaining a monthly visitor, do what your mother told you to do with a tampon, pad, or whatever else and all its accoutrements: Remove it, wrap it in toilet paper, and put it firmly in the trash can. If there is no room, wrap it in extra toilet paper, stick it in your purse or pocket, and wait till you have access to a trash can with room in it. Trust me, it's more sanitary than throwing it on the floor.
  • Don't use a public restroom to blow-dry your hair or put your makeup on (unless you really have nowhere else to go). Just wash your hands at the sink and let other women in to do their business.
  • Use soap.
  • Dry your hands all the way. I learned in biology class once that wet surfaces are where the most germs flock.
  • If your trash won't fit in the trash can, take it out with you, and let the person taking care of the bathroom know.
As women, some might say we have an extra-special bond with Mother Nature. Let's take a similar tack with our restroom: Leave it cleaner than when you found it.

If I missed anything or am way out of line, please let me know in the comments. Thank you, and I look forward to a less unpleasant ladies' room experience next time.



'Tron Tuesday 5/11/10

You've been waiting an entire week for me to tell you what to look at on the Intertron. I have to say I think this is a pretty good one. Here you go:

1. I'm on the Intertron somewhere besides here! Thank you to the incomparable Sarah Von and her Moments of Win Flickr group.

2. This person shares my name, lives in SF, and has a business I could only dream of. SO JEL. But we could still be friends, maybe?

3. Have you ever wanted to express your unhappiness with a thief of some sort -- your ex, your parents, the jerk who took your yogurt from the office refrigerator -- but couldn't contain your rage to one passive-aggressive note? Chelsea I Want My Flannel Back is a place for you to send your letters and commiserate with others who had their dignity, their proms, their items of clothing stolen. As for me: DJ, I want my $400, the air conditioner, and all those tanks of gas back; EM, I want my love of beards back; KF, I want my grade school friends back.

4. You guys know I'm an ad lover. American Apparel, famous for such sleazy happenings as this and ads as this, proclaims that their too-sexy (in the opinion of some) advertising merely shows ordinary individuals doing ordinary things. But it's being targeted by a photographer and her friend with Freeman-Sheldon syndrome, challenging the harm that advertising can foist on the viewers, especially people who do not fit a certain aesthetic: "'American Able' intends to, through spoof, reveal the ways in which women with disabilities are invisibilized in advertising and mass media."

AdRants thinks it's a great idea but dismisses its ability to change the standard media-wide use of beautiful people:

"Yes, we will pay lip service to the objectification of women, the dumbing down of dads and the plight of minorities. But we will not give up our desire to stare at beautiful people instead of regular people, fantasize about a life more glamorous than our own and believe the products we buy will make us as hot as the people pimping them."

And I agree. Without this fundamental idea, advertising would lose its effect. What do you think?

5. From SNL this past weekend, the funniest sketch: "Many bakers from my era have dry or even yeasty muffins." "A yeasty muffin can really ruin your whole day."

Where are you going in your confangled machine box this week?



Fixation Friday 5/7/10

Hello. I did not sleep enough last night. I look like crap and feel even worse. But luckily, it's Friday! I've had a lot of music put on me this week, so this edition of Fixation Friday has a strong musical bent. Enjoy.

1. Heartless Bastards:

I saw them at the Independent on Tuesday. It was a really great show. The lead singer presents quite a conundrum for me; it is hard to imagine how such a small, pretty girl produces that rich, deep contralto.

2. Another band I'm obsessed with: Hacienda. They opened for HB (see #1), and I caught the tail end of their set, and they were AWESOME, not to mention super-cute:

3. Yet another band I'm crushin' on: Eluvium. I saw him (and now he has other people playing with him, too) at Cafe Du Nord on Sunday. It's the most blissed-out, beautiful, ambient, quiet, droney music ever, and now he's added vocals to it. I'm wondering what took him so long to sing; he has a lovely voice, and it meshes perfectly with his sound. His new album, Similes, is all I want to listen to lately.

4. Making deeper connections with people you've known for a while. I love when this happens. It's a surprise friend.

5. Popsicles. The weather has been nice, and I've been wanting popsicles. No ordinary popsicle will do; I want the kind with tiny bits of fruit in it. I even went on a popsicle run yesterday but for some inexplicable reason went with frozen chocolate-covered bananas instead. Now I want popsicles even more than before.

I have used the word "popsicle" so many times in this entry. It's fun to type (and say): popsicle popsicle popsicle.

That's it, lovelies. TGIF. What are you liking hard this week?


Romance Tips, Vol. I

Some things just shouldn't be done when you're trying to get in good with anyone, but especially not when you're trying to make a romantic connection. I'll try to compile these every so often as I encounter or come up with them.

1. Don't wax poetic to the object of your interest about somebody else, especially of the same sex:

- OKAY: "I have this friend who complains a lot despite a life of privilege, and it's kind of annoying."
- NOT OKAY: "This dude has lived in 37 countries, and he is sooooo hot, rich, a genius, got nominated for a Nobel but turned it down because he thought he didn't deserve it, and -- what was my point again? oh, right -- he's really lucky, so I don't get why he's not happy." This sounds like you'd much rather be talking to him instead.

2. Don't insult your friend and then expect him or her to do something for you:

- RIGHT: "You have lovely fingernails." Later: "May I hold your hand?"
- WRONG: "Americans are terrible kissers." Later: "Kiss me."

3. Ask genuine questions of your date:

- QUESTIONS: "If you were a vegetable, which one would you be?" or "What's the best joke you know?" or "Why does your cat bite me every time I come over?"
- NOT A QUESTION: "Tell me something."

4. Make eye contact, but don't be a creeper:

- GOOD: Looking into your amor's eyes about 75 percent of the time while you are conversing, and look elsewhere (the table, your gesturing hands, passing glances at folks around you, the road) the remaining 25 percent. Don't forget to blink.
- NOT AS GOOD: Trying to make eye contact when the other person is avoiding it, looking down the whole time, or gawking at his or her mouth, chest, or unibrow.

5. Break a mold: If you are a lady, hold the door open for your gent; if you are a dude, laugh at your chick's dumb joke. Such things are welcome surprises and set you apart from everyone settling into a stereotype.

Good luck hunting!


'Tron Tuesday 5/4/10

Hi, and welcome to an edition of 'Tron Tuesday that has no overarching theme outside of FUN ON THE INTERTRON! Check out these hott linxxx:

1. You thought you knew who the boss was, but did you really? The Daily Danza serves up more of "his usual mix of music, comedy, and dance" than you can probably handle.

2. Trying to decide between eating last night's leftovers and ordering delivery from that questionable all-purpose Asian restaurant down the street? Wonder no more; find out what to have for dinner. N.B. Totally veg-friendly!

3. You're not the only one stalking LOLcats. There are enough Things Following Angry Cats to fill a website.

4. Men on Reddit have said some things about these photos of Louis Vuitton models without makeup:

What do you think? I'm guilty of at least thinking similar things: She needs an IV drip, or how did an ugly duckling like that get this modeling gig? Why do we feel like it's our job to place value or lack thereof on another person just because his or her picture shows up in the media? My theory: It's in our nature to judge others on what they do. We judge other celebrities for their vocal, instrumental, or lyrical talents if they make music or for their acting abilities if they're in movies. We judge chefs on the food they make and writers on the entertainment or significance of their content and their linguistic stylings. I'm not saying it's the nice or right thing to do, but does it seem to you that judging a model by looks is really that unthinkable? In the end, it doesn't matter how many coke jokes we'd crack about these models; they're laughing all the way to the bank.

5. Right up my alley is Serenading Unicorn. Well played, Wrigley. PROTIP: The Culture Club song is the best.

BONUS: Happy Star Wars Day!

So that's that! Enjoy, and be sure to thank the Intertron for all it has done for you lately.