Saturday, December 31, 2005

Crustacean Christmas

Shrimp and fish were fried and devoured at the family Christmas gathering. Thursday night my sister and I split a bucket of boiled crawfish for dinner. Delicious. Food sources that have continued to evolve over the last few million years are overrated.

Last night my parents and sister and I went to Galveston to see Santaland Diaries, a one-man show based on David Sedaris' essay. Only my mom could confuse this event with seeing Santana when relaying the plans to me by phone.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Jingle jingle.

The two buses and one jet thing was a slightly bigger pain in the ass than I expected, probably because the first bus was crowded with every person over the age of 67 in the greater 3-1-0 area and I took advantage of Southwest's three pieces of checked luggage policy.

I like flying Southwest because it's easy to get free flights. I had two last year. I have one this year that I haven't used. One problem with flying Southwest? Its gates are in the least glamorous wing of LAX. No delicious food options. No good shopping options. No celebrities, just regular people looking ridiculously lounge-y and unkempt in their shapeless pants, Uggs, and oversized sunglasses. Oh, and the "snack packs" they give you on long flights are kind of obnoxious. But other than that I'm pro-Southwest.

I've had a very productive few days back. In an effort to use excessive (okay, moderate) cross training to sustain my marathon plans despite a knee injury that doesn't want to heal, I got a short-term membership to the ONE (1) gym in town. Ten-day guest pass = Eighteen dollars. I don't think this will put Liberty into the top ten for "Best places to live," but this is a seriously good deal.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I know, I know.

I haven't had anything good to say in two months.

This afternoon I'm taking 2 Santa Monica Blue Buses and one (likely lavender) Southwest jet to embark on a 3 week LA hiatus. Boarding pass printed and drink coupons folded along the perforations.

A problem recently noted by myself and others (well, in addition to the rising cost of caffeine around here. They took away the fountain dispenser downstairs and raised the price of a 20 oz Pepsi to $1.25. Pretty soon it'll be more cost effective to do lines in your office than walk down and buy a soda.) is that once you actually find someone to "like", I mean really like, as in maybe you'd like them to audition to be your significant other, you end up on this stupid, stupid rollercoaster of feeling dependent and worthless when you don't hear from them to giddily giving away your stipend in small bills to people on the street when you do. For example, right now two people are in my lineup. One is welcome, one is a hanger-on. I had drinks with the hanger-on several weeks ago. It wasn't love at first sight. I didn't even particularly care to have a second sight. I don't think he felt the magic either. In fact, I'm pretty sure he almost invited me to the Spoon show with him, but changed his mind. I'm also pretty sure I saw him at the Spoon show with some other girl (who, incidentally, was way too hot for him). I thought this guy was going to disappear into the woodwork after our non-starter date. Instead, he keeps emailing me every week or so. I DON'T EVEN OPEN THE EMAILS for a few days, always scared he's going to berate me for stringing him along with my lame excuses for why I'm too busy/previously engaged to see him again.

Guy number two and I have gone out a few times - drinks, dinner out, dinner in, free tickets to the symphony from my advisor. It's not like this guy is my soul mate, but he has his shit together, is entertaining, and seems to like me - when I see him. The problem is that with this guy, I know exactly when we last went out, talked on the phone, or played phone tag. I also know what it means to really be too busy and what it means to lamely feign busyness (see deplorable behavior toward guy number one). Sure, I think this guy is perfectly capable of not calling me or making plans with me if he's not interested, just like I should be perfectly capable of not emailing guy number one when I'm not interested. I also know that if I were really interested in guy number one, I would've accommodated him into my "busy" schedule.

So here we are. Strong, independent woman feeling conflicted because (a) it appears that a guy she's not even sure she likes may not even be sure that he likes her and (b) she's worried that someone might be giving her a taste of her own medicine. Maybe if I had a cat this would not be an issue.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

By the wayside: good intentions

Moments ago I sent off my last final paper. And gladly. Although absolutely dreading the take-home exams awaiting me at the end of the term, they really weren't that bad. I wrote my paper on an idea I've been toying with for a while now, so that wasn't a big deal either. Nonetheless, ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT IS NOT BEING AT SCHOOL RIGHT NOW. Only I have a meeting here in 3 hours. I have a list of things to do once my finals are over. I'm pretty sure I'm going to skip over the ones related to responsibility and planning ahead and move straight to writing Christmas Cards and presents shopping.

Monday, December 12, 2005

It's about that time

Finals week. On one hand it's kind of nice to have a lot of stuff to do and for there to be absolutely no doubt what I should be working on at any given time. On the other, and also very familiar, hand, just because I know what I should be doing doesn't make the actual doing of it any more appealing.

Take-home tests - a mixed blessing. It certainly takes the pressure off during the course to know that there will never be any circumstance during which I'm separated from the binders full of assigned readings at a crucial moment of knowledge assessment. But then again, the direction of the learning motivation (information -> questions; questions -> information) order may be reversed, but it doesn't take the sting out of learning. Convinced as I was otherwise, I may actually have learned something this quarter. I'm pretty sure I've learned stuff over the weekend anyway.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Customer disservice.

When I pay someone to do something, it's because I think they can do it better or more efficiently than me.

Even though I traded-up in terms of mileage, age, and mechanical condition on my replacement car, I'd been puzzled by a couple of stains in the backseat. How exactly does one stain leather? Whatever. I needed a really decent used car, not a perfect backseat. I assumed the imperfections were the result of the two toddlers I met when I first looked at the car. Their dad told me they were really sad to see it go. I mentioned that it was probably the first car they remembered. He said that they never ride it in. I'm calling his bluff. But back to the story.

So this morning I take the car to the Blue Wave car wash (home of the best gift shop ever) with my coupon for an Express Detail for only $29, you know, to start fresh and get all the Republican washed out. On the way home I notice that the stains in the backseat must have been too much for the professionals - and really, what are they?

Okay, Blue Wave and previous owner: quit letting me down! The miscellaneous stains wiped off with Windex and if your kids never rode in the car, just who was stuffing pretzels in the seatbelt reservoir? Further, if you were either (a) in the car wash business or (b) selling your car don't you think you could pass a towel (and maybe a vacuum) over the backseat? The real reason I'm annoyed with the previous owner is that he took off his old license plate when I took the car, which meant I had to go to the DMV the-very-next-morning or deal with the license plate stickler LAPD. But still.

And also, I get annoyed with girls who wear bikinis to the sauna at the gym. It is not a beach - no one thinks you're hot or stylish.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Call commuting.

In the old days, when "mobile" phones were the size of Tom Clancy hardbacks and calls cost $.73/minute, I took important calls in my bedroom, with the radio turned up and my parents occupied - my full attention given to the very private reflections I shared with the caller.

Last night I took an important call at a vending machine. Then I got on the bus to ride home from school. The bus where 30% of the seats in the back were littered with brown, commercial grade paper towels in a vain attempt to cover what, as far as I could tell, appeared to be vomit. Yes, I'm listening. . . Do tell me more about this significant life event, loved one. A few stops and a few reflections later a clearly transient and likely homeless person sits down next to me. I have no big problem with homeless people. Sure, it would be excellent if they smelled better, but sometimes I smell bad and I have both a home and a shower, so I understand that it's hard. My discomfort does increase, however, when this man begins violently thrashing his arms about. Please tell me more, how did this make you feel, you important caller to whom I'm giving my undivided attention?

I know, I know. I could've waited until I got home to take this call. I could've called the person back. I recently read an essay by Jonathan Franzen about how we're losing the "public," by bringing our formerly private conversations about couscous v. risotto, chemotherapy v. radiation, and sex on the 3rd or 5th date into the streets, waiting rooms, and grocery stores of America. I agree - mostly. Only it seems like this phenomenon is a runaway train. And besides, the person was calling from a shopping mall food court.


Should you find yourself needing a new band to crush on, might I recommend The 88. I've seen them a couple of times this fall and finally bought their album - every time I listen to it on repeat I'm filled with whimsy, delight, and general good spirits.