Monday, March 30, 2009

Shark Week

We ate at a Mongolian Barbecue restaurant for my mother's birthday this weekend. 
They give you a selection of proteins, vegetables and sauces to add to your dish before they stir fry it in front of you. One of the protein selections was shark. 

I tried it, just because I've never had it before.
Shark? Tastes like chicken. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hardware Throwdown

So, as some of you know, I've been renovating my upstairs half-bath. (It's step one in my plan to renovate my house and then eventually take over the world.) I've been busy removing hideous wallpaper, repainting and whatnot. I have some ideas in mind for some other things to change, and to that end I've been scouting out options at the hardware store.

I've bought everything so far from the Ace Hardware in Monroe, but it's a teeny, tiny store, and thus doesn't meet many renovating needs beyond the basics. Ace is sweet and I try to spend local whenever I can, but for the most part, Ace was knocked out before he even entered the ring.

Last Friday, the husband and I went over to Home Depot. Home Depot seems like the lux of the hardware store world. It's pretty and clean. It's displays are pretty slick. Their commercials are everywhere (did you know TONS of Olympic athletes work at Home Depot? Side note: this makes me sad for them).

Today, I stopped by Menards. I've always had a bias against Menards. I've thought of it as the "ghetto" hardware store. It's floor is weird. It kind of smells funny. And their commercials are too loud. When we first moved here, the parents spent some time in Menards picking out light fixtures. It took too long and I was really fucking thirsty by the time we left, so every time I think of Menards I get thirsty. I've avoided that place for years, due to that fact alone.

Yet, the winner between the two for home renovating needs and selection is Menards. By a clear fucking mile. In fact, I spit on Home Depot and it's poor selection. It's like some "inspirational" sports movie. Menards is the underdog, scrappy with bruises and scars all over his face and every one underestimates him. Home Depot is the pretty boy every one bets on and he spends most of his time winking at pretty girls from the ring. Yet, when they go glove to glove, Menards is the one left standing.

I was so disappointed after going to Home Depot last week, that I considered giving up some of the bigger changes I wanted to make to the bathroom if it was going to be this giant pain in the ass that I was going to have to pay someone else tons of money to special order and then do for me (it's only fun if I can do most of it myself). But, after my little jaunt to Menards, I'm re-energized. We'll have to save up some money, but the costs aren't unreasonable and in the end I think it will be something I'll really love.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pink Lemonade

Is pink lemonade really raspberry lemonade?

At work, they have those Crystal Light packets that will turn your bottle of water into lemonade or orange drink or green tea. I usually use the plain old lemonade packet.

I get kind of sick of lemonade though. Unfortunately, my only other options are Classic Orange, Raspberry Ice or Raspberry Lemonade.

It's unfortunate mostly because I hate raspberries. I want to say that I hate them with the fiery passion of a thousand suns, but that would be an exaggeration. So imagine that fiery passion, only slightly less intense and you'll get the picture about how I feel about raspberries.

So, if in fact, pink lemonade is really raspberry lemonade, I'm going to have to re-think my whole stance on pink lemonade. I used to fall solidly into the "pro-pink lemonade" camp.

I had hoped that pink lemonade was really just regular lemonade colored pink. Maybe I was just kidding myself. I feel so disillusioned. It feels like when you are a kid and you realize that "Santa" is actually just Mom and Dad. Just. Like. That.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Hate Bella Swan

I do. I'm sorry. (Not really.)
She is horrible. She is one of the most annoying characters in literature that I have ever come across. Whiny, little martyr. 

When I originally read Twilight, I thought it was alright but not great. New Moon is just boring, except at the very end. Eclipse is a terrible, terrible book. I hate it. At some point, I want to slap all of the main characters. I've heard a lot of complaints about Breaking Dawn, but for me, even if it's kind of ridiculous, it's the most entertaining of the books. 

I really don't understand why people are so in love with these books. Jacob is a brat and a sexual predator. Edward is too-good-to-be-true and a little bit of a prig. Bella's a dumb twat. 
What's the appeal?

I watched the movie this weekend with Sist-A. It was okay, in that I didn't mind watching it and it was entertaining for what it was. Kristen Stewart is a terrible actress though. I don't think she could emote her way out of a paper bag. Or maybe she just doesn't understand the difference between all the other emotions and being mildly constipated?

This whole series makes me feel old. I just want to shake a cane at "kids today" and fondly reminisce about the "old days" when they knew how to construct a narrative and create likable characters.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


You think you know somebody! 
We've been planning a weekend to go see APT with the family this summer. I bought the tickets and the parental units were working on getting some hotel rooms in Spring Green. 
So, I was calling my dad and getting e-mails from my stepmother going back and forth about what to do when I got this email from my darling, sweet stepmother:
Nevermind. I took a chance and called APT pretending to be you. They took care of me. 
Wait. What?
You pretended to be me?
Wow. That's not a sentence I ever thought I'd read anywhere. Ever.
In the end, it really all worked out in the end as we were able to get the hotel rooms we wanted, but still... kind of disturbing.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Question: Baked Goods

If you ice a muffin, can you call it a cupcake?

That wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be

That's what she said.


No, really. Today, in addition to going to the grocery store, hardware store, gym and baking cupcakes (strawberry with vanilla icing AND sprinkles, delicious!), I stripped the wall paper out of our half bath. It's been a busy day. I'm tired. 

It was the most hideous looking wall paper known to man. I have hated it ever since we moved in. I put off taking it down because I thought it would be this big ordeal because in order to really get it all down I needed to move the toilet in that bathroom.

As it turns out, both moving a toilet and stripping wallpaper are not as hard as I thought they were. Really, start to finish, the whole project only took a couple of hours. I'm not completely done yet as I still have to fix the walls and repaint the bathroom, but still, I should have done this years ago.

It looks so much better. Of course, it wouldn't have been such a big relief if I had done it years ago. I wouldn't have come to loathe that fucking wallpaper, so I guess it all works out in the end. Right?

I feel so handy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What does your birthday month say about you?

According to Facebook my birthday month says that I am,

Fun to be with. Secretive. Difficult to fathom and to be understood. Quiet unless excited or tensed. Takes pride in oneself. Has reputation. Easily consoled. Honest. Concerned about people's feelings. Tactful. Friendly. Approachable. Emotional temperamental and unpredictable.
Moody and easily hurt. Witty and sparkly. Not revengeful. Forgiving but never forgets.
nonsensical and unnecessary things.
Guides others physically and mentally. Sensitive and forms impressions carefully. Caring and loving. Treats others equally. Strong sense of sympathy. Wary and sharp. Judges people through observations. Hardworking. No difficulties in studying

True, so true
I like to think so.
I suppose we could pretend, but in reality, not even a little
Um, maybe?
What the fuck?

Seriously, a reputation for what?
Being awesome?
Well, that's okay then.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sick and Wrong

I came across this article today on MSN. 
It is a brave and honorable thing to be willing to defend your country. Although I don't think much of the war most of these men and women are fighting, that's politics. It doesn't make their national service less. I don't understand why they volunteer to join the armed forces. Do we ever do the right thing by them? It's just sick and gross. 

FORT BRAGG, North Carolina - Staff Sgt. Jason Jonas says when he goes to bed at night, he is terrified his medication will cause him to oversleep and miss morning roll call again.

His commanders are fully aware the paratrooper wounded in Afghanistan has been diagnosed with a sleep disorder, because he is one of about 10,000 soldiers assigned to the Army's Warrior Transition units, created for troops recovering from injuries.

Instead of gingerly nursing them back to health, however, commanders at Fort Bragg's transition unit readily acknowledge holding them to the same standards as able-bodied soldiers in combat units, often assigning chores as punishment for minor infractions.

In fact, the unit has a discipline rate three times as high as Fort Bragg's main tenant, the 82nd Airborne Division, and transition units at two other bases punish their soldiers even more frequently than the one at Fort Bragg, according to an Associated Press review of records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

"In my 10 years of service I have often seen soldiers mistreated, abused or left hanging, but never have I seen an entire unit collectively mentally and physically break down its members," said Jonas, a 28-year-old from Tempe, Arizona.

Adding insult to injury
Jonas is one of 11 current or former soldiers who have spent time in Fort Bragg's transition unit and say that its officers are either indifferent to their medical needs or trying to drive injured men and women from the military. Some complain they are being punished for the very injuries that landed them in the unit.

"It is the military's way of dealing with it: `You're a fake. You need to go back to work,'" said Pfc. Roman Serpik, 25, who enlisted in Duluth, Georgia. He said he injured his head and back in a practice parachute jump last April.

Jonas suffered a concussion on a jump in 1999 at Fort Bragg, and military doctors determined that that led him to develop narcolepsy, a disorder that causes people to fall asleep abruptly, he said. He provided copies of his medical profile to the AP to confirm he has the disorder.

He said medication for his condition made him miss formation five times, resulting in a demotion that cost him $400 a month.

Officers in the transition battalion at Fort Bragg's Womack Army Medical Center would not discuss individual soldiers' medical or disciplinary records, citing privacy laws. Speaking generally, they said the way to get soldiers back on their feet is discipline, not accepting excuses.

"Do we hold our capable warriors in transition accountable to these standards, to include the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the various Army regulations? Unapologetically, yes, we do," said Lt. Col. Jay Thornton, the unit's commander.

Thornton said soldiers are "helped, not harmed, by maintaining an appropriate level of structure and military discipline."

Advocates for wounded soldiers question whether the tough-love approach is an effort to get rid of soldiers considered unlikely to return to regular duty.

"It creates a hostile environment where soldiers buckle and take a low-balled disability rating and benefits just to get out when they can," said retired Army Lt. Col. Mike Parker.

The Warrior Transition system was established two years ago to improve treatment of wounded soldiers after the scandal over shoddy conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.Soldiers assigned to the units have combat injuries such as amputations and mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as minor ailments that didn't come from combat.

The transition unit at Fort Bragg issued what is known as an Article 15 — used for minor misconduct that doesn't rise to the level of a court-martial — roughly once a month for every 135 soldiers through the first nine months of 2008.

At Fort Knox, Kentucky, the rate was even higher — one Article 15 per month for every 96 soldiers. The highest rate was at Fort Drum, New York, home to the 10th Mountain Division, where the injured warriors' commanders issued one Article 15 per month for every 76 soldiers.On the more lenient end, the Article 15 rate for the transition battalion at Fort Riley in Kansas, home of the 1st Infantry Division, was one for every 309 soldiers, and one for every 371 soldiers in the transition unit at Hawaii's Schofield Barracks, the base of the 25th Infantry Division.

Flawed Army policy?
The differences in the discipline rates point to a flaw in policy rather than pockets of misbehaving soldiers, said Paul Rieckhoff, founder and executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

"We will be looking to the Army to take swift action and hold the appropriate people accountable," he said.

Commanders at the transition units at Forts Knox and Riley and at Schofield Barracks all declined to comment on how they handle discipline. At Fort Drum, spokeswoman Kate Agresti said only that the base's transition battalion "follows appropriate military guidelines" that take a soldier's medical condition into account.

Jaime Cavazos, a spokeswoman with the Army Medical Command, declined to speculate on why the rate of Article 15s in the units differs so widely. "I suspect you'd find similar variances between line units throughout the Army," Cavazos said.

The current and former soldiers interviewed by the AP told similar stories about discipline within the unit at Fort Bragg. Most spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear of reprisal and warnings from above not to speak with reporters.

Sgt. Sheree Snow, 30, of Indianapolis, said she was evacuated from Iraq to Germany with fibroid tumors in February 2008, had a hysterectomy that May and was prescribed pain and sleeping medication for months afterward while at Fort Bragg. She said the medication led her to miss nine morning formations, and when she was trying to wean herself off the painkillers, an entire day.

Thornton, her commander, punished her with 14 days of extra duty and docked her two months' pay, she said.

"The leadership isn't trained to work with wounded soldiers," said Snow, who returned to her primary assignment at Fort Eustis, Virginia, this year. "I feel that the unit holds us to such high standards because they do not know better."

Jason Thomasson, a 34-year-old Iraq veteran from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, said he was sent to the unit after developing post-traumatic stress disorder, which he said led to extreme paranoia. He missed formations and left Fort Bragg without permission. For that he was demoted and eventually kicked out of the Army.

"Solders are being punished for injuries that they sustained while they were defending the nation," Thomasson said. "I was a model soldier before I had PTSD."

You Know It's True

The husband says it's mean, but I don't care. It might be mean, but it's also true.
The blind guy on American Idol just isn't that good. His voice is mediocre at best and he probably wouldn't be here if he wasn't blind. Can we just get over that already and let him go home?
Or at a minimum get a haircut? He probably won't notice and his crazy hair is driving me nuts.

Kris Allen, on the other hand, is an adorable little monkey. 
I want to put him in my pocket and carry him around. 
He can hang out there with Bob Costas. Have you ever seen a more perfect pocket-sized man than Bob Costas? Kris could sing to me and Bob could tell me how the scenery is majestic and the athletes are triumphant. 
It would be awesome.

Chicken Little

When we were studying Ancient Rome in high school, my history teacher asked the class whether we would prefer to live in the ascendancy or the decline of a civilization. When teachers are expendable, I think we might just be in the decline. 
It makes me sick.
That's definitely what LA needs. Fewer teachers.
Why does our society not place a value on education?

The sky? Is. Falling.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ah, Ms. Austen

I just got done watching the movie version of Persuasion. 
Pride and Prejudice is probably my favorite of all her books, but Persuasion probably runs second for me. I saw the BBC version of Persuasion. It wasn't even very good, but still, even mediocre Austen is better than most. 
Whatever else you might say about her, she was the master of yearning. So little amounts to so much.
And, just a little sigh is reserved for her men. 

Mr. Darcy ardently admired Elizabeth Bennett, in spite of everything.
Captain Wentworth never stopped loving Anne Elliot, even after 8 years of heartbreak.

Maybe more than a little sigh is reserved for her men.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Some girls make statements sound like questions. Those girls will say something and make their tone go up on the end. Instead of saying, "Look! It's a hooker and her pimp," it sounds like, "Look! It's a hooker and her pimp?"

Today, I noticed that when I ask questions (usually in writing), I often ask them as statements. I have to go back and edit and add the question marks in all the appropriate places.
For example I wrote, "What is it that you want to do [with this activity], but can't."

I do this All. The. Time.

Do you think that means anything?

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I was in a waiting room today reading Good Housekeeping (it was the only magazine available that wasn't Parents), and they had an article on exercising at work.

The second of the three exercises instructed readers to:
Gently move your head forwards and backwards without tipping your chin forward or moving your head backwards. Repeat 8 or 9 times.
Am I being stupid? How the fuck do you move your head backwards without moving your head backwards?


I don't care what you say, breasts are just not worth the trouble. Ugh.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


GameBoy brought in brownies for our team meeting today. They were delicious. Normally, I'm not a fan of walnuts in brownies, but these were truly excellent.

I was interrogating him about it after the meeting and apparently this was his first time baking. Ever! Color me impressed.

Why did he make brownies?
His girlfriend's present isn't going to arrive in time for her birthday, so he baked her some brownies and he brought us the extras. Can I get an 'awww'? That is so sweet. I've never seen this side of him before. Usually he's all Viking camp, martial arts and video games.

The downside is that I don't normally eat brownies at 9AM, so my stomach is sort of annoyed with me for filling it up with chocolate and processed sugar instead of yogurt. As good as it was, eating it was a bad idea. My stomach hurts. Boo.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I Should Have Done This Years Ago

I swear the woman who owned our house before we did LOVED to put pictures on the walls. Every two feet. On every wall in the house.

There were about half a billion (at least) holes in the walls when we moved in. Including wall anchors. Mostly I've just been ignoring them for the last 3 1/2 years. 

Then, when we were in San Antonio last weekend we bought a painting and had it shipped home. I hung it on the wall and there were two ugly holes above it and one right below it. It was driving me crazy. I didn't want to look at those stupid fucking holes every time I looked at my beautiful picture. 

So, yesterday I went to the hardware store and bought some Spackle and a putty knife and went to work. I pulled out all the damn anchors, spackled, sanded and painted all of the holes I could find. I even touched up the paint in some places that had been dinged or scraped over the last couple of years. 

The walls look SO much better. I can't believe I waited this long to do this. No more holes around my painting, no more holes anywhere. Yay!

It feels so good to have this checked off my list of things to do I've already started planning home improvement project number 2: The upstairs half-bathroom. 
The ugliest wall paper on the planet is falling off the walls and the door hinges are rusty. 

If I can get this done before August of 2012 I'll still be ahead of the game!

Just Dance

Last night, I went to see the Hubbard Street Dance with my mother. 

Parts of it were really good, entertaining and unique, for example, the last act was a mixture of Israeli folk music, techno and cha-cha that was very good. Parts of it just didn't gel quite right for me. I think the choreography didn't quite suit my taste like I wanted it to. 

I love dancing, in general. I like to dance. I like to watch dancers. As some background, when I was a kid, my mom was involved in an organization called 500, Inc. in Dallas. It's a non-profit organization for the arts. She was on the board of directors in charge of Education. I have spent more nights than you can possibly imagine attending plays, symphonies, musicals, dance performances, etc. 

One of my favorite things in the world is that feeling of anticipation, when the house lights go down, just before the stage curtain goes up. A feeling like anything in the world is possible and you may be witness to the tiniest bit of magic. 

When you see a good performance, it sticks with you. I could tell you, in detail, about some of my favorite performances, even the ones I saw when I was pretty young. 

When you see a good dance performance, in particular, it can be extremely soul-satisfying. In a mixture of awe and rapture, I think, 'Yes, that is what the human body is meant to do. That is the beauty and joy of this form.'

I think I wanted it to be just a little bit crisper, a little bit faster, a little bit more.